#30. If children have no sins until they are eight years old, why are they baptized at age eight to wash away non-existent sins?
Eight year old children are not baptized to wash away their sins, but to take upon themselves the name of Christ, enter his Church and qualify to receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
#31. How could the Garden of Eden have been in Missouri when the Pearl of Great Price declares that it was in the vicinity of Assyria and had the Euphrates and Hiddekel Rivers in it?
It is Adam-ondi-Ahman that is in Missouri, the location where Adam and Eve dwelled after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. However, the configuration of the four rivers described as located around the Garden of Eden doesn’t fit any modern configuration of rivers. It is also possible that ancient names were used after the flood in new locations. This was done by European settlers in America ─ many places are named after European cities.
#32. Brigham Young said, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy”. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269) Why did the Mormons yield to the pressure of the government and stop practicing polygamy?
This is not exactly what Brigham Young said. His discourse was centered on the idea that the obedient will be exalted. The Lord had commanded that the Saints practice plural marriage, so to be obedient in all things, they had to uphold the concept as a commandment from God, whether they practiced it or not. The Church did not yield to government pressure. The Lord rescinded the commandment. If he had not, the practice would have continued, no matter what kind of persecution the Saints were suffering.
#33. Heber C. Kimball stated, “We are the people of Deseret, she shall be no more Utah: we will have our own name”. Why did this prophecy fail?
Heber C. Kimball was not a spokesman for the Church, and this was not a prophecy. Kimball said, “I am going to talk about these [political] things, and I feel as though I had a perfect right to do so, because I am one of the people.” In other words, he was giving a stump speech.
#34. How did Joseph Smith carry home the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, and how did the witnesses lift them so easily? (They weighted about 230 lbs. Gold, with a density of 19.3 weighs 1204.7 lbs. Per cubic foot. The plates were 7” x 8” by about 6”.)
Those who hefted the plates reported that they weighed between 40 and 60 pounds. They were comprised of very thin metallic leaves, not a solid lump of gold, and the gold was incorporated with other metal, probably with copper.
#35. When Christ died, did darkness cover the land for three days of [sic] for three hours?
There was darkness for three hours in the Holy Land and three days of “thick darkness” in the new world, as described in the Book of Mormon. There was horrible destruction in the new world upon the crucifixion of Christ, and the more wicked of the people were destroyed. The whole face of the land was changed by great earthquakes. The darkness was so thick that no match could be lit, and no fire started, indicating that the darkness was more than an absence of light, but perhaps comprised also of vapors from underground.
#37. If God speaks through a prophet, why do Mormons vote on whether or not to receive and authorize it?
Mormons don’t vote on revelations received through the prophet. As is shown in the Old Testament, people give their common consent to sustain the prophet and his sayings: “And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey” (Joshua 24:24). The Lord expects each member to pray and receive his own witness that revelations and counsel are true.
#39. Why is it that no other writings have been found in the language of “Reformed Egyptian”, the supposed language of the Book of Mormon plates? Is there evidence that such a language really existed?
From FAIRlds.org: “Moroni makes it clear that “reformed Egyptian” is the name which the Nephites gave to a script originally based upon Egyptian characters, but modified over the course of a thousand years (see Mormon 9:32). It is no surprise that Egyptians or Jews have no script called “reformed Egyptian,” as this was a Nephite term.
#42. Joseph Smith prepared fourteen Articles of Faith. Why has the original No. 11 been omitted?
There were many versions of “articles of faith” prepared by various early Latter-day Saints to support their missionary efforts. Most of them had essential items in common (belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; the necessity of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost; etc.), but there were various differences among them. This is the summary used by Church; no doctrinal changes have been made.
# 43. According to Hebrews 7:24, the Melchizedek Priesthood is not transferable. Why do Mormons pass it from one to another?
Hebrews 7:24 has been mistranslated. It means “unchangeable,” not untransferable.
# 44. If Mormonism came as a revelation from God, why are the Mormon Temple Oaths almost identical to the oaths of the Masonic Lodge?
The Mormon temple oaths are completely different from Masonic Lodge oaths. Mormon temple oaths are covenants between God and man; Masonic oaths are oaths of brotherhood.
# 53. If no person ever receives the Holy Spirit before baptism or without the laying on of hands, how does a Mormon explain the case of Cornelius?
This question misrepresents Mormon doctrine. There is a difference between being inspired or prompted by the Holy Ghost and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost can touch or inspire anyone at any time the Lord sees fit. The gift of the Holy Ghost, however, which is bestowed after baptism and retained by the worthy member, means the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit.
# 54. If baptism for the dead was a Christian ceremony, why did Paul use the pronoun “they” rather than “we” or “ye”? Why did he exclude himself and other Christians when referring to it?
“In his epistle to the Corinthians, Paul cited the early Christian practice of proxy baptism for the dead as evidence of a future resurrection and judgment. Most non-Latter-day Saint scholars have failed to note the importance of this passage. Some pass it off as an outmoded practice of the early church, while others believe it refers to an apostate or heretical doctrine.
“But historical records are clear on the matter. Baptism for the dead was performed by the dominant church until forbidden by the sixth canon of the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397. Some of the smaller sects, however, continued the practice. Of the Marcionites of the fourth century, Epiphanius wrote:
“In this country—I mean Asia—and even in Galatia, their school flourished eminently and a traditional fact concerning them has reached us, that when any of them had died without baptism, they used to baptize others in their name, lest in the resurrection they should suffer punishment as unbaptized.” (Heresies, 8:7.)
# 58. Are you courageous enough to personally receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and follow the truth regardless of ridicule, antagonism or persecution?
This is a challenge that would bring tears to the eyes of any Mormon who has the least idea of the history of the Church. Mormons are sincere, dedicated Christians who have discerned by personal revelation that this is Christ’s true gospel. Mormons have suffered bitter persecution for their faith. An example is their experience in Winter Quarters Nebraska. Driven out of Nauvoo in winter, after having been driven already from New York, Ohio, and Missouri, the Saints settled in tents and make-shift cabins for the winter. Thousands gathered there, just having lost their dear prophet and leader, who was martyred. Hundreds died of exposure and disease without any aid from the federal government or nearby states. Mormons continue to suffer ridicule and antagonism for their faith, which is centered on the atonement of Christ and is the restoration of Christ’s own Church from ancient times.
The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 103, verses 27-28, says (and this is Christ Himself speaking):
Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again. And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.