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Dr Matt's Rebuttals to Rob Bowman and Institute of Religious Research:
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Is the Mormon Doctrine of Pre-Mortal Existence
Really Radically Incompatible with the Bible?

By Dr Matt Moody   

In an online article at Parchment and Pen, the Director of Research at the Institution of Religious Research, Rob Bowman, posted an article entitled: "ARE MORMONS CHRISTIANS." In that article, Bowman asserts that Mormon Doctrines are "radically incompatible with the biblical gospel."

To make his case, Rob Bowman gives his characterization of an LDS Doctrine supposedly radically incompatible with the Bible: Bowman writes:

* All human beings preexisted in heaven, where they were the offspring of heavenly parents (God the Father and a “heavenly mother”), before their natural conception here on earth.

The following is a review of Bible verses that are clearly compatible with the conclusion that human beings existed as spirit offspring of Heavenly Father, prior to mortal birth. These Bible passages are evidence that Rob Bowman's assertion is false — that the LDS belief of Premortal Existence is "radically incompatible with the biblical gospel."

In contrast to what Rob Bowman has erroneously asserted, the Bible teaches theses truths:

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, . . . Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:1,4,7)

Who are "all the sons of God"?

Instead of importing opinions and paraphrases from Rob Bowman or myself, let the Bible clarify the Bible, let God declare His Word:

"The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, . . . To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah . . . the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."
(Jeremiah 1:1-5)

Was Jeremiah one among "all the sons of God" who existed before the Lord "laid the foundations of the earth"?

The Bible explicitly establishes that the Lord not only "knew" Jeremiah before he "camest forth out of the womb," but the Lord also "ordained" Jeremiah to be His "prophet" prior to Jeremiah's mortal birth.

Here's another question to ponder, why does Paul describe human beings as God's "offspring"? Again, it is wise to let the Bible clarify the meaning of the Bible; it is wise to let God speak for Himself — as opposed to expressing mortal opinions and speculations.

"Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, . . . seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, . . . For in him we live, and move, and have our being; . . . For we are also his offspring." (Act 17:22-28)

What does Paul mean by the word "offspring"? The Bible clarifies: In his preaching to the Romans, the Apostle Paul taught:

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16)

Recalling the Bible teaching in the book of Job concerning "all the sons of God" who existed before the foundations of the earth were laid, two other Bible verses clarify the sense in which God IS our Father and we ARE His "children."

"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Eccl. 12:7)

"Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Hebrews 12:9)

Remember, Rob Bowman's characterization of an LDS Doctrine, a teaching supposedly radically incompatible with the Bible, is thus:

* All human beings preexisted in heaven, where they were the offspring of heavenly parents (God the Father and a “heavenly mother”), before their natural conception here on earth.

Bowman's characterization of LDS Doctrine contained three 3 ideas:

1) The Pre-mortal Existence of All Humanity,
2) That all Human Beings are Spirit Children and Offspring of God,
     who is our Heavenly Father,
3) That We are the Offspring of Heavenly Parents, children of
     a Father in Heaven and a Mother in Heaven.

The first two truths are declared in the Bible, while the third is not. The reality of a Mother in Heaven is not even taught in canonized, latter-day saint scripture. Why so?

Here's my personal view: The God of Perfect Love has withheld this "pearl" of truth from people generally, so that those who profane our Heavenly Father cannot also profane our Heavenly Mother. Ultimately, God does what He does according to His infinite wisdom. Further, knowing that there is a Heavenly Mother is not immediately essential to the priority of having Faith in Christ and gaining salvation solely through Him.

Thus let us focus upon foundational Bible doctrines that ARE revealed. Those foundational principles represent the the roots of a tree. It is wise to deal with core doctrines, tree-root doctrines, namely:

1) The Pre-mortal Existence of All Humanity,
2) All Human Beings are Spirit Children and Offspring of God, our Heavenly Father.

So the reality of a Mother in Heaven is not a tree-root tenet in terms of Humanity's salvation from sin and from mortal death; instead, this truth is one leaf on the tree — and if the Roots are Good, then this leaf is also Good.

I've been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for five 5 decades. The ideas that all of humanity lived in a Pre-mortal Existence, and that all of humanity are the Offspring of God, are tree-root teachings taught in weekly Church meetings and expressly written in Church Lesson Manuals.

That a truth is NOT mentioned in the Bible does not automatically establish that reality as "radically incompatible with the biblical gospel" — it simply establishes that the Bible has not mentioned it. The Bible does not mention a myriad of details that are true. Radical Incompatibility is established through Bible verses that explicitly contradict certain possibilities.

Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

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Dr Matt's Rebuttals to Robert Bowman and The Institute of Religious Research
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The Greatest Prize
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