A Letter To a Mormon ElderEd Decker
Some long while ago, I received a letter from a man who claimed to be a Mormon Missionary. Although I was almost buried with a heavy workload, I took advantage of a few days off and responded. Since the questions were ones asked often, I have shared the response with others over the years of ministry. They make interesting reading and I include them here for that purpose. I might point out that the man never contacted me after I replied. Questions from Elder William Comer to Ed Decker with Ed's response:
1. Were you born and raised in the Mormon Church or were you a "convert"?
2. If you were a convert, when were you converted to the Mormon Church, at what age and from what religious denomination?
3. When did you officially leave the Mormon Church?
4. What Stake and Ward, or Branch, were you officially a member of when you left the Mormon Church?
5.What Temple, or Temples, did you actually attend and participate in their ordinance work?
6.What Church positions, or "callings," did you hold in the Mormon Church?
7.Did you ever serve two (2) years as a Mormon Missionary?
8. What about your wife and family? Are they members of the Mormon Church? Were you married in the Mormon Temple? Have they too left the Mormon Church?
9.When you left the Mormon Church, which specific religious denomination did you then join?
10. If you didn't join a specific denomination, why didn't you?
11.If you did join a specific religious denomination, why did you select that particular denomination?
First, let me gently state that I am not planning on offering irrefutable evidence of my membership and positions while a Mormon. Let is suffice to say that I am who I am and I was what I said I was. It is a trait amongst many Mormons to want to dissect ME rather than what I say.
If you would be happier, I could have a missionary who was "saved" on his mission tell you the same thing. However, you would immediately question his personal habits while on his mission, etc. Therefore, I do not plan to answer items 1-11. All of these have answers. Some are in my personal testimony, Out of Mormonism. Read it. The LDS Church has them and much more, so contact them.
Yet, I am going to spend a special amount of time in answering the questions you ask, because they are those so often asked by Mormons. I feel somewhat frustrated, however, because so few Mormons ever get back to me AFTER I respond. Are you a true seeker of truth, Bill? Will you "covenant" with me right now to read what I say and check it out? will you pray for the light of truth to come to you...even if it does come through me? Will you correct me, where you truly can show error? If so, this is not a waste of your or my time...but of utmost importance. You can tell that I have not passed over your questions lightly. Now, let's deal with the issues:
12. Question: In reference to your comments that it is a "basic Mormon belief that God finds the Christian (referring to the specific individual) worship of Him unacceptable and even loathsome," I think that this is misinterpreted as it really refers to certain "creeds" and "professors" teaching "corrupt" doctrines. Surely, in this regard, you would agree that there are some major doctrinal (creeds) differences between the Catholics and Protestants--between the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, between Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and some 20,000 other so-called Christian denominations?
Ed' Answer: Let's be a bit more specific than "some 20,000 so-called Christian denominations." In the 1950 years since Christ, we would estimate about 350- 400 distinct Christian denominations. I challenge you to list even those. Yet, there are almost 100 documented "branches" of the "Josephite" churches. Expand that to the same 1950 years and the LDS track record would be more like 1950 “so-called” LDS denominations.
In reference to the Mormon god finding the Christian form of worship unacceptable or even loathsome, are you agreeing with me or disagreeing? First, as evidence of my "claim", read Joseph's own description again in the pearl of Great Price. He says that the personage said their creeds were abominable to him. Look that word up in a dictionary. But those creeds he said were abominable represent the same forms of worship we utilize to this very day, so we have to wear the same tag!
In the Temple ceremony, the Christian pastor is [was-ed] displayed as a dumb-witted but willing hireling of Satan. In I Nephi 14:10, we read that all other churches are the whore of Babylon. In The Seer , by Orson Pratt, page 255, we read that the great whore is the Catholic Church and its Protestant daughters who have defiled the earth with their filthiness and fornications.
Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith and so many other Mormon leaders join in the cursing and ridiculing of the Christian faiths. I don't think I misrepresented anything here. Must we be blind as well as dumb-witted?
Finally, your supposition that all the Christian denominations are at doctrinal odds with one another is just not true, but another Mormon theological mis-teach. I know of none of those you mention that disagree with the basic tenet of the Trinity, the very key to the great heresy of Mormonism, or the finished work of the cross.
I have been to many Pastors' meetings in many of the towns and cities I have visited and have met with the leaders of those churches you mention, as well as many more...all enjoying good Christian fellowship together. Yet, I have NEVER met a Mormon at a single one of these. It is the Mormon Church that has established the very doctrinal difference you try to deny, and has separated themselves completely from the Christian faith! Who has the problem? The Christians do not in spite of what you say...but you sure claim every evidence of it.
13. Question: While you de-cried the Mormon concept of three (3) degrees of Glory, you failed to discuss certain biblical scriptures that support this concept. How do you explain the biblical discussions of Paradise as being different from Heaven and that there are more than one Heaven?
Ed's Answer: I don't think you understand the Bible statements. First, II Corinthians 12:2-4 describes the Third Heaven and Paradise as being the same place. The Greeks taught that the sky above us was the first heaven, what we call outer space by the moon and stars, the second, and beyond that, where God dwells was the "Third Heaven"...also called Paradise!
I Corinthians 15:40-50 also puts it in clear understanding, and poses two serious problems for you. It is the "LDS Proof Text" about the three degrees of glory, yet only mentions two. And, verses 44-47 totally deny the LDS doctrine of pre-existence.
14. Question: I think that your interpretation of the Mormons believing the "personal salvation is a function or result of works of righteousness and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel," is incorrect. In this regard, it appears that you have confused "exaltation" with salvation. While you quoted Ephesians 2:8-9, how do you explain the statements contained in the 2nd chapter of James and James 4:17?
Ed' Answer: Simply in the most basic Christian tenet of faith...that works are the evidence and the result of our salvation and faith. Salvation/exaltation is NOT the result of works. Galatians 2:21, Galatians 3;24, Titus 3:5-8.
15. Question: How also do you explain and account for the numerous scriptures that stipulate that at the Day of Judgment the "Books" will be opened and we will be judged by our works?
Ed's Answer: The Christian tenet is that the Christian/born again/redeemed by the blood of Christ believer will be seated at a banquet table, not a judgment table, and will be rewarded for works done as a result of being saved. But the Christian will already be at the banquet table in the presence of the Lord.(see I Corinthians 3:12-15).
We are also told that those who were to be judged according to their works were those who would be "delivered up out OF HELL." If their names are not in the Lamb's Book of Life, (not redeemed in the shed blood of Christ at Calvary), they will be cast into the Lake of Fire!
If you are still confessing that you are to be "judged by your works," read II Corinthians 11:3-5, 13- 15. Again, it describes those whose ends shall be according to their works...deceitful workers...false apostles...angels of light (hello, Moroni). Sorry, but the Scriptures say, "you lose." And, remember, it was Joseph Smith himself who contended that the presence of the LDS god is in Eternal Burnings !
16. Question: While you maintain that in order to "live eternally with God," all we basically have to do is confess and forsake our sins, ask the Lord to forgive us, and be born again. What about those of today, as well as those over the myriads of time, who have never had this opportunity, who never even heard the name of Jesus Christ, let alone His teachings?
Ed's Answer: What about them? First, why do you place them as a wall between you and a personal confrontation with your own sin? Let's worry about them after we finish worrying about you and me! Why would Jesus cry out the Great Commission...to go forth and teach His Gospel to all the earth? Why waste everybody's time if it's all O.K? You better read Romans 10:13-20 again, along with Acts 17:27.
17. Question: While you quote numerous biblical scriptures to support your contention that the "Holy Bible" is the "only Holy Scripture given by God," you ignore the fact that the various "books" as we know today were not even gathered together and the King James version not published until A.D. 1611. How do you explain this?
Ed's Answer: I am afraid that you are again operating out of what you have been told instead of what you know. First, the Hebrew canon precedes Christ, Himself! Although we have a different order and division (i.e. we divide Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two books each), we have the very same Canon.
There never seemed to be an official problem with what was and what wasn't scripture in the Hebrew world! But with the introduction of Christianity and its own writings, the Jews took a stand just after the destruction of Jerusalem to clearly identify its Scripture so that the Christian writings would become exposed as false teachings.
This was accomplished at a meeting of the leading Rabbis and Jewish Scholars at Jamnia, about 90 A.D. It is of note that some "writings" were also rejected as not being Holy Hebrew Scripture. Among them, the "Apocrypha."
Now, you claim that the New Testament Canon came into being with the publication of the KJV in 1611. Again, you are programmed with false information, given to you in order that you will not have a testimony of the truth and power of the Holy Bible as God's TRUE WORD, so that you can be given false scripture and false doctrine.
Your faith and testimony has been deceitfully switched to, "I testify that the Church is true, Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, the Book of Mormon is the Word of God...I'm thankful for my priesthood, the Bishop and the Prophet, etc., etc., etc., world without end!" What has been STOLEN from you is the center of your faith, Jesus Christ, who with His death on Calvary, gave you eternal LIFE...and His Holy Word, which is TRUTH and is sanctified! Read John 17:17.
Again, the Early Christian Church did not have any trouble recognizing true canon from all the other religious writings. The canon was the "All Truth" spoken about in John 16:13, and was based upon several things. First, the Apostolic eyewitness accounts of the ministry of Jesus (the four gospels), the Acts of the Apostles by one of them, the Apostolic teachings (Acts 2:42) called the Epistles, to guide and direct the "Church", and the Prophetic words of John. How can that be so difficult to comprehend?
When a heretic by the name of Marcion developed his "own scripture", the Church rejected it and labeled him a heretic. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) exposed him as a fraud in his work, "Against Heresies", while writing about the fourfold Gospel exactly as we know it today. It is an interesting sidelight to note that his writings about heresies and false teachers trying to deceive the Church includes most of the heresies of Mormonism...almost 17 centuries before Joseph Smith. Read it for yourself! It is so!
Athanasius of Alexandria (A.D. 367) lists the New Testament Canon exactly as it was in the early church and as it remains today. Jerome and Augustine did likewise. In the Church Council of Hippo, in 393 A.D., the 27 books of the New Testament were listed as the Official Canon of the Christian Church. It did not call a vote on this issue, but simply marked the record that these were the Scriptures. Nobody was running around in deep confusion over this. They were intelligent people who knew what was Scripture and what wasn't.
The Christian world was not sitting waiting for Joseph Smith to come and enlighten them. They already knew how to deal with Marcionites.
Now, if you are TRULY the seeker of truth we talked about, I suggest you read the same book I used for many of these references, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell. You can obtain it at any Christian Bookstore.
18. Question: In regard to question No. 17, and more importantly, considering that you also appear to quote form Bibles other than the King James Version, which "Holy Bible" should one use? Would it be the King James Version, the Douai Version, the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New Living Bible, or numerous others?
Eds Answer: Actually, ALL my references are from the KJV, because that is the only version that is acceptable to the Mormon. But, why do you limit yourself to the KJV? Do you think that is how God speaks? Just because Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon in it? How about the original Greek? If you could understand that, wouldn't it be far more accurate?
There is no such thing as a King James Spanish Bible! Does that deny them an accurate Spanish rendering of the Greek? Is the LDS Spanish Bible and Book of Mormon in King James Spanish? How absurd! While we are on the subject of translations and versions, what about Joseph Smith's "Inspired Version?" Does that top your own list of best translations?
19. Question: In the same vein, what is your explanation for the biblical predictions of additional scriptures, or revelations, to come forth, such as in Isaiah 29:11- 12; Ezekiel 37:16-19; Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:11; John 15:12-13; Revelation 14:6-7?
Ed's Answer: O.K. Let's agree simply that there have been other scriptures given after every reference you gave. Isn't it true that each of them comes chronologically after the preceding one? And, aren't there more than 15 chapters in the Book of Revelations?
But, that is an oversimplification. Let's just take one at random -- John 16:12-13. It tells us that there is some knowledge that is withheld, and that we shall receive what knowledge we will need through fuller revelation when the Holy Spirit is come and is manifest in our lives. What on earth is wrong with that? It is pure Christian doctrine and says nothing about further written scripture at all.
Hey! I have a surprise for you. Christians really do pray to a God who can answer their prayers and the Holy Spirit can bring direct revelation to any believer. But I fail to see how that Scripture could be, even remotely, a "proof" text for the Book of Mormon or Pearl of Great Price!
20. Question: Also, what about those "books" quoted as scripture by both the Old and New Testament prophets or the Savior, which have not yet been found, such as referred to in Exodus 24:4,7; Numbers 21:14; Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18; 1 Samuel 10:25; I Kings 11:41; I Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 20:34; 2 Chronicles 33:19; I Corinthians 5:9, Ephesians 3:3-4; Colossians 4:16; Jude 3; Luke 1:1; and John 21:25?
Ed's Answer: First, there are fourteen non-biblical books mentioned in the Bible. Where, in the Scriptures, does it say that any of them are Scripture? For a look at a few of the better known books, such as the Book of Jasher or the Book of Enoch, pick up a copy at the LDS bookstore. Then ask your own General Authorities why they didn't add them to the LDS addition of the Bible, if they are so convinced they are Scripture. Also, I wish you would use your own intellect and stop giving Scripture references word for word out of the LDS missionary handout, The Topical Guide to LDS Scriptures. I feel like I am writing to a clone.
21. Question: Also, who under what credentials has presented evidence that the "translations: of the Dead Sea Scrolls "verify" that we have the exact translation of the original writings as now contained in the Holy Bible? In addition, as an amateur collector of related publications, I've not been made aware that any "huge mass of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament verify that our New Testament is the (exact same text that was first given to the Church of Christ." Therefore, what documentation can you offer in support of such claims?
Ed's Answer: I suggest that you read all of Chapter 4 of the referenced book by Josh McDowell. If you represent yourself as a collector of related writings, I can only ask what writings you have collected. Certainly nothing that relates to Christian Scripture.
The evidence of the reliability of the Christian Bible is massive! In just actual manuscripts or portions of manuscripts, there are over 24,000. No other document of antiquity even comes within a country mile of that. The textual comparisons are so complete that only 40 lines out of more than 20,000 have any question of accuracy in an actual word/phrase meaning. Not ONE of these has any bearing upon the meaning of a single verse, let alone affects a single tenet of the Christian faith!
The writings of the early Church leaders certainly add support to the reliability of the Scriptures as we know them. Irenaeus quotes from eight New Testament authors, Ignatius (A.D. 70-110) quotes from 15 of the New Testament books. Polycarp (A.D.70-156) and Justin Martyr (A.D. 133) wrote often and quoted the New Testament. Tertillian (A.D. 160-220) was a Presbyter of the Church in Carthage and quoted the New Testament over 7,000 times, and Origen (A.D. 185-254) listed more than 18,000 New Testament quotes!
But, the evidence doesn't just stop there. Historic evidence also supports the Scripture. History is a stern witness! Even the extra-Biblical or non-church authors of those days confirm the Bible and its events. Archaeology also gives us evidence and confirms the Biblical record as accurate.
Now, use those same tests for the LDS work called the Book of Mormon. Over 4,000 changes to the first text and changing all the time. Over 200 just in the last few years. It was recently changed again when DNA evidence proved the American Indians were not descendants of the Jews but had Asian DNA, consistent with migration evidences already in profound supply.
Not a single piece of historic evidence, and not a shred of archaeological evidence of this supposed vast Book of Mormon civilization. You tell me if it meets the test.
22. Question: In this same vein, pertaining particularly to the Old Testament writings, or manuscripts, of books of the OLD Testament found as part of the Dead Sea Scroll collection, how do you explain the other numerous religious writings, obviously considered sacred, contained with the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts?
Ed's Answer: They are not scripture. They are religious records. I don't understand your question or problem with this. Suppose that in another 3,000 years some Mormons found a cache containing the Standard Works plus the diary of JS and a set of the Journal of Discourses. The last two items would certainly be considered sacred, but hardly Scripture. What about the many un-canonized revelations of numerous Mormon prophets?
23. Question: Where is the specific documentation to support your claims that "out of 64 prophecies, 58 of (Joseph Smith's) fail the test"?
Ed's Answer : Look in the LDS section of our Website. It is available to you without cost under the title, False Prophet Joseph Smith. It gives the complete details of each one.
24. Question: While, in essence, you claim that a "total complete apostasy" from Christ's Church never took place, how do you explain the scriptural contents of Matthew 24:4,5, 23,24; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:3,4; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:15; Revelation 2:4,5; and Revelation 13:7?
Ed's Answer: Here we go again with the missionary "list." These Scriptures have nothing to do with the gates of Hell prevailing against the body of Believers, which is how the word "Church" is used here!
But, aren't we promised that His Kingdom will be forever, or is Luke 1:33 missing from your Bible? Read some of those again in full context. You are being warned that some will come to deceive, such as did the Marcionites in the early Church and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in the latter days!
False teachers will always be with the Church, but they can be tested against the Scripture as it says! Nowhere does it teach us to pray about them, seeking for a divine illumination of one's bosom as "proof" of their doctrine.
25. Question: In this same vein, what is your explanation for the Scriptures (Malachi 4:1-6; Matthew 17:11; Acts 3:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; and Revelation 14:6) which, in essence, stipulate that Christ won't return until a "restoration" (restitution) takes place?
Ed's Answer: I don't understand your use of Scripture. You use Matthew 17:11 to say that we must have a restoration, etc., yet totally ignore the next verse, which says that Elias had ALREADY come! Again, I can only suppose that you have not even read most of the "references" you use! Your next one, Acts 3:19-21 simply, and without seer stones, says that the second coming of Christ was foretold. Explain to me how that is supposed to be a foretelling of Joseph Smith and the LDS gospel?
26. Question: As to your claims that Christ "ordained" no one to the "Melchizedek or Aaronic Priesthood", what is your explanation for Mark 3:14; John 15:16; Matthew 16:19; Acts 1:21-26; Acts 6:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; I Timothy 2:7; I Timothy 4:14; Hebrews 5,6, and 7, and particularly Hebrews 7:26?
Ed's Answer: Unless you are reading out of a different KJV Bible than the one I use, not one single Scripture you give mentions Jesus ordaining anyone to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek priesthoods. Jesus is the ONLY ONLY ONLY ONLY ONLY holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood and always will be. Please read Hebrews 7:26 again, after you read Chapters 7-10!
27. Question: The Bible outlines the specific Church organization established by Christ; i.e., a foundation of Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 4:11-16; I Corinthians 12:27-31), supplemented by Elders (Acts 14:23, James 5:14; Acts 15:6) and Deacons, etc., (I Timothy 5:17; I Timothy 3:8,10; Philippians 1:1). Is it your contention that such an organization still exists, or is no longer necessary, today?
Ed's Answer: I'm really happy that you brought up the offices of the Church. First, you have to understand that the Greek deals with several definitions for Church. The Greek word, "EKKLESIA", found in "I will build my church" (Matthew 18), denotes the whole company of the redeemed throughout the present day, and in "the Church which is His Body" (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23). In the singular number, it also means a congregation of believers as we see in I Corinthians 1:2.
In the plural, it means the churches or congregations within a district. Surely, we wouldn't wish for Gaius to have to house the entire New Testament Church in his home! His house was merely the meeting place for the Church at Corinth, and the home where Paul was a guest.
Now, let's look at your premise that the "TRUE" Church must be the same as structured by Christ. You first mention a foundation of Apostles and Prophets. The Scripture says that they were the "foundation." Ephesians 2:20 is correct. But, you don't continually replace a foundation. The first one is always still there. It is below and hidden from that which is built upon it. It is not "Over" it, it's below it!
Also, the next Scripture you quote is Ephesians 4:11, which again is true. But wait! It says, First Apostles, then prophets (plural)." How did that get so reversed in the Mormon Church? Where does the Scripture support that? In Acts 13:1, it mentions certain PROPHETS!! Plural. It seems to agree with the other Scripture, and if you read the verse again, you'll also see that one of them was a black man -- totally in opposition to LDS theology, at least until a few years ago.
In Ephesians 4:11, the Greek word is "DIDASKALOS", a word that means simply "teacher." It denotes one who is a master, or instructor. In Matthew 23:8, Jesus uses this same word as he separates Himself from the title of Rabbi. Does this mean that the Mormon priesthood holders of the office of teacher hold the equal authority of Christ? My friend, you err, not knowing the Word of God!
Let's look at the office of a Deacon. You use the Scripture, I Timothy 3:8,10. Why did you purposely avoid using that in context? The statement on the duties and qualifications of the office of Deacon continue through verse 13! Is it because you do not want to think about the rest of them? Like verse 11, in which they are told that each Deacon's WIFE must be grave, not slanderers, and be sober. Or verse 12, where they must not be polygamists, and must have their CHILDREN well-controlled. Dear friend, the LDS Deacons are young boys and the LDS church is horribly out of scriptural order here!
Let's look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, wherein you suppose you hold your "priesthood." First, as a legal corporation in this country, the Church does NOT EXIST but calls itself a non-corporate "Association." Therefore, it cannot legally ordain anyone to anything. Saints Alive is a legal corporation and can ordain and license ministers to marry and perform all the Christian ordinances legally. Well then, where do you really get your authority? From the corporate sole called the Corporation of the First Presidency. That is the Mormon church legally. It owns all the corporations, land, etc. Only IT can give you the legal priesthood authority. It is truly your cornerstone.
That's the truth, in legal terms in the USA today! Let's look at it in Christ's time...wherein you claim the exact structure today as then. Why is it that Jesus, in all His sayings as recorded in the gospels, never mentioned a First Presidency by name or function?
How could Paul have made such a blunder in Ephesians 4:11; 2:20, putting the Apostles at the head and totally ignoring the First Presidency? How is it, that in Acts 15, where the biggest problem ever facing the Church is totally handled by the Apostles and the Elders, with no mention of a higher authority of any kind? How was it that the Apostles appointed Matthias to the Apostleship and never a word was said about the First Presidency?
We again have to question your thinking when we read that in John, the Revelator's vision of the heavenly Church, he only saw twelve stars, twelve Apostles at its head? There should have been three moons, just above the twelve stars, if there EVER was such a thing as a First Presidency?
Further, in order to give the LDS church any form of Biblical credibility, there should have been scores of stars there as well, each one representing one of the many men who filled that office in the LDS church from 1830 until the return of the Lord to earth.
Well, you can blame it all on wrong interpretation, I guess, but how do you explain the tens of thousands of historic documents dealing in tremendous detail with the Christian Church life of the first three centuries and yet there is not a single sentence mentioning the "First Presidency"? Yet it is the whole cornerstone of your faith and the spiritual and legal head of your Church! Can you honestly blame it on Biblical error? Then what?
If we look at a book of SCRIPTURE that you and your church claim is fully CORRECT ...God's fullness of the everlasting gospel ...The Book of Mormon. In I Nephi 3:78-248, we get a very detailed vision into the work of Christ, yet no mention of the most important position within the Kingdom! In Nephi 3:113-116, we find the twelve again as the Judges of Israel. Again, the First Presidency is nowhere to be found! It sounds to me that your whole structure sits on an invisible foundation. Even your own scripture supports that conclusion.
For the record, Ephesians 4:11 is quite correct. The Church...the true body of Christ...does have the offices (functions) listed: Apostles (church starters and trainers), prophets (those to whom the Lord gives prophetic utterance), evangelists (ever listed to Billy Graham?), pastors, and teachers. Even there you miss two of the five.
28. Question: In this respect, the scriptures claim that there is to be "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." (Ephesians 4:11-13.) With over 20,000 so-called Christian denominations now functioning in the United States, and with the contentions that Joseph Smith was a false prophet and the same applies to the Mormon Church as a whole, what other particular denomination would you suggest fits these scriptural requirements as I have named?
Ed's Answer: You use that undocumented 20,000 again. You do not see any true Christian denomination claiming to be the "only one true Church." They belong to the body of Christ as is simply defined in the Scriptures. Your hang-up on seeing the toenail submerged is amply discussed by Jesus in Matthew 23. Read it...the whole chapter. It is called Pharisee-ism and hypocrisy. Read our article on this, The One True Church, at: http://www.saintsalive.com/general/one_true_church.htm
29. Question: If your contention is that NO particular denomination holds such authority or fits such requirements, but that such is no longer necessary, how would you explain those scriptures which stipulate that certain actions or ordinances performed by those without the proper authority won't be recognized (Matthew 7:21-23, Acts 19:1-6) and that such authority cannot be purchased for money (Acts 8:18-20)?
Ed' Answer: We seem to be going down the whole missionary list of "the 17 tests of the True Church" here. It would have been easier to just mail me a copy of it directly.
Matthew 7:21-23 discusses the fruits of a false prophet. Acts 19:1-6 deals with Paul bringing the Gospel message of Christ to some who had only had the message preached by John the Baptist. He laid hands on them and without a Mormon ritual of "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," the Holy Ghost came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied! Pretty neat!!!
I have been to hundreds of "LDS confirmations" and never ever saw anything like that. Have you? What part of the ordinance have you left out all this time? Does that mean ALL these non-tongue speaking people confirmed for 150 year really aren't?
I read your references here and have to ask you if you actually have read them yourself. What ordinances are you referring to here? On the subject of a paid ministry, aside from quoting numerous scriptures that easily support the practice, your reference is again out of context and deals with buying the power of bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost. Simon did NOT ask how much money they were being paid to do this and could he get in on it. I have to question your simple understanding of scriptural context.
30. Question: When one views the vast majority of the so-called Christian denominations now functioning, how also would you explain away the scriptural prohibitions (Micah 3:9-12; Titus 1:7,11; I Peter 4:1-2; and I Timothy 3:3-8) against preaching, teaching or performing religious services for money (lucre)?
Ed's Answer: Why must you continue to use "so-called Christian denominations"? It surely shows the true feelings you as a Mormon have regarding honest people serving God in the body of Christ. You get very hostile if we use such a tone with you. Should we refer to Mormonism as that ‘so-called only true church’?
In Micah 3:9-12, the scripture deals with evil priests and teachers who are using the callings for the purpose of avarice. What does that have to do with the honest priests of that same day? They certainly didn't work in the fields, but were provided for under the Law of Moses! Again, you have it out of context. The Titus reference says: "Not given to filthy lucre". How does that relate to supporting a pastor in stewardship over a congregation?
Surely you can be provided for without dealing in filthy lucre. The word DOES NOT apply to "money". It is the Greek adjective, AISCHROKERDES, which means "greedy of carnal gain." How many Christian pastors do you know who are in that evil category, honestly? One out of a thousand of the whole? One only has to read the Salt Lake Tribune to see a better average of Bishops and Stake Presidents who use their positions for that purpose.
Finally, the "GENERAL AUTHORITIES" of the LDS Church are amongst the highest paid men in America! Plus they have their housing provisions and the hefty honorariums from the many LDS corporation boards they sit on. They are your foundation and your spiritual leaders! How can you issue such charges against the Christian body? The LDS Church can hardly function itself with such a beam in its own eye!
31. Questions: What is your complete, original, documented source of documentation that proves Joseph Smith was an actual member of and "was removed from membership in a local Methodist Church"?
Ed's Answer: Ask the Church Historians Office for that information. They have it all documented. But they won't let you see it, because it isn't faith building, even if it is all true. What does that tell you about your leaders and their censorship of plain and simple historic facts? If I send you our copies of the same records, you will refuse them because of their source. Ask someone you trust, such as the First Presidency.
32. Question: And, finally, what is your complete original documented source of documentation that actually proves that Joseph Smith was truly found "guilty" as "an imposter in Stowell matter of glass looking"? Is this merely someone's negative interpretation of an inquiry or are we talking about an actual judicial decision so stipulating?
Ed's Answer: I think we are talking about actual court records. I am enclosing a copy of them. Please note the certification on each sheet. Again, if they are not satisfactory, just try to get them from the Church. They have these and much more!
Comer: As I previously noted, while you've certainly raised some controversial issues and brought into question certain Mormon Church practices, much remains unanswered in the foregoing 32 questions. I would greatly appreciate receiving a response of clarification in this regard.
Yours most sincerely,
Elder William Comer
Ed: Dear friend, I have spent a good deal of time needed in many other areas to answer your letter. I hope you will put in some time now and hear what I am trying to say to you. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has given you the "other gospel" you read about in the 11th chapter of II Corinthians. You must pray about these things and ask the True God to reveal His Truth to you --not through some burning in your bosom, but through His Word, the Holy Bible. I challenge you to pray for that Truth and read the Word, seeking a new revelation. Read the whole book of John and ask God for His Truth each time you read. Jesus is not your elder brother...He is GOD, THE SON...always God! Your very salvation depends on your attitude about really seeking Truth right now.
Yours very sincerely,