5/14/11

Liberator vs.Terminator - (Samoa Observer, May 13, 2011)

The Samoa Observer has been running this "debate" on Mormonism.  Like all such debates that involve the LDS Church and its doctrines, this one started when an anti-Mormon article was printed in the Observer a few weeks ago, authored by a Probe Ministries apologist - Pat Zukeran. Other LDS Church detractors and disparagers joined the fray.  One of them - using the alias Liberated - joined in with his share of the all too familiar, stale and regurgitated refutations and denigration of LDS doctrines.  I initially wrote two letters (see Articles, Letters, tab) and then focused on Liberated's letters.  Other LDS members also wrote to repudiate the anti-Mormon claims. Below is my latest response to Liberated.
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Liberator/Liberated continues to misconstrue, mistranslate and falsify beliefs and doctrines of the LDS Church. Although I support his freedom and prerogative to express himself, I disagree and take issue with his reasoning, views and interpretations.

I will not respond to most of his claims especially those that deal with deeper and more profound doctrines of Mormonism. The main reason being that there are different levels of skills and proficiency in any subject or branch of knowledge. We learn and acquire secular knowledge in levels and stages. The same applies to gaining spiritual knowledge and the Bible endorses the concept with the process of "precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little...." The apostles also keep referring to the same notion using the analogy of milk for babies and meat for adults to illustrate the differences between novices and seasoned learners and teachers of the gospel.

"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word ...: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern ...." (Hebrews 5:13-14).

Liberator still uses "milk" especially when it comes to his knowledge and understanding of the doctrines of Mormonism. His lack of understanding the profound doctrines is evident in his own incompetence even in the more basic levels of general aptitude. Therefore, one should not expect him to understand the more profound things when he certainly lacks knowledge and understanding of the more trivial and basic matters - as evident in the following discussion and exchange.

My use of the conversational format is for emphasis, readability and effect.

Liberator (Liberated)
And as to your challenge for me to reveal myself and lift my veil of anonymity – why would any outspoken religious protester in their right mind do so?

LV
You ask, why? Are you saying that outspoken religious protestors should hide behind a veil of anonymity? In case you didn't know, there was once a man named Martin Luther who was an "outspoken religious protester" - perhaps the most famous one - and who did not hide behind a veil of anonymity. Are you saying that Luther was not in his right mind? Luther did it because he was true to his convictions and what he believed in. In fact any "outspoken religious protester" would do the same; and there have been a number of them throughout the years. Some of them have become martyrs.

Conversely, however, you are only someone who spews rancor, spite and bigotry using religion as a veil. But though you can hide behind your Liberator alias, it is not enough to deflect the piercing penetration and impact of the lessons you will learn here.

Liberator
Please note ... that all Bible quotes are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV).

LV
Why the "New" King James Version? Why not the older KJV? Obviously there are some discrepancies, ambiguities, incongruities and/or errors in the KJV, otherwise there would not have been a new revision and translation by Farstad and others. Your preference therefore for the NKJV suggests errancy in the "pure" Word of God.

Liberator
To claim that one of the oldest books around - [The Bible] - is prone to error ... is absurd!

LV
Please tell that to the translators and publishers of the NKJV and all other modern translations of the Bible.

Incidently, the concocted claim of the need to "make the original meaning clearer" doesn't cut it. The NKJV changes were more than just textual and contextual. Also, any changes entail "errors" and/or ambiguities, hence compromising purity. The bottom line is that by your accepting the NKJV as your preferred version and translation of the Bible, you concur with the LDS Church in believing "the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly."

Furthermore, when you accuse the LDS Church of pointing out "ignorant translators [and] careless subscribers" who changed the Bible, you too are just as guilty by subscribing to revisions and translations.

Liberator
Have you ever thought that if there were so many claims about the accuracy of your denominations'[sic] doctrine that maybe, just maybe there's a reason for it all?

LV
Certainly there's a reason. But you are assuming that the existence of many anti-LDS claims is proof of the fallacies in LDS doctrine. Your skills in logic are pathetic, if not nonexistent. Can you apply the same logic to Galileo when he faced many claims about the accuracy of his views? How about Jesus when he was out and about declaring his Father's doctrine? Many despised him.

Or could the reason and answer be something like this?

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." - (Luke 6:22).

Yet still more reasons. So that people like you have a steady source of information for your bigoted art especially using the copy and paste tool that you seem to have mastered. Or, the many claims could be the result of Mormon phobia - of people like you - from the incredible growth of the LDS Church. That is the real cause of your paranoia, not the proselytizing.

Liberator
God is Spirit.

LV
The problem with your interpretation of God being exclusively spirit is that it is an anomaly within the totality of the gospel and Bible. It's a Neoclassical (Greek) interpretation; it is limited, selective and restrictive, especially since you cannot explain and/or incorporate effectively the Biblical FACT that Jesus had a body of flesh and bones EVEN AFTER the Resurrection. The same body that Jesus invited the apostles to HANDLE. How do you explain this and also the time when Jesus invites Thomas to feel and thrust his finger into the wounds? Would you dare explain these in terms of your view of the nature of God?

The LDS belief in the corporeality of God, on the other hand, can incorporate and account for
both the sprit and body. Have you thought about such a context? Well, let me use an example closer to home (in Samoa) to explain the concept. If you are a true Samoan, it will certainly help in understanding the concept and connotation.

Whenever a newborn arrives in a family, the Samoans would refer to it as "agaga fou" or "new spirit". Does the reference to the baby as exclusively "spirit" (agaga) exclude or imply the absence of its physical body? No. Therefore, your interpretation of God as a disembodied spirit and being is ambiguous circumscribed and unbiblical.

And since you seem to be well-versed in Biblical matters, would you kindly show me, in book and verse, where Jesus dumped his body or what happened to it? Speculation is allowed and welcomed in your comments.

Liberator
If you think the rest of us are being "anti-Mormon" just have a look at the teachings of early Mormon church leaders and at their own doctrine.

LV
Please do me - and others - a favor when you quote LDS sources. Be fair and quote from the LDS Official Canon which comprises of The Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. If you are a real journalist, you would - and should - know the difference between official and unofficial, I hope. The official LDS canon is where the official doctrines and truth of Mormonism are found - not in your fabricated nonsense and unofficial sources.

Liberator
My dear readers, allow me to let you in on the truth behind the ‘true church.' It is not a denomination, building, organization, ideal, nor is it focused on one person except Jesus Christ.

LV
And finally the truth about your villainous tactics. You belittle the LDS Church's "true church" claim so you can slide and slither your own through. You distort the LDS Church's antagonism toward other churches only to reveal and advance your own religiocentrism. In fact your own "true church" categorization excludes about ninety nine percent of all Christian churches. You equivocate to vaunt your sanctimonious "body of believers" over a church, denomination or organization.

By the way, what is Paul referring to here - something that Jesus Christ did?

"And [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the PERFECTING of the saints, for the WORK of the ministry, for the EDIFYING of the BODY OF CHRIST: Till we all come in the UNITY of the FAITH, and of the KNOWLEDGE of the SON of GOD, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the FULNESS OF CHRIST: That we henceforth be NO MORE children, TOSSED TO AND FRO, and carried about WITH EVERY WIND of DOCTRINE, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But SPEAKING THE TRUTH in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is THE HEAD, even CHRIST." (Ephesians 4:11-15 emphasis mine).

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the HOUSEHOLD of GOD; And are BUILT UPON the FOUNDATION of the APOSTLES and PROPHETS, JESUS CHRIST himself being the CHIEF CORNER STONE; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth ... In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Ephesians 2: 19-22 emphasis mine)

I don't know about you but that certainly is a blueprint of a church organization with its ideals, objectives and offices. Jesus Christ himself organized it.

Then again all of that is meat - not milk - so I don't expect Liberator to be able to feast, digest and understand them.

PS: To match the alias "Liberated/Liberator", I'm thinking of using "Terminator" as mine.

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