The Jackson-Iler Debate on Mormonism

Sometimes when you read a debate, your eyes are opened.  Oftentimes we assume that we understand where the other side is coming from, when in actuality, it’s different than we thought–and that’s important for us to realize, because sometimes we can spend all our time arguing against something they don’t really believe in the first place.

Today’s new addition to the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary is the Bill Jackson, John Iler debate on Mormonism.  Bill Jackson described the events that led to the debate as follows:

In June, 1984, Mr. John R. Iler, Jr. wrote me after reading my debate with James Crackin, an atheist, as that debate was featured in an issue of THRUST magazine. A friend of Mr. Iler’s, in Kentucky, had obtained a copy of THRUST and had forwarded it on to him.

Mr. Iler stated that he was involved in a missionary endeavor of the Latter-Day Saints, and was one of the “Seventy in the Church.” He stated that he was currently working on a manuscript in defense of the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and asked if I would be interested in debating “Mormonism.” I then accepted, and in our correspondence plans were made to have the debate printed in this present form.

We trust that all who read this will gain benefit, and we express our thanks to Mr. Iler for his willingness to defend those things he believes.

-Bill Jackson

Not being thoroughly studied-up on Mormonism, there were some arguments put forth that I hadn’t heard before, and some valid criticisms leveled on each side.

I wish this debate could have been longer and certain issues addressed (there were arguments completely ignored by both sides, unfortunately), but it is a good overall treatment of the topics.

Proposition 1: The Book of Mormon is Inspired
Proposition 2: The Bible is God’s Final Revelation to Mankind

As always, we’ve taken this book and completely reformatted it, correcting any typos that appeared in the original and giving it a fresher look.

To read online, or to download to your computer/tablet/phone/etc… just click the link below!

Jackson-Iler Debate on Mormonism

One thought on “The Jackson-Iler Debate on Mormonism”

  1. The central idea behind Mormonism that caused the split between Campbell and Rigdon was authority in the ministry. The simple fact is, the Bible was never intended to be a church manual. We see the offices in the ancient church included apostles, teachers, deacons, priests, elders, bishops, seventy and evangelists, but what were their duties? And what of the keys of the kingdom given to Peter? Who has these keys today? The Bible is silent regarding all of these issues.

    The Bible also is silent regarding baptism. How is it performed and who can perform it? Can I baptize my own children? Jesus says all must be born of the water and of the Spirit, and the latter was conveyed by the laying on of hands. Even though the Lord left us with His Spirit, no one seems to perform the rite of conveying it by the laying on of hands.

    This is why the church cannot be restored by or through the Bible alone. There are too many gaps; too many gray areas. Mormonism, so called, is the only Christian religion that is shaped after the ancient order. And regarding the Book of Mormon, some of its toughest critics are the scholars within the church who are studying it, dissecting it, analyzing it — and many of the problems they’ve encountered over the years are dissolving as history and culture rise from the dust, as prophesied. Since this debate appeared in 1984, mountains of evidence have been published. See:

    This lecture was given by Dr. Daniel C. Peterson, who outlines just some of these evidences.

    I’m glad there are people who are willing to look at all aspects of the beliefs of others. I believe it’s healthy and not enough religious institutions are willing to do it.

    I was happy to take part in this debate with Bill Jackson and wish him and his colleagues the best if he’s still with us.

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