An Atheist’s Questions to Mormons
Daniel Womack has got some great answers to your questions, though I have to agree with others and say that debating these kinds of questions will not help anyone understand one bit what “Mormon’s” actually believe. And I put “Mormon’s” in quotes for good reason; it’s a nickname. Personally I prefer to be called LDS or Latter-day Saint.
In my experience, questions like this tend to come from people looking for reasons not to believe in the Book of Mormon. Why wast your time? There’s a much better way to get answer to that question; Ask God (see James 1:5).
Are LDS people really so bad that people have to go out of their way to try and put them down and produce rumors about them? Sure they may believe some things that are different from other Christens but that doesn’t mean they deserve the long history of bigotry, persecution and slander they have endured.
If you truly want to know what’s in the Book of Mormon from the persecutive of an individual who has taught from it, check out my blog at:
Here’s my personal answers to your questions:
1- Why Did Brigham Young teach the Adam-God theory in the Temple?
I’ve never heard of this doctrine, and I’d suspect that I would have by now if it was truly official doctrine of the LDS church. Brigham Young is often quoted by many anti-mormon individuals as having said any number of non-doctrinal things, as if they were true LDS doctrine. Some of them I’ve found to be made up, others I believe were his personal opinions; though I’m sure much of what he said was important and beneficial to the church. I’ve even seen Joseph Smith quoted to say something to the affect that a prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as such. Meaning, he’s free to have his own personal options, and he’s still a flawed man like the rest of us. After all, Jesus was the only truly Perfect person to ever walk the earth that I know of.
2- What is your understanding of DNA and the Book of Mormon.
If you take a bucket of water from the Ocean, and it has no fish in it, do you conclude that the ocean is void of fish?
The Book of Mormon has a number of references to many different people migrating to the lands we now know as the Americas. A few dozen recovered corpuses that pre-date Book of Mormon times, showing asian decent have been found. What does that mean to me? Nothing. It’s like pulling a few people out of a crowd in China Town, New York and saying that all of New York is populated with Chinese people. It’s just not a definitive test.
Another thing to remember is that the Jews in Israel were decedents from Judah, the Nephites in the Book of Mormon were descendants of Joseph; two completely different tribes of Israel, many generations away from Isreal/Jacob himself.
3- What do you think about Joseph Smith having relations with 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball without Emma knowing. This occurred after the president said Helen and her family would be saved in the afterlife for this arrangement.
I really like Daniel’s answer [especially the part about how 14 year olds commonly got married in the early to mid 1800’s], and I’m not sure I can improve upon it. I will say that polygamy is something that has always been a very limited practice throughout history and only performed by God’s people when specifically directed to do so. There’s more references to it in the Old testament (40+) then in the Book of Mormon (only 1), and I’ve even heard some people say that it may have been in some New Testament books, but was latter removed before making it into the a canonized form.
Another thing you might want to consider is that many of the women Joseph Smith supposedly married, actually did what’s called “Sealing for the Dead” where they essentially married Joseph in the Temple, after he was dead. This was soon stopped, and now these Sealing can only be done for people who were previously married in life, but it often is used to make Joseph look like he was married way more times then he actually was while he was alive.
4- Why doesn’t the translation of the Egyptian papyri found in 1967 match the text of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price?
I don’t know much about this claim, so I’ll revert to what Daniel said. He seems to know a lot about it [because Joseph Smith did not use these papyri to translate the Book of Abraham].
5- Why do you think Book of Mormon has old English when it was originally written in “reformed Egyptian”
Because most of the people Joseph was going to teach were more familiar with the Bible’s “old English” text then they were with “reformed Egyptian”.
6- Why does the Book of Mormon contain King James translations and spelling errors?
I’m not sure if I completely understand this question, but I think I answered it in #5. Hopefully Daniel’s answer was sufficient as well.
7- Why did Joseph Smith give African Americans the priesthood? Then years later Brigham Young took it away.
The way I heard it was that Joseph Smith asked the African Americans to not practice the priesthood he had given them, and then stopped giving it to any more of them. I’ve never heard that it was Brigham Young who took it away, but I could be wrong.
Try looking at it from another perspective:
The LDS church has never advocated or condoned slavery. I’ve heard that every slave owner who converted, was required to free their slaves.
The most convincing argument I’ve personally heard, and I have no idea how accurate it is (because I don’t know what Gods plan was), goes like this:
Up until the 1970’s both “Mormon’s” and people with dark skin, endured a great deal of persecution. Being both at the same time would certainly have been very difficult in the 1800’s. Perhaps the LDS church wouldn’t have survived if it fully embraced those with a dark skin color because of the horrible stigma that came with it at the time. God had promised that his church in these latter days would not be taken from the earth.
It might also be helpful to point out that it wasn’t about membership, but about holding the priesthood. Of course you could argue that without the priesthood, membership for a man is not much of anything in the LDS church.
8- Why are the “signs and tokens” in the LDS temple the exact same signs and tokens that the masons use. They are the same grip and even some of the same wordings.
I’ve never seen what the Masons do, so I really can’t answer your question. I have heard the Masons are derived from people who helped build and maintain the temples in ancient times, so maybe it’s really that they copied God’s symbols and not the other way around. Maybe Joseph needed to be a Mason so he could learn these symbols.
Again, I really don’t know the answer to this question.
9- One last kind of a hard hitting question. Do you know about the “Kinderhook plates” that are talking about in an early church newspaper?
I’ve never heard of them. It sounds like a rumor to me, with no real factual basis behind it.
Again, feel free to check out this blog “bookofmormonstories.info” and other blogs posted by LDS members (not those pretending to be “Mormons” or pretending to know what the “Mormon church” believes and teaches – there’s technically no such thing as the “Mormon Church”). If you want the real truth, go to the real people who make up the real church, and find out how they live their lives, and what they personally believe.
– Posted By Spaldam