I feel that so many times we play defense as members, always having to justify our “strange” beliefs or a particular piece of doctrine or statement made by a church leader 100 years ago. At times it seems as if we are being attacked by all sides by those who have left the church and those who know nothing about the church. So this is part two to our series of articles pointing out some of the strengths of the church and justifications as to why I believe it to be true.

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Thanks to Jeff Lindsay who has put together an amazing website at Jefflindsay.com and from which we pulled these list of questions that are featured on this post. If you enjoy this post, you’ll definitely enjoy what Jeff has put together on his page and if you want more info on the background of these questions make sure to check out his page. 

Our Turn

As I stated earlier with our post in “The Strength of Our Position” I understand that there are intellectual reasons for why people think that the church may not be true. I’m not here to try to reconvert or show you how wrong you may or may not be. What I am trying to do however is show that there are two sides to the table of questions. Critics of the church constantly bombard us with questions that it sometimes feel as if we are always trying to defensively justify our faith. In this post, hopefully we can show that there is plenty of “offense” to our beliefs and questions that the critics in turn have not yet answered.

There are plenty of intellectual reasons and justification for staying in the church. Mormons are not just a bunch of blind followers who have no claim to anything they claim to believe in. If what we believe in is true, there ought to be some evidence of those truths. So without any further delay, here is our “Big List” of questions to the critics.

How did Joseph know so much about the Arabian Peninsula, including specific names and places that were not known in his day?

Was it just blind luck that the rare place name Nahom in the Book of Mormon, identified as the place where Ishmael was buried, turns out to correspond to an ancient burial site right where the Book of Mormon says it is?

How could Joseph Smith so accurately and plausibly describe the nature and location of the place Bountiful in the Arabian Peninsula – when critics for years have been denying the possibility of such a place being anywhere in the region?

How does one account for the recent discovery of a plausible candidate for the River Laman, continuously flowing into the Red Sea as the Book of Mormon indicates, in spite of the repeated claims of critics that no such river exists?

If the gold plates never existed, how did Joseph get numerous witnesses to stand by their stories until their dying day, even when some of them later became angry with Joseph and left the Church?

Why would Martin Harris, a prosperous man praised by many non-Mormons for his integrity throughout his life, continue to claim that he had seen the gold plates and an angel, when this only brought harm to him?

Why would David Whitmer, after he became bitter toward Joseph Smith, still go out of his way to refute rumors that he had denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon?

If the Book of Mormon were a fraud, why involve “witnesses” at all – especially so many witnesses who might spill the beans and ruin everything?

How could Joseph have known about ancient cement technology in the first century B.C. in Mesoamerica?

Why does ancient Mesoamerican geography AND culture provide a plausible setting for the Book of Mormon?

How was Joseph able to accurately describe a natural disaster involving volcanic action, and then manage to have scientists later find evidence of massive volcanic action in a place and time compatible with the Book of Mormon?

How could Joseph Smith make up dozens of names in the Book of Mormon that would later be shown to be authentic ancient Semitic names?

Where did Joseph Smith get the idea of ancient scriptures written on metal plates?

How did Joseph Smith know about ancient practices regarding preservations of sacred texts?

Why do other ancient documents support the Book of Mormon’s idea that the ancient Joseph prophesied of Moses and Aaron?

Why does the Book of Mormon contain numerous, carefully crafted examples of ancient Hebrew poetical forms that Joseph Smith could not have known about?

Why does the Book of Mormon contain numerous language structures pointing to Hebraic roots? (See, for example, the Hebraic conditionals that were in the original Book of Mormon manuscript, wherein “if … then … ” clauses are written as “if … and …” – perfectly good Hebrew but awkward English. That wasn’t part of Joseph’s dialect of English, nor part of the King James Bible, so how would an unschooled forger be able to come with that sophisticated Hebraism? These were later replaced with more proper English “if … then …” clauses in the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon.)

What other church better follows the Biblical model of emphasizing the bilateral covenant nature of the Gospel?

If there was no apostasy in the Church of Jesus Christ, then what happened to prophets? They were a crucial part of the original Church.

Just where in the Bible does it say that there would be no more prophets after the Bible was complete?

Just where in the Bible does it say that the Bible was complete? (And if you do point to a verse about the goodness and power of the scriptures, hoping to make it mean that the Bible was complete, why did God’s servants keep writing additional verses, chapters, and books after writing a verse allegedly implying that the text was complete?)

Where in the Bible does it say that God would cease following His ancient and well established pattern of speaking to man through His chosen prophets?

What other Church better follows the Biblical model of revelation guiding the Church?

If the New Testament Church was operated through revelation from God to leaders that He selected, why isn’t your church run that way? Is there a chance that something was lost in some kind of Apostasy?

What other Church better follows the Biblical organization given for the Church?

If Joseph Smith just made up the idea of vicarious baptism for the dead, why do numerous ancient documents validate the LDS claim that this was an authentic early Christian practice?

At a time when all Christian churches taught that temples were no longer needed, how did Joseph so effectively restore the ancient temple concept on his own?

If the Temple is not meant to be part of true Christianity, why does the Bible teach that it was important to early Christians? Why does it prophecy that it will be important in the future?

What other church better corresponds with early Christianity in terms of teaching the true relationship between faith, grace, and works?

Why do the earliest Christian writings sound much closer to LDS theology than they to modern “mainstream” Christianity?

If the modern concept of the Trinity is true, then why does the different LDS view on the oneness of God find such strong support in the writings of the earliest Christians?

If the modern concept of the Trinity is true, then why does the different LDS view on the oneness of God find such strong support in the writings of the earliest Christians?

Why would Father Joseph Vajda, a Roman Catholic Dominican monk, successfully complete a master’s thesis at the University of California, Berkeley, which shows that this LDS doctrine of human exaltation is consistent with early Christian teachings?

If the Bible is infallible, complete, and sufficient, then which Bible? How do you know?

If the Bible is infallible, by whose authority were the various books of the Bible selected in an infallible manner? By whose authority were the infallible translations made and approved?
Who authorized the changes in the ritual of baptism that occurred since the New Testament Church? And who in your church has true authority from God to perform baptisms?