A missionary will be with you shortly.
Agent [Malia] is ready to assist you.
Me: Hi Malia!
Malia: Hi Maria. My name is Malia. How may I help you?
Me: our names are so similar!
Malia: I know, I thought that same thing when I read yours. :)
Me: ok, well I’m a freshman so it’s my first year of seminary. My family converted to the church a couple years ago
Me: wow it seems like longer than that
Me: but I had some questions my mom couldn’t answer so I came here
Me: is that cool?
Malia: that is great. I would love to help you with your questions.
Me: ok awesome. My friend lucy is catholic and she doesn’t like the church much. I have her a book of mormon and she said a lot of it is plagiarized from the bible
Me: like the lord’s prayer
Me: I told her my seminary teacher said it’s not plagiarized
Me: it’s just that jesus said the same things to the nephrites as he did the jews
Malia: yes, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God. It will be the same gospel no matter what part of the world it is taught.
Malia: you are right. :0
Me: ok, that’s what I said. But that’s not good enough for her. She said if that’s the case why did joseph smith end up changing the words in his inspired translation of the bible?
Me: and I don’t know what to tell her :(
Me: I have to admit it does seem weird that the JST differs from the bom
Malia: the JST of what?
Me: the bible
Me: hold on, I have it here
Me: “lead us not into temptation” that’s how it reads in both the KJV and 3 Nephi 13:13
Me: but the JST of the bible says “and suffer us not to be led into temptation”
Me: she said either the Book of Mormon is wrong, or the JST is wrong
Me: and my parents didn’t know what to say
Malia: I see
Malia: okay… let me grab my Bible rally quick and look up a reference.
Me: ok cool. I think it’s Matthew 6:13
Malia: So the JST is not what the Bible used to say, it is the correct interpretation of what the Bible says. So Jesus said those words, but the JST in Matthew help us to understand what that phrase means.
Me: I don’t understand.
Me: How can I tell my friend that jesus didn’t know how to explain himself clearly? She’s going to call me crazy
Malia: I see your point…
Malia: just a moment.
Me: ok thanks
Me: I really appreciate your help
Malia: Every Lord’s prayer in the Bible is written a little bit different. They were all written by different prophets. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t know how to explain himself clearly, but that it is easy for us to misinterpret things in the scriptures.
Malia: does that help?
Me: no, because it says the same thing in the book of mormon as it does in the KJV, word for word
Me: so they weren’t written differently. Jesus said the exact same thing to the nephrites
Malia: Have you read the Lord’s prayer in the book of Luke? The wording of them is a little bit different.
Me: but the book of mormon is translated perfectly, right?
Me: so whatever is in 3 Nephi is exactly what jesus said
Malia: Yes. The Book of Mormon is correct. But, the JST is not to change what Jesus said, but to help us understand the words that Jesus said. It isn’t changing the words, just making them more understandable to us.
Me: but that’s like saying jesus didn’t explain himself clearly and joseph smith had to clarify his words. No Christian is going to believe that
Malia: No, it is not like saying that. It is saying that there are lots of ways to misinterpret the Bible. There are loads of scriptures that are true, but the way they are interpreted can be false.
Me: but we’re talking about the book of mormon
Malia: it is just to make things more clear because of man’s error, not Jesus’ error.
Me: by changing matthew 6:13 he’s also changing 3 nephi 13:13
Me: because they say the exact same thing
Me: word for word
Malia: he is not changing it, he is just explaining it. For example, the scripture found in John 3:5…”born of the Spirit…”
Malia: we have been taught that refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost. It doesn’t mean we have changed the scripture. We just have had it explained to us.
Me: this is just crazy. Why would jesus say something twice that he knew would be so confusing that joseph smith would have to clarify it 1400 years later?
Me: if he knew that it wasn’t clear, why wouldn’t he just say the right thing the first time?
Me: I can understand what you’re saying about the bible
Me: that’s no problem. It’s been translated so many times
Me: but the book of mormon has only been translated once, and that was by a seer
Me: so it has to be perfect
Me: so basically you’re saying that in 3 nephi 13:13 jesus said something confusing and waited for joseph smith to clarify it for him?
Malia: No. Joseph Smith translated it for our benefit. Bottom line we have the Book of Mormon and the Bible together. All scripture is for our benefit. If you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon being true and of Joseph Smith as a prophet, you understand that this church is true. Translations do not change the words, but help us to understand. To be honest, I have wondered why sometimes the scriptures are written in the style they are. It would seem to have been easier to have the scriptures written in plain English. But they aren’t. So we use the Spirit in order to help us understand.
Me: I already know where this is going, though. She’s going to say that mormons think joseph smith is smarter than jesus, or that he plagiarized the new testament and then changed it later but couldn’t change the book of mormon because the translation was supposed to be perfect.
Me: “lead us not into temptation” and “suffer us not to be led into temptation” are two completely different phrases
Me: one is active and one is passive
Me: in the first god is doing the leading, in the second god is trying to keep us from being led
Me: how could jesus not know that?
Me: he’s perfect
Me: hold on, my teacher’s coming
Me: never mind. Coast is clear. Lol
Malia: Honestly Maria, I would just invite your friend to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. The Holy Ghost won’t lie to her, and then she will have it straight from the source. We believe in modern revelation. There are many things hat has been revealed to us in these latter-days. That is why we still have prophets. To help us know what God says.
Me: that’s what my mom said. I told her that’s a copout and that’s when she told me to ask a missionary
Me: if I head “pray and read your scriptures” one more time I think I’m gonna scream
Me: I can understand joseph smith clarifying the words of Isaiah, or another man, but not jesus. That just doesn’t make any sense.
Me: how could jesus, being perfect, also be confusing? And how could joseph smith, not being perfect, be more clear than jesus?
Malia: I know we have prophets for our benefit. Jesus is perfect, but we as imperfect beings need clarifications so that we can understand the perfect words of our Savior. There are some very confusing things. For example, Jesus taught in parables. It allows for us to be in tune with the Spirit as we hear the words or Prophets and read the words of the scriptures.
Me: is the lord’s prayer a parable?
Malia: Even on our Book of Mormon, there is a JST footnote for the Lord’s prayer
Me: that’s what doesn’t make sense. How could joseph smith be a better teacher than jesus?
Malia: No the Lord’s prayer is not a parable, but many scriptures are difficult to understand.
Me: if jesus mean to use a passive phrase, why did he use an active one?
Me: that’s like being deceitful, and jesus is not deceitful
Malia: maria, you bring up a good point. Bottom line is you have a testimony or you don’t. There are people all over the world that want to pick at every little thing in this church. The reason you keep hearing read and pray, is because that really is the answer. That is how you receive personal revelation. You can invite your friend. If she chooses not to, then okay. But that is the only way to get an answer.
Me: but that’s not fair. She believes the mormon god is a false god. He’s totally different than the god she worships. Heavenly father is a man living on a planet in the star system kolob. Her god is spirit and transcends creation. That’s like me asking if you’re willing to read the bhagavad gita and pray to Krishna if it’s true. You’d feel like you were betraying heavenly father
Malia: is she Christian?
Me: She’s catholic
Malia: Then have her pray to God. There is no your God, my God. Just invite her to pray to God.
Me: the bible doesn’t say god has a body or that he lives in the star system kolob.
Me: it’s a totally different god in her mind
Me: she believes in the trinity
Me: she says there is only one god
Me: we worship three gods
Malia: That is okay, Because we know that it is the same God. Think of all the other catholic converts out there. They all did it.
Me: but it’s not the same god at all
Malia: She can pray to God. She doesn’t need to understand all the deep doctrines on the nature of God to pray.
Me: they’re completely mutually exclusive god concepts
Me: you’re asking her to pray to elohim
Me: that’s not the god she believes in
Me: she believes the father, son, and holy spirit are one god
Malia: Are you afraid she will be offended?
Me: we believe in three separate gods
Me: this is what she told me when I asked her to pray with our family
Me: my dad asked me if I wanted her to say the prayer when she slept over a couple of months ago
Me: she said we wouldn’t like it if she did because she worships the trinity
Me: and we don’t
Me: I told her I’d give her an answer today on whether the book of mormon was correct or whether the JST was correct. Right now I don’t know what to tell her
Malia: All we can do is invite. I understand where you are coming from. It is difficult, and I think it is great you are sharing the gospel with her. Tell her that we believe the Bible to be the word of God as long as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. JST is just expounding on the scriptures as we also believe that Prophets can help us to understand and see things more clearly. This isn’t an either or situation. The church is true, and if your friend sincerely wants to know, she can pray to whoever she understands is God. God will answer her.
Me: but I can’t tell her that jesus didn’t know the difference between active vs. passive phrasing because I don’t believe that
Me: of course jesus knew the difference
Malia: You are right, don’t tell her that
Me: if he meant to say, “and suffer us not to be led into temptation” that what he would have said
Me: so it is an either/or situation
Me: either jesus was confused and joseph smith clarified it, which I don’t believe
Me: or jesus was right and the JST was wrong
Me: does that mean that joseph smith fell from grace?
Me: like david?
Me: I mean, he changed jesus’ words
Me: he changed the whole meaning
Me: it’s a big deal
Malia: The fact is, Jesus spoke it, and Joseph Smith helps us understand.
Me: helps us understand what?
Me: what jesus meant to say?
Me: ‘cause he said something completely different
Me: I’m so confused
Malia: I have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He helps us understand better Christ’s gospel.
Me: If you are confused, you can pray about it too :)
Me: oh my god
Me: did jesus mean to use the active phrase or didn’t he?
Me: did jesus believe god was doing the leading or didn’t he?
Me: class is almost over
Me: I’ve only got ten minutes
Malia: God is in charge
Me: ok, so jesus was right
Me: of course
Malia: Both are right.
Malia: I don’t think me explaining it again helped you.
Me: well, either god is doing the leading or someone else is doing the leading
Me: you said god is in charge. Does that mean god is doing the leading?
Malia: You can pray about that concern too.
Malia: I know God is in charge of his church.
Malia: I prayed to find that out.
Me: I feel like you’re intentionally trying not to answer my question
Me: what gives?
Malia: The answer is that Jesus was correct, and Joseph Smith was correct.
Me: that’s totally dishonest because they’re saying completely different things
Malia: And you and your friend can know that yourself if you ask God in sincere prayer.
Malia: They are saying the same thing.
Me: explain how
Me: explain how Leading is the same as Not Leading
Me: that’s like saying praying is the same as not praying
Malia: I am not sure where you are getting that?
Me: it’s completely illogical
Me: active vs. passive
Me: they completely change the meaning of the phrase
Malia: Can you please explain?
Me: Dog bites Boy vs. Dog watches Boy get bitted by another Dog
Me: in the first case the Dog bit the Boy
Me: in the second case the Dog didn’t bite the Boy
Me: another Dog did
Me: It’s pretty simple
Malia: So would it help if we looked at your example again…
Me: anything besides “pray about it” will help
Malia: :) Okay
Malia: bottom line, both are asking Heavenly Father to keep us from falling into temptation. Both are asking God to lead us away from temptation.
Me: your first point is correct: we don’t want to be led into temptation. Your second point is incorrect: jesus is asking god specifically not to lead us into temptation. Joseph is saying that jesus meant to ask god not to allow someone else to lead us into temptation. The point is, who’s doing the leading?
Malia: In both cases, not God.
Me: in jesus’ version it is god
Me: jesus is directing the prayer to god and says, “lead us not into temptation”
Me: that’s very clear
Me: unless jesus was praying to someone else
Malia: Maria, it is hard not to get hung up on the little wording. I am sorry, aren’t your ten minutes almost up?
Me: it’s lunchtime now and I don’t want to meet up with lucy anyway until I get this straight
Me: it’s not little wording
Me: it goes to joseph smith’s credibility as a prophet
Me: and translator
Malia: both are asking god to lead us away from temptation. What else really matters. :)
Me: it matters that mormons think jesus said things he didn’t mean to say
Me: I don’t believe that
Me: I don’t believe that jesus’ words need to be clarified
Me: I can’t believe that
Malia: Joseph Smith was a prophet, and my testimony of this is not going to go out the door because of something like this. The witness I received from the Holy Ghost is stronger than your argument presented.
Me: I’m not arguing with you
Me: I’m not trying to throw your testimony out the door
Me: I feel like you’re being defensive
Me: most people don’t rely on feelings. They rely on facts
Malia: No, I just don’t feel like I have helped you with your testimony and faith.
Me: if feelings are good for you, that’s great
Me: but I don’t think you can trust feelings. 2 + 2 must equal 4
Me: anyone can trick themselves into a testimony. Hundreds of millions of muslims have read the kuran, prayed to allah, and received a testimony that “there is no god but allah and Muhammad is his prophet”
Malia: maria, you said you were a member. Do you have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet?
Me: I’m not sure anymore
Me: so much stuff doesn’t make sense
Malia: That is where faith comes in. I have my own questions about things. But even when I still have not received an answer to these things, my testimony has given me something to lean on, even when there are unanswered facts or questions. When was the last time you prayed to know Joseph Smith was a prophet?
Me: don’t you think faith is dishonest though? It’s just a fancy way of saying “make-believe” or “pretend”
Malia: Every other church tries to analyze the scriprrues, rationalize and logically explain things. We rely on the Spirit.
Me: every other church relies on the spirit, too
Me: that’s not true what you just said. That’s a gross overgeneralization
Me: how could you say that?
Me: we don’t have a monopoly on the holy ghost
Me: if there even is such a thing
Malia: maria, the bible talks about faith as a mustard seed. It is the first principle of the gospel. You are right, your friend can also receive a witness from the Holy Ghost if these things are true. That is what I have been trying to say. Don’t try to overly explain things to her, ask her to take it to the source.
Me: that’s totally dishonest though
Malia: The role of the Holy Ghost is to testify of truth. It says that in the Bible.
Me: asking her to pray with faith is like saying, “pretend it’s true for a little while and see how you feel”
Me: it’s like answering your own question before you’ve ever asked it
Malia: No, it is asking her to follow James 1:5
Me: of course you’ll feel good about it
Me: that’s how the brain works
Me: it’s ego preservation
Me: you’ve never considered that?
Malia: maria. More than your friend, you need to find out. As missionaries, we cannot help others if we do not believe it our self. Same goes for you, if you do not have a testimony, then you can’t help your friend gain one.
Malia: That is how it works.
Me: here’s my problem with that
Malia: don’t take my word for it.
Malia: ask God. If you lack wisdom, ask God.
Me: if I pray to god, that means I have to first believe that god exists (or else who am I praying to). Once I’ve made up my mind that a god exists then it won’t be honest to close my eyes and try to communicate telepathically with that god
Me: of course my brain will make me feel good about it
Malia: maria, do believe in God?
Me: I don’t think so. What’s the point? If there was real evidence that a god existed I wouldn’t have to believe
Me: I think I’m an atheist
Me: but I can’t tell my parents that
Me: they’d kick me out
Malia: okay, that is your problem. If you don’t know if someone is home, you knock on their door to find out.
Me: that’s a terrible analogy
Malia: you need to knock and see if someone answers
Me: and if no one answers you’ll say I don’t have enough faith
Me: I’ve prayed so many times I can’t count
Malia: no, I know that God will answer any sincere prayer. But you have to show that you want to know.
Me: so you’re telling me I haven’t been sincere? You don’t even know me
Me: how did god answer your prayer? Please don’t tell me with some vague feeling
Malia: if you don’t want to know or believe, it won’t matter if He is there or not.
Me: I want to know
Malia: You need to be sincere and have real intent.
Me: I don’t want to believe
Me: how did god answer your prayer?
Malia: Then it doesn’t really matter then, if you don’t want it.
Me: I want to know
Me: you’re not hearing me
Me: I don’t want to pretend, I want to know
Malia: Okay, how many times did you ask?
Me: I can’t even count. It’s been over two years
Malia: Can I share a scripture with you?
Me: I’d rather you tell me how god answered your prayer
Me: I’ve read the scriptures already
Malia: Mine came through a priesthood blessing.
Malia: I had a question for years that had never been answered.
Me: what was the question?
Malia: I prayed and prayed and prayed. And I never got an answer.
Malia: I would rather not share what my question was.
Me: who am I gonna tell?
Malia: It is personal. I felt like God was not answering my prayer.
Me: if I don’t know what the question was then your story is totally irrelevant. It could be something really mundane or it could be a real deal miracle
Malia: And I got a priesthood blessing for something completely different from a man I didn’t really even know. Maria, do you want me to finish the story?
Me: how can you finish the story if you haven’t shared the most important details? It’s like a shell with nothing inside of it
Me: it’s like saying, “just trust me”
Malia: The question is not he most important detail, it is how I got my answer that is what we are talking about.
Me: this is totally anonymous. I don’t know your full name, you don’t know mine
Me: there are untold numbers of angels and gods in heaven that already know your question
Malia: I still hold certain things sacred.
Me: so it’s really not a secret
Me: how can they know but not me?
Me: we’re sisters, rigth?
Malia: That is the thing. He didn’t know, but through the priesthood he still could answer my question.
Me: how can I know that unless I know what the question was?
Malia: Maria, I am sorry. I don’t feel like I am helping you. You don’t seem to want to hear what I have to say.
Me: that’s just it. I definitely DO want to hear it, but you’re not willing to tell me
Me: what’s sacred between sisters?
Malia: it is something that I have the right to keep personal. Maria. I think we better end this chat. I don’t feel like either one of us is getting anywhere.
Me: sounds like you had a perfectly normal concern that girls have and he gave some perfectly normal advice and you read too much into it and that’s why you don’t want to share it with me. Typical testimony mumbo-jumbo. If it’s mundane just call it “sacred” so it seems mysterious
Me: so my brain goes to work trying to fill the gap
Me: it happens every fast & testimony meeting
Malia: I hope you do not turn your back on God. He is there. Maria, He loves you. If you want to think it was a typical concern, fine. I have a testimony because I was open to the Holy Ghost. He will not force it on you.
Me: prove it.
Me: where’s the evidence?
Malia: That is not my purpose or my responsibility.
Malia: I hope you have a wonderful day.
The chat session has ended.