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Answers To Gospel Problems


formerpastor

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I am sure that it contains mostly sound doctrine -- the author was known in the Church to be a doctrinal scholar, and besides being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years before succeeding to the presidency, his father was also president of the Church in his time (and appointed him), as well, so he certainly was well-versed in LDS doctrine.

That being said, the book originated in a monthly column that appeared in the Church monthly magazine (The Improvement Era) beginning in 1953, and it wasn't intended as a doctrinal exposition, per se, which is something you should keep in mind. I don't know when the column was discontinued. The questions the book endeavors to answer were questions that were submitted to the magazines by members, and as such certainly doesn't cover universal ground. The book, or selections from it, has been used as official instructional materials in the Church, so I suspect that it would not lead you astray as far as that goes.

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I am sure that it contains mostly sound doctrine -- the author was known in the Church to be a doctrinal scholar, and besides being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years before succeeding to the presidency, his father was also president of the Church in his time (and appointed him), as well, so he certainly was well-versed in LDS doctrine.

That being said, the book originated in a monthly column that appeared in the Church monthly magazine (The Improvement Era) beginning in 1953, and it wasn't intended as a doctrinal exposition, per se, which is something you should keep in mind. I don't know when the column was discontinued. The questions the book endeavors to answer were questions that were submitted to the magazines by members, and as such certainly doesn't cover universal ground. The book, or selections from it, has been used as official instructional materials in the Church, so I suspect that it would not lead you astray as far as that goes.

That's good to know. I can download all volumes on my Kindle at a good price. Thank you.

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That's good to know. I can download all volumes on my Kindle at a good price. Thank you.

ATGQ is fairly idiosyncratic. I don't know that it really represented Mormonism back then, and it certainly doesn't now...

JFieldingSmith had some extreme views that were not shared among the rest of the apostles or President McKay.

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ATGQ is fairly idiosyncratic. I don't know that it really represented Mormonism back then, and it certainly doesn't now...

JFieldingSmith had some extreme views that were not shared among the rest of the apostles or President McKay.

OK, then, what writings other than the Standard Works can you recommend that correctly represents the church today? I am sure there are faithful men that have written solid works concerning church doctrine. Can you list some of them for me?

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I have been interested in the series by Joseph Fielding Smith concerning Answers to Gospel Questions. I understand he was a President of the Church. Any one have that series and can recommend it as a good source to learn from?

I don't recommend it. It is dated and hardly represents 21st century Mormon thought. Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a much better up-to-date resource. And the good news is that some (or all) of it is available online. Maybe someone can post a link to it for you/me. Sorry... I don't have time to do so now. My wife and I have a date tonight!

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OK, then, what writings other than the Standard Works can you recommend that correctly represents the church today? I am sure there are faithful men that have written solid works concerning church doctrine. Can you list some of them for me?

The current Church curriculum manuals are available at LDS.org. That might be what you are looking for. But again... the Encyclopedia of Mormonism will probably be your best available resource for understanding what today's mormons believe and teach.

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ATGQ is fairly idiosyncratic. I don't know that it really represented Mormonism back then, and it certainly doesn't now...

JFieldingSmith had some extreme views that were not shared among the rest of the apostles or President McKay.

And StarGazer said "I am sure that it contains mostly sound doctrine -- the author was known in the Church to be a doctrinal scholar, and besides being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years before succeeding to the presidency, his father was also president of the Church in his time (and appointed him), as well, so he certainly was well-versed in LDS doctrine.

How is it that a man who served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years and then the Presidency, have views that did not represent Mormonism back then or even shared with other apostles and leaders? Who then can you trust to give you the truth? Were his doctrinal views distorted? Why do you say Smith did not really represent Mormonism? I'd be interested to hear your position.

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And StarGazer said "I am sure that it contains mostly sound doctrine -- the author was known in the Church to be a doctrinal scholar, and besides being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years before succeeding to the presidency, his father was also president of the Church in his time (and appointed him), as well, so he certainly was well-versed in LDS doctrine.

How is it that a man who served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years and then the Presidency, have views that did not represent Mormonism back then or even shared with other apostles and leaders? Who then can you trust to give you the truth? Were his doctrinal views distorted? Why do you say Smith did not really represent Mormonism? I'd be interested to hear your position.

I think The Monk means that there might be a certain amount of unusual non-doctrinal views that may once have been current but no longer are. I suppose Paul the Apostle's view that women should keep silent in church might be something which could be viewed more as opinion than doctrine, and perhaps some of what Elder Smith wrote in this book should also be so regarded.

One thing to keep in mind about Answers to Gospel Questions is that the work was not meant as a doctrinal exposition. In particular, I do believe that he states in the book that he alone is responsible for its content. The book is not published by the Church, unlike some other books, in particular Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. The Monk might possibly be more comfortable with you reading a book like that instead of AtGQ.

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And StarGazer said "I am sure that it contains mostly sound doctrine -- the author was known in the Church to be a doctrinal scholar, and besides being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years before succeeding to the presidency, his father was also president of the Church in his time (and appointed him), as well, so he certainly was well-versed in LDS doctrine.

How is it that a man who served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years and then the Presidency, have views that did not represent Mormonism back then or even shared with other apostles and leaders? Who then can you trust to give you the truth? Were his doctrinal views distorted? Why do you say Smith did not really represent Mormonism? I'd be interested to hear your position.

Mormonism is an unusual religion. Its origin is based off of direct individual interpretation and religion. From the start, it has had trouble with a variety of different individuals claiming personal interpretations of the truth. This includes bright self-styled scholars (since there are no formal scholars), leaders of the church, and lay people. Today, direct ongoing revelation for individual members is important. So you can have someone say that X was revealed to me personally and they can wholeheartedly believe it is true, but unfortunately sometimes they are still wrong. Patriarchal blessings which can be viewed in a way as scripture for you as a person are given by a local leader (the patriarch).

There is near complete agreement on the basics of the gospel. Things go haywire when you read interpretations of the "mysteries" of the gospel. There are a lot of goofy personal interpretations, the worst of which are that some church leader said something in a non-church context. An easy example is whether or not it is okay for Mormons to drink Coke. It is very clear that abstaining from nonherbal tea and coffee is part of a health code revealed from God. This has been expanded by official interpretation to include "addictive substances." So there are many people that feel strongly that Coke is against the word of wisdom and you can find personal interpretations from high-ranking Mormons that it is against the Word of Wisdom (including Joseph Fielding Smith when he was not the prophet) and others that it is not against the word of wisdom. However, this is clearly debated doctrine that is not enforced nor believed by a large proportion of stalwart Mormons. Any doctrinal writings from someone while they are not the prophet are usually viewed as their personal interpretation.

The best place to start is Gospel Principles found here: http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,8865-1-4828-2,00.html

it is very important to understand the framework first to understand what people are trying to figure out and where they are putting their interpretations.

The "gospel library" at lds.org has a lot of information. I agree that Encyclopedia of Mormonism is one of the best outside sources that tries to identify the core beliefs and the range of interpretations of those beliefs.

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I have been interested in the series by Joseph Fielding Smith concerning Answers to Gospel Questions. I understand he was a President of the Church. Any one have that series and can recommend it as a good source to learn from?

You can go to Gospellink.com, get a monthly subscription and read it there.

The first Question of the Very First Volume starts off with the question about "One God" in the testimony of the Three Witnesses, and Joseph Fielding Smith's Straightforward answer.

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I don't recommend it. It is dated and hardly represents 21st century Mormon thought. Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a much better up-to-date resource. And the good news is that some (or all) of it is available online. Maybe someone can post a link to it for you/me. Sorry... I don't have time to do so now. My wife and I have a date tonight!

Answers to Gospel Questions is definitely dated. It was compiled from a series that ran in the official Church magazine of the day. The Improvement Era, which was superseded in 1970 by the Ensign. But I'm not sure I would regard it as altogether obsolete.

Can you cite something from Answers to Gospel Questions that you think conflicts with present-day "Mormon thought."

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I have been interested in the series by Joseph Fielding Smith concerning Answers to Gospel Questions. I understand he was a President of the Church. Any one have that series and can recommend it as a good source to learn from?

Why did you make your thread title "Answers to Gospel Problems"? Was it a Freudian slip?

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But I'm not sure I would regard it as altogether obsolete.

The word "hardly" was an overstatement on my part. I ran out the door too quickly and should have more carefully proof-read my post. Yes. Most of the doctrines taught in the AtGQ volumes are consistent with present-day Mormon thought.

Can you cite something from Answers to Gospel Questions that you think conflicts with present-day "Mormon thought."

Most obvious example: How about Blacks in the Priesthood? "They may come into the Church, but they are not privileged to obtain the priesthood in this life." 5: 163.

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Mormonism is an unusual religion. Its origin is based off of direct individual interpretation and religion. From the start, it has had trouble with a variety of different individuals claiming personal interpretations of the truth. This includes bright self-styled scholars (since there are no formal scholars), leaders of the church, and lay people. Today, direct ongoing revelation for individual members is important. So you can have someone say that X was revealed to me personally and they can wholeheartedly believe it is true, but unfortunately sometimes they are still wrong. Patriarchal blessings which can be viewed in a way as scripture for you as a person are given by a local leader (the patriarch).

There is near complete agreement on the basics of the gospel. Things go haywire when you read interpretations of the "mysteries" of the gospel. There are a lot of goofy personal interpretations, the worst of which are that some church leader said something in a non-church context. An easy example is whether or not it is okay for Mormons to drink Coke. It is very clear that abstaining from nonherbal tea and coffee is part of a health code revealed from God. This has been expanded by official interpretation to include "addictive substances." So there are many people that feel strongly that Coke is against the word of wisdom and you can find personal interpretations from high-ranking Mormons that it is against the Word of Wisdom (including Joseph Fielding Smith when he was not the prophet) and others that it is not against the word of wisdom. However, this is clearly debated doctrine that is not enforced nor believed by a large proportion of stalwart Mormons. Any doctrinal writings from someone while they are not the prophet are usually viewed as their personal interpretation.

The best place to start is Gospel Principles found here: http://lds.org/libra...-4828-2,00.html

it is very important to understand the framework first to understand what people are trying to figure out and where they are putting their interpretations.

The "gospel library" at lds.org has a lot of information. I agree that Encyclopedia of Mormonism is one of the best outside sources that tries to identify the core beliefs and the range of interpretations of those beliefs.

Thank you that helps. Another question is when does a person become "The Prophet?" And who makes that decision, and are all LDS members required to obey and follow the Prophet? That is a new concept for me coming from another denomination.

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And StarGazer said "I am sure that it contains mostly sound doctrine -- the author was known in the Church to be a doctrinal scholar, and besides being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years before succeeding to the presidency, his father was also president of the Church in his time (and appointed him), as well, so he certainly was well-versed in LDS doctrine.

How is it that a man who served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for 52 years and then the Presidency, have views that did not represent Mormonism back then or even shared with other apostles and leaders? Who then can you trust to give you the truth? Were his doctrinal views distorted? Why do you say Smith did not really represent Mormonism? I'd be interested to hear your position.

Hi Formerpastor,

Here is a 1931 1st Presidency Msg link that give more insight into how issues within the church leadership can be addressed. It shows how we are free to disagree on almost anything that is not directly related to salvation.

"Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the people of the world. Leave Geology, Biology, Archaeology and Anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church."

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Thank you that helps. Another question is when does a person become "The Prophet?" And who makes that decision, and are all LDS members required to obey and follow the Prophet? That is a new concept for me coming from another denomination.

A new prophet is called soon (within days usually) after the death of the current prophet. Traditionally the next prophet has been the senior apostle in the Counsel of the 12. LDS members are not required to do anything but are expected to follow the prophet

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Hi Formerpastor,

Here is a 1931 1st Presidency Msg link that give more insight into how issues within the church leadership can be addressed. It shows how we are free to disagree on almost anything that is not directly related to salvation.

"Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the people of the world. Leave Geology, Biology, Archaeology and Anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church."

Lurker,

Thanks so much for that reference. I saw how the Church handles such difficulties and disagreements when it arises. I am thankful that there is a process that clarifies and expands upon the issues at hand. That makes sense to me.

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Most obvious example: How about Blacks in the Priesthood? "They may come into the Church, but they are not privileged to obtain the priesthood in this life." 5: 163.

The phrase "in this life" is interesting, as I so very recently went the rounds here with someone who insisted that 40 years ago, it would have been standard and "mainstream" to tell a black man he would never obtain the priesthood or the highest glory in the celestial kingdom. I maintained that Church leaders had long taught that black people would one day receive the priesthood, though no one could say when that would happen.

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I maintained that Church leaders had long taught that black people would one day receive the priesthood, though no one could say when that would happen.

As I understand it, the generally held belief was that they wouldn't receive it until the millennium.

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