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mfbukowski

Catholics and Mormons, Paradigm Shifts and an Open Canon

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One of my favorite daily rituals is reading "First Things" a daily commentary on religion which I nearly always find to be thought provoking and sometimes even profound.

I found today's publication particularly interesting https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/01/the-catholic-church-doesnt-do-paradigm-shifts

It discusses Kuhn's idea of "paradigm shifts" and the relevance of that idea to Catholicism, and by extension, I would like to apply it to Mormonism as well.  I will presume that most here are at least somewhat familiar with the notion of "paradigm shifts", and if you are not, just consult the article itself which gives a pretty fair if very brief explanation of the general idea of what a paradigm shift is.

The author makes the point that as thoughts and ideas about the nature of the world shift, Catholicism seems to be in trouble because it has no internal mechanism to account for altering doctrines to fit changes in beliefs among its adherents.

On the other hand, there have been a few threads touching on "objective truth" which does not change and how that is interpreted in Mormonism.   It seems to me that in Mormonism we have a mechanism to allow for paradigm shifts- the belief that we have the "true and living church" which is based on personal revelation.  We also have an open canon as most recently manifested by the Proclamation on the Family- a document which has not yet been canonized, but has certainly been treated as if it has been.  We have other examples as well of changing doctrine found in shifts in the practices of polygamy and of African Americans holding the priesthood.

So it seems we are open to change whereas the Catholics are not.

But are we really?  From the article regarding the Catholic view of doctrine:

Quote

 

These are matters of divine revelation, however, and as the Church has long believed and taught, revelation ended with the death of the last apostle. So the evolution of the Church’s understanding of the gospel over the centuries is not a matter of “paradigm shifts,” or ruptures, or radical breaks and new beginnings; it’s a question of what theologians call the development of doctrine. And as Blessed John Henry Newman taught us, authentic doctrinal development is organic and in continuity with “the faith once . . . delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The Catholic Church doesn’t do rupture: that was tried 500 years ago, with catastrophic results for Christian unity and the cause of Christ.   

So it was unfortunate that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, recently described Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family, as a “paradigm shift.”

 

And the article continues discussing the fallout from the use of the term "paradigm shift".

With our alleged "open canon" and belief in ongoing revelation are WE really ready for "paradigm shifts" or in practice are we having trouble with the idea just as Catholicism is??

SHOULD we be more flexible?  We supposedly have the mechanisms in place, but do we really?

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Defining "paradigm shift" as rupture or radical break overlooks the point that the paradigm itself is defined by a "standard example of scientific work" that embodies "the methods, problem field, and standard of solution" in which a community works.  "To what shall I liken this that ye may understand..."  Parables operate as "standard examples".  Indeed, Barker points out that one of the definitions of the Hebrew "masal" which is behind "parable": is "rule over" which is what happens with a community is bound by a mythos, a set of stories, an overarching story.   Kuhn does point out that paradigm choice is not just a choice of story, but of community, and often a choice between incompatible community life.

And one of the things that gives politics its nasty flavor is that the main issues all involve "control of the narrative", which stories and pictures to take as paradigmatic, as the parables and stories to live by, to assign values and roles with, to denote heroes and villains and spear carriers with, to decide what to change, what to desire, who to embrace, and who to exclude.  What bottles to use for what vintage of wine?   Each paradigm has its own rules for paradigm choice.

And I've pointed out many times that the criteria that Alma 32 gives for evaluating truth claims correspond to the set of paradigm-independent values that Kuhn observes as operating in pragmatic practice to constrain paradigm choice.

If we pay attention to the explicitly narrow definition that our scriptures give to what is and should be called doctrine, and the warning that building on anything more or less than that is to build on sand (which characteristically shifts for water wind, and shovels), and if we pay attention to the explicit provisions for change, correction, ongoing revelation spelled out formally in D&C 1, then, yes, we do have capacity for change.

But, who gets to do the change?   Are we a theocracy, a monarchy, a dictatorship, a democracy, a corporation, a counsel, a community, or a tantrumocracy?

We've seen several significant changes in practice, policy, understanding,  and organizations, since the beginning, as well as ongoing diversity of thought a range of issues.  But faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost and enduring to the end have remained a constant foundation.

We should not be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, true, but we ought to have, and do demonstrably have, an institution capable of making and surviving changes.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

One of my favorite daily rituals is reading "First Things" a daily commentary on religion which I nearly always find to be thought provoking and sometimes even profound.

I found today's publication particularly interesting https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/01/the-catholic-church-doesnt-do-paradigm-shifts

It discusses Kuhn's idea of "paradigm shifts" and the relevance of that idea to Catholicism, and by extension, I would like to apply it to Mormonism as well.  I will presume that most here are at least somewhat familiar with the notion of "paradigm shifts", and if you are not, just consult the article itself which gives a pretty fair if very brief explanation of the general idea of what a paradigm shift is.

The author makes the point that as thoughts and ideas about the nature of the world shift, Catholicism seems to be in trouble because it has no internal mechanism to account for altering doctrines to fit changes in beliefs among its adherents.

On the other hand, there have been a few threads touching on "objective truth" which does not change and how that is interpreted in Mormonism.   It seems to me that in Mormonism we have a mechanism to allow for paradigm shifts- the belief that we have the "true and living church" which is based on personal revelation.  We also have an open canon as most recently manifested by the Proclamation on the Family- a document which has not yet been canonized, but has certainly been treated as if it has been.  We have other examples as well of changing doctrine found in shifts in the practices of polygamy and of African Americans holding the priesthood.

So it seems we are open to change whereas the Catholics are not.

But are we really?  From the article regarding the Catholic view of doctrine:

And the article continues discussing the fallout from the use of the term "paradigm shift".

With our alleged "open canon" and belief in ongoing revelation are WE really ready for "paradigm shifts" or in practice are we having trouble with the idea just as Catholicism is??

SHOULD we be more flexible?  We supposedly have the mechanisms in place, but do we really?

Great topic! To answer that I’d have to bifurcate Mormonism in to individual and institutional parts. Approached from an individual perspective, I think that Mormonism is more than capable of accommodating paradigm shifts, largely because I have experienced a paradigm shift and feel as Mormon as ever! I’ll give you an example.

About seven years ago I remember telling a friend that if the Prophet stood up in conference and stated that the BoM was a fraud, it wouldn’t have shaken my testimony because I knew that the BoM was a historical record of divine origin. Two short years later I was convinced the book was a fraud. Five years after that and I’m convinced it’s the word of God. So what the hell happened? Initially, I saw each positive experience with the BoM as proof of its origin. My primary focus was proving the origin. For some reason I thought that proving the origin would sufficiently justify my living of the Mormon religion. Boy was that a sandy foundation for my testimony! As soon as the winds blew and the waves crashed, my testimony was severely impaired. Then, after years of then being convinced that the BoM was a fraud, I came to two realizations:

1. A study of the BoM origins and historicity had brought me nowhere closer to knowing its origin...how could I know that?

2. Life is better when I study the BoM and other scriptures and do my best to implement their teachings. 

In short, a laser focus on proving to myself the divine origins of the BoM had caused me to neglect the divine practical value of the BoM. This realization caused a significant paradigm shift for me. While I find I can’t help but have some sort of belief regarding the BoM’s origin and historicity, I find that historicity takes it’s proper role as an interesting thing to think about but is ultimately subordinate to the practical value I find in incorporating it into my spiritual practice. Can I know it’s origin? No; how could I? Can I know it’s practical, spiritual value? Of course. That to me is a sure foundation.

Now from an institutional perspective, I find a paradigm shift in Mormonism to be an improbable event, and I’m having trouble coming up with a way to communicate why I believe that without coming off as someone who is just bashing leadership. 

Edited by Brother Bear
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18 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Defining "paradigm shift" as rupture or radical break overlooks the point that the paradigm itself is defined by a "standard example of scientific work" that embodies "the methods, problem field, and standard of solution" in which a community works.  "To what shall I liken this that ye may understand..."  Parables operate as "standard examples".  Indeed, Barker points out that one of the definitions of the Hebrew "masal" which is behind "parable": is "rule over" which is what happens with a community is bound by a mythos, a set of stories, an overarching story.   Kuhn does point out that paradigm choice is not just a choice of story, but of community, and often a choice between incompatible community life.

And one of the things that gives politics its nasty flavor is that the main issues all involve "control of the narrative", which stories and pictures to take as paradigmatic, as the parables and stories to live by, to assign values and roles with, to denote heroes and villains and spear carriers with, to decide what to change, what to desire, who to embrace, and who to exclude.  What bottles to use for what vintage of wine?   Each paradigm has its own rules for paradigm choice.

And I've pointed out many times that the criteria that Alma 32 gives for evaluating truth claims correspond to the set of paradigm-independent values that Kuhn observes as operating in pragmatic practice to constrain paradigm choice.

If we pay attention to the explicitly narrow definition that our scriptures give to what is and should be called doctrine, and the warning that building on anything more or less than that is to build on sand (which characteristically shifts for water wind, and shovels), and if we pay attention to the explicit provisions for change, correction, ongoing revelation spelled out formally in D&C 1, then, yes, we do have capacity for change.

But, who gets to do the change?   Are we a theocracy, a monarchy, a dictatorship, a democracy, a corporation, a counsel, a community, or a tantrumocracy?

We've seen several significant changes in practice, policy, understanding,  and organizations, since the beginning, as well as ongoing diversity of thought a range of issues.  But faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost and enduring to the end have remained a constant foundation.

We should not be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, true, but we ought to have, and do demonstrably have, an institution capable of making and surviving changes.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

I agree completely, not surprisingly, and the key is in this paragraph of your post.

Quote

 

And I've pointed out many times that the criteria that Alma 32 gives for evaluating truth claims correspond to the set of paradigm-independent values that Kuhn observes as operating in pragmatic practice to constrain paradigm choice.

If we pay attention to the explicitly narrow definition that our scriptures give to what is and should be called doctrine, and the warning that building on anything more or less than that is to build on sand (which characteristically shifts for water wind, and shovels), and if we pay attention to the explicit provisions for change, correction, ongoing revelation spelled out formally in D&C 1, then, yes, we do have capacity for change.

 

This is precisely where I think some Mormons get confused about "objective truth" especially in morality.  

We can have it both ways- the changes which are proposed must fit within the "paradigm-independent values that Kuhn observes as operating in pragmatic practice to constrain paradigm choice"

THAT is where we can have our cake and eat it too.  The paradigms may change, the verbal constructions of how we define the gospel may change but the VALUES which mankind and the gospel , and even arguably "social evolution" have shown to be indispensable  to the human race cannot change or else we are changing the very rules for survival of humanity which have shown to work for eons.

And I think we need to completely understand this point, which many miss, that we can change the linguistic expression and definition of the values without changing the values themselves.

In effect we can be both "conservative" about the values and "progressive" about their definitions and how the principles are expressed.

Truth is a property of sentences and sentences are products of human beings using human languages.  One may say for example that "Thou shalt not kill" is an "unchangeable truth" of morality and in one sense it is. 

But what is unchanging is the VALUE behind the statement.  The statement itself that "Thou shalt not kill" is an eternally true statement is on its face erroneous because we know that killing human beings is sometimes justifiable in morality and even praiseworthy.   A moral society cannot tolerate rampant murder and crime and sometimes to prevent a murder, killing the perpetrator may be justified.  And so we have exceptions for self-defense, justified police actions, war, etc.

Perhaps where other churches go wrong is in the belief that the words or sentences themselves become "eternal truths" rather than seeing the value as what is the unchanging constraint on the paradigm's expression, while the paradigm's expression might well change and give the illusion of "changing truths"

That distinction you brought out is a crucial one to make- the difference between the value behind the paradigm and the paradigm's verbal expression and THAT is where we get confused.

To bring it home, perhaps one could say that righteously practiced, polygamy can be a morally praiseworthy eternal value which is justified by God but yet the paradigm of what is right within a given society or time may change.   

The value is unchanging but the paradigm- the human definition of what is considered "moral" within a society in a given time and place may change for various social reasons.

So it would behoove us to be aware of whether we are talking about unchanging values which have stood the test of time, or if we are talking about paradigms about how those values are expressed within a given culture. 

So this I think is a key principle in LDS thought of which we must be aware.  Can we change paradigms?  YES as long as we do not change the unchanging VALUE behind it.

Joseph in many cases said he did not like to be constrained by expressions or "creeds" yet he was inspired to write the "Articles of Faith" in what was originally the Wentworth letter.  Was that contradictory? 

No because the VALUE is personal revelation as an unchanging principle, the PARADIGM as he expressed it are the Articles.

We need to be aware of the difference between the ongoing "true and living church" which is based on personal revelation and IDEA of a "one true church" which is can be EXPRESSED as a codified dogmatic and unchangable "doctrine".   

We must keep the VALUE while eschewing dogmatic interpretations of the unchanging value

Again and again we see critics attacking us precisely and justifiably I think ,for confusing the two, and seeing us as a dogmatic church when we are in fact an anti-dogmatic church based on personal revelation.

And to return to the article, this is precisely what the author alleges is happening to Catholicism, and if he is correct, I hope and pray it does not happen to Mormonism

 

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51 minutes ago, Brother Bear said:

Great topic! To answer that I’d have to bifurcate Mormonism in to an individual religion and an institutional religion. Approached from an individual perspective, I think that Mormonism is more than capable of accommodating paradigm shifts, largely because I have experienced a paradigm shift and feel as Mormon as ever! I’ll give you an example.

About seven years ago I remember telling a friend that if the Prophet stood up in conference and stated that the BoM was a fraud, it wouldn’t have shaken my testimony because I knew that the BoM was a historical record of divine origin. Two short years later I was convinced the book was a fraud. Five years after that and I’m convinced it’s the word of God. So what the hell happened? Initially, I saw each positive experience with the BoM as proof of its origin. My primary focus was proving the origin. For some reason I thought that proving the origin would sufficiently justify my living of the Mormon religion. Boy was that a sandy foundation for my testimony! As soon as the winds blew and the waves crashed, my testimony was severely impaired. Then, after years of then being convinced that the BoM was a fraud, I came to two realizations:

1. A study of the BoM origins and historicity had brought me nowhere closer to knowing its origin...how could I know that?

2. Life is better when I study the BoM and other scriptures and do my best to implement their teachings. 

In short, a laser focus on proving to myself the divine origins of the BoM had caused me to neglect the divine practical value of the BoM. This realization caused a significant paradigm shift for me. While I find I can’t help but have some sort of belief regarding the BoM’s origin and historicity, I find that historicity takes it’s proper role as an interesting thing to think about but is ultimately subordinate to the practical value I find in incorporating it into my spiritual practice. Can I know it’s origin? No; how could I? Can I know it’s practical, spiritual value? Of course. That to me is a sure foundation.

Now from an institutional perspective, I find a paradigm shift in Mormonism to be an improbable event, and I’m having trouble coming up with a way to communicate why I believe that without coming off as someone who is just bashing leadership. 

Yes I think that is at the base of all of this.  The book didn't change, the value of the book didn't change but YOUR PERSPECTIVE changed.

All that changed was your paradigm - not the "raw data", much like the shift to the heliocentric view.

THAT to me is the perfect short definition of a "paradigm shift".   In short, it is seeing the same information differently, a different way of putting together "matter unorganized", a re-assembling of the puzzle in a new way.

No change in the puzzle- just a change in solution.

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

And to return to the article, this is precisely what the author alleges is happening to Catholicism, and if he is correct, I hope and pray it does not happen to Mormonism

It is reasonable to believe paradigm shifts have already occurred in Mormonism by the various sects which have arisen
since 1830.  I suspect many members of the present day Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't agree with some
gospel principles taught by former LDS leaders but have decided to remain instead of branching off into yet another sect
or joining existing ones.

As Boyd K. Packer once said ... "It isn’t a question of who said it or when; the question is whether it is true" (1977, Follow the
Rule, speeches.byu.edu).

Jim

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

The author makes the point that as thoughts and ideas about the nature of the world shift, Catholicism seems to be in trouble because it has no internal mechanism to account for altering doctrines to fit changes in beliefs among its adherents.

On the other hand, there have been a few threads touching on "objective truth" which does not change and how that is interpreted in Mormonism.   It seems to me that in Mormonism we have a mechanism to allow for paradigm shifts- the belief that we have the "true and living church" which is based on personal revelation.  We also have an open canon as most recently manifested by the Proclamation on the Family- a document which has not yet been canonized, but has certainly been treated as if it has been.  We have other examples as well of changing doctrine found in shifts in the practices of polygamy and of African Americans holding the priesthood.

So it seems we are open to change whereas the Catholics are not.

Excuse me, if you consider this a derailment, but I thought one of the major Catholic points was that the canon was open and doctrine was subject to change? - else why have a Roman pontiff? I guess you are saying the pontiff cannot change objective truths? I don't know how else to interpret your statments.

Quote

 From the article regarding the Catholic view of doctrine:

And the article continues discussing the fallout from the use of the term "paradigm shift".

With our alleged "open canon" and belief in ongoing revelation are WE really ready for "paradigm shifts" or in practice are we having trouble with the idea just as Catholicism is??

SHOULD we be more flexible?  We supposedly have the mechanisms in place, but do we really?

The Church has shown itself somewhat open to change on matters of policy, which I think the priesthood ban was. Although it may have been called doctrine, it certainly was not since BY said Blacks would one day hold the priesthood. Therefore there was no doctrine against Blacks holding the priesthood - just a time restriction - whether one agreed with the policy or not. In terms of "doctrine" the Church is more mum, and imho opinion is more resistant to change - which implies it was wrong in the first place. And yes, I guess Catholics do have a bigger problem here because of their doctrine of papal infallibility. Will the Church experience a paradigm shift? Yes, it will, because if it doesn't, the membership will be cut off from the covenant. So, there you have it. The LDS Church, yes - the Catholic, not so much.

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2 hours ago, theplains said:

It is reasonable to believe paradigm shifts have already occurred in Mormonism by the various sects which have arisen
since 1830.  I suspect many members of the present day Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't agree with some
gospel principles taught by former LDS leaders but have decided to remain instead of branching off into yet another sect
or joining existing ones.

As Boyd K. Packer once said ... "It isn’t a question of who said it or when; the question is whether it is true" (1977, Follow the
Rule, speeches.byu.edu).

Jim

If one includes all the sects calling themselves "Mormons" I would agree, but I was of course talking about the church led to day by President Nelson.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

Excuse me, if you consider this a derailment, but I thought one of the major Catholic points was that the canon was open and doctrine was subject to change? - else why have a Roman pontiff? I guess you are saying the pontiff cannot change objective truths? I don't know how else to interpret your statments.

The Church has shown itself somewhat open to change on matters of policy, which I think the priesthood ban was. Although it may have been called doctrine, it certainly was not since BY said Blacks would one day hold the priesthood. Therefore there was no doctrine against Blacks holding the priesthood - just a time restriction - whether one agreed with the policy or not. In terms of "doctrine" the Church is more mum, and imho opinion is more resistant to change - which implies it was wrong in the first place. And yes, I guess Catholics do have a bigger problem here because of their doctrine of papal infallibility. Will the Church experience a paradigm shift? Yes, it will, because if it doesn't, the membership will be cut off from the covenant. So, there you have it. The LDS Church, yes - the Catholic, not so much.

Our definition of "doctrine" is rather vague, some practicing active Mormon theologians would debate whether or not we even have any "doctrine" at all since orthoproaxis is arguably more important to us than defined doctrine.   Blake Ostler is one.  http://www.timesandseasons.org/harchive/2005/04/is-there-any-mormon-doctrine/  Teryl Givens is another. 

Quote

Throughout the last century and a half, Givens notes, distinctive traditions have emerged among the Latter-Day Saints, shaped by dynamic tensions--or paradoxes--that give Mormon cultural expression much of its vitality. Here is a religion shaped by a rigid authoritarian hierarchy and radical individualism; by prophetic certainty and a celebration of learning and intellectual investigation; by existence in exile and a yearning for integration and acceptance by the larger world.

https://www.amazon.com/People-Paradox-History-Mormon-Culture/dp/0199915989

On the other had regarding Catholicism, the Catholic Encyclopedia says this:

Quote

 

Infallibility must be carefully distinguished both from Inspiration and from Revelation.

Inspiration signifies a special positive Divine influence and assistance by reason of which the human agent is not merely preserved from liability to error but is so guided and controlled that what he says or writes is truly the word of God, that GodHimself is the principal author of the inspired utterance; but infallibility merely implies exemption from liability to error. Godis not the author of a merely infallible, as He is of an inspired, utterance; the former remains a merely human document.

Revelation, on the other hand, means the making known by God, supernaturally of some truth hitherto unknown, or at least not vouched for by Divine authority; whereas infallibility is concerned with the interpretation and effective safeguarding of truths already revealed. Hence when we say, for example, that some doctrine defined by the pope or by an ecumenical council is infallible, we mean merely that its inerrancy is Divinely guaranteed according to the terms of Christ's promise to His Church, not that either the pope or the Fathers of the Council are inspired as were the writers of the Bible or that any new revelation is embodied in their teaching.

 

 

 

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm

So infallibility is limited to matters of faith and morals in INTERPRETATION only under certain conditions when the pontiff speaks "ex Cathedra" under the authority of Peter.  Under the right conditions such interpretations can be considered "inspired" and "infallible"

For Catholicism there can be NO new "revelations" which are not already in scripture so the canon for Catholics is closed, hence the alleged conflict the author of the article mentions.

Mormon prophets on the other hand can receive new revelations which are taken to be on par with the scriptures.

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 1/31/2018 at 10:08 AM, mfbukowski said:

And the article continues discussing the fallout from the use of the term "paradigm shift".

With our alleged "open canon" and belief in ongoing revelation are WE really ready for "paradigm shifts" or in practice are we having trouble with the idea just as Catholicism is??

SHOULD we be more flexible?  We supposedly have the mechanisms in place, but do we really?

I’m interested to hear an example of what you believe would constitute a paradigm shift in Mormonism and what possible shifts you anticipate with any confidence occurring in the future.

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1 hour ago, Brother Bear said:

I’m interested to hear an example of what you believe would constitute a paradigm shift in Mormonism and what possible shifts you anticipate with any confidence occurring in the future.

Well frankly in order to survive as a church I think it is essential that we learn to co-exist with secularism by really and truly upholding the idea that we all need our own testimonies and allow that others may have "testimonies" which do not agree with ours, and drop all the sectarian trinitarian thinking which still remains by thinking for example that evolution somehow cannot be compatible with the gospel, etc.  God leads each of us to the path best for us- but I believe that all roads eventually lead to our path because the Human God is the ideal path for Ideal Humans virtually by definition. 

 How can the perfection of Humanity NOT be the perfect path for humanity?

Science vs religion and the need for historic proof of the BOM is another one we need to get rid of.

I am not saying that the people of the BOM never existed or that it is NOT historical- I see absolutely NO EVIDENCE that would "prove" it wrong- but on the other hand I think we need to understand that its historicity is not relevant to the value of its teachings.

Historicity is itself a religious belief, not a scientific or historical one.  Think about that.  Historicity of the BOM is taken on faith on its own!   There is certainly virtually no evidence and no one was ever converted by the overwhelming scientifically historical evidence for the BOM.  Finding evidence is done afterwards by people who are already BELIEVERS.  The very activity is question begging!

But that's ok.   Billions of people over 2000 years have had their lives and hearts changed by the belief that one man's crucifixion in Jerusalem 2000 years ago resulted in the sins of mankind being forgiven.   Of course even if it could be proven that that man existed and indeed WAS actually crucified in Jerusalem on date X, still would not prove that that event forgave humanity their sins which is what is IMPORTANT about the alleged "fact" in the first place! 

And everyone knows that, if they have thought about it at all.

So separating the power of BELIEF that an event "really happened" - and accepting that the BELIEF is what changes lives and not the "fact" of an unprovable event "really happening" is the first part.

But is that really a "paradigm shift" at all?

We already have Alma 32 which says, in my opinion, exactly what I have always preached that a belief is proven by its efficacy in our lives

The problem also of infallible prophets is another one.  Joseph never claimed infallibility and it has been our enemies who have foisted that position on us from their own sectarian understanding of the nature of prophets.

The we take that sectarian nonsense and bring it into our church- and yes our leaders are not immune from bringing sectarianism right back into the restoration where it does not belong.

So to me the paradigm shift would be to ACTUALLY read latter-day scripture and do WHAT IT SAYS - that truth is proved by efficacy, (alma 32)  that we should "ask God" for wisdom ( 1 James, Moroni 10, etc) and that all truth is divided into contexts or "spheres" (dc 93) instead of wishing that Platonic Forms of Eternal Unchanging Perfect God float around being everywhere and nowhere actually "exist"

So our big paradigm shift would actually be to RESTORE the Restoration and make Mormonism what it can be- the stone without hands, coming forth to fill the earth.

You want humanism?  God as a human being is the greatest "HUMANISM" mankind can conceive.  But do we believe that?  Of course not!   After all the idea that TRVTH changes, that prophets are fallible, and that doctrines should keep up with the times is clearly "of the devil" to 20th century Mormons.

And while you are at it, don't touch face cards or travel on the water because Satan rules the seas, and follow the prophet even if he tells you to drink the Kool aid and don't question because the thinking has been done.  Evolution is of the devil,  carbon did not recycle itself through dinosaur bodies on earth until the Fall, even if it says in the bible that

Quote

 

....And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
....And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.....

....And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven...

 

So somehow "the earth" was doing all this with "no death" and no evolution.  It could not possibly mean that there was no human concept of the word "death" until humans defined it with human grief and sorrow and that this refers to the human SIGNIFICANCE and understanding of death.

No sirree- that means dinosaurs never died.  ;)

All of this was happening while God watched and approved of the path the earth was taking for itself!  That's WHAT IT SAYS in Genesis!

I don't know where people get this stuff frankly

So is that a paradigm shift?  

Ask the people who write dictionaries without inspiration or understanding, but for me that is not a paradigm shift- it is simply clarifying what is already plainly there in the Restoration.

Let's restore it.  That's what I want to see!!   Read the dang scriptures and what has been added including the Proclamation etc and read them with "latter-day eyes" since they were written for our day-  Right or wrong??  ;)

Enough ranting.  Time for a bike ride to keep that old ticker ticking.  And if I fall and croak that will prove there is only death AFTER the fall.  ;)

 

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16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

We already have Alma 32 which says, in my opinion, exactly what I have always preached that a belief is proven by its efficacy in our lives

The problem also of infallible prophets is another one.  Joseph never claimed infallibility and it has been our enemies who have foisted that position on us from their own sectarian understanding of the nature of prophets.

This has been on my mind recently. My view is that prophets and our testimonies of them are incidental to religious experience. I find the lack of emphasis on a sower in Alma 32 to be conspicuous, intentional, and instructive. The experimentation upon and fruits of the seed are what matter to the soul. Incidentally, and to the extent that good fruit is tasted, we have a testimony that a person was a sower of God’s word.

But for some reason we like to add to the metaphor in ways that are counterproductive IMO. We add language like, “if you find that the seed is bad, continue to nourish it anyways and you will be blessed for sowing a seed of a chosen sower.” Or we shift our focus to discovering and defending the character of the sower. While I don’t believe there is anything wrong with wanting to know about the sower and even wanting to defend him/her, I believe, as you may be implying, that critics have succeeded (or maybe we first did it to ourselves) in shifting our attention from the intended object (the word) to one of no ultimate spiritual value (the character of the sower and any of their works that we may find produce no spiritual value in our lives).  

Edited by Brother Bear
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2 hours ago, Brother Bear said:

This has been on my mind recently. My own personal view is that prophets and our testimonies of them are incidental to religious experience. I find the lack of emphasis on a sower in Alma 32 to be conspicuous, intentional, and instructive. The experimentation upon and fruits of the seed are what matter to the soul. Incidentally, and to the extent that good fruit is tasted, we have a testimony that a person was a sower of God’s word.

But for some reason we like to add to the metaphor in ways that are counterproductive IMO. We add language like, “if you find that the seed is bad, continue to nourish it anyways and you will be blessed for sowing a seed of a chosen sower.” Or we shift our focus to discovering and defending the character of the sower. While I don’t believe there is anything wrong with wanting to know about the sower and even wanting to defend him/her, I believe, as you may be implying, that critics have succeeded (or maybe we first did it to ourselves) in shifting our attention from the intended object (the word) to one of no ultimate spiritual value (the character of the sower and any of their works that we may find produce no spiritual value in our lives).  

Yep that is exactly it in my view.  The word stands on its own independent of who said it- we are all sinners who are capable of being godlike and inspired at certain times in our lives when we are "in tune".  We are all trying to overcome the carnal man but occasionally we all have the capacity to show forth a spark of divinity.

Concentrating on the personality of the speaker is misleading because we are all flawed and prophets are not exempt from being human

What is an incredible gift is what we can become, not what we are.

Rev 3:21

Quote

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

In that one statement is both the incredible blessing and the incredible task to qualify for it.   And that is given to all God's children not just the chosen "prophets".

Rev 19:10

Quote

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

We can all be "prophets" in receiving our own testimonies and therefore revelations from the Lord.

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2013-10-2260-testimony-of-jesus-is-the-spirit-of-prophecy?lang=eng

 

 

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On 31/01/2018 at 2:31 PM, Brother Bear said:

Now from an institutional perspective, I find a paradigm shift in Mormonism to be an improbable event, and I’m having trouble coming up with a way to communicate why I believe that without coming off as someone who is just bashing leadership. 

You should read the 5 volume set "Answers to Gospel Questions" and "The Progress of Man."  For those
who don't agree with the teachings within, there's already been a paradigm shift.

Jim

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On 2/14/2018 at 1:49 PM, mfbukowski said:

Science vs religion and the need for historic proof of the BOM is another one we need to get rid of.

I am not saying that the people of the BOM never existed or that it is NOT historical- I see absolutely NO EVIDENCE that would "prove" it wrong- but on the other hand I think we need to understand that its historicity is not relevant to the value of its teachings.

Years ago I attended a lecture in which several interesting correlations between Cumron, Gnosticism, certain ancient architecture, geography and the Book of Mormon were discussed.  At the time, the Church owned KIRO TV and radio in Seattle, along with many significant media outlets around the country and possibly the world.  

The question was asked: "Why doesn't the Church use it's ample influence in the media to print front page headlines and lead their news with "New evidence found that supports the historicity of the Book of Mormon."  Imagine all the people who would become converted."

The presenter's response was a quotation from an LDS authority, "The only way we can learn the truth of the Book of Mormon is on our knees."

I believe it is an historic book.  But it's historicity has been camouflaged so as not to overwhelm our agency and faith.  It's historicity means very little, compared to it's magnificent teachings.  For me, the evidence of it's truthfulness is found in its many deep wells of wisdom that can be verified by our own experience, that are far beyond the years and experience of a twenty three or twenty four year old young man, Joseph Smith, to express.

Alma 5, Alma 32, Helaman 3-- actually the entire Book of Mormon is like beautiful scene of perfect art that reveals depth and beauty to every aspect of our lives.  Joseph Smith said "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystones of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding it's precepts, than by any other book."  

Just listen to this:  " 27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
            28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
            29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—
            30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out."  From Helaman 3

Or this:  "10 And now I ask of you on what conditions are they saved? Yea, what grounds had they to hope for salvation? What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell?
            11 Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them?
            12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
            13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
            14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
            15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?" from Alma 5

These are things we can verify with our own experience.  It is a well that never runs dry.  The Book itself is a testimony of the young Prophet, Joseph Smith-- a testimony that he bore from the time he was fourteen years old, prior to taking the gold plates out of their ancient stone box.  The gold plates were seen and examined by eleven witnesses.  But greater than that is the witness of the Holy Ghost to you and to me.  WE are witnesses to it's truthfulness.

What "paradigm shift" is necessary from it's teachings?  Listen to this from Alma 32: "2 And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel—
            3 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart."

Or this: "17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
            18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
            19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
            22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done." From Mosiah 4.

All this, translated by a twenty four year old young man over a period of 65 working days?  That incomprehensible feat also speaks to it's truthfulness and supremacy over paradigms that come and go.  It boils down to this: Love God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as ourselves.  On this hangs all the law and the prophets.  

(Apologies for the length of this epistle.) ☺

Edited by Meerkat
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12 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Years ago I attended a lecture in which several interesting correlations between Cumron, Gnosticism, certain ancient architecture, geography and the Book of Mormon were discussed.  At the time, the Church owned KIRO TV and radio in Seattle, along with many significant media outlets around the country and possibly the world.  

The question was asked: "Why doesn't the Church use it's ample influence in the media to print front page headlines and lead their news with "New evidence found that supports the historicity of the Book of Mormon."  Imagine all the people who would become converted."

The presenter's response was a quotation from an LDS authority, "The only way we can learn the truth of the Book of Mormon is on our knees."

I believe it is an historic book.  But it's historicity has been camouflaged so as not to overwhelm our agency and faith

...

I'm going to use some pretty strong language, Meerkat.  But please don't doubt that my desire is for you to reconsider.  I don't wish for you to merely take offense & dig in. 

Give serious consideration to the words coming off your keyboard.  You would have us believe God plays tricks on archeologists so that they find no evidence of Nephites.  You argue He is hiding evidence beneath "camouflage."  And He has to do that, you think, because otherwise human free will would be compromised & everyone would see Joseph Smith the way you imagine him.  And then we couldn't discover the truth of the Book of Mormon--on our knees.    

Consider the abundance of archeological evidence for many of the locations described in the Bible.  If God wanted such things hidden, our understanding of the ancient world would be considerably diminished.  But that's clearly not the case, is it?  What evidence do you have that God games humans in the manner you suggest?  I submit there is absolutely none, outside of reprobate imagination. 

This is a no-win for you.  At best, you're committing ad-hoc fallacy.  At worst, you're slandering the character of God, portraying Him--against *every* evidence to the contrary--as some trickster god.

Do you honestly believe Joseph Smith is worth it?  And if so--then who is your real god? 

--Erik

___________________________________

Wear the grudge like a crown
Desperate to control
Unable to forgive
And sinking deeper

--Tool, 2001

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1 hour ago, Five Solas said:

I'm going to use some pretty strong language, Meerkat.  But please don't doubt that my desire is for you to reconsider.  I don't wish for you to merely take offense & dig in. 

Give serious consideration to the words coming off your keyboard.  You would have us believe God plays tricks on archeologists so that they find no evidence of Nephites.  You argue He is hiding evidence beneath "camouflage."  And He has to do that, you think, because otherwise human free will would be compromised & everyone would see Joseph Smith the way you imagine him.  And then we couldn't discover the truth of the Book of Mormon--on our knees.    

Consider the abundance of archeological evidence for many of the locations described in the Bible.  If God wanted such things hidden, our understanding of the ancient world would be considerably diminished.  But that's clearly not the case, is it?  What evidence do you have that God games humans in the manner you suggest?  I submit there is absolutely none, outside of reprobate imagination. 

This is a no-win for you.  At best, you're committing ad-hoc fallacy.  At worst, you're slandering the character of God, portraying Him--against *every* evidence to the contrary--as some trickster god.

Do you honestly believe Joseph Smith is worth it?  And if so--then who is your real god? 

--Erik

___________________________________

Wear the grudge like a crown
Desperate to control
Unable to forgive
And sinking deeper

--Tool, 2001

Hi Erik--

Really good to hear from you!  Unfortunately, either you are misunderstanding me (again,) or I wasn't clear in what I was saying.

I agree with you that the earth is full of historical evidence of Jesus Christ.  You might even say that evidence is overwhelming, to a Christian.  It certainly is to me.  My point, if you take the four paragraphs you quoted in context, is that there is ample, if not conclusive evidence of the ordinances as found in the LDS Church being practiced anciently in Cumron and other areas.  There are other discoveries, such as middle Eastern writing on ancient metal plates I take as evidence that confirm my faith.  I don't expect you to accept it, but I do.  And then there is the internal evidence I find in the Book of Mormon that I laid out in that thread, and why I believe it.  Then there are the eleven witnesses mentioned, three of whom saw the angel, and the Holy Ghost testifying to me it is true.  Many evidences.  

Here is one possible historical item I find interesting from the Jewish Chronicle titled Cherokees could be Jewish.  It may not mean anything to you, but I find it interesting, regarding Book of Mormon historicity:

https://www.thejc.com/news/world/big-chief-rabbi-why-cherokees-could-be-jewish-1.53565

Just last week, a huge ancient city was found in a South American jungle.   

The question I asked the presenter about using the Church owned media to publicize that evidence was because I believed and believe there was evidence that could be published-- not that God was hiding it.  The presenter's point though, caused me to consider the idea of camouflage.  I don't believe that God providing signs to them that believe, in plain sight is any more slanderous than Jesus speaking to the twelve in Mark chapter 4: 11 "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."  Do you see a difference?  I don't.  Do you still believe I slandered God?  If so, how?

My comment about camouflage also applies to Christianity in general.  Why doesn't Jesus just come down and tell everyone He is real, and Repent?  For the same reason He doesn't make other physical evidence overwhelming.  We must be free to choose Christ by faith.  That's why some debates between Christians and athiests end in a draw, with neither side convinced by the evidence alone.  It is a supernatural experience that brings many to faith in Jesus Christ.

Again, good to fear from you, Erik.

Best Regards,

Meerkat

 

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7 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Hi Erik--

Really good to hear from you!  Unfortunately, either you are misunderstanding me (again,) or I wasn't clear in what I was saying.

I agree with you that the earth is full of historical evidence of Jesus Christ.  You might even say that evidence is overwhelming, to a Christian.  It certainly is to me.  My point, if you take the four paragraphs you quoted in context, is that there is ample, if not conclusive evidence of the ordinances as found in the LDS Church being practiced anciently in Cumron and other areas.  There are other discoveries, such as middle Eastern writing on ancient metal plates I take as evidence that confirm my faith.  I don't expect you to accept it, but I do.  And then there is the internal evidence I find in the Book of Mormon that I laid out in that thread, and why I believe it.  Then there are the eleven witnesses mentioned, three of whom saw the angel, and the Holy Ghost testifying to me it is true.  Many evidences.  

Here is one possible historical item I find interesting from the Jewish Chronicle titled Cherokees could be Jewish.  It may not mean anything to you, but I find it interesting, regarding Book of Mormon historicity:

https://www.thejc.com/news/world/big-chief-rabbi-why-cherokees-could-be-jewish-1.53565

Just last week, a huge ancient city was found in a South American jungle.   

The question I asked the presenter about using the Church owned media to publicize that evidence was because I believed and believe there was evidence that could be published-- not that God was hiding it.  The presenter's point though, caused me to consider the idea of camouflage.  I don't believe that God providing signs to them that believe, in plain sight is any more slanderous than Jesus speaking to the twelve in Mark chapter 4: 11 "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."  Do you see a difference?  I don't.  Do you still believe I slandered God?  If so, how?

My comment about camouflage also applies to Christianity in general.  Why doesn't Jesus just come down and tell everyone He is real, and Repent?  For the same reason He doesn't make other physical evidence overwhelming.  We must be free to choose Christ by faith.  That's why some debates between Christians and athiests end in a draw, with neither side convinced by the evidence alone.  It is a supernatural experience that brings many to faith in Jesus Christ.

Again, good to fear from you, Erik.

Best Regards,

Meerkat

I strongly disagree "camouflage" (your previous word, meaning to conceal, to hide) is applied by God against archeological sites in order to preserve "agency and faith" (the previous words & reason you gave).  That you would now draw some connection between the absence of evidence for Nephites and The Gospel of Mark 4:11 is, well, I don't know what to say--I'll just have to leave it to our readers.

:0)

Your way of thinking about camouflage reminds me of an explanation I heard as a kid for dinosaur bones.  God put them there, I was told, to test our faith in the scriptures' creation account.  God wants us to believe in a ~ 7,000 year old earth and the bones were placed to fool the faithless and thereby separate the wheat from the tares.  I'm sure that wasn't the exact wording, but the idea communicated has stuck with me since. 

Beyond a boy's love for dinosaurs, I don't think I could have articulated why I hated that explanation back when I was a kid.  But as a Christian, my mind rebels and cannot accept the trickster god implied.

I'll leave you with one last question:  Why do you think God's camouflaging work (as you would have it) mostly appears to apply to Book of Mormon/Nephite related archeology and not equally to the archeology related to biblical sites?  Or to ask it a different way: What is so special about Joseph Smith's book that God has to stoop to camouflage? 

--Erik

PS.  You are far & away the most pleasant poster on the forum, Meerkat.  The unpleasantness of some of your ideas notwithstanding.

;0)

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11 hours ago, Five Solas said:

I'm going to use some pretty strong language, Meerkat.  But please don't doubt that my desire is for you to reconsider.  I don't wish for you to merely take offense & dig in. 

Give serious consideration to the words coming off your keyboard.  You would have us believe God plays tricks on archeologists so that they find no evidence of Nephites.  You argue He is hiding evidence beneath "camouflage."  And He has to do that, you think, because otherwise human free will would be compromised & everyone would see Joseph Smith the way you imagine him.  And then we couldn't discover the truth of the Book of Mormon--on our knees.    

Consider the abundance of archeological evidence for many of the locations described in the Bible.  If God wanted such things hidden, our understanding of the ancient world would be considerably diminished.  But that's clearly not the case, is it?  What evidence do you have that God games humans in the manner you suggest?  I submit there is absolutely none, outside of reprobate imagination. 

This is a no-win for you.  At best, you're committing ad-hoc fallacy.  At worst, you're slandering the character of God, portraying Him--against *every* evidence to the contrary--as some trickster god.

Do you honestly believe Joseph Smith is worth it?  And if so--then who is your real god? 

--Erik

___________________________________

Wear the grudge like a crown
Desperate to control
Unable to forgive
And sinking deeper

--Tool, 2001

Gimme a break.

Where is the archaeology that proves Jesus is your savior?  History does not prove faith unless you cannot understand the distinction between knitting and basketball.

Because a man named Jesus was crucified (IF "he" "really was") your sins are gone?   You think it has something to do with the physical act of crucifixion?

Do you know how many people who have been crucified did NOT save you from your sins???   It is still happening !!!

Yet this ONE made all the difference?  HOW do you know that?   It ain't archaeology I can tell you that!!!

Where is there archaeological evidence for GOD??  Why don't you use that as a PROOF for God's existence?   You think there are no atheists who believe in Biblical archaeology?

Is every archaeologist in the world a born-again Christian?   Why do you think that would be??

Knitting vs basketball

Gosh what.... garbage.

Edited by mfbukowski
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Luther:  "Sin Boldly!"

Wesley's Aldersgate experience.  Where's the archaeology?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley

Quote

But it was still a depressed Wesley who attended a service on the evening of 24 May. Wesley recounted his Aldersgate experience in his journal: "In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."[21][22][23]

Edited by mfbukowski

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FIVE SOLAS

Here they are:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solae

1 Scripture alone

2 FAITH ALONE

3 Grace alone

4 Christ alone

5 Glory to God alone.

How come they left out  6- ARCHAEOLOGY ALONE

Sounds like they should have included "reason alone" in there so that you could argue your point about history somehow being connected to "FAITH ALONE"??

Something strange happening here?  Maybe a personal problem with Joseph Smith?

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13 hours ago, Five Solas said:

I'm going to use some pretty strong language, Meerkat.  But please don't doubt that my desire is for you to reconsider.  I don't wish for you to merely take offense & dig in. 

Give serious consideration to the words coming off your keyboard.  You would have us believe God plays tricks on archeologists so that they find no evidence of Nephites.  You argue He is hiding evidence beneath "camouflage."  And He has to do that, you think, because otherwise human free will would be compromised & everyone would see Joseph Smith the way you imagine him.  And then we couldn't discover the truth of the Book of Mormon--on our knees.    

Consider the abundance of archeological evidence for many of the locations described in the Bible.  If God wanted such things hidden, our understanding of the ancient world would be considerably diminished.  But that's clearly not the case, is it?  What evidence do you have that God games humans in the manner you suggest?  I submit there is absolutely none, outside of reprobate imagination. 

This is a no-win for you.  At best, you're committing ad-hoc fallacy.  At worst, you're slandering the character of God, portraying Him--against *every* evidence to the contrary--as some trickster god.

Do you honestly believe Joseph Smith is worth it?  And if so--then who is your real god? 

--Erik

___________________________________

Wear the grudge like a crown
Desperate to control
Unable to forgive
And sinking deeper

--Tool, 2001

Five Solas,

There are many reasons, that have zero to do with truth or falsity, for BOM and Bible archeology to be DIFFERENT.  And there is a spiritual reason why God MIGHT have inspired the BOM in such a way, place, time based on an ancient place and time that does not make it obvious that it is an ancient document just like the Bible.

Here are a three secular truths:

1. Biblical archeology is aided by consistent place names.  The BOM lands have no such assistance.

2. Biblical archeology is aided by ancient documents that have survived the often arid Biblical environments.  If the BOM is true and happened in BOM lands as presently postulated, the environment is wet and papyri would be unlikely to survive.  And very little writing of any sort did survive in this area.

3. Biblical archeology is aided by ancient peoples who placed value upon the documents that described their religions and cultural ideas.  If the BOM is true, those who valued its contents were killed.

Here is the spiritual truth:

The Bible has an ancient pedigree just like Homer's works.  If it describes things impossible to be known by a 19th century man in upstate NY, so what.  It was written by ancient men and passed from hand to hand, printing to printing by human hands.  The BOM burst upon the scene in 19th century NY state with claims of supernatural authorship.  To the extent archeology confirms it, it virtually or absolutely PROVES there is a God.  There are small things like Lehi's journey in the Old World (with Nahom) that are as good or better than many celebrated Biblical archeology "victories," but at the end of the day the determined sceptic postulates maps at Dartmouth college that perhaps found there way into Joseph's hand.  And the determined sceptic, be the anti-Mormon atheists or there bedfellows anti-Mormon Christians, dismisses the evidence and focuses on problems like horses.

 

So, I do not believe that God produced evidence for evolution so that he can test if we will trust the Bible and be "young-earth creationists."  I do not believe he causes archeologist to trip and fall before the find a papyri trove that describes Nephi's childhood.  I do believe that if the BOM is true, God providentially inspired it such that it would not contain details that survive in such a way that it could be absolutely PROVEN.  Because it does not have an ancient pedigree and if it is ancient and contains details IMPOSSIBLE for Joseph Smith to have known, it came via the supernatural and we can dismiss with the debates and become Mormons.

 

All that being said, I am a COMMITTED believer in the historicity of the BOM.  I am a believer that there is a truth that God knows and I should align myself with this ONE truth.  But, I am seeing increased value in my friend Mark's ideas.  I prefaced a scientific answer to a question in Elder's Quorum with repeated statements that the Bible (which was the document attacked by the line of reasoning someone's child offered) was not intended to be explained via good science.  The Bible's importance is in what we learn, not if Adam and Eve's children committed incest to populate the world and then God later said "no incest."  The BOM is likely historical, but its importance is in the wonderful truth Meerkat shared, not as a road map to discover what type of warfare ancient BOM people practiced.

Charity, Tom

Edited by TOmNossor
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6 hours ago, Five Solas said:

I strongly disagree "camouflage" (your previous word, meaning to conceal, to hide) is applied by God against archeological sites in order to preserve "agency and faith" (the previous words & reason you gave).  That you would now draw some connection between the absence of evidence for Nephites and The Gospel of Mark 4:11 is, well, I don't know what to say--I'll just have to leave it to our readers.

:0)

Your way of thinking about camouflage reminds me of an explanation I heard as a kid for dinosaur bones.  God put them there, I was told, to test our faith in the scriptures' creation account.  God wants us to believe in a ~ 7,000 year old earth and the bones were placed to fool the faithless and thereby separate the wheat from the tares.  I'm sure that wasn't the exact wording, but the idea communicated has stuck with me since. 

Beyond a boy's love for dinosaurs, I don't think I could have articulated why I hated that explanation back when I was a kid.  But as a Christian, my mind rebels and cannot accept the trickster god implied.

I'll leave you with one last question:  Why do you think God's camouflaging work (as you would have it) mostly appears to apply to Book of Mormon/Nephite related archeology and not equally to the archeology related to biblical sites?  Or to ask it a different way: What is so special about Joseph Smith's book that God has to stoop to camouflage? 

--Erik

PS.  You are far & away the most pleasant poster on the forum, Meerkat.  The unpleasantness of some of your ideas notwithstanding.

;0)

Okay Erik--

Notwithstanding your kind comment to the contrary, pleasant is as pleasant does. There are others on this forum who would not agree I am pleasant.  Let's see if I can disabuse you of your opinion.

You are straining at a gnat.

I explained what I meant by camouflage.  This is the definition from Vocabulary.com: To camouflage is to disguise, and a camouflage is that which disguises — like the leaf-colored and patterned uniforms worn by soldiers who want to blend in with their natural surroundings.  I believe that definition would be in harmony with the purpose of parables, and is (imo) supported by Hebrews 13:2  "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."  Why are they not clearly angels?  Why does God not reveal it?

Rather than look at the intent of what I was saying, you strained at one word.  It may not have been the perfect word.  But I believe a reasonable person, looking at the context, would understand the point I was trying to make.  Your response itself is an example of what I was talking about.  I intended for my statement to be as plain as plain can be.  But you still did not see it.  That is exactly what I meant by God's camouflage.  And I believe that's what Christ meant in Matthew 13:13  "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."  That is the very definition of camouflage.  Again I ask you, how am I slandering God by making that statement?

I think you have swerved into an important point in our discussions across religious lines.  From my side of the table, it often feels as if, when I try to explain a point of commonality between us, that point is more than ignored.  It is responded to with condescension.  

For example, I quoted from Alma 5:  The question was asked "On what condition are (people) saved?"
            12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
            13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
            14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
            15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?"

Do you not understand what was being said there?  Do you not understand that is what Mormons believe.  That is what the Book of Mormon is all about.  Rather than respond "That's similar to my experience..." or "If that's what you believe, maybe we became Christians in the same or similar manner..." or "That doesn't make sense to me.  What do you mean?," you went to one of the most innocuous words in my testimony, and accused me of slandering God.  You said "This is a no-win for you.  At best, you're committing ad-hoc fallacy.  At worst, you're slandering the character of God, portraying Him--against *every* evidence to the contrary--as some trickster god."

There is something going on here.  You can't see it.  But I can tell you that for some reason you, and some others on this board of other faiths, regularly misunderstand words that communicate our love for God and our fellow man.  We take careful time to try to express our faith so you CAN understand what we hold so sacred, and we get blasted with comments like that.  It's just something to think about, Erik.  You know I like you.  I respect you.  I believe your faith in God is real.   In your zeal to criticize Mormons and Mormonism, you miss an important point that Jesus made to His disciples: "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.  For he that is not against us is on our part."  Mark 9:38-40

I will agree with you that we Mormons believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has authority from God to act in His name.  By the same token, we look at other religions with respect and gratitude, knowing that we are on the same mission.  We are not enemies.  Whether you believe you are doing God's will or we believe we are doing God's will, it is the same.  As Jesus said, "For he that is not against us is on our part."

I hope you have a great day, Erik. Your comment helped clarify my thinking on some things that had been disturbing me for awhile.  I enjoyed the exercise.  Thanks!

Sincerely,

Meerkat

 

Edited by Meerkat
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6 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Okay Erik--

Notwithstanding your kind comment to the contrary, pleasant is as pleasant does. There are others on this forum who would not agree I am pleasant.  Let's see if I can disabuse you of your opinion.

You are straining at a gnat.

I explained what I meant by camouflage.  This is the definition from Vocabulary.com: To camouflage is to disguise, and a camouflage is that which disguises — like the leaf-colored and patterned uniforms worn by soldiers who want to blend in with their natural surroundings.  I believe that definition would be in harmony with the purpose of parables, and is (imo) supported by Hebrews 13:2  "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."  Why are they not clearly angels?  Why does God not reveal it?

Rather than look at the intent of what I was saying, you strained at one word.  It may not have been the perfect word.  But I believe a reasonable person, looking at the context, would understand the point I was trying to make.  Your response itself is an example of what I was talking about.  I intended for my statement to be as plain as plain can be.  But you still did not see it.  That is exactly what I meant by God's camouflage.  And I believe that's what Christ meant in Matthew 13:13  "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."  That is the very definition of camouflage.  Again I ask you, how am I slandering God by making that statement?

I think you have swerved into an important point in our discussions across religious lines.  From my side of the table, it often feels as if, when I try to explain a point of commonality between us, that point is more than ignored.  It is responded to with condescension.  

For example, I quoted from Alma 5:  The question was asked "On what condition are (people) saved?"
            12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
            13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
            14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
            15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?"

Do you not understand what was being said there?  Do you not understand that is what Mormons believe.  That is what the Book of Mormon is all about.  Rather than respond "That's similar to my experience..." or "If that's what you believe, maybe we became Christians in the same or similar manner..." or "That doesn't make sense to me.  What do you mean?," you went to one of the most innocuous words in my testimony, and accused me of slandering God.  You said "This is a no-win for you.  At best, you're committing ad-hoc fallacy.  At worst, you're slandering the character of God, portraying Him--against *every* evidence to the contrary--as some trickster god."

There is something going on here.  You can't see it.  But I can tell you that for some reason you, and some others on this board of other faiths, regularly misunderstand words that communicate our love for God and our fellow man.  We take careful time to try to express our faith so you CAN understand what we hold so sacred, and we get blasted with comments like that.  It's just something to think about, Erik.  You know I like you.  I respect you.  I believe your faith in God is real.   In your zeal to criticize Mormons and Mormonism, you miss an important point that Jesus made to His disciples: "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.  For he that is not against us is on our part."  Mark 9:38-40

I will agree with you that we Mormons believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has authority from God to act in His name.  By the same token, we look at other religions with respect and gratitude, knowing that we are on the same mission.  We are not enemies.  Whether you believe you are doing God's will or we believe we are doing God's will, it is the same.  As Jesus said, "For he that is not against us is on our part."

I hope you have a great day, Erik. Your comment helped clarify my thinking on some things that had been disturbing me for awhile.  I enjoyed the exercise.  Thanks!

Sincerely,

Meerkat

 

I really need to work on being nice.  No question.  I start out nice with everyone unless they have already shown themselves to be...not nice.

Then some start nice, and then take off the sheep's clothing.

I find it VERY hard ten to be nice.

But Christ would still be nice and see them as children needing correction.  Unless he saw them as "vipers" and ""whited sepulchers"

But of course He is everybody's Judge and I am not so I guess I better work a lot more on being like you.  I could have done that and did not.

Edited by mfbukowski

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6 hours ago, TOmNossor said:

Five Solas,

There are many reasons, that have zero to do with truth or falsity, for BOM and Bible archeology to be DIFFERENT.  And there is a spiritual reason why God MIGHT have inspired the BOM in such a way, place, time based on an ancient place and time that does not make it obvious that it is an ancient document just like the Bible.

Here are a three secular truths:

1. Biblical archeology is aided by consistent place names.  The BOM lands have no such assistance.

2. Biblical archeology is aided by ancient documents that have survived the often arid Biblical environments.  If the BOM is true and happened in BOM lands as presently postulated, the environment is wet and papyri would be unlikely to survive.  And very little writing of any sort did survive in this area.

3. Biblical archeology is aided by ancient peoples who placed value upon the documents that described their religions and cultural ideas.  If the BOM is true, those who valued its contents were killed.

Here is the spiritual truth:

The Bible has an ancient pedigree just like Homer's works.  If it describes things impossible to be known by a 19th century man in upstate NY, so what.  It was written by ancient men and passed from hand to hand, printing to printing by human hands.  The BOM burst upon the scene in 19th century NY state with claims of supernatural authorship.  To the extent archeology confirms it, it virtually or absolutely PROVES there is a God.  There are small things like Lehi's journey in the Old World (with Nahom) that are as good or better than many celebrated Biblical archeology "victories," but at the end of the day the determined sceptic postulates maps at Dartmouth college that perhaps found there way into Joseph's hand.  And the determined sceptic, be the anti-Mormon atheists or there bedfellows anti-Mormon Christians, dismisses the evidence and focuses on problems like horses.

 

So, I do not believe that God produced evidence for evolution so that he can test if we will trust the Bible and be "young-earth creationists."  I do not believe he causes archeologist to trip and fall before the find a papyri trove that describes Nephi's childhood.  I do believe that if the BOM is true, God providentially inspired it such that it would not contain details that survive in such a way that it could be absolutely PROVEN.  Because it does not have an ancient pedigree and if it is ancient and contains details IMPOSSIBLE for Joseph Smith to have known, it came via the supernatural and we can dismiss with the debates and become Mormons.

 

All that being said, I am a COMMITTED believer in the historicity of the BOM.  I am a believer that there is a truth that God knows and I should align myself with this ONE truth.  But, I am seeing increased value in my friend Mark's ideas.  I prefaced a scientific answer to a question in Elder's Quorum with repeated statements that the Bible (which was the document attacked by the line of reasoning someone's child offered) was not intended to be explained via good science.  The Bible's importance is in what we learn, not if Adam and Eve's children committed incest to populate the world and then God later said "no incest."  The BOM is likely historical, but its importance is in the wonderful truth Meerkat shared, not as a road map to discover what type of warfare ancient BOM people practiced.

Charity, Tom

Good to see you kind sir.

I think we met long ago on the Catholic board, and love how you represent charity and even sign off in the name of charity

You are one of my faves and I grow with every post from you.

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