Religion Today

Issues of faith and spirituality that matter to LDS, Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Episodes

  • June 12, 2021

    2021-06-13 Religion Today - Science and Religion, the Age of the Earth, Evolution, etc

    True science and true religion must be compatible, not incompatible. In this episode of Religion Today host Martin Tanner gives a few examples of problems found in the Bible and some religious traditions, along with ways to reconcile them.  He described misconceptions most people have regarding Doctrine and Covenants Section 77 and the age of the earth.  Martin also gives examples of problems with science, including current inconsistencies.  He concludes with near-death experiences as one area in which science and religion seem to be converging and compatible.

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  • June 5, 2021

    2021-06-03 Religion Today - Prof. Dan Peterson on the Interpreter Foundation's the Witnesses film

    The Interpreter Foundation's new film "Witnesses" is now playing in over 350 movie theaters in the United States.  Witnesses is about the original three witnesses, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris.  In this episode of Religion Today, host Martin Tanner explains how this film is an uplifting, yet complete film, including trials and doubts of the witnesses.  It portrays Oliver, David and Martin as true believers, but also as people with human frailties.  All three left the Church.  Two returned.  None ever denied they saw an angel and the golden plates.  Until their dying day, they affirmed they had truly seen an angel and had actually seen the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.  Martin Tanner suggests all who may be interested see the Witnesses film.  (Find theaters and show times online)

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  • May 29, 2021

    2021-05-30 Religion Today - Origins of Memorial Day, Resurrection Defined, and Hope in Jesus of Resurrection of All People

    In this episode of Religion Today host Martin Tanner describes the origins of Memorial Day.  He defines resurrection and how it is different from near-death experiences and revival from death.  Martin Tanner quotes from visions of resurrections and conveys the idea the First Resurrection has been on-going since the resurrection of Jesus.

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  • May 22, 2021

    2021-05-23 Religion Today - Earliest Writing, earliest Bible text, Dead Sea Scrolls, formation of the New Testament, etc

    In this episode, Martin Tanner discusses how the earliest known writing, which is inside ancient Egyptian Temples, date to nearly 4,000 BC, and are written in Egyptian Hieroglyphics.  "Hieroglyphics" means "words from God."  The Egyptians believed God gave them writing and language.  A similar idea is found in the Book of Moses 6:5-6. Martin Tanner also talks about the earliest known Bible verse, the order the New Testament Books were written and related topics.

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  • May 15, 2021

    2021-05-16 Religion Today - Near-Death Experiences, Prof. Bruce Greyson, MD, on his new book entitled After

    In this episode of Religion Today, host Martin Tanner interviews Bruce Greyson, MD, professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, researcher, author and co-founder of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), about Prof. Greyson's new book entitled "After" which describes several near-death experiences and what can be learned from them, scientifically and otherwise, about life after physical death.

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  • May 8, 2021

    2021-05-09 Religion Today - Four Amazing, Inspiring LDS Women's Stories for Mothers' Day

    For Mothers' Day, Religion Today Host Martin Tanner shares the stories of four amazing, inspiring Latter-day Saint women, Jane Elizabeth Manning James, African American mother who walked over 1,000 miles to join the Saints in Nauvoo; Torah Bright, world champion snowboarder from Australia; Hannah Clayson Smith, extraordinary First Amendment, religious rights attorney; and, Eliza Roxy Snow, abused and beaten by a mob in Missouri, yet became Relief Society President, penned lyrics to "O My Father" and many other LDS Hymns.  An inspiration to all.

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  • May 1, 2021

    2021-05-02 Religion Today - William Tyndale's Extrardinary Translation of the Bible into English

    William Tyndale translated the Bible from the earliest known manuscripts in Hebrew and Greek.  His translation was so extraordinary, that when the 54 King James Bible translators completed their translation, it was 83% word-for-word Tyndale's New Testament translation and 76% Tyndale's Old Testament translation.  In this episode of Religion Today, host Martin Tanner describes Tyndale's marvelous story.  How he developed his linguistic abilities at Oxford and Cambridge, and how he translated the Bible into English, making it, for the first time, available to ordinary people.  For this, the Church condemned Tyndale as a heretic, strangled him, burned his body to ashes, then threw the ashes into the river.

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  • April 25, 2021

    2021-04-25 Religion Today - Same-Sex Attraction, LGBTQI and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes marriage should be between a man and a woman; and, intimacy should not be outside marriage.  The Bible, Old and New Testament, and and LDS Church take the same position.  The apostle Paul made strong statements on these issues.  Paul also said he and the other apostles should be able to take their wife when they went proselyting.  Although some websites say Paul, the apostles and even Jesus were not married, and were or may have been gay, neither scripture nor other available information support that idea.  It seems certain Jesus, Paul, Peter and the other Apostles were married.  It is also certain that Paul's wife passed away and in his later life he was single.

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  • April 17, 2021

    2021-04-18 Religion Today - The War in Heaven, Freedom and the War Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls

    In this Religion Today show, Martin Tanner describes how the War in Heaven, in the pre-existence, described in Revelation 12:7-9 over free will, agency and freedom versus forced results, such as equity, cancel culture, forced compliance, socialism, communism, continues in the world today. The Dead Sea Scrolls, War Scroll, containing the battle of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, also describes the same conflict, which will only be resolved in the final, last great battle. 

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  • April 10, 2021

    2021-04-11 Religion Today - How We Got the Book of Commandments D&C and Articles of Faith

    In this episode of Religion Today Martin Tanner describes where the Book of Commandments, Doctrine & Covenants, and Articles of Faith of the LDS Church came from.  Little know details, such as, before the Church officially adopted Joseph Smith's 13 Articles of Faith, various versions, some with as many as 16 articles were in circulation.  Also discussed is the committee that decided what to include in the Book of Commandments and D&C.  Not all of Joseph Smith's revelations were included in the Book of Commandments and D&C.

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  • April 4, 2021

    2021-04-04 Religion Today - Easter Sunday, Jesus' Resurrection and the Resurrection of Others

    In this Easter Sunday broadcast, Martin Tanner distinguishes between Biblical accounts of people brought back from the dead, like Lazarus, and resurrection accounts, like the New Testament accounts of Jesus' resurrection, the account in Matthew 27:52, and others.  He also gives an overview of Jesus' resurrection from the Gospels of Matthew and John.  He explains the import and meaning of details often overlooked, and explains why belief in resurrection and reincarnation are incompatible and one must choose between them. 

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  • March 28, 2021

    2021-03-28 Religion Today - Was God's Creation Out of Nothing or Out of Pre-Existing Matter and Energy - 13

    This week, as often happens, Religion Today host Martin Tanner received an email from an evangelical Christian ministry claiming Mormonism is heretical.  This time the evangelical ministry said Latter-day Saints are heretics for not believing God's creation in Genesis Chapter 1 was ex nihilo, out of nothing.  Hebrew linguists have known for hundreds of years that Genesis 1 says God created the earth out of existing matter.  The Big Bang theory is sometimes claimed to prove ex nihilo creation out of a "singularity" but for 40 years science has known the singularity idea, is demonstrably false.  In this episode of Religion Today learn why linguistically and scientifically, ex nihilo creation is impossible.  Ex nihilo creation also is not found in the Bible.     

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  • March 20, 2021

    2021-03-21 Religion Today - The Dead Sea Scrolls, John the Baptist, and Christianity - 12

    Several dozen new Dead Sea Scroll fragments, a 6,000 year old child's grave and a 10,500 year old woven basket have just been found (March 2021) in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls caves (the Cave of Horror).  In this episode of Religion Today, Host Martin Tanner explains how Essene Jews practiced baptism, how John the Baptist's baptism was connected to the Essenes' baptism and how both were connected to New Testament era Christian baptism.  

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  • March 14, 2021

    2021-03-14 Religion Today - Netflix Film Murder Among the Mormons - The Rest of the Story - 11

    The recent Netflix film "Murder Among the Mormons" about the murder and forger Mark Hofmann hits close to home for Martin Tanner, host of Religion Today.  Martin Tanner and Mark Hofmann never met, but had several mutual friends.  In this episode of Religion Today Martin Tanner describes the time-line of Mark Hofmann, his forgeries and murders, how Hofmann was an atheist and how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was very open about the circumstances surrounding the notorious forger, Mark Hofmann.  If you want more of the facts about Mark Hofmann, in perspective, this episode is a must.

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  • March 7, 2021

    2021-03-07 Religion Today - Book of Mormon Prophets Zenos and Zenock in Ancient Literature - 10

    Critics of The Book of Mormon and LDS Faith say that since Zenos and Zenock, two supposed prophets, are not mentioned outside the Book of Mormon, it is not an authentic ancient book.  But the Teacher of Righteousness is an example of an ancient Jewish prophet unknown until 1947 when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls Thanksgiving Hymns H and J parallel the thanksgiving hymn of Zenos, implying the Dead Sea Scrolls relied on  Zenos writings.  Biblical Antiquities, an ancient work by Pseudo-Philo (unavailable and unknown to Joseph Smith) has the writings of Cenez, Zenec or Zenez (depending on the manuscript), an apparent reference to Book of Mormon Prophet Zenos, making it likely that Kenaz (Joshua 15, Judges 1 and ! Chronicles 4) is the same prophet as Zenos in the Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon is vindicated regarding Zenos and Zenock.

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  • February 28, 2021

    2021-02-28 Religion Today - Why the Book of Mormon is Not Racist - 9

    The Book of Mormon has been called a racist book due to the reference in 2 Nephi 5:21 to a "skin of blackness[.]"  In this episode of Religion Today Martin Tanner explains why this reference is metaphorical rather than literal, citing 2 Nephi 26:33 which says "black and white, bond and free, male and female .  .  .  all are alike unto God[.]"  As evidence reference to black skin is often metaphorical, Martin Tanner cites examples, including then Presidential Candidate Joe Biden's comment to black commentator "Charlamagne tha God" on "The Breakfast Club" that if Charlamagne "ha[d] a problem figuring our whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black[.]" Thus in the Book of Mormon and elsewhere, "skin" and "black" references often refer to something other than race.

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  • February 21, 2021

    2021-02-21 Religion Today - Witnesses Film Director Mark Goodman and Actor Lincoln Hoppe - 8

    The Interpreter Foundation's new film "Witnesses" premieres this Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at the LDS Film Festival.  This feature length film tells with precise accuracy the stories of the well known formal witnesses of the Book of Mormon plates, the Three Witnesses, and the Eight Witnesses, along with the little known stories the informal witnesses, whose accounts most have never heard.  In this episode of Religion Today, Martin Tanner interview Mark Goodman, the Director of the Witnesses film, and Actor Lincoln Hoope, who portrays Martin Harris. Information is provided about how to bring this excellent film to a theater venue near you.

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  • February 14, 2021

    2021-02-14 Religion Today - Understanding the Difficult Sayings of Jesus, Part 2 - 7

    Understanding the difficult to understand sayings of Jesus, part two.  In this episode of Religion Today, host Martin Tanner explains the likely meaning of Jesus' hard sayings, including "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven" why Jesus said his followers are to purchase a sword, how can it be that Jesus tells us to "love our enemies" and also to hate our family members, and so forth.  Understanding the context and the meaning of the underlying Greek words is the key.

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  • February 7, 2021

    2021-02-07 Religion Today - Understanding the Difficult Sayings of Jesus - 6

    In this episode of Religion Today Martin Tanner explains the most likely meaning of some of the sayings of Jesus that are difficult to understand, such as why he came not for the righteous, but for sinners, how the Law of Moses is fulfilled yet Jesus says not a single jot or tittle (dot of an "i" or cross of a "t") in other words, none of the Law of Moses will be lost or forgotten, and other difficult to understand sayings of Jesus.

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  • January 31, 2021

    2021-01-31 Religion Today - God's Power Location and Knowledge, Omnipotence, Omnipresence and Omniscience - 5

    What is the nature of God's power, knowledge and location?  Is God Omnipotent, all-powerful?  In the strict sense he is not, because God self-limits his power in that he will not do evil.  Is God Omnipresent?  Many Christians say yes, God is everywhere.  Latter-day Saints say God is a glorified man, located at only one place at any given time.  However, his knowledge and influence, and the power of his spirit, are everywhere.  Is God Omniscient?  Many Christians say yes, God wills everything and causes everything.  Free will is an illusion.  LDS believe intelligences, other deity, matter, and law are co-equal with God, meaning God did not create them.  In this episode of Religion Today, Martin Tanner explores the differences among LDS themselves, and between other Christians in how they understand God's knowledge, presence and power.

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  • January 24, 2021

    2021-01-24 Religion Today - New Archaeology Shows More of the Bible and Book of Mormon to be Historical - 4

    Host Martin Tanner relates how a satellite helped archaeologists find Gath, the Biblical city where Goliath lived, how DNA solved the puzzle of where the Philistines came from (Europe), how the burial stone box of a crucified man shows feet of those crucified were nailed to the cross from the side, just below the ankles, Hezekiah's water tunnel shows how water could flow from under the Temple in Jerusalem, and other discoveries.  Martin then explains how some of these finds show the historical accuracy of parts of the Bible and Book of Mormon.

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  • January 17, 2021

    2021-01-17 Religion Today - Four New Testament Verses Showing the Need for a Restoration - 3

    Four New Testament versus (among many others) demonstrate an apostasy and restoration were foretold by all the Old Testament prophets and also in the New Testament.  Acts 3:21 says Jesus the Messiah will not return before a "restoration of all things" or a "universal restoration."  2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 says the Second Coming will not happen before an "apostasy" from the Greek "Apostasia" meaning to divorce, sever, obliterate, destroy or end.  Ephesians 5:5 demonstrates the loss of the idea expressed therein that one must be good, be righteous, to get into heaven.  Colossians 4:16 says one of Paul's letters is missing, the one to the Church in Laodicea.  The Gospel of Thomas, which has authentic saying of Jesus not found in the Bible also shows a loss of scripture. 

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  • January 10, 2021

    2021-01-10 Religion Today - The Torah and LDS Book of Moses - 2

    The word "Torah" does not mean "law" it means "teaching" or "instruction."  Thus Christians should not talk of the "law and the prophets" but of God's "teaching and the prophets."  Torah often refers to the first five books of the Bible.  Scholars question whether Moses had any input into them.  Conservative Jews and Christians believe Moses wrote every word. The LDS position is in the middle.  The "Book of Moses" in the Pearl of Great Price indicates Moses did receive a revelation from God.  Joseph Smith described his "translation" which is more accurately described as an inspired expansion is premised on the idea the writings of Moses were inaccurately transmitted and modified over the centuries. 

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  • January 2, 2021

    2021-01-03 Religion Today - The Meaning and Explanations of the Miracles of Jesus - 1

    Martin Tanner briefly describes the 39 miracles of Jesus in the New Testament.  A dozen or so others are found in extra-Biblical books of the first three centuries.  Martin Tanner asks, "What is a miracle?" and "Can something that can be explained still be a miracle?"  He suggests the miracles of Jesus helped those around him, and us today, identify him as the Messiah promised by Isaiah and other prophets.  Miracles still happen today, despite our having more available information to explain them.

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  • December 27, 2020

    2020-12-27 Religion Today - The Second Coming and Why We Should Not Fear the Future

    Martin Tanner explains why the future is bright, even though many fear for the future of the United States and the world because of Covid-19, government debt, socialism and communism, the rise of China, taxes and regulations and the loss of freedom.  We should not fear because according to prophecy, the United States will not be destroyed.  The world will be saved.  The Restoration will not be frustrated.  Ultimately, Jesus and Heavenly Father will not allow evil to prevail.

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  • December 19, 2020

    2020-12-20 Religion Today - The Birth of Jesus from the New Testament - Good News Translation

    Religion Today Show host Martin Tanner tells the traditional Christmas Story, in modern English, from the Good News Translation of the New Testament, with side-bar explanations of certain passages.  Email Martin Tanner for a free, no strings attached, transcript of the Christmas Story.

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  • December 12, 2020

    2020-12-13 Religion Today - What Did Jesus Look Like During His Ministry On Earth

    Today's popular artwork depicting Jesus is typically from the Byzantine or Renaissance showing him with handsome, idealized features, long hair past his shoulders, a beard and moustache, and a white, blue or red robe, to his wrists and ankles.  We know Jesus dressed as did other Jewish men, otherwise when Judas betrayed him, a hug and kiss would not have been needed.  Jewish and other men in the First century Roman Empire had short hair, were clean shaven and had knee length and elbow length robes.  This is in fact how Jesus was depicted in the earliest Christian artwork.  

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  • December 6, 2020

    2020-12-06 Religion Today - What Was the Star of Bethlehem and Who Were the Wise Men

    The only natural phenomenon that fits the description of the Star of Bethlehem in Matthew is a comet.  Comets travel in elliptical paths and move fast enough that they often appear to change direction.  The Star of Bethlehem was visible for about two months.  The Wise Men followed it from East to West, from Babylon to Jerusalem, then South to Bethlehem.   The Star of Bethlehem, if a comet, would have been seen traveling towards the Sun as the Wise Men traveled from near Babylon to Jerusalem, appearing in the night sky moving West.  Then, as it traveled away from the Sun, it would have appeared to change direction, moving South in the night sky, as the Wise Men traveled South from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.  The Wisemen knew about the prophecy of a Jewish Messiah, or King of the Jews, from Jews living in Babylon since the exile in 596 BC when Jerusalem was conquered by Babylon.

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  • November 29, 2020

    2020-11-29 Religion Today - The Power of Your Words on Others

    Our words can elevate and encourage others, or discourage, even crush them.  Our words have power, far beyond what we usually realize.  Pivotal points in your life likely were due to the words of love and encouragement or harsh criticisms of others.  Citing scriptures and examples, Martin Tanner encourages us to use our words for good and to choose them carefully.  In so doing, we can be a little bit like God and Jesus, helping others with our words.

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  • November 20, 2020

    2020-11-22 Religion Today - Answers to Listener's Questions about the Book of Abraham, LGBTQI, Book of Mormon Archaeology, temples and Near-death Experiences

    Martin Tanner answers listener questions on why the Book of Abraham has not been disproven by Egyptologists, how archaeology supports the Book of Mormon like it supports the Bible, evidence for something like the Temple Endowment during Jesus' lifetime, how near-death experiences support Joseph Smith's account of The First Vision, and other questions.

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  • November 15, 2020

    2020-11-15 Religion Today - The future of the United States, the Constitution and the LDS Church

    Martin Tanner provides scriptures, prophetic statements and other information about the future of the United States, the U.S. Constitution, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Time may be difficult, but the future looks bright if we will read the Constitution, understand it, teach it, and seek freedom rather than security.

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  • November 7, 2020

    2020-11-08 Religion Today - The Sermon on the Mount in Today's English

    The "Sermon on the Mount" gets its name from the Latin Vulgate Bible's heading for Matthew 5 "Sermo in Monte."  Perhaps it should be called the hill-side sermon.  According to tradition, it was given on a hill-side at the North-West end of the Lake Galilee.  Delivered early in Jesus' ministry, this sermon contains the essence of the Christian message.  In this episode of Religion Today, Martin Tanner delivers his own contemporary English translation of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, rendered in a way listeners will understand, and find compelling.

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  • October 31, 2020

    2020-11-01 Religion Today - The Early Life of Jesus, Calling the Apostles and Sermon on the Mount

    The Gospels tell us almost nothing of Jesus life from when his mother and step-father lost track of him, when he was talking with the elders in the temple.  We do know he was a "craftsman" or tekton in Greek.  Carpenter is too narrow a definition.  We can surmise he had known the future Apostles for many years, as they all lived in a small town.  Matthew 4:17 tells us Jesus taught before he called the Apostles.  The Sermon on the Mount has meaning often misunderstood, or at least not well understood.  In it Jesus tells his listeners what kind of people will be in the Kingdom of God.

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  • October 25, 2020

    2020-10-25 Religion Today - Three forgeries - the Archko Volume, Book of Jasher and Urantia Book

    The Archko Volume, the Book of Jasher, and Urantia Book are all available online and at many book stores.  The problem is the Archko Volume and Book of Jasher are forgeries and Urantia Book is a fake (made up, and not what it purports to be).  In this episode of Religion Today, Martin Tanner explains why these books, often passed off as genuine, are anything but genuine.

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  • October 18, 2020

    2020-10-18 Religion Today - Revelation - What is It and How to Get It

    What is Revelation?  How does one get Revelation?  How do you know if you have received Revelation?  How do you know your prayers are being answered?  The short answer is this:  If you have prepared, studied, done what you can, but still lack knowledge, wisdom or ability, prayer is how to get help from God.  Perfection, even goodness, is not a pre-requisite.  But a desire to be better is required.  Once that threshold is met, God will answer your prayers, but not is some grandiose way.  It will be in the least obtrusive way, typically a feeling, insight or knowledge.

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  • October 11, 2020

    2020-10-11 Religion Today - An Account of the Lost 116 Pages of The Book of Mormon

    An account of how the first 116 pages of The Book of Mormon manuscript were lost.  When lost, Joseph Smith finished the translation, through the end of the Book of Moroni.  Only then did he re-translate the same events that had been lost, originally translated from the Book of Lehi, replaced with an account on the small plates of Nephi.  The lost and replaced portion goes up to Chapter 3 of our Current Book of Mosiah.  Learn details of these events rarely described and little known, including Martin Harris' death-bed declaration about the Book of Mormon.

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  • October 4, 2020

    2020-10-04 Religion Today - God and Jesus Say We May Become Like Them

    General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are wise, good, kind and loving.  They desire that everyone reach the full measure of their creation or abilities, which is to become like our Savior Jesus, and our Father in Heaven.  Joseph Smith expressed the same idea in his last Conference address, on April 7, 1844, less than three months before he was killed.  Apostles Matthew, Peter and Paul, and Luke the evangelist and physician, said the same thing.  In this Religion Today episode, Martin describes and quotes what they said about the ultimate destiny of the faithful.   

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  • September 27, 2020

    David Herard's Near-death Experience in Vietnam

    Martin Tanner describes the Near-death Experience of his friend David Herard who passed away a few months ago.  David was severely wounded in Vietnam.  He went from agnostic or perhaps atheist, to believer in God and a Christian.  David was horribly wounded when a Viet-Kong rocket landed about 20 feet behind him.  David briefly visited the Spirit World beyond, and came back to tell about it when God placed his hand on David's shoulder and told him it was not his time..

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  • September 20, 2020

    2020-09-20 Religion Today - How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon.Part 2

    The second of a two part series on how Joseph Smith translated The Book of Mormon.  The translation was not by reading sentences or letters, but by literally seeing and comprehending the events described in The Book of Mormon, something like seeing a movie.  Joseph Smith told Joseph Knight, Sr. the Nephite Interpreters or Urim and Thummim "were marvelous" and by looking in them he could "see anything."  Joseph Smith literally saw how the Early Christian Martyrs looked and led their lives through the use of the Urim and Thummim.  Ether Chapter 3  and Mosiah describe a "seer" meaning a "see-er" implying sight, describe the Urim and Thummim as something into which a seer sees the past, present and future. 

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  • September 12, 2020

    How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon.Part 1

    How precisely did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon?  We do not know every detail, but in this first of a two-part series, Martin Tanner explains what we do know.  Translation could only have been accomplished with divine influence, as Joseph Smith at age 22-23 would not have been able to dictate, in virtually final form, a book about Ancient Jews, over 500 pages in length.

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  • September 6, 2020

    2020-09-06 Religion Today - Book of Mormon Geography Evidence

    On January 29, 2019 the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an official statement available at ChurchofJesusChrist.org on Book of Mormon geography which says there is no official Church position and there has never been any revelation on where the events in The Book of Mormon took place.  But the text of The Book of Mormon is divinely inspired and has much to tell us about the geographical setting of The Book of Mormon. A brief survey of such information is found in this Religion Today episode.

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  • August 30, 2020

    2020-08-30 Religion Today - Sayings of Jesus from The Nag Hammadi Library

    The Nag Hammadi Library, is a collection of 52 books bound into 13 volumes, which dates to the early 4th century AD.  It was found in 1945 near the small town of Nag Hammadi, in Egypt.  One of its books, the Gospel of Thomas, contains authentic sayings of Jesus, many of which are not found in the Bible.  In this Religion Today broadcast, Martin Tanner shares some of the 114 sayings of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas.

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  • August 22, 2020

    2020-08-23 Religion Today - Misconceptions About Women in Early Christianity

    Women in Early Christianity owned about one-third third of all property, owned businesses, slaves, sometimes ruled the household and held positions of authority in the Early Christian Church.  While it is true, as long as a woman's father was alive, she was subservient to him, the same is true of men.  1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34 (let women be silent in the Churches) are not likely genuine Bible verses (according to Prof. Bart Ehrman and other NT scholars).  Learn the misconceptions about women in the Early Christian Church in this episode of Religion Today.

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  • August 16, 2020

    2020-08-16 Religion Today - Siege of Masada and The Secret Gospel of Mark

    Two significant discoveries of the last century pertain to the 72 AD (or CE) Siege of Masada and the Secret Gospel of Mark.  The Siege of Masada was previously known only through the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus.  But a Jewish archaeological team, led by Yigeal Yadin, 1963-65, excavated Masada, and discovered, among other things, the lots cast by the Jews at Masada, supporting Josephus' account of the heroic Jews who gave their lives rather than be captured by the Romans.  Another great discovery was in 1958 by Professor Morton Smith, of Columbia Univ., who discovered as the Mar Saba Monastery near Jerusalem, a fragment of the "Secret Gospel of Mark" which describes Jesus giving Lazarus something like the initiatory work and endowment found in Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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  • August 8, 2020

    2020-08-09 Religion Today - Was Bad Grammar in The First Edition of The Book of Mormon

    Critics claim the First Edition of the Book of Mormon contains "bad grammar" and hence cannot be from God, because God would not use bad grammar.  Martin Tanner's guest, Stanford Carmack, Phd, J.D. Stanford University and PhD, U.C. Santa Barbara, a linguist and expert in Book of Mormon syntax demonstrates the supposed "bad grammar" in the Book of Mormon, First Edition, was standard Old English, and is found in William Tyndale's Bible, The Great Bible, the original 1611 King James Bible and other authoritative texts from about 1500 - 1700 AD.  This disproves the claim the Book of Mormon originally had "bad grammar."

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  • August 2, 2020

    2020-08-02 Religion Today - God Will Answer Your Prayers

    Joseph Smith's experience following James 1:5 which says God will answer your prayers, is instructional for all of us.  My friend Lloyd, who passed away in 2012, had a similar experience with prayer.  In a situation where his personal strength and intelligence were not enough, Lloyd prayed and received an answer in a way anyone can receive an answer to a prayer.  You don't need to be without sin to have your prayers answered.  God knows people with sins and other problems are often the ones who need their prayers answered the most.

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  • July 26, 2020

    2020-07-26 Religion Today - History of Christianity

    The first Christian meetings were held in homes of followers of Jesus, right after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Christianity was accepted when the Roman Emperor Constantine became a Christian.  The split between the Orthodox and Catholic churches occurred over whether the Church at Rome had authority over all other branches; and, over whether the Holy Spirit came forth from the Father (Orthodox position) or equally from the Father and Son (Catholic position).  The Protestant split came about with Martin Luther's 95 Theses or differences with the Church, chiefly over indulgences, but also over whether salvation was solely by faith or whether some degree of works was required. 

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  • July 19, 2020

    2020-07-19 Religion Today - Earliest Writing, Bible and Other Religious Texts

    The earliest known writings are the Egyptian Temple Texts, which date to nearly 4,000 B.C.E.  "Hieroglyphics" comes from the Greek "Herios" (God's) and "Glyphos" (inscriptions or writings).  Hieroglyphics are thus literally the writings God gave to humans.  Latter-day Saints have a similar idea in Moses 6:5-6.  The earliest Bible texts are the Nash Papyrus, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Ketef Himnon amulet, all discussed in more detail in this episode of Martin Tanner's Religion Today Show.

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  • July 11, 2020

    2020-07-12 Religion Today - Jesus as Jew, Christian, Reformer and Messiah

    Christians see Jesus as the Savior, Messiah and Son of God.  Jews see Jesus as a heretic.  During his earthly ministry, the Apostles and his followers saw him as a Jewish reformer.  Nearly two millennia later, Christians see Jesus as Savior, Son of God and a Christian, sometimes forgetting his Jewish roots.  Many of Jesus' actions are only understood when we view Jesus as Jewish.  For example, in the Gospel of John, at 20:17, the newly Resurrected Jesus tells Mary not to give him a hug ("touch me not" in KJV), but soon after tells Thomas to touch his side ("thrust your fingers into my wound").  Why the difference?  Jesus, as a Jewish High Priest, must keep himself ritually pure by touching no earthly thing or person (Mary included) before attending to his official duties of ascending to his Father in Heaven.  After his duties in Heaven were concluded, he could then tell Thomas to put his fingers in his wound and, presumably, get a nice hug from Mary.

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  • July 4, 2020

    2020-07-05 Religion Today - The Constitution, Founding Fathers and Religion in the U.S

    Doctrine and Covenants 101:80 says God established the U.S. Constitution by "wise men" whom God "raised up unto this very purpose[.]"  Though flawed in some ways, as are we all, the Founding Fathers are among the most inspired and great men who have ever lived.  Host Martin Tanner gives highlights of the lives of seven of the most important and influential Founding Fathers.  He discuses why we should be proud of and honor the United States, not be ashamed of it.  The prophecy or prediction of Joseph Smith that the Constitution would hang by a thread is also discussed.

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  • June 20, 2020

    2020-06-21 Religion Today - God as Our Father - Fathers' Day Message

    Fathers' Day Message - God as Our Father, His Qualities and Attributes, from Joseph Smith, Jewish sources, George Ritchie, MD, and scripture.

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  • June 13, 2020

    2020-06-14 Religion Today - Is Reformed Egyptian in The Book of Mormon an Anomaly

    Is the mention of "Reformed Egyptian" (Mormon 9:32) in the Book of Mormon, and the idea a spoken language can be written in another language (! Nephi 1:2) an anomaly?  The idea was unknown and laughable in Joseph Smith lifetime.  Since then, hundreds of examples have been found of Hebrew (or a Hebrew dialect like Aramaic) written in a form of Egyptian.  For example Papyrus Amherst 63, contains three Hebrew psalms, written in Demotic Egyptian.  This is what The Book of Mormon describes in 1 Nephi 1:2 and Moroni 9:32.  Reformed Egyptian in The Book of Mormon is not an anomaly.

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  • June 7, 2020

    2020-06-07 Religion Today - Evidences for the River Sidon and Horses in the Book of Mormon

    Is there a river that flows North that could be the River Sidon?  The Mississippi and Missouri do not fit the Book of Mormon's description of a river with its head waters (or beginning) up in the South (implying it flows North).  But the Grijalva River in Mesoamerica fits well.  There are many descriptions of radio carbon dating confirmed horses in the Americas well after the last ice age (about 10,000 BC), during Book of Mormon times (600 BCE to 400 CE)..

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  • May 24, 2020

    2020-05-24 Religion Today - God Jesus & Afterlife in Rock Music

    Two major areas where generations often do not see eye to eye are religion and music.  Some are quite surprised to learn unlikely rock bands sometimes have songs about God, Jesus and the afterlife.  In this episode, Martin Tanner gives examples of this, including from the bands Depeche Mode, ZZ Top, the Doobie Brothers, Black Sabbath, Sufjan Stevens, Norman Greenbaum, Kelley Stoltz, Bruce Springsteen Don McLean, and others.  Black Sabbath bass player Geezer Butler, raised a strict Catholic, wrote the song "After Forever" suggesting you shouldn't be afraid to let people know you believe in God.  Bruce Springsteen in "Jesus Was an Only Son" says there is a trace of divinity within us.

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  • May 17, 2020

    2020-05-17 Religion Today - Answering Atheists

    How do you answer an atheist?  Learn to identify their arguments which include:  ad hominem, illogical, flawed and inconsistent assertions.  No one has the ability to test every scientific theory.  Scientists, just like religious believers, place their faith in people, publications and other sources they trust, based on logic and experience.  As a believer in God, I encourage you to read and understand the writings of past atheists such as Nietzsche, Freud and Marx, as well as the new atheists, like Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.  They have a faith of their own, even though they are loath to call it that.  When you hear their ideas, you will see some of them are accurate, but some are flawed, just as the ideas of many religious individuals.

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  • May 10, 2020

    2020-05-10 Religion Today - Great Women in the Bible

    In honor of mothers and women everywhere, stories of great women in the Bible on Mothers' Day, some well known, some obscure.  But all with inspirational messages for women and men.  Stories of Abigail, Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Jael, Judith, Leah, Rahab and the Shulammite young woman.

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  • May 2, 2020

    2020-05-03 Religion Today - Temple Poetry of Judge Thomas L. Kay

    With Temples of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints closed world-wide due to Covid-19 many miss attending the Temple.  Judge Thomas L. Kay, a Utah District Court Judge, Temple Worker, poet and friend, shares some of his poetry about the Temple.

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  • April 26, 2020

    2020-04-26 Religion Today - William Tyndale and Bad Grammer Claimed to be in The Book of Mormon

    There is a wonderful article at mormoninterpreter.com written by Stanford Carmack, JD, PhD, entitled "Bad Grammar in the Book of Mormon Found in Early English Bibles."  It has long been claimed the first edition of The Book of Mormon has many examples of really bad grammar.  That claim must be reconsidered because early English Bibles, including William Tyndale's masterpiece translation of the Bible, have the same kinds of "bad grammar" as found in the first edition of The Book of Mormon.  Yet Tyndale's Bible influenced Shakespeare, the King James translation and many other Bible translations.  Perhaps the grammar in the first edition of The Book of Mormon is not really bad after all.  

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  • April 19, 2020

    2020-04-19 Religion Today - Mark Herre - Facebook Page & Group - CFM Challenge

    Martin Tanner interviews Mark Herre, founder of the highly successful, and, in the opinion of many, the best LDS Facebook page and group supporting the Come Follow Me Curriculum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Called the "Come Follow Me Challenge" Facebook group and page, learn what it has to offer and how to join from Mark Herre, its founder and a Facebook genius.

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  • April 12, 2020

    2020-04-12 Religion Today - Descriptions of Jesus for Easter Sunday

    Especially for Easter Sunday:  Eyewitness accounts of encounters with Jesus, which describe his appearance, love and other attributes.

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  • April 12, 2020

    2020-04-12 Religion Today - Descriptions of Jesus for Easter Sunday

    Especially for Easter Sunday:  Accounts of eyewitness encounters with Jesus Christ, which describe his appearance, personality, purpose, love and other attributes of our Lord and Savior.

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  • April 4, 2020

    2020-04-05 Religion Today - The First Vision With More Detail

    Joseph Smith's First Vision likely happened on Sunday, March 26, 1820, which was Palm Sunday.  There are nine currently known first-person accounts of the First Vision.  Most contain one or more details not in the other accounts:  The Father and Son look almost exactly alike and are the same height.  Their robes went over only one shoulder.  Joseph Smith thought he would be burned up when the light or fire came down from Heaven.  But instead he felt love when the light touched him.  He prayed in the grove next to a tree stump, where he had stuck his ax when he left work the day before.. Joseph Smith saw many angels, as well as God and Jesus in the First Vision.

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  • March 29, 2020

    2020-03-29 Religion Today - Fasting Hope Faith Prayer & Visions

    President Russell M. Nelson called for today, Sunday, March 29, 2020, to be a day of fasting and prayer for relief from the Coronavirus, Covid-19.  We live in a turbulent time.  People everywhere are worried about loved ones, friends, co-workers, neighbors and others; also, about the economic future of the country and their own financial future.  Yet Heavenly Father is in charge.  The words of those inspired by God, visions, dreams, near-death experiences, and other spiritual experiences, should reassure us that all will be well.  

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  • March 22, 2020

    2020-03-22 Religion Today - Another Look at The Book of Mormon Witnesses

    In this episode of Religion Today, Martin Tanner takes another look at the Book of Mormon Witnesses, the Three, the Eight and other informal witnesses like William Smith, Emma Smith, and others.  The implications of the combined testimony of these witnesses is considerable.  It would be impossible to concoct a conspiracy, and then over the ensuing decades have none retract.  The only logical alternative is the testimony of the witnesses is true.

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  • March 22, 2020

    2020-03-15 Religion Today - Arius and the Trinitarian Concept of God

    Is the Trinitarian concept of God Biblical?  The answer is no.  The Trinitarian concept of God is, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God, comprised of three separate persons, of one undivided substance, in Greek "homoousious."  The concept was first created in 325 AD to combat the perceived heresy of Arius, who believed Jesus was begotten, hence created, hence a creature, not an eternal God.  The Trinitarian concept of God was also a convenient way for Christians to say they only believed in one God, and so were not polytheists.

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  • March 7, 2020

    2020-03-08 Religion Today - Did the Nephites Have Priesthood Authority

    In only a few places do we read in the Book of Mormon about Priesthood authority being received.  Critics ask, if Lehi and Nephi had Priesthood authority, from where did it come, since the Book of Mormon is silent on the subject?  The answer is Lehi brought Priesthood authority from Jerusalem and is was properly and validly transmitted from generation to generation, even though we have no specific record of it, any more than there is a record in the New Testament of precisely when, where and how the original Apostles of Jesus received their Priesthood authority.

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  • February 29, 2020

    2020-03-01 Religion Today - As God is Now, We May Become

    What is salvation for faithful Christians?  What is their ultimate destiny? Many of today's Christian denominations believe God is limited in what he has in store for the faithful.  But Catholics, the Orthodox faith, some protestant denominations, the Early Christian Church Fathers, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe, based on Bible scriptures, that humans can become deified, in essence, become gods, below God the Father and Jesus.   2 Peter 1:2-4 God's "divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life . . . .  Through these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you might participate in the divine nature[.]"

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  • February 23, 2020

    2020-02-23 Book of Mormon Witnesses Versus Their Critics

    Any thoughtful critic of the Book of Mormon is forced to take a position on the Book of Mormon Witnesses.  Were they conscious frauds, delusional or perhaps hypnotized or otherwise misled?  The Three Witnesses described seeing an angel and viewing the plates, together.  The Eight Witnesses described handling the plates, turning the pages and seeing the engravings.  Other witnesses, like Emma Smith, described picking up the plates, while covered with a linen cloth, feeling the pages, making them rustle.  William Smith, another witness, lifted them and moved the pages through the linen cloth cover.  Three of the five five physical senses, sight, touch and hearing, are used by the witnesses. Critics, including Grant Palmer and Dan Vogel, who claim some kind of delusion, hypnosis-like event or vision, are taking a position contrary to the actual, consistent testimony of the witnesses, whose testimony is based on three physical senses.

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  • February 16, 2020

    2020-02-16 Religion Today - In Defense of Anthropomorphism

    Anthropomorphism mean "attributing human-like qualities to God."  Vestiges of the ancient Jewish belief God is a glorified man are found in Genesis 3:8 (God walking the the Garden of Eden); Genesis 32:22-31 (Jacob physically wrestles with God); Genesis 18:1-33 (YHWH is a man who eats a meal with Abraham.  Similarly the New Testament also contains the idea, especially in Hebrews 1:1-3.  LDS have believed the idea since the beginning.  Joseph Smith's First Vision describes God and his Son Jesus as both appearing as glorified men, who almost exactly resemble each other in their features and likenesses. 

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  • February 9, 2020

    The Apocrypha, its Books and Message

    Apocrypha literally means "hidden" or "unknown" implying the authorship of a writing is unknown.  But apocrypha has come to mean the books  between the Old and New Testaments, sometimes also called the Deuterocanonical books or second canon.  The books of the Apocrypha are worth reading.  Tobit loses hope, but is faithful, so God blesses him.  Judith saves Israel from the Assyrian army.  Included is a longer version of Esther, additions to the Book of Daniel and the story of the Maccabees, their revolt and God's help, from which the Hanukkah holiday is derived.  In this Religion Today broadcast Martin Tanner describes not only the books and stories in the Apocrypha, but their meaning and lesson.

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  • February 2, 2020

    2020-02-02 Religion Today - Evidence Pets and Other Animals Go to Heaven

    Do Pets and other animals go to heaven?  Since the Bible has no explicit answer, each denomination has its own answer.  Animals are found in the Garden of Eden according to Genesis.  They will be found in the millennium, according to Isaiah 11.  Catholicism has no answer in its Catechism, some Catholic scholars say animals will not be in heaven, some cautiously say yes.  Buddhism has no answer.  Latter-day Saints say yes.  Joseph Smith said in several contexts, pets and other animals will be found in heaven.  In a 1927 Church publication Joseph Smith is cited as saying he expected to have his favorite horse in heaven.  Near-death experiences sometimes have pets in them, to the great delight of their owners.

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  • January 24, 2020

    2020-01-26 Religion Today - The Clash Between Evolution and Religion

    Evolution is taught as fact, but it is not.  The fossil record of the first third of the Cambrian Period wherein 99% of the ancestors of life forms, including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and so forth, all appear, is a problem for evolutionary theory.  99% of life forms appearing in 10 million years, less than 3% of the 3.6 billion years life has existed on earth, cannot be explained by evolution.  Nor can evolution explain how DNA, which is essentially digital information, can become more complex over time.  All known increases in digital information and complexity, we must involve intelligence, mind, a creator, or in the case of the existence and complexity of life, apparently God.

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  • January 17, 2020

    2020-01-19 Religion Today - Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls

    The Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrate Christianity was only one of several branches of Judaism which was expecting a Messiah.  The DSS show the Qumran community expected the Messiah to be "pierced" or crucified and then rise from the dead.  The Qumran community also believed in "ritual cleansing" which Christians would see as baptism.  For Latter-day Saints, the DSS show Joseph Smith's descriptions of ancient records stored in the ground to come forth in the future was accurate.  That is precisely what the DSS are as well.

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  • January 12, 2020

    2020-01-12 Religion Today - Are the Books in the New Testament Reliable

    Are the books in today's New Testament the same as the originals?  After all, the New Testament books were written almost 2,000 years ago.  If you could read the original writing of Paul, the Gospels and other New Testament books, would they read as they do now, or have they been tempered with and hopelessly lost?  The answer is that when compared with the writings of all other ancient writers of note, Plato, Socrates, Pliny, Livy, Tacitus, Aristotle, Sophocles, Homer and others, we have a much higher degree of confidence the New Testament books are accurate.

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  • December 27, 2019

    2019-12-29 Religion Today - The Second Coming of Christ

    In the final 2019 broadcast of 2019, Martin Tanner discusses the Second Coming of Christ, including various ideas throughout history of when the Second Coming will occur, what events will precede it, and what will life be like during the thousand year millennium.  The expectations of the Jews for their Messiah and the expectations of Christians for the Second Coming are compared, showing they are nearly identical.

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  • December 21, 2019

    2019-12-22 Religion Today - The Birth of Jesus from Matthew and Luke

    The traditional Christmas story, from Matthew and Luke, from the Good News Translation of the Bible, in contemporary English, with some commentary on the Angel Gabriel, the date of Jesus' birth, the Wise Men, and the meaning of their gifts.

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  • December 13, 2019

    2019-12-13 Religion Today - Christmas Poetry of Judge Thomas L. Kay

    Christmas Poetry of Thomas L. Kay.  Judge Kay is a District Court Judge in Davis, Weber and Morgan Counties.  He is also a temple worker and a gifted poet, having composed over 5,000 poems in the last 25 or so years.  On Christmas day each year, Judge Kay reads his Christmas poems to the inmates at the Davis County Jail in Farmington, Utah.   Judge Kay currently has five published poetry books, available on lulu.com and amazon.com. 

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  • December 7, 2019

    2019-12-08 Religion Today - Book of Revelation Series - Part 6 - Chapters 10-End

    In Revelation Chapters 15-22 (end) we read of the demise of the beast, false profit and ultimately the Devil and his angels who are cast into a lake of fire.  We read of the Second Coming in which Jesus return in great glory, dressed in red, to signify his sacrifice (death and resurrection).  The battle of Armageddon (a location about 60 miles north of Jerusalem) is described.  The city New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven.  It is (if you do the math) a city with the dimensions of an enormous cube, 1,500 miles long, 1,500 miles wide, and 1,500 miles high, with a wall 258 feet high.  These staggering dimensions are meant to convey there is enough room for everyone who desires to enter.  The final verses of Revelation say to not add to or alter the "words of this book" which does not refer to the Bible or New Testament (which had not yet been assembled) but only to the Book of Revelation.   

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  • December 1, 2019

    2019-12-01 Religion Today - Book of Revelation Series - Part 5 - Chapters 10-14

    Book of Revelation series, part 5, Chapters 10-14.  Chapter 9:  Wars cause 200 million deaths.  Chapter 10:  John's revelation is sweet (10:9-10) but its content or message is bitter and horrifying (10:9-10).  Chapter 11:  Two Prophets in Jerusalem are killed after causing drought for 3 1/2 years.  After lying dead in the street 3 1/2 days they come to life again.  All in the world see it; something not possible in the first century, but possible today with TV, radio and smart phones.  The mark of the beast and his number 666 or 616 (a likely reference to Nero is discussed.  Chapter 14: restoration of the Gospel is discussed.

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  • November 28, 2019

    2019-11-17 Religion Today - Book of Revelation Series - Part 3

    In part 3 of a multi-part series on the Book of Revelation.  The 7 Churches in Asia Minor and the martyr of Antipas, likely the leader of the congregation or branch in Pergamos, likely due to refusal to acknowledge the emperor as supreme god is described in a way to give hope.  In chapter 3:19-21, Jesus is described as always "knocking at the door" of every person, just waiting to be let in.  The meaning of the "beasts" or animals and the elders in heaven is that all faithful people and animals may enter into Heaven.  Next week, chapter 6 and the opening of the 7 seals. 

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  • November 23, 2019

    2019-11-24 Religion Today - Book of Revelation Series - Part 4 - Chapters 6-9

    Chapter 6 of Revelation describes the opening of seven seals, signifying seven dispensations of the earth, approximately the following:  (1) Adam to Enoch; (2) after Enoch, Moses onward to the time just before Abraham, (3) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, (4) Malachi (1,200 BC to just before Christ's birth in 6 BC, (5) time of Christ to about the Protestant Reformation and the Restoration under Joseph Smith, (6) Restoration until the Second Coming of Jesus, (7) time of the Second Coming and transformation of the world.  Chapters 7-9 describe calamities before the Second Coming.

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  • November 9, 2019

    2019-11-10 Religion Today - Book of Revelation Series - Part 2

    The Book of Revelation to St. John the Divine is a later title.  The original title was likely "The Revelation of God to Jesus Christ."  (Chapter 1:1).  The book opens with the vision of what must "shortly come to pass" but later in Chapter 4 the vision shift to future events.  The 7 Churches to whom the revelation is metaphorically addressed are representative of all Christian churches, but were under Emperor Nero, subjected to intense persecution from without (Nero blamed the 64 AD fire in Rome on the Christians and had many dipped in tar, crucified, and burned in oil, lighting the roads in places in the Roman Empire).  Trouble from within the Churches included Nicolations (followers of one Nicholas, who believed in wife swapping; and, the influence of false apostles.  Chapter 2 points out these problems and gives comfort.

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  • November 3, 2019

    2019-11-03 Religion Today - Understanding the Book of Revelation

    The first of a series of shows on the Book of Revelation.  Revelation is best understood as being written between 64 AD and 73 AD, referencing in its opening chapters, events of that time, then giving hope and comfort to Early Christians.  But then, in its closing chapters, referencing events which have not yet happened, like the re-building of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Second Coming of Christ.  The author knew many details of the Hebrew Bible, Greek Bible (Septuagint), the Temple, its purpose and interior, as well as the Early Christian Churches, in Asia Minor, present day Turkey.  This description fits John the Apostle.  

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  • October 29, 2019

    2019-10-27 Religion Today - Halloween's Christian Origins

    Halloween may not seem like a Christian holiday, but that is what it originally was.  The word "Halloween" comes from the Old English "Holy" or "Hallowed" or "Hallow." The ending to the word 'een comes from "Evening" or "Een."  Combined you get holy evening or Hallow-een.  The evening was holy because the next day, November 1st is "All Saints' Day" a holiday to thank God for Mary, the martyrs, the Saints and all Christian dead.   The traditions of costumes and trick-or-treat come from traditions in Europe.

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  • October 19, 2019

    2019-10-20 Religion Today - Angels

    Angels.  The English word "angel" comes from the Greek word "angelos" which means "messenger."  The connotation in English is now a messenger from God. Latter-day Saints believe in angels.  Joseph Smith received golden plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, from the "Angel Moroni."  More Americans, 55% believe in angels than believe in climate change or global warming 38%.  Judaism and Christianity have a long tradition of interaction with angels.  Today, many people believe an angel has helped them in some way.

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  • October 13, 2019

    2019-10-13 Religion Today - Joseph Smith, Enoch and the Book of Giants

    In the LDS Pearl of Great Price, Moses Chapters 6-7, produced by Joseph Smith in December of 1830, we have significantly more information about Enoch than is found in the Bible or was elsewhere available to Joseph Smith.  Later Enoch literature, 2 Enoch, 3 Enoch and the Book of Giants, found in the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948, demonstrate Joseph Smith got right an unusual name, key story-line points and other details unavailable to him.  This is significant evidence Moses 6-7 is an inspired document.

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  • October 6, 2019

    2019-10-06 Religion Today - Seer Stone in a Hat Criticism

    In his 1886 "An Address to All Believers in Christ" David Whitmer said Joseph Smith translated The Book of Mormon by placing his seer stone in a hat.  1886 is a very late recollection, The Book of Mormon translation was completed nearly 60 years earlier, so this description may not be accurate.  But if it is, why would this be seen as a problem by critics?  Physical objects, for example, Moses' and Aaron's rods, the burning bush, brass snake on a pole, pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, the tassels on Jesus' robe, Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons, and other items, were used in Old and New Testament times to aid in spiritual endeavors.  No one should therefore see Joseph Smith's use of a seer stone as in any way improper, even if it was placed in a hat.  

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  • September 29, 2019

    Did Jesus Travel to Britain, India or Tibet?

    Since Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code" the idea Jesus or his wife and children traveled to Britain, India, Tibet, and perhaps other places, has been the subject of great speculation.  However, sadly for those who wish it to be true, no credible New Testament scholar who has ever studied the issue believes Jesus traveled any great distance from Jerusalem, and never for any significant length of time.  No Christian documents, zero, from any source, indicate Jesus went to Britain, India or Tibet.  The first speculation appears in poetry, originating from traveling Minstrels, in the 12th century.

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  • September 22, 2019

    2019-09-22 Religion Today - Introduction to the Gospel of John

    The Gospel of John is very different from the Synoptic Gospels.  It begins with a pre-existent "Word" the Greek meaning of which denotes deity Wisdom, knowledge, communication, and power.  The pre-existent Word is not God, but of the same genre as God.  In other words, God is deity and so is the Word, or Wisdom.  The Gospel of John is almost certainly the last written Gospel.  It associates Jesus with YHWH, by, among other things, quoting him as saying "I am that I am."  John is a very Greek and also a very Jewish Gospel.  It has several incidents not found in other Gospels, the wedding at Cana, Jesus interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well and the raising of Lazarus.

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  • September 15, 2019

    2019-09-15 Conversion of the Apostle Paul

    The conversion of Paul is one of the most fascinating events in early Christian history.  People do not just one day change their beliefs completely, without a dramatic, genuine, influencing event.  No one changes their moral, religious or political beliefs without a real, external, genuine influence. This is what happened to Paul.  Those who had previously known him as a persecutor, frankly, a murderer (of Stephen and perhaps others), believed his conversion was real and due to a personal appearance to Paul of the resurrected Jesus Christ.  Skeptics have never been able to come up with a believable alternative explanation.

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  • September 8, 2019

    2019-09-08 Joseph Smith's 17 Greatest Sermons in Nauvoo

    From the April 30, 1839 purchase of a small town in Illinois named Commerce, renamed Nauvoo, until his death on June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith delivered dozens of sermons.  In this Religion Today episode, 17 of Joseph Smith's greatest sermons in Nauvoo are briefly summarized, including their doctrinal and other significance. 

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  • August 28, 2019

    2019-09-01 Origins of the Doctrine & Covenants

    Most people are aware of the origins of the Book of Mormon - it was translated from golden plates by Joseph Smith.  Few are aware of how the LDS scripture, Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) came to be.  Revelations and other items included were selected by a committee consisting of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams.  The "Doctrine" portion was the "Lectures on Faith" no longer in the D&C.  The "Covenants" portion has been changed over time.  The origin and history of the D&C is fascinating and remarkable. 

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  • August 25, 2019

    2019-08-25 Religion Today - Responding to LDS Critic Pastor Ed Taylor

    Two of a listener's family members questioned their faith after seeing the website of Pastor Ed Taylor of Aurora, Colorado, on which are found "50 Questions for Mormons."  These questions all have one or more methodological flaws and are easy to answer.  If Pastor Taylor were consistent and had no double standard, using his own logic, he would have to discard his belief Paul was a true Apostle and discard the Bible as the word of God.  If he properly approached his own faith with similar questions, he would conclude he faces similar questions with his faith. Evangelical Christians and Latter-day Saints should try to find common grounds, not throw rocks at each other.

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  • August 18, 2019

    2019-08-18 Religion Today - The Zelph Incident in LDS History

    In June 1834 Zion's Camp members dug up an "Indian Mound" the significance of which has been debated ever since.  The Joseph Smith History, Vol. 2, p. 79-80 would lead a reader to believe Joseph Smith wrote in his diary the partial skeleton unearthed was of "Zelph" a white Lamanite who fought in the final battle between the Lamanites and Nephites.  However, the actual source is seven journals, many written years after the event, with conflicting information.  This event is used by some to show Book of Mormon events took place in North America.  Only those who look at the event superficially would come to such a conclusion.

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  • August 10, 2019

    2019-08-11 Religion Today - Great Religious Archaeological Finds

    Martin Tanner describes the religious significance of some of the greatest archaeological finds of our time, including the 1st CE crucified man at Givat Hamivtar; 9th century BCE "House of David" inscription at Tel Dan; 3rd century BCE Rosetta Stone; 7th century BCE Ketef Hinnom scrolls; 6th century BCE "Seal of Mulek" and more.   

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  • August 4, 2019

    2019-08-04 Religion Today - Who Were the Nephilim in Genesis 6.4

    Who were the "giants" mentioned in Genesis 6:4 in the King James Version?  The word "giants" in the KJV is "Nephilim" and is an archaic word, the meaning of which has been lost.  As a result, various Bible translations translate the word meaning as "large" "mighty" "great" or "fallen."  The essentials of the Nephilim story is they were angels in Heaven who saw human women, lusted after than, left Heaven and had human women as wives.  This was regarded as highly improper.  The story of the Nephilim is a fascinating, but little known story of the Bible.

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  • July 27, 2019

    Hymns as a Window into LDS Doctrinal History

    There are fascinating doctrinal ideas in the Latter-day Saint Hymnal. For example "Oh What Songs of the Heart" (No. 286) and "O My Father" (No. 292) reference heavenly parents, a Mother in Heaven.  Another hymn, "If you Could Hie to Kolob" (No. 284) asks the question whether you could find the beginning when Gods became to be, if you could go back in time far enough, expressing the idea of eternal progression, to early Latter-day Saints, included deity.

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  • July 21, 2019

    Mormon Pioneer Trek West and its Origins

    The Mormon Pioneers traveled to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.  The first group, the Vanguard Group, consisted of 143 men (three of whom were black, two of those Priesthood holders), and two children.  They averaged between 14 and 20 miles a day.  From Fort Bridger, WY, they followed the way taken the previous year by the Donner Party.  The Donner Party had forged a trail, without which, the Mormon Pioneers might have perished because they then would have not arrived in the Salt Lake Valley until perhaps early September, too late to plant and harvest a crop.  Along the way, the Mormon Pioneers invented the modern odometer. 

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  • July 14, 2019

    Priesthood and Authority in Christian Tradition

    The Jewish faith, Catholicism, the Orthodox faith, nearly all Protestant denominations, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all believe priesthood authority is necessary for the most sacred rituals and ordinances.  Jews believe the authority of their priests came from YHWH.  Catholics, Orthodox and Latter-day Saints all trace their authority from the event described in Matthew 16:19, from Jesus to Peter, then to those in authority in their faiths.  Protestants see the need for priesthood, but believe 1 Peter 2:9 somehow says all Protestant believers automatically have priesthood.  But is that what 1 Peter 2:9 implies?

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  • July 6, 2019

    Religious Beliefs of the Founding Fathers

    Many claim the Founding Fathers were not Christians, but merely Deists.  Deism was all the rage at Harvard and other schools at the time of the founding of the United States.  Deism is belief in God as creator, but nothing else.  Deism today would say God caused the "Big Bang" but doesn't answer prayers, cause miracles or get involved in the life of humans.  The truth is all the Founding Fathers believed the U.S. should be a Christian nation, guided by Christian principles.  The Library of Congress issued an official statement on this topic, "[B]oth the legislature and the public considered it appropriate for the national government to promote nondenominational, non-polemical Christianity."

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