1. Why so many arrests of young people in Utah?
2. What do you call the `living allowance,' that your General Authorities receive?
3. Praying about something and getting a "good feeling"
4. Why don't you sue people like Ed Decker, the Tanners, etc. for libel?
5. Is a "burning in the bosom" a biblical guide to truth?
Note: Many critics' questions relate to quotations from the Journal of Discourses(J. of D.), 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. 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.
It was not an official Church publication nor has it ever been a source for official Church doctrine.
1. If Mormonism produces godliness, why is it that in 1992 in the state of Utah, the incidence of arrest for individuals under the age of 18 is 2.6 times the national average (based on the total number of arrests).
A: Utah has a very efficient police force and doesn't let anyone get away with anything. Utah is only about 50% Mormon. The other 50% may be highly represented in those statistics. When arrests are made they don't usually ask about their religion
"Mormonism" does not produce godliness. A person must decide for himself if he will strive for godliness or not. The Gospel along with the Holy Ghost can help him get there. All people have their own free agency to live the gospel or not.; to commit crime or not. Looking at arrests of a few rebellious, hormone-driven teenagers is not really a fair statistic to consider when judging the effectiveness of "Mormonism".
2. Many Mormons feel that a compensated ministry is proof that an apostasy exists among many of the Bible-believing denominations. You say that your church has no "paid ministry". If that is true, what do you call the `living allowance,' that your General Authorities receive?
A. It is true that many of the General Authorities in the church receive a "living allowance". Obviously, if someone has dedicated their whole life to service in the church, as the General Authorities do, they have to get their living expenses paid for in some way. Some of them are financially independent and do not need their expenses paid for by the church and so they refuse it. Others are not as well-off and they accept it. It depends on each one's specific circumstances. However, the money does not come out of the donations from the members. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states: "A body of priesthood leaders called the General Authorities leads the organization of the Church. They are full-time ecclesiastical leaders drawn from the laity, and they receive modest living allowances from returns on investments made by the Church, not from the tithes and offerings paid by members of the Church."
The main difference between the Mormon church and other churches comes at the local level where none of the LDS bishops, teachers, missionaries, etc. are compensated for their services.
Even though this difference between our churches exists, it is certainly improper for anyone to condemn other Christian churches for compensating their ministers who also dedicate their entire lives to serving their local congregations. It all comes down to what is in a person's heart and his attitude about the work he does. Is he doing it as just a job that earns him a salary and the praise of man, or is he doing it to give unselfish service to God and those he ministers to?
3. The Mormons say that when they pray about something and get a "good feeling", that means to them that they have received an answer. How do you explain the fact that Christians of other faiths pray about the same things and get "good feelings" but different answers?
A. A person who "feels" he is right but is in direct contradiction to absolute truths relating to what has been revealed to us through the scriptures and prophets about the doctrine and gospel of Jesus Christ, may be getting their answers from the wrong source.
The discovery of what is true and not true almost always comes after I have followed some basic steps:
1. Extensive study in the scriptures.(John 5:39, Eph 3:4)
2. Finding out what the latter-day prophets have said about the subject.(Amos 3:7)
3. Pondering and studying it out in my own mind. (2 Tim.2:7, 15)
4. Reaching a conclusion about what I think is right.
5. Asking God through prayer if what I have decided on is correct. (James 1:5, Mat. 7:7, Mark 11:24)
6. Confirmation through the Holy Ghost.(Luke 12:12, John 14:26, Romans 9:1, 1 Cor. 2:13)
Steps 1 and 2, of course, presupposes that I have faith and a testimony in what the scriptures and prophets are telling me. A few other things are required of us to receive answers, such as humility(2 Chron. 7:14, James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:5), sincerity(Mat 15:8, Isa 29:13), faith(Mat. 21:22, James 5:15), and obedience(Deut. 11:27-28, Jer 7:23, 1 John 2:4, Heb. 5:9).
A person may "feel good" about something that they believe is right simply because they really want it to be right, or perhaps someone else has talked them into believing that it is right. But unless they approach the question with an open mind and have taken the necessary steps(mentioned above)beforehand, they may be misled by their own(or someone else's) whims. This is why latter-day prophets are so important to us today. They can help us understand what God is telling us in the scriptures and how to apply the information to modern day life.
4. If the Mormon Church is the "one and only true church", as you claim,
why don't you sue people like Ed Decker, the Tanners, etc. for libel?
I've heard excuses like "it would only be bringing attention to it" or
"it's not worth it." Not worth defending your faith? These people and their ministries have
been instruments in bringing people out of Mormonism. What is the real
reason for the Church's reluctance to force them to discontinue
propagating such harmful material?
A. We are Christians. We donít force anyone to do anything. We do not speak unkindly about any other church or belief. That would be unchristian. We believe the words of Him who said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."(Mat. 5:44) We believe that all people have their free agency to believe, do, or say what ever they want. God will deal with them as He will. He is the judge. Lawsuits are a waste of time and money. No matter what a court or earthly judge decides, there always have been and always will be people speaking up against the church.
It is not our religion to defend; it is God's. The Psalmist said, "They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness..."(Ps. 94:21-23). God is at the head of this church. He will see to it that nothing any other church or person says or does against His kingdom will do it any harm. It is here to stay. It is the fastest growing church in the world. The critics donít really seem to be hurting it much. President Brigham Young once said, "Every time you kick "Mormonism" you kick it upstairs, you never kick it downstairs. The Lord Almighty so orders it" (DBY, p. 351).
It is our job to keep a positive attitude and continue to proclaim His gospel to those who are sincerely looking for it.
5. Mormons talk about the manifestation described as a 'burning in the bosom,' but
a burning in the bosom is not a biblical guide to truth. In fact, it violates the warning in Jer. 17:9, 'The heart is deceitful above all things.' How can I follow this word of God warning and at the same time believe the Book of Mormon promise refered to in Moroni 10:4-5.
A. The scriptures also say, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." But, we are not talking about the heart when we say, "burning in the bosom". The Jerimiah reference to heart has to do with emotions, passions, and attitudes. The witness of the Holy Ghost evokes a warm comforting feeling that seems to begin in the chest and then radiates throughout the entire body. It is a physical and spiritual response caused by the influence of the Spirit of God on the spirit of man. The apostles of Jesus experienced this same "inner feeling" as they talked with Jesus:
"And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:31)