Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Joseph Smith/Jesus Christ": Part II

All right, feeling gross and ill has kept me away, so I apologize for that, but let's get back into it. This is a... Review, I suppose, for the film, "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith," produced by "Search for the Truth." From what I can tell, this is meant to be an unbiased analysis of Mormonism and how it compares to Christianity. This I find funny. Are Christians not defined as people who believe in, and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ? Apparently not. Let's dive in, shall we?

In my post entitled, ""Joseph Smith/Jesus Christ": Poignant or Pointless?", I listed two flaws in the film. One was the use of a quote by Elder Orson Pratt, taken from the periodical known as The Seer, which in 1865, received this damning statement from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. With regard to Elder Pratt's teachings they said, "The Seer [and other writings by Pratt] contain doctrines which we cannot sanction, and which we have felt impressed to disown, so that the Saints who now live, and who may live hereafter, may not be misled by our silence, or be left to misinterpret it. Where these objectionable works, or parts of works, are bound in volumes, or otherwise, they should be cut out and destroyed." Now, the quote is a pretty good one, where Elder Pratt wrote, "Convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the Word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information." Some context for this quote would have been nice, especially since someone searching for that quote would run across the fact that in that article, Elder Pratt was addressing his defenses of polygamy. Without knowing of the existence of the statement made by the leaders of the Church, that could perhaps cause some degree of damage someone's faith. Although, that's the job of the people at "Search for the Truth."

I haven't looked into any more of the video yet than I had watched as of Sunday, April 18th, so I can only presume that the way in which they quote scripture will continue throughout the rest of the video. What I'm referring to is the fact that they'll summarize the part of the scripture they aren't interested in, and then quote whatever part of the scripture they consider the focus. This is not only misleading but has a tendency to pervert the scriptures, and places on that scripture the restrictions of whatever interpretation they have made in their summary.

Let's continue. I'd say, "onward and upward," but something tells me that's not somewhere this DVD is heading, specifically in terms of how it's probably going to present the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So this is obviously where I think this DVD is headed, and after my analysis is done, I'll write a much shorter review of their DVD, just to sum things up.

OK, instantly, by their dividing of Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ to "determine which one holds the truth," we're presented with a dichotomy, as though Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ cannot be accepted together. I feel somewhat deceived, because the form of Christianity we're being presented with is the version of it that is riddled with Catholic believes, such as the Trinity. We're asked, "did he become a god through the faithful keeping of his ordinances, or has he always been the only true God?" This we're told, despite references in the Bible to Jesus Christ and his Father, such as the statement made by Christ at Golgotha, recorded in Matthew and Mark (with slight differences), "...Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Why would Christ ask this? If he is God and Christ, could he really forsake himself? How do they explain this scripture? Food for thought, and no doubt something to keep in mind while we venture through this DVD.

Another dichotomy is the presentation of scriptures: the Bible, or the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is claimed by the Latter-day Saints to be the most correct book on earth. Indeed, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:461) This does not mean that the Book of Mormon is without errors, nor does it mean that we disbelieve the Bible. Our 8th Article of Faith states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God" (italics added). We believe in, and revere the Bible, but believe it was a book for the people of old. The Book of Mormon is likewise believed in and revered, the difference being that we believe it has come forth by the gift and power of God for the generations of people on the earth right now.

OK, now around 2:30 minutes into it, we're presented with the claims, or dichotomies, of Mormonism and Christianity: "both claim Jesus is the Christ, both refer to the teachings of the Old Testament, both claim to be the truth." Am I the only one seeing a problem here? Then, "lets now examine these two men and their teachings." A 10 second backtrack will reveal something interesting. She says, "both claim Jesus is the Christ." A look through Merriam Webster's dictionary tells us that a Christian is " one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." So what's with this splitting of "Christianity," and "Mormonism," when Mormons are, in fact, and by definition, Christians?

Can you tell I'm having fun? Now, at just under 3 minutes into this, we're examining the person of Jesus according to "Search for the Truth." This is where I'm going to stop this post. And in explaining why, it's due to the fact that, although it may sound silly, or funny or ridiculous, I'm feeling too contentious. At this point I'd rather have a post that's as unbiased as it can possibly be, and when people become emotionally involved in their subject, bias is more prone.

Since the introduction has been covered though, I think it'll be relatively easy to go through the rest, especially since the groundwork has been set about which kind of Christianity is being compared here, and we've established that it's somewhat backwards in it's analysis of there being a dichotomy of either Christianity or Mormonism.

No comments: