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The Confouding World Of Lds Doctrinal Pronouncements


cksalmon

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

Sure it does. The Church leaders are telling us that they have received absolute truths from God and to not agree with them puts our salvation at risk. This page shows that they are claiming to "know" things that they really do not. Even more, they are expecting the "sheep" to believe these things or suffer the consequences. Depending on who you follow, your salvation could be significantly effected or delayed in many ways.

I for one am tired of being a sheep. I think that anyone who hopes to become a "God," populate worlds, etc. needs to be more than just a sheep.

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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!"

Except that since He knows all relative to us, you would never hear Him utter that regarding anything that concerns us.

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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.

Yeah, I would too. I don't really know, to be honest, since I haven't made a study of BY's views on this point in detail.

No rush.

Greg

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CK Salmon,

A great concern for maintaining people in "correct belief" seems a protestant pursuit. It makes sense considering that holding a certain belief is considered the primary action a human being can take to affect their salvation. Given the degree of Mormon folklore that the brethren allow to float around, I don't think God is hammering the Prophets to insist members hold correct beliefs. Members just shouldn't teach concepts as church doctrine that fall outside what the centralized church currently affirms. As for me, I feel my search for truth is a private affair that the church assists in, but is not fully responsible for. My responsibility as a person in the covenant is to maintain correct practice before the Lord, and to diligently come before God with what the church teaches me. It also includes teaching in church capacities within the bounds the Prophets have set.

I never covenanted to be orthodox in my private beliefs, nor do I think the Lord really cares too much about that. Given the "dark glass" we all look through, about 85% of what we believe is likely to have major flaws no matter how much we try. But I have faith that personal experiences with Divine revelation brings us closer to the light, which light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day. I also have faith that the practices and principles taught by modern Prophets graft the divine nature into us, and move us all toward a Celestial community.

Best to you!

Jd1

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A great concern for maintaining people in "correct belief" seems a protestant pursuit. It makes sense considering that holding a certain belief is considered the primary action a human being can take to affect their salvation. Given the degree of Mormon folklore that the brethren allow to float around, I don't think God is hammering the Prophets to insist members hold correct beliefs.

It is not a Protestant notion, it is a Biblical notion. Ephesians 4:11-14 implies a systematic theology which the LDS Church does indeed have. One of the doctrines found in our systematic theology is that of continuing revelation.

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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. 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.

...

Thoughts? Corrections, material and interpretive, welcome.

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

CKS

President Young taught many other controversial things about God-- besides the doctrine that God progresses in knowledge. He also claimed on several occasions that he learned all his doctrine from the Prophet Joseph.

He taught this for instance:

There has never been a time when the creations of worlds commenced, they are from eternity to eternity in their creations and redemption. After they are organized, they experience the good and evil; the light, and the dark, the bitter and the sweet, as you and I do.

There never was a time when there were not worlds in existence as this world is, and they pass through similar changes in abiding their creation preparatory to exaltation. Worlds have always been in progress, and eternally will be.

Every world has had an Adam, and an Eve: named so, simply because the first man is always called Adam, and the first woman Eve; and the oldest son has always had the privilege of being ordained, appointed, and called to be the heir of the family, if he does not rebel against the Father; and he is the savior of that family.

Every world that has been created, has been created upon the same principle. They may vary in their varieties, yet the eternity is one; it is one eternal round.

---October 8, 1854 Discourse

From this and other recorded BY discourses, it becomes clear that he believed that the generation of Gods has no beginning. So, even though he may have taught that "God" progresses in knowledge, he ALSO believed that the God he was speaking about has a Father who is farther progressed in knowledge.

So I would bet that if President Young were here to discuss the matter today, he would acknowledge that the entire beginningless chain of Fathers AS A WHOLE has always had ALL knowledge, and thus does not progress. He would agree that it is the FINITE personages that gain exaltation who progress in knowledge, ---not the everexisting INFINITE union of these personages.

Richard

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It is not a Protestant notion, it is a Biblical notion. Ephesians 4:11-14 implies a systematic theology which the LDS Church does indeed have. One of the doctrines found in our systematic theology is that of continuing revelation

It is indeed a Protestant notion, it may also be a Biblical one (ten points for Protestants!). Catholics are concerned with correct belief but not as much as Protestants (as evidenced by their high toleration of folk beliefs world wide). They seem to care more about correct practice, affiliation, loyalty etc. Protestants, especially evangelical Protestants, seem more concerned with correct belief than correct practice (evidenced by their desire to "protest" the beliefs of all who differ with them). Who are LDS closer to? I think Catholics, but I could be wrong.

I guess it could also depend on the Mormon. Elder Mconkie, for example, seemed very concerned with correct beliefs (the only Apostle within the last few decades that I know of that has used the word heresy). President McKay was not very concerned with theology at all. Whether LDS really have a systematic theology is up for debate. I suggest you read Why a Mormon Won't Drink Coffee but Might Have a Coke: The Atheological Character of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. by James Faulconer.

The idea that we are atheological might explain why some have difficulty nailing down LDS beliefs. You obviously think differently as the "Right Divider of LDS Systematic Theology" and I think there may be a case for your position as well (I'd love to hear you engage Faulconer).

It's probably not either/or but somewhere in between. One always runs into problems when setting of a dichotomy. Perhaps I should rather say, if we put LDS and Protestants on a continuum between importance of belief vs. practice, Protestants would lean closer to belief and LDS closer to practice, neither focusing exclusively on either one.

Best to you!

Jd1

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D&C 130:6-11

6 The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth;

7 But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.

8 The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim.

9 This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christâ??s.

10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;

11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.

What's the use of them having planetary and personal Urim & Thummims if they already know all things?

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Cksalmon, In a fairly recent Podcast by Van Hale, the one where he interviews the author of a book, the book being a compilation of Official Declarations and statements by the First Presidency of the Church.

Interestingly Van Hale, cited the only example he knew of, of two Official Statements by two different First Presidency's of the Church that are conflicting and contradictory. The subject of the contradictory conflicting statements are about the progressive nature of God. One official statement says he progresses in knowledge the other says he does not.

I think this is important because we have enough conflicting statements of apostles to keep us bloggers going for a millenia however it appears that Official statements by the First Presidency are exceptionally rare. This podcast is still avialable. I have often wondered if it would be worth while to have a academic sit in on Apostolic meetings to help aid the bretheren in avoiding accidently contradicting earliar inspired statements and declarations they may have forgotten about or not know about.

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I have often wondered if it would be worth while to have a academic sit in on Apostolic meetings to help aid the bretheren in avoiding accidently contradicting earliar inspired statements and declarations they may have forgotten about or not know about.

Absolutely not unless that academic is an apostle.

There are plenty of intelligent, well educated men in the Quorum, having someone from outside to 'overrule' them is absurd. If they want research done, they can do it easily enough without having someone 'sit in'.

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I'm more with John D on this one. It seems erring in doctrine happens to all of us to some extent, at the very least because we all lack knowledge in some areas.

An interesting sermon of Joseph Smith occurred April 8th, 1843, in relation to a Church court held against one Pelatiah Brown, an older elder. Apparently he had taught some things regarding the beasts in part of John's Book of Revelation which some elders disagreed with, thus calling him up to a Church court.

From History of the Church vol. 5:

"It is not very essential for the elders to have knowledge in relation

to the meaning of beasts, and heads and horns, and other figures made use

of in the revelations; still, it may be necessary, to prevent contention

and division and do away with suspense. If we get puffed up by thinking

that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and

correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit...

"The evil of being puffed up with correct (though useless) knowledge

is not so great as the evil of contention. Knowledge does away with

darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is...

I should not have called up the subject had

it not been for this circumstance. Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest

old heads we have among us, and whom I now see before me, has been

preaching concerning the beast which was fall of eyes before and behind;

and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council.

"I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It

looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints.

Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their

church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels

so good not to be trammelled. It does not prove that a man is not a good

man because he errs in doctrine.

The High Council undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown,

because of his teachings in relation to the beasts. Whether they actually

corrected him or not, I am a little doubtful, but don't care. Father Brown

came to me to know what he should do about it."

Interesting stuff, indeed.

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Isnâ??t this rather disingenuous? Most all EVâ??s believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are one in the same. Therefore you know that the scriptures teach that Jesus â??learnedâ? and progressed in â??perfectionâ? during his mortal ministry.

Hebrews 5: 7-8

7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

I believe this is what BY referred too, and Heavenly Father is what Elder McConkie referred too.

Pa Pa

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Isnâ??t this rather disingenuous? Most all EVâ??s believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are one in the same. Therefore you know that the scriptures teach that Jesus â??learnedâ? and progressed in â??perfectionâ? during his mortal ministry.

Hebrews 5: 7-8

7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

I believe this is what BY referred too, and Heavenly Father is what Elder McConkie referred too.

Pa Pa

But Pa Pa, if you read it in Greek, it says something very different.

7oV en taiV hmeraiV thV sarkoV autou, dehseiV te kai ikethriaV proV ton dunamenon swzein auton ek qanatou meta kraughV iscuraV kai dakruwn prosenegkaV kai eisakousqeiV apo thV eulabeiaV, 8kaiper wn uioV emaqen af wn epaqen thn upakohn: 9kai teleiwqeiV egeneto pasin toiV upakouousin autw aitioV swthriaV aiwniou,

It's so plain that a blind man can even see it. Wake up man!!!

:P

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I'm more with John D on this one. It seems erring in doctrine happens to all of us to some extent, at the very least because we all lack knowledge in some areas.

An interesting sermon of Joseph Smith occurred April 8th, 1843, in relation to a Church court held against one Pelatiah Brown, an older elder. Apparently he had taught some things regarding the beasts in part of John's Book of Revelation which some elders disagreed with, thus calling him up to a Church court.

From History of the Church vol. 5:

Interesting stuff, indeed.

Yes, that it is. AMEN.

11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

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Asking that question you just asked is almost a guarantee a one way ticket to Hell or Texas, which ever is worse. :P

I would definitely rather prefer Hell. :unsure: all those cowboys and country music, brrrr.... But then, Utah is not much better. At least there will be interesting people in the Telestial Kingdom, so I'll finally be able to take a break from all these molly mormons <_<

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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.

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

Sorry but the orginal twelve did not make the chosing of new apostles a game of chance. In fact if you actually read the entire passage it indicates that the Lord made the choice just as He does today:
(Acts 1:24-26) "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
No God does not "throw a bit of sand in the gears" but men often do because of their lack of faith.
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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.

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?

If anything, this issue demonstrates that LDS authority structures are ill-equipped to provide even basic "official" information about the nature of God's knowledge.

And What's the point of having a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, a First Presidency, and a Quorum of the Twelve if their (signed) doctrinal pronouncements can be so readily ignored?

Thoughts? Corrections, material and interpretive, welcome.

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

CKS

I do not think what you quoted was the entire thing that the First Presidency was condemning, so I think you are playing with "straw men" again. Also I think you are coming from a false assumption that we believe that our leaders are infallable, which we do not. Not even the Prophet is infallable. But God is the one who is infallable, He is the one who "steadies the ark" not you or any other man. What God has promised us is that the living Prophet will not be allowed to lead the Church astray. The Church is fully equiped to handle doctrinal disputes because the current living Prophet is the final authority, it is revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost that teaches us the doctrine, not our reading and putting our "spin" (opinion) on the Journal of Discourses, or Mormon Doctrine, or even the scriptures. Pitting apostles against apostles or prophets against prophets is something the scribes and pharasee's tried to do in the time of Christ it was wrong then and is wrong now.

As for the original question "is God progressing in knowledge" I answer NO he is not. He is progressing in glory and exaltation as His children progress, but not in knowledge, I quote this as an authoritative source:

(Gospel Principles [1997 ed] Page 9) What Kind of Being Is God? Because we are made in his image (see Moses 6:9), we know that God has a body that looks like ours. His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). Godâ??s body, however, is perfected and glorified, with a glory beyond all description. God is perfect. He is a God of love, mercy, charity, truth, power, faith, knowledge, and judgment. He has all power. He knows all things. He is full of goodness. All good things come from God. Everything that he does is to help his children become like himâ??a god. He has said, â??Behold, this is my work and my gloryâ??to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of manâ?(Moses1:39).
If you need further references I can quote the scriptures both ancient and modern:
(2 Nephi 9:20) "O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth call things, and there is not anything save he knows it."
I believe Brigham Young, Bruce R. McConkie and Gordon B. Hinckley all know and believe that scripture (which is a scripture from the Book of Mormon) so that is what we officially teach and believe notwithstanding what anyone else has said or written.
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All,

I am not sure that between Greg S and JD1 all of the most important IMO ideas have not been expressed, but I wanted to offer a little to CKS and to Cold Steel.

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!"

As it seemed Greg did, I will rely upon my thoughts that link to Ostlerâ??s. Ultimately I will suggest that God saying â??oopsâ? is not really a concern with the model of knowledge I hold, but first I want to discuss what is more important IMO than ascribing to God a absolutist omniscience and omnipotence as many theologians are want to do.

I believe that Godâ??s omniscience and omnipotence should be defined within a solid knowledge of what it means when the Bible says, â??God is love.â? I really do not care if one theologianâ??s concept of God could win in a playground brawl against the God who I know because I have a relationship with Him. Since said theologian and I believe there is only one God, such a brawl could never occur anyway. But the problem with said theologianâ??s God is that I cannot see how He could be in genuine relationship with me and yet the God of the universe is in relationship with me.

God loves me so much that He first offered to love me. He knew a lot about me. He knew that I would accept Him on occasion and reject Him on occasion, but still He offered to love me. As I accept Him and return His love our relationship BECOMES something that He and I make. God loves me so much that He is open to such creative input from me. He could overwhelm me with His greatness and glory. He could â??buyâ? me with offers of power or ???, but instead He comes to me quietly. I choose to accept Him or reject Him and He chooses to be open to my choice. I do not believe it would be love if it was not freely given by me and by God.

A concept of omniscience where God risks nothing in extending His love to me is IMO not sufficient to describe the relationship God offers. A concept of omnipotence were God has all power and I cannot choose to love or reject Him is even less compatible with what I know about love. I suggest that God who knows all and is the efficient cause of our relationship with Him and/or our rejections of Him is neither lover nor beloved. This is too high a price to pay for asserting that God is absolutely omniscient and absolutely omnipotent in the ways that many theologians do.

So what of the â??oops?â? Ostler suggests that while God does not have perfect knowledge of the free will actions of other beings, He does have all knowledge of all possibilities and even probabilities for these actions. God most frequently interacts with the world through the actions of those who are in relationship with Him, but He has power to interact directly. In addition to this God can remove his â??concurringâ? power from the elements. When He does this; things like fire burning flesh does not occur as it would normally. Finally, God has the ability to remove His concurring power from individuals. I would lean towards the idea that He would never do this, but it would seem He could. It seems possible that without the base connection to the divine life that occurs through Godâ??s concurring power we are beings with wills but no ability to carry out our wills (I think of this as the Outer Darkness condition).

God has all power possible in the presence of other free will beings who can make choices. This is sufficient to bring about Godâ??s purposes even if all the lesser free will beings rebel.

At the end of the day it is FAITH in God that we must have. We must have FAITH that He will continue to be in relationship with us even though we fail to appreciated Him regularly. We must also have FAITH that He can and will bring about His purposes. He had enough love and trust of us to give us the ability to be in a genuine relationship with Him or to reject Him after He offered us His love. I suggest we can exercise the small amount of faith it takes to trust Him even though we do not conceive Him as ontologically constructed such that He is all some theologians demand.

Charity, TOm

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I do not think what you quoted was the entire thing that the First Presidency was condemning, so I think you are playing with "straw men" again. Also I think you are coming from a false assumption that we believe that our leaders are infallable, which we do not.

Of course I didn't quote the "entire thing." (Also at issue were some of Pratt's statements on the Holy Spirit, if I remember correctly.) But that's certainly not definitive of a "straw man" argument--"again," as you put it.

And I'm not making the false assumption you've pointed out.

...

Greg, JohnD, TOm--

Thanks for the input.

Best.

CKS

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I do not think what you quoted was the entire thing that the First Presidency was condemning, so I think you are playing with "straw men" again. Also I think you are coming from a false assumption that we believe that our leaders are infallable, which we do not. Not even the Prophet is infallable. But God is the one who is infallable, He is the one who "steadies the ark" not you or any other man. What God has promised us is that the living Prophet will not be allowed to lead the Church astray. The Church is fully equiped to handle doctrinal disputes because the current living Prophet is the final authority, it is revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost that teaches us the doctrine, not our reading and putting our "spin" (opinion) on the Journal of Discourses, or Mormon Doctrine, or even the scriptures. Pitting apostles against apostles or prophets against prophets is something the scribes and pharasee's tried to do in the time of Christ it was wrong then and is wrong now.

I don't think this is fully true. Because there are impeachment processes drawn up for the president of the church in the D&C.

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