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the narrator

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  1. Considering the fact that the Bible is full of contradictory claims that cannot all be true, it's incumbent upon the believer(s) to wrestle with the text to understand what they believe to be inspired by God--or perhaps to simply be inspired through the various contributors to the sacred texts. This is basically the point of Julie Smith's excellent As Iron Sharpens Iron: Listening to the Various Voices of Scripture. Ultimately, people don't find inspiration in the scripture because it come from God. They determine that it comes from God because they find inspiration in it.
  2. So that individuals and a community can have a shared text in which to wrestle with and seek inspiration.
  3. Maybe it's just me, but I don't consider the supposed Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy to be an "eternal truth." Though, I don't think anyone knows what any particular "eternal truth" is.
  4. Considering that we have no idea who "Matthew" even was, I don't see any reason to presume such--especially when "Luke" didn't seem to have the same influencing when adapting Mark and whatever sources he used for his Gospel.
  5. It's not like Jesus had a stenographer following him around. Any report of what he said is based on a chain of oral rehearsals, which any child playing Telephone can tell you is wrought with problems. That said, that general teaching attributed to Jesus certainly seems to be the sort of thing he might have said. Either way, an appeal to a traditional understanding in order to convey new ideas is hardly an endorsement of all traditions.
  6. If Jesus even said that, he would have just been appealing to common tradition of the time.
  7. 1. For nearly two millennia Christian theism has defined God as necessarily and absolutely omnipotent. If one accepts this, then other attributes of God necessarily follow: God's omniscience, being uncreated, being singularly unique, inseparable, etc. However, if one also wants to accept the NT teachings of Christ that (A) Jesus is God and that (B) Jesus is not the Father, then really the only solution is something like the Trinity. Thus, to reject the Trinity is to either reject the absolute omnipotence of God or to reject the NT's teachings on JS's divinity and relationship to the Father. (Of course, one could just reject the absolute omnipotence of God as unscriptural, but to do so would also be rejecting God as God as been defined by Christian theism for nearly 2 millennia.) 2. The Trinity is the secret sauce to most Christian theories of Atonement, because the lawgiver, the judge, and the sacrificial offering are all the same Being. It's not one being demanding that another being suffer/die for the sins for the sins of others, but rather that same Being offering Himself up. In short, the Trinity isn't some tangential doctrine for traditional Christianity, it is THE central doctrine of Christianity. It's the inexplicable miracle and mystery that makes God, Jesus, and atonement all possible. So when a traditional Christian (who understands the theology) says that a Mormon isn't a Christian, they are basically saying, "For two millennia, our identity as Christians has been centered around this one thing, and you reject that one thing. So, no, you aren't a Christian."
  8. And, if pretty much anyone else causes hurt and pain because of their poorly chosen words, they are expected to clarify what they meant and apologize to those they hurt--unless you're an apostle of Jesus Christ. They have nothing to apologize for.
  9. The stated reason is so that members do not feel obligated to pay to learn more about the scriptures--though given the deepening retrenchment the Church seems to be undergoing (along what Armand Maus argues), I would wager that another significant reason is to limit interpreters of scripture in Church-entity-produced books to general authorities.
  10. Yes, it does include Thom's book (whom I learned about this from). It includes any commentary that includes the text of scripture or any alternate versions of scripture that do not use the Church's official text and formatting. I haven't seen any official announcements on it.
  11. I was referring to the many publications beyond the Short Introductions listed on that page.
  12. There is also the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, which just published a very excellent issue. Also, if you haven't picked up the MI's BofM Study Edition, you should before they are sold out. Not sure how many copies are left in the inventory, but the Church recently banned any Church entities from publishing scripture commentaries or alternate versions of scripture.
  13. It's amazing what 3 seconds of actually looking does!
  14. He was the main reason I wanted to go to Claremont, but unfortunately he passed away before then. I did have the opportunity to sit in a couple of his classes before that though. DZ's Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation deals a lot with this. As you can tell, I'm a big fan of him, and my own Wittgensteinian philosophy comes largely through DZ and his mentor Rush Rhess (who he affectionately called "my teacher"), both of whom heavily applied Wittgenstein to the philosophy of religion.
  15. Bingo. BTW, if you haven't read any D.Z. Philips then you ought to. Much of his work is around this issue. For this discussion in particular I suggest Death and Immortality. His Religion and Friend Fire is also on point on this.
  16. Part of the problem is that nobody seems to quite know what resurrection even is, outside of some vague and generalized claim about a body* being raised** from the dead in perfection***. *undefined **undefined ***undefined
  17. This is the basic gist for my contribution to the volume Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics, which made some on the apologetics end think me a critic, and others like John Dehlin claim me to be an apologist. You can download my chapter here. In short, I argue that religious claims are the sort of thing that can only be confirmed or rejected by religious means--such as prayer, revelation, "fruits," etc. You know, the sort of thing that Alma describes in Alma 32, or what Lehi describes when partaking of the fruit of the tree. On the other hand, apologetics (and criticisms) involve secular claims that can only be confirmed or rejected by secular means--such as science, historical research, archeology, philosophy, etc. So, "the Book of Mormon is the Word of God" is a religious claim that can only be confirmed or rejected by prayer, how it feels, etc. On the other hand, "the Book of Mormon is a record of people who actually lived in the Americas" is a fundamentally secular claim that can only be confirmed or rejected by secular means such as science, archaeology, anthropology, etc. This doesn't just apply to misguided apologetic attempts to "prove" the truth of a religious claim. It also applies to critical attempts to reject religious claims though secular means, and apologetic responses to defend them. As the same problem exists, and to make things worse apologetic defenses implicitly support the misguided belief that religious claims can be refuted through secular argumentation. Now some may counter that I'm making an arbitrary distinction between what I call religious and secular claims, but my response is that the distinction I make is already present and fundamental to how those claims are already distinguished in religious practice. Furthermore, while many may certainly think that secular truths can be confirmed or rejected through religious means (such as "God confirmed to me that the Book of Mormon is a record of actually persons who lived in the Americas"), I would respond by saying that doing so is simply an act of confusion and that there is an overwhelming abundance of examples of persons being simply wrong about the secular claims that were supposedly divinely confirmed to them, and that there are zero examples of a secular claim that can be reliably shown to have been confirmed or established through religious means. Cheers.
  18. This is just an aside, but one problem with using D&C 89 to justify the modern understanding of the WofW, is that the proscriptions and prescriptions for strong drinks, hot drinks, and tobacco were concerning medicinal use, both through consumption and topical application. Hence, these applications it mentions: 7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies. 8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill. [Note that it does not mention smoking or chewing; this is because it's discussing tobacco poultices and other topical applications, as well as consuming tobacco, which was sometime prescribed to cause purging.] 9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly. [This is cautioning against common prescriptions of the time to either consume or apply extremely hot beverages (usually coffee, tea, and the expensively prohibitive hot cocoa) to counter diseases, based on the pseudo-science-based humoral theory of medicine that was beginning to be discredited at this time. If chocolate wasn't so expensive, Hyrum would have likely included that in his definition of "hot drinks.") While warning people against humorism may no longer be needed, given what the food industry and big pharma are up to for $$, the stated reason for the revealed WofW seems incredibly prophetic: "Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation."
  19. Lolz. Because a hallmark of this board is that everyone keeps threads on the OP topic, right?
  20. I didn't miss any point at all. I was very well aware of the point you were making, which is part of a debate I care nothing about (that is, what Nelson thinks of the historicity of the BofM). I was making a different point--that apologists, including Nelson, should stop appealing to this interview of Emma.
  21. Of course his ability improved over time, but he was still dictating letters at the time of the translation as well, and we have examples of him writing not much later. Whether or not Joseph is thought to be capable of creating/dictating the BofM narrative himself, the notion that he was some illiterate farm boy is incredibly far from the truth, and that notion really ought to be abandoned.
  22. Perhaps this quote from Emma shouldn't be appealed to, considering that we know very well that Joseph could both write and dictate quite eloquent letters, and that in this very interview Emma lied about Joseph's polygamous marriages.
  23. IIRC, much of it centered around Hank Smith claiming that Joseph Smith uniquely taught a list of things, none of which were the case, and that if it wasn't for him nobody would believe in those things.
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