21
Sep
08

Mormonism’s Sources of Authority

 

     Seth, a regular on this blog, asked an important question.  He asked:  “Imagine you are an active Mormon (or at least try for a moment).  Imagine you had to rank Mormon sources of teaching and doctrine on a numbered scale.  How would you rank the following:

            *Accepted Mormon scriptures – the “Standard Works”

            *Statements by Joseph Smith on doctrinal matters

            *Statements by Brigham Young on doctrinal matters

            *Statements made by current or recent Prophets and Apostles in General Conference, or in the Ensign

            *Explanations made in books published by General Authorities. Statements made by official Church organs (such as the Church website, or press room)

            *Statements included in currently used manuals or lesson materials.”

     This is an important question because if there is an agreed-upon answer then that establishes common ground for discussion.  In my experience, however, both Mormons and Christians don’t agree on the relative importance of the things listed.  This results in ever-increasing frustration for all involved as everybody, it seems, cites different authorities.  Sometimes it even appears as if the same person will cite different authorities at different times to suit his purpose.  This switching of authorities, whether real or perceived, creates not only frustration but also suspicion.

     What I find perplexing about all this is that it seems to me that the LDS Church has spoken clearly about this very question.  One of its basis tenets is the idea of ongoing revelation.  I have lost count of the number of LDS members who have talked to me about their benefit of having a living prophet who can receive revelation for the current day.  This is a universally accepted idea.  At least I have never seen or heard of a LDS member not sustaining the current living prophet.

     Building on this teaching of ongoing revelation, the LDS church has published numerous statements like the following.  These are all taken from the official church manual, Teachings of the Living Prophet

      “The most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us.”  Ezra Taft Benson, P. 13

     “The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.”  P. 15

      “The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.” P. 15

      “The prophet does not have to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture. P. 16

      “The most crucial reading and pondering which you should do is of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece.  That is why it is essential that you have access to and carefully read his words in current Church publications.”  P. 19

      “President Ezra Taft Benson counseled the Saints to ‘beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always takes precedence.’” P. 20

     “It is the latest word from God that must be heeded, in preference to any former revelation, however true.  The same God ways do thus and so today, can repeal that commandment tomorrow, without being changeable or inconsistent.”  P. 20

     “Today the Lord is revealing his will to all the inhabitants of the earth, and to members of the Church in particular, on the issues of this our day through the living prophets, with the First Presidency at the head.  What they say as a presidency is what the Lord would say if he were here in person.  This is the rock foundation of Mormonism.”  P. 25 (My emphasis)

     There are other similar quotes from other current and official manuals. These are not taken from obscure and outdated documents. There are numerous quotes, for example, that describe General Conference talks as scripture.  One of the newest LDS manuals, True to the Faith, says, “Your greatest safety lies in strictly following the word of the Lord given through His prophets, particularly the current President of the Church.” P. 130

     Back to the original question.  It sure seems to me, if I were a faithful member of the LDS church, the church itself is telling me loud and clear where to look – at what is currently being taught by the First Presidency.  In that regard, I would pay special attention to everything the First Presidency officially endorses – as is the case with many church manuals.  In fact, if I put something above them, it seems to me that I would not be a faithful member.  As the church itself teaches: “The living prophet always takes precedence.” 

Advertisements

41 Responses to “Mormonism’s Sources of Authority”


  1. September 21, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Is there an online source for all those Benson quotes? I don’t seem to have a copy of Teachings of the Living Prophet.

    You know… I have to say… As much as we argue about things, it IS rather impressive how much legwork you and Berean put into covering Mormon source material. It really inspires me to get a better grounding in LDS materials myself.

  2. 2 Texas
    September 21, 2008 at 3:50 am

    Reggie,
    Go to http://www.ldsces.org/inst_manuals/tlp/manualindex.asp – 2k or just google
    Teachings of the Living prophet
    I’ve found that almost teaching materials of the LDS church can be found on line
    including the JST

  3. 3 markcares
    September 21, 2008 at 3:51 am

    Seth:
    I had a slight mistyping. The mannual is “Teachings of the Living Prophets.” (plural) You can get the quotes from Benson at LDS.org under the search “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Living Prophet”.

  4. 4 Berean
    September 21, 2008 at 5:47 am

    “Teachings of the Living Prophets” is Student Manual Religion 333. When I tried to order it from LDS Distribution they were on backorder. Deseret Books had it in stock.

    On page 15 of that manual section (3-8) it states: “In conclusion, let us summarize this grand key, these ‘Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,’ for our SALVATION hangs on them.” [Emphasis mine]. Our salvation? LDS Church members’ salvation is hanging on the direction of their prophet? I’d like to hear some clarification on that because as a Christian I immediately think of Acts 4:12.

    If we are going to go by what Thomas Monson is saying today, then we need a complete list from him on what manuals, scriptures, publications, etc., he has approved of and is relevant today. He’s only been the prophet for a few months. That is one of the troubling things that Mormons take a hit on. Everytime a new prophet takes the helm, the Church has to press the “reset button”. I had a discussion with some missionaries a while back and they told me that it didn’t matter what was in the manuals, books, magazines or even the standard works. It was all about what the current revelation was. My response was, “If that is the case, why don’t you just throw all those things you just mentioned in the garbage and just go by what was put out at the last Conference that is published in the Ensign?” They said nothing. I mean, isn’t that what it comes down to? When those conference talks reference past works then does that mean those works are still authoritative? If Thomas Monson hasn’t verbally cancelled a past work then does that mean it’s still valid? If there is silence on the issue, then what does that mean? Why does the Mormon Church teach from the series “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” if they are obsolete. One ward class I attended they used the book that featured Wilford Woodruff. Now that is going way back!

    My term “Vegas buffet” Mormonism is what I coin for Mormons picking and choosing what doctrines they want. This manual talks a lot about Mormons who do this kind of picking and choosing and when they say “That is only —-‘s opinion – not mine. It’s not authoritative and I don’t have to heed to it.” This manual that we are talking about speaks about this problem and gives guidance to Church members in section (4-6) and (5-7).

    Other references that talk about the words of the prophets and their teachings:

    “God has chosen His servants. He claims it as His prerogative to condemn them, if they need condemnation. He has not given it to us individually to censure and condemn them. No man, however strong he may be in the faith, however high in the Priesthood, can speak evil of the Lord’s anointed and find fault with God’s authority on the earth without incurring His displeasure. The Holy Spirit will withdraw itself from such a man, and he will go into darkness. This being the case, do you not see how important it is that we should be careful? However difficult it may be for us to understand the reason for any action of the authorities of the Church, we should not too hastily call their acts in quetion and pronounce them wrong.” (Doctrines and Covenants Student Manual, p. 4)

    For those that have the D&C Student Manual also look at page 390, section (F-3). More clarification is given on what is authoritative both past and present. Page 391 of the same manual states:

    “unofficial expressions [of a prophet] carry greater weight than the opinions of other men of equal or greater gifts and experience but without the power of the prophetic office…The unofficial views and expressions of such a man with respect to any vital subject, should command respectful attention.”

    Lastly, when I want to know what is official Mormon doctrine for today, I go to LDS.org and to the Newsroom. Since Monson is the prophet today I assume that whatever is posted today since he took the prophetic helm must be relevant. For example, I did just that on the subject of current doctrine on August 17, 2008 (according to my printout). The article from the LDS Newsroom is entitled “Approaching Mormon Doctrine”. It states:

    “With divine inspiration, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in OFFICIAL CHURCH PUBLICATIONS. This doctrine resides in the four ‘standard works’ of scripture, official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith.” [Emphasis mine]

    What are “official church publications”? When I order institute/seminary maunals from LDS Distribution and it comes with the Church stamp on the back of the book, is that not an “official church publication”? If they are taught to the Mormon youth and young adult, then they must be authoritative? If these same manuals are taught from at the wards/stakes, then I assume that it’s authoritative, correct? In those manuals when they reference other LDS works (Mormon Doctrine by McConkie, Journal of Discourses, etc.) doesn’t that make them authoritative? If one wants to be consistent, then I see no other choice.

    I still stand by my original post on this subject on the other thread where I believe that the first line of Mormon authority falls on Joseph Smith and his doctrines. The quote in “Doctrines of Salvation”, Vol.1, page 188, states clearly that Mormonism stands or falls on Joseph Smith. If what he said is wrong and if he was a false prophet, then nothing else matters. The LDS Church falls.

  5. September 21, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Mark,
    There seems to be a typo in the first quote from the Teachings of the Living Prophets:

    “The most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us.” Ezra Taft Benson, P. 13

    I could not find it on page 13 and I would like to mark it in my book.

  6. 6 markcares
    September 21, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Sorry, It’s on the bottom of p. 11 and top of p. 12.

  7. September 22, 2008 at 3:51 am

    OK, I wrote this response to Darrell on another thread. But I hate to see effort go to waste, and the response addresses this subject, so I’m reposting it here. Sorry if it’s a clumsy fit or doesn’t address certain issues that have been raised.

    My response:

    I generally hold the scriptures to be of greatest force, and then judge the statements of General Authorities by how well they match up with scripture.

    So I give highest priority to the standard works.

    That said, I have no objection to a modern prophet giving instruction beyond the scope of the standard works which is still in harmony with them. For example, the late Pres. Hinckley spoke out recently against racism that lingers among some in the LDS Church. Racism is not something specifically covered in the standard works – except by implication. Yet I still hold Hinckley’s remarks as binding for me – even “scriptural.” I find nothing in the standard works that contradicts his condemnation of racism.

    Another less lofty example would be Hinckley’s call several years ago to avoid multiple ear-piercings. Now, I and a lot of other members found this call to be a bit on the micro-managing side (and many Evangelicals found it distasteful in its apparent emphasis on “works”). But I did not find it really at odds with scripture and felt it still needed to be respected.

    Keep in mind Darrell, it’s a rather rare occurrence for a modern LDS prophet to expound pure theology. And almost unheard of for him to put forth completely new theological material. Most of the modern prophet’s work is focused on guiding Church programs, teaching existing scripture, and giving injunctions for proper behavior and belief. So realistically, there’s not a lot of opportunity for modern prophets to really clash theologically with the standard works, or with the original source material from Joseph Smith. Something to keep in mind when speculating about possible conflicts.

    Generally speaking, apostles and other general authorities of the Church have been a little more freewheeling in throwing out bold doctrinal statements expanding on existing sources. Bruce R. McKonkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” would be a good example. Then there are people like James Talmage, Orson Hyde, and B.H. Roberts who all wrote doctrinally important books covering some new ground. But I’m always careful in reading these sources. Apostles have often felt free to give their own personal opinion rather forcefully. To some it may look binding. But I don’t always view it as such.

    Take Spencer W. Kimball’s book – The Miracle of Forgiveness (which he wrote as an apostle).

    I am not willing to give an unqualified acceptance of that book. Yes, I find him “authoritative.” But I do not find him necessarily “binding” or of more force than a careful and correct read of the standard works. I am not willing to say where or if Kimball contradicts the standard works (need more of my own personal study before making such assertions). But if he does, I am willing to jettison that portion of the book in favor of the standard works.

    I treat most books from Apostles this way. Some, like “Articles of Faith” by Talmage, have been adopted officially and re-adopted so many times that they hold much more weight for me than, say one of the late (and prolific) Neal A. Maxwell’s books. But all in all, I tend to treat such books more as “authoritative commentary” than binding dogma. There’s something the Jewish tradition has called “rabbinic commentary” on the Torah. That’s more or less, how I view books by authored and published by apostles. Rabbinic commentary. Highly persuasive, spoken from a position of authority, worthy of the utmost careful consideration, but not on the same level as original scripture – and certainly not of higher importance.

    Now, what to do with Church manuals?

    The most honest answer I can give is – I don’t know.

    The reason is, it’s so hit-and-miss as to what sort of quality you are going to get with a Church manual. On the one hand, the “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” series we’ve been using in adult Priesthood and Relief Society meetings for the past few years are quite excellent. Very high quality, careful in picking quotes from past Presidents and giving them context, and overall a very good job. On the other hand, other Church manuals…

    I’ve actually taught from the youth and Primary versions of certain manual series, and… to be frank… The quality absolutely stunk.

    Horrible manual, full of inane teaching suggestions, overused stories of dubious value or doctrinal worth, and not always careful about presentation or context of quotes… I hated teaching from this manual. I will praise the day when they finally retire it, and give us a better manual.

    Does this mean I’d dismiss material in it just because I don’t like the series? No. But I’d be willing to take it with a large grain of salt, because my unfounded suspicion is that this particular manual didn’t have all that great of a vetting process. Either that, or it’s just an old and obsolete manual series that the Church has not had funds or resources to address yet, so instead makes small revisions rather than the complete overhaul the series desperately needs.

    Put simply, I’m deeply ambiguous on some Church manuals. If I really felt that one was simply wrong doctrinally (using the standard works as a measuring stick), I probably would not adopt the teaching. I don’t even hold the Standard Works to be inerrant, there’s no way I’m going to hold Church manuals inerrant.

  8. September 22, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Another thing I think Evangelicals should always keep in mind is that the LDS Church has no particular doctrine of scriptural inerrancy.

    Some members certainly believe it. Some of our leaders probably do as well. But we do not have any doctrinal demand for Biblical or Book of Mormon, or D&C inerrancy.

    So no matter where I place prophets on the authority ranking system, I don’t consider them inerrant.

  9. 10 Berean
    September 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Mark may be unavailable to get on the blog right now, so if you don’t mind I’ll answer for him. Yes, that is the manual. Glad you found an online source.

  10. 11 Darrell
    September 22, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Seth,

    Your response to my question on the other blog is rather confusing. You seem to be saying that you are not sure when you can trust the words of the prophets and apostles and when you cannot. You say that generally you support the scriptures as the primary source of authority, however, you “have no objection to a modern prophet giving instruction beyond the scope of the standard works…” What is troubling is then you follow this by saying “apostles and other general authorities of the Church have been a little more freewheeling in throwing out bold doctrinal statements expanding on existing sources.” As a result you do not necessarily take these statements as binding on you. In addition, you say that in regards to church manuals “The most honest answer I can give is – I don’t know.”

    So, to sum this up, you really have no solid answer as to what you can trust and what you cannot. It is basically whatever you want/feel/think at any given moment. If you like the statement of a prophet/apostle then great you can hold it as authoritative. If you do not like a statement of a prophet or apostle then you are free to throw it out as non-authoritative. I would submit to you that all of the mormons I have spoken with hold this position as well. They have certain statements from prophets they like and adhere to and certain statements they DO NOT like or adhere to. What is interesting is no two people consider the SAME STATEMENTS AS AUTHORITATIVE. That is why MORMONS are hardly ever in agreement on doctrinal positions. Yet at the same time they all consider their thinking to be in agreement with what the TRUE CHURCH teaches. This is why it is so difficult to discuss things with Mormons. There is no solid position. It all depends on the flavor of mormonism that the individual subscribes to. For being the supposed “one true church” there sure is a lot of disagreement among the rank and file.

    So, given this, what is the point of having a latter day prophet? If you can throw out JS’s teaching that God was once a man and man can become a God, what good is “modern day revelation”? If you can throw out the current church manual which teaches this, what value is there in havign the prophet to lead and guide you? Won’t he make sure the manuals you have only contain truth? What is the value of the prophet and apostles if they habitually “have been a little more freewheeling in throwing out bold doctrinal statements” that you are free to throw aside as mere opinion? It appears to me that your position devalues the prophets and apostles from “God’s anointed” to nothing more than glorified teachers.

    Darrell

  11. September 23, 2008 at 4:19 am

    Darrell, I haven’t “thrown-out” anything. I’m simply admitting that I’m still trying to make a coherent whole out of all of it. I still keep their interpretations handy and constantly reference to them. Apostles have gone too far in the past and I imagine they will do so in the future. Bruce R. McConkie was forced to retract several portions of his book – “Mormon Doctrine.” So I don’t just think that apostles can screw up, I pretty certain they can.

    But that doesn’t mean I get to just toss them out whenever I don’t like what they say. I have to have some basis for deciding I disagree with something.

    “It is basically whatever you want/feel/think at any given moment.”

    That’s not true Darrell. It is also based on what I can back up with other sources and knowledge. I already said that I start from a foundation of scripture. How on earth did you get “whatever I feel like” from that?

    Look are you really trying to sort this out? Or are you just trying to fit me into Berean’s contemptuous “Vegas Buffet” narrative as quickly as possible so you can dismiss me and avoid having to deal with my arguments?

  12. 13 Brad
    September 23, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Seth, it’s not hard to deal with your “arguments”, from a theological perspective. The problem is, they vary so widely, and as Darrell pointed out they often vary from what other Mormons believe, which makes it hard to discuss a common point between Mormons.

    And the “Vegas buffet” illustration is right on target.

  13. 14 Berean
    September 23, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Seth,

    What are your arguments that you think are being avoided? On LDS.org the Church has made an official statement on what is and what is not doctrine. You’ve read what it says in the “Teachings of the Living Prophets” when it comes to church members’ individual opinions. You’ve stated that you don’t think any of the standard works are inerrant which surprises me after reading Articles of Faith #8 which says that the Book of Mormon is the word of God with no bail-out clause attached to it like the Bible later in that same article (“as far as it is translated correctly”).

    Apostles have gone too far in the past? Oh, I definitely agree. So have past prophets! Brigham Young tops the list when it comes to past prophet blunders and teachings that the Church today runs from. Brigham Young is like that “crazy uncle” in the family that shows up for Thanksgiving dinner that says the craziest things that has the whole family embarrassed and twitching in their seat. Nobody in the family wants to claim him, but he is still part of the family.

    I know many Mormons don’t like Bruce McConkie for his exhaustive work in “Mormon Doctrine”. However, there are two problems with modern day Mormons when it comes to McConkie. First, “Mormon Doctrine” is referenced in just about every LDS Church manual there is for the past 40 years including being referenced in conference talks. Second, the Church made an official statement about McConkie that can’t be avoided:

    “When he received a blessing from Elder Boyd Packer a week after conference, however, he was told he was one of the ‘faithful elders of this dispensation [who], when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel’ (D&C 138:47). President Ezra Taft Benson eulogized him as a PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. ‘Thanks be to God that Elder McConkie’s written words of testimony remain to continue to bless a world that needs them so desperately. Often when a DOCTRINAL QUESTION came before the First Presidency and the Twelve, Elder McConkie was asked to quote scripture or to comment on the matter. He provided the entire Church with an example of GOSPEL SCHOLARSHIP…Elder McConkie is best known and loved among Church members for his sermons and writings on DOCTRINAL SUBJECTS – his encyclopedic work, ‘Mormon Doctrine’, covering over 1,000 gospel subjects;” [Emphasis mine] (“Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Preacher of Righteousness”, Ensign, June 1985)

    When the First Presidency had questions about what Mormon doctrine were they asked McConkie. Wow, the prophet asked the apostle what doctrine was on a subject. Think about that. McConkie can’t be dismissed and he isn’t another LDS “crazy uncle”. Why would McConkie and many of the other apostles and prophets and their works be referenced in new manuals today that are taught at institute and seminary classes? I know that the Mormon Church would not want to teach the Mormon youth today doctrines and teachings that are not correct, right?

    I know you don’t like my “contemptuous ‘Vegas Buffet’ narrative”, but you know that it’s a vaild point. While you may personally want to pick and choose what you like and don’t like, in the end it doesn’t matter what Seth says when the Mormon Church as a body (GA’s) have clearly stated what is and what is not doctrine and what they put the LDS Church stamp on on the back of its books. I bring your attention again to the manual “Teachings of the Living Prophets” on page 26:

    “And so, my brethren, all who are OUT OF HARMONY in any degree with the Presidency have need to repent and to seek the Lord for forgiveness and to put themselves in FULL HARMONY.” [Emphasis mine]

  14. September 23, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    And once again, it’s all about me.

  15. September 23, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    By the way Berean, none of what you are saying proves much of anything. All it says is that McConkie gets cited a lot and has done a lot of good work. All of which, I agree with. He is highly persuasive and has done a lot of scriptural legwork.

    But he wasn’t always right, he is not infallible, and your arguments do not convince me that, as a believing Mormon, I must view them as such.

  16. September 23, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    “And so, my brethren, all who are OUT OF HARMONY in any degree with the Presidency have need to repent and to seek the Lord for forgiveness and to put themselves in FULL HARMONY.”

    Note that this is about the “First Presidency” and not the apostles and not about the manuals either.

  17. 18 Darrell
    September 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    “And so, my brethren, all who are OUT OF HARMONY in any degree with the Presidency have need to repent and to seek the Lord for forgiveness and to put themselves in FULL HARMONY.”

    “Note that this is about the “First Presidency” and not the apostles and not about the manuals either.”

    Seth,

    It is extraordinary the lengths you will go to in order to rationalize your position. I am sure TSM would agree with you… yup, you are right in line with what he thinks. Keep thinking that one!! :-)

    Darrell

  18. September 23, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    This whole discussion is purely theoretical to begin with. We haven’t really discussed what exactly it is that I disagree with. How about a couple examples?

    I’ll start with one.

    Bruce R. McConkie mentions the idea that God could have used evolutionary processes in the creation as “a heresy” in “Mormon Doctrine.”

    But since this goes beyond the scope and spirit of a FIRST PRESIDENCY statement on evolution – which allows for a variety of positions, I do not consider myself bound by McConkie’s read on things here. But you’ll note that this is not just an instance of me “throwing things out” just “because I don’t like them.” In this case, I have simply read McConkie in the light of a higher authority.

    I have said nothing about tossing out this, or tossing out that. I have only tried to argue that the writings of the Apostles are not inerrant, and neither are the official Church manuals. That’s it. I never said you could go and chuck a teaching in a manual just because you don’t like it. You have to have grounds for doing so.

    And Darrell, yes, I would imagine quite a few of “the Brethren” would be in agreement with me, since they have repeatedly called on each individual member to gain his or her own personal witness of the truths being taught. Furthermore, I just don’t think they would support as dogmatic a position as you are taking. There is no Mormon doctrine of inerrancy.

  19. 20 Darrell
    September 23, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    “You have to have grounds for doing so.”

    What qualifies as “grounds for doing so”? The spirit telling me it is incorrect?

    Darrell

  20. 21 Brad
    September 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Yes, indeed, what qualifies as “grounds”? What YOU think ought to be grounds? What others think ought to be grounds? What if what others think should be grounds, doesn’t line up with what YOU think ought to be grounds – who is right?

    Are we back to the burning in the bosom?

  21. September 23, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    I think you’re ignoring what I’m saying here. I’ve said it several times already. You have to weigh what an apostle, what a manual, what a scripture says, against a totality of the sources available to you – scripture, the words of modern prophets, all of it. That has nothing to do with “warm feelings” (although they can help).

  22. 23 markcares
    September 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Seth:
    If you wouldn’t mind could you please react to the following scenario. It is close to some I know people have actually experience.
    Joe is an investigator who joins the LDS church. He is very eager to learn more and he does read all the standard works. When he gets to the official declarations at the end of D&C he becomes troubled because they change scripture he has read. This is the case especially with the issue of pluraity of wives since in D&C the official revelation is less than 30 pages before the Official Declaration. He asks some of his local leaders about this and they empahsize to him the teaching of ongoing revelatin. At that point he basically asks your question – won hat should he concentrate his studies? What would you tell him? (In the caes I know of, most were told that if you wanted help in understanding the scriptures, rely on church manuals. It use to be Gospel Principles. Now True to the Faith is another manual referred to. That’s frustrating for some because, they, for example don’t address plural marriage.

  23. September 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Use of the manuals presupposes that the reader has already accepted the LDS message.

    Since Joe is an investigator, I would probably prefer turning to the scriptures rather than teaching manuals for addressing Joe’s concerns.

    My first question would be what exactly does Mormon polygamy (I assume you are referring to Section 132?) contradict in scriptures he has read?

    Now, I’m sure that we don’t want to turn this thread into a discussion of polygamy. But I’ve already had it out on other blogs about why LDS polygamy does not actually contradict anything in the Bible. So we are already starting from a certain assumption – that LDS teachings contradict the Bible.

    As I have argued forcefully here on numerous occasions, LDS scriptures do not, in fact, contradict anything in the Bible.

    So it would be a matter of explaining that to Joe, using scripture as the primary resource.

  24. 25 Darrell
    September 23, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    “As I have argued forcefully here on numerous occasions, LDS scriptures do not, in fact, contradict anything in the Bible.”

    I don’t want to side track this blog so I would love for another blog to be started to discuss this one. There are things in the LDS scriptures which contradict the bible.

    Eternal marriage for starters.

    Darrell

  25. 26 Darrell
    September 23, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    “Since Joe is an investigator, I would probably prefer turning to the scriptures rather than teaching manuals for addressing Joe’s concerns.”

    I really don’t understand this position. The mormon church trumpets itself as having “modern day revelation”. They say we need a modern day prophet because of all the confusion. I remember vividly taking the discussions and the missionaries telling me how a modern day prophet provided constant direction and made sure the message we received was clear and true.

    Yet you would push the investigator back to the scriptures. What about the clarity the prophet provides? Why wouldn’t you pull out the Ensign and Conference Talks? They are, after all, considered messages from prophets/apostles. According to Brigham Young these messages are as good as scripture. What is the advantage of modern day revelation if you don’t use it and can’t rely on it?

    Darrell

  26. September 23, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    It’s about starting from a point that the investigator can relate to. Nothing more. Let me get this straight, you are saying that Mormons should not use the scriptures?

    As for contradictions, there’s plenty of Mormon stuff that ADDS to the Bible, but it does not CONTRADICT it – including eternal marriage.

  27. 28 Darrell
    September 23, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    “It’s about starting from a point that the investigator can relate to. Nothing more. Let me get this straight, you are saying that Mormons should not use the scriptures?”

    No it is just you seem to devalue the modern day prophet’s council. Maybe I am misunderstanding you. I get the impression that you do not hold the modern day prophet’s council as highly as the church esteems it to be. BY did say his words were AS GOOD AS SCRIPTURE. I would think you would turn to modern day prophecy (Scripture) when trying to clear up confusion. Modern day prophecy is what the LDS Church SELLS ITSELF ON. It sells itself as a church led by a prophet who receives DIRECT REVELATION FROM GOD. Your manuals should not have errors in them because you are led by a prophet. You should turn to them to clear up questions and problems. Not the scriptures which are “OLD” and “outdated” revelation… especially the “error filled” bible. Otherwise, why do we need modern day prophecy?

    “As for contradictions, there’s plenty of Mormon stuff that ADDS to the Bible, but it does not CONTRADICT it – including eternal marriage.”

    We are told very clearly in the bible that marriage is for mortality. We are not married (males) or given in marriage (females) in heaven. We should discuss this on another blog. Maybe Mark Cares could start one?

    Darrell

  28. 29 markcares
    September 23, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Seth:
    My point was that D&C 132 establishes plural marriage. Then there is declaration #1. This is a classic example of the principle of ongoing revelation. Once that principle is introduced, it seems as if that necessitates the looking to current prophets for correct teaching. Otherwise if Joseph Smith takes precedence, then aren’t the fundamentalist Mormons who still practice plural marriage correct?
    I’m not so much intending to get into the teaching of plural marrige as the doctrine of continuing revelatin.

  29. September 23, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I know the verse you are talking about Darrell, and no it doesn’t say that. Like many other verses, you misinterpret this one. It says there will be no MARRIAGES in heaven. Not that there will be no MARRIED PEOPLE.

  30. 31 Darrell
    September 23, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    You are misinterpreting it. Jesus was answering a question about people who had already been married. HE was being asked if their marriage would extend into heaven… specifically, which husband would she have? He then responded with no husband… because their marriages were for their time on earth only. Tthey are neither “married nor given in marriage” in heaven. He said nothing about whether marriages were “performed” in heaven. It make zero sense to interpret this scripture as refrencing marriages being perfomed in heaven because that was not the question Christ was asked.

    Darrell

  31. September 23, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    The Sadducees question was mainly a trap to lure Jesus into denying the resurrection (something the rival Sadducees and Pharisees argued bitterly over). Jesus side=steps the issue by reminding them that marriage is something to be done in mortality, not in heaven and then redirects with a stinging rebuke that God is not the God of the dead, but the living (re-directing the conversation to the main issue of resurrection).

    I would also point you toward 1 Cor. 11:11, which is going to give you problems if you deny any marital relationships at all in heaven.

    We could go on. But I would note that your attempt to bring in context from the arguments and positions of the Sadducees is exactly what I tried to do with John 10:34 (“ye are gods”). Jesus argument simply makes no sense whatsoever if the passage in Psalms referred only to “human rulers.” But when I pointed this out, I was accused of twisting the scriptures to fit my own agenda.

    So what am I to make of your argument here?

    To re-direct to what this thread is about… all of this is an attempt to view the whole of what has been revealed to me in scripture and unify it. It is an approach that utilizes information and tries to put it all together – even when I don’t like the results.

    I’ll be honest. I don’t like the idea that no marriages are performed in heaven. That’s a little tidbit I’d just love to chuck out the window and say you can marry in the hereafter.

    But I do not consider myself at liberty to do so in light of Christ’s words here. Which is why the earlier accusations here seem just “off” to me.

  32. 33 Darrell
    September 24, 2008 at 2:06 am

    Seth,

    I did read John 10:34 in context and it is referring to the jewish judges and rulers who were called gods. That is the only “in context” way of reading it. The word “gods” that is used in John 10:34 is the Greek word Theos. Theos is used in various ways throughout the New Testamant. It is used in 2 Cor 4:4 in referring to satan as the “god” of this age. It is also used in Philippians 3:19 to refer to false gods and idols (in this particular case ones stomach!!). Certainly you do not think satan is a true god or your stomach is god! Yet, that same word is used in referring to these things!

    The true context for Theos in John 10:34 is referring to the rulers and magistrates to “whom the word of God came” just as Christ referred to them in the next verse (verse 35). It is taking the verse out of context to read it as referring to us as “true gods”. If so, I guess my stomach is a god too.

    Darrell

  33. 34 Darrell
    September 24, 2008 at 2:17 am

    “I would also point you toward 1 Cor. 11:11, which is going to give you problems if you deny any marital relationships at all in heaven.”

    1 Cor 11:11 is not problem from my viewpoint. When read in context one can see it is talking about worship in the Jewish culture, man and woman’s relationship to one another and God, and proper lines of authority in the church. It carries with it a message that in marriage man nor woman are superior to one another.

    It is not talking about heaven at all.

    Darrell

  34. September 24, 2008 at 5:59 am

    “It is not talking about heaven at all.”

    Not like you can prove that assertion.

    And Greek is the wrong language to be looking at Psalms 82. I believe that would be Hebrew.

  35. 36 Darrell
    September 24, 2008 at 9:59 am

    “And Greek is the wrong language to be looking at Psalms 82. I believe that would be Hebrew.”

    Take your time reading my posts before you respond. I was talkng about John 10:34 which is the specific verse you referenced. And Greek is the correct language to reference for this.

    Darrell

  36. 37 Darrell
    September 24, 2008 at 10:03 am

    “It is not talking about heaven at all.”

    Not like you can prove that assertion.

    Can you prove that it is? Please show me something to back up YOUR assertion. I gave you the context by talking about the verses before it and after it are talking about. If you have nothing better to respond with that the kindergarten response of “yes it is”, why respond?

    Darrell

  37. September 25, 2008 at 12:47 am

    In John 10:34, Jesus is quoting Psalms 82. So the thing to look at is Psalms – Hebrew.

    And your statement about Jewish worship and neither man nor woman being superior doesn’t prove the assertion that this is not about heaven. It actually seems quite irrelevant to the discussion.

  38. 39 Darrell
    September 25, 2008 at 1:49 am

    “In John 10:34, Jesus is quoting Psalms 82. So the thing to look at is Psalms – Hebrew.”

    The beauty of the Word of God in this particular case is that we have the Savior Himself putting Psalms 82:6 in context. In John 10:34 the Savior quotes the verse in Psalms 82 and follows it by stating for a fact that it is referencing “those to whom the word of god was came”. Specifically, He said… they are “CALLED ‘theos’, TO WHOM THE WORD OF GOD CAME” [emphasis mine]. To whom did the word of God come? The Jewish leaders!!

    I think I am on pretty safe ground taking the Savior at His word and trusting the fact that Psalms 82 IS referencing the Jewish Leaders. To say it is referencing “all mankind” and that this verse is saying that we will all become gods and goddesses over our own planets is a stretch. However, if you want to call the Savior a liar and say He is referencing all mankind, go for it. I will take Him at His word. Afterall, He is the ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD.

    Darrell

  39. 40 Darrell
    September 25, 2008 at 1:58 am

    “And your statement about Jewish worship and neither man nor woman being superior doesn’t prove the assertion that this is not about heaven. It actually seems quite irrelevant to the discussion.”

    Did you even read my post? Here is what I said word for word…

    “1 Cor 11:11 is not problem from my viewpoint. When read in context one can see it is talking about worship in the Jewish culture, man and woman’s relationship to one another and God, and proper lines of authority in the church. It carries with it a message that in marriage man nor woman are superior to one another.”

    When read in context, Paul is not even talking about Heaven. He is talking about proper worship in the jewish culture and man and woman’s proper relationship to one another and God in marriage. Are you actually trying to say that reading the verses prior to and following a verse is IRRELEVANT to the context of the verse in question? That is a completely ridiculous position to take. It will lead to a quite distorted interpretation of the bible as a whole. Which is exactly what most Mormons have… as they like to prooftext rather than read the verses in context.

    Can’t you make a better argument for your position than to simply say “Darrell, you are wrong”? How about making an attempt to show me how your reading on the verse is correct? Otherwise, let’s just end this discussion.

    Darrell

  40. 41 Darrell
    September 25, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Seth,

    Looking at most post above I do need to clarify something that I now see I failed to do in posts 40 and 34. My interpretation for the verse in question came from reading the verses PRIOR TO IT and FOLLOWING IT. Those verses show what Paul is talking about (proper Jewish worship, man and woman’s relationship in a Christian marriage, etc.) The verses show that Paul is not referencing Heaven.

    If I did not make that clear I apologize.

    Darrell


Comments are currently closed.

September 2008
M T W T F S S
« Aug   Oct »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Blog Stats

  • 182,308 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 998 other followers


%d bloggers like this: