Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
pogi

The Keystone of Our Religion

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, pogi said:

We have all heard this quote.  The concept of the Book of Mormon being the keystone of our religion has been taught throughout the history of our church.  I have never really thought twice about it until yesterday when it was taught in Young Men's.  I don't know why this occasion was different from any other, but for the first time the idea seemed strange and didn't make much sense to me.  The idea has been so thoroughly reinforced in the history of our church, from the prophet of the restoration onward; but I wonder if this teaching has reached almost creedal status without any one really questioning it. 

When we say that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, we are suggesting that without the keystone, the rest of the arch (religion) would crumble.  But why do we teach this?  Would it really crumble without the Book of Mormon?  What if the church was restored through Joseph Smith and there were no gold plates, no translation, no Book of Mormon... why couldn't the restoration work without it?  What principle, doctrine, or ordinance do we find in the Book of Mormon that could not have been revealed in some other way and recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants?

To clarify, I am not suggesting that the Book of Mormon is not significant.  It is.  I believe that it is everything else that Joseph said about the book in the above quote. But, isn't the real keystone of our religion revelation?  Isn't that the stone that holds everything else in place?  Remove that and everything crumbles - including the Book of Mormon as it was translated through a revelatory process.  

The only attempt to defend the teaching has been this - if the book of Mormon is true, then Joseph was a prophet, and if Joseph was a prophet the restoration and everything that came from it is true.  If it is false, then it is all false.  In this way, the attempt is made to place the Book of Mormon in the place of the keystone as if everything leans on it.  But, if you think about it, we could place any other variable in that equation in its place and it would be just as true.  For example, we could say - if Joseph was a prophet, then the restoration is true along with everything that comes from it, including the Book of Mormon, therefore Joseph Smith is the keystone.  Or we could say - if the restoration is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true, etc.

It seems clear to me that the true keystone of our religion is revelation.  Remove the Book of Mormon and the restoration would still have been possible with revelation. Remove revelation, and it all crumbles. 

Thoughts?

I’ve had the same thoughts. Because the Book of Mormon being “true” actually doesn’t dictate that the The Church is Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “true”. There are hundreds of break offs that believe or believed in the Book so it can’t be for certain pinned down using that method. The best way to know is to pray about the major doctrines and whether this is the organization the Lord wants you to join.

The Book of Mormon is essential to the latter days, but revelation is going to be what’s actually saves us. No one can be saved without it because the testimony of Christ comes by revelation and continued revelation can only come by the gift of the Holy Gjost!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, SettingDogStar said:

I’ve had the same thoughts. Because the Book of Mormon being “true” actually doesn’t dictate that the The Church is Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “true”. There are hundreds of break offs that believe or believed in the Book so it can’t be for certain pinned down using that method. The best way to know is to pray about the major doctrines and whether this is the organization the Lord wants you to join.

The Book of Mormon is essential to the latter days, but revelation is going to be what’s actually saves us. No one can be saved without it because the testimony of Christ comes by revelation and continued revelation can only come by the gift of the Holy Gjost!

Yet MANY Christians throughout the world, for centuries, have had testimonies of Christ. So if revelation is required to have a testimony of Christ, and that's what makes the church different, HOW exactly does it make the church different from other Christian churches?

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Yet MANY Christians throughout the world, for centuries, have had testimonies of Christ. So if revelation is required to have a testimony of Christ, and that's what makes the church different, HOW exactly does it make the church different from other Christian churches?

 

Well I think the gift of the Holy Ghost. No other church has possessed that gift since the Apostles, or at least no church that we have been made aware of.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, pogi said:

We have all heard this quote.  The concept of the Book of Mormon being the keystone of our religion has been taught throughout the history of our church.  I have never really thought twice about it until yesterday when it was taught in Young Men's.  I don't know why this occasion was different from any other, but for the first time the idea seemed strange and didn't make much sense to me.  The idea has been so thoroughly reinforced in the history of our church, from the prophet of the restoration onward; but I wonder if this teaching has reached almost creedal status without any one really questioning it. 

When we say that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, we are suggesting that without the keystone, the rest of the arch (religion) would crumble.  But why do we teach this?  Would it really crumble without the Book of Mormon?  What if the church was restored through Joseph Smith and there were no gold plates, no translation, no Book of Mormon... why couldn't the restoration work without it?  What principle, doctrine, or ordinance do we find in the Book of Mormon that could not have been revealed in some other way and recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants?

To clarify, I am not suggesting that the Book of Mormon is not significant.  It is.  I believe that it is everything else that Joseph said about the book in the above quote. But, isn't the real keystone of our religion revelation?  Isn't that the stone that holds everything else in place?  Remove that and everything crumbles - including the Book of Mormon as it was translated through a revelatory process.  

The only attempt to defend the teaching has been this - if the book of Mormon is true, then Joseph was a prophet, and if Joseph was a prophet the restoration and everything that came from it is true.  If it is false, then it is all false.  In this way, the attempt is made to place the Book of Mormon in the place of the keystone as if everything leans on it.  But, if you think about it, we could place any other variable in that equation in its place and it would be just as true.  For example, we could say - if Joseph was a prophet, then the restoration is true along with everything that comes from it, including the Book of Mormon, therefore Joseph Smith is the keystone.  Or we could say - if the restoration is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true, etc.

It seems clear to me that the true keystone of our religion is revelation.  Remove the Book of Mormon and the restoration would still have been possible with revelation. Remove revelation, and it all crumbles. 

Thoughts?

Our religion consists of the covenant practice of the “principles” and “fulness of the everlasting gospel,” “the new covenant” and “the truth and the word of God.” Without the Book or Mormon, we haven’t any of that to practice. The phrases in quotation marks come from the D&C which points to the necessity of Book of Mormon.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
32 minutes ago, SettingDogStar said:

I’ve had the same thoughts. Because the Book of Mormon being “true” actually doesn’t dictate that the The Church is Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “true”. There are hundreds of break offs that believe or believed in the Book so it can’t be for certain pinned down using that method. The best way to know is to pray about the major doctrines and whether this is the organization the Lord wants you to join.

The Book of Mormon is essential to the latter days, but revelation is going to be what’s actually saves us. No one can be saved without it because the testimony of Christ comes by revelation and continued revelation can only come by the gift of the Holy Gjost!

Personal revelation, particularly the Second Comforter, does save us, but we cannot have that revelation without the actual religion (or practice of the precepts taught in the Book of Mormon). People can be saved without joining the Church until the next life by living the teachings of the Book of Mormon.

Share this post


Link to post
50 minutes ago, pogi said:

What if the church was restored through Joseph Smith and there were no gold plates, no translation, no Book of Mormon... why couldn't the restoration work without it? 

The only attempt to defend the teaching has been this - if the book of Mormon is true, then Joseph was a prophet, and if Joseph was a prophet the restoration and everything that came from it is true.  If it is false, then it is all false.  In this way, the attempt is made to place the Book of Mormon in the place of the keystone as if everything leans on it.  But, if you think about it, we could place any other variable in that equation in its place and it would be just as true. 

What if?

But it wasn't.  That's the point.  This is the timeline we live in.  This was the manner which the Lord chose.  These are the facts we work with.  With these givens, it is indeed the keyestone.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
18 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Our religion consists of the covenant practice of the “principles” and “fulness of the everlasting gospel,” “the new covenant” and “the truth and the word of God.” Without the Book or Mormon, we haven’t any of that to practice. The phrases in quotation marks come from the D&C which points to the necessity of Book of Mormon.

I agree that much of the gospel has been clarified through the Book of Mormon, and it has been instrumental in many ways, and rightfully serves its purpose as "another testament of Jesus Christ".  I fully have a testimony of its usefulness and regard it as a sacred text.   But I wonder what specifically makes it critical to our practice of religion.  What specific principles or practices are unique to the Book of Mormon that have not been, or could not have been revealed or clarified in the D&C or other sources?

Share this post


Link to post
32 minutes ago, SettingDogStar said:

Well I think the gift of the Holy Ghost. No other church has possessed that gift since the Apostles, or at least no church that we have been made aware of.

Yes, for centuries  millions of Christians received testimonies of Christ, many presumably through witness of the Holy Ghost.

Kind of going along with the OP which was questioning the value of the BoM being the "keystone" of our religion, I also wonder about the value of the "Gift" of the holy ghost that is only received after baptism/confirmation.

All people have the light of Christ. All people can be guided by the promptings of the holy ghost, gift or not. The "Gift" which is said to be a "constant companion" isn't really "constant". It's conditional. Even with the gift, the HG will come and go based on a person's worthiness, receptiveness etc. So is there really anything more "constant" about it than any other person has access to?

I bristle every time I hear people talking about having a testimony of the Church, and how the Church is necessary for salvation. Jesus is necessary for salvation. The church is only a tool. It's like the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. People often mistake the box as the gift.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
17 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

You're conflating the foundation with the superstructure.

Let me point out certain aspects of the keystone.

  • A keystone is the centerstone at the top of an arch. 
  • It is often larger and is the last piece placed in the construction of an arch.
  • After it is placed, all the scaffolding and other temporary structures may be removed.
  • It is an important piece that allows for the distribution of load from whatever above to the arch itself.  Or, it may be only a means of distributing the load of the arch itself.

Here is what the keystone is NOT.

  • It is not the foundation.
  • It is not the soil beneath the foundation.
  • It is not the roof.  (Although the arch can be used to support the roof elements).
  • It is not the piece that necessarily holds the greatest load.  It often holds less force, but more stress.
  • It is not a column.
  • It isn't really a beam either.

If you remove the keystone, the arch and everything above it will crumble as well.  But you will still have a foundation and walls and many other parts of any structure around it.  The foundation is made up of prophets and apostles, with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.  And that foundation is placed on top of the rock of revelation.   All this remains even if the arch crumbles.

Thanks for your thoughts.  That is helpful to distinguish between the foundation and cornerstone.  I agree that revelation would be better placed in the foundation. 

But if the arch represents our religion as is implied in calling the Book of Mormon "the keystone of our religion", would it all really crumble without the Book of Mormon?  What specific practice in our religion would crumble?  What makes it critical?

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, pogi said:

Thanks for your thoughts.  That is helpful to distinguish between the foundation and cornerstone.  I agree that revelation would be better placed in the foundation. 

But if the arch represents our religion as is implied in calling the Book of Mormon "the keystone of our religion", would it all really crumble without the Book of Mormon?  What specific practice in our religion would crumble?  What makes it critical?

You've already said it.  But I'll try putting it in different words and maybe it will jar something.

What makes our religion different than any other Christian faith is the reality of it.  It was NOT man made. The LORD Himself is the author and finisher of our faith.

All else that is true about the religion which separates us from the rest of Christianity cannot be true if the BoM is not true.  It would mean that a lie propagated real Priesthood power.  It would mean that a lie propagated real Ordinances.  It would mean that a lie propagated all the restored truths of the gospel.

Without that entire arch, we would be like any other Christian faith -- well intentioned blind leading the blind.

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Yes, for centuries  millions of Christians received testimonies of Christ, many presumably through witness of the Holy Ghost.

Kind of going along with the OP which was questioning the value of the BoM being the "keystone" of our religion, I also wonder about the value of the "Gift" of the holy ghost that is only received after baptism/confirmation.

All people have the light of Christ. All people can be guided by the promptings of the holy ghost, gift or not. The "Gift" which is said to be a "constant companion" isn't really "constant". It's conditional. Even with the gift, the HG will come and go based on a person's worthiness, receptiveness etc. So is there really anything more "constant" about it than any other person has access to?

I bristle every time I hear people talking about having a testimony of the Church, and how the Church is necessary for salvation. Jesus is necessary for salvation. The church is only a tool. It's like the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. People often mistake the box as the gift.

For me, more than the constant nature of the companionship of the Holy Ghost (because I agree that is conditional), part of the value of the gift of the Holy Ghost comes in the reception of it - as in the baptism of fire.  It is the sure word of prophecy by which a person is sealed into the celestial kingdom.  It is a critical ordinance for salvation which conditions us for the opportunity of receiving such a gift - but it does not guarantee it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

You've already said it.  But I'll try putting it in different words and maybe it will jar something.

What makes our religion different than any other Christian faith is the reality of it.  It was NOT man made. The LORD Himself is the author and finisher of our faith.

All else that is true about the religion which separates us from the rest of Christianity cannot be true if the BoM is not true.  It would mean that a lie propagated real Priesthood power.  It would mean that a lie propagated real Ordinances.  It would mean that a lie propagated all the restored truths of the gospel.

Without that entire arch, we would be like any other Christian faith -- well intentioned blind leading the blind.

Couldn't the same thing be said about the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price, or of temple ordinances, or of any other thing that we claim to have received through revelation?  If they are not true, then wouldn't it also mean, as you say, "that a lie propagated real Ordinances" and the "restored truths of the gospel"?  What ordinances would change if there were no Book of Mormon?  It is all outlined in other revelations.  I am just curious why why place the Book of Mormon specifically in that keystone place. 

Edited by pogi
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, pogi said:

I agree that much of the gospel has been clarified through the Book of Mormon, and it has been instrumental in many ways, and rightfully serves its purpose as "another testament of Jesus Christ".  I fully have a testimony of its usefulness and regard it as a sacred text.   But I wonder what specifically makes it critical to our practice of religion.  What specific principles or practices are unique to the Book of Mormon that have not been, or could not have been revealed or clarified in the D&C or other sources?

I think your last sentence answers the question. While they well could have been, they were not revealed or clarified in the D&C or elsewhere. Joseph Smith learned many things from it which prompted his pursuit of revelation (I'm thinking for example the building of Zion on Joseph/Lehi's promised land, but also many basics such as baptism). The Lord referred to it in several places as the means for both the prophets and the members to obtain the various essentials of the religion. It is said there is a power in the book, or truth in the messages, that flows into our lives (i.e. the doctrine of the priesthood distilling upon our souls) when we study it seriously. This living the fulness of the gospel is what makes a religion (from Latin, to bind, obligate, and live under such obligation).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

 

Jeffery Holland quoted Ezra Taft Benson and said about the Book of Mormon.  

https://www.lds.org/new-era/1995/06/true-or-false?lang=eng

President Ezra Taft Benson said

Quote

 

“The Book of Mormon is the keystone of [our] testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.

“Yes, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion—the keystone of our testimony, the keystone of our doctrine, and the keystone in the witness of our Lord and Savior” (A Witness and a Warning, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988, p. 19).

 

 

Jeffery R. Holland said in response:

Quote

To hear someone so remarkable say something so tremendously bold, so overwhelming in its implications, that everything in the Church—everything—rises or falls on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and, by implication, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account of how it came forth, can be a little breathtaking. It sounds like a “sudden death” proposition to me. Either the Book of Mormon is what the Prophet Joseph said it is or this Church and its founder are false, fraudulent, a deception from the first instance onward.

and

Quote

he (Joseph Smith)is not entitled to retain even the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction. No, and he is not entitled to be considered a great teacher or a quintessential American prophet or the creator of great wisdom literature. If he lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he is certainly none of those.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, pogi said:

Couldn't the same thing be said about the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price, or of temple ordinances, or of any other thing that we claim to have received through revelation?  If they are not true, then wouldn't it also mean, as you say, "that a lie propagated real Ordinances" and the "restored truths of the gospel"?  I am just curious why why place the Book of Mormon specifically in that keystone place. 

The Book of Mormon is specifically the fulfillment of God's covenant with Joseph/Lehi in the way He said it would be fulfilled, and is thus the keystone. He didn't say He would go about the Restoration any other way, nor bring the Josephites (Lehites, Ephraimites) to the fore in the last days to eventually save Judah and gather the rest of Israel.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
29 minutes ago, pogi said:

Thanks for your thoughts.  That is helpful to distinguish between the foundation and cornerstone.  I agree that revelation would be better placed in the foundation. 

But if the arch represents our religion as is implied in calling the Book of Mormon "the keystone of our religion", would it all really crumble without the Book of Mormon?  What specific practice in our religion would crumble?  What makes it critical?

Your soul would crumble. I think that is what it means. it is very personal. In my notes, i have spotted at least 31 items that to me represent the fulness of the gospel addressed nowhere else.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Yet MANY Christians throughout the world, for centuries, have had testimonies of Christ. So if revelation is required to have a testimony of Christ, and that's what makes the church different, HOW exactly does it make the church different from other Christian churches?

 

We have people who can say “I saw”

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
14 minutes ago, pogi said:

Couldn't the same thing be said about the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price, or of temple ordinances, or of any other thing that we claim to have received through revelation?  If they are not true, then wouldn't it also mean, as you say, "that a lie propagated real Ordinances" and the "restored truths of the gospel"?  What ordinances would change if there were no Book of Mormon?  It is all outlined in other revelations.  I am just curious why why place the Book of Mormon specifically in that keystone place. 

The D&C has been called the capstone.

Share this post


Link to post
44 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Yes, for centuries  millions of Christians received testimonies of Christ, many presumably through witness of the Holy Ghost.

Kind of going along with the OP which was questioning the value of the BoM being the "keystone" of our religion, I also wonder about the value of the "Gift" of the holy ghost that is only received after baptism/confirmation.

All people have the light of Christ. All people can be guided by the promptings of the holy ghost, gift or not. The "Gift" which is said to be a "constant companion" isn't really "constant". It's conditional. Even with the gift, the HG will come and go based on a person's worthiness, receptiveness etc. So is there really anything more "constant" about it than any other person has access to?

I bristle every time I hear people talking about having a testimony of the Church, and how the Church is necessary for salvation. Jesus is necessary for salvation. The church is only a tool. It's like the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. People often mistake the box as the gift.

We don’t offer just salvation. All you need for salvation is to not deny the Holy Ghost and the gospel and the church that teaches it are actually dangerous in that respect. We are the only ones offering exaltation and the method Christ laid out to receive that gift.

There is a twisted juxtaposition of venerating Christ while holding his teachings as mere tools.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

We have people who can say “I saw”

So do we, and more of them than you 😛

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, pogi said:

We have all heard this quote.  The concept of the Book of Mormon being the keystone of our religion has been taught throughout the history of our church.  I have never really thought twice about it until yesterday when it was taught in Young Men's.  I don't know why this occasion was different from any other, but for the first time the idea seemed strange and didn't make much sense to me.  The idea has been so thoroughly reinforced in the history of our church, from the prophet of the restoration onward; but I wonder if this teaching has reached almost creedal status without any one really questioning it. 

When we say that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, we are suggesting that without the keystone, the rest of the arch (religion) would crumble.  But why do we teach this?  Would it really crumble without the Book of Mormon?  What if the church was restored through Joseph Smith and there were no gold plates, no translation, no Book of Mormon... why couldn't the restoration work without it?  What principle, doctrine, or ordinance do we find in the Book of Mormon that could not have been revealed in some other way and recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants?

To clarify, I am not suggesting that the Book of Mormon is not significant.  It is.  I believe that it is everything else that Joseph said about the book in the above quote. But, isn't the real keystone of our religion revelation?  Isn't that the stone that holds everything else in place?  Remove that and everything crumbles - including the Book of Mormon as it was translated through a revelatory process.  

The only attempt to defend the teaching has been this - if the book of Mormon is true, then Joseph was a prophet, and if Joseph was a prophet the restoration and everything that came from it is true.  If it is false, then it is all false.  In this way, the attempt is made to place the Book of Mormon in the place of the keystone as if everything leans on it.  But, if you think about it, we could place any other variable in that equation in its place and it would be just as true.  For example, we could say - if Joseph was a prophet, then the restoration is true along with everything that comes from it, including the Book of Mormon, therefore Joseph Smith is the keystone.  Or we could say - if the restoration is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true, etc.

It seems clear to me that the true keystone of our religion is revelation.  Remove the Book of Mormon and the restoration would still have been possible with revelation. Remove revelation, and it all crumbles. 

Thoughts?

I love your thinking here!  Its taking one statement that was given in a specific context with a specific purpose and exaggerating it into creedal status.  I totally agree.  Funny thing is, that statement from Joseph Smith is not even in our canon.  So an uncanonized statement, possibly just reflecting Josephs opinion stated in a particular context, has become an idol that we worship.  

What is the keystone of our religion?  Is it revelation, perhaps.  For me personally, the keystone would have to be a principle that I believe has enduring value and broad application.  I might say the keystone of our religion is an ever evolving and loving relationship with fellow humans and deity.  Its that enduring back and forth, of which revelation plays a role, but revelation from my perspective is not a top down only process, but is a process that goes in every direction. 

At any rate, I love the critical analysis of the keystone tradition, good stuff.  If we could have discussions like this during class on Sunday it would be much less boring for me.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
42 minutes ago, pogi said:

Couldn't the same thing be said about the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price, or of temple ordinances, or of any other thing that we claim to have received through revelation?  If they are not true, then wouldn't it also mean, as you say, "that a lie propagated real Ordinances" and the "restored truths of the gospel"?  What ordinances would change if there were no Book of Mormon?  It is all outlined in other revelations.  I am just curious why why place the Book of Mormon specifically in that keystone place. 

You're now getting into the individual pieces of the arch.  Think about this:

When anti-Mormons attack us, what is the #1 thing they attack?  The validity of the BoM.  Think about why they do that.

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, Carborendum said:

You're now getting into the individual pieces of the arch.  Think about this:

When anti-Mormons attack us, what is the #1 thing they attack?  The validity of the BoM.  Think about why they do that.

Critics attack dogmatic claims about BoM historicity, especially when they aren't supported by actual scientific evidence.  But you have to look at the actual substance of the critiques to understand that.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...