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By Five Solas
Peppermint Patty's thread, "Grant Hardy's Presentation on The Book of Mormon" got shut down before salgare's question to Scott Lloyd ("can one claim the BoM is inspired fiction and still be exalted?") could be clearly & concisely answered--so I thought I'd turn it into a poll.
What do you think?
As I've been studying the BoM this year for Gospel Doctrine I have a nagging question I can't fully itch.
We are taught that Lehi and his family are led from Jerusalem to the new world to establish a righteous people.
But there is no discernible remnant of Lehi's people in America. So I wonder if the purpose is to raise up the BoM for the people of this day. But I still have to wonder why Lehi would have been necessary. Why wouldn't Christ have established his church among the people who were already here?
It's kind of like Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you take Indiana Jones completely out of the story the Nazi's still accomplish their aim and open the ark of the covenant and get their faces melted off.
Take Lehi and his family out of the story and we have the same outcome and evidence of their existence as if they had really been in the Americas. There was no righteous posterity to connect his day with ours. There was no lasting Christian tradition that survived after Moroni.
The only "evidence" of the value of Lehi's involvement is the BoM which just as easily could have been written by the American natives.
Posting this even before I get a chance to read it (dinner bell just rang and I missed it conference time) . That is how much I like you guys:
I don't really have the time right now to push this thread along, but in terms of full disclosure this is about historicity making value statements true, or whether or not historical individuals endorsing them make them more true or credible.
This is the proposition:
"People should give of themselves selflessly"
I would maintain that we "know this is true" just based on being human and having lived a few years on this planet. It works for humanity, and so we see it as a "good thing to do".
Here David Letterman "bears his testimony" of the principle, as recorded in Reader's Digest, March, 2014, page 34
I think this is a true principle, but not because David Letterman wrote it.
I think that Santa Claus would also endorse it.
But someone might argue that it could not be a true principle because there is no evidence that Santa lives at the North Pole or that Santa even exists.
But even mythic figures can teach true principles.
(By that I am not meaning to imply that God or Christ are "myths" in the sense that word is often taken hereabouts- ie: "fictitious" )
I find this similar to those who think that the scriptures require historical evidence to be "true". I do not hold that position. I believe that the scriptures ARE "historical", contain true history, but that fact must be taken on faith where no evidence exists, which is actually most cases. So historicity of scripture is itself a faith-based position. That is why those who do not have the faith, debate the position.
Further, Mother Theresa, a historiclal figure, who lived in India, would definitely also endorse the statement on giving as being "true".
Are you more likely to endorse the principle because David Letterman is a historical person? Or would you endorse it because you know it is true based on your own experience?
How is historicity relevant to the truth of this statement? It appears that some believe such moral statements are "true" strictly because they are in the scriptures and the scriptures can be proven "true" by their historicity.
Again, I do not intend to contribute much because I have made my opinions clear here already.
I fail to see how historicity is at all relevant to the truth of such statements as this moral belief, and therefore I question that historicity is relevant to the moral beliefs preached in scripture, though many seem to think that historicity absolutely makes or breaks the truth of such propositions. I don't see it at all.
In another thread about the historicity of the Book of Mormon, now locked for inexplicable reasons, I made the following comment
bcuzbcuz returned this VERY important point, about which I think everyone has questions. This raises important issues key to most people here, and I propose we deal with it directly in this thread
I thought for a minute and had very little time, and my first notion was to answer quickly and somewhat snarkily - as is my usual "natural man" tendency when I post with little time, something like this:
Yeah, well we all have to deal with the fact that ALL scriptural interpretation effectively IS the "philosophies of men mingled with scripture", like it or not. It is impossible to separate scripture from its interpretation when we think about theological issues, because we grow up with philosophical predispositions inherited from our times.
Those who grew up in the church inherited 19th century interpretations, and now we have at least 20th century interpretations- no telling what will happen when we finally start making 21st century interpretations of the Book of Mormon.
Of course I never made that reply because the thread was locked. Hence this discussion.
New data brings with it new interpretations of data, and that is the natural process of human thought. Looking out at the horizon, one could well believe the earth is flat, and so many thought for thousands of years.
But the data made that belief difficult. Ships going over the horizon disappeared from the bottom up, the last thing visible being the top of their mast. The view from the ship was similar- the first thing to disappear looking back into port was the shoreline, then the hills, then the highest mountains, but eventually they also disappeared into the distance.
The only explanation possible for this phenomenon was that the earth was "in fact" round, and so that "modern" conception was born.
There is no reason to think that religious thinking is any different. YET MORMONS GET CRITICISM for following the same rules of thought that have been used by mankind forever.
Paradigms shift. There is a famous philosopher of Science, Thomas Kuhn, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kuhn, who has gotten credit largely for "discovering" paradigm shifts, but that idea had been around for perhaps a hundred years before he came along.
If you aren't familiar with the concept, that wikipedia article is a good place to start.
But because we have been raised with the paradigm that "TRUTH never changes" - a pagan Greek idea- we are stuck with the Neoplatonic sectarian Christian idea that this is the case.
Now we are reaping the damage from accepting the philosophy and theology of the apostasy, and grafting the apostasy "philosophies of men mingled with scripture" into the Restoration "philosophies of men mingled with scripture" with results that leave us with questions like the one bcuzbcuz raises. This is not a trivial issue, it goes to the core of Mormon doctrine and its interpretation.
So how do we get out of this quandary? Come on class, pretend we are seminary. What is the usual right answer to all questions in seminary?
"Pray, follow the spirit, and keep the commandments"
Philosophies come and go, interpretations come and go, science even comes and goes, new paradigms come and go, but God will always communicate with his children. It is what He does. It's his job as our Father. He has to bring to pass our immortality and eternal lives.
You can't do that without communication.