We were fortunate to have dinner with a Mormon couple who live near by. As is our tradition, we grilled them on the specifics in the Book of Mormon.
6:18 And I will feed them that oppress thee, with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Again, is this literal? Why would God make people eat themselves, and drink their own blood just so they would believe in him?
A: This is allegory, referring to inequity which will destroy the wealthy or selfish.
This does make more sense to me then a God so wicked to make unbelievers drink their own blood.
8:9 Awake, awake! Put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days. Art thou not he that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?
Was God asleep for some time? Why would God need to convince people to action by reminding them that he was the one that cut Rahab, the sea monster into pieces, and he was the one who wounded a dragon? Why couldn't he just say, it's me, God, creator of everything?
A: God needs to remind people, from time to time, of what God has done before, because people forget to be grateful, so God will remind them of why they should be obedient.
While the interpretation may be valid, it still sounds like a jealous God, or is angry that people forgot that he was the one who cut up that sea monster, remember? Guys? Can't you give me a little sacrifice at the temple? Come on guys, I did wound that dragon, remember?
9:16 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire; prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.
Is this allegory? How can there be a fire which has no end? How is one considered 'filthy?'
A: The way the Mormons described this passage, was that it had to be a strong warning against doing wrong. If you die, and are righteous, you kind of stay that way in the afterlife, but if you die wicked, you get stuck that way too.
While the Mormons I have spoke with haven't used fear as a reason to become Mormon, this passage certainly warns against being outside of the church.
9:19 O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
This seems to contradict the current view of the afterlife by the Mormons, who don't preach fire and brimstone, just stagnation and regret.
A: This is referring to the end times, not the afterlife, which even hell, according to Joseph Smith, he imagined being a "delightsome place."
While the Mormon afterlife isn't fire and brimstone, the fire is still waiting, but just until then end times.
10:2 For behold, the promises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer.
Is God killing unbelieving children?
A: This refers to children of God, not literal children. It could be said that without belief in God and Jesus, you physically die, but anyone who believes doesn't "perish in the flesh."
This depicts another benefit of believing in the Book of Mormon.
10:3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ -- for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name -- should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him -- for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.
Why are the Jews depicted as wicked Christ killers? Does this view hold today with Mormons?
A: Mormons are a part of the House of Israel, so there would be no reason to be anti-semitic.
10:6 Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations.
This seems to be foretelling the Diaspora, but why couldn't God kill all of the Jews if they were wicked?
A: Maybe the Jews served as a witness to the power, and mercy of God?
10:16 Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.
This seems like strong language to assert that you are either for Mormonism, or against God. Has this been reconciled within the church, or do Mormons still hold this belief?
A: Mormons believe that the Mormon church holds all of the answers to salvation.
Why does Joseph Smith include 18 chapters of Isaiah in 2 Nephi? I thought the Nephites already had the words of Isaiah?
A: Maybe God wanted emphasis of Isaiah.
26:4 Wherefore, all those who are proud, and that do wickedly, the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, for they shall be as stubble.
Is this allegory, or are proud, wicked people going to literally be burned as stubble?
26:5 And they that kill the prophets, and the saints, the depths of the earth shall swallow them up, saith the Lord of Hosts; and mountains shall cover them, and whirlwinds shall carry them away, and buildings shall fall upon them and crush them to pieces and grind them to powder.
A: The Mormons we talked to believed this was literal.
26:6 And they shall be visited with thunderings, and lightnings, and earthquakes, and all manner of destructions, for the fire of the anger of the Lord shall be kindled against them, and they shall be as stubble, and the day that cometh shall consume them, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Is this literal, or another warning not to kill the prophets, or saints?
26:15 After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.
26:19 And it shall come to pass, that those who have dwindled in unbelief shall be smitten by the hand of the Gentiles.
Is this a warning against doubting God, is it such a sin to question that just to dwindle in unbelief is cause to be smitten?
A: There wasn't a clear answer to this. You should be free to question your faith, and are not doomed for doubting.
26:21 And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice.
Does this refer to any non-LDS church?
26:33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.
This verse speaks of equality, no one is restricted from partaking of God's goodness. Has this been used to support equality within the LDS church?
A: This passage was referenced to support the priesthood for Blacks, so yes, this statement would support equality within the church.