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The Confouding World Of Lds Doctrinal Pronouncements


cksalmon

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Much ink (electronic and material) has been spilled on the issue of "official" LDS doctrine. I'd like to present and hopefully hash out with you a test case.

The case involves God's knowledge and official LDS belief about God's knowledge.

In sum, the historical record is clear that Prophet Brigham Young, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve presented and signed a document stating that true LDS doctrine holds that God progresses in knowledge. This was in response to statements made by Orson Pratt in the Seer that God does not progress in knowledge. Much later, Bruce R. McConkie suggested that the view of Prophet Brigham Young, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve was heretical.

McConkie's thesis, while unrefuted (to my knowledge) by later GA's, is nevertheless unofficial and non-binding.

McConkie's Heresies

Bruce R. McConkie delivered a fireside address at Brigham Young University on 1 June 1980 entitled, "The Seven Deadly Heresies." Among the heresies he discussed (in fact his number one list-topper) was the heresy of believing that God progresses in knowledge and learns new truths:

Heresy one: There are those who say that God is progressing in knowledge and is learning new truths.

This is false--utterly, totally, and completely. There is not one sliver of truth in it. It grows out of a wholly twisted and incorrect view of the King Follett Sermon and of what is meant by eternal progression.

Here.

McConkie was, at the time, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Does that make his statements authoritative?

[Oddly, if one takes McConkie's statement seriously, one must conclude that he is implicitly labeling Brigham Young, his First Presidency, and his contemporary Quorum of the Twelve as heretics--i.e., those who hold heretical views. McConkie himself, however, would likely have been labeled as heretical by Brigham Young, etc., for denying what they themselves affirmed.--cks]

What is Official Doctrine?

Writing for FAIR, Michael R. Ash presents the following guidelines:

Harold B. Lee expressed similar thoughts when he taught that any doctrine, advanced by anyone—regardless of position—that was not supported by the standard works, then “you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion.”

He recognized that the Prophet could bring forth new doctrine, but “when he does, [he] will declare it as revelation from God,” after which it will be sustained by the body of Church (John A. Tvedtnes, “The Nature of Prophets and Prophecy.” [unpublished, 1999, copy in my {i.e., Ash's} possession.]).

The Prophet can add to the scriptures, but such new additions are presented by the First Presidency to the body of the Church and are accepted by common consent (by sustaining vote) as binding doctrine of the Church (See D&C 26:2; 107:27-31).

D&C 26:2

And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.

D&C 107:21-30

21 Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding aofficers growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods.

22 Of the aMelchizedek Priesthood, three bPresiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and cupheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

23 The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special cwitnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.

24 And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.

25 The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.

26 And they form a quorum, equal in aauthority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named.

27 And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other—

28 A majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise—

29 Unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek, and were arighteous and holy men.

30 The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all arighteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and blong suffering, and in cfaith, and dvirtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity;

Until such doctrines or opinions are sustained by vote in conference, however, they are “neither binding nor the official doctrine of the Church” (Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christian? (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992), 15.)

Here.

I am unaware of a sustaining vote in General Conference of either (1) Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve's pronouncement that God is indeed progressing in knowledge or (2) McConkie's pronouncement that such a belief is "completely false" and heretical.

Thus, if we apply the suggestions of Tvedtnes, Harold B. Lee, and Stephen Robinson to the issue of God's progressing in knowledge, we find that neither The First Presidency/Q12's pronouncements nor McConkie's directly contrary pronouncement are doctrinal. Of course, to my knowledge, none of the statements by Tvedness, Lee, or Robinson have been pronounced by the First Presidency in General Conference and sustained by members. Thus, their comments are certainly not doctrinal and it is unclear what, if any, weight they should be given. Their statements are manifestly unofficial and so are certainly not authoritative.

The article signed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve (see Deseret News, 25 July 1860, pp. 162-163; or the reprint in ibid., 23 August 1865, pp. 372-373) clearly indicates that those institutions viewed Pratt's notion that God doesn't progress in knowledge to be doctrinally abberant. In other words, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve implicitly affirmed as official LDS doctrine that God, in fact, does progress in knowledge.

In the article (signed by the First Presidency and Q12), one finds the following warning (directed against Pratt and those who might be tempted to do what Pratt had done):

It ought to have been known years ago by every person in the church for ample teachings have been given on the point that no member of the church has the right to publish any doctrines as the doctrines of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints without first submitting them for examination and approval to the First Presidency and the twelve. There is but one man upon the earth at one time who holds the keys to receive commandments and revelations for the church and who has the authority to write doctrines by way of commandment unto the church and any man who so far forgets the order instituted by the lord as to write and publish what may be termed new doctrines without consulting with the First Presidency of the church respecting them places himself in a false position and exposes himself to the power of darkness by violating his priesthood

We see here that Brigham Young affirmed that only the Prophet (at the time, himself) had the right to offer up doctrinal pronouncements for the Church. And it was he (acting in that capacity) who steadfastly affirmed that God does progress in knowledge (contra Pratt). And, not to put too fine a point on it, it must again be stressed that both the First Presidency and Q12 attached their names to both points: (a) that God progresses in knowledge and (b) that only the Prophet is allowed to make doctrinal pronouncements.

There can be no doubt that, in accord with the lines of authority operative and assumed at the time of writing, that it was officially-binding LDS doctrine that God progresses in knowledge. Brigham Young affirmed it. The First Presidency and Q12 affirmed it. Orson Pratt was bound by it.

Whether modern LDS wish to own this doctrine is, of course, another matter. Some do, indeed, affirm it; others do not.

What is clear is that, assuming Ash's paradigm, McConkie's denial of God's progression is without a doubt neither doctrinal nor doctrinally binding. His statements, having not been presented by the First Presidency and sustained by the members, can be easily and justifiably ignored. As far as the issue of official doctrine goes, he may as well not have uttered a word at the fireside in question.

I suppose one can almost as easily erase the clear statements of the First Presidency and Q12 to the effect that God does progress in knowledge. But, in that case, one's rejection of Brigham Young's prophetic pronouncement imports an anachronistic overlay onto the historical situation at the time. It was clear to the principals involved that what Young pronounced and FP/Q12 affirmed simply was doctrine. No official statements, again, to my knowledge, have overturned their pronouncement.

But, now, real weirdness ensues.

In his book, Are Mormons Christian?, Robinson makes what is, to my mind, a strange reference. In chapter two, "The Exclusion by Misrepresentation," Robinson attempts to build a case that Latter-day Saints should not be excluded from bearing the label "Christian" "for things they don't believe" (p. 9).

In a subsection of that chapter, "What is Official Doctrine?" Robinson references the very issue discussed above.

In their encounters with anti-Mormon critics, quite often the Saints seem to feel constrained to defend too much. For example, the fact that Orson Pratt may have said such and such on this or that occasion does not make it a proposition that needs defending. Elder Pratt was very outspoken in his opinions [including the opinion that God does not progress in knowledge--cks], which sometimes disagreed with the General Authorities. He was frequently instructed to make clear to his hearers or readers that his views were his own and not the doctrine of the Church; and on at least one occasion he was instructed by the President of the Church [brigham Young--cks] to recant publicly opinions he had represented as doctrine.

His fn 8 is, of course, a citation of Deseret News, 25 July 1860, pp. 162-163; or the reprint in ibid., 23 August 1865, pp. 372-373.

And publicly Pratt did so, in Deseret News, 25 July 1860, p. 162. He recanted any and all personal views that were not in line with the Prophet. He stated, in effect, that nothing would be revealed to him truly by God that did not conform to the doctrine of the Church leadership.

What were the beliefs he was then repentant that he had erroneously proclaimed?

They are detailed in the 1860 article.

DN1860-162.jpg

DN1860-163.jpg

This article, signed by the then First Presidency, clearly and forthrightly denounced Pratt's notions as untrue. It was not doctrinally correct, per the highest Church leadership, to believe that God does not progress. The notion was "not true."

The original denunciation by the First Presidency in 1860 was quoted and reprinted in a longer article in 1865 (Deseret News, 23 August 1865, pp. 372-373) that was signed by, not just the First Presidency, but also the Quorum of the Twelve, as shown below.

DN1865-373.jpg

That Robinson would cite this instance (without providing details) strikes me as odd. His characterization of the event implies that (a) there is such a thing as official LDS doctrine, (b) that Pratt's pronouncements were not constitutive of official LDS doctrine, and

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After reading how President David O. McKay was upset with McConkies Mormon doctrine book, I still have never understood how he became an Apostle. Was his Father-in-Law, Joseph Fielding Smith, strongly pulling for him?

I'm betting God "pulled for him."

[Oddly, if one takes McConkie's statement seriously, one must conclude that he is implicitly labeling Brigham Young, his First Presidency, and his contemporary Quorum of the Twelve as heretics--i.e., those who hold heretical views. McConkie himself, however, would likely have been labeled as heretical by Brigham Young, etc., for denying what they themselves affirmed.--cks]

Oddly, you don't seem to grasp the fact that mortal man- even if called by God Himself- may subscribe to some heresies. This, however, does not make one a "heretic" in total, in my opinion, as "all have sinned" and come short of the glory of God- including God's fallible prophets. Currently and Biblically; save The Christ Himself.

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I'm betting God "pulled for him."

Oddly, you don't seem to grasp the fact that mortal man- even if called by God Himself- may subscribe to some heresies. This, however, does not make one a "heretic" in total, in my opinion, as "all have sinned" and come short of the glory of God- including God's fallible prophets. Currently and Biblically; save The Christ Himself.

Fair enough. However, Young and McConkie seem to be doing a little more than subscribing. Cks, I choose option one.

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The question to the interested outsider becomes: if LDS have so little knowledge of God that they cannot say officially and unequivocally whether he is omniscient or epistemologically finite, why should the LDS religion be considered definitive re: the question of God?

Fallacy of the false dichotomy.

God may be "omniscient" in that He may know all that can logically be known. This does not mean that He cannot gain more knowledge later on. The most common example cited for this is that God may not, ultimately, KNOW what a truly free agent being will do. Thus, because God will not compel free agent beings, He cannot know until they choose what they, in fact, choose. Since the LDS view of God is within time and space, rather than outside of it in the sense of the creedal God, this is not a problem.

The most extensive elaboration of these views would be Ostler.

Thus, it would be false to say that God can never learn anything new, but likewise false to say that He is not "omniscient" (i.e., that God is epistemologically finite). He knows all that can be known, but situations may obtain where more CAN be known, and He will then know it.

===

In either case, why would it matter whether God knows everything that ever can or will be known, or whether He only now knows all that can be known, since free agent acts cannot be known beforehand with absolute certainty? Since God has maximal power, nothing He could learn about the choices of weaker free agent(s) would impact His ability to bring to pass His purposes and the salvation of His children, save if they will not will it.

Personally, I find any other view of free agency incoherent. This isn't to say that it couldn't be true, I just don't see how.

===

As for McConkie's views on the "Heresies," I don't really see the scheme I have outlined above as entering into his discussion. He's worried (properly, I think) that the idea that God is still learning means that God could discover some truth, some principle, or some factor which He did not previously know which would derail His plans. (It is this perspective which McConkie addresses when he says--quite rightly--"Will he [God] one day learn something that will destroy the plan of salvation and turn man and the universe into an uncreated nothingness? Will he discover a better plan of salvation than the one he has already given to men in worlds without number?")

This idea is clearly heretical, and contrary to the LDS notion of God.

But, as I have outlined above, it is not "truths" in the sense of "principles" or "laws," or "presence of entities or powers," or anything like that in which God may progress. It is, rather, "truths" in the sense of "facts about what free agents have chosen." That is quite another matter, and one which poses no threat to the sovereignty of God--save His sovereignty over free agent choice, which is something which LDS theology has always denied that God has.

===

The risk with such concepts, it seems to me, is going too far in either direction. And, the conversants may be talking about different aspects of things.

I think you miss the nuances when you write:

In other words, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve implicitly affirmed as official LDS doctrine that God, in fact, does progress in knowledge.

Personally, I find it significant that the First Presidency of Brigham Young's day did not pronounce that "It is TRUE that God progresses in knowledge," but rather, it is not Church doctrine to argue (as Pratt did) that God DOES NOT progress is knowledge. I see their line as a reaction to Pratt's teaching, which sought to establish as fixed in doctrine something that is not.

If they had meant to say that it is (definitive) doctrine that God DOES progress in knowledge, they would have said so (as McConkie did, with no more authority than Pratt did). But, the 1st Pres and apostles were careful not to (despite Brigham Young's clear views on the subject). Thus, they disavowed Pratt's interpretation without insisting upon the alternative.

Likewise, I would see McConkie's line as potentially reacting to some stream of thought he saw in the Church (though I'm not aware of what that was; he says they weren't 'common'). And, I would certainly agree with all the examples he gave--but, he says nothing about the free agent choice issue which (as argued above) I think is an entirely separate issue. I see no sign that McConkie was even aware of (or worried about) that aspect of the question. McConkie describes God as "knowing all things and having all power."

Yet, clearly "having all power" in LDS theology does not mean the power do absolutely anything--the Book of Mormon is clear that there are things which God cannot do, or He would "cease to be God." (Alma 42, Mormon 9). Alma 42's examples all seem to involve altering the consequenecs of moral agency in an illegitimate way--thus, free agent choice likewise plays into areas that "limit" (I don't consider it a limit at all, any more than the inability to divide by zero 'limits' mathematics) God's power, just as it may "limit" His foreknowledge.

But, these limits are really about things that are logically contradictory--God cannot make round squares, and he cannot make utterly deterministic uncreated free agents with radical free agency, as it were.

I am unaware of a sustaining vote in General Conference of either (1) Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve's pronouncement that God is indeed progressing in knowledge or (2) McConkie's pronouncement that such a belief is "completely false" and heretical.

I'm likewise unaware of any. The scriptures are clear that God is omnipotent, omniscient, etc. But, what those things MEAN in all their ramifications have not been established officially (nor, I suspect, could we understand the answers anyway). LDS have an aversion to creeds, where beliefs about such things are circumscribed:

I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth; I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further;" which I cannot subscribe to. - Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:57.

So, do I see Brigham or Pratt/McConkie as heretical? Both would be heretical if they insisted that their view was official Church doctrine, because there is none. Both would be correct depending on what aspect of the problem(s) they were considering.

Since I see either position as consistent with the accomplishment of God's purposes, I don't see that it matters much (except if one is determined to have a creedal God or systematic theology, neither of which appeals to me). Thus, I find it unsurprising that they have been of multiple opinions, and that we do not know for sure.

Personally, I have learned far more about the issues involved from the "proving of contraries" in this case than I would have from a creed or definitive doctrinal statement that attempted to fill in all the gaps. Joseph Smith was right again:

"by proving contraries truth is made manifest." - Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:428; letter to L. Daniel Rupp, 1844.

===

So, I would agree with a modified (1): 1st Pres, BY, etc. were right that it is false to claim that Church doctrine requires God not to advance in knowledge. McConkie was wrong if he meant to exclude all aspects of God gaining new information by free agent choices, but I don't think he was really talking about all the same things that lead to option (1) being attractive anyway.

Frankly, I think Elder McConkie's greatest strength and weakness was that he tended to speak with great force and authority. This caused problems when he spoke with greater authority than his stance or position warranted. (The Mormon Doctrine issue--especially the 1st edition--is a case in point. The Seven Deadly Heresies talk was also had modifying language added to its publicized version when compared to the oral one given.) And, most difficult is the fact that he sometimes didn't really source or footnote his ideas, which makes it hard for me to appreciate his argument.

I think, though, that the Genral Authorities from his day have been far more cautious in how they phrased things, to avoid the misunderstandings that McConkie's style sometimes caused. One can see Boyd K. Packer, for example--though theologically very akin to Elder McConkie, his phrasing is more careful, and he is always cautious (in what I have read) to clearly indicate where something is his opinion, even if a very strongly held opinion. (See his remarks on evolution, for example, which seem close to Elder McConkie's but are preceeded by a disclaimer in Boyd K. Packer, "The Law and the Light," in Jacob through Words of Mormon: to Learn with Joy: papers from the Fourth Annual Book of Mormon Symposium, edited by Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, distributed by Bookcraft, 1990), 1–31. ISBN 0884947343. ISBN 978-0884947349.)

But, if Peter and Paul can disagree about how best to implement the revelation on gentile Christians, I am neither surprised nor troubled if McConkie and Brigham did have genuine disagreement.

Best,

Greg

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CKS.....

Did God know in advance of Adam's fall?

If he did, why did he not prevent it and avoid all this mess it caused?

If he did not, then how could he be omniscient?

Bernard

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CKS.....

Did God know in advance of Adam's fall?

If he did, why did he not prevent it and avoid all this mess it caused?

If he did not, then how could he be omniscient?

Bernard

Hi Bernard--

I'm in a different tree. Not only did he know in advance, I believe that, ultimately, he decreed it. I'd suggest that if he didn't know in advance, he's not omniscient. But then I also reject the notion of libertarian free will.

Best.

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In sum, the historical record is clear that Prophet Brigham Young, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve presented and signed a document stating that true LDS doctrine holds that God progresses in knowledge.

Perhaps my ADD kicked in, but I did not see a reference to this signed document. Did I miss it?

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Hi Bernard--

I'm in a different tree. Not only did he know in advance, I believe that, ultimately, he decreed it. I'd suggest that if he didn't know in advance, he's not omniscient. But then I also reject the notion of libertarian free will.

Best.

Then what kind of free will do you accept?

Bernard

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Does the answer to the question (or the solution to the problem) affect my salvation?

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Latter-day Saints have at least three options: (1) Agree with Prophet Brigham Young, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve (and, apparently, Robinson) that God does indeed progress in knowledge, (2) agree with McConkie that the Prophet Brigham Young, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve (and, apparently, Robinson) believe/d and proclaimed heretical doctrines, or (3) suggest that the Prophet Brigham Young, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve were acting in no official capacity with regard to this pronouncement and that their pronouncement can be justifiably ignored (which, per BY and Pratt's statements, is manifestly anachronistic). Of course, (3) entails that (4) McConkie's pronouncement to the contrary must also be justifiably ignored.

Thus, per (3) and (4), LDS have no official doctrine regarding whether or not God progresses in knowledge. Maybe yes; maybe no. Either McConkie was heretical or BY/FP/Q12 was heretical. Both cannot be correct.

Both are indeed correct if you make a distinction between the position and the person in that position. God does not increase in knowledge, because It is the sum total of all knowledge and power, etc, but the Father and Son (and Mother) are as capable of further knowledge as we are.

It's a bit like absolute zero or the speed of light. You can reach functional equivalence at certain scales, but you can never reach it exactly. From our perspective, God the Father is a man who has reached 99.99999999999999999999999~% of the God constant.

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Here.

McConkie was, at the time, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Does that make his statements authoritative?

[Oddly, if one takes McConkie's statement seriously, one must conclude that he is implicitly labeling Brigham Young, his First Presidency, and his contemporary Quorum of the Twelve as heretics--i.e., those who hold heretical views. McConkie himself, however, would likely have been labeled as heretical by Brigham Young, etc., for denying what they themselves affirmed.--cks]

Who was more Authoritative Peter or Paul? Yet they disagreed on quite a few things concerning God.

Why can't Modern Apostles?

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After reading how President David O. McKay was upset with McConkie's Mormon Doctrine book, I still have never understood how he became an Apostle. Was his Father-in-Law, Joseph Fielding Smith, strongly pulling for him?

That is amazing, isn't it?

With all those people in high places angry at McConkie, how on Earth could McConkie ever be made an apostle?

Your question implies that it's the leaders of the church who pick the next apostles and other general authorities and of course it's wrong. The truth is that God selects those people and calls them through the existing heirarchy, just as Aaron was chosen in his day, through Moses. Thus, it doesn't matter if they either like Elder McConkie or they dislike him. If he's called of God, then the leaders of the church must call him and ordain him. And if they then choose not to sustain him, that's another issue.

There was a case where George Albert Smith was called as the new president of the church. This created a vacancy in the Qof12 and President Smith went so far as to promise the apostolic position to a childhood friend. They had remained close, but when the call was made, it was Elder Matthew Cowley. This created a rift in the friendship, at least for awhile, but the asumption both men made was the same one you made. The lesson was, it's the Lord who calls people in this church.

cowlem1.jpg

Elder Matthew Cowley

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Does the answer to the question (or the solution to the problem) affect my salvation?

No, but we quite often discuss things that don't here.

I've always believed that God knew all things from the beginning. He has learned all the laws that govern the cosmos, He knows the name of every creation of every world and every star, plus He knows all of us individually. If a sparrow falls, He knows it. I would suspect that He knows all things that pertain to His governance, and I doubt He will ever be surprised by something He doesn't know.

What doesn't He know? If He and His Father are One, and so on up the line, then what One knows, they all know. It reminds me of the line from a William Shatner novel: "If there was something going on around here that I didn't know about, I think I'd know about it." For example, who knew that I would ever be quoting William Shatner in a religious discussion? Not me.

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And what is official LDS doctrine about the state of God's knowledge?

I believe there is something on it in 'Articles of Faith' by Talmadge which is an official Church publication. As I recall, it is against the notion that God is progressing in knowledge. But I've always found an out in the implied 'relative to us' scripture Isaiah 55:8.

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I've always found an out in the implied 'relative to us' scripture Isaiah 55:8.

Regardless of what the "official" doctrine is, I found McConkie's reasoning to be flawless. I would hate to think there would, or could, be a time when the God of Heaven, the Great Master of the Universe, would utter the unthinkable, "Oooooops!"

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That is amazing, isn't it?

With all those people in high places angry at McConkie, how on Earth could McConkie ever be made an apostle?

Your question implies that it's the leaders of the church who pick the next apostles and other general authorities and of course it's wrong. The truth is that God selects those people and calls them through the existing hierarchy, just as Aaron was chosen in his day, through Moses. Thus, it doesn't matter if they either like Elder McConkie or they dislike him. If he's called of God, then the leaders of the church must call him and ordain him. And if they then choose not to sustain him, that's another issue.

On the other hand, we know that when the original Apostles (the Bible ones) met after Jesus and Judas had died, to choose another Apostle, they drew straws.

Do you think God may throw at bit of sand in the gears occasionally just to keep us on our toes?

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On the other hand, we know that when the original Apostles (the Bible ones) met after Jesus and Judas had died, to choose another Apostle, they drew straws.

Please try not to be so moronic. Biblical "casting lots" (edokan klerous, Acts 1:26) is not "drawing straws." 1 Sam 14:41 in the LXX indicates that the Urim and Thumim may have been in part used for "casting lots." Whatever precisely it was, it was a form of divination, that is a means to determine the divine will (Prov 16.33). 1 Chr 26.13-16 indicates that casting lots was used for determining at least some aspects of the order of priestly service in the ancient temple, and is the undoubted antecedent of the practice of the apostles. Of course, you don't have to believe it, but to misunderstand it, and mock others because of your misunderstanding, tells us a lot about you, but very little about ancient Jewish practices and beliefs. (See also Neh 11.1, Jonah 1.7)

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Please try not to be so moronic. Biblical "casting lots" (edokan klerous, Acts 1:26) is not "drawing straws." 1 Sam 14:41 in the LXX indicates that the Urim and Thumim may have been in part used for "casting lots." Whatever precisely it was, it was a form of divination, that is a means to determine the divine will (Prov 16.33). 1 Chr 26.13-16 indicates that casting lots was used for determining at least some aspects of the order of priestly service in the ancient temple, and is the undoubted antecedent of the practice of the apostles. Of course, you don't have to believe it, but to misunderstand it, and mock others because of your misunderstanding, tells us a lot about you, but very little about ancient Jewish practices and beliefs. (See also Neh 11.1, Jonah 1.7)

edokan klerous, Acts 1:26 also translates well to "paper rock scissors," though.

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Fallacy of the false dichotomy.

God may be "omniscient" in that He may know all that can logically be known. This does not mean that He cannot gain more knowledge later on. The most common example cited for this is that God may not, ultimately, KNOW what a truly free agent being will do. Thus, because God will not compel free agent beings, He cannot know until they choose what they, in fact, choose. Since the LDS view of God is within time and space, rather than outside of it in the sense of the creedal God, this is not a problem.

The most extensive elaboration of these views would be Ostler.

[snip]

Hi Greg--

I assumed that this would come up eventually (though I was hoping it might be later rather than sooner). I think it would be important to ascertain whether or not your suggestion has any place in Brigham Young's view of the issue. I'm not suggesting that the conclusion of that inquiry would be determinative, but it would be useful and interesting to know.

I'd eventually like to explore the issues you've raised once the topic as given peters out. Thanks for your useful input. I'm sure we'll get back 'round to it.

Best.

CKS

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