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How much of the OT do you believe is true?


consiglieri

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This question was posed to me last night by a member of my Sunday school class.

Fortunately, it was not during class, so I felt more at liberty to share how I really felt.

I was wondering how others would respond to this question from a fellow member of the Church.

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question from a class member outside of class?

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question during class?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. I take the story about Lot's wife with a grain of salt.

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This question was posed to me last night by a member of my Sunday school class.

Fortunately, it was not during class, so I felt more at liberty to share how I really felt.

I was wondering how others would respond to this question from a fellow member of the Church.

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question from a class member outside of class?

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question during class?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. I take the story about Lot's wife with a grain of salt.

I take most of the bible with a grain of salt. Knowing that a lot of it was written long after the events happened is the largest reason to believe much of it is fabricated. These were stories told over and over from one generation to the next over a long time until they finally put pen to paper. But even when they were being told verbally in ancient times, I think the story tellers meant them to be just stories for amuzement and entertainment.

I'm thinking that many of the stories didn't have religious content until diety was added much later. i.e. A man loads most of his farm animals and family on a boat to survive a flood. Later we read that "God" told him to build the boat and he was loading up every kind of animal he could get his hands on and everyone else died.

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consiglieri;

The Bible tells a story of faith. So in that sense it is true.

Are all ideas presented in the Bible true from a historical sense? No.

Are they all true from a scientific sense? No.

Will reading, studying, believing the "Truth Claims" of the Bible get us closer to God? Yes it will.

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I believe most, if not all, must be matched by historical events. I'm not saying they must match exactly. For example, there must have been a Noah, an ark, and a predicted flood. But such a flood does not have to be global, and Noah's children can simply have been the principle ancestors of the various groups of people they are assigned to. There can be lots of metaphor and allegory, but the basic kernals of literal events must be there because they are reported as literal events.

I would give this same answer to a GD class in class.

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Despite my skepticism toward the OT, the LDS temple concept did grow out of it.

I count the temple as the magnum opus of mormonism.

I think most LDS would agree.

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I would say pretty much all of it.

No, I'm no literalist, but I think there were real events and real people behind the stories.

Back in my college days, a professor was trying to explain to us how symbols and metaphors and such arise naturally because of the way our brains organize information. She used the following example:

Look at the Salt Lake Valley. What's at the head of the valley? [We all answered: The State Capitol]. What's at the foot of the valley? [We all answered: The State Prison.] Why is the North end the head? [Puzzled looks] Is it because you naturally organize things in such a way as to make the "Head/Foot" metaphor inevitable.

I think she musts have been a Jungian.

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The problem with the question is that it assumes that "true"= "historical and accurate in every respect and written in accordance with modern ideas about historiography." By that definition? Very very little. The Book of Mormon fails that test too, imo (and I've heard Bokovoy say that too, fwiw.) Don't misunderstand, I believe Nephi and Lehi were real people and I argue against those who don't. But there's too narrow facile and naive of approach in what we mean as "true" when talking about scripture in the Church.

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This question was posed to me last night by a member of my Sunday school class.

Fortunately, it was not during class, so I felt more at liberty to share how I really felt.

I was wondering how others would respond to this question from a fellow member of the Church.

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question from a class member outside of class?

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question during class?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. I take the story about Lot's wife with a grain of salt.

I'm the Gospel Doctrine teacher for the Oxford Ward, and this is brought up pretty much every week in class. There's one older gentleman who I'm told did a DPhil in Egyptology at Oxford (and works in IT) who likes to take whatever opportunities he can get to criticize the general membership for not understanding the scriptures. He's tried to get into it with me a couple times, too. His wife has explained at some point in every lesson that much of the Old Testament probably isn't true and so we should keep that in mind. I'm repeatedly asked about this, and my explanation is that some of it is legend, some of it is rhetoric, some of it is embellished memory, and some of it is history. In general, the borders between these categories are pretty fuzzy. My answer is the same inside of class and out, although at church I emphasize that, historical or not, there are lessons in the text that can make us better people. Some were probably intended, some probably imposed, but in my opinion the distinction's unimportant.

Before the Israelite state there is too little information in the texts to provide a comprehensive enough model for testing. When there is enough info it is largely in conflict with what is known, but it depends on the model. For instance, there is no way in heaven or on earth that millions of people exodused from Egypt. It's possible that a few or several thousand did, though. There's no way the Israelites came into Canaan and destroyed city after Canaanite city, which is what we get from a strict reading of Joshua. The story in Judges (that they didn't destroy many cities), however, is a little more plausible. There is also an indigenous aspect of the material Israelite culture. Leaving aside the difficulties with defining ethnicity and identifying it through material remains, it seems a representative portion of Israelites were natives to Canaan and were not living in Egypt. From what we can reconstruct from archaeology, there was likely a Saul, a David, a Solomon, and a Jeroboam. The extent and wealth of the Israelite state is likely exaggerated. The numbers from the Exodus and the conquest and so forth are demonstrably exaggerated. After that, the narrative is pretty trustworthy insofar as it addresses the wider socio-political environment. When it deals with ideology, whether it be Josiah's reforms, miraculous battles, centralized worship, strict monotheism, or whatever, it is much less trustworthy.

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I was wondering how others would respond to this question from a fellow member of the Church.

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question from a class member outside of class?

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question during class?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. I take the story about Lot's wife with a grain of salt.

I LOVE the Old Testament. I think it is one of the most fascinating pieces of literature ever compiled and I especially love Genesis. As far as how much of it I believe is true, I'd say "all" of it in a sense. The problem is that we live in a world that is much more "literal" than the ancient world, so if we define "true" as "literal", we will become disillusioned with some of the most important lessons we have to learn. I always try to read scripture with an eye towards the lesson and not the literal, physical properties of the story. Sometimes the numbers are probably off or the events exaggerated, but I don't care.

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And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question from a class member outside of class?

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question during class?

First of all, the answer imo better be the same in class as outside of class if you have any "class".

My answer would be:

"Brother Questioner, I think you have to take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt- heck I take the evening news with a grain of salt! What is important is that the Lord has revealed these principles to help us in our lives, and we can have a testimony of that fact through prayer."

Knowing me, I would probably take a half hour to say about the same thing, which I would not recommend, but that is the gist of it.

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I'm repeatedly asked about this, and my explanation is that some of it is legend, some of it is rhetoric, some of it is embellished memory, and some of it is history. In general, the borders between these categories are pretty fuzzy. My answer is the same inside of class and out, although at church I emphasize that, historical or not, there are lessons in the text that can make us better people. Some were probably intended, some probably imposed, but in my opinion the distinction's unimportant.

Before the Israelite state there is too little information in the texts to provide a comprehensive enough model for testing. When there is enough info it is largely in conflict with what is known, but it depends on the model. For instance, there is no way in heaven or on earth that millions of people exodused from Egypt. It's possible that a few or several thousand did, though. There's no way the Israelites came into Canaan and destroyed city after Canaanite city, which is what we get from a strict reading of Joshua. The story in Judges (that they didn't destroy many cities), however, is a little more plausible. There is also an indigenous aspect of the material Israelite culture. Leaving aside the difficulties with defining ethnicity and identifying it through material remains, it seems a representative portion of Israelites were natives to Canaan and were not living in Egypt. From what we can reconstruct from archaeology, there was likely a Saul, a David, a Solomon, and a Jeroboam. The extent and wealth of the Israelite state is likely exaggerated. The numbers from the Exodus and the conquest and so forth are demonstrably exaggerated. After that, the narrative is pretty trustworthy insofar as it addresses the wider socio-political environment. When it deals with ideology, whether it be Josiah's reforms, miraculous battles, centralized worship, strict monotheism, or whatever, it is much less trustworthy.

This is exactly what I believe.

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I'm the Gospel Doctrine teacher for the Oxford Ward, and this is brought up pretty much every week in class. There's one older gentleman who I'm told did a DPhil in Egyptology at Oxford (and works in IT) who likes to take whatever opportunities he can get to criticize the general membership for not understanding the scriptures. He's tried to get into it with me a couple times, too. His wife has explained at some point in every lesson that much of the Old Testament probably isn't true and so we should keep that in mind. I'm repeatedly asked about this, and my explanation is that some of it is legend, some of it is rhetoric, some of it is embellished memory, and some of it is history. In general, the borders between these categories are pretty fuzzy. My answer is the same inside of class and out, although at church I emphasize that, historical or not, there are lessons in the text that can make us better people. Some were probably intended, some probably imposed, but in my opinion the distinction's unimportant.

Before the Israelite state there is too little information in the texts to provide a comprehensive enough model for testing. When there is enough info it is largely in conflict with what is known, but it depends on the model. For instance, there is no way in heaven or on earth that millions of people exodused from Egypt. It's possible that a few or several thousand did, though. There's no way the Israelites came into Canaan and destroyed city after Canaanite city, which is what we get from a strict reading of Joshua. The story in Judges (that they didn't destroy many cities), however, is a little more plausible. There is also an indigenous aspect of the material Israelite culture. Leaving aside the difficulties with defining ethnicity and identifying it through material remains, it seems a representative portion of Israelites were natives to Canaan and were not living in Egypt. From what we can reconstruct from archaeology, there was likely a Saul, a David, a Solomon, and a Jeroboam. The extent and wealth of the Israelite state is likely exaggerated. The numbers from the Exodus and the conquest and so forth are demonstrably exaggerated. After that, the narrative is pretty trustworthy insofar as it addresses the wider socio-political environment. When it deals with ideology, whether it be Josiah's reforms, miraculous battles, centralized worship, strict monotheism, or whatever, it is much less trustworthy.

I'm sure that modern scholarship is to be justifiably credited with shedding much light on these matters. However, count me among those who will not be surprised in the least to ultimately learn (when the records are opened "on high") that a lot of things we thought were mere folklore did, in fact, actually happen.

A global flood, the "sun standing still," the river Jordan "standing on a heap" whilst the children of Israel passed over ... miracles all. Did none of them really happen? Speaking for myself, I'm not so sure ... but I am sure that I detect a very real tendency among the rising generation of LDS intelligentsia to no longer believe in miracles on the order of those spoken of in the scriptures. Which is the greater miracle: that Jesus restored the sight of a blind man, or that the Jordan did "stand upon an heap" as the people crossed over; that Enoch spoke and a mountain was moved, or that a man dead three days was restored to life, never to die again?

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I'm sure that modern scholarship is to be justifiably credited with shedding much light on these matters. However, count me among those who will not be surprised in the least to ultimately learn (when the records are opened "on high") that a lot of things we thought were mere folklore did, in fact, actually happen.

I've got no problem either way- if they did or did not happen, my faith is exactly the same.

But I think THAT in itself is the problem- for some, if things did NOT happen exactly as written, they would apostatize. THAT is why I think we need a more comprehensive view.

When your testimony is based on the spirit, there is no other evidence necessary- not because there is no other evidence, just that it is not necessary. The story of the ot is God's covenant with mankind- not whether or not there "was" a global flood.

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This question was posed to me last night by a member of my Sunday school class.

Fortunately, it was not during class, so I felt more at liberty to share how I really felt.

I was wondering how others would respond to this question from a fellow member of the Church.

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question from a class member outside of class?

And would your answer change if you were a Gospel Doctrine teacher answering the question during class?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. I take the story about Lot's wife with a grain of salt.

Joseph Smith himself suggested that there are errors in the OT and NT; hence, 1) the 8th Article of Faith, and 2) revisions he made to parts of the Bible ("inspired version").

And that's what I would tell my Gospel Doctrine class.

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