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Noah's Ark vs BOM vessels!
However, this particular account of 'a flood' reveals that the story should not be taken seriously by those claiming to be Christian. Why? The cuneiform writing on the eleventh tablet from the library at Nineveh revealed that Gilgamesh decided to ensure his immortality and set out on a long adventurous journey to find his ancestor Utnapishtim, from whom he hoped to learn the secret of everlasting life which 'the gods' had bestowed upon him. When he reached the island on which Utnapishtim lived, Gilgamesh asked of him the 'Secret of Life'. Utnapishtim related that he had once lived in Shuruppak and had been a true worshipper of 'the god Ea'. When 'the gods' decided to destroy mankind by a Flood, 'Ea' warned his devotee Utnapishtim and issued this command: 'O man of Shuruppak. son of Ubar-Tutu, tear down thy house, build a ship; abandon wealth, seek after life; scorn possessions, save thy life. Bring up the seed of all kinds of living things into the ship: the ship which thou shalt build. Let its dimensions be well measured.'
Some have tried to parallel the account with the Genesis record of Noah and the Flood. But there are many good reasons to discount this as an earlier or parallel account of the Genesis flood. First we note the fact that this account describes pagan 'gods,' who we are warned against in Deuteronomy 13. This means that Christian and Jewish believers should ignore this as a genuine account.
Polygamy - no excuse for Smith!
Examination and comparison of the accounts of the floods reveals clear flaws in the Gilgamesh narrative. Comparison of the dimensions of the ship described in the Gilgamesh account with Noah's ship is revealing: Noah's ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high with lower, second, and third stories. The ship in the story of the Babylonian flood was a cube, equal on all sides. The ratio of Noah's ship is recognised by modern ship builders as the perfect ratio for stability for a ship - but this was not known until the 15th century AD. The Gilgamesh ship, being a cube, would have been wildly unstable, unseaworthy and likely to flip over. Both cultures were not noted for their nautical skills, but it is obvious that the 'gods' of the Sumerians had absolutely no expertise in shipbuilding. Strangely, this is reminiscent of the Book of Mormon accounts of the barges which supposedly transported Jared and company through the seas - despite having holes in the top and bottom of the vessel!:
Ether 2:16 And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water. Ether 2:17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish. Ether 2:18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me. Ether 2:19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish. Ether 2:20 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.
The Babylonian ship supposedly took seven days to build while Noah took 120 years. Since they were supposed to fulfil similar duties and were therefore building the equivalent of a modern 10,000 ton ship, even allowing for a colossal difference in work-forces, it is clear that the time scale of seven days is ridiculous.
The character in the Babylonian story has been told to 'abandon wealth, seek after life; scorn possessions' - yet he loads his boat first with 'all things silver.....(and)....all things gold', indicating that his mind was still very much on earthly possessions and desires. Even though all Mankind was going to be killed, he still loaded up wealth and material possessions. Noah did not load anything which he did not need to survive the trip and feed his family and the animals. When people ask the character in the Gilgamesh story what he is doing building a boat, he is told to trick the people and tell them that he is going away. While he is gone, the people will be showered with abundance. His 'deity' tells him to lie while, in the Biblical account, Noah told the people the truth and clearly warned that the flood was coming, but they refused to believe him. The Babylonian 'gods' are afraid of the flood and are described in this way:
'The gods were frightened by the Flood, and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu. The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall. Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth, the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed'.
In Noah's flood, God is never shown to be anything but fully in control. The Babylonian gods are described as 'crowding like flies' around the sacrifice offered by the man, whimpering and fighting amongst themselves, blaming each other for the flood. One of the gods is seen to get angry that a human was saved from the flood and that not ALL of mankind was killed. In the Bible, God is always in full control and makes a vow with Noah and all Mankind (Genesis 8:21):
21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
While the character in the Gilgamesh story is made into an immortal ('Hitherto Utnapishtim has been but human. Henceforth Utnapishtim and his wife shall be like unto us gods') in the Biblical account Noah and his family simply re-populate the earth. The Gilgamesh account is again reminiscent of the 'theology' of Joseph Smith who strayed further and further from belief in One True God until he, too, sank into the pagan beliefs of 'many gods' holding a council on Kolob! [ref. the academically discredited Book of Abraham, part of Mormon sacred scripture which teaches the plurality of Gods: 'And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth' (Abraham 3:3; 4:1)].
In conclusion, the Gilgamesh account is simply a pagan myth that bears little resemblance to the Biblical flood or any kind of reality. In contrast, the Genesis account is a logical, factual account of a historical event entirely lacking the obvious mythological aspects of the Gilgamesh epic.
We should also consider how likely it is for flood myths relating to some real events to have sprung up throughout history! In the 19th century archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley, investigating the Mesopotamia area, discovered evidence of a large flood amounting to an area 400 miles long and 100 miles wide, north-west of the Persian Gulf. At first he reported it as evidence for the Genesis flood, but an extensive hunt for traces of 'the Flood' in other parts of Mesopotamia slowly convinced Woolley that they had discovered a 'local occurrence' flood.
Are floods of this size very unusual? Bear in mind the fact that most of the ancients wouldn't travel very far from their local area. A flood of this size would have seemed 'worldwide' to them. And uninspired written accounts of the peoples views of such floods can easily be constructed by comparing recent disasters. The tsunami of Boxing Day, 2004, which wiped out around 200,000 people, is far from unique in recent history. In 1876 a massive cyclone accompanied by tremendous thunderstorms swept across the Bay of Bengal and up the Ganges. Up to 200 miles from its centre ships at sea had their masts splintered. It was ebb-tide along the coast and the receding water was seized by the broad high sweep of the cyclone and a gigantic tidal wave reared itself up. It burst into the Ganges area and sea water 50 feet high swept inland and 141 square miles were covered in water and 215,100 people died. In recent history people became more aware of the devastation they experienced, relative to the world as they knew it, but massive floods have obviously occurred throughout history and many, if not all, ancient floods were probably considered 'worldwide' by the people of the time.
How do modern people view catastrophes that befall them, from their spiritual viewpoint, and how would they compare with the Gilgamesh account, or other ancient accounts? Consider the differing views which were publicised world wide after the 2004 tsunami. Many Islamic preachers considered the disaster to be a judgement from Allah on the decadence/apathy of Muslims living in the area. Other imams claimed it was a judgement on the decadence of the Westerners who came to that area on holiday: they had difficulty answering the fact that a very small percentage who died in the tsunami were Westerners, but then claimed that the local people who died were being judged for encouraging and supporting the hedonistic Western lifestyle! On the other hand, some Christian spokesmen considered the tsunami to be a judgement on Islam because of the years of massive and continuous persecution of Christians in the area. Others claimed that some Christians had also suffered or died, while others claimed the Christian community had escaped relatively unscathed! Where does the truth lie? If we cannot find out from modern secular media where the real truth lies concerning this modern disaster, and uninspired members of religious groups interpret it from their own viewpoint, how can we believe that 'secular' or 'pagan' records on ancient clay tablets are going to tell the truth about an ancient flood they experienced? Christians will believe the Bible account of Noah's flood because they accept it as God's inspired Word and because it does not lack veracity. Those who attack evidence from the Word of God also show where their spiritual leanings are!
So this is the crunch. It is a fact that people in all eras will report things they experience from the viewpoint of their experiences and beliefs. Whether you like to admit it or not, you have done the same in this brief discussion by e-mail. Your LDS beliefs have influenced both your understanding and views about the Bible, and therefore your theology, as well as the Wiccan beliefs you now hold. You are trapped in 'experientialism' and this is why you will tend to accept the evidence from an obscure 'clay tablet' - as well as any 'spiritual' confirmation of your Wiccan beliefs from your 'new' spirit guide. I say this with all sincerity Shelley - if you are truly relating what this 'spirit' has shown you, you need to be set free in Christ in order to truly live the life He offers (Romans 6:17-23):
17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. 20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But then what return did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Have you ever considered this clear fact: because the Bible exposes the truth about the false prophet Joseph Smith and 'his' work, the Book of Mormon, etc., members of the Mormon church will happily and regularly join non-Christians in attacking the Bible to try and bolster or deflect criticism of their own belief system! It is easy for us to prove the massive superiority of the Bible over all other ancient writings in terms of accuracy, manuscript support, and inspiration (see previous website reference) and it is simply not good enough for Mormons to cling to Smith's excuse, as some try to do, that they 'accept the Bible to be God's Word as far as it is translated correctly.' People forget that Joseph Smith's own writings ('Church History' etc.) prove that he claimed to have corrected the Bible! Since he made few 'major' changes to his 'Inspired Version' and, in fact, forgot to 'correct' mistakes he had earlier claimed were in the Bible, he further exposed himself as a liar and false prophet. The fact that Mormon missionaries still don't use his 'Inspired Version' in proselytizing proves again that they are deceptive - and many of them secretly know that he was a con-man!
You write: You have also mentioned the Isaiah scriptures of a book sealed in the ground pertaining to a familiar spirit, how do you know for sure that this is the book of mormon? And not some other book that was sealed & found, or rather not been found yet?
TCE: You should read more carefully, Shelley. We gave details of the LDS claim that this refers to the Book of Mormon! Of course we know that this does not refer to Smith's deception or, indeed, any other book, because the verse says:
'... the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed.'
This little word 'as' makes it clear that Isaiah is likening their failure to understand the vision as total as trying to read a book that 'is sealed'!
Confusion of Mormonism
You write: Also, was Joseph's father ( talking about the Joseph of his coat of many colours, sold into slavery in Eygpt by his brothers...Old Testament) was he just as guilty for lustful wanting, as he had was it 4 wives? With 12 sons and a daughter, was he just as guilty as the Joseph Smith?
TCE: polygamy was practiced in the Old Testament by many old patriarchs, e.g. Lamech (Genesis 4:19), Moses, Gideon, and David. That does not mean that God encouraged the practice, and violating His laws and commandments will inevitably lead us into disasters in personal and family life. David is an illustration of that fact. While the 'house of David (his position and stature as king-designate) grew stronger and stronger' (2 Samuel 3:1), his family life was headed for serious trouble. Evidence for that can be found in the list of David's six sons born at Hebron (2 Samuel 3:2-5). Each was born to a different wife, which indicates that David was strengthening his political ties through marriage, a common practice for ancient kings but, in David's case, an utterly foolish practice. Not only did David's polygamy violate the law (Deuteronomy 17:17), it led to enormous problems as he tried to to blend his various families together. For example, David's son Amnon violated his half-sister Tamar, and was then killed by her avenging brother, Absalom. That led to a bitter estrangement between Absalom and his father that resulted in the treason and, ultimately, the death of Absalom and terrible heartache for David (2 Samuel 13-18). David's polygamy also set a poor example for his successor, Solomon, who expanded his kingdom while marrying 700 wives and 300 concubines. Just as the law had predicted, these women turned his heart away from the Lord to idols (1 Kings 11:3). God judged him for that sin by allowing the kingdom to be divided after his death (11:9-13). David demonstrates the biblical principle that the sins of the parents extend 'to the third and fourth generations' (Exodus 20:5). The choices that we make in order to further our selfish lives can sometimes do lasting damage to our immediate families and even our descendants. We may succeed brilliantly in our own lives while wreaking havoc on those around us.
The New Testament also forbids polygamy (e.g. 1 Timothy 3:2,12 - 'A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife.… Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife.…'; cf. Titus 1:6) and, since we have this confirmation of the Old Testament truth for nearly 2,000 years, we have absolutely no excuses for going against God's laws. Verses speaking against polygamy also appear in the Book of Mormon, supposedly written by Joseph Smith, and the subsequent back-and-forth changes in the matter of polygamy amongst Mormons should be of real concern to sincere LDS believers. The Book of Mormon condemns polygamy throughout, e.g. Jacob 1:15; 2:24, 27; 3:5; Mosiah 11:2, and Ether 10:5, all of which denounce kings for having 'many wives and concubines':
Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.… Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father ['fathers' in 1977 edition] - that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none.… (Jacob 2:24, 27; 3:5)
… he [King Noah] did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. (Mosiah 11:2)
… Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines.… (Ether 10:5)
However, the path that Joseph Smith's 'revelations' followed from his early attempt to mimic the King James Bible then took on an even more sinister and despicably manipulative aspect with a slant on polygamy which threatened the very soul of his followers into the afterlife! The evidence from the records of those within the Mormon church indicates that Joseph Smith knew 'the doctrines and principles' of plural marriage 'since 1831,' the year following publication of the Book of Mormon (Doctrine and Covenants, 1990 printing, Section 132 introduction). The 1835 edition of Doctrine and Covenants included Section 101, verse 4, which said, 'Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband.' This was included in all editions until 1876, when it was quietly removed. However, Mormons and their leaders were secretly practicing polygamy throughout that entire period. The 1876 edition of Doctrine and Covenants added Section 132, establishing polygamy as an 'everlasting covenant' such that 'if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory' (132:4). So we should note carefully that, according to the words of their prophet, not one Mormon who refuses to practice polygamy will ever enter in to God's glory! This means that many in Smith's day, and virtually every Mormon living today, fail to keep this 'everlasting covenant' and thus are 'damned'!
If we read the July 1843 version of the D&C 132:38-39, 61-62 we can see total contradiction with the Book of Mormon (and obviously with the Bible):
David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me.… And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood - if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
This new Section was approved by membership vote as a part of Mormon canonized scripture in 1880 (Ensign, December 1984, pp. 38-39). But just ten years later, in 1890, the Manifesto was issued officially ending the practice of polygamy by LDS Church members. But Doctrine and Covenants 132, establishing the practice as an 'everlasting covenant,' remains part of Mormon scripture! Such a history of back-and-forth changes, with public statements contradicting private practice much of the time, is part of the evidence that proves that, far from 'restoring' the Gospel of Christ supposedly lost to apostasy, Joseph Smith began an evil cult that resulted in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Anyone reading the history of the Mountain Meadows massacre will know that polygamy played a huge part in the revengeful motives of the Mormon leaders who killed defenceless women and children to try and hide their sin. Few people will be aware of the number of women who killed themselves rather than bow to Smith's 'revelations of convenience' and share the husband they loved with other women. How do you think people implementing these changes could have been acting as servants or mouthpieces of the God who is 'not the author of confusion' (1 Corinthians 14:33)?
It is clear that the excuses trotted out regularly by some Mormons that their 'leaders were just expressing their own opinions' cannot be used to cancel out this evidence. Since we are all responsible for what we do with our lives dependent on the 'light' we have, we can state categorically that Joseph Smith had absolutely no excuses whatsoever for his false prophecies, false doctrine, and immoral behaviour! You ask if Jacob, father of Joseph, was 'just as guilty as the [sic] Joseph Smith'. We can answer emphatically - No! Jacob had two wives because he fell in love with Rachel, yet was deceived into marrying Leah by her father, Laban, after he had served him for seven years; to Jacob these years 'seemed but a few days, for the love he had to her.' But when the seven years were expired, Laban craftily deceived Jacob, and gave him his daughter Leah. Another seven years of service had to be completed to be able to obtain the beloved Rachel. But life-long sorrow, disgrace, and trials, in the retributive providence of God, followed as a consequence of this double union. At the close of the fourteen years of service, Jacob desired to return to his parents, but at the entreaty of Laban he tarried yet six years with him, tending his flocks (Genesis 31:41). Rachel died giving birth to her second son Benjamin (Genesis 35:16-20) fifteen or sixteen years after the birth of Joseph. Jacob may not have always been honourable (Genesis 25:29-34) but, in his dealings with his wives, he was streets ahead of the deceiver Joseph Smith!
Knowing these facts who would continue to try and defend the indefensible? Who could believe it wise to follow the teachings of the top Mormon leaders? And who could believe that their teachings could lead anyone to God's true gospel message and the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ?
You write: Much of bible scriputure is left for the readers to work as a jigsaw puzzle, as the time of Christ that certain prophecies pertaining to his birth & life, some people matched to the talmud, others & this includes learned priests, did not acclaim such prophecies to christ. So it is really a matter of what you believe when you look at words written on paper, as it was christ who himself was the word, a book is not a manifestation of the holy christ in the flesh, a book is a book & a man is a man & a God A God, a spirit a spirit.
TCE: Scripture is clearly a mystery to non-Christians who do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them into 'all truth' (John 16:13). Non-believers in Christ's day - such as the priests and scribes - struggled to understand prophecies relating to Him, although there were many as Jesus pointed out (Matthew 2:23; 26:56; Mark 1:2; Luke 18:31; Luke 24:25-27, 44; Acts 3:24). But those who were looking for His appearance did recognise Him (John 1:45: 'Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph'). We should not be surprised to see this happen in our day. Clearly, Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13) who has the power to preserve His Word for us to read to this day, for He is 'the same, yesterday, and today, and forever' (Hebrews 13:8). I repeat, what you believe is influenced by your experiences, whereas a born again Christian who listens carefully to the leading of the Holy Spirit should only be influenced by the Word of God! There is a phrase - 'systematic theology' - used by orthodox Christians to show that genuine Spirit-led hermeneutics (the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation of Scripture) 'gels' together so that Scripture does not contradict itself, but makes perfect sense. Sadly, anyone exposed to historical Mormon 'theology' will find nothing but a sad 'mish-mash' of contradictions. This is not just true for their doctrine on polygamy, but for every aspect of their work, for they simply do not have anything approaching a 'systematic theology.' We will look at the same application to Wicca, later.
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