Episode 209: The Top 10 Doctrines Missing from the Book of Mormon

Matt hosts a discussion about the top 10 doctrines missing from the Book of Mormon with panelists Amy, Brandt, and Heather.

10. The difference between the Aaronic & Melchizedek priesthoods
9. Endorsement of polygamy
8. The pre-existence of man
7. Limited punishment (no hell / generous salvation)
6. Nature of God (flesh and bone, 3 separate beings)
5. Baptism for the dead
4. Eternal Marriage
3. Endowment / Garments
2. Three degrees of glory
1. Eternal progression

Episode 209

55 comments on “Episode 209: The Top 10 Doctrines Missing from the Book of Mormon”

  1. Robert Saladino Reply

    Great podcast….I think any kind of specific diet should have made the list…you can’t get to heaven if you drink tea but you can eat all the fast food you want! I mean shouldn’t the BOM go into what God wanted people to eat to be more spiritually intune? Yes D.C says a little but so did everyone else in the health movement of Joseph.s day!

    • Heather_ME Reply

      It was on the list initially. However, I found too many references to being given to drink. So I felt like there was too big a loophole. I do agree with you, though. It’s not REALLY in there. πŸ™‚

      • Robert Saladino Reply

        Yea I don’t get it? If the holy Ghost is grieved over harmful substances that are addicting than would I not be worthy because I eat a bowl of ice cream every night? Does that let me lose the spirit? Not even trying to be funny but the logic doesn’t make sense to me anymore…ps I guess its not that harmful I still have my abs!!!

  2. Larrin Reply

    Joseph could see Moroni’s bosom because he had a scoop neck garment on.

    I was a little disappointed in the level of research/knowledge on this podcast. Book of Mormon ended 600 AD? No one remembers baptism for the dead is in 1 Corinthians? Paul doesn’t tell the people to stop baptism for the dead. Some scholars say he’s using the example of baptism for the dead facetiously.

    • brandt Reply

      Larrin – I wanted to jump in there and correct them on when the BoM ended, but I think Heather or Amy corrected themselves.

      And I did bring up that Baptism for the dead was in the NT, I just didn’t want to fill the podcast with references and crossnotes every couple of seconds.

      I’ve heard that theory about Paul and Baptism for the Dead, and sometimes, the more I read it in context the more it makes sense. Too often, we isolate that scripture in Mormonism to say “SEE!!!! HERE IT IS!!!!” instead of looking at the surrounding information and *GASP* the translation and it adds a ton of additional information that wasn’t there.

      • Heather_ME Reply

        I called out the date listed on the last page.

        I think Amy was thinking of when BOM starts… which is 600ish BC, right?

    • Heather_ME Reply

      1 Corinthians 15:29 is taken out of context by Mormons to prop up
      baptisms for the dead. Paul was speaking out against “false teachers”
      who were teaching there was no resurrection.

      I remember cutting in and asking if Paul spoke out against baptisms for the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:29 is the scripture I was referring to when I asked that. Maybe I accidentally edited it out. But I don’t think I did.

      • Larrin Reply

        I said I was a “little” disappointed in the level of knowledge/research, not the ability to correct yourself later. I appreciated the corrections that come later in the podcast in those two examples. I love the podcast. It can just be frustrating to listen to people say, “When did that happen? Wasn’t it [completely the wrong year]?” I hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Keep up the good work.

    • S_E_B Reply

      I’m going to agree that there was a bit of lazy prep work showing through on this episode. The misses above plus a few things related understanding the timeline of Church history. Someone mentioned the publication of the BOM and struggling to remember when, tossed out 1820. It went uncorrected (1830). Then there was speculation that the polygamy references in the BOM are owed to Joseph’s musings on the topic because of his fancy for Fanny Alger. The BOM was dictated in 1827, 28, 29, mostly in Pennsylvania. Fanny was a Kirtland issue several years later (1835-ish).

      I concede these seem nitpicky, but since a major theme of the podcast was the developmental nature of Joseph’s theology, getting the timelines right is important.

      Please don’t jump on me, panelists. Trust me, I’m a fan and appreciate your willingness to do this. Love, love, love you! Still, I can’t help but observe that as one’s time out of Church activity grows longer, the ability to accurately recall some facts shows through from time to time. We fans can forgive it, but critics will hold up passive errors or unreferenced cites as a credibility problem for the podcast.

      • Matthew Crowley Reply

        The other issue is that sometimes when you are put on the spot and start talking about something you hadn’t planned to, details get slippery. But I appreciate your constructive critique. We have the smartest listeners on the web. πŸ™‚

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    • Heather_ME Reply

      I really like that graphic. Especially the Mormon portion. πŸ™‚

      You’re right, the way we described the Trinity was a little off. I think (speaking for only myself here) that my lack of precision on the matter is just sheer laziness. I tend to think, “yeah, yeah, they are three in one, all the same, do all those things under different names.” But, really, I’m not giving a complete or honest account of the Christian concept of trinity. Thanks for jumping in here. I appreciate the correction. I’ll try to be less lazy about stuff like this in the future.

      • patrick patrick Reply

        To further boost your arguments the book of mormon is trinitarian and Joseph’s view of the Godhead evolved from a traditional christian view of the Godhead as a trinity to later separate distinct personages, so that by 1837 printing of the book of mormon several passages were changed to the phrase “son of God” 1 Ne 18: 11, 21, 32, 1 Ne 11:32, 1 Ne 13:40
        whereas in the 1830 edition it just said God.
        1830 edition
        -And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin which thou seest,
        is the mother of God
        -behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!
        -the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world

        1837 edition
        -And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom
        thou seest is the mother of the Son of God

        -Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father

        -the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world;

        This timeline 1837 book of mormon changes, 1838 1st vision changes corresponds with joseph’s evolving account of the 1st vision as it went from one person in 1832 account to two distinct beings by 1838 account. Just coincidence?

        • Blorg Jorgensson Reply

          Yeah… but…

          I’m far from being well-informed about this topic. But during critical reading of The Book of Mormon, I find passages that strongly support a trinitarian view and others that support the church’s prevailing belief, i.e., there are verses that wouldn’t make much sense if HF and JC were supposed to be the same being. Again, though, there are parts that ONLY make sense in that context.

          In short, it hasn’t seemed like a total slam-dunk to me. The fact that such confusion exists, though, is a pretty clear case against the official version of the First Vision. For how much the church claims that “Joseph left the grove knowing that HF and JC were two separate personages,” he sure as hell didn’t know it a decade later (and then with Lecture 5 on Faith, etc).

    • Chris Cobb Reply

      @facebook-1072000649:disqus I thought Mormons were monolatrists?

  4. Tim McMahan Reply

    Where do you get the idea that Traditional Christians don’t do genealogy work? I know lots of Christians who do it. Titus says not to get wrapped up in “endless genealogy” but doesn’t prohibit it.

  5. Blorg Jorgensson Reply

    “Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost ” is severely lacking from The Book of Mormon.

    Twice, I think, the text refers to Jesus’ American apostles receiving the power to bestow “the Holy Ghost.” I’m certain that “the gift [there]of” is never referenced. And I could be wrong, but I don’t believe it specifically mentions “the laying on of hands.”

    Moreover, the book often refers to baptizees subsequently receiving the Holy Ghost, without mention of the laying on of hands, and sometimes worded in a way that would preclude it. (If anyone is interested in further conversation on this, I can cite some references.)

    If this is one of “the first principles and ordinances of the gospel,” how can The Book of Mormon contain the fullness of the gospel without really ever mentioning it?

  6. Christopheralmond Reply

    My problem with the ‘Mormons get their own planet’ issue is this: To say that Mormons believe that when they die they get a planet is incredibly misleading. It gives the impression Mormon Doctrine says that when we die, if we are good, instead of going to heaven we get a planet to do whatever we want with, which, while based on something accurate, is so misleading as to be false. Mormons believe they will become Gods and one consequence of that is you will have a universe with planets and people. That is a VERY different notion than getting a planet as a reward for being good. One wouldn’t infer any sense of you also having an entire Universe full of beings and you are their GOD who has infinite spouses and birth your own Jesus and Devil to carry out the same plan as happened here. Most people when hearing ‘you get your own planet when you die’ would think something like, a person dies, meets saint peter who says ‘Okay, Buster you just died…let’s see here…looks like you led a good life so you get the planet Bumble Bee, take good care of it and God and Jesus will come see how you are doing every once in a while…and you can do whatever you want except take off the magic underwear, that is what makes all this stuff work’. It seems about as misleading as saying ‘Did you know that Christians think they get a mansion when they die?’

    • Christopheralmond Reply

      I know that was a lot of response for a quick offhand comment, but I just so happen to be sitting at the computer while listening and was thinking about this recently.

      • Heather_ME Reply

        Christopher, I don’t disagree with you on this point. BUT, it’s equally as false for people to sneer and deny believing it. It would be much more honest to say, “Well, that’s not a fair explanation. It’s more complicated than that.”

        • Christopher Allman Reply

          I totally agree. Both the statement and the standard reply are misleading. When I encounter that statement I generally reply with something like ‘That is technically correct, but misleading’, then explain about being a God and such.

    • Blorg Jorgensson Reply

      Agreed. It is definitely much more complex. On the other hand, the knee-jerk Mormon response should also be a bit more complex than, “No, we don’t believe that!”

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Yeah, instead of saying “That’s ridiculous! We don’t believe that!” They should be honest and say, “No. We believe that if worthy, we can become gods just like our Heavenly Father, create our own worlds and fill them with our own spirit-children.” That will come off as much less weird than “getting their own planet”.

  7. Christopheralmond Reply

    Speaking of Emmanuel Swedenborg, I went through a huge Swedenborg kick around the same time I was leaving the Church. I was living in Provo at the time and quickly realized that the BYU library had as good of a Swedenborg collection as probably any library anywhere. But here is the interesting part: On the inside front cover of 100(ish) yr old edition of ‘Heaven and Hell’ was an imprint identifying it as property of the Salt Lake Temple!

  8. Larrin Reply

    Mormons don’t believe they will get their own planet. They believe they can have and create as many planets as they want.

    • Heather_ME Reply

      Obviously it’s an oversimplification. But that doesn’t let people off the hook for denying what their theology teaches. (See my comment to Christopheralmond.)

  9. Natalee Tincher Reply

    Enjoyed the podcast. Spot on. I’ve read the BofM 2ce since disaffection. It’s amazing how much isn’t in the BofM, more astounding is that I didn’t notice it as a TBM.

    • Blorg Jorgensson Reply

      Glad I’m not the only one who reads the BofM since disaffection. I’m currently doing so and am enjoying how much the apologists are really wrong in so many of their claims and hypotheses. I don’t know that I’ll be able to get around to a second critical reading for a long time, but I guess we’ll see.

  10. HuskySouth Reply

    Love the Podcast. If I understand correctly, there is a new bumpersticker and t-shirt going around Utah. “Joseph’s Myth” You have to appreciate the creativity. Does anyone know where to get these?

    • Blorg Jorgensson Reply

      Interestingly, the Quora post seems to discuss where the doctrines are found in The Book of Mormon AND/OR the Bible — not just the BofM. A few times, they refer only to the Bible. (And they use the erroneous reference to 1 Corinthinians 15 to prop up the three kingdoms thing. I’m amazed and saddened by “the former me” that I never bothered to examine those verses, because they pretty clearly do NOT have anything to do with kingdoms of heaven.)

  11. Blorg Jorgensson Reply

    Where else in the use of English would we ever assume that “fullness” does not mean “totality”? (I know, I know; the church is notorious for unique language usage and total reassignment of meaning, if needed.)

    So why claim that it contains “the fullness of the gospel”? Purported prophets, seers, and revelators since Joseph Smith have boldly proclaimed so. But when it comes right down to it, no one in the church would ever try to literally maintain that position, because it’s so absurdly false. And it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t contain the fulness! They could simply claim that it’s a record of such-and-such people (which is also false, but I digress).

    I just wonder: Why say, “It contains the fullness of the gospel,” only to turn around and add, “That doesn’t mean that it contains everything about the gospel.” If you read a manual that claimed to contain “the fullness of instructions for using your computer,” wouldn’t you expect to find within its pages everything you needed to know about using your computer? (Or at least every major facet of using it?)

    • JT Reply

      It’s good marketing – it addresses those who would respond “A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.”

      I would have gone with “it contains the ‘new and improved’ gospel” … Oh wait. It didn’t have that either.

  12. Chris Cobb Reply

    Work for the Dead couldn’t/wasn’t established until after Christ died and established missionary work in the spirit world. (D&C 138) As a result, baptisms for the dead were not practiced in Solomon’s temple (as @Heather_ME:disqus speculated) and couldn’t have been practiced for half of the BOM’s timeline 400BC – 33AD.

    Thast just my 2 cents… really enjoyed the discussion.

    • Heather_ME Reply

      Thanks for the info. Can I ask your basis for saying missionary work in the spirit world didn’t start until after Jesus died? (I’m just curious because I’ve never heard that before.) πŸ™‚

      • Chris Cobb Reply

        Check out the first few (20ish) verses of D&C 138, its pretty clear that the dead were waiting for Christ to come (after he was crucified) to the spirit world to establish the missionary work (v. 30)… before that had happened the dead weren’t being taught, so you couldn’t perform their work.

  13. JT Reply

    Charles Harrell’s “This is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology” is a good reference for this topic. Harrell traces the development of doctrine/theology from the OT, to the NT, to early 19th century (pre-BoM), to post-BoM Mormonism.

    One of the main elements of the book is uncovering all of the unwarranted proof-texting (taking scripture out of context and stretching interpretation to support new doctrine). Mormonism is in good company is doing this – it’s standard NT writer practice too.

  14. Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

    Wonderful podcast. Thanks to all. Viva Mormon Expression!

    I especially liked the discussion of eternal progression. But here’s a question about it for which I have no answer, and that I’ve never seen credibly addressed by TBM, apologist, or ex-Mormon. Anyone up to the challenge?

    If 1) all people and divine beings have existed throughout infinite time, at least in the form of intelligences, and 2) at least some people or some divine beings have been progressing during at least some of this infinite time, and 3) at least some people or some divine beings will continue to progress in, say, the next million years, then 4) why haven’t they made that extra million years worth of progress already? It can’t be because there hasn’t been enough time.

    I understand that the idea of progress is, for many, one of the most appealing things about Mormonism. But ETERNAL progress? How does that make sense?

  15. Duwayne_Anderson Reply

    Whenever Mormons and polygamy are discussed, apologists inevitably bring up the Book of Mormon verses in Jacob, and the stated exception that god hates multiple wives, unless he wants to “raise up seed.” Just as inevitably, it seems, the assumption that “polygamy = more kids” is swallowed hook, line, and sinker (both by the apologists (who are used to swallowing) and the critics (who really should learn better than to trust Mormon assumptions).
    That’s unfortunate because the assumption is simply false (not surprising, since the Book of Mormon is, itself, a fake).
    For example, in Population Studies: A Journal of Demography (Volume 30, Issue 3, 1976), James E. Smith & Phillip R. Kunz show that “Overall, women in polygynous unions show slightly lower completed marital fertility than do women in monogamous unions.”

    Other researchers have confirmed this finding. In the journal “Evolution and Human Behavior,” Jacob Moorad, et. al., showed that, in polygamous Mormon households, the more women in the household, the lower the average birthrate.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/feb/27/mormon-polygamists-fruit-fly
    In short, if god wanted to “raise up seed,” then polygamy is not (as the Book of Mormon suggests) the way to go about doing it.
    Polygamy seems to be one of those issues that Mormons just can’t get right. Consider the following:
    1) Mormons quote Jacob, saying that polygamy is only used to raise up seed, but polygamy actually reduces the fertility rate of polygamous wives.
    2) Mormons (trying to keep Smith pure and holy) will sometimes argue that Joseph Smith had polygamous wives, but that he didn’t have sex with them — thus violating the rule in Jacob that one is to practice polygamny *only* for the purpose of raising up seed.
    3) Smith took polygamous wives without telling Emma — thus violating the requirements in D&C132. In fact, Smith violated pretty much *every* rule that he self describes (in relationship to polygamy) in the “scriptures” that he wrote.
    4) Polygamy provides one of the best historical examples of how Mormons lie in public about doctrines that are taught in secret.
    5) Smith was murdered while in jail awaiting trial for destroying a printing press that was exposing (you guessed it) Smith’s secret practice of polygamy.
    6) Through various surrogate venues, the Modern-day (apostate) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to have “disavowed” polygamy, yet they keep D&C 132 on the books and still practice plural marriages through temple sealings. Thus illustrating how the practice that ushered in the Mormon habit of lying for the Lord continues to be one of those doctrines that Mormons persist in lying about today.
    What a mess Joseph Smith made of things, when he couldn’t control himself and ended up inventing a new doctrine to cover up his adultery.

    • Anon23 Reply

      Actually, it turns out that the facts appear to show that Joseph never preached or practiced polygamy. It was Brigham Young and other church leaders who wanted to live polygamy and pinned it on Joseph to justify their evil. Joseph always taught that those who fell for polygamy or who fell for church leaders who taught it, would be damned. Why would he tell the members to not listen to even a Prophet who may preach polygamy, if he taught he was going to preach it publicly later on.

      I believe Joseph was innocent of polygamy, just as he always said he was. It appears he was going to excommunicate even church leaders who were living it secretly but he died before he could do that.

      The Book of Mormon condemns polygamy in every case. Jacob 2:30 does not say that polygamy is ok in certain circumstances, (which was the interpretation started by a polygamist in Utah, long after Joseph died), but it is really saying that if God does not give people commandments then they will always hearken unto whoredoms like polygamy, which is a true.

      I believe D&C 132 is just a false revelation made up by Brigham Young to try to justify his whoredoms. When he added 132 he took out the sections that Joseph had put in which condemned all polygamy.

      • Duwayne_Anderson Reply

        I agree that Brigham Young (and all the prophets who have led the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) were/are apostates from the church Joseph Smith organized. That said, the historical evidence is beyond compelling that Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage and then lied about it.

        But the real point I was making (which seems to have escaped you) is that the arguments made by Mormon apologists are inconsistent with science. Mormon apologists argue that the Book of Mormon says plural marriage will only be commanded by god when he wants to “raise up seed.” Notice that my comments are not predicated on their argument being correct (indeed, as an atheist I don’t believe in the Mormon god in the first place). My point is that the apologetic argument about “raising up seed” doesn’t fit the scientific fact that women in polygamous situations don’t have as many children as those in monogamous situations. Thus the apologetic argument is false from a scientific standpoint — polygamy isn’t a good mechanism for “raising up seed.”

        It’s hardly surprising that the BYU apologists make arguments that are inconsistent with science. The Book of Mormon is, after all, a clumsy fraud, and can only be defend by arguing contrary to the scientific evidence. The example of apologists and polygamy is just one of many examples where the apologists demonstrate their ignorance of (or dishonesty about) science.

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