Joseph Smith & the Problem of Evil

I recently chatted with an BYU old friend about books on CD, podcasts, etc. he listens to for personal enrichment, education, passing time in the car, etc. He told me about a BYU speeches page. I looked it up, found the page listing “classic” speeches, & immediately recognized this one by David  L. Poulsen: “Joseph Smith and the Problem of Evil”.  I was at BYU in 1999.  
Dr. Poulsen (now retired) was a distinguished philosopher. In this speech he shares how Joseph Smith uniquely resolved logical challenges that perplexed scholars and theologians for centuries.
Gotta be grateful for the restoration! We (far too frequently) take the truths for granted, in my opinion.

The Gold(en) Plates

The wonderful 3 Mormons:

BMC Studios and Stephen Smoot:

Richard Bushman’s 2010 Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum (BMAF) presentation is entitled “The Gold Plates in Mormon Culture and Thought.”

Bushman also authored the widely-read biography of Joseph Smith, “Rough Stone Rolling”.  Bushman likely knows Joseph Smith better than any other living human — from an entire career of meticulous research — and is a faithful Latter-day Saint.

Another video about metals and golden plates in MesoAmerica.  Daniel Johnson shares about metal plates in the Old and New World:

The LDS Church made a pamphlet — Gold Plates Used Anciently — in 1963.  You can read the pamphlet here.   The pamphlets shows many photographs & lists the dozens of metal plates found throughout the world.


Brother Read Putnam wrote this article for the Improvement Era in 1966: “Were the Golden Plates made of Tumbaga?” Read it here.


The Bible: As Far As it is Translated Correctly

A great place to start:

Episode 69: Introduction to Higher Biblical Criticism – Philip Barlow

This LDS New Testament scholar sheds light on the 8th Article of Faith: “as long as it is translated correctly.” Simple, but powerful statement.

Though we don’t believe the Bible is inerrant or perfect (many Protestants do), we believe the earliest manuscripts are reliable.

Awesome video. We should all understand this topic!

Below is a great video by a Protestant scholar.  I like to get multiple points of view to better support my understanding.  Dan Wallace’s view on the New Testament manuscripts is similar to what LDS scholar, Dr. John Hall, says above.

The New Testament: Is What We Have Now What They Wrote Then? Dr. Daniel Wallace is one of the foremost New Testament scholars in the world today. In his Best Sermon Ever, he shares with Mars Hill important teaching on the origin of the New Testament and whether or not what we read in our Bible translations today is the same as what was written in the original manuscripts.

Balancing Religious Tensions – Mauro Properzi

Episode 32: Balancing Religious Tensions – Mauro Properzi

This fellow, BYU professor Mauro Properzi, discusses several things.  Several points I took away:

  •  Respect and appreciate other faiths.
  • Allow tension, but work against imbalance.
  • If we’re gonna compare (ourselves to other faiths), then let’s be fair.
  • Leave room to admire other faiths, something Mauro calls “holy envy”.
  • What it means to express that we’re the “true church.”
  • We are special people, but not that special!
  • Be clear, saying “yes” and “no” when discussing differences.
  • God loves all His children!
  • Welcome all the good that others have, & we’ll work to add to that which they bring to the LDS Church!

Great discussion right in line with the title of this blog!

Click here to listen to this LDS Perspectives Podcast, Episode 32.  If you haven’t subscribed to this podcast series consider doing so.   Laura Hales (today’s interviewer) and her team produce 1 podcast once a week for 45 minutes.

4 Historical Facts that Prove Jesus Rose from the Dead

I’m not sure it’s accurate to say the facts presented in this video absolutely “prove” Jesus rose from the dead. But these 4 historic facts certainly provide very, very strong evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.

In addition to this evidence, the Spirit testifies that Jesus rose. In my view, we should understand the best evidence and add that to our spiritual witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

LDS Truth Claims YouTube Channel

Everyone should really subscribe to this guy’s YouTube channel:  LDS Truth Claims!

He’s a young attorney who meets weekly with folks in his stake in the Seattle area, & records 1 hour on a topic.   I just finished watching one discussing the Book of Mormon witnesses.  Great stuff!

Click here to see all his videos:


Here’s the video he produced last Tuesday and posted to YouTube last night.   The Book of Abraham is often a source of many questions.  This fellow provides many helpful answers and perspectives.  Watch and share with others!

History of anti-Mormonism

The claims against the Book of Mormon specifically and the LDS Church in general have changed over the last nearly 2 centuries.   Most earlier criticisms have been discredited, and new ones are constantly brought forward.  A claim is easy to make and time is needed to respond.  Sometimes decades.

The first two videos’ speakers (2008 FAIR meeting) created a database, analyzing past criticisms of the Book of Mormon.  The 2nd video shows that early critics claimed the Book of Mormon mentioned steamboats.  I must not have read that part.


Craig Foster from 2003.  This video is part ONE of several.  Please click here to find the rest of the YouTube videos in this series.


Thoughts on anti-Mormonism by Dan Peterson below.  This video is part ONE of several.  Please click here to find the rest of the YouTube videos in this series.

Can Many Religions All be True?

Just yesterday a friend of mine claimed that it’s arrogant to say you’re the only true church.  After all, he said, other faiths say the same thing.

We debated for some time, reaching no agreement.  I thought I’d YouTube the question.  Among other things I found, I liked the video below.  I shared it with my friend who hasn’t yet commented on it directly.

Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, and the inaugural holder of the Jellema Chair in Philosophy at Calvin College.  He is a Protestant and considered by many to be America’s leading Christian philosopher.

Plantinga explains that, according to his view, only one faith can be correct.  And it isn’t true one is arrogant to believe this.   I agree with Dr. Plantinga’s arguments.  I disagree, however, that Protestantism holds the Gospel’s fullness.

I believe Joseph Smith restored the fullness of Christ’s teachings through gradual development and miraculous visitations.


Finding a balance between loyalty or commitment to one’s faith and sympathetic openness to other faiths is one of the biggest challenges Mormons face in an age of inclusiveness.

Episode 32: Balancing Religious Tensions – Mauro Properzi

Truth is found in all faiths.  But priesthood and keys are only found in the restored church.

How can I know that spiritual experiences are not just a product of brain chemicals?

Only feelings?


Some critics state that all people have religious experiences that they report as true.  They, in fact, state they’ve felt the Holy Ghost.  Now what?

I say, do you feel it’s fair that only Mormons feel the Holy Ghost?  No, we’ve never taught that.  We know the light of Christ is felt by all.  Gifts of the Spirit aren’t unique to Latter-day Saints.

When folks of other faiths feel the Spirit we should be glad for them.  We hope they would consider investigating the LDS Church.  As Plantinga points out above, many of our positions can’t all be true.

I believe Jesus when he said he was the way, the truth, and the light.  One path gets us back to the Father, despite all the goodness and truth found in other faiths.

Blake Ostler emphasizes an inclusive faith in a pluralistic society:


Extraordinary Evidence Needed for Jesus’ Resurrection?

I’m watching quite a few videos on Easter this week. I thought this was a good one. For the LDS Church to be true, Christ had to be resurrected. I believe He was!

William Lane Craig is a passionate defender of the Christian faith. I don’t agree w/ all his positions (he’s an evangelical & I’m LDS), but he is a strong debater and faithful believer in Jesus’ resurrection.

WLC explains in less than 3 minutes in 2013:

This video below is from a debate in 1999: