“The Trial” — answering the challenging questions
During my mission to New Zealand in 1971-1972, I obtained a copy of “THE TRIAL”, a booklet produced by the Auckland Stake Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (P.O. Box 13-119, Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand). It presents a mock trial in which representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ and representatives of other Christian religions discuss doctrinal differences. Presented below are the various sections of ‘The Trial’, with the various doctrinal points presented in each section. The sections are first listed chronologically as they are presented in the book, “The Trial”. You can click on any of the bold, green section headings to view the discussion of the doctrinal topic. Following the chronological listing, I have listed alphabetically the doctrinal topics covered in the booklet. You can find a topic which interests you in that listing, and then move back up the main screen to click on the desired section. As I have entered the text of the booklet on this website, I have softened some of the confrontational language contained in the original writing. Harsh language serves no productive purpose in gospel discussions. I have also corrected grammatical and spelling errors. Through the process, I have tried to stay true to the core messages of the booklet.
THE TRIAL — A discussion between missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and representatives of other Christian faiths
The Prosecution: Representatives of all major Christian religions; an agnostic; an atheist.
The Defense: Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Judge: A Jewish Rabbi of the Orthodox Jewish faith
Judge: Gentlemen, we are here today to establish truth among a confused Christian world. The prosecution has chosen for their counsel representatives from all of the major Christian faiths, to question these two young men who represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We will remain until truth is established. The prosecution has expressed a desire to promote truth today. In examining my notes, it seems that the questions to be answered today include: 1) the question of current revelation, 2) the question of the authenticity of the Latter-day Saint apostles and prophets, and 3) the question of a need for a latter-day restoration of Christ’s original church and doctrine. Although all of the prosecution members have claimed inspiration for their churches, none have made the claim of “divine revelation”, nor the appearance of God and his Son, Jesus Christ to your founding leaders, as do these Latter-day Saint missionaries. I now invite the prosecution to proceed.
SECTION 1 — “All truth” versus ongoing revelation
SECTION 2 — The Nature of God, corporeal body or spirit essence
SECTION 3 — Breath and Spirit in the scriptures; are these words interchangeable?
SECTION 4 — Are the members of the Godhead ‘three in one, one in three’, or separate beings?
SECTION 5 — An obvious Book of Mormon mistake, or contradiction
SECTION 6 — Who is Jehovah?
SECTION 7 — Resurrection, only a spiritual resurrection versus spiritual AND physical resurrection
SECTION 8 — The 144,000 special witnesses
SECTION 9 — The Sabbath day, Saturday or Sunday?
SECTION 10 — Modern-day prophets and apostles? Was Joseph Smith a prophet?
SECTION 11 — Structure and organization of the Church of Jesus Christ
SECTION 12 — Administration of the holy Sacrament
SECTION 13 — Temple work for the deceased
SECTION 14 — The Word of Wisdom
SECTION 15 — Elders, the office of elder in the priesthood
SECTION 16 — Apostles and prophets in the latter-days
SECTION 17 — As God is, man may become
SECTION 18 — Baptism in whose name?
SECTION 19 — Marriage in heaven
SECTION 20 — Plural marriage, or polygamy
SECTION 21 — Delays in Joseph Smith’s written accounts
SECTION 22 — John the Baptist as Elias
SECTION 23 — Why do we need the Book of Mormon?
SECTION 24 — Bodies of flesh and blood?
— TOPICAL INDEX —
All truth — “all truth” versus revelation (Section 1)
Apostles and Prophets — Are there modern-day prophets and apostles? Was Joseph Smith a prophet? (Section 10)
Apostles and Prophets — Are there prophets and apostles in the latter days? (Section 16)
Baptism in whose name? — In whose name should we be baptized? (Section 18)
Book of Mormon — We do not need the Book of Mormon? What is the point of having the Book of Mormon? (Section 23)
Book of Mormon mistakes — how do you explain ‘mistakes’ or ‘contradictions’ in the Book of Mormon? (Section 5)
Breath and Spirit — are these words interchangeable in the scriptures’? (Scriptures 3)
Church structure and organization — how is Christ’s church organized? (Section 11)
Delays in Joseph Smith’s written accounts — why the long delays in written accounts? (Section 21)
Elias — is John the Baptist the Elias who was to come? (Section 22)
Elder — the office of ‘elder’ in the priesthood; are young single men of the LDS church truly elders? (Section 15)
Flesh and blood — do God and Jesus have bodies, or are they spirits? (Section 24)
God — the nature of God, corporeal body or spirit essence (Section 2)
God — men may become like God (Section 17)
Godhead — the nature of the Godhead, ‘three in one” or separate beings (Section 4)
Jehovah — who is Jehovah? (Section 6)
John the Baptist — is John the Baptist the Elias who was to come? (Section 22)
Marriage in heaven — is there marriage in heaven? (Section 19)
Nature of God — the nature of God, corporeal body or spirit essence (Section 2)
Nature of the Godhead — ‘three in one and one in three’, or separate entities? (Section 4)
Organization, church — how is Christ’s church organized? (Section 11)
Polygamy — plural marriage (Section 20)
Plural marriage — polygamy (Section 20)
Prophets and Apostles — Are there modern-day prophets and apostles? Was Joseph Smith a prophet? (Section 10)
Resurrection — a spiritual versus a physical resurrection (Section 7)
Revelation — ongoing revelation versus “all truth” (Section 1)
Sabbath Day — Saturday or Sunday? (Section 9)
Sacrament — proper administration of the Lord’s holy sacrament (Section 12)
Spirit and Breath — are these words interchangeable in the scriptures’? (Section 3)
Structure of the church — how is Christ’s church organized and structured? (Section 11)
Temple work for the dead — temple work for deceased ancestors (Section 13)
Truth — “all truth” versus revelation (Section 1)
Vicarious work for the dead — temple work for deceased ancestors (Section 13)
Witnesses — the special 144,000 witnesses mention in the book of Revelation (Section 8)
Word of Wisdom — Doctrine and Covenants section 89 (Section 14)
Written accounts, delays — why the long delays in written accounts? (Section 21)
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