One of the Book of Mormon’s many concepts not found in the King James Bible is the notion of a soul that expands. This is found in some sermons of Alma the Younger in passages using the verbs expand, swell, or enlarge:
And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves — It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because ye know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
Is the swelling soul a well-known term in English that Joseph could have plucked from many of the books in his vast frontier library? Actually, it is possible, but there’s more to this issue to consider.
In 1988, Dr. Paul Hoskisson looked at this issue and felt that the specific Book of Mormon usage was rather unusual in English and also is not found in the King James Bible. However, he observed that in the ancient Near East, the concept of the soul expanding was well established, possibly adding credibility to the Book of Mormon’s usage. See Paul Y. Hoskisson, “Textual Evidences for the Book of Mormon,” in First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1988), 283-95.
First, while the OED might not have much to say about expanding souls, I’d like to point out that the concept of a soul expanding, swelling, or enlarging actually is found in English prior to 1830, as one can see using the expansive data we now have available at Google Books. A search of “soul swelled” (without the quotes in the search) for the years 1500 to 1830 provides a few relevant passages, all in the sense of a soul swelling with emotion of some kind, as opposed to (figurative) enlargement or swelling per se of the soul. The relevant examples are:
- his soul swelled with emotions, which diffused themselves over his countenance (1811)
- The deep Sorrows of his Soul swelled
, androse, and over-flowed (1702)
- his soul swelled with the tumultuous transports of coming renown (1806)
A search for “soul expand” over the same time frame provides significantly more examples:
- My soul expanding gives the torrent way (in a poem by Thomas Blacklock, prior to 1791)
- as a huge range of mountains, the ocean, the vast expanse of heaven, make the soul expand before she can obtain an adequate idea … (1820)
- We saw his youthful soul expand, In blooms of genius nurs’d by taste (Thomas Moore, prior to 1535)
- While hearing an excellent missionary sermon, how did my soul expand its desires for the conversion of the human race (1817)
- Here Fancy may her soul expand, While Betty fell and rose (1815)
- Songs that will grow with growing Time, And with the soul expand (1817)
- it is no wonder he should feel his soul expand in good will to men (1809)
- but feeling his soul expand and extend in reach and aspiration beyond his avocation and circumstances (1822)
- How did my flutt’ring soul expand (1800)
- Oh, then, let thy soul expand whilst meditating on the grace and excellency of Christ (1671)
- And if such scenes the rising soul expand (1784)
- He feels the dimensions of his soul expand, and the powers of his intellect strengthened (1811)
- Where liberal sentiments the soul expand (1794)
- his great soul swelled beyond and broke the chains that had encumbered its free action and checked its mighty impulses
A search for “soul enlarge” (again without the quotes) gives these relevant finds:
- For to bear this I must my soul enlarge (1692)
- Do Thou their anxious souls enlarge (1787)
- doth, as it were, enlarge the soul, extend the faculties (1817)
- Thine own beneficence impart, Enlarge the soul, expand the heart (1773)
Here is an excerpt from Hoskisson:
Alma 5:9 reads in part, “their souls did expand.” The context would call for a meaning such as “they became happy,” to parallel the phrase in the same verse, “they did sing redeeming love” to celebrate their freedom from the “bands of death” and the “chains of hell.” Nowhere in the King James Bible does soul occur in conjunction with the word expand; neither does it occur with the verbs enlarge and swell, each of which accompany soul once in the Book of Mormon (Alma 32:28 and 34 respectively). This phrase appears to be unusual. Why should a soul expand? If this phrase is unique in English to the Book of Mormon, could the phrase reflect an ancient Near Eastern vorlage rather than have its origin in English?
The Oxford English Dictionary (hereafter OED) under soul gives no evidence of the phrase “their souls did expand” occurring in English; neither are there usages of enlarge and swell with soul. This and other evidence appears to indicate that the phrase “expand the soul” does not have its origin in English. If it could be demonstrated that this phrase has an ancient Near Eastern Semitic analog that was not available to Joseph Smith, it might qualify as sufficient evidence of an ancient Near Eastern vorlage for the Book of Mormon.
However, he recognized in his 1988 article that there may be other English examples with similar usages that were not found in his search, but which we now have before us, thus undermining the “expanding soul” as sufficient evidence for Near Eastern influences in the phraseology of the Book of Mormon. Nevertheless, his discussion of the relationships in Hebrew, Ugaritic and Akkadian are interesting and show some significant relationships worthy of note.
There are additional relationship to consider. In the “rise from the dust” theme that I feel is artfully worked into the Book of Mormon almost as a foundational concept in Nephite religion. Rising from the dust represents not only resurrection, but ascension and empowerment in a covenant relationship, as Walter Brueggeman has argued (Walter Brueggemann, “From Dust to Kingship,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 84/1 (1972): 1–18; available with first page only visible at http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zatw.1972.84.issue-1/zatw.19220.127.116.11/zatw.1918.104.22.168.xml). It means breaking off the chains of death and sin that bind us, and ascending through a covenant of grace into the Lord’s present to be enthroned and live endlessly in joy (see the 3-part series at The Interpreter: “‘Arise from the Dust’: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Book of Mormon, Part 1: Tracks from the Book of Moses as well as “Part 2: Enthronement, Resurrection, and Other Ancient Motifs from the ‘Voice from the Dust‘” and “Part 3: Dusting Off a Famous Chiasmus, Alma 36“). The soul that rises from the dust is very much like a tree of life that sprouts forth from the ground and springs up into abundance and life. In Alma 32, as Alma uses the analogy of a seed to describe the growing and expanding effect of the word in our souls, note how he uses the word sprout in association with the expanding and swelling of the soul:
 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow….  And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.  And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because ye know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
A related phrase Alma uses in this context is spring up, a term that specifically describes a tree, not just the initial sprout:
But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.
“Spring up” adds a dynamic expression to the tree of life imagery. This is a vigorous, rapidly growing, abundant tree–an active, living tree. This is the beginning of an incredible journey. Again, “springing up” is not just describing the initial sprouting, but the everlasting tree itself. I think that’s a beautiful phrase which should be considered when we are discussing the visions of Lehi and Nephi that provide the foundation for expansions upon the tree of life theme later in the Book of Mormon.
The term “spring up” or “spring out” occurs in the KJV. For example, in Job 5:5, a reference to trouble springing out of the ground employs the Hebrew root tsamach (צָמַח, Strong’s H6779) which can mean “to grow abundantly or thickly” in addition to sprouting or springing up. That might be a good candidate for the word Alma employed.
By the way, it’s interesting how artfully later authors draw upon concepts from Nephi and Lehi, even though the text in Nephi’s writings was dictated by Joseph at the end of the translation process. Some critics claims that the whole tree of life sequence was a very late, last-minute addition to Joseph’s “plagiarism” inspired by his visit to Rochester at the end of the Book of Mormon project when he was looking for a publisher. That makes no sense for several reasons, in my opinion, as I explain in “The Great and Spacious Book of Mormon Arcade Game: More Curious Works from Book of Mormon Critics,” but that’s another story.
One more related tangent: Turning again to Hoskisson’s article, an intriguing point he makes is that a word often translated as “soul” can also mean “glory.” Here is an excerpt:
In Akkadian, an East Semitic language related to Hebrew and Ugaritic, both libbu and kabattu (the Akkadian cognates for lb and kbd respectively in the Ugaritic passage quoted above) can be “the seat of feelings, emotions, thought.” When libbu and kabattu are used with the verb nap?šu (“to enlarge” or “make wide” in the G-stem and “to let breathe again” in the D-stem) they denote secondarily “mind, soul, heart” (italics added). Thus here in Akkadian “the soul (that is, liver) expands with feeling” would seem to be at home.
Psalm 16:9 reads, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth.” The Hebrew text, l?khen ?amah libb? wayy?gel kab?d?, translates more literally, “therefore my heart is happy and my liver rejoices.” Here, just as with their Ugaritic and Akkadian cognates, leb and kab?d are the seats of rejoicing. But the Hebrew text does not require the English rendering “soul expanding” with joy. It is Genesis 49:6 that forms the link with soul, biqeh?l?m’al tehad kevod?, “do not unite, my honor, with their assembly.” The Hebrew word in this latter passage, translated in the King James Bible as “honor,” is none other than k?b?d, the same word behind the King James Bible glory in Psalm 16:9 and the cognate of the Ugaritic and Akkadian words used with the verb “to enlarge” or “to swell.” It usually means “weight,” “honor,” “glory,” etc., but can also mean “soul.” It is not translated as “soul” in Genesis 49:6, even though the context would seem to require it, because the more common word for “soul” in Hebrew, nepheš, is the parallel to k?b?d in this verse, and good English style militates against repetition of the same word (just as does Hebrew).
In other words, one translation of the Semitic word for “liver,” etc., is “soul.” And therefore, even though the Hebrew Old Testament does not reflect it, in Semitic languages related to Hebrew (closely, Ugaritic; and more distantly, Akkadian) “the liver expands (with feeling)” can be translated “the soul expands (with feeling).”
Strong’s H3519 (kabowd, כָּבו) most often translated as “glory” or “honor” in the KJV, can also refer to the soul. It raises the possibility of double meanings and perhaps may be worth considering as a candidate for tentative Janus parallelism in the Book of Mormon, though that is a speculative exercise in the absence of the original text.
Overall, while the expanding soul is not a unique Book of Mormon phrase that necessarily points to ancient origins, it is part of a complex of related covenant themes that are thoroughly rooted in ancient Near Eastern themes, including tree of life concepts. For those willing to take the Book of Mormon seriously, I believe there is some fruitful ground to here and hope you’ll dig in and share your additional thoughts.
27 thoughts on “Souls that Expand and Swell: An Intriguing But Not Unique Book of Mormon Concept”
I'm trying to understand why this is supposed to be significant when it's basically the premise of every love song ever written and the experience of every new parent on the planet.
The soul's capacity appears to expand and enlarge with the increase of knowledge, and for ought we know, may continue to do so for ever.
– The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, 1808
Awake our souls, expand our pow'rs,
– A Publication of Hymns in Two Part, 1814
Let truth in every heart abound, Let grace their souls expand
– The Evangelical Magazine, 1799
To-day our souls expand; We bless our God for Gospel-grace Shewn to a heathen land!
– The Baptist Annual Register, 1798
As this increase of joy is produced by penitence and return to virtue, h is certain they are deeply concerned for our salvation, and that they consider God honored when sin is destroyed, or man is saved. But If their souls expand with great joy at ..
– Gospel Advocate, 1825
Let it be clear that I am not accusing Smith of plagiarism. But what he is doing is using a common expression of his own day. And the Book of Mormon is filled with these common 19th Century expressions. Filled with them.
What is possibly the ultimate in irony….the Book of Mormon says that "plain and precious truths" were taken out of the Bible by the time the Bible ends up in the hands of the Gentiles…you know…..the Protestants.
But guess where the expression "plain and precious" comes from? PROTESTANT WRITINGS!
“It is not only to the illiterate and feeble Christian that this plan is needful, but also to the most learned and wise, the most successful minister, as well as those among whom he labours; they having no other support and comfort …than those plain and precious truths…..”
– from Directions and Encouragements for Travellers to Zion: Being an Earnest and Affectionate Address to Professing Christians in general; on several important subjects. By Joseph Freeston. London. Published by Button and Son, P. Mitchell, Printer, 1816. Page. 28.
“O let these plain and simple, but precious truths take hold upon your hearts…”
-from The Washington Theological Reportory, Volume 2, Washington City, J. Ashmun Publisher, 1820-21. Page 58
What is even more interesting is that the frequency of "soul expands" and "soul swells" in English peaks between 1800 and 1840. Before the late 1700s, according to the N-gram viewer, both of these expressions are virtually non-existent. After 1840, theses expressions begin to vanish again.
So…just when these two expressions were peaking in frequency in the English language, the Book of Mormon, which is published in 1829, includes them. But Jeff would have us believe that they are in the Book of Mormon, a book everyone only knows in English, because of some link to Eastern Semitic Languages?
So I guess we have to pick which coincidence we prefer. That a book claiming to be from an Eastern Semitic culture uses these expressions, which show up in Eastern Semitic cultures, or that the same book, published in English, with no trace left behind of its original language, uses these expressions at the moment they peak in usage in the English speaking world.
EBU, this is just more evidence of the duplicitous and indefatigable efforts of Satan.
As soon as this archfiend was done reconstructing the global fossil record in a way that made evolution appear true, he began re-ordering the archival evidence of English word usage in order to make the Book of Mormon appear false.
Satan is devilishly clever, but he can’t fool Jeff Lindsay, no siree!
Yes, I am showing that contrary to Hoskisson's assumption that this was not known in English, we can find multiple examples. But it's not a KJV expression and does have implications beyond the swelling with emotion sense.
Fair enough, Jeff. I wonder if some day you'll come along far enough to get to the real challenge facing LDS apologetics: examining what it means for an intensely religious 19th-century youth to (1) re-imagine his faith as having American roots and then (2) express the theology of an Americanized Christianity in the form of a narrative about Native American origins. Once it gets past its insistence on ancient origins, the Church can begin to think seriously about Joseph's achievement as a new and highly interesting development in the history of Christian thought.
At this point Jeff is just showing off basic reading comprehension and information retention. The ideas presented here bring nothing to the table. Sure it's a table of nonsense, but I'd rather not strain the analogy too far.
Thanks for this. It is very interesting.
My soul – and maybe our souls – are at stake in the decision to regard the Book of Mormon as true or false, because such a judgement inevitably – and by design! – bears moral weight.
“Fair enough, Jeff. I wonder if some day you'll come along far enough to get to the real challenge facing LDS apologetics: examining what it means for an intensely religious 19th-century youth to (1) re-imagine his faith as having American roots and then (2) express the theology of an Americanized Christianity in the form of a narrative about Native American origins. Once it gets past its insistence on ancient origins, the Church can begin to think seriously about Joseph's achievement as a new and highly interesting development in the history of Christian thought.” – Anonymous
I never read comments, especially not at Mormanity, Jeff Linday’s estimable blog. This is because they are entirely useless; I wish he would turn them off. But this morning, I happened to touch the wrong part of my cell phone and the anonymous comment above appeared; I quite liked it, because it is at once a succinct statement of a theory of the Book of Mormon and also sublimely ignorant of “the real challenge”; something I hope to briefly put to rights herein.
The Book of Mormon is technically unbelievable. That is prior to any kind of explanation for its existence that one chooses to adopt. And the more deeply one examines it, the more incredible it becomes. There is no accounting for it whatsoever. Joseph’s own testimony regarding it is fantastic, but even more so are his critic’s; one might just as well have the ghost of Captain Kidd appear atop the anvil in Joseph’s smithy which he secreted in his gigantic library; why not; all of it defies belief. And that is exactly the point, I will argue.
It is a common, and rarely resisted, temptation to think of the Book of Mormon as amenable to explanation, and to proof; it is not. It is seductive to fall into the delusion that if only thought about in the right way it can be straightforwardly and rationally explained; this is clearly not so. No matter what sort of story one buys about the origins of the Book, they are not, on their own, sufficient. Both assertions that Joseph wrote it, or that God did, fall outside of the reach of evidence.
Both naturalistic and supernatural accounts demand more than evidence. They require faith – or, perhaps equal and opposite unfaith – to accept. Woe to the person who handles the Book of Mormon! Because it will force what is ultimately a moral choice upon you and you cannot get out of it.
Within the last 72 hours alone I have been confronted by intense, dare I say, “spiritual”, impressions that when I am reading or hearing the Book of Mormon authors I am hearing real voices of real people. And when I encountered Moroni, Mormon, and Nephi’s words, I felt them. I experienced the forceful awareness that the minds that crafted the text were insightful, resourceful, clever, committed, and artful; that what they wrote encoded things greater than I have capacity to completely register. And, although the notion that these were real live ancient American prophets is absurd, and completely so, then what kind of people where they? Because they clearly (to me) weren’t, and could not be, Joseph Smith. To believe that he was that great of a genius exceeds the nature of genius. He must become some kind of God man, and that invokes a whole other set of problems.
To be thus confronted, then, requires something beyond the text, beyond what we imagine about it, to “break the tie” as it were. The Book is a real thing, there, waiting to be read; I do not have the luxury of ignoring it. It is precisely here that the Book of Mormon’s most subversive work begins. Because, once the neat option of explanation, of comprehension, of solving the puzzle, of “totalizing it”, is surrendered, there comes something else: I must decide what I want it to be. And that decision comes at a specific cost, and as the product of revealing something about myself.
Disbelief in the Book of Mormon is not just unbelief. It is more, something I am going to call “unfaith”. Unfaith makes demands: for example, the demand that I discount some features of the Book while foregrounding others. It would demand that I allow some kinds of accounts for it while abandoning others. To cultivate this unfaith – by multiplying Joseph’s literary resources and archival sources, amplifying his genius and disingenuousness, discounting his own testimony and those of his closest companions – comes to define and change me. It describes the kind of Universe I hope to live in: one where Gods do not enter the world because I do not want them there.
With the option of unfaith selected, I will then find all of the evidence I need to construct an unlikely naturalistic account of the Book of Mormon, because I need to. This is not, mind you, in response to the Book’s demand, it is response to my own. I could just as well leave it alone, after all, I do not care about things I do not care about. Dan Vogel cares, and he cares a lot. And that caring will transfigure him in every particular.
Why might I opt for a world like that? Usually not due to what is, or is not, in the Book; more often “because.” I select the rigors of unfaith “because” of some other kind of moral life I want to engage in unencumbered by the demands of faith, meanwhile not admitting to the equally transforming demands of unfaith.
Now, I might – with equal evidentiary justification – cast myself into faith. This also says a lot about the kind of Universe I want to construct, and the kinds of things I can both see in the Book and become because of it. I might feel that I am making this choice because it is self-evident, but without knowing that the self that I am making evident is myself.
It is wonderful to see us all trying to talk each other into faith – or unfaith. I wish us luck. Because there is much more at stake here, disclosed here, and at work here, than any of us reckon. We are not really adequate to judge the Book of Mormon. Rather, it is judging us.
Since you stated above that you rarely read blog comments I find it unlikely that you will read this, but I would still like to respond.
True LDS believers have judgement woven into the very fabric of their existence. Once you are outside of the culture, it is plain to see. The church’s narrow world view leads them to constantly create “others” in those outside of their faith. It’s culturally ingrained from the earliest moments in the church as a child. If you listen to (or read) a member long enough, that judgmental “othering” is always presented. Your quote below is evidence:
“I select the rigors of unfaith ‘because’ of some other kind of moral life I want to engage in unencumbered by the demands of faith”
In your faith, anyone who has been presented with the BoM and has rejected it is in error—has become less because he has made, in your esteem, an incorrect decision. He has made a bad moral choice because he is either being misled by Satan or doesn’t want to give up his immoral lifestyle. Pity tends to be the most common attitude on the part of the LDS member—“I feel bad that he isn’t as good as I am.” “Her eternal happiness is at stake and if she doesn’t make the decision I made, it’s going to be bad for her.” Pity should be reserved for animals, not fellow adults who have made an informed decision.
There are those of us who recognize, not the hand of God in Joseph’s creation, but the clear hand of man. It’s quite possible that it was one man, or possible that it was many, but there is plain evidence that it is a product of the 19th century. One isn’t required to “[multiply] Joseph’s literary resources and archival sources” to come to this conclusion. That necessity is merely a projection of the believer onto the situation. Those “unfaithful” of us do not see the decision to believe the claims of the BoM as a moral decision. Our world view isn’t that limited. The decision to believe Joseph Smith is as consequential as the decision to believe L Ron Hubbard. Quite simply, the Book of Mormon isn’t as important as you think it is, or rather, its rejection isn’t as important to an individual as its acceptance. To an individual outside of the church, rejection of the BoM doesn’t make me less of a person, an unbeliever, or any other label those within the church create. It’s just another decision and I move on.
Mark should consider hiring an editor to chop down that self-righteous drivel. Nobody has time for that many words to say so little.
Mark Clifford, the Book of Mormon is nowhere near as unaccountable as you make it out to be. You’ve been bamboozled by decades of apologetical pseudo-scholarship purporting to find all kinds of wonders in it that simply don’t exist.
The fact is that the BoM is pretty drab, certainly nothing that someone in 1820s New England could not have written on their own. It is OBVIOUSLY a product of its time and place. To see it as ancient is PURELY an act of faith, and Jeff’s stubborn effort to make it also a matter of evidence has been a long-running source of amusement.
Jeff and his big list bamboozled another. Mark believes if only 10% of the items on Jeff's are true, then the Book of Mormon must be "true". Not to be out done by himself, Mark then comes to the non sequitur conclusion that if the Book of Mormon is true, then he must do what whatever Nelson tells him to do.
Good point, Anon 7:08. Even if the BoM were true, there’s no particular reason to think that Jeff’s church is the “true” LDS church rather than one of the many other branches of the Latter-day Saint movement.
There’s just as good a case, actually a much better case, to be made that the true church is the FLDS Church, which after all is much closer in both theology and practice to the church of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
Allow me now to parody some typical LDS discourse and say that living the gospel as a faithful member of the FLDS Church requires a level of sacrifice that soft people like Jeff Lindsay and Russell Nelson are not willing to make. To be FLDS is to risk ostracism and even imprisonment for living the true everlasting covenant of marriage, which of course is polygamy. This is true regardless of the feelings of that other branch of the church, which allowed itself to be led astray by Satan in 1890. Living the Gospel is not easy! That’s why people like Jeff Lindsay and millions of other apostates choose not to do so. They’d rather have the approval of a wicked society than bear the heavy burden of faith…. etc.
Who could prove such sentiments wrong? It’s all nonsense.
Exactly. Over decade ago Jeff posted an entry about how great modern revelation is. Several people noted that he waxed eloquent about how great modern revelation is, without giving a single example of it. We have been waiting for over a decade for to think of a single example.
Fairmormon falsely suggests Jeff expands faith. Nothing could be further from the truth, Jeff contracts and reduces it. The FLDS, now there is a religion that expands faith and really takes it to the next level.
There are many ways to affirm or deny the Book of Mormons authenticity. I appreciate Jeff's affirming work on the Book of Mormon. It is very interesting and worthwhile.
Others, use a host of proofs to deny the Book of Mormons authenticity.
This is all part of what mortality is supposed to be like according to the Book of Mormon.
7 Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.
8 For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.
9 Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.
(Book of Mormon | Alma 30:7 – 9)
I would like to speak up for those who affirm the truth of the Book of Mormon by having received an answer to prayer by the power of the Holy Ghost. I have been given a testimony of the Book of Mormon that is irrefutable. I received that testimony on June 12, 1966. Since then I have used the Book of Mormon to gain greater access to things Spiritual. Along the way, I have studied the writings of those who deny the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
Those who have been given genuine Spiritual evidence of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon can't be deceived by all that is brought against it.
I will soon be leaving on my 4th church mission to declare the Book of Mormon and all that flows from it (Joseph Smith is God's prophet as are those who have followed him) to those willing to hear.
Because of my age, my time in mortality is drawing to a close. I look forward to that day, the day I will step through the veil to knee at the feet of Jesus Christ and thank Him for His atoning sacrifice and bringing forth the Book of Mormon and all that flows from it.
Jared, what would you say to someone who says they have an “irrefutable testimony” that Warren Jeffs is the prophet and the FLDS is the one true church? Is that fellow’s testimony wrong?
He seems to me to be just as right as you (that is, you’re both wrong to use subjective experience as a criterion of truth).
Warren Jeffs question.
That is a good question that gets to the heart of things.
There are all kinds of "testimonies". A Book of Mormon scripture helps me understand that God works with people in all religions. There are miracles and manifestations in other churches.
13 And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.
(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:13)
Regarding a testimony of Warren Jeffs or any other person who claims to be a prophet but isn't.
6 For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words, who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church.
(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 26:6)
There are genuine and false "testimonies".
I refer to my testimony as irrefutable because the of nature of my experience in 1966 and many others I have had since. In 1966 the veil was parted. I saw and learned those things Heavenly Father wanted me to see and learn.
Jared, I sat down a few hours ago, before your last comment on Feb 6 at 2:20, to explain to you how prideful it is to say that your subjective experience determines objective truth for everyone.
Then…I thought better of it, deleted what I had written, and moved on.
Then I return here to see you are also claiming that everyone else who has received objective truth via subjective feeling has a "false testimony" if they have come to a different conclusion than you have.
That is truly astonishing! Can you not see how delusional that is? Or if not delusional, at least prideful?
The belief that your own subjective feelings have determined what is true for the rest of the human race, and everyone would see it, too, if only they were as worthy-righteous-special-privileged-devout-sincere as you is a deeply prideful belief. It is that special brand of religious pride that masquerades in public as a false humility. It isn't only Mormons that fall into this trap, either.
Jared – I believe in your irrefutable testimony also, but not in your refutable conclusions. The only reason you gave for considering Warren Jeffs a false prophet is his use of flattering words leading to sin. Your standard would also make Joseph Smith a false prophet.
By all accounts Warren Jeffs is not a prophet. He even said so himself, as reported by the news. It then must follow that those who testify he is a prophet are in error.
Do you believe in God as revealed in the Bible? If you do, then you must believe he calls prophets. It then follows that you must believe there are false prophets as well.
If on the other hand, you do not believe the Bible then I can understand what you've written. The logic that moves an atheist differs from the logic the moves a theist.
There is much more that can be said on this topic.
You see things from your life's experience. Allow me the same privilege. I respect the
point of view of atheist and agnostics, as well as those of other faith traditions. I realize that most of them are people of good character.
Why insult me for expressing my point of view?
I'm not sure if there are multiple Anonymous commentators I am responding to or not.
If you would have referred to a man like Billy Graham or Gandhi I would have answered differently.
Speaking of subjective experiences…. I just listened to Bob Dylan singing “Hard Rain.” Now THERE’S a prophet—a true heir of Isaiah and Jeremiah, one who genuinely understands the prophetic message, not some grifter like Joseph Smith or Billy Graham.
Jared, I'm a different anonymous than the others, but I need to chime in here: there's still time for you to see the actual truth of things. You don't need to waste another day being lied to and deceived. Just stick one tiny pinky toe of doubt outside the curtain of faith and you'll see, just like I did, that life's better when you're not performing mental gymnastics and twisting your life into knots for an organization that gaslights, lies, and obfuscates for money. Take it from this fellow old-timer: there's still time!
Jared – Joseph Smith was lied about and defamed the exact same way you do with Warren Jeffs. It must follow then that you are in error by all accounts and your own standard.
Please explained to Jeff Lindsay that he should believe in false prophets if he believes in the Bible. According to him, any prophet that teaches monotheism is a prophet, including Warren Jeffs and David Koresh. Though under this standard the many Muslims could accuse the Christians of being false prophets, for they do not consider Christians monotheist.
Contrary to your supposed life experience and point of view, everyone that does not agree with you is not an Atheist. If you are indeed in the right, why do you feel the need to go around insulting everyone for stating facts when you share your point of view?