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Everything posted by smac97

  1. Are you sure? Robert is correct. "Muhlestein is being very frank" about his assumptions. I question whether you are being similarly frank about Ritner. You claim that you aren't "trying to portray him as anything," and yet you are "respecting his expertise" while simultaneously not respecting Muhlestein's. Contrary to your denial, you are specifically and expressly portraying Ritner as "objective" and having an "agenda" of "truth" and "good solid objective scholarship." In contrast, you characterize Muhlestein as an "apologist" who is unduly beholden to "assumptions." OGHoosier characterized Dr. Ritner as an "an excellent Egyptologist with an anti-Mormon chip in his shoulder so big that Khufu modeled his Pyramid on it." I think there are evidentiary grounds for this characterization. For example, he was removed from Gee's doctoral committee at Yale. The circumstances of that removal remain mostly publicly opaque, apart from this (apparently written by Daniel Peterson in 2006): Ritner purportedly responded to the above: Seems like there may be some behind-the-scenes stuff going on. But that's mostly conjecture. I think there's a better case to be made by examining what Dr. Ritner has actually said in publications. In his 2013 book, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, Dr. Ritner declares that "Except for those willfully blind… the case is closed." This doesn't really come across as "objective" (or, for that matter, scholarly). Larry Morris provides further indications: I appreciate Morris doing more than just critiquing Dr. Ritner's less-than-scholarly rhetoric. He offers examples of other scholars (here, Remini) who adopted a more objective, less cynical/incendiary approach to the BoA. More: Well? It sure seems like Ritner's editorializing is far from "objective" or "impartial." Who is correct here, you or Morris? More: Huh. Seems like Ritner "rebuts Gee" by citing . . . Ritner. He quotes his own reconstruction of the text to rebut Gee. This is, in your view, "objective" scholarship? Morris drops a long footnote expressing concern about Dr. Ritner using a scholarly venue to vent about his personal dispute with Gee: What are your thoughts about this? More: Are you sure you want to continue to juxtpose Ritner's purported "objective" approach to the BoA with Muhlestein's purportedly biased/"apologetic" approach? As I see it, Ritner's Dialogue article brings his (apparent lack of) objectivity, and his apparent biases, into reasonable dispute. Meanwhile, what are we to make of Ritner's treatment of the KEP? This is a pretty important issue. Again from the Morris article: Morris does a pretty good job of laying out examples of Dr. Ritner's lack of objectivity and impartiality in his scholarship. I think you are doing more than that. Is there any similar "filtering" going on with Dr. Ritner (particularly given the issues raised by Morris, some of which are noted above)? "In contrast." You characterize the scholar who shares your antipathy toward the Church and its doctrines as "objective," as having an "agenda" of seeking "truth" through "good solid objective scholarship." You then, "in contrast," characterize the Latter-day Saint scholar (Muhelstein) as . . . something else. As an "apologist" beholden to "assumptions." What are those? See the Morris article, quoted at length above. Perhaps there are stories that crept in Hebrew tradition for instance, but that's not finding the BoA story in ancient Egypt. So you are speaking of ancient Egyptian sources of information about Abraham? In The Ancient Egyptian View of Abraham, the author states that "evidence survives today indicating that stories about Abraham were known to the ancient Egyptians as early as the time of the composition of the Joseph Smith Papyri (ca. 300–30 BC)." The article itemizes some of these ancient sources: Why is Artapanus not a sufficient source for you? Is it your position that Joseph Smith knew about Artapanus writing about Abraham teaching astronomy to the Egyptian Pharaoh, and included that detail in the BoA? Or is it just happenstance that an ancient source presents this story and Joseph Smith just stumbled into replicating it? As Daniel Peterson commented: "It's amazing what Joseph Smith was able to pick up on the western frontier." Indeed. Yes. The point...none of this is found in ancient Egypt. Hecateus of Abdera? Eupolemus? Artapanus? Philo? The Testament of Abraham? These aren't ancient Egyptian sources talking about Abraham in Egypt? I'm not sure what you are saying. Did you even read the POGPC article? Beats me. Not sure it matters much to me. "Beats me?" That's it? That's all you've got? Desite having commented extensively about the Book of Abraham? Funny how often we end up with glib conclusions like this. You aren't the first one to be unwilling/unable to formulate or defend a counter-argument relative to the claims of the Church. Daniel Peterson has commented on the tendency of critics who, when pressed in an adversarial construct, suddenly go all quiet and agnostic and conveniently ambivalent about such controversies. They are vocally adamant about the Church's position being necessarily and demonstrably wrong, but then become curiously uncurious when asked to provide and substantiate and defend a coherent alternative explanation for, say, the source of the Book of Mormon or the Book of Abraham. Some excerpts from DCP: I think DCP has a fair point. I think it's intellectually incumbent upon people like you to provide at least some sort of alternative explanation for, say, how Joseph Smith ended up with including a narrative about Abraham teaching astronomy to the Pharaoh. Was it just a lucky guess? See also here (also by Dr. Peterson) (emphasis added): In Risen Indeed, Stephen Davis remarks that A similar situation obtains, in my judgment, with regard to the Book of Mormon and certain other elements of the Restoration. While, for instance, this or that aspect of the Book of Mormon can, hypothetically, be accounted for by means of something within Joseph Smith’s early nineteenth-century information environment, a fully comprehensive counterexplanation for Joseph’s claims remains promised but manifestly unprovided. Critics have disagreed over the nearly two centuries since the First Vision about whether Joseph was brilliant or stupid, whether he was sincerely hallucinating or cunningly conscious of his fraud, whether he concocted the Book of Mormon alone or with co-conspirators (their own identity either hotly debated or completely unknown), whether he was a cynical atheist or a pious fraud defending Christianity, and so forth. With respect, I think you are taking a Dale Morgan-esque approach that just doesn't work for me. I think it is problematic to, as Morgan put it, "look everywhere for explanations except to the ONE explanation that is the position of the church." This is a heads-the-Church-loses-tails-the-Church-loses approach. No. I think Givens offers some interesting ideas. However, I'm not sure he has fully considered the ramifications of this approach. Mark Johnson has some interesting comments on this here: It can certainly be noted that Joseph felt free to alter the texts of his revelations after he received them. The additions of Hebrew into the translation of the Book of Abraham or the twice-revised verses in the JST are evidence of this. The question of how much latitude Joseph Smith had to voice the revelations in his own words is still unanswered and will likely be debated for years to come. Indeed. In any event, Givens is not seeking to upend or contradict the Church's claims about the Book of Abraham. I am reminded here of the pretty-darn-embarrassing misreading/misrepresentation of Givens by Consig and Analytics last year. Quoth Analytics: I responded: And here: I continue to feel a bit perplexed at A) critics and skeptics taking a Dale Morgan-esque I-will-look-everywhere-for-explanations-except-to-the-ONE-explanation-that-is-the-position-of-the-church approach to the Church's claims, B) critics and skeptics adopting a "guerrilla warfare" attitude when examining the BOM, BOA, etc. (endlessly disputing the Church's explanation of the BOM, BOA, etc., while not actually getting around to formulating a coherent counter-explanation); C) critics and skeptics suddenly going all quiet and agnostic and conveniently ambivelant about issues pertaining to the Church when pressed to present a coherent counter-explanation for these things, and D) critics and skeptics not really listening to, or meaningfully interacting with, what the Church and its scholars and apologists are actually saying, and instead trying to distort, misconstrue, misstate and mischaracterize what we are saying so as to put us in the worst possible light (such as what Consig and Analytics did re: Givens). Responses like "beats me" and “I don’t have to lower myself to your simplistic little dichotomies" are singularly unimpressive to me, particularly in 2020, and particularly given the wealth of readily-available information and scholarship we have seen come out in the last many years. I returned from my mission in 1995, and ever since then have made studying the Restored Gospel a significant priority in my life. I think it's fair to say that I am both a "defender of the faith" and a long-time consumer of apologetic and scholarly materials. In the aggregate I have found such materials to be very helpful in my faith journey. They are a wonderful supplement to the spiritual and personal experiences I have had which have pursuaded me to that the Church is what it claims to be. Since law school, I have come to appreciate the value of adversarial examination of disputed issues. My daily, bread-and-butter work is to examine factual and legal issues about which the parties pretty much always have divergent viewpoints, asssessments, conclusions, etc. I like how the adversarial process can (can, mind you) help the parties sift through the facts and the law to get to a more accurate and more complete understanding of A) what really happened, and B) what the law should do about what really happened. I have had many experiences in which I have had to backtrack and reconsider my client's factual and/or legal position because my grasp of the facts and/or the law was materially incorrect. My errors have become manifest because, through the adversarial process, people who who do share my perspective/biases have shown me where I went wrong. These are difficult and humbling, but also very useful, learning experiences for me. However, I have also had many other experiences where my grasp of the facts and the law has been largely confirmed and vindicated through this same adversarial setting and process. Having worked vary hard in law school to gain some mastery of the basics of the practice of law, and then having spent 15+ years practicing law, it is gratifying to have had such experiences. I have spent the last 25+ years reading what the Church and its scholars/apologists have said about controversies and difficulties pertaining to the claims of the Church. I have also spent most of that time reading what critics of my faith have to say about such things, and also interacting with many of them in an adversarial setting (message boards). The claims of the Church, and critiques and criticisms of those claims, are examined, and re-examined. I have actively involved myself in many of these examinations. I feel like I am a lot more informed than I was in 1995, and a lot more clear-eyed in my perception of and perspective on the Church and its claims. But more to the point, examining the Church's claims in an adversarial setting has helped me feel vindicated in my assessment of the Restored Gospel. I have long believed that the Church's claims are substantively true, but I have spent the last 25 years testing and debating those claims in an adversarial setting. I have been humbled a lot. I have had to correct and re-assess what I believe and why. But in the main, I am very happy with the cumulative results these efforts. Through revelation, through day-to-day experiences, through prolonged study and examination (including reviewing critical assessments/arguments), I have come to find that the Church's claims are reasonable, resilient, eminently defensible, and substantively true. Thanks, -Smac
  2. Security/logistical concerns? (A head of state, for example, might want to visit, but such a visit would require additional security and logistical measures taken.) Disruption concerns? (A famous person's presence might trigger inappropriate reactions in other attendees, which could be distracting from and disruptive to what is supposed to be an event with a quiet, reverent atmosphere.) Showing respect to a group by giving particularized attention to its leader(s)? Practical considerations, I think. Thanks, -Smac
  3. Could you clarify this? Misere stated: "{E}ven non-Catholics, non-Christians, or even atheists(!) could validly baptize, as long as there is valid form, matter, and intent." You then stated that you "completely agree with what you explain here," so I'm not sure I understand the Catholic position. This is very interesting to me. Thank you for taking time to explain it. I previously listed four considerations on which we Latter-day Saints may differ from our Catholic friends. I guess we should add a fifth: Mode (sprinkling, pouring, immersion) - Any mode is acceptable. Theology of the Officiating Religious Group - Most religions have acceptable theological compatibility so as to not require re-baptism. Priesthood Authority - Apparently not a concern? Anyone can officiate in a baptism? Wording ("Formula") - "{T}he only acceptable formula for baptism is 'I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'" Intent/Volition - The intent of the parents is strongly preferred for an infant baptism, but nevertheless not absolutely required in order for the baptism to be valid. Is this a correct assessment of the Catholic position? Thanks, -Smac
  4. Well, if we're left accusing each other of bad intentions, thn we're playing a useless game. You seem to be trying to portray Ritner as impartial and objective when it comes to Gee and the Book of Abraham. There is evidence suggesting that is not the case. I think that is an accurate statement. I'm not sure you are correct here. I'm not even sure what "gets filtered out" means. Also, surely Ritner's position can also be characterized as starting out with assumptions, with non-fitting-data getting "filtered"? I think that's what Kerry Muhlestein has done. Meanwhile, I'm not sure Dr. Ritner has acknowledged his biases/hostilities. Are you familiar with Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham? Or this article at Pearl of Great Price Central: The Ancient Egyptian View of Abraham? Somewhat. Is there something specific you'd like to discuss? If I understand you correctly, you sare saying that Ritner "cannot...find anything near the BoA in Egypt ... that the Abraham story purportedly came from." My understanding is that there are a number of stories from antiquity that place Abraham in Egypt. From the POGPC article above: The article goes on to provide a number of examples of "extra-biblical stories about Abraham {} in Egypt during this time," including "Eupolemus ... recount{ing} how Abraham lived in Heliopolis (On) and taught astronomy and other sciences to the Egyptian priests," "the Egyptian Jew Artapanus wrote an account of Abraham teaching astronomy to the Egyptian Pharaoh," a fragmentary text from Egypt about Abraham describes how the king (the word used is pharaoh) tries to sacrifice Abraham, but Abraham is delivered by an angel of the Lord," and about "Abraham later teach{ing} the members of the royal court about the true God using astronomy." As Daniel Peterson notes: Your position (and apparently Ritner's) is that Joseph Smith was totally fabricating things as he went along. And yet Joseph Smith claimed to translate a text that, in part, states that Abraham taught astronomy to Pharaoh in Egypt. This seems like a pretty specific thing to get right. Is it your position that Joseph Smith was just guessing on this point? Or that he cribbed from ancient sources to formulate the narrative? If so, what do you think those sources were? Thanks, -Smac
  5. I think he's plainly an Egyptian scholar Nobody is disputing that, I think. Rather, I think the question is whether he has, as it has been said, "an anti-Mormon chip in his shoulder so big that Khufu modeled his Pyramid on it." You are using "apologists" as an epithet, I guess. Are you familiar with Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham? Or this article at Pearl of Great Price Central: The Ancient Egyptian View of Abraham? Thanks, -Smac
  6. I would like to better understand how Catholics approach the concept of priesthood authority. This topic came to mind earlier today when I came across this article: It seems that the Catholic Church is not as concerned about the particulars of the authority by which the sacrament/ordinance is performed, and instead focus on the sufficiency of the verbiage. Similarly, it would seem that the verbiage predominates over the mode of baptism, such that any mode will be accepted as long as the proper wording ("formula") is used. Is that correct? So the sufficiency and validity of the sacrament turns on the wording? Am I understanding this correctly? So the considerations are: Mode (sprinkling, pouring, immersion) - Any mode is acceptable. Theology of the Officiating Religious Group - Most religions have acceptable theological compatibility so as to not require re-baptism. Priesthood Authority - Apparently not a concern? Wording ("Formula") - "{T}he only acceptable formula for baptism is 'I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'" Is this a correct summary? This seems to corroborate the idea the actual "authority" is not a factor in how the Catholic Church evaluates the sufficiency of a baptism. I did not know a "layperson" could officiate in a Catholic baptism. The contrast between this an the Latter-day Saint approach is fairly significant. We emphasize all four of the above considerations. A baptism must be A) by immersion, B) by someone vested with priesthood authority, C) using a specifically-worded prayer. The "theology" held by the individual officiating in the ordinance is, I think, predicated on the individual being in good standing in the Church. That would entail belief in the basics (mostly set forth in the AoF). Thanks, -Smac
  7. I wonder if the "but instead in reality" part of the above is part of the problem. Thanks, -Smac
  8. I wouldn't put it that way. I'm not sure that's correct, either. I think plenty of people who believe in a limited-scope flood also believe in miracles, the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, etc. I think the reasons for divergent viewpoints about the flood arises from it being a kinda sorta testable claim. FAIR provides a pretty good overview. Again, I don't think that's correct. I think there are very few people (any?) who subscribe to a "I only believe in the miracle of the resurrection, all others described in scripture are bogus" line of reasoning. Thanks, -Smac
  9. "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." (Luke 2:1) How do you construe "all the world" in this verse? Thanks, -Smac
  10. CFR, please. Who are these "apologists" who "will privately admit" that the Book of Abraham "{is} fake"? Let's have them speak for themselves. Again, who are these apologists? CFR. What is ths "writing ... on the wall?" Where is this all "headed?" Thanks, -Smac
  11. I have lost count of the number of times I have come across triumphalist, conclusory, this-time-the-Church-is-really-done-for! rhetoric like what is presented above. I become less impressed when such stuff centers on arguments A) that are about complex, obscure, highly-specialized topics; B) that involve definitive/conclusory statements about matters that necessarily involve considerable amounts of guesswork, conjecture, assumptions, etc.; C) that are predominantly not susceptible to empirical analysis; and D) that are larded up with bolstering language, appeals to authority, sneering, sarcasm, ad hominem, etc. Also, Ritner seems to have a genuine vendetta / axe-grinding attitude against Gee. How much of his animus is derived from personality conflicts (going back, it seems, to the controversy about Ritner's removal from Gee's dissertation committed)? How much has that animus affected his scholarly assessment (see comments by Morris, quoted by Kevin here)? Also, I'm very much not a fan of John Dehlin's meandering, ignorant (by his own admission), stacking-the-deck approach to interviewing. I don't trust Dehlin to give the Church a fair hearing, or to accurately or fairly state or summarize the arguments presented by scholars and apologists who have marshaled evidence and argument on issues like the BoA. Thanks, -Smac
  12. Apparently in response to the George Floyd issue, the mayor of Salt Lake ordered some policy changes for the police department: Hmm. I'll be interested to see how this pans out, and how experts in law enforcement feel about it. I'm not sure what "necessary and imminent" means. The practical effect will likely be less use of deadly force. And that will be celebrated in some instances, and the source of outrage in others (such as when an innocent is killed because police, though on site, felt constrained from using deadly force until it was too late). I like the idea of imposing on officers the affirmative duty "to stop other officers who are about to use illegal or excessive force." Thanks, -Smac
  13. Yep. I've "known" some of you for years and years. And yet, never having met any of you face-to-face, we don't really have much of a "community" vibe. Thanks, -Smac
  14. Yep. I have a good friend who is single. He has really struggled with missing out on Sunday services. I also have a good friend who is a single mother. Working out the administration of the Sacrament has been a challenge for her. My wife is the YW president in our ward. They have had several video-conference activities with the young women, but it's just . . . not the same. Also, one of these young women is A) brand new to the YW program, B) from a Spanish-speaking home (though her English is pretty good), and C) on the cusp of losing her father to cancer. My wife has found it difficult to minister to this young woman, who is not familiar with her (my wife) and the other young women, who needs help in cultural assimilation and acclimation, and who really could use a lot of love and support as her father nears death. But as it stands, we can only do so much. It's kind of hard to foster feelings of community, fellowship, support, etc. when we only interact with each other through computer screens. Thanks, -Smac
  15. It's not an either/or scenario. Many of my "deeper friendships" have started out as "sincere, but shallow acquaintances." I think it is. Again, this is not an either/or situation. I have spent the last 10 years working mostly remotely. The impact it has had on my working relationships with co-workers has been acute and profound. That is to say, I don't really have much in the way of relationships with them, certainly not anything like I have enjoyed in past jobs or environments where regular, face-to-face interaction and collaboration is the way of things. Thanks, -Smac
  16. I spent 8+ years in our ward's bishopric. Yes, there were often long hours. But Sunday was still quite a joy. I enjoy recent Sundays as well. However, I miss the society and camaraderie of the other members of our ward. It's hard to built a community of faith when the community doesn't interact much. I think each has its strengths. That could well be. That will be unfortunate, but understandable. But for the covenants, and for finding far more that just "a social experience" in the Church, I probably would drift into inactivity. We live in an era in which there are all sorts of ways to fill our time. Some are healthy and productive, some are a bit frivolous or self-indulgent, some are a waste of time, some a destructive and toxic. Lots of distractions. All the more reason to remember and keep the covenants we have made. D&C 59 comes to mind: The shift to "home-centered, church-supported" worship is ongoing. I'm not sure that shift will entail a wholesale cancellation of Sunday services, though. The "church-supported" part is not going away, I think. We are a community of faith. We need to be around each other. Thanks, -Smac
  17. We've already reduced Sunday services to two hours. I think we should give that program more time to see how it pans out. There are a lot of people who very much enjoy Sunday services, and the opportunities to socialize with friends and fellow believers. An interesting idea. I dunno. We have 1-3 such meetings per quarter. That doesn't seem like a lot. And again, a lot of people appreciate and value firesides, etc. This kind of puts a strain on local leaders, particularly the bishopric. Our ward is quite good at keeping these meetings efficient and as brief as possible. I think ward council meetings need to stay on Sunday (though I'm not sure this is a rule). That way we maximize the number of people who can attend. The length and frequency of meetings seem to vary from place to place. Our ward's meetings are quite succinct and effective. Very little time wasted. Thanks, -Smac
  18. Could you elaborate on your reasoning here? What is "staggering?" Okay. How is that a problem? How do you know this? That is deeply troubling. Do you think "the family" should have publicized the transgressions of Joseph Neipp? Do you think the Church should have done so? I'm not trying to provoke or anything. I want to better understand your position. Thanks, -Smac
  19. No, it's not. Not legally anyway. In principle we did. Fully abolishing it took a while. Pretty much. The same can be said for the Constitution's treatment of blacks. What it did (originally) was at variance with what it should have done, with its underlying principles and philosophy. Fortunately, over time we revised and improved it to more better adhere to those principles. The same, I think, can be said with contemporary American capitalism. It has evolved and improved over time. And thank goodness for that. Thanks, -Smac
  20. I started this thread to discuss a press release. I'm not sure what you are talking about here. What do you mean by "port of harbor for that 10%"? 10% of what? What "mis-step of church leadership" are you referencing here? Who is "defend{ing} and enabl{ing}" this mis-step? Thanks, -Smac
  21. https://www.fox13now.com/news/local-news/provo-police-looking-to-identify-suspect-in-criminal-mischief-trespassing-at-latter-day-saint-temple Provo Police looking to identify suspect in criminal mischief/trespassing at Latter-day Saint temple PROVO, Utah -- Police in Provo are asking for the public's help in identifying a man who may be a suspect of trespassing and causing "criminal mischief" at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple. PROVO, Utah -- Police in Provo are asking for Provo Police tweeted Monday that they want to speak to the man, pictured above, as part of an investigation into trespassing and criminal mischief at the Provo Temple. The department is also investigating an incident early Monday morning where the driver of a white SUV fired multiple rounds at the main security booth of the church's Missionary Training Center directly across from the temple. Provo Police told FOX 13 they are suspicious that the two investigations could be connected, but nothing has officially connected them at this point.
  22. No, that's not what I think. Abuse within marriage is not a problem to be attributed to the institution of marriage itself, and is instead attributable to a misuse/distortion of the institution. Okay. That seems to be Meadhowchik's purpose and point (though I am open to correction on that). Sure. Just like abuse can exist in a marriage. That speaks to the flaws of the individual, and not an indictment of the institution itself. And again, I think capitalism is inherently incompatible with slavery. Sure seems like it. What is the statue of slavery in the United States? I quite disagree. History demonstrates that capitalism and slavery were incompatible, as evidenced by . . . the extinguishment of slavery 150+ years ago. Okay. Thanks, -Smac
  23. Sure. But not of the institution itself. Similarly, corrupted forms of "capitalism" (such as those instances which have allowed slavery to operate) can also be indicted. Why you think I have defended "a tragic and loathsome version of capitalism" is beyond me. I've done no such thing. Not even close. Huh? Why do you think I would disagree with that? You were the one issuing wholesale denunciations of "capitalism." "In terms of America history, racism is wrapped up in its capitalism. The ownership and exploitation of Black bodies to build wealth came first. Racism was the rationale used to continue it." "Do you think that American slavery was not intertwined with capitalism? Are you saying that slavery was not used to build wealth in the United States?" "Slavery was enabled by capitalism." Thanks, -Smac
  24. At one time God didn't want anyone to be a priest unless that person was male and a descendant of Aaron, Moses's brother. You can try to make a big deal about that now if you want to. I just can't get to where some seem to want to go, which is to attribute evil motives to God. I can't do it. I'm reminded of this statement by Joseph Smith: "Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is." We are simply not situated to supplant God's wisdom with ours (which is part and parcel of questions like "Whether {God} could do more to make the entire situation better"). I also have in mind these passages: "For my thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are your cays my days, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8) "The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just." (Mosiah 16:1) "Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them..." (Mosiah 27:31) "O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people! For I, Nephi, have seen it, and it well nigh consumeth me before the presence of the Lord; but I must cry unto my God: Thy ways are just." (2 Nephi 26:7) "{W}e must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men..." (Alma 12:15) "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works." (Jacob 4:10) I can't speak definitively about the origins of the priesthood ban. As I have said previously (several times), I think the ban was probably the product of 19th-century "racism" rather than revelation. We don't have a revelation for it. Joseph Smith ordained several black men to the priesthood. These and other factors inform my position on this issue. However, I can't say that this definitively. There have been, and continue to be, restrictions on priesthood ordination. I cannot attribute all of these to evil designs of men. I also cannot attribute them to God having evil motives. So the origins of the priesthood ban are a lacuna. The end of the priesthood ban, however, is plainly and unequivocally revelatory, and for that I am quite grateful and happy. Thanks, -Smac
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