Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reply to the Reverend Goldberg

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Standard Examiner concerning another letter written by a local minister about the Church and the Book of Mormon, which Mom thought you might like to read. So, here it is.

11 August 2008

The Reverend Goldberg writes, "The Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus of Christianity." In fact, Mormons worship Jesus of the New Testament, as do Protestants and Catholics . . . the Messiah who was born of the virgin Mary, who taught the Gospel of Salvation, who performed miracles, who was crucified, who rose the third day, and who is now at the right hand of his Father. It is the same historical person, God come to Earth. There is no other.

Mormons, who believe Christ to be the Son of God and who therefore call themselves Christians, believe in the Trinity, but not the Trinitarian doctrine that Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians espouse. We are at odds with the deliberations of the Nicean Council convened by the pagan emperor, Constantine in 325 A.D., and adopted by the ancient Christian world, a world now fractured as to belief and doctrine.

Mormons do not conform to this Trinitarian dogma because of the visions and revelations received by Joseph Smith Jr., beginning in 1820 and continuing until his death in 1844, which revelations, totaling some 850 pages, are accepted by Latter-day Saints as scripture. The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, have given Mormons new understanding of not only the Trinity, but Salvation, Marriage and Family, Heaven and Hell, Grace and Works, the Atonement, the Priesthood . . . virtually every doctrine associated with Christianity and have drawn the ire of Catholics and Protestants, especially Evangelical Protestants, who believe the Bible contains the totality of God's revelations. Reverend Goldberg says that Mormons consider the Bible to be "unreliable and untrustworthy." Mormons, in fact, love the Bible and hold it to be scripture, the Word of God. They do not, however, believe that every letter of every word in it is infallible, but that parts are missing or have been translated incorrectly, hence the need for living prophets and apostles and current revelation.

The Reverend Goldberg, speaking for many Evangelicals, asks the question regarding Mitt Romney, and I paraphrase, "How can any thinking person believe this stuff?" The Bible, he says, is proven true by archaeology and the Book of Mormon is not. The good Reverend surely knows that archaeology offers no proof of the existence of Jesus or any of his followers. This is also true of Book of Mormon prophets and writers. All we have, in each case, is circumstantial evidence, much of which is yet controversial and certainly undecided. We do have, in each case, the text itself . . . the word of God . . . to be read, thought about, prayed over, and decided upon. Furthermore, should archaeology prove the existence of any of these prophetic writers, it could not settle the truth of their assertions and doctrines. Proof in spiritual matters will be determined by faith, prayer, study, revelation and practice, that is until the Lord returns. Then we will have our proof.

Critics of the Book of Mormon should understand this: Either Joseph Smith invented the 587 page Book of Mormon and dictated it to his scribes from memory, or, he translated an ancient record from gold plates and dictated it to his scribes, as he, and they, said it was done. No third option presents itself, and in 179 years, there is not a molecule of evidence to support the first thesis . . . no preliminary notes, no first draft, no tales from family members, neighbors, or colleagues, of a young student of the Old Testament and the Middle East, conversant in theological intricacies, working nights on his project, asking questions, visiting libraries . . . just an intelligent but barely educated 23 year old, newly married, western New York farm boy, who, according to his wife, a school teacher, was perfectly incapable of producing such a book. We have also the testimonies of eleven other men, including his principal scribe, Oliver Cowdery, age 22, that they saw and handled the gold plates. The original manuscript was written in 30 working days, and the book itself with its complex structure and Hebraic forms, customs, and names, its powerful witness of the Savior, its profound theological arguments and treatises, is now witnessed by millions of believers convinced that it, like the Bible, comes from God.

If the Reverend is also asking, "Who can believe this stuff?" he should take a look around. These believers are comprised of educators, scientists, businessmen, housewives, doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, writers, editors, mechanics, architects, painters, carpenters, musicians, artists . . . the entire array of professional and occupational endeavor, both men and women, and politicians as well, past and present . . . Senators, Congressmen, Cabinet members, and Governors.

We have a flourishing, vital Church, with members like Governor Romney and many others, who may well be capable of leading this nation, but who may be denied the opportunity because many Evangelicals, in particular, can't fathom that good, moral, intelligent human beings can "believe such stuff." They think that something must be fundamentally haywire with these folks.

They have a deeper concern. Evangelicals fear that a Mormon President would open the door to further Mormon conversions, in their view, a sure ticket to Hell. The answer, beneficent in their minds, is to stop some potential converts from wandering into the Mormon fold by assuring that these United States are never led by a believing Latter-day Saint, regardless of his qualifications and love of country. So it is that this favored but troubled land could be deprived of sound leadership, because a powerful religious minority fears those who hold differing perspectives of Christian doctrine, never mind they may be persons of integrity, capability, vision and patriotism.

R. Thomas Price
North Ogden

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wow, has it ever been a long time since I wrote anything! I was looking through my pictures, and found lots that I never posted, so I'll try to get caught up. I was looking at the pictures of all that snow we had last winter, and it will soon be winter again! Time goes by way too fast!!! Speaking of last winter, one day we went to a place in Eden that my friend, Karen, had told me about--to see elk. Here are are few of the pictures we took--Keri and Shane and the boys went along, too.

I wouldn't exactly call this a sled, but it was pulled by horses, and it was surprisingly bumpy. I thought it would be smooth on the snow, but it wasn't. We almost lost Tom when we went around a turn--he almost slid off! Two horses pulled us out into the field, and the farmer's dogs went with us. The boys loved the dogs--much more than the elk!

This dog decided he belonged to me!

After we looked at the elk, we went back to the barn, where the snow was so deep that the boys
could climb up on the roof of the barn.

Look at all that snow! Can't you just hardly wait for next winter?! NO!

On Easter, we went to Keri's. Or maybe it was the Sat. before Easter--can't remember! Here's Shane and Keri in their beautiful new kitchen.

The boys eating at the counter.

And of course the adults were enjoying the Honey Baked ham and turkey.

The best part was the egg hunt!

I think every adult had a camera, and we were ALL taking pictures of the kids looking for eggs!

On Mother's Day, we went to Mike and Michelle's for Andrew's blessing. We were all there, except for Sara and Isaac. (Boohoo....) We sure miss them when we have get-togethers!

Grandpa and Haleigh went for a walk, and some of the other children decided to follow.

The kids had a special place to eat on the front porch. Cam was clapping his hands over his head and he wanted me to take a picture, but I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of him actually clapping!

Cute picture of Michelle and Andrew.

What a funny picture of all my grandchildren!

Cute picture of Mike and Michelle and Andrew!

Cute picture of 2 of my "boys."

Cute picture of Keri and Shane.

Cute picture of Matt and Kati.

REALLY cute picture of Matt!!!

And my favorite picture of all! (Except for the fact that Sara is missing!) It was Mother's Day!
I sure am grateful for all of my wonderful kids, who have grown up to be even more wonderful adults. I love each one of you more than I can express!

Sometime before school ended, Joshua was the star in his classroom play! I'm so glad we had the chance to watch!

Grandma and Andrew and Michael enjoying the play.

One afternoon, Dad and I went to the wedding reception for Kati's sister, Nicky. I'm sure that at this point, Matt and Kati were pretty much exhausted, but you wouldn't guess it from this cute picture.

The boys were inside watching movies and playing video games, but we did get some pictures of Haleigh!

The cake was incredible---have you ever seen a wedding cake like this? Nicky wanted a "party" cake, and this certainly says "Party!"

And you can't have a wedding reception without the happy Bride and Groom!

When John and Jackie were here, we took them to Antelope Island, and saw lots of---buffalo!

Even with all of last winter's snow, you can see that beyond the buffalo is dirt and sand where the water is suppose to be.

We actually did see an antelope close to the road. He just kind of posed for us!

Well, now I'm ready to post pictures from the reunion, but that will have to wait until another day! That's all for now!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Trip to Philadelphia

Be sure to read Sara's Blog. She did an excellent job of telling everything we did while we were there. But I want to show some of the pictures that Dad and I both took. When you look at the pictures you will have no idea that Sara was running a fever, could hardly swallow, and felt like she had been run over by a truck! When it comes to sightseeing, we just keep going!

On Saturday we went into Philly for the Italian Street Festival. It was great fun!

They were selling all kinds of things!

These were the strangest looking cakes---a wedding cake, no less. They looked like they were melting!

Sara didn't like the taste of the coconut milk--but it looked like a fun thing to try!

On Monday, we went to Longwood Gardens, which were part of the DuPont estate. It was incredibly beautiful and huge. Dad insisted that I have a cart to ride in, and I was so glad. It was really quite cold.

John and Jackie as we're starting our day at Longwood Gardens. The flowers were beautiful. They were in the process of digging up the tulip gardens, because the leaves turn brown after they are done blooming. They dig them up and mulch them, and replant new bulbs each year. One of the workers said they spend about five 10 hour days in the fall planting bulbs!

We had lots of fun taking pictures as each area had different flowers.

They even had a beautiful topiary garden.

They had a conservatory was I think they said was the largest in the United States, or some such thing. In one corner was a children's garden.

Some of the flowers inside other parts of the conservatory

The next day we drove around Valley Forge---in the pouring rain!
This was Washington's headquarters.

Wednesday we spent driving to Plymouth, which took about 6 1/2 hours. We stayed in a really nice B & B that Sara has pictures of on her Blog. Thurs. was spent walking around Boston. We discovered that many school groups were having field trips that week, and some of the things we had planned on seeing up close didn't happen because a couple of bus loads got there before we did!

We stopped at Quincy Market for lunch, and it was SWARMING with kids!
We only got to see the outside of Paul Revere's house.

We walked the Freedom Trail from Quincy Market, past Paul Revere's home,
and up to the Old North Church.

From there we went to see Old Iron Sides, the oldest commissioned ship in the US Navy. It was in the War of 1812. It was amazing!

The cannons were kept on the floor under the top deck, and the sailors slept on the floor under that, in hammocks, which they had to find in the dark, since there were no port holes down there. That level was also used for the sick-bay. They had about 400 sailors on that ship. When the cannons fired, they would kick back 6 to 8 feet. You can imagine that most of them had hearing loss.

That incredible looking thing in the middle is a bridge there in Boston.

Here we are at the end of our day in Boston, waiting for the subway to take us back to Plymouth.

Here is the replica of the Mayflower. They aren't positive about the dimensions, and there isn't anything authentic from the original Mayflower because it was dismantled and the wood used for other things. But it's beautiful to look at!

This is all we could see of Plymouth Rock. I'm sure it's in there somewhere! Long time ago they used to have a hammer by the rock so people could break off a piece to take with them!

Friday we drove down the coast to Cape Cod, and then on to New York City to say at the Ritz Hotel with Isaac's brother. Saturday we spent walking around New York. We had to go into Tiffany's to see all the diamonds!

There was a mime putting on a great show.

They were going to have a swimming race in the harbor, and these were the people there to help, but they called it off because the swells were too rough.

At the end of the day we finally took a taxi back to the hotel. Actually, we tried to take the subway, but partway back they announced they were going to stop at the next station, and we'd have to get off. That's when we took the taxi, and wondered why we didn't take it sooner!

We got back to Philly on Saturday night, and put Sara to bed. She always managed to have a good smile for the pictures, but she was really sick, and stayed in bed until we left of Tuesday afternoon. And then the next day Isaac started getting sick! Even so, it was wonderful to be with Sara and Isaac again!