|Frequently Asked Questions||WhyProphets.com|
Frequently Asked Questions
|1. "I have heard bad things about the Mormon church"|
You are seeing the fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus said that his disciples would be hated and all kinds of false things would be said against them (Matthew 5:10-12). This will often happen for religious reasons:
"They will put you out of the synagogues; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God." (John 16:2, NIV)
In fact, the attacks made on the restored church are exactly the same as attacks made by the Pharisees on Jesus, and for the same reasons. This is discussed in point 67 and point 72 of the 101 points that helps to identify the true church.
|2. "It seems like you are attacking other churches"|
If this web site comes across as harsh on other churches, I apologize. Many churches, if not most, do nothing but good. The Protestant and Catholic churches, for example, are in general a great force for good in this world. I also have great respect for the lesser-known religions, such as the Baha'i faith. I do not wish to attack others' beliefs. However, it is difficult to show how the Mormon Church is unique without making comparisons with other churches.
For example, for what I think of Roman Catholics in the light of prophecy, click here..
What I think of the Baha'i faith is here
All I am saying is that the Mormon Church has more. Other churches should keep all the good they have. We do not want to change what is true or good. We simply want to offer more.
It must be acknowledged, too, that there are many in the Christian world who have done more with the Bible alone than most Mormons have done with the newer revelations. Mormons need to be humble and recognise this. As the last line of the Articles of Faith says it, "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things". And much of the Christian world is very praiseworthy indeed.
Finally, Mormons are human too. They are in need of learning and repenting as much as anyone else - probably more. Please do not think that I am claiming that Mormons as individuals are better people, or that non- Mormons are worse people. We are all trying to serve God in our own way, and should not judge each other unfairly.
So in conclusion, I wish I had the gift of diplomacy, and could highlight differences without coming across as confrontational. But diplomatic or not, the differences should be known.
|3. "Are these official "Mormon" interpretations?"|
As far as possible these interpretations reflect the words of apostles and prophets, ancient and modern, but THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL LDS WEB SITE. There are bound to be mistakes, and I take full responsibility for them. However, most of these interpretations are adapted from approved LDS publications (such as Old Testament Institute Manuals), and I have just checked different Bible translations and added commentary accordingly. Insofar as these interpretations reflect the inspired words of prophets and apostles, they can lead people to the words of God and thus to eternal life.
|4. " How can the Mormon Church be led by prophets? I thought Luke 16:16 says prophets ended with the Old Testament?"|
Actually it says the precise opposite! Luke 16 is all about how the gospel is strict and unchanging. Verse 16 is about how, both in Old Testament and New Testament times, everyone thinks they can force their way into the kingdom of God without keeping the strict rules. But verse 16 has unusual wording in the King James Translation, so critics have tried to pull it out of context and say it means the exact opposite. They are basically doing exactly what the Pharisees were doing. Luke 16 is a testimony of the need for prophets and far more, and is discussed as number 78 of the 101 prophecies.
A similar claim was that revelation 22:18 says that there should be no more prophecies. It plainly says nothing of the sort, and so few people use it to attack the church any more. In fact, it is another testimony of the need for the restored gospel, and is discussed elsewhere.
Why do people want to believe that God has changed his methods? Simple. Because they do not want to listen to what God is saying. Like the Pharisees of old, they do not want living prophets.
|5. If the Mormon church has prophets as in Bible times, where are their prophecies?|
In the "First Presidency Message" part of the "Ensign" magazine each month, in the semi-annual General Conference, on the church web site, and elsewhere.
Perhaps you mean "where are the predictions" ? In the same places. You will find some, but not many. Modern prophets are like the ancient prophets. Their job is to call people to repentance, not to predict the future. And when they do make a prediction, they are usually enlarging on what earlier prophets have said. That is the way it worked in the Bible, and that is how it is today. How many new predictions did Moses make? Or Isaac? Or Elijah? Or Elisha? Or Peter? Or James? We have more writings from Paul than almost anyone, yet how many people can quote even one prediction he made? The visions of Daniel and John are very rare indeed. God is in the business of saving souls, not predicting the future.
If you are looking for a prediction to prove that someone is a prophet, you are on shaky ground. The Scribes and Pharisees wanted the same, and Jesus said that sign-seekers are an evil and adulterous generation. Jesus then gave them a prediction - concerning his death and resurrection. But the Scribes and Pharisees did not understand. When he said it again, calling his body a temple, they misunderstood, and decided that not only was Jesus a false prophet but he was a dangerous traitor as well, and they crucified him. (See Matthew 12:38-40, Mark 14:55-59).
Modern prophets are in the same position. People ask them for signs, then do not believe them when they come. A favorite tactic is to find a prophecy that depends on personal righteousness (such as telling someone that they are on the way to heaven), then when the person sins and invalidates the promise, the critic says "aha! that was a false prophecy!". There are various rhetorical techniques for denying the truth of prophecy - just look at the New Testament Pharisees for example. That is why sign seeking is so pointless. Signs come "after" you have faith, not before (see Matthew 13:57-58, Mark 16:17).
If predictions are very important to you, may I suggest that you take up astrology? Prediction is only a very small part of the gospel.
Having said that predictions are just a small part of the gospel, there have been plenty in these latter days. If you download the evidence on the Book of Mormon, you will find a whole section on prophecies in the Book of Mormon that have been fulfilled since it was published in 1830. Then why not order the Ensign and begin to get up to date on the miracles that are happening every day!
|6. "How can you claim that the Mormons wrote the Bible, when the Mormons have only been Around since 1830?"|
The true church has been revealed "new" several times - for example, through Adam, Abraham, Moses, or Jesus. Each time it is the original church restored from heaven. 1830 simply began another restoration of the original timeless truths.
|7. "Some of these 101 points are not predictions. Why do you call them prophecies?"|
Prophecy does not mean just predicting the future (though this is one of its many functions). Prophecy is about declaring the word of God. Some of these prophecies are predictions, fulfilled by the LDS church. Predictions are in red. Others are indications that the LDS church is the only truly Biblical church on the face of the earth. These other Bible teachings are in black.
|8. "Why haven't you answered the obvious point that... ?"|
This is just a list, a very brief summary. I am sure that you will have questions or disagreements. I have deliberately not answered all these questions. I could have done, but chose not to. To prove that the questions can be answered, I have chosen the most amazing claim (that the Bible predicts the exact dates of the major events in LDS history), and examined that one in much more detail. That question alone took 40 very long pages to analyze. If I had done the same for every one of these 101 points, this web site would be over a thousand pages long! It would never get finished. And if finished, it would never be read. There is also the very real danger that, the more I attempt to justify a prophecy, the more I am in effect saying "rational argument is the source of truth". It is not. Prophecy is the source of truth.
|9. "I don't agree with some of your interpretations"|
If I plainly contradict a prophet, then I am wrong. But if the prophet contradicts the scholars, that is another story...
Sometimes modern prophets give interpretations that are not the same as most scholars would give. If that is the case, then that makes us even more Biblical. Because that is exactly what happened in the Bible. Have a look at the gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. Matthew frequently referred to Old Testament prophecies of the New testament. But look at the verses he uses. Any modern educated person could pick holes in the prophecies used by Matthew. For example, Matthew 2:15 refers to Hosea chapter 11. Matthew says that "out of Egypt I have called my son" refers to Jesus. Matthew was a prophet. He knew Jesus personally. So I trust his interpretation more than I trust a scholar who only understands the scriptures through books. Answers about God can only be known through revelation from God. The Mormon Church, alone among the churches of the world, offers that kind of answer. For further discussion with more examples, see the section on America, below.
|10. "Bible prophets knew about America?? You cannot be serious!"|
I am perfectly serious. The prophets of the Bible saw the modern world. If we do not believe it is possible for prophets to prophecy, why on earth are we reading the Bible?
America in the Bible? Why not?
The idea that prophets cannot talk about America (for example) is based on the assumption that we pretty much understand what the Old Testament prophets were talking about. But do we really? How much do we really know about the Bible? If we don't really understand Bible prophecies, then we have no reason to reject an interpretation simply because it goes against our previous expectations.
Do scholars really understand the prophecies? I was recently teaching a Sunday School class on the book of Malachi (we had been studying the Old Testament in 1998). I suddenly realized how much scholars think they know about the Bible. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament, so presumably the most recent - surely there is all kinds of information about who wrote it, when, how, why, and do on. You would certainly think so from reading the various commentaries. But not a bit of it! We do not know who wrote the book (the word "malachi" in chapter 1 verse 1 may just mean "his [the Lord's] servant". We do not know when it was written - it looks a bit like the book of Nehemiah, so we assume that it was written about the same time. But that is really just a guess. We do not know where it was written - in Israel? In Judah? Elsewhere? And since we don't know for sure what it is, we don't have much to compare it with. So all we really have is the text. Without revelation, we have no additional knowledge.
Bible scholars always get it wrong
Biblical scholars almost always get prophecy wrong. Even if we only have the text, surely the text seems pretty straight forward? Ah. That is the whole problem. What is most obvious to a modern reader is not what is obvious to an ancient reader. And what is obvious to an ancient prophet (e.g. Matthew) is not obvious to an ancient scholar (e.g. a scribe or Pharisee). In almost every case where a prophecy is given in the Old Testament and an explanation is given in the New Testament, the explanation is very different from what we would expect. Consider the famous prophecies in Malachi:
- The messenger (Malachi 3:1): the context is of the Lord suddenly appearing at the temple and cleansing the world. Plainly an "end of the world" or "Second Coming" prophecy. Yet Jesus applied it to John the Baptist.
- The coming of Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6) was not fulfilled by John the Baptist (he did not turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, or herald the "great and terrible" Day of the Lord - the Second Coming). Yet many people assume that Jesus' mention of "Elias" could only refer to (and must completely fulfil) these particular verses.
Bible scholars cannot spot prophecy being fulfilled
So we really cannot guess at the fulfillment of a prophecy until a prophet announces it. It is no good assuming that we know what signs to look for. "It is an evil and adulterous generation that seeketh for a sign". Consider the most famous prophecies of the Old Testament:
- Isaiah's prophecy of "a virgin shall conceive". The context puts its fulfillment plainly in the days of Isaiah. Yet every Christian knows that it refers to Christ, many hundred years later!
- Daniel's prophecy of the "abomination of desolation". Most scholars assume that this refers to events in the second century BC. Yet Jesus applied it to events that had not yet happened!
- The prophecies referred to in the first chapters of Matthew - these are not the fulfillment a scholar would expect, based on the Old testament text as we have it. See the earlier discussion for details.
- The Pharisees, the people who supposedly knew the prophecies best (after all, they perfectly understood the culture and language of the time), were convinced that the prophecies did not refer to Jesus.
So if we think that we know what the prophecies mean without guidance from a prophet, then we deceive ourselves.
Let's be clear on what we are saying about America
One final thing. I am not claiming here that the ancient Israelite prophets went off in boats to America every summer, or that they had television-like visions of all the modern USA. I am simply saying that:
- They knew the importance of the tribe of Joseph, and they knew that God had scattered that tribe a long way off;
- They had occasional visions of "the last days", and so cannot have not noticed that much of the world's activity took place in the west;
- They may have had some kind of visions of America - I can only guess what they would be shown - perhaps an aerial view? perhaps the major temples? perhaps the important events in sacred history that took place there?
If the Mormon Church matters (and according to the three tests of true prophecy it does), then it is inconceivable that a prophecy of the end of the world would not make some kind of reference to it.
This web site is a testimony that the ancient prophets did indeed see our modern world. And they wrote about it again and again and again ...and again.
|11. How can you know this interpretation is better than someone else's?|
The interpretations in this web site are mostly based on writings of modern day apostles and prophets. If Mormon prophets and apostles are genuine (see the tests below) and if I have represented them fairly, then you can rely on these interpretations.
In contrast, all other interpretations are based on human tradition and human scholarship and are therefore doomed to failure.
How, then, can we tell whether Mormon prophets are true prophets? There are three tests for true prophets as described in the Bible:
If the prophet makes a very clear and plain prophecy in the name of the Lord, and it comes to pass (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). For example, Jesus said that he would rebuild the temple in three days (John 2:18-19), and he did (by his resurrection). So he was a true prophet, besides being the creator and savior of the world. Unfortunately, most prophecies are not clear and plain unless we have the necessary background understanding. So, for example, many people thought that Jesus referred to the temple built by Herod. That temple was not rebuilt in three days, so they concluded that Jesus was a false prophet (John 2:20-21). Using this test on the prophecies of Joseph Smith, we find that he also passes (his most famous prophecy was probably regarding the civil war, but there were dozens of others). However, just as happened with the Lord himself, the prophet Joseph is often rejected by those who misunderstand his words, either innocently or on purpose.
"By their fruits ye shall know them". The Mormon Church has a wonderful vision for the world. It makes bad men good, and good men better. It looks after its own and helps others too. Its members score highly in almost any test you care to mention (family strength, education, health, happiness, good works, etc.). So when the Mormon Church says "this is what that scripture means", then according to the test given by Jesus, I have to listen.
"Did not our hearts burn within us?" (Luke 24:32). That is how the disciples recognised the risen Lord. The Holy Spirit is to guide us to truth (John 14:26), and the Holy Spirit works through good feelings (Galatians 5:22). The Mormon teachings score very highly here. They fit together so perfectly. They feel right. It all makes so much sense. Something inside me says "yes"! For example, Mormons teach that God did not forget his children who were on the other side of the world from Palestine in ancient times. Something inside me says "of course he didn't. That feels so right!" Mormons teach that a person is not damned simply because they died without hearing about Jesus - they will have every opportunity to learn in the spirit world. Something inside of me says "yes! That has to be - it is just and fair." Mormons teach that the modern church should be just like the ancient church - with living prophets and new scripture. Something inside of me says "of course! That is how it has to be". It feels right.
In conclusion, Mormon prophets pass every Biblical test with flying colors. Since prophecy is the only way to interpret scripture, and this website is based on reliable prophecy, these interpretations are reliable.
|12. "Isaiah (and other books of prophecy) are all about the ancient world, not the modern world"|
This is discussed in detail on the page about Isaiah.
In brief, many of Isaiah's prophecies are clearly aimed at a future time when the church is triumphant. Also, many of the prophecies usually assigned to ancient times were simply not fulfilled then, but are being fulfilled now.
Many people have a very crude and small- minded view of Isaiah. They seem to think it is all about revenge. The land of Israel did not like its neighbours, so Isaiah prophesied that they would all be destroyed very soon by war, famine, etc. But if you look at what he actually wrote, this is not the case. Isaiah's message is positive - about the need for Israel to repent, and the eventual triumph of the church.
It is true that Isaiah often referred to the Lord, and to events that happened in New Testament time. But he usually moved on to talk about the eventual triumph of the saints in the last days. A review of Isaiah chapter by chapter shows that this is the case. That triumph is happening now. The latter-day church is known by the world as the Church of Jesus Christ - of Latter-day Saints.