This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice ( Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.

“This is truly despicable behavior from God and Moses. Under God’s direction, Moses’ army defeats the Midianites. They kill all the adult males, but take the women and children captive. When Moses learns that they left some alive, he angrily says: “Have you saved all the women alive? Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” So they went back and did as Moses – the Lord’s prophet – commanded, killing everyone except for the virgins.” (CES Letter)

The reason the Midianites were destroyed was because they posed a great immediate threat to Israel. The Lord explains very clearly the events leading up to this particular battle: “Vex the Midianites, and smite them: For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake.” (Num. 25:17-18) “Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor,” with apostate sacrifices to idol gods, including child sacrifice. They practiced “only evil continually,” and more and more Israelites were changing sides to join them.

A prophet for Baal climbed the mountain of Pe‘or and prophesied the destruction of Moab because of Israel. This likely stirred up violent resentment against Israel throughout the Midianite and Moabite region.
Zimri was committing adultery with a Midianite woman in the camp of Moses, leading to the deaths of both Zimri and the woman. This was likely the breaking point in the tension between the two sides.

Whether a Midianite was a virgin or not indicated whether they were initiated into the sexual cult practices that was the basis of child sacrifice, and such a corruptive influence on Israel. Hece, the non-virgins were killed. It had nothing to do with sexual slavery or anything.

Self-Defense – Wars happen. This appears to be a battle between two nations over issues that focused on religion and sexual relationships. Midian hated Israel because of their religion and the death of Cozbi. Israel hated Midian because they were corrupting the people of Israel and threatened the continued existence of Israel. They went to war and Israel won.

Scholars think the narrative was changed as the Old Testament was passed down, to downplay the involvement of Moab. Who knows how much the text was corrupted. Plain and precious truths were taken from the bible, so we don’t know how much of the narrative was changed and we don’t know all of the circumstances involved. We know at least that Israel was struggling for survival, the Midianites were an existential threat, and they found it important to stamp out the Ba’al cult practices which included child sacrifice.

Four thousand years from now, a student of American history might assume America was genocidal for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. War is a dirty business, but nations have a duty to defend their people.

CES Letter Logical Fallacies

EtymologyCES Letter uses present tense to describe the bible story to make these events sound more recent and important to modern day.
Red HerringCES Letter shifts blame to Joseph Smith: “In this way, they got 32,000 virgins. This is the same prophet that Joseph Smith claimed to have appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1 836 for the ‘gathering of Israel.'” (CES Letter) The story with the Midiantes literally has nothing to do with Joseph Smith. The number of spared virgins has nothing to do with sexual partners, which is clearly what CES Letter is insinuating here, as the cult worship of Ba’al was the issue. This red herring suggests Joseph Smith adopted genocidal beliefs and sexual slavery from the bible: pure and baseless character attack. CES Letter suggests scientific credibility for their narrative: “Aside from scientifically discredited stories mentioned earlier, the following scriptures are some among many which make it hard for me believe the scriptures literally and that the scriptures hold any credibility” (CES Letter) This is a discussion about ethics. Science is not the study of ethics.
Guilt By IgnoranceCES Letter completely ignores historical context of Israel’s wars and threats.
FalsehoodCES Letter misquotes Numbers 31 to cover up the reason for the conflict.
Ad HominemCES Letter: “To believe in the scriptures, I have to believe in a god who endorsed murder, genocide, infanticide, rape, slavery, selling daughters into sex slavery, polygamy, child abuse, stoning disobedient children, pillage, plunder, sexism, racism, human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, killing people who work on the Sabbath, death penalty for those who mix cotton with polyester, and so on…. This is truly despicable behavior from God and Moses.” (CES Letter)
RepetitionRedundant: “When Moses learns that they left some alive, he angrily says: ‘Have you saved all the women alive?'”
ContradictionCES Letter accuses God of child sacrifice, but that is precisely what Moses stopped by fighting this war.”

CES Letter attacks the character of the Mormon God with appeals to emotion. They whip up a sense of danger. Mormons are liable to commit genocide because of what happened in Numbers 31, and Joseph Smith is liable to take all the virgins. This is important because it gives anti-Mormons a reason to hate Mormons. If the Book of Mormon was made up and Joseph Smith was a conman–so what? Even if he were a fraud, aren’t Mormons still nice people who do nice things and make the world a better place? Why not just let them be? The powerful thing with these arguments is that CES Letter tells you why Mormonism is evil: it kills men and victimizes girls. It This is easy rhetoric for them to push, as the internet is filled with all kinds of false rumors about Mormon polygamy and because the fake news media labels modern-day polygamist cultists as “Mormon”.

Suddenly it’s not just about Joseph Smith. Now, all Mormons are dangerous! They use God as an excuse to kill and take sexual slaves.

Of course, this illogical, dehumanizing argument ignores clear Mormon doctrine that opposes such behavior, and clear reality about what the scriptures actually say. Mormons and Christians fought to end the international slave trade and victimization of women and children. What has CES Letter done to stop human trafficking or the slavery of women that still goes on?

This is an argument about ethics. Apparently it is evil, genocidal, and rape to defend your nation in war. What alternative system of ethics does CES Letter propose? Social justice? Where does that lead? What motive would social justice warriors have to behave differently in a similar situation?

Categories: Apologetics