Tough Questions Answered

A Christian Apologetics Blog

Deacons?

Post Author: Darrell

Boys in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church) are ordained to the office of Deacon at the age of 12. This office is the most junior in the Aaronic or lesser Priesthood and is followed by the office of Teacher and the office of Priest. Young men progress through each of these offices as they age and are eventually given the Melchizedek or higher Priesthood and ordained to the office of Elder.

I have always been puzzled at how this LDS practice compares with the teachings of The Bible. Let’s take a look at 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Paul shares a lot of information in these few short verses: 1) The moral qualities of Deacons – sober, sincere, and trustworthy; 2) The maturity of Deacons – tested, able to understand and keep deep truths of the Christian faith; and 3) The living situation of those who serve as Deacons – husband of one wife, able to manage his children and his household.

Here is the million dollar question: Do any of these standards sound like something a 12-year-old boy can meet? Personally, I do not see how. First, a 12-year-old child is not old enough to have a wife or children, so how can he be the husband of one wife? How can he manage his children or household well? In addition, a 12-year-old boy is not mature enough to understand the deep truths of the Christian faith, so how can he prove he has lived them? He has not lived long enough to be “tested” in anything except maybe a tough Playstation 3 game!

The LDS Church claims to be the restoration of early church of Jesus Christ; however, it is pretty obvious that at least in regards to the office of Deacon, they are way off base. Bottom line – this is just another example of how the teachings and practices of the LDS Church violate those of The Bible.

God Bless!

Darrell


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Comments

  • shematwater

    Unless of course you understand the circumstances under which Paul wrote, compared to the circumstances under which Joseph Smith restored the church, and compared to modern circumstances, taking into account the duties of the deacons.

    Why did Paul give this counsel? Because, in general, it was illegal to be part of the ministry (as the deacon is) until you are older. In places that it wasn’t illegal the custom was such that few would have listened to the younger men.
    In the time of Joseph Smith many adult men were deacons, as well as the older teenagers. Why? Because the church was new and needed this position filled, and did not have the number of young men we do today.
    The progression by age came much more recent, and came because the membership had grown enough to make such a more logical way to operate the church. It made things smoother and faster, with fewer procedural complication.
    Now, as to the duties of a deacon, they are basically mantanence. They clean the building, they act as ushers. They can pass the sacrement and collect Fast offerings. How much do you really need to know in order to do such things.

    As to the moral code, I know of many 12 year old boys who are very capable of living it. As to being married, the laws and circumstances no longer make such necessary for them to be part of the ministry. Much like the very young among the Levite engaged in such under the law of Moses.

    Thus, there is no problem between the Bible and LDS church.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    Thanks for your comment.

    You basic position appears to be that laws and custom prevented the early Church from allowing young men to serve as Deacons, thus now with our different customs and laws, it is acceptable to have young boys serve as Deacons. However, there are some problems with this position. First, do you have any sources that support your contention that it was against the law for young men to serve as Deacons in the early church? During the early Church Christianity was basically an underground movement, so how could there be laws as to who could serve in what position in the church? The church was just getting started and was not without persecution in general. In fact, Christians in early Rome were killed simply for being Christian. As a result, I don’t think laws were controlling who was serving as a Deacon.

    Second, the idea that custom controlled what happened has issues as well, for Christianity made its mark in large part by going against the general customs of society. Women in Jerusalem were more or less second class citizens, yet Christianity taught to treat them with respect. Children in Israel were thought of in a very, very low fashion, yet Christ taught that they are precious and that we all need to become as little children. Pharisees were looked upon with great respect in Israel, yet Christ called them vipers and whited tombs and the apostles spoke very lowly of them. I could keep going with examples such as this, but I am sure you get my point. Christ and the apostles were rebels who did not appear very concerned with what the culture thought; rather, they appeared to be more concerned with truth.

    I don’t believe that the counsel Paul gave in regards to Deacons was simply guidance and counsel that could be disregarded based upon law and custom; rather, I see it as revelation from the Lord that transcends culture and thus, should be heeded today. As a result, to blatantly violate this counsel as the Mormon Church does, all the while claiming your church structure to be modeled after the early church in Jerusalem, not only violates the teachings of The Bible, but also strains credulity.

    Blessings!

    Darrell

  • Boz

    Hey, shematwater, I remember you!

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    So, all Deacons must be Wed?

    Do you really think Paul ment that if a worthy man were to be apionted as deacon that if he had not wed that he would first have to take a wife?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Ditchu,

    As I see it there are two possible ways to read this, depending upon where you put your emphasis.

    1) In order to qualify as a Deacon a man must be married – the husband of but one wife.

    or

    2) In order to qualify as a Deacon a man must be married to no more than one wife – the husband of but one wife.

    Personally, I believe option one is the more accurate reading. For in order to be a husband at all, one must be married, and Paul made it very clear that they must be a husband. In addition, they must demonstrate that they can manage their household well. What household will they manage unless they are first a husband? I certainly don’t see 12-year-old boys managing anything in regards to a household. Most of them can’t keep their room cleaned! :-)

    Nevertheless, even if a person goes with option two, this still defeats the Mormon position. Mormonism has allowed polygamy in the past (still allows spiritual polygamy in fact), and this requirement (to have but one wife) applies not only to Deacons but also to Bishops (1 Tim 3:2). This has been and continues to be violated today.

    Blessings!

    Darrell

  • shematwater

    DARREL

    You misunderstand me. The Laws and customs I refer too are those in other societies that were converting to Christianity. These were people who had lived these customs and laws for centuries. Thus God gave a revelation to Paul (more likely to Peter, and then taught to Paul in my opinion) that the Saints remain within these traditions to make the transition easier for these early saints.

    These things are procedural things more than doctrinal, and thus the Lord alters them to fit the times. Before the time of Moses all worthy men held the Priesthood, but under the Law of Moses this was restricted to the tribe of Levi. The restriction was then lifted in the time of Christ (after all, Paul was a Benjamite). In like manner, to fit the circumstances under which these people were coming into the church the procedures were made to ease the transition. The doctrine remained unchanged, but the procedure was altered.

    I would compare this to the Word of Wisdom int he early LDS church. When it was first given it was not a requirement, but a guideline. It was counseled. Why? Because many of the members had lived a life that accepted much of what it taught against. Thus, to make things easier for them it was not required. However, after most of this first generation had died and the saints were in Utah it was made a requirement, for now the majority of the members had grown up in the environment that made such possible.

    As I said in my first post, it was the adult man in general who were given the priesthood. It was not until later that it was given to the younger men, and I would say for the same reason that Paul gave his counsel. But it was God who made the change, which is his right.

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    Well I disagree with your view.
    I think it is more likely that Paul was writing to Timmithy about Deacons should not have more than one wife.

    Also I have seen more maturity in the 12y/o deacons in my Church than in most 25 y/o men in my collage and workplace. And the Room Clean thing that is a family matter, I have seen many 12 y/o rooms that seem to always be tidy and neat.

    I also cannot see your point about bishops and the multipul wife thing. 1. currently it is against the Law to have more than one wife and the Official LDS Church supports this. 2. A Bishop is not a deacon. but still the Official stance is the law is to be upheald. I do not see where you think this “continues to be violated today.”

    What is your opinion on the many Churches that have Women in as Deacons? Are you a hard-liner with Paul’s suggestion that no woman should hold even a teaching position in his church. or are you leanient on this?

    God bless,
    -D

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    shematwater ,
    Right on. Thank you for the enlightning view.

    God bless,
    -D

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    You said:

    These things are procedural things more than doctrinal, and thus the Lord alters them to fit the times.

    What exegetical basis do you have for judging this as procedural, for there is nothing within the text to suggest as much. Rather, the text reads somewhat emphatically… making the same points for Bishops as well as Deacons. It is interesting to note that the apostles did not meet these same standards (married, etc). The fact that they were leading the church kind of shoots holes in your theory that only married men would be culturally accepted as leaders.

    Before the time of Moses all worthy men held the Priesthood, but under the Law of Moses this was restricted to the tribe of Levi.

    Thank you for bringing this up because it speaks to the heart of the difference between Mormons and Christians. What you are suggesting here is a Mormon belief that to my knowledge has no support outside of non-Mormon writings, and this speaks to why Mormons believe 12 year-old boys can be Deacons – the extra-biblical Mormon writings.

    My point is this – there is no support whatsovever in the biblical canon for the Mormon practice, and, in fact, the Mormon practice completely violates the biblical standard. Now, if Mormons want to claim that they have further writings to substantiate the practice, I don’t agree with it, but I say “Have at it.” However, I request that they be honest and admit that there is no support for it biblically and that it does in fact, violate the biblical standard. The claim that the LDS Church follows the model of the early Jerusalem church is simply not true.

    Blessings!

    Darrell

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Ditchu,

    Disagreements are always welcome, so long as they are spoken calmly and kindly! :-)

    My point about Bishops is that they are held to the same standard as Deacons (husband of but one wife). See 1 Tim 3:2. Here is the thing though… Mormons practice celestial/spiritual polygamy today, and the Mormon practice of earthly polygamy was rescinded only because of earthly law. This did not occur until 1890. Prior to 1890 there where Bishops who had more than one wife. In addition, today there are bishops who have more than one wife (celestially/spiritually). These practices violate 1 Tim 3:2.

    As to your question, yes I believe that the biblical standard for Deacons necessitates the position be filled by a man.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    Darrell,
    What then about the position of a teacher, even of a sunday school class?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    I am not aware of any biblical requirement that all teachers in the church be male.

    Darrell

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    Here are two.

    1Corinthians 14:34-35
    “34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
    35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. “

    1Timothy 2:11-12
    “11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
    12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

    What now do you say about women teachers?

  • shematwater

    DARREL

    Question: Before Moses who held the Priesthood?

    The evidence is in the bible. No it does not say it directly, but it does hint at it.
    The best evidence that this was true (or at least that the priesthood wen to all the first born) is in the Fact that God claims the firstborn as his, but later, after he gives the priesthood to only one tribe, he tells the people to pay for the shift of priesthood authority. One Levite paid for one of the firstborn. As their were more firstborn than there were Levites money was used to pay for the rest of the first born, given to the tribe of Levi. (numbers 3)
    Besides this, we know that Melchizedek was a great high priest, and that Jethro was the priest of Midian. Also, since we know from Numbers that the firstborn were to have the priesthood, we can assume that Joseph had it (as he was the one who received the blessing of his father). Isaac and Jacob were also the ones to receive of this blessing.
    The priesthood was not restricted by tribe before the time of Moses. This is obviously true as many who were born before even Abraham were priests of God (as they were authorized to make the sacrifices). This was not even restricted to the firstborn in those days, as Jethro was a descendant of Midian, who was aat least the third son of Abraham.

    Now, the details of the priesthood are not found. However, it is easy to see that many held the priesthood before the time of Moses when it was restricted to the Levites.

    As to procedural verse doctrinal, it really doesn’t matter why I think this. You seem to believe that every word spoken in the Bible is doctrinal, making no distinction between procedure and actual teachings. The difference is in the Bible, and until you can see and understand this to argue the point is useless.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Ditchu,

    Thanks for the verses. I am aware of those. My understanding of the 1 Corinthians passage is that Paul was referring to the way worship in the Corinthian church had been polluted with heretical practices (sexual aspects being used by women who “babbled”). Thus, this was not considered to be counsel for the entire church, but was more directed towards the heretical practices of the Corinthian women.

    The 1 Timothy verse reads, “A women should learn in quiteness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man…” (Emphasis mine). Please notice the word “I”, as this one word can change the entire meaning of the verse. There are a couple of different ways scholars interpret this verse. While some view it as counsel for the church as a whole, others believe this to be counsel Paul was providing personally (i.e. “I”) for Timothy and that it is not to be taken for the church universally.

    Nevertheless, I can certainly see how these verses could lead one to believe women should not hold teaching positions in the church.

    Take Care!

    Darrell

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    The best evidence that this was true (or at least that the priesthood wen to all the first born) is in the Fact that God claims the firstborn as his, but later, after he gives the priesthood to only one tribe, he tells the people to pay for the shift of priesthood authority. One Levite paid for one of the firstborn. As their were more firstborn than there were Levites money was used to pay for the rest of the first born, given to the tribe of Levi. (numbers 3)

    The problem I see with your interpetation is that God also claimed the firstborn of the flock to be His. Does that mean that animals held the Priesthood? To link the fact that God claimed firstborn children to be His to mean that others held the priesthood prior to Moses seems to be a stretch. Unless of course you think that goats held the priestbood as well.

    This is obviously true as many who were born before even Abraham were priests of God (as they were authorized to make the sacrifices).

    I am unsure of what scripture you are referencing here. Would you mind citing the scripture that refers to many before Abraham who were priest of the true God and had been authorized by Him to make sacrifices?

    Now, the details of the priesthood are not found. However, it is easy to see that many held the priesthood before the time of Moses when it was restricted to the Levites.

    You are correct in that there are little to no details of a priesthood before Moses (at least in the fashion that you believe ). So your next assumption – that it is easy to see that many held it prior to Moses – is, as I see it, not founded. Of course, one can cite Melchizedek. However, there is no evidence that his priesthood was organized, passed on, or resembled anything even close to what the Mormon Church practices. These are assumptions that you make based upon your Mormon beliefs, yet they are unsupported by the Bible. In fact, a case can be made that no one has ever held the Priesthood that Melchezidek held except for Christ Himself… this can be done simply because of what Hebrews has to say. I happen to believe Hebrews pretty much does away with an old order type priesthood as we now have the last High Priest, Jesus Christ Himself, and all believers are royal priesthood.

    As to procedural verse doctrinal, it really doesn’t matter why I think this.

    Yes, it does. Because if you believe it simply because you come to the Bible with the a priori opinion that what the Mormon Church says is correct, then you are obviously going to interpret anything that the Bible says which contradicts the Mormon church as something other than doctrinal (i.e. procedural, figurative, etc.)

    You seem to believe that every word spoken in the Bible is doctrinal, making no distinction between procedure and actual teachings.

    No, I allow for things to be procedural, figurative, etc. as long as this is what a thorough reading using proper exegetical processes allows for.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • shematwater

    DARREL

    The first born of the flock was claimed by God to be the sustanance of those who held teh priesthood. Thus, when the Levites were given the priesthood not only did a Levite pay for one of the firstborn, but his cattle paid for the firstborn of the flocks. No, the animals did not hold the priesthood, but they were still set aside for the benefit of the priesthood.

    As to an organized priesthood prior to Moses, the lack of evidence really just makes it possible for both of us to believe as we do without contradicting the Bible. There is no details of an organized religion. However, there is no statement declaring there wasn’t one either. Thus we can both have our individual beliefs about it.
    I think it was organized for the simple fact that God works in the same general way in all ages of the Earth, for he is the same today, yesterday and forever. Thus, if he had an organized priesthood in one age it is no stretch, or contradiction of the Bible, to believe he had one in all ages.
    As to those who performed the sacrifice, perhaps the term many was not appropriate. However, we have a record of Abel and Cain offering sacrifice in Genesis 4, indicating that such was known from the beginning. My reference was remembering the JST in which we read of Adam sacrificing as well as Noah. Using Just the KJV we still know that the Sacrifice was instituted from the beginning, and from the fact that only the Levites (holding the priesthood) could perform such later, it is not a stretch to say that Abel and Cain both had the priesthood which allowed them to do such.
    As to Hebrews, please give the reference to what you say.

    Now, I will state that no one reads the Bible without some preconceived beliefs which influence the way they interpret it. Thus, I really don’t care by what process you work out your interpretation. The only process that can yield the truth is to read the words, study them out in your mind, come to a conclusion as to what they mean, and then ask God if you are right. No other means can garuntee getting the correct answer.
    Now, to answer whay I say this is procedural, yes, it is because of the doctrine of the LDS church. Because these things have changed in the history of this church I can claim such as procedural. I can learn the reasons for the change and explain them to those who object to them. One of the biggest things for me is this: Even though all the epistles of Paul are scripture, they were not written to me, or to us in this generation. They were letters specifically taylored to the people he was writing too. As such what they say must be understood in connection to the circumstances under which those people lived.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    You said:

    The first born of the flock was claimed by God to be the sustanance of those who held teh priesthood.

    Okay… but my point was that this in no way supports your contention that there was an organized priesthood prior to Moses. And, it doesn’t.

    As to an organized priesthood prior to Moses, the lack of evidence really just makes it possible for both of us to believe as we do without contradicting the Bible.

    On this point, I agree with you. However, to say that it is obvious that there was a priesthood prior to Moses, which is what your previous comments alluded to, is not at all accurate. That is the point I was taking issue with. If you want to say “I believe there was a priesthood prior to Moses” that is entirely different from making the claim that the Bible makes it obvious. Bear in mind, however, that one can also say that flying unicorns existed prior to Moses, and we would not be able to “prove” them wrong. You can’t prove a negative. However, I do trust that if the Lord thought it important and wanted us to know about a priesthood (or flying unicorns for that matter) prior to Moses, He could and would have made it perfectly clear.

    Using Just the KJV we still know that the Sacrifice was instituted from the beginning, and from the fact that only the Levites (holding the priesthood) could perform such later, it is not a stretch to say that Abel and Cain both had the priesthood which allowed them to do such.

    IMO, it is a stretch as the sacrifice of Cain and Abel does not appear to be connected at all with a sacrifice for sin or atonement. Rather, they appear to be more along the lines of tithing – giving back to the Lord a portion of what he has given you. There is simply nothing within the text to suggest a sin type offering. The priesthood was not designed to give back to the Lord a portion of what He has given us; rather, it was designed to provide sacrifices which pointed forward to the ultimate sacrifice that would atone for all believer’s sin.

    Now, to answer whay I say this is procedural, yes, it is because of the doctrine of the LDS church.

    IMO, therein lies the problem. You are interpreting the Bible through the lens of a preconceived belief, rather than letting the Bible guide your belief. I have done the opposite – looked at the teachings of Mormonism after garnering my beliefs from the Bible. As a result, I have come to the conclusion that the teachings of Mormonism are false.

    Even though all the epistles of Paul are scripture, they were not written to me, or to us in this generation.

    The epistles aren’t simply the words of Paul… they are the words of the Lord given through Paul (and John, Mark, Luke, etc). As a result, they transcend time and are written to us. In addition, as you mentioned, the Lord will not contradict Himself. Therefore, where the teachings of Mormonism violate the Bible (and they certainly do on many, many points in addition to “Deacons”) either Mormonism or the Bible are wrong. Personally, I believe the evidence sides with the Bible.

    As such what they say must be understood in connection to the circumstances under which those people lived.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. We should read and study in light of the culture, time, and circumstances in which the words were written. When proper study, prayer, and exegetical processes are used, they may lead to intepreting something as figurative, procedural, or cultural. However, to say it is such simply because LDS teachings call it into question is simply not proper. The Mormon Church should be looked at through the lens of the Bible – not the other way around.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    So, how do you see the position of women in a teaching position, in reflection to these versus? What is your take on it?
    Are women to be restricted from Teaching positions in the entire church or is Timothy an extreme chauvinist?

    When you start to pick apart guiding statments like this, deciding some for the entire church, and for all time, others for a temporary time or for a portion of the church, Can you see how it erodes your standing on how things are to be currently.

    I would think we should always reflect on what Christ taught, more than what his appostles did .

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Ditchu,

    When you start to pick apart guiding statments like this, deciding some for the entire church, and for all time, others for a temporary time or for a portion of the church, Can you see how it erodes your standing on how things are to be currently.

    Not at all. For the Bible itself will tell us whether a statement is for the entire church, for all time, for temporary time, etc.

    So, how do you see the position of women in a teaching position, in reflection to these versus? What is your take on it? Are women to be restricted from Teaching positions in the entire church or is Timothy an extreme chauvinist?

    Paul wrote 1 Timothy (not Timothy), so it would be Paul being the chauvinist. But to answer your question, no I don’t think he was one.

    Personally, I believe there is ground for saying that leadership in church is reserved for males. I think that is pretty clear from Paul’s writings, and it is how the church I attend is modeled.

    As for allowing a female to teach a class, I don’t get all that uptight about it, but I can understand how one could. IMO, Paul’s writing appears to be directed towards the idea of a female being in a leadership position ruling over a male. He appears to be saying the church should be modeled after the patriarchal order. Nevertheless, I don’t hold it as a hill to die on (i.e. an essential doctrine of the church).

    Now, I can see where you are heading with this… if I am not all that uptight about a female teaching a class, why am I uptight about 12-year-olds being Deacons? That is a fair question.

    First, I believe that Paul is being much more emphatic about the qualifications for Deacons than he is about Teachers (again, notice the “I” being used when discussing Teachers). Second, the LDS Church claims to be modeled after the early church, yet it is clear that the early church did not intend for 12-year-old kids to be Deacons. This position was intended to be a leadership position in the Church held by qualified men who had proven themselves capable of serious responsibility. Today the LDS church has reduced it to a prepatory position held by prepubescent boys. As a result, the LDS claim to be modeled after the early church is just patently false.

    I would think we should always reflect on what Christ taught, more than what his appostles did.

    I can understand your thinking. IMO, though, the words that are contained within scripture are all from God. As a result, they are all important and should all be reflected upon. There is no need to say, “Well, Christ said ’such and such’ so I am going with it in spite of what Paul said.” That implies a contradiction between Paul’s writings and Christ’s words when no such contradiction exists. As 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • shematwater

    DARREL

    I used the term obvious because it is obvious to me. It is not a proper way for discussion, but that is a personal fault of mine.
    To me it is obvious that all the first born were supposed to hold the priesthood, for the reasons I gave. It is also obvious that this was supposed to be structures in some way before Moses because God always works the same way, and thus would either always have a structured priesthood, or he never would. It is simple logic, and for this I do not need any of the LDS teachings to show me this.

    Now, your insistance on interpreting the Bible first and then comparing it to other religions makes no sense to me. First, if you were really going to do that you would have to reject every Christian sect currently in existance, as none of them conform fully to what the Bible says. Any church that teaches the triune nature of God is far from anything I have ever read in the Bible. I would say that the one which comes the closest is the LDS church.

    As to deacons, we have no clue from the words of the Bible as to what the duties of the Deacons were. All we have is a list of moral behaviors that deacons were expected to abide by. What did they do? What was their responsibility? Can you show me in the Bible where it gives this information. The word is only used twice, once in the moral qualifications, and once in a reference to whom Paul was writing to (Philip. 1: 1). Thus, by your own standard the only thing you can say about the LDS teaching that contradicts the Bible is the command to be married.
    I also believe it was pointed out that 1 Tomothy 3: 12 could be interpreted, not as a requirement to be married, but as a requirement to not have more than one wife. Thus, for a 12 year old to be a deacon is perfect sound with this, as he can follow all the moral guidelines, and he deffinitely does not have more than one wife.

    Now, I do not read LDS doctrine, and then take it to the Bible in an attempt to find it. I read all good works (including the Bible), doing my best to understand them, and then take them to God. I do not judge LDS doctrine by the Bible, nor do I judge the Bible by LDS doctrine, but I judge both by the whisperings of the spirit. There have been times when these two have seemed in conflict with one another. It was after a great deal of consideration and meditation that the truth was opened to my mind and I was able to see how the two were reconciled to each other.

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    Darrel, you said, “IMO, though, the words that are contained within scripture are all from God.”

    Then your point about the “I” standing out about Paul not allowing a woman to teach, can be seen as God himself saying as much. If every word in the Book is from God and not from man then it is not Paul who speaks in 1Tim. at all but God, thus the “I” issue is a mute point.

    IMO, In General terms, Women are just as capable as Men (if not more) to teach and lead a Church. In fact as a young lad we had a Woman pastor at out church, She the best Minister I ever knew.

    I don’t think even Paul had solid reason to diminish the role of women in the church, but out of his own limmitations he worts his son about doing so.

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    you think all 12 year olds are too immiture to take part in a dimmished leadership role? What do you think about Jesus age 12 at the temple teaching the learned men?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Ditchu,

    Then your point about the “I” standing out about Paul not allowing a woman to teach, can be seen as God himself saying as much. If every word in the Book is from God and not from man then it is not Paul who speaks in 1Tim. at all but God, thus the “I” issue is a mute point.

    Not at all as I did not say that every word in the Bible was God speaking; rather it was from God or God Breathed. As a result, God allowed the “I” to be placed in there so as to communicate the proper message.

    IMO, In General terms, Women are just as capable as Men (if not more) to teach and lead a Church. In fact as a young lad we had a Woman pastor at out church, She the best Minister I ever knew. I don’t think even Paul had solid reason to diminish the role of women in the church, but out of his own limmitations he worts his son about doing so.

    Given this, how do you feel about the LDS Church not allowing women to hold the priesthood or serve in any type of leadership position outside of Relief Society or Primary?

    Darrell

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    Now, your insistance on interpreting the Bible first and then comparing it to other religions makes no sense to me. First, if you were really going to do that you would have to reject every Christian sect currently in existance, as none of them conform fully to what the Bible says. Any church that teaches the triune nature of God is far from anything I have ever read in the Bible. I would say that the one which comes the closest is the LDS church.

    This is an unsubstantiated claim. I believe that there are many churches which conform very well to the teachings in the Bible. In addition, I believe the Triune Nature of God is exactly what the Bible teaches. For more information on this, you can check out a few of Billy’s posts here.

    As to deacons, we have no clue from the words of the Bible as to what the duties of the Deacons were. All we have is a list of moral behaviors that deacons were expected to abide by.

    1 Timothy talks about more than the moral attributes, it also discusses the maturity level of Deacons… how they must be men who have been “tested” and able to “manage”. These are not standards a 12-year-old can meet.

    As to the husband of but one wife, please check out my comment to Ditchu earlier in this post. Even if you interpret this to mean that Deacons cannot have more than one wife (i.e. they don’t have to be married), you still have problems as 1 Timothy provides the exact same commandment for Bishops (1 Tim 3:2) and the LDS Church has allowed Bishops to be polygamous in the past and continues to allow Bishops to practice spiritual/celestial polygamy today.

    I do not judge LDS doctrine by the Bible, nor do I judge the Bible by LDS doctrine, but I judge both by the whisperings of the spirit. There have been times when these two have seemed in conflict with one another. It was after a great deal of consideration and meditation that the truth was opened to my mind and I was able to see how the two were reconciled to each other.

    How do you respond to Muslims who say the same thing in regards to their beliefs – that God has told them that the Qur’an is true and the Bible is false? If a claim of an experience from God is enough to substantiate truth, then you have to allow for mutually exclusive/contradictory claims (Mormonism and Islam) to both be true at one and the same time. This violates the law of non-contradiction.

    Darrell

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Ditchu,

    I can see what you are saying; however, I don’t think you can compare the Incarnate God to a normal 12-year-old boy. This borders on equivocating.

    In addition, I don’t think the Bible demonstrates that Deacons are to have a “diminished leadership role,” so it is almost question-begging.

    Darrell

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    Woman do participate in the preisthood in the LDS Church, though that is not apparent to all.

    The way it is set up however, seems to give more authority to men… This is only because there is more visible responcibility given to the men, and I think it is set that way to get us guys to pull our equal weight. The Women in the LDS church do so much and I wish they would get the credit for it. As for leadership in the church there is no more important and powerful position in the church than a parent, and I can honestly say that the Mother is more critical a position than the father.

    -D

  • shematwater

    DARREL

    Even Billy does not prove that Bible teaches the triune nature of god. Reading what he says I agree with most of it, except the conclusion. God is one God, and there are three called god, but this does not demand a triune explanation of God. God is one, or one godhead, or presidency. Within this presidency are three beings, being separate in body and form, but one in purpose and power. All the verses he uses can bee seen in this same way. The only reason he reaches the conclusion he does is because he brought that conclusion with him. The words themselves to not give a straitforward explanation, thus leaving both doctrines available. For me, considering that there were times in which all three Gods were present in different bodies (such as the baptism of Christ) I find it much easier to see the concept of the Godhead as taught in the LDS church in the Bible. The only way to really make sense of the trinity idea is to close the discussion with “God’s ways are not man’s ways,” which actually tells you nothing.

    As to the whole marriage thing of deacons, as concerning the Bishop you would have a stronger case than as concerning the deacons. However, I will still hold that this is a procedural matter, due to the circumstances under which the people lived. Yes, this claim is made in part because I do believe in the doctrines of the LDS church, but I would doubt any person who would claim that their chosen religion does not effect their interpretation of the Bible.

    As to the comparrison between Muslims and Christians and all that, I really wouldn’t say anything. One of us is wrong, having received that spiritual revelation from the wrong source. I am sure enough in my beliefs that I will simply wait until the final judgement and let God declare which of us was correct.
    Now, it seems to me as if you are saying that you can’t trust spiritual witnesses at all, and thus it is better to interpret without them. This is what I am speaking against. It is the way most people talk about the Bible. “This scholar said this.” “The greek means this.” and a host of other things. But none of them seem to include God himself in list of evidence. This is one reason I have yet to meet anyone who actually sounds convincing.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Ditchu,

    Woman do participate in the preisthood in the LDS Church, though that is not apparent to all.

    I have heard that said before; although, it appears to be more lip service than anything. Can women give blessings or serve as bishop? Are they ordained to offices? Of course not. Their “participation” in the Priesthood really seems to be more in the capacity of serving under or being called by a priesthood holder to serve in a position that does not necessitate holding the priesthood (i.e. Relief Society President or Primary President). Don’t get me wrong… this does not bother me at all. It is just with the way you were talking I am little surprised that it does not bother you.

    I am completely with you on how hard women work in the LDS Church… no doubt there.

    Now, I have to say I disagree with you about a mother being the “more important” parent. IMO, both parents are vital as they both have their particular roles to fill in a child’s life. Just curious, are you a parent yet?

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    I disagree with your take on the Trinity. I think the only explanation for the biblical doctrine on the Godhead is the Trinity. For example, Isaiah 43:10-11 says:

    You are my witnesses” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed , nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.

    Now, how does one interpret this verse under Mormonism’s doctrine of the Godhead? The doctrine of the Trinity explains it perfectly; however, in Mormonism Jesus Christ was spirit born of God the Father and progressed to become “like unto” God. Thus, He is a separate being from God the Father and has not always existed as God. Bear in mind, Mormonism teaches that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament. As a result, when Jesus says, “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.” He is actually contradicting the teachings of Mormonism, for Mormonism teaches that there was a God prior to Jesus, namely God the Father! Another example of this is Isaiah 44:6: “I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” Again, Mormonism teaches there is a God besides Jesus Christ: God the Father. There are many, many verses like these which create serious problems for the Mormon doctrine of God.

    For me, considering that there were times in which all three Gods were present in different bodies (such as the baptism of Christ)…

    Three bodies were not present at the Baptism. There was only one body present – Christ. God the Father spoke and the Spirit descended upon Christ, but they were not present in bodily form. In actuality the persons of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit do not have bodies.

    As to the comparrison between Muslims and Christians and all that, I really wouldn’t say anything. One of us is wrong, having received that spiritual revelation from the wrong source. I am sure enough in my beliefs that I will simply wait until the final judgement and let God declare which of us was correct.

    You are correct that at least one of you is being deceived by a false spirit. 1 John 4:1 confirms that this can and does happen.

    Since you are basing your belief on a spiritual witness, it is important to point out that “experiences” don’t come with truth labels. Experiences simply are, and we intepret them through our world views. In other words, we use our worldviews to help us define whether the experiences are true/false, good/bad, etc. Thus, while the Muslim says his experience is from God (as a result of his worldview), you would say it is not from God (based on your Mormon worldview). However, the same can be said of your experience – while you say it is of God, the Muslim would say it is not.

    As a result, experiences cannot be used to test the truth of a worldview because the worldview is what is used to apply the truth label to them. It is circular reasoning at its best, and, as I have already pointed out, if experiences are enough to justify the truth of something, we would then be required to accept mutually exclusive/contradictory claims as being true at both one and the same time – Mormonism and Islam for example.

    Now, it seems to me as if you are saying that you can’t trust spiritual witnesses at all, and thus it is better to interpret without them. This is what I am speaking against. It is the way most people talk about the Bible. “This scholar said this.” “The greek means this.” and a host of other things. But none of them seem to include God himself in list of evidence. This is one reason I have yet to meet anyone who actually sounds convincing.

    Not at all… I believe experiences/spiritual witnesses can be very powerful and useful. However, to think that they, in and of themselves, can tell us what is truth is simply false. As 1 John 4:1 and Galations 1:6-9 tell us, there are spirits about who try to trick us. They will even disguise themselves as angels of light and bring “other gospels”. Personally, I believe that is exactly what happened to JS and to Mohammed as both the Mormon Gospel and the Muslim Gospel violate the teachings of the Bible on multiple counts. As God has told us, He will not contradict Himself. Unfortunately, in order to believe Mormonism, I have to accept that He does.

    Darrell

  • http://ditchu.wordpress.com/ ditchu

    Yes, I have a 2 year old son. I could not raise my son without his mother, but I am sure she can manage without me, if something drastic happened. And before you ask, I do everything I can to fulfill my duties as a Dad. Though my son sometimes shows some favoritism one way or another we both know he loves us and we do our best in caring for him.

    Are you a parent?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Yes, I have 4 children. My wife is invaluable in our home, and I love her dearly. She is a saint, and I could not imagine life without her.

    Just a sidenote: The idea of dads being not “as important” as moms kind of hits home with me right now. We recently had a good friend (husband and father of 3 children) pass away unexpectedly at the age of 42. While his wife will be able to manage without him, it is easy to see the effects on the 3 children. It is pretty obvious that he was just as important to the family as his wife is. Measuring the value of one parent over another is not something I am willing to venture into. Kind of strikes me as similar to valuing one child over another, and that is something I could and would never do.

    Anyways… I hope you have a great Christmas, and God Bless you in all your pursuits!

    Darrell

  • shematwater

    DARREL

    The Isaiah quote is rather easy to explain. Notice the reference to him as the savior. What he is actually saying is that he is the God that is the savior of this planet. There has been no God before him who can perform this work, nor will there be after him. It is him, and him alone is able to do this. This is what the verse means to me. I cross reference this with Hosea 13: 4
    “Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.”

    It all works rather well in truth. Now, you can justly claim that I am bringing my religion to the Bible, but the text can easily have the meaning I have given it. No, it is not a meaning that is obvious to the casual reader, but it is a possible meaning, with nothing in the text directly contradicting it. Thus both the Trinity and the Godhead are again possible.

    As to the baptism of Christ Luke 3: 22 “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
    The Holy Ghost did have a bodily shape.
    Now, I really don’t care how you interpret this, but a voice must come from somewhere, so when God spoke from heaven I assume there was something up there that made the sound.
    However, no matter how you want to personally believe, both ideas are still possible from the text.

    As to spiritual experience, I do believe that individuals must base their belief on such experiences. We can only know what we experience. If we have not experienced something we cannot know it. I will except something as true only after two requirements are met. First, I must understand the nature of what is being presented, and I must have a confirmation from God. Anything else I may believe in, but I will not accept it as truth without these two requirements. As such, anyone who excepts anything as true without first understanding it and having what they believe to be a confirmation from God sounds silly to me.
    We know that Prophets of Old did not believe because of what they had reasoned out. They based their “world view” on the testimony of the Spirit. When Peter said “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Christ commended him for having that Spiritual witness. “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
    Why is it wrong for me to base my belief on the witness of the Spirit when Peter was commended for such.

  • shematwater

    DARREL

    I am gone for several weeks over the Christmas intersession before school starts again. It has been nice talking with you.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    The Isaiah quote is rather easy to explain. Notice the reference to him as the savior. What he is actually saying is that he is the God that is the savior of this planet.

    While LDS, I heard, believed, and shared this explanation as well, so I understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately however, there are a number of reasons why this explanation is not adequate.

    First, even if one assumes that Jesus is only talking about being the “God of this planet” (which He is not – but I will address that in the next point), there are still major problems for Mormonism. In Mormonism God the Father did exist as a God prior to Jesus being “spirit birthed” and progressing to become “like unto” God. In addition, God the Father is a God of “this world”, so Jesus would be incorrect, under Mormon Theology, to say that He is the only God “of this planet” and that there was no God before Him. Obviously Jesus does not lie, so Mormonism is left in a huge bind.

    Second, the Bible makes it very clear that He is not speaking only about being the God of “this planet”; rather, He is speaking about being the only God period. There are numerous verses which establish this fact. Here are a few examples.

    Isaiah 40:22 He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. (He created not only this earth, but also the Heavens. Obviously, He is the God of them as well.)

    Isaiah 40:26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. (He created all the stars and names them. Obviously, He is the God of them as well.)

    Psalm 147:4 He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. (Same note as above.)

    Psalm 148:2-5 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. (The angels, all heavenly hosts, highest heavens, and all above the skies praise Him. They would not be praising Him were He not their God as well.)

    Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (This is pretty much the nail in the coffin to the “God of this planet” theory. He was God PRIOR TO this planet even being created. The words translated “Everlasting to Everlasting” can literally be taken as “always”. So, He has always been God.)

    Third, to say that Jesus is only talking about being the God of “this planet” is literally to add to what He is saying. For there are several verses in which He says “there is no other God” and not once does He include the words “of this planet”. Here are just a few:

    Isaiah 44:6 I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

    Isaiah 44:8 Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one. (I am sure if there was one He would know about them.)

    Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.

    Isaiah 45:6 I am the LORD, and there is no other.

    Isaiah 45:14 Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.

    Isaiah 45:18 I am the LORD, and there is no other.

    Isaiah 45:21 And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

    Isaiah 45:22 Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.

    Isaiah 46:9 I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

    Jesus tells us several things – He is God, He is the Savior, there is no God before Him, there is no God besides Him, and there will be no Gods “in addition to” or “after” Him. This creates serious problems for Mormonism’s doctrine on the Nature of God the Father and Christ, for this does not allow for a Christ who was spirit born to another God.

    In addition, I would really caution you about saying that Jesus is only the God of this world. For there is an angel who has been given reign for a time as a “god of this world” and he is certainly not Jesus.

    2 Cor 4:4 (KJV) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    Just on a sidenote: One interesting thing about Mormonism is that its Christology is really nothing more than a modern day version of the Arian Heresy. Have you ever studied this?

    I will address your other points later. I need to get back to work!

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Shem,

    Have fun on your break! I apologize, but I have not had time to respond to the rest of your comments until now. Hopefully, you will have a chance to read these over your break and/or respond when you return.

    You said:

    As to the baptism of Christ Luke 3: 22 “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” The Holy Ghost did have a bodily shape.

    I am a little confused because under your belief system the Holy Spirit is not corporeal. In your previous statement you said “at the baptism of Jesus three beings were present.”, and now you appear to be adding to that fact that the Holy Ghost was corporeal at Christ’s baptism. Is it your position that the Holy Ghost literally exists as a dove?

    The baptism of Christ creates no issues for the doctrine of the Trinity, for we believe that “there is one God who eternally exists as three persons.” At the baptism of Christ all three persons manifested: The Father spoke, Christ was baptised, and the Holy Spirit descended. This occurance by no means proves that the Mormon teaching on the nature of the Godhead is true. You are correct that this occurance creates no issues for the Mormon teaching on the Godhead, but it is by no means sufficient to prove it true. In addition, the scriptures I cited in my previous comment create numerous problems for the Mormon nature of God. I look forward to hearing back from you about those.

    You said:

    I will except something as true only after two requirements are met. First, I must understand the nature of what is being presented, and I must have a confirmation from God. Anything else I may believe in, but I will not accept it as truth without these two requirements.

    I am a little confused… do you literally mean that there is nothing that you accept as truth until God confirms it to you? Let me give you four examples.

    1) That if you get hit by a car going 60 miles per hour it will damage your body?
    2) That the earth orbits the sun?
    3) That a circle is different from a square?
    4) That 2 + 2 = 4?

    Do you accept the above four facts as truth, and if so, do you accept them because of reason or because God confirmed it to you?

    You said:

    Why is it wrong for me to base my belief on the witness of the Spirit when Peter was commended for such.

    You are begging the question. How do you know your answer is from the Spirit? Other people, myself included, believe that the Holy Spirit has told us that Mormonism is false. I personally know Muslims who believe God has told them Islam is true. These are mutually exclusive faith claims, yet each proponent attests that they have received their answer from God. How do we know which answer is really from God?

    Appealing to experience will not answer the question, for experience cannot be used to prove the truth of that experience. That is circular reasoning at its best. In addition, experiences are not self-interpreting, and no experience is logically connected to the truth of a worldview – multiple worldviews can appeal to the same experience as evidence for their “truth”. There must be something else that we appeal to.

    Bear in mind that the Bible warns against trusting a spirit without first testing it (1 John 4:1). In addition, we have been warned that evil angels will disguise themselves and bring false gospels (Galations 1:6-9). So, it is not only wise to ask “how we can know our answer is from God”, but we are also biblically compelled to do so.

    God has commanded us to love Him with our mind as well as our heart and soul. Thus, there is nothing wrong with using reason to approach God; we are actually commanded to do so. Just look at what the apostles appealed to when they went out to preach the gospel message.

    God Bless and have a great Christmas!

    Darrell

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