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Rob Bowman

Offenders for a Word

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The expression

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The popular LDS defensive tactic of throwing up the phrase

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The

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Mola,

You wrote:

Popular? Out side of Dan's book I had hardly considered the experssion much less ever used it. I think Dan and Pahoran are the 2 that use it the most nad it is generally in reference to those that think the LDS are not Christians.

Well, that would be a misuse of the expression as far as its meaning in the context of Isaiah 29 is concerned. Is your defense that the misuse isn't that bad because it isn't as commonly misused as I claimed?

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Mola,

You wrote:

Well, that would be a misuse of the expression as far as its meaning in the context of Isaiah 29 is concerned. Is your defense that the misuse isn't that bad because it isn't as commonly misused as I claimed?

No, my main objection is that it is not a popular term (I know, slight quibble). Any way I am interested in a response from DCP or Pahoran. They might have more an issue with what you brought up than I. I am under no obligation to defend their use of the statement.

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semlogo,

Well, in defense of the KJV, it's a model of scholarship from its time, 400 years ago this year. However, its language is four centuries old, biblical manuscript discoveries have refined our knowledge of the original text, and we have learned quite a bit about Hebrew and Greek and about the ancient cultures in which the biblical writings were produced, so modern translations can improve on the KJV from those angles. But I wouldn't denigrate the KJV; I have the utmost respect for the work the translators did.

I think the problem is we're still, most of us, reading the KJV. It's really a terrible translation. I mean it's beautiful, but very poor as far getting the original meaning across.

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Mola,

You wrote:

No, my main objection is that it is not a popular term (I know, slight quibble).

Indeed.

You wrote:

Any way I am interested in a response from DCP or Pahoran. They might have more an issue with what you brought up than I. I am under no obligation to defend their use of the statement.

Of course you aren't.

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The usual LDS use of this expression is in reference to those who take unnecessary offense at others because of something they say that the offended person interprets uncharitably.

CFR that this phrase is in 'usual LDS use' at all.

I never heard of it before Dan Peterson's book.

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SilverKnight,

You wrote:

CFR that this phrase is in 'usual LDS use' at all.

I never heard of it before Dan Peterson's book.

I didn't say all or most Mormons use it. What I said was that when they do use it, this is the "usual LDS use" of it.

I checked LDS Library 2006, and it found over 140 occurrences of the expression "offender(s) for a word" in its database of conservative LDS literature, and what I said was the usual use of the expression does seem to be the way nearly all of the occurrences took it. For example, it is how Joseph Fielding Smith used it (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:104, 130), as well as B. H. Roberts (New Witnesses for God, 3:112) and Robert L. Millet (Selected Writings, 305, 322). It is how the expression is defined in the Book of Mormon Reference Companion. Only Victor Ludlow seems to have used it correctly ("deliberately lie about others," Isaiah, 272). Hoyt W. Brewster describes three types of offenses, all of which fit my description of the usual LDS usage: "In one possible meaning, this phrase could apply to those who are offended because of their interpretation of another's words, even though no offense may have been intended. Another possibility is situations where one may make an offhand, perhaps even insensitive, remark that others turn into a great offense. The phrase could also apply to those who deliberately misconstrue or lie about another's words. All of these possibilities run counter to the repeated counsel in the scriptures to forgive, forget, and avoid faultfinding" (Isaiah Plain and Simple, 173). Oh, and it is also how Joseph Smith used the expression (Teachings, 124).

Will that do?

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Will that do?

That will do nicely. Thanks.

I would only add that the term, and the "usual LDS" understanding of it, is rarely heard in mormonism and evidently topic of little interest within the LDS faith.

If you're looking to score rhetorical points you may not get much resistance in this case.

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Some points to consider.

First, we Saints use scriptures differently from most Christians. We follow the admonition of Nephi: we liken all scriptures unto ourselves. Just because Isaiah made his statement as he did does not mean that the idea of making a man an offender for a word is not a valid concept. The idea that our use of the title "Christian" as we do rather than as you do does not make us wrong (offenders).

Second, Isaiah was warning against misrepresenting a "poor man" (the Hebrew here is "adam", the "ruddy [one]"

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Some people forget that some mistranslations are better that way.

mistranslations.png

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So, what phrase would you like us to use to refer to the situation in question, where a person is misunderstanding or misusing something that one says? It doesn't change the fact that that scenario happens.

Your clarification is a good one in the sense that perhaps we hadn't thought of the technical meaning of the phrase.

Your bringing it up is a quibble in the sense that we are trying to communicate that such a scenario actually happens and you are fault finding with the LDS for using a *small phrase* from the scripture out of context.

The expression

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I didn't say all or most Mormons use it.

You did say it was "popular".
The popular LDS defensive tactic

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The popular LDS defensive tactic of throwing up the phrase

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You did say it was "popular".

Maybe he meant that since Dr. Peterson is a popular LDS apologist, then his use of the term makes it popular . . . ??? Who knows how these guys think? :P

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So Rob, is this anything similar to the Evangelical popular misuse and abuse of the the phrase "the gates of hell will not prevail against the church?"

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Critic: Most Mormons who use the scriptural phrase "offenders for a word" do so without understanding the correct meaning of the phrase (which causes them to look uneducated or foolish in the eyes of Christian apologists and other Bible scholars). This is something which Mormon apologists might easily avoid in the future by coming to understand the proper meaning of the KJV translation.

Mormon Apologists: We can use the phrase however we want even if we don't use it correctly according to the original meaning of the text, and our critics should stop finding fault with our creativity since people have been taking scriptures out of context even since New Testament times. Our creative interpretation is just as valid, if not moreso, than the scholarly literary translation and anything you might say to the contrary is simply making us offenders for a word (our meaning, not yours), so there.

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The expression

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BookofMormonLuvr,

You wrote:

Under the portion marked in red, the LDS usage stands correct. Evil men use their distortions and lies to make the people not consider for themselves the Book of Mormon. It fits perfectly well.

But nice try, Rob.

You seem to be the only person who has even tried to defend "the LDS usage." But the usage I critiqued is different from what I had stated was the phrase's meaning (and that you had marked in red). When Mormons use the phrase, they typically mean that their "word" is made the basis for others taking offense. What Isaiah meant was that wicked people speak a "word" to cause innocent people trouble.

I'm fascinated by the fact that the others here either distanced themselves from this usage (claiming, for example, that it isn't a popular or common LDS expression) or tried to deflect the issue altogether. What, is Dan Peterson's use of the expression indefensible? Say it isn't so! But as I documented, the usage goes back to Joseph Smith himself.

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BookofMormonLuvr,

You wrote:

You seem to be the only person who has even tried to defend "the LDS usage." But the usage I critiqued is different from what I had stated was the phrase's meaning (and that you had marked in red). When Mormons use the phrase, they typically mean that their "word" is made the basis for others taking offense. What Isaiah meant was that wicked people speak a "word" to cause innocent people trouble.

I'm fascinated by the fact that the others here either distanced themselves from this usage (claiming, for example, that it isn't a popular or common LDS expression) or tried to deflect the issue altogether. What, is Dan Peterson's use of the expression indefensible? Say it isn't so! But as I documented, the usage goes back to Joseph Smith himself.

Ok, I see what you mean- and you are correct it is often used in the sense you describe.

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urroner,

You wrote:

So Rob, is this anything similar to the Evangelical popular misuse and abuse of the the phrase "the gates of hell will not prevail against the church?"

I dispute the premise: my understanding is that the typical evangelical understanding of that statement is exegetically correct: Christ will not allow the church to die. This interpretation is defended in recent exegetical, academic commentaries (see, for example, R. T. France's recent excellent, massive commentary). I realize that not everyone agrees, but that's an insufficient basis for characterizing the usual evangelical view as a "misuse and abuse."

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What, is Dan Peterson's use of the expression indefensible? Say it isn't so! But as I documented, the usage goes back to Joseph Smith himself.

So what?

Lehi

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