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The Non-Imperative for a historical Book of Mormon

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13 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

A so-called “non-historical” Book of Mormon — like any form of false doctrine — does violence to the fundamental truth claims of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. You and others are free to harbor whatever private  notions or fantasies you like, but if you insist on “normalizing” them within the doctrinal structure of the Church, I for one will not abide it and will resist it in whatever reasonable way I can. 

This attitude simply strengthens the position of anti Mormons. 

You are accepting their assumptions about what alleged "truth claims" make one faithful and which do not.

I will stick with the brethren thank you very much, and their inspired list of questions about what makes one eligible for temple attendance or not.

Unless of course you want to preach false doctrine that some people who attend the Temple should not because of their position on historicity.

Sorry I think that's up to the brethren.

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8 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Until there is a question on Book of Mormon historicity on the temple recommend interview, the issue is moot.

That's not going to happen.

In other words fighting about it is a useless exercise, grandiose words from non historians notwithstanding.

 

YMMV but I think most priesthood leaders would consider BoM historicity to be covered by the question regarding one’s testimony of the restoration.

Let’s assume a person is asked whether they have testimony of the restoration and responded candidly by saying, “yes I have a testimony of the restoration, but I don’t believe there were really Nephites and Lamanites; no Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, or Moroni. I think it’s an inspired eighteenth century work of fiction.” You think a leader (any leader,  Bishop up to Prophet) would be okay with that? Let’s assume the person held those beliefs but responded to the question with a simple “yes.” You don’t think most leaders and members would see this as deceitful? You don’t think they’d be interested in knowing that belief when determining worthiness to enter the House of God or advance in the priesthood or serve a mission? Not important when extending a calling (at least a calling that is of substance)?

I think you’re dreaming. 

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3 minutes ago, not_my_real_name said:

YMMV but I think most priesthood leaders would consider BoM historicity to be covered by the question regarding one’s testimony of the restoration.

Let’s assume a person is asked whether they have testimony of the restoration and responded candidly by saying, “yes I have a testimony of the restoration, but I don’t believe there were really Nephites and Lamanites; no Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, or Moroni. I think it’s an inspired eighteenth century work of fiction.” You think a leader (any leader,  Bishop up to Prophet) would be okay with that? Let’s assume the person held those beliefs but responded to the question with a simple “yes.” You don’t think most leaders and members would see this as deceitful? You don’t think they’d be interested in knowing that belief when determining worthiness to enter the House of God or advance in the priesthood or serve a mission? Not important when extending a calling (at least a calling that is of substance)?

I think you’re dreaming. 

Leaders have been given specific guidance that belief in BOM historicity is not a bar for temple worthiness. We’ve discussed this on this board before I believe, and I’m sure I’ll get a CFR for this, so I’ll try to dig it up.

Edited by Benjamin Seeker
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10 minutes ago, not_my_real_name said:

YMMV but I think most priesthood leaders would consider BoM historicity to be covered by the question regarding one’s testimony of the restoration.

Let’s assume a person is asked whether they have testimony of the restoration and responded candidly by saying, “yes I have a testimony of the restoration, but I don’t believe there were really Nephites and Lamanites; no Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, or Moroni. I think it’s an inspired eighteenth century work of fiction.” You think a leader (any leader,  Bishop up to Prophet) would be okay with that? Let’s assume the person held those beliefs but responded to the question with a simple “yes.” You don’t think most leaders and members would see this as deceitful? You don’t think they’d be interested in knowing that belief when determining worthiness to enter the House of God or advance in the priesthood or serve a mission? Not important when extending a calling (at least a calling that is of substance)?

I think you’re dreaming. 

I'd love to see a poll of bishops on this. Would be very interesting. I think/hope by far most bishops would allow that. Maybe think it was weird but allow it in terms of passing a recommend question. 

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1 hour ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

Leaders have been given specific guidance that belief in BOM historicity is not a bar for temple worthiness. We’ve discussed this on this board before I believe, and I’m sure I’ll get a CFR for this, so I’ll try to dig it up.

I’d be very interested to see that guidance. 

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19 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

And for the record, I don't think an all-or-nothing approach is the best, have published my description of an alternative.  (A Model of Mormon Spiritual Experience.)   If you want to start with that portion of the word, and experiement with just that, and get a benefit from an Inspired Fiction approach, go ahead.  But I've found that my own experiments on a larger portion of the word have been, and continue to be, fascinating, enlightening, fruitful, and promising.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

    

Hi: When you talk about Taves' recent works, which book or article are you talking about? I just want to make sure I haven't missed something. When you mention your own work, are you referring to your work in Interpreter? I am simply trying to keep up on things. Take care and thanks for your good work. 

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6 hours ago, not_my_real_name said:

YMMV but I think most priesthood leaders would consider BoM historicity to be covered by the question regarding one’s testimony of the restoration.

Let’s assume a person is asked whether they have testimony of the restoration and responded candidly by saying, “yes I have a testimony of the restoration, but I don’t believe there were really Nephites and Lamanites; no Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, or Moroni. I think it’s an inspired eighteenth century work of fiction.” You think a leader (any leader,  Bishop up to Prophet) would be okay with that? Let’s assume the person held those beliefs but responded to the question with a simple “yes.” You don’t think most leaders and members would see this as deceitful? You don’t think they’d be interested in knowing that belief when determining worthiness to enter the House of God or advance in the priesthood or serve a mission? Not important when extending a calling (at least a calling that is of substance)?

I think you’re dreaming. 

Well as a former Bishop I think I know something about the process.

But I suppose you could talk to my stake president about whether or not I'm qualified to make that comment. I'm really not going to argue with you there's no point to it. As he says the gospel is about spiritual truth not facts.

Many were eyewitnesses to Jesus' death, but virtually none became believers in the atonement. They saw the facts with their own eyes but never felt the spirit.

Answers to spiritual questions come from spiritual sources not facts.

As Galileo said spiritual matters are to tell you how to go to heaven not how heaven goes. Your position is close to that of cardinal Bellarmine who excommunicated Galileo because Galileo's view did not correspond to the scientific "facts" of the day.

The scriptures repeatedly admonish us to seek spiritual answers not through historic study but directly from God himself. 

Moroni 10 says nothing about studying the facts of the Book of Mormon it says ask God and he will manifest the truth to you.

If you don't believe that then we really don't have much to discuss.

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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10 hours ago, Gray said:

Does a non-historical Book of Daniel do the same thing, or is it just the Book of Mormon?

Nothing hinges on Daniel historicity plus we have scripture indicating the problematic nature of the Old Testament.

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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

This attitude simply strengthens the position of anti Mormons. 

You are accepting their assumptions about what alleged "truth claims" make one faithful and which do not.

I will stick with the brethren thank you very much, and their inspired list of questions about what makes one eligible for temple attendance or not.

Unless of course you want to preach false doctrine that some people who attend the Temple should not because of their position on historicity.

Sorry I think that's up to the brethren.

I said nothing about temple recommend eligibility. I was talking about resisting the “normalizing”  of false doctrine. 

If you’re going to brerate me, at least try to be accurate in your accusations. 

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10 hours ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

Little by little, room for this position is evolving. I doubt it will be completely normalized, but there appears to be an increasing minority in the church that holds the position, and leadership has taken steps to keep these members in full fellowship. We’ll have to wait and see where things go from here.

Whether such persons should be kept in “full fellowship” is a separate issue from whether their false doctrine should be “normalized,” which I define as being permitted to be preached from Church pulpits, taught and advocated in Church classrooms, published in Church periodicals and manuals, etc. Surely you can see that. 

We have never countenanced the teaching of false doctrine in the Church before; I see no reason to start now. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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5 hours ago, Navidad said:

Hi: When you talk about Taves' recent works, which book or article are you talking about? I just want to make sure I haven't missed something. When you mention your own work, are you referring to your work in Interpreter? I am simply trying to keep up on things. Take care and thanks for your good work. 

I suggest you Google "Kevin Christensen Mormon"

 

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8 hours ago, churchistrue said:

I'd love to see a poll of bishops on this. Would be very interesting. I think/hope by far most bishops would allow that. Maybe think it was weird but allow it in terms of passing a recommend question. 

And there is a vast difference between seeing The Book of Mormon as non-historical and a"work of fiction."

It's the difference between a parable and Tolkien.

A made-up story can be profound scripture as any of the parables of Jesus are.  Jonah and the fish? Talking donkeys? The sun standing still?

Yet all of these teach profound truths about trusting in God and his Revelations.

We don't exactly throw out the story of the prodigal son because we have no record of him existing.

I personally believe the events in the Book of Mormon "actually happened" but that becomes irrelevant when it cannot be proven by any means other than testimony. if it can only be known by spiritual knowledge then that's the only way it can be known.

The fact that all belief in The Book of Mormon should be based on testimony is itself evidence that the opinion of historical scholars is irrelevant. As I said Moroni 10 says nothing about researching history it talks about asking God about the truth.

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Well as a former Bishop I think I know something about the process.

But I suppose you could talk to my stake president about whether or not I'm qualified to make that comment. I'm really not going to argue with you there's no point to it. As he says the gospel is about spiritual truth not facts.

Many were eyewitnesses to Jesus' death, but virtually none became believers in the atonement. They saw the facts with their own eyes but never felt the spirit.

Answers to spiritual questions come from spiritual sources not facts.

As Galileo said spiritual matters are to tell you how to go to heaven not how heaven goes. Your position is close to that of cardinal Bellarmine who excommunicated Galileo because Galileo's view did not correspond to the scientific "facts" of the day.

The scriptures repeatedly admonish us to seek spiritual answers not through historic study but directly from God himself. 

Moroni 10 says nothing about studying the facts of the Book of Mormon it says ask God and he will manifest the truth to you.

If you don't believe that then we really don't have much to discuss.

 

You’re putting words in my mouth here. I’ve communicated my observations of how the predominant Mormon narrative relies on the historicity of its sacred texts. My view is, as I stated previously, that taking the BoM (or any sacred text) seriously does not necessitate taking it literally.

Also, the topic at hand is how a fictional BoM fits into Mormonism. Did you tell your stake president that you think the BoM is fiction? Or did you say that historicity is not important to you? 

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48 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I suggest you Google "Kevin Christensen Mormon"

 

Thanks for your suggestion. I prefer to hear from the source. He can tell me much better than Google what he means by "recent" works by another author. 

 

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1 hour ago, not_my_real_name said:

You’re putting words in my mouth here. I’ve communicated my observations of how the predominant Mormon narrative relies on the historicity of its sacred texts. My view is, as I stated previously, that taking the BoM (or any sacred text) seriously does not necessitate taking it literally.

Also, the topic at hand is how a fictional BoM fits into Mormonism. Did you tell your stake president that you think the BoM is fiction? Or did you say that historicity is not important to you? 

I have already told you that I do not think the Book of Mormon is fiction. Yes my stake president understands my position completely, and additionally how the insistence on factual information having something to do with spirituality eventually leads to things like the CES letter. We are excellent friends and have had long discussions about these matters. Facts about Joseph's life supposedly prevent him from being a prophet. Yet we are all to be prophets by having our own testimony of Jesus Christ, and none of us are perfect.

I I'm puzzled by your admission that it is not necessary to take scripture literally while yet affirming that to not do so, makes it " fiction."  Yet you take my not necessarily literal understanding to make it fiction

I have written at length on this board regarding these matters, and really don't have time to go into it at the moment. If you are actually interested in what I think which is doubtful I would suggest you look up the material that's available just here on the board. :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Thanks for your suggestion. I prefer to hear from the source. He can tell me much better than Google what he means by "recent" works by another author. 

 

I apologize for the misunderstanding. It seemed that you are not aware of any works by Kevin except those in Interpreter.

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16 hours ago, Navidad said:

Hi: When you talk about Taves' recent works, which book or article are you talking about? I just want to make sure I haven't missed something. When you mention your own work, are you referring to your work in Interpreter? I am simply trying to keep up on things. Take care and thanks for your good work. 

I was referring to Taves's book, as well as a few articles and interviews I also referred to in my Interpreter review, Playing to an Audience.

https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/author/kevinc/

My own work includes several things at Maxwell Institute:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/people/kevin-christensen/

This at FAIR:

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Biblical_Keys_for_Discerning_True_and_False_Prophets

And some stuff at Meridian, Sunstone, Dialogue, and elsewhere.

You welcome.   I do what I can.

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

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19 hours ago, not_my_real_name said:

I’d be very interested to see that guidance. 

I give up on my own CFR. I seem to be misremembering something. 

FWIW, I’ve told multiple bishops that I don’t believe in BOM historicity, and that has never been a problem for temple worthiness.

Edited by Benjamin Seeker
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21 hours ago, not_my_real_name said:

YMMV but I think most priesthood leaders would consider BoM historicity to be covered by the question regarding one’s testimony of the restoration.

Let’s assume a person is asked whether they have testimony of the restoration and responded candidly by saying, “yes I have a testimony of the restoration, but I don’t believe there were really Nephites and Lamanites; no Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, or Moroni. I think it’s an inspired eighteenth century work of fiction.” You think a leader (any leader,  Bishop up to Prophet) would be okay with that?

I know several who are ok with that (my Bishop and Stake President included).  I have a temple recommend and do not believe the Book of Mormon is historically accurate.  I do believe it's inspired (I don't go so far as to call it fiction as it most definitely contains truths).  But several of my leaders agree with me (we've had discussions regarding this) and I know many who have recommends with similar beliefs.  I think that number will evolve in the future to be even greater too.

Edited by ALarson

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11 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I have already told you that I do not think the Book of Mormon is fiction. Yes my stake president understands my position completely, and additionally how the insistence on factual information having something to do with spirituality eventually leads to things like the CES letter. We are excellent friends and have had long discussions about these matters. Facts about Joseph's life supposedly prevent him from being a prophet. Yet we are all to be prophets by having our own testimony of Jesus Christ, and none of us are perfect.

I I'm puzzled by your admission that it is not necessary to take scripture literally while yet affirming that to not do so, makes it " fiction."  Yet you take my not necessarily literal understanding to make it fiction

I have written at length on this board regarding these matters, and really don't have time to go into it at the moment. If you are actually interested in what I think which is doubtful I would suggest you look up the material that's available just here on the board. :)

 

 

Couldn’t agree with you more regarding how the insistence on factual info leads to things like the CES letter. I’ve long held the view that a such an insistence sows the seeds of anti-Mormonism. 

I see what you mean about my equating non-literal with fiction. Yes, one can approach the BoM as allegorical but still maintain a belief that it’s historical. I figure that since the thread topic is believing that the events in the BoM didn’t really happen the equivalence is appropriate (context clues and all).  

 

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13 minutes ago, not_my_real_name said:

Couldn’t agree with you more regarding how the insistence on factual info leads to things like the CES letter. I’ve long held the view that a such an insistence sows the seeds of anti-Mormonism. 

This is kind of an odd statement.  So, do you really believe that "insistence on factual info" sows seeds of anti-Mormonism?  So are members supposed to stay away from the facts?

Maybe you could give an example, so I can understand what you mean here?

Edited by ALarson

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16 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Nothing hinges on Daniel historicity plus we have scripture indicating the problematic nature of the Old Testament.

An appeal to consequences isn't a great historical argument. In any case, nothing has to hinge on BOM historicity either.

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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I was referring to Taves's book, as well as a few articles and interviews I also referred to in my Interpreter review, Playing to an Audience.

https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/author/kevinc/

My own work includes several things at Maxwell Institute:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/people/kevin-christensen/

This at FAIR:

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Biblical_Keys_for_Discerning_True_and_False_Prophets

And some stuff at Meridian, Sunstone, Dialogue, and elsewhere.

You welcome.   I do what I can.

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Thank you so much. I have several books and lots of admiration for Ann Taves and the whole UC Santa Barbara religion and yes, Mexican studies departments. She brings a psycho-sociological-religious perspective to the study of religion that I think is indispensable to an understanding of faith and the development of doctrine, regardless of the tradition. I asked you because I wanted to make sure I hadn't missed anything new she might have put out. I also read your very recent article in Interpreter so that was fresh on my mind as well. I grew up in Pennsylvania and know of Canonsburg as the home of a bunch of NFL gurus and crooners like Perry Como and somebody else, whose name escapes me. I appreciate your time and consideration in replying to me a number of times over the last 18 months or so I have been hanging around the forum. 

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On 2/22/2019 at 9:00 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

A so-called “non-historical” Book of Mormon — like any form of false doctrine — does violence to the fundamental truth claims of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. You and others are free to harbor whatever private  notions or fantasies you like, but if you insist on “normalizing” them within the doctrinal structure of the Church, I for one will not abide it and will resist it in whatever reasonable way I can. 

Yes, I have a half smile on me when you have the inclusion of  "notions and fantasies"..Nuf said.

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I'm not saying there are none, but what other sacred texts or books with historical figures, people, nations, languages, anthropology, are there out there which have no official geography for where the events took place?  From what I understand from the most recent announcement by the church they took a step away from historicity by saying no geographical model works for us.  

Here is an example from Elder Ted Brewerton from his talk in general conference in 1995.

"Many migratory groups came to the Americas, but none was as important as the three mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The blood of these people flows in the veins of the Blackfoot and the Blood Indians of Alberta, Canada; in the Navajo and the Apache of the American Southwest; the Inca of western South America; the Aztec of Mexico; the Maya of Guatemala; and in other native American groups in the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific islands."

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/10/the-book-of-mormon-a-sacred-ancient-record?lang=eng

If we create a scatter plot on a map of the americas all temple dedicatory prayers which include phrases related to the children of Lehi what will we find?  A geography model I would expect. 

Merida Mexico - July 2000
https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/merida-mexico-temple/dedicatory-prayer/
short generic, no mention of book of mormon, lehi, or lamanites
Villahermosa Mexico - May 2000
"May Thy eternal purposes concerning the sons and daughters of Lehi be realized in this sacred house. "
Tuxtla Gutierrez - Mar 2000
"We invoke Thy blessings upon this nation of Mexico where so many of the sons and daughters of Father Lehi dwell. Bless these Thy children. Lift them out of the depths of poverty."
Veracruz -july 2000
short generic, no mention of book of mormon, lehi, or lamanites
Oaxaca Mexico - Mar 2000 Faust
short generic, no mention of book of mormon, lehi, or lamanites
Quetzaltenango Guatemala - Dec 2011
"Thou kind and gracious Father, our hearts are filled with gratitude for Thy remembrance of the sons and daughters of Lehi. Thou hast heard their cries and seen their tears. Thou hast accepted their righteous sacrifices."
Guatemala City - Dec 1984
"Thou kind and gracious Father, our hearts swell with gratitude for Thy remembrance of the sons and daughters of Lehi, the many generations of our fathers and mothers who suffered so greatly and who walked for so long in darkness. Thou hast heard their cries and seen their tears. Now there will be opened to them the gates of salvation and eternal life."
"We thank Thee, O God, for lifting the scales of darkness which for generations clouded the vision of the descendants of Lehi. "
Tegucigalpa Honduras- Jun 2006
"Our hearts are filled with gratitude for Thy blessing of the sons and daughters of Lehi. Thou hast heard their cries and seen their tears. Thou hast accepted their righteous sacrifices."
 

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