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bluebell

Do the doctrines of God change?

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Try reading the Old Testament, then the New Testament, then the D&C, then attend a modern day church service and then tell me doctrine doesn’t change.

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9 hours ago, Exiled said:

This is a reason why the bible is questionable. Abraham should have been prosecuted for attempted murder in a perfect world. In any event, this story sounds mythical, as being unnecessary. Surely God could teach his questionable blood sacrifice for sin requirement without actually going to this extreme.

Why? If God were giving the command?

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13 hours ago, bluebell said:

Thoughts?  Are the authors right? 

It matches my understanding, so they must be right. :P

I remember reading in one of Margaret Barker's monographs how the major conflict in pre-Exile Judaism was between revelation and law. With prophets, everything keeps changing all the time, and the Jewish leaders hated that. They wanted to pin things down once for all.

It seems the past is an accurate predictor of the future in this case. 

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I still believe that the distinction is between actual doctrine as opposed to commandments, policies and practices.

For instance, the Law of Moses was one of commandments, policies and practices "adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed."  A lot of things were "abominations" under that law (which the law makers of the Jews added to greatly over the years between the initial revelation and the ministry of Christ). But none of those commandments, policies, and practices changed any doctrines about Christ and the Atonement, to which the Law o Moses was pointing, although the Children of Israel appeared to not understand that on the whole. It was those additional laws/taboos that Peter had to understand and overcome when he received his vision of the animals unclean under Mosaic Law  which he was commanded to eat. Once Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses, those taboos were lifted under God's law, but not under Jewish law. However eternal laws/commandments, such as keeping the Sabbath Day holy remained but the penalties for breaking that commandment are deferred rather than an immediate stoning.

I would think that the Ten Commandments fall into the category of eternal laws/commandments. Other commandments the Lord gives and revokes as he deems good. (D&C 56:4)

The Word of Wisdom is another revelation that is explicitly "Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints." (D&C 89:4) It is a revelation that was given when a great many people used tobacco, drank hot tea and coffee, etc. It was not enforced for a some time but over time following its precepts was encouraged until it was decided that it should become a commandment. I sort of see President Nelson's emphasis on using the full name of the Church in a similar light, although I do not expect it to be made a commandment. Using the full name of the Church is a recommended practice.

We have many pretty well recognized core doctrines. The Godhead, Jesus the Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, the Atonement, the Sacrament, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, Priesthood authority, the sealing power that can bind families together forever, the three Degrees of Glory, etc. However, our understanding of those doctrines is murky at best. I think Clark Goble already commented on that seeing through a glass darkly. Our understanding of those doctrines may change as we receive revelations through our apostles and prophets and personal revelation, but those core doctrines will not.

My two cents worth, but I dropped one of them.

Glenn

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13 hours ago, JulieM said:

Well, I definitely think it was man who complicated the teachings and made a religion out of them.

That’s not necessarily bad of course, but what if we’d just kept it as simple as His core teachings?

Since everything that we know about Jesus comes from man, how do we decide which things are really from Him and which were complicated by man?  Is it just a matter of what we agree with is from Jesus and what we don't is man messing His message up or is it some other way?

I'm sincerely asking because I struggle with this way of looking at the gospel.  To me it comes across as much too convenient and self serving to be valid, which is why I'm thinking I'm not understanding it correctly.

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3 hours ago, omni said:

Try reading the Old Testament, then the New Testament, then the D&C, then attend a modern day church service and then tell me doctrine doesn’t change.

I think you make an excellent point.  I don't really see how anyone can argue that doctrine doesn't change.  But it doesn't bother me that doctrine changes, and I don't see a theological problem with it at all, so that's probalby why I hold the perspective that I do.

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2 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

Why? If God were giving the command?

I guess it goes back to the "necessity" of an atonement. One has to assume God couldn't forgive anyone unless he had his son killed in order to believe an atonement was necessary. That's hard to believe, given how powerful God supposedly is. So, the Abraham story seems entirely unnecessary.

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13 hours ago, rpn said:

No.  I don't think the use of Mormon is doctrinal.

And there could be other reasons for change than one is wrong and one is right.   Sometimes things change.   Sometimes things matter to one population to get right and hasn't to other populations.

What is doctrine?  Doctrine by definition is simply a set of beliefs taught by the church but I'm not sure what you mean by that word.  

From my perspective, many beliefs taught by the church have changed over the years.  The church's teachings on the WoW have changed.  It's teachings on polygamy (and whether or not it's required for salvation) have changed.  The church's teachings on the law of consecration have changed. It's teachings on gay marriage have changed. Etc.

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3 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I guess it goes back to the "necessity" of an atonement. One has to assume God couldn't forgive anyone unless he had his son killed in order to believe an atonement was necessary. That's hard to believe, given how powerful God supposedly is. So, the Abraham story seems entirely unnecessary.

It's not about forgiveness.  If it were God could do that as you describe.  

It's about the eternal penalties attached to broken law.  Even God isn't above the law.  Quite the opposite.

The atonement pays the price.  It's not to appease a wrathful God.

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2 minutes ago, bluebell said:

What is doctrine?  Doctrine by definition is simply a set of beliefs taught by the church but I'm not sure what you mean by that word.  

From my perspective, many beliefs taught by the church have changed over the years.  The church's teachings on the WoW have changed.  It's teachings on polygamy (and whether or not it's required for salvation) have changed.  The church's teachings on the law of consecration have changed. It's teachings on gay marriage have changed. Etc.

Church doctrine changes, but whenever it differs from revealed truths there is an issue.

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19 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Since everything that we know about Jesus comes from man, how do we decide which things are really from Him and which were complicated by man?

I'll let Julie respond, but things like the Word of Wisdom come to mind.  But maybe that's not what she's referring to....

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13 hours ago, JulieM said:

 

I was talking to a very good man I worked with. He does not believe in organized religion, but knows I’m a Mormon and we talk about church sometimes.

I asked him why he didn’t belong to any religion and he told me that he believed this would be a wonderful, peaceful world if everyone just lived the two great laws of Christ.  He added that to him organized religions are just men creating laws in God’s name and then using those same laws to exclude and judge each other because of how they fail to fully live these manmade laws.

What if we get back to God and he tells us we should have just kept it simple like Christ did?  Love each other and afterwards come back to His love and forever be with those we love?

I do think about that and just wonder sometimes.

Can we separate the first commandment to love God from the need to obey Him?   It would be interesting to know what your friend believes about HOW someone is supposed to love God with all their might, mind, and strength.  How does he differentiate between man-made laws and God's laws?  

I don't expect you to know the answers, but like I said, it would be interesting to here his thoughts on what the real-world application of living the two great laws would actually look like.

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13 hours ago, let’s roll said:

Similarly, I suggest we will find clarity and purpose in prophetic teachings when we change our focus from trying to parse prophetic wording to living in harmony with the teachings of living prophets and praying that we may understand how, in doing so, the glory of God might be made manifest.

Beautifully put.  As I've grown older this has more and more become my perspective.  Less trying to solve seeming contradictions or pitting past and living prophets against each other and more just following the living prophet because I believe that God has asked me to.

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28 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Church doctrine changes, but whenever it differs from revealed truths there is an issue.

Why? It's a matter of human freedom. G-d gives commandments to actual people under actual circumstances. Actual people then make actual choices and actual circumstantial changes ensue.

G-d has the freedom to respond to the choices and changes, does He not?

If people, on the other hand, lack freedom, then you may have an argument that no commandment may ever change.

But we're not obliged to follow Calvinists in such things.

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37 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I'll let Julie respond, but things like the Word of Wisdom come to mind.  But maybe that's not what she's referring to....

Yes, that’s a great example!

Christ drank wine and so did Joseph Smith.  Brigham Young drank beer.  And so on.  It’s been men who have made the rules about this that we are now regulated by (to get a temple recommend).  Those can change and have, so I believe these are manmade commandments (it wasn’t even a commandment at first and even that changed).

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Can we separate the first commandment to love God from the need to obey Him?   It would be interesting to know what your friend believes about HOW someone is supposed to love God with all their might, mind, and strength.  

He’s speaking of this:  

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

But men have taken those simple commandments and added their own laws or commandments.  We can’t drink wine, some religions won’t go to doctors, etc.

How about the Priesthood ban?  From man or from God?

Edited by JulieM
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On the only definition of doctrine that ought to matter in this discussion:

Quote

Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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4 hours ago, omni said:

Try reading the Old Testament, then the New Testament, then the D&C, then attend a modern day church service and then tell me doctrine doesn’t change.

But who changed them, man or God?

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11 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

 

And I believe there is a gospel that is the always the same, unchanging, and utilized on all God's worlds without number.  T

 

Thanks for taking the time to share that JLH.  I appreciate it.  I can definitely see some of your points.

Going off of the statement made above, how do you reconcile the gospel as taught in the OT to the gospel as taught in the NT while claiming that the gospel is always the same?  To me, there is very little about the gospels taught to the children of Israel in those two books that is unchanging, but I'd love to hear your perspective on it.

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3 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

It matches my understanding, so they must be right. :P

I remember reading in one of Margaret Barker's monographs how the major conflict in pre-Exile Judaism was between revelation and law. With prophets, everything keeps changing all the time, and the Jewish leaders hated that. They wanted to pin things down once for all.

It seems the past is an accurate predictor of the future in this case. 

I think that as humans we natural tend to gravitate towards the easier extremes of religion.  One extreme is the idea that God will tell us exactly what to do, no surprises, and all we have to do is do it.  The other extreme is that God doesn't care what we do, as long as we are nice to each other.

Finding God somewhere in the middle of those two extremes is much harder and more open to failure because it requires that a person put a significant effort into developing a close relationship with God, learning how to hear His voice for ourselves, and being able to tell the difference between what we want and what He wants.   There's a lot a risk in the middle and it requires a lot of faith and humility.  Most of us naturally feel uncomfortable there.

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3 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

I still believe that the distinction is between actual doctrine as opposed to commandments, policies and practices.

For instance, the Law of Moses was one of commandments, policies and practices "adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed."  A lot of things were "abominations" under that law (which the law makers of the Jews added to greatly over the years between the initial revelation and the ministry of Christ). But none of those commandments, policies, and practices changed any doctrines about Christ and the Atonement, to which the Law o Moses was pointing, although the Children of Israel appeared to not understand that on the whole. It was those additional laws/taboos that Peter had to understand and overcome when he received his vision of the animals unclean under Mosaic Law  which he was commanded to eat. Once Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses, those taboos were lifted under God's law, but not under Jewish law. However eternal laws/commandments, such as keeping the Sabbath Day holy remained but the penalties for breaking that commandment are deferred rather than an immediate stoning.

I would think that the Ten Commandments fall into the category of eternal laws/commandments. Other commandments the Lord gives and revokes as he deems good. (D&C 56:4)

The Word of Wisdom is another revelation that is explicitly "Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints." (D&C 89:4) It is a revelation that was given when a great many people used tobacco, drank hot tea and coffee, etc. It was not enforced for a some time but over time following its precepts was encouraged until it was decided that it should become a commandment. I sort of see President Nelson's emphasis on using the full name of the Church in a similar light, although I do not expect it to be made a commandment. Using the full name of the Church is a recommended practice.

We have many pretty well recognized core doctrines. The Godhead, Jesus the Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, the Atonement, the Sacrament, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, Priesthood authority, the sealing power that can bind families together forever, the three Degrees of Glory, etc. However, our understanding of those doctrines is murky at best. I think Clark Goble already commented on that seeing through a glass darkly. Our understanding of those doctrines may change as we receive revelations through our apostles and prophets and personal revelation, but those core doctrines will not.

My two cents worth, but I dropped one of them.

Glenn

Thanks Glenn.  Good thoughts.

I've always wondering, if the ten commandments are eternal, then why didn't God give them to the children of Israel the first time Moses came off the mountain?  Why did the ten commandments only show up after the children of Israel messed up so badly and Moses broke the first stuff?

I could be completely misunderstanding that though.

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

Church doctrine changes, but whenever it differs from revealed truths there is an issue.

But doesn't that assume that the changes automatically don't count as revealed truth just because they are changes?  Can doctrinal changes not be just as much revealed as the first doctrine was?  (hope that sentence makes sense).

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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

I'll let Julie respond, but things like the Word of Wisdom come to mind.  But maybe that's not what she's referring to....

In your opinion, how can we know whether or not the Word of Wisdom is something complicated by man, or whether God actually changed it as the needs of and dangers to His children changed?

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1 hour ago, JulieM said:

Yes, that’s a great example!

Christ drank wine and so did Joseph Smith.  Brigham Young drank beer.  And so on.  It’s been men who have made the rules about this that we are now regulated by (to get a temple recommend).  Those can change and have, so I believe these are manmade commandments (it wasn’t even a commandment at first and even that changed).

How do we know that it's been men who have changed it, that's what I'm confused about?   How can we tell the difference between manmade changes and changes made by God?

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59 minutes ago, JulieM said:

He’s speaking of this:  

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

But men have taken those simple commandments and added their own laws or commandments.  We can’t drink wine, some religions won’t go to doctors, etc.

How about the Priesthood ban?  From man or from God?

I do understand what commandments your friend was referring to but thanks for putting up the scripture.  My question is the same though, how can we know that men have taken those commandments and added their own laws?  It's easy to make that assertion, as your friend has, but what does he have to back it up?

After all, loving God requires obedience to His commandments, no matter how we feel about them.  It requires that we replace our will with His.  

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