Posts Tagged ‘Institute for Religious Research’


Dispatching Stock Mormon Objections

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apologetics, Mormonism

The website of our ministry, the Institute for Religious Research, has hundreds of articles examining the history, doctrines, claims, and religious practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The purpose of these articles is never to belittle, attack, or offend Mormons. Rather, we are seeking to provide information for people who are seeking answers to questions about the truth claims of the LDS religion. Such people may be LDS who are open to learning from outside sources, or they may be Christians (or others) who have Mormon friends or family members. If you do not fall into such categories, then our materials are not for you, at least not at the present time.

Most of the responses from “true blue” Mormons that we receive, both through email and through social media, generally do not engage the facts or reasoning presented in the articles. We see the same types of responses over and over again. For the sake of convenience, I’m going to summarize these responses here and then give very brief, direct answers to them.

  • Your article is too long. (I sympathize. Sometimes our articles are very long. But have you read LDS scholar Dan Peterson’s “chapter” on Psalm 82:6? It’s about 120 pages long!)
  • The article is on an anti-Mormon website, so I’m not going to read it. (It’s your choice. But we try hard to be objective and respectful even as we disagree with the claims of Mormonism.)
  • You Pharisee, substituting scholarship for the Spirit. (We’ll take this criticism seriously only from Mormons who are prepared to denounce BYU, FairMormon, Interpreter, etc., as affronts to the Spirit.)
  • Why are you picking on us poor Mormons? Why are you persecuting us? (Relax. We’re just disagreeing with your belief and not hurting you in the least.)
  • I have a testimony and I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. (Fine. If that’s true, then there ought to be good answers to the arguments present in our article. Let’s have them.)
  • The Bible isn’t clear on this issue, which is why we need the Book of Mormon or a living prophet. (This claim won’t work if what the Book of Mormon says is demonstrably false or if the living prophet is a false prophet.)
  • You misunderstood or misrepresented what we Mormons believe. (If so, please tell us specifically what we misunderstood and provide documentation from current authoritative LDS teaching sources such as curriculum manuals, general conference addresses, and the like that show that what we have said is incorrect. We are open to correction but we need more than your say-so in the matter.)
  • I found a non-Mormon scholar who disagrees with something you said. So there. (Assuming the non-Mormon scholar disagrees with something I said, that fact alone proves nothing. What matters is whether he provides evidence that refutes our argument.)
  • Why don’t you just preach what you believe rather than spending so much time criticizing what other people believe? (Have you read the Bible? The Old Testament is full of material criticizing idolatrous religions. The Gospels report Jesus criticizing the Pharisees at length. Paul’s epistles are often focused on answering false doctrines such as denials of the resurrection from the dead, the claim that circumcision was necessary for salvation, and the like.)
  • I don’t appreciate evangelicals claiming that we Mormons aren’t Christians. We believe in Jesus, too. (Whether Mormons are Christians or believe in Jesus is rarely the issue. For example, an article on whether the Book of Abraham is Scripture or whether there is a Heavenly Mother is addressing a specific question that deserves an answer. Our position is that Mormonism as a religion is not a sound form of Christianity, but this is not a blanket judgment on every individual in the religion.)


Please note that we welcome constructive, substantive, honest disagreement with our resources. It is the above kinds of responses that misunderstand what we are doing and that ignore what we actually say that are unhelpful.

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Robert Boylan is the author of a fairly sophisticated blog entitled “Scriptural Mormonism,” in which he frequently criticizes “Trinitarians,” especially evangelicals. A check of Boylan’s blog shows that I am mentioned in some 14 posts, mostly in the past twelve months or so. I contacted Boylan through Facebook at the beginning of 2016 asking if he would be interested in some dialogue, but he did not respond. Boylan has said plenty in those posts that merits a response, but here I am going to focus on one in which I am not mentioned.

elohimNote: The day after this article was first posted on June 6, Boylan posted three articles on his blog in response. In the first of those blog articles, Boylan suggested that I should “rework the article” in light of his comments.[1] I have therefore done so instead of posting follow-up responses, as I would normally have done. After I posted a revised version of this article on June 8, Boylan posted two additional responses, which shall be mentioned very briefly in the appropriate places. This article, posted on June 9, is thus the third version of the article.


Bokovoy or Boylan?

On May 8, 2016, Boylan posted a piece he titled “David Bokovoy vs. Luke Wilson on the names of God.”[2] Boylan begins as follows:

A couple of years ago, the now-Dr. David E. Bokovoy (PhD, Hebrew Bible [Brandeis]) commented on an article produced by the late Luke Wilson of the Institute for Religious “Research” (anti-Mormons like to use [loosely] the term “research” in the names of their ministries, including Bill McKeever]). The post is no longer online, but I did save it for future use. It contains some interesting material, so I believe it worthwhile to reproduce it here:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Why IRR Invests Internationally

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in IRR, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism

NOTE: This is a special blog entry from Joel B. Groat, the Coordinator for International Ministries for the Institute for Religious Research.


Last year I made mission trips to Madagascar and Mexico—diverse countries with significant common denominators: serious social conflict, sacrificial Christian missionary work and successful Mormon proselytizing. Events in the first category are capturing national headlines, and I’m concerned for good friends in the midst of the fray; but it’s the last two that capture my heart.

You see, my parents are Christian missionaries, and I was raised in Venezuela (in South America). Growing up I witnessed firsthand the sacrifices my parents and other missionary “uncles” and “aunts” made to take the living water of salvation “by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone” to people who had never heard. So, you’ll understand why the following quotes from the Mormon magazine, Ensign, struck a nerve. The article talked about how the work of Christian missionaries has aided Mormon proselytizing. Read the rest of this entry »

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