This week I observed a discussion online where somebody posted a quote from Joseph Smith that state:
“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet…When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.”
To me this is saying that Joseph Smith feels he is better than Jesus at creating followers. Many of the comments to this person were negative and not because of the quote but because they felt this person was bashing the Mormon religion or Joseph Smith. One person commented with another quote from Joseph Smith that stated “A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.” They then stated the original post could have been something uplifting instead of pushing a hateful agenda. The thing is, is that both of these quotes were said by Joseph Smith, and regardless of whether you agree with them both or not they are his words.
So the question is if these two quotes were both said by Joseph Smith, can you choose one over the other? Can you choose to believe that Joseph Smith was a good man who believed in blessing his family and the whole world and choose not to believe that he had more to boast of than even Jesus? Can I pick and choose what I rely on as truth and leave the rest? And what about the Bible and the Book of Mormon for that matter? Can I pick and choose what parts of the Book of Mormon are true and what aren’t? Can I pick and choose what I want to believe in the Bible and what I want to follow, what I want to be truth and inspired by God and ignore the rest?
As a mental health clinician I spend a lot of time working with people on thinking errors. One of those thinking errors is called black and white thinking. Black and white thinking is dangerous because it’s an all-or-nothing statement. It means that there’s no gray or flexibility in thinking. It means that it is or it isn’t and there’s really no in between. I am not a black and white person in most areas in my life. I live in a world of gray. However, when it comes to the Bible and God’s word there is no gray it is black and white and there is no in between. To me God’s word is solid and concrete.
If you believe that the Bible is God’s word then you should believe every word in the Bible is inspired by God. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the Bible you want to believe. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the Bible you want to follow. And you don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the Bible you want to be truth. God’s word is inspired for us, to guide us through life. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. The Bible is full of Prophecy that has already come true; 25% of the prophecies in the Bible have been fulfilled. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow”. His word is still meant for us today. It is alive and powerful.
As a Christian I totally and completely believe in God’s word and I use it to guide me to make many of the decisions that I choose in life. And yet, so many people, pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to believe are true and want to follow. I feel like this is especially true with my Mormon friends and family. So often, things are brought up about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and LDS church history, and they often sweep it under the rug. Their comments are, “God will work it all out in the end” or “But it’s such a good belief system. Mormons are good people”. I don’t disagree, I think Mormons are are good people, I think that what they believe on the surface looks good. But in all reality, if you really dig and look at what Mormons truly believe, if you look at Joseph Smith and his intent behind what he was doing, none of that has to do with God, none of it has to do with the Bible. It was all for self-gain it’s all man-made and none of it is based on truth.
I think one of the biggest problems for Mormons is they only read the book of Mormon and they don’t take the time or don’t have an understanding of the Bible. They don’t know what God’s word says. I am no expert on the Bible I don’t know completely what God’s word says and I’m still working on reading the Bible completely. But I do enjoy spending time in God’s word and learning new things. And I do know that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God and anyone who claims that they were better than Jesus or did things better than Jesus, who was God on Earth himself, is not of God and is not here to further God’s Kingdom.
We can’t pick and choose God’s word. God’s word is true and truth is truth. If you believe that Joseph Smith loved his wife Emma, I don’t know that you’re necessarily wrong. However, he still had at least 40 other wives and practiced polygamy. Many of these wives his first wife Emma, didn’t know about. So you can’t say he was honest and faithful to his wife because he wasn’t upfront with her about his many marriages. That’s a fact that’s provable and it’s documented by the LDS Church. If you believe that he was a good man, I’m sure that he had his good days, we all do right. But that doesn’t change the fact that he stated more than once that he believed that he was just as good or better than Jesus. He created a religion where he could exalt himself to godhood. Isn’t that why Satan got kicked out of heaven in the first place, because he wanted to be God?
One of the best things that the devil can do, is keep us away from God’s word and make us think that we know truth. Satan makes us feel comfortable in what we believe and we believe we know more than God. That’s what got Eve into trouble in the Garden.
I remember a few years ago when I was commuting to work, about an hour away, and I was in a hurry to get home to my son’s football game. There was a wreck on the highway and I had a brilliant idea that I would take a side road that I didn’t know instead of waiting on the highway. I didn’t know where the road would lead me but I thought it would be a good choice. So I got off the highway and I went down this unknown path. I got lost and I turned down a side road that led me to a dead end. I had to turn around and I was completely lost. My phone had died so I had no maps on my phone I had no compass and I was completely 100% on my own. I had nothing to guide me nothing to give me direction I was driving blind. This is what happens when we walk through this world without God’s word and relying on our own truth.
If we don’t have the Bible in our lives and we don’t have God’s word. If we pick and choose the parts we want to believe we’re choosing not to follow God’s word. I had to stop and pray (thank goodness for that lifeline) and ask God to give me direction. I finally found a road that led me back to the highway; but had I stayed on the path that I knew to be true and correct, I wouldn’t have gotten lost in the first place. I ended up being late because I tried to do things on my own.
It’s so important to know what God’s word says. I think that it’s important to take God’s word as it is. It is 100% true 100% whole and 100% inspired by God to teach us and guide us in this world. If you’re going to pick and choose what parts of the Bible you want to believe then I think you have to question, do you really even believe in God?
The problem is is that in this world of Grey that we live in the only place where we find truth and guidance, the compass that guides our life is often forgotten and laid aside. We try to captain our own ships and to do things ourselves. I know when I try to do things on my own I tend to get myself in more trouble.
If you’re going to believe God, have to believe in Him 100% you can’t pick and choose what parts you want to believe in. You have to be invested wholly or else you’re not really invested you’re just going through the motions.
I’m just a small town girl… Living in a world where God is my Captain and the Bible is my compass.