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The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon
Protestant Doctrines within the Book of Mormon
Lynn Ridenhour, Southern Baptist Minister
Dear Dr. Ridenhour,
Anyone who knows Mormonism knows how the Book of Mormon does not represent Mormon doctrine at all. Mormon doctrine is primarily not in there. And Mormonism is cut-and-paste. When Joseph Smith began his teachings he believed there was only one God, as represented in the Book of Mormon. He progressed to three gods in the Godhead. And he kept going to preach a myriad of gods and that you can become a god yourself. The Book of Mormon teaches that God is God from all eternity. Joseph Smith mocked that idea to refute it shortly before he died.
Do you know anything at all about Joseph Smith and Ethan Smith? Where did Ethan Smith live? How far away was he from Joseph? What was the book written by Ethan Smith? When was it written? How does it parallel the Book of Mormon? It's important to examine the facts before you make a fool out of yourself.
Are you totally in the dark about B.H. Roberts? Massive humiliation to the Book of Mormon!
Have you even seen the video "The Bible versus the Book of Mormon"? I'll send you a copy if not, just let me know. Do you know anything about "DNA and the Book of Mormon"? Have you ever heard of the Joseph Smith Translation or the Lost Book of Abraham (also a powerful video to expose the Mormon prophet as false), since you commend him and talk about the canon of Scripture?
There is no excuse for your ignorance with the resources available today to read the truth. And where you teach falsehood (I don't know how to say it so it does not just sound like an insulting remark), but the Book of Mormon which seems to impress you also warns about the judgment and hell. And the Bible (God's Word) surely does! Are you a child of God while being led so easily into religious fantasy? What incredible ignorance!
And you don't have any idea where the Book of Mormon opposes the Bible? You have read the Book of Mormon - then have you read the Bible through as well? They do not agree! So you don't know what the real story line of Joseph Smith's book is about? Does it find support in history? No credible college, in fact no college at all that is not Mormon, teaches about those fictional civilizations and fantastic stories.
And by the way, the Jesus of the Bible is not the same person as the Heavenly Father. That is only the Book of Mormon's Jesus. So if you are teachable and not a puppet out to make a name while applauded by one of the Mormon sects, any of this is easily supported by the facts.
There are two kinds of Baptists past the labels: saved Baptists and lost Baptists. (And that is true of other groups). The latter kind of Baptist often converts over to Mormonism - or basically just about any religion. And a lot of the mere religious kind of Bapists live in your neighborhood. Lost Baptist preachers lead people to hell as they turn from the truth. Saved Baptist preachers are not so easily deceived. God knows which you are; I simply see the clues.
I am purposefully frank and direct with you. First, you of anyone ought to know better. And second, you are waxing the way for apostasy and hell. Take this seriously as here is a Bible test for you that was recommended by the Apostle Paul. It's a very safe test and it's right to take it for me or everybody else. Are you in the true faith? You cannot think organizationally here as to a convention of Baptists or any of the many sects of Mormonism. It has to do with what you need to know, what is the true faith? The answer is this: IS JESUS CHRIST IN YOU? If not, God says you are disapproved and reprobate. So if the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, then what? You will definitely be far too wise than to boast on the Book of Mormon.
The test: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor. 13:5)
By your own admission, you are a feelings-oriented Charismatic. Sometimes the experiences are not so different from a feelings-oriented Mormon. Benny Hinn has an experience and talks about Jesus too. (And I can send you a powerful video exposing Benny in his own lies too if you'd like). You see, sir, even the devil could call himself a Baptist, but that does not make him one. You're not a true Baptist either. The license someone gave you says you are, but your theology and deception demonstrates otherwise. Baptist is just a title, like "Christian". But a lot of folks claim to be Christians who Christ does not know as His own.
I forwarded your page to some pretty knowing people without first reading your foolishness. A few pages was enough. Anyone of my friends could help you to straighten you out on the Book of Mormon, so maybe you'll be hearing from some of them too. But if you trample these pearls, sir, there's no point. They need not bother and we'll be done communicating too. However, if you want to know the truth, let's talk.
Be wise to consider eternity and be careful!
Dear Dr. Ridenhour,
I read your paper entitled The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon. I know that you know that is not the kind of information that a Baptist would usually write. So, I am also certain you will understand that it raised several questions that I would like you to clarify for me. I am an ordained Baptist minister who has lived most of my 72 plus years among the Mormons. I was converted to the Jesus Christ of the Bible many years ago out of Mormonism, so I am not a novice and I do understand both sides of the picture. The things you wrote concerning the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the canon of scripture, and the restoration were very selective. It really sounded more like some of the Mormons who have tried to deceive me by claiming they were Baptists preachers who found "the truth." Since I don't know you or anything about you, I would like you to answer the following questions that your paper raised. I think you owe the Christian community answers to these questions. The first four questions are personal, but will help us understand who you are and how involved you are as a Southern Baptist minister.
You said you have been a licensed Baptist minister for over 38 years and have pastored Baptist churches for years. Most Baptist pastors who have been in ministry that long are ordained. Why weren't you ordained?
You said you have been involved with the charismatic renewal since 1972 which was 34 years ago. Since you have only been in ministry for 38 years, you only spent four years as a licensed Southern Baptist minister before you became a part of the charismatic movement which is not a part of the Southern Baptist Convention. So, isn't calling yourself a Southern Baptist minister misleading?
Would you please give us the name and address of the Southern Baptist Church you now pastor as well as some of the previous churches where you served as Senior Pastor?
Your mentioned that you taught at Jerry Falwell's university. Does he agree with your views of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith? Can you give us the names and addresses of Southern Baptist leaders who know you well enough to write a recommendation for you? Do they agree with you?
You spoke despairingly about the canon of scripture but you didn't explain why or how you determine what is or isn't scripture. So please answer the following questions:
You rejected the idea of a closed canon of scripture, so how do you determine what is or is not to be accepted as "scripture"?
You rejected Margaret MacDonald's vision about the rapture while you accepted Joseph Smith's vision. What were your criteria for doing that?
You said you accept Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon as scripture, but you didn't say anything about the other three books of scripture he produced which are the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price and the Inspired Version of the Bible. Do you accept those as scripture also?
If you accept Smith's Pearl of Great Price as scripture, do you believe in the plurality of Gods as presented in Abraham chapters 4 and 5? If you do, how do you reconcile that with what the Bible and Book of Mormon teach about God? If you reject the plurality of Gods, on what basis do you reject it since you don't believe the canon of scripture settled anything?
I have the Levitical Writings and Book of Elias that are scripture for the Aaronic Order. Do you accept those as scripture? If so, why? If not, why? I also have The Lost Books of the Bible, The Forgotten Books of Eden, the Apocrypha, some pseudepigraphal New Testament writings and so on. Since you don't believe in the canon of scripture, do you accept all of these as scripture? Why or why not?
Do you accept the Koran as scripture? Why or why not?
How many of the books of the Bible were in use before they were canonized? How many of them were still in use after canonization took place? Exactly how was the canon determined? Since you have studied this subject at length these are easy questions for you, but will help us understand what you are saying
Joseph Smith and the "Restoration gospel" also raised some questions:
You said you "had a marvelous conversion experience to the restoration gospel as proclaimed by Joseph Smith." How does that gospel differ from the gospel you believed before you knew about Smith and the Book of Mormon? How many "gospels" are there? Since you believe in Smith's "restoration," do you also accept Smith's doctrine of a universal apostasy? It lasted nearly 1800 years, from the time of Jesus' apostles until Smith restored the true gospel. There certainly is no need to restore the gospel if it is still here!
III Nephi 28 in the Book of Mormon shows that a universal apostasy is impossible because it says three of the twelve disciples that Jesus had in America never died. They and John the Apostle are to live and preach the gospel, baptize and add multitudes to the church until Jesus comes again! How could there be a universal apostasy with no gospel on earth while four apostles of Christ are still preaching, baptizing and adding multitudes to the church? Where are all of those converts? D. & C. Sec. 7 has more to say about John the Apostle's ministry on earth until Christ's Second Coming. Of course, if those Apostles aren't doing that, the Book of Mormon is untrue and untrustworthy. Either way there is a serious problem.
Were all of the martyrs who died throughout history for their belief in Christ really "apostates" as Mormonism claims?
You commended Smith for the way he embraced other churches. But you didn't say anything about his First Vision when he asked the Lord which church to join and said, "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong ...that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt" (P. of GP, Jos. Smith-History 1:19). Do you believe that? If you do, aren't you a hypocrite for being a Baptist or charismatic Christian or anything but a follower of Smith? Smith also claimed that the LDS Church "is the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth" (D. & C. 1:30). Do you believe that? If so, why aren't you a Mormon? If you don't believe it, why don't you? Is it consistent believe only what you choose to believe from the man you consider a great prophet who restored the true gospel?
You praised the Book of Mormon, so I also have a few questions regarding it too:
I am very familiar with the passages that you quoted to show that the Book of Mormon teaches Biblical doctrine. Certainly there is some Bible doctrine in the Book of Mormon otherwise who would believe it? But the Book of Mormon often conflicts with Mormon doctrine so most LDS doctrine comes from the other LDS books of scripture and their "living prophet." The Book of Mormon has very little Mormon doctrine in it. It is used primarily as a bridge to get Christians to believe in a book of scripture outside of the Bible. Once that happens it is quite simple to get them to believe in the other LDS books of scripture too.
Did you notice that all of the passages you quoted are written in the King James language of 1611 AD? Since that was not the language spoken in America in 1830 when Smith produced the Book of Mormon and it is not spoken today, why is the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and the Inspired Version all written in archaic English? Is that God's holy language?
Why are whole sections of Isaiah, Malachi, The Sermon on the Mount etc. found in the Book of Mormon verbatim as they are in the Bible? Even the italicized words supplied by the King James translators are often in those sections of the Book of Mormon. Since the Book of Mormon wasn't seen until 1830 and the KJV was translated in 1611 it is obvious which one copied the other.
You said you found the Book of Mormon consistent with the Bible but there are some serious conflicts. II Nephi 25:23 is often quoted by Mormons who reject salvation by God's grace apart from our works. "It says "We know that it is by grace we are saved after all we can do." Do you believe that? Or, do you believe Eph. 2:8-9 and Rom 5:6? It can't be both ways.
You said you believe the Book of Mormon, but there are all kinds of subjects in it. Do you believe everything in it or just some of it? Do you really believe that the American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon? If so, how many Indians have you seen who became white skinned after joining the one true LDS Church? I have worked around many of the tribes for over 50 years and haven't seen a single one do that! Yet in the Book of Mormon that goes on all the time. See III Nephi chap. 2 and notice it happens within one year.
The Bible is a real history of real people who spoke known languages and lived in lands and cities that are identifiable even today. Where are the Book of Mormon lands? Name one city that can be identified today that is in the Book of Mormon. What language did the Book of Mormon people speak? Has any of it been found anywhere in the America? Was the Book of Mormon the only document ever written in that language? If not, why isn't it found in abundance since there were great multitudes of people who used it? Where are the original documents for the Book of Mormon, the gold plates with the Reformed Egyptian language on them? Did the God who preserved the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible fail to preserve one bit of evidence for the Book of Mormon, not even the language?
You said the Book of Mormon is consistent with the Bible, but there is a problem in verse 2 of the first book. Lehi, who lived in Jerusalem, had the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians in 600BC. Anyone speaking Egyptian in Jerusalem in 600 BC would probably have had a very short life. Do you know why and what the Bible says happened about that time?
I Nephi 2:5-9 says the River Laman runs continually into the Red Sea. Can you name a river that runs into the Red Sea? There never has been any! When it rains, which is seldom, the wadi's run a little water down the dry washes to the sea, but that is all. There are many other problems with the Book of Mormon. But those I have mentioned explain why I do not trust my eternal destiny to such a book. And I believe for you to advocate that people trust its message is extremely dangerous. Eternity is a long time to have remorse for leading people astray. If you really do know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then proclaim Him, not some man made book. The real gospel is not about a book but about God's Son who died for our sins. You don't need the Book of Mormon to teach that message. It is very clear in the Bible. The Apostle Paul warned that if anyone preached a different gospel they would be accursed (Gal. 1:7-9). I am firmly convinced that it is impossible to believe the doctrines found in Joseph Smith's "scriptures" and be a born again Christian as the Bible presents the message. That is why what you are doing is so dangerous and can cause eternal souls to be lost.
I am looking forward to your answers to these important questions.
Sincerely in Christ,
I have written to this guy before and so has my pastor. I think he is a fraud, if you go to the official website of the Southern Baptist Convention; there is a minister search where you can look up the names of Southern Baptist ministers. He is not listed at all. He also doesn't list his church at all on his website, strange for a minister to not do.
What I went ahead and did was this. Obviously this guy is a wolf in sheep's clothing and he is misleading people and it will have eternal repercussions. I went ahead and called the Southern Baptist Convention and spoke to a lady named Linda who had never heard of this before. She said she would contact the Vice President of Southern Baptist Convention Relations, Dr. Kenyn Cureton and that he would look into it and might call me.
My whole take on this is as follows: There are significant portions of the Book of Mormon that are word for word excerpts of the King James Bible. Right there we know that parts of the Book of Mormon are true. There are other verses that are inspiring and speak biblical truth. However, the Book of Mormon is like a nicely tossed salad. Parts of it are good for the soul, but other parts are poisonous and as such renders the entire salad inedible.
Satan will allow men to learn truth 99% of the time but 1% of false teaching is all he needs to get people to follow a false gospel with a false foundation, which Mormonism is. The Book of Mormon conveys some truth, but enough false doctrine to lead people astray spiritually, to the point where it will have eternal consequences.
I wouldn't recommend anyone studying the Book of Mormon at all unless they already are aware of what Mormonism really is about and are interested in witnessing to Mormons. If that is the case, then the Book of Mormon is a great tool. Some of the best anti-Mormon literature is found in Mormon scriptures. However if someone lacks a personal relationship with Christ or is not engaged in evangelism, then the Book of Mormon should be low of the list of priorities of books to read.
This minister is really nothing more than a deceiver. Who knows how many people have been deceived through his website. Below is some contact information to the Southern Baptist Convention including a phone number (615-244-2355) that is on their website: http://www.sbc.net
A Witness of the Restoration