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Robert F. Smith

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  1. The regional floods you are suggesting are actually quite tame. Humans have never seen floods more severe than those which occurred with the great Pluvial Rains at the end of the last Ice Age. A flood does not have to cover Mt Everest in order to be severe.
  2. I am very sorry to have offended you, Fair Dinkum, and I promise not ever to comment on anything you say here or elsewhere. I am also very sorry to have violated various board policies, whatever they may be.
  3. Yet, even after being well informed of the great diversity of views among the Brethren (which you were not aware of), you persist in claiming the flood waters had to have covered the earth. I note the crocodile tears, Fair Dinkum, but I am not impressed that you are able to step back and calmly evaluate the status of prophets and their God. You are clearly not a believer, so why the faux respect for God? That somebody claims to speak for God should not carry much weight for you, and in fact you are contemptuous of the Brethren for making statements on behalf of that non-existent God. Those prophets are flawed, and you even admit as much, and then turn right around and lambaste the prophets for not being perfect. Your excuse is that they speak for God, and you simultaneously ignore the fact that they remain flawed even when speaking on behalf of God. You yourself point out instances in which they are wrong, and I have added many more instances. Yet you persist in the silly claim that they are always infallible or authoritative. That is how you set them up for a fall.
  4. False. You started this thread off by falsely claiming that Jesus had confirmed the universal flood myth, that he had confirmed its reality, and that he mislead his Nephite audience by propagating that myth. All that while not understanding at all what Jesus was presumably doing in that passage (based on the best biblical scholarship). You frankly stated of the Brethren: "I view them as authoritative with respect to matters of the church " Even though they disagree among themselves, and know nothing of theology, biblical languages, or ancient Near Eastern history and archeology. In fact, you build the GAs up so you can knock them down. You even acknowledge that you hold them in higher regard than I do. How odd that you do not see the irony in that silly claim.
  5. I try to be respectful and tolerant of the rites practiced by other religious groups, and I expect them to be respectful and tolerant of LDS practices. It is all too easy for us to point fingers at them for not doing things the way we do, or for them to point fingers at us (they often term us a "cult") for what they regard as heresy. We do have a great deal in common with the traditional rites of other parts of Christianity, even if we may do things somewhat differently. For example, the words and techniques used in communion/eucharist in mainstream Christianity do differ from the LDS, but all are celebrating the body and blood of Jesus during his Atonement. We can choose to be positive rather than negative about those similar rites. We need not accuse those others of being "pagan" or of being insincere. The Brethren have set a good example for us by not attacking those other groups, but rather seeking comity with them. One might even want to ask what is the actual purpose of a Requiem (since you allude to it), and whether it is proper to say Requiescat in Pace (RIP, "may he rest in peace") at graveside. LDS people do have formal funerals and grave dedications, and I have done some myself. No purpose is served by being unkind to or inconsiderate of those who have just lost loved ones. The central question should not be what those rites are (God allows them to take many forms), but rather by what authority they are practiced.
  6. You merely repeat what I have been saying all along, and it is as plain as the nose on your face: You want the Brethren to be flawed (they are) and authoritative (they are not). You engage in doublespeak, I do not. You want to define them as both fallible and infallible, I do not. They are always fallible. They are always flawed. You want to have your cake and eat it too, which is why you must be blind to your own flawed thinking here. Humans are known for their capacity to think two opposing propositions at once, and you are a prime example. You need to speak with one voice, not two. Take a look at your own final sentence here: "I just view them as flawed humans attributing their own human flaws on god." There are no contradictions internal to that assertion. Finally you state your acual position, while bearing false witness about mine in the immediately preceding phrase. You need to think very carefully about what you are claiming -- it allows for no claim of infallibility for the Brethren, even though you constantly hark back in that direction. Their self-claims should carry no water for you, unless the Holy Spirit affirms it (something you are unlikely to seek in any case).
  7. You speak out of both sides of your mouth, I point out each instance to you, and then you go into spasms of denial. You yourself even admitted that you give more respect or credence to the statements of the Brethren than I do, and you have repeatedly claimed that when they define their own statements as revelatory or prophetic (which they claim should be taken as scripture), that this has substantive meaning. Your own statements don't register with you, even when they are self-contradictory. It would be very helpful for you to recognize your own flaws, but you will not be able to do that until you open up to criticism. In much the same way, when I took two semesters of freshman English in college (it was required), I would have learned nothing at all if I had gone into denial whenever the teacher put red marks on my essays. Instead, I took her marks seriously and thus improved my essays as the semesters went on.
  8. Yup. I thought of Jona when I heard about that. The Hebrew word in Jona is "fish," so we don't know what species supposedly swallowed him and held him for 3 days. However, the point of a parable, a "Just So" story, or an Aesopian Fable is not to provide the proper biological taxonomy, but to make a fun point.
  9. And yet, right here in this post you claim that infallibility and then condemn it. As though you are unaware of the meaning of your own words, here and throughout this thread. At least you are beginning to acknowledge some flaws, and his humanity does help encourage the rest of us. At least you got that much right. By carefully selecting just those Brigham quotes which make your point (instead of those other quotes which attenuate the quotes you cite) you are doing the same cherry-picking which non-scholars do, with no sense of perspective or depth. And yet they are not in fact considered Scripture and are not part of the LDS Canon of Scripture. Indeed, some of his most vociferous claims were openly condemned by Bruce McConkie in 1978. Moreover, it is precisely the views of Orson Pratt (who also condemned Brigham's views) on those matters which are now considered doctrinal -- not those of Brother Brigham. Neither of those tests is dispositive, and each amounts to children saying "Tis so, tis not." A false prophet can easily say "thus saith the Lord." There is a Deuteronomic test, but that comes after the fact (the test of time). The only real and immediate test of a prophetic claim is affirmation via the Holy Spirit, and that is always individual. Of course, when Brigham makes that claim, you studiously ignore him. No, sir, it is you who make that false claim. Those human prophets are always flawed, even when speaking on behalf of God. You are the one claiming that they are both flawed and infallible, and thus that they give a bad name to God when they fail. While it is true that many people throughout Judaism and Christianity cannot believe that God would allow evil in the world, they only take that view because their God is omnipotent and omnibeneficient. The LDS God is not, and cannot be. He is limited, just as His human children are, by nature. He has no supernatural abilities, and is a humanistic God who must obey natural law. And natural law is the law of the jungle. We have many prophetic words in the LDS Canon of Scripture. Yet even Brigham Young recognized that not everything in the Canon is true: Joseph Fielding Smith taught, You give so much authority to these men, when it suits your case, but ignore their words when it slams your case to the ground. Why is that? Could it be that you are angry that they are fallible, and that your only actual recourse is to obtain the witness of the Holy Spirit as to whether this or that claim is true?
  10. There you go: Someone will read that and start a new cult practice based on it. Those who convert to Judaism must also be completely immersed, and witnesses must confirm it. However, there are types of baptism which do not require complete immersion: When Israel walked dryshod through the Reed Sea at the beginning of the Exodus -- the New Testament claims this as a baptism. The LDS faith includes free-form prayers as well as set liturgical prayers. One is every bit as good as the other, and I am frequently amazed at the creative ability of an ordinary Latter-day Saint acting as voice for the congregation to say something fresh and meaningful.
  11. Everything you say here is on point and correct, Kevin, and it is true that mainstream secular scholarship has long since accepted those norms. But that will mean nothing to @Fair Dinkum simply because he will suppose that you are trying to sell him a bill of goods. Since he himself is unaware of these scholarly fundamentals, they do not exist for him. Not that this dilemma is not typical of the average LDS member.
  12. So you don't think that the petulant prophet Jona is relevant? Your infallible prophet Jona not only runs from his assignment, but even gets angry when Nineveh repents and his predicted destruction doesn't take place. All quite aside from the question whether the book of Jona is really a parable, and not actual history. Likewise, your infallible Brigham Young is found making many mistakes, which not only go against specific LDS doctrine taught by Joseph Smith, but for which he is confronted on those errors by none other than the redoubtable senior Apostle Orson Pratt. Same thing which we see in the powerful confrontation between St Paul and St Peter over whether the Gospel is to be taken to the Gentiles, and over whether one may eat non-kosher foods. For you these are not major issues? They do not show the rank fallibility of the prophets? You manufacture a false picture of LDS theology and then proceed to smash it. How convenient, even if it is not new, and is the tried and true path of those who seek occasion against the LDS Church.
  13. These are religious rites and practices which are certainly not pagan, nor secular philosophies, but carry their own particular pragmatic meaning. The LDS take on it may be different than the Roman Catholic, but it is a very real and substantial form of intercession. We can call it orthopraxis, because that is what the LDS tradition entails. You may ignore the LDS liturgy, but it is effective intercession just the same.
  14. If yes, and I'm pretty sure they still do, how do you square this claim with the image you are painting? As I said, you clearly and desperately want the Brethren to be infallible, even though they cannot be. You appear to want to build them up just so you can knock them down -- for the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Right? You have again failed to address the strong and harshly divergent opinions of the prophets (Brigham versus Orson Pratt, and Paul versus Peter), and you seem completely unaware of the prophet Jonah. Do I have to go over each of those instances for you? Do I really need to detail the reasons why each such instance fully negates your POV on infallibility?
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