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Of earrings and obeying the prophet


Rob Bowman

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Doesn't say particularly as far as I can tell. It does say this though:

Yes, and I edited that, though it's interesting that both his father and son practiced plural marriage and he didn't, unless the scriptures are incomplete, and as the scriptures you quoted infer he did have more than one wife.

In any case for some reason it is very hard for some to accept that plural marriage ever had any purpose or was sanctioned by God, even though the scriptures support it. It's easier to find the flaws in it than accept that it served its purpose at the time it was practiced whether anciently or in latter days.

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I hate the whole earring discussion. To think a prophet has to spend his time to issue edicts on personal jewelry. What have we come to when minuscule things become so important in our culture.

I suppose if you think the issue was earrings that would be true.

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Perhaps not all avenues of human learning take the same route.

Of course. Even the same principle may need to be taught differently with different individuals as I mentioned above (which is why we might often get concrete examples given...because there may be Saints that need them even if others....even a majority....do not).

Perhaps the closest we need get to specifics is in the parallels drawn from hypothetical parables.

In some cases this is sufficient, I doubt that much more is needed in teaching the general principle of not stealing, for example. However, if there is a widespread cultural behaviour that is gaining ground among the Saints, then it makes sense to me that the church leaders might address the specific behaviour as it becomes obvious that people are not making the connection for themselves....no matter how trivial that behaviour is.

Perhaps, instead of codifying against every specific false move in dogmatic fashion

And an example of a general principle that has been taught in such an itemized way?
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In the second story I quoted, a girl was commended for acting on the prophet's word without questioning it or even understanding it. I am asking if in your view she acted properly.

Rob the gospel and church is set up so we can be both united in following our leaders and yet independent in knowing for ourselves.

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As to the discussion or question whether everything stated is revelation or not, everything stated is "not" revelation. Consider the following incident.

So for those detractors that seem to think everything, every word stated is somehow revelatory, we see here clearly that such is not the case.

Mormon Times

This is a very good post. Not more than a week ago, members of this forum were discounting several very clear statements from prophets on where Cumorah is locatated because it didn't line up with their way of thinking.

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Here is an interesting General Conference address in which the speaker advocates "unquestioning obedience" to the Prophet while denying that this means "blind obedience." Yet he also acknowledges that this sometimes means doing something when we don't understand why we should do it:

Elder R. Conrad Schultz, "Faith Obedience," Ensign, May 2002, 29-31.

Schultz says, "The question is simple: Do we trust our Heavenly Father? Do we trust our prophets?"

My question is focused especially on whether this "trust" and "unquestioning obedience" extends even to statements made by the Prophet outside the standard works and General Conference addresses.

Once you have prayed about the legitimacy of the prophet, recieve a testimony of the prophet and you sustain the prophet through prayer there is no need to question every little thing. Our rebellious and prideful attitudes will get us in trouble more often than not.

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Also, I am curious to hear some comments on the fact that one of the girls is reported to have said that she agreed not to wear a second pair of earrings even though she didn't understand why it was a problem. I have read many statements from Mormons in this forum to the effect that members are not expected to accept blindly what their leaders say but are supposed to pray about it, study it out in their minds, and accept the prophet's teachings after becoming convinced in their own minds that they are correct. The young lady in the second story, in particular, does not seem to have gone through any such process.
You bring up a good point. Actions do, indeed, speak louder than words.
The prophet spoke, she immediately obeyed--without having any understanding of why. Is this an admirable thing, as the story seems to assume?
Nope.
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Tattoos and body piercings are both a form of self-mutilation that amount to placing the dictates and whims of fashion above a respect for the body as God's creation, a temple for the spirit and a component of the soul.

Mutilation is the non-lethal destruction or injury of a body part that either destroys it or degrades its appearance and/or function. I know you're putting all piercings and tats in that category because you want to make sure people associate them with all manner of horrible things that a person can do to ruin their body, but in all reality, you'd be very hard pressed to sell anyone on the idea that a nice pair of earrings constitutes a degradation in the appearance of a woman's ears. Especially when the intent (and, I would argue) the actual result of them is usually quite the opposite. And particularly when you take into account just how easily and quickly the average piercing heals. You can hardly call it a disfigurement if your body is able to literally eliminate any trace of the piercing in a matter of weeks. It's a bit like condemning alterations to one's hair like bleaching or dying, but extending it to temporary hair dye that completely goes away the first time you wash your hair. Some people might think that's hardcore and uber-spiritual, but I think it's nonsensical and quite silly. Even if you are opposed to hair-dye on grounds of "hair mutilation," you can't really be comfortable with condemning such things that are completely temporary, right? Well, piercings don't close up the first time you take a shower, but they're still quite temporary. And quite frankly, I don't think it makes any sense to cry "mutilation!" over a small hole that contributes nothing to the degradation of a woman's ear and will, in fact, completely disappear as soon as she stops sticking things through the hole on a regular basis.

Tattoos are, admittedly, a bit of a harder sell. It does involve scar tissue, it's far more permanent, and it costs a buttload of money to remove one of them. So in many respects, tattoos answer the description of "disfigurement" far more readily than piercings do. On the other hand, I've also seen quite a few tats that were tasteful and a testimony to the Gospel (for example, a cross, or just the word "Jesus"). It's hard to look at those kinds of tats and say "You degraded the appearance of your body when you got that." When I'm looking at those kinds of tats, I tend to think they're not degrading at all and therefore not an example of self-mutilation.

That contemporary society has come more and more to rationalize and embrace them does not make this any the less so.
I agree. That would be an awful reason to disagree with you in some instances. I wouldn't dream of using it.
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I just ran across this and am interested in comments on it. Apparently, some years ago President Hinckley told Mormon women not to wear more than one pair of earrings at a time. What interests me is how this instruction was expected to be received:

Now my serious question is this: If I understand the context correctly, President Hinckley's remarks about women's earrings were not made in General Conference, but in a "fireside for youth." Yet his remarks appear to be treated as equivalent to any prophetic revelation--as "the truth" that must be "accepted" and "obeyed." Is that correct? Whenever a prophet speaks in an instructional context, whether in one of the standard works or not, whether in General Conference or not, his word is "the truth" and anything he says to do is to be "obeyed"?

Also, I am curious to hear some comments on the fact that one of the girls is reported to have said that she agreed not to wear a second pair of earrings even though she didn't understand why it was a problem. I have read many statements from Mormons in this forum to the effect that members are not expected to accept blindly what their leaders say but are supposed to pray about it, study it out in their minds, and accept the prophet's teachings after becoming convinced in their own minds that they are correct. The young lady in the second story, in particular, does not seem to have gone through any such process. The prophet spoke, she immediately obeyed--without having any understanding of why. Is this an admirable thing, as the story seems to assume?

To judge correctly what President Hinckley said, you need to study his remarks in context, and preferably listen to it on video. Just quoting something out of context is likely to be misleading. I was not able to find a video, but here is the transcript of the talk, and here is an excerpt:

Teach your children self-respect. Teach them that their bodies are the creation of the Almighty. What a miraculous, wonderful, and beautiful thing is the human body.

As has been said here tonight, Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, declared:
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And notice that what he teaches is not just his personal opinion, but one that is shared with the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. It is not just about earrings. It is about disfiguring and dishonoring your body, as it is taught in the Bible.

Spot on. Teach them correct principles (occasionally illustrated with practical examples), then let them govern themselves. Some critics are very good at isolating the practical examples from the doctrine which they originally served to illustrate, and brandishing them as examples of dogmatic abuse by LDS leaders.

Unfortunately, some LDS are also adept at using the same technique to be "commanded in all things", expecting everyone else around them to measure up to their level of Pharisaic conformity. I think this is even more damaging than the critics' misguided attacks.

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To judge correctly what President Hinckley said, you need to study his remarks in context, and preferably listen to it on video. Just quoting something out of context is likely to be misleading. I was not able to find a video, but here is the transcript of the talk, and here is an excerpt:

but it would seem President Hinckley made two conflicting statements in the same month, or within a matter of months.

Robs first quote is from Jan 01, What you quote is Nov 2000.

In Nov. 2000 "one pair" is stated to the youth and young adults, but in the same month is what you post.

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They were not utter disasters. I note that all had children and wives that loved and obeyed him. They also gave birth to whole nations. And this is a disaster how? I would also like to know where God disapproved of Abraham's marriage, or Jacobs for that matter. I would be interested in seeing the context of the scriptures that spoke to these issues. God has not always approved of polygamy, but God has not always condemned it, and God has sanctioned it with Joseph Smith, Hyrum and Brigham Young et al... so no, not disasters and certainly not universaly condemned.

And I could go hire 20 $5 hookers and have children. Merely producing children is not an indication of divine approval of the act.

I would be more then happy to discuss the circumstances, in context, of Abraham's and Jacob's foray into polygamy.

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And I could go hire 20 $5 hookers and have children. Merely producing children is not an indication of divine approval of the act.

I would be more then happy to discuss the circumstances, in context, of Abraham's and Jacob's foray into polygamy.

In other words you have no real scriptural backing to show that polygamy was condemned by God in Jacob's case or Abraham's. Nor can you show scripturally that God even disapproved of the acts. You have only your opinion in which you believe that they went against God and committed adultry which in effect would have destroyed the covenants they had with God. An opinion that is rejected by both modern and ancient prophets given their reverence for the two individuals.

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In other words you have no real scriptural backing to show that polygamy was condemned by God in Jacob's case or Abraham's. Nor can you show scripturally that God even disapproved of the acts. You have only your opinion in which you believe that they went against God and committed adultry which in effect would have destroyed the covenants they had with God. An opinion that is rejected by both modern and ancient prophets given their reverence for the two individuals.

Wow.... way to absolutely blow your street cred as a mind reader. I said I am MORE then willing to discuss the scriptural context of Abraham's and Jacob's polygamous relationships, because I believe they show clearly that the circumstances were man inspired, not God inspired. And I believe that the Lord was merciful to Abraham in mistake and Jacob in being deceived and pressured by his wives...

Acts 17:30

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Since God has now clearly condemned the practice, we are under no such provision of mercy.

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Quote
Acts 17:30

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Since God has now clearly condemned the practice, we are under no such provision of mercy.

And your specific scriptural reference can be tied to polygamy how? Were either Paul or Silas discussing polygamy or are you presuming that the vague scriptural reference speaks specifically to polygamy?

Is there anywhere in which God condmened Abraham his polygamy or Jacob? You still have not shown us where? Is there anywhere perhaps that God showed Abraham or Jacob should be held in less reverence? Is there anything other than you using a scripture that could be applied to ANYTHING you disagreed which would substantiate your claim?

Jeff K., on 08 February 2011 - 10:23 AM, said:

In other words you have no real scriptural backing to show that polygamy was condemned by God in Jacob's case or Abraham's. Nor can you show scripturally that God even disapproved of the acts. You have only your opinion in which you believe that they went against God and committed adultry which in effect would have destroyed the covenants they had with God. An opinion that is rejected by both modern and ancient prophets given their reverence for the two individuals.

Wow.... way to absolutely blow your street cred as a mind reader. I said I am MORE then willing to discuss the scriptural context of Abraham's and Jacob's polygamous relationships, because I believe they show clearly that the circumstances were man inspired, not God inspired. And I believe that the Lord was merciful to Abraham in mistake and Jacob in being deceived and pressured by his wives...

Wow.... way to absolutely blow your street cred as a reader of English.

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And your specific scriptural reference can be tied to polygamy how? Were either Paul or Silas discussing polygamy or are you presuming that the vague scriptural reference speaks specifically to polygamy?

Is there anywhere in which God condmened Abraham his polygamy or Jacob? You still have not shown us where? Is there anywhere perhaps that God showed Abraham or Jacob should be held in less reverence? Is there anything other than you using a scripture that could be applied to ANYTHING you disagreed which would substantiate your claim?

Jeff K., on 08 February 2011 - 10:23 AM, said:

Wow.... way to absolutely blow your street cred as a reader of English.

The verse speaks to God's mercy concerning the cultural mistakes of the ancients, mentioning specifically idols. But I believe the overall message is clear concerning mercy towards their ignorance and that we are not cut the same slack under the New Covenant.

I made it clear that they weren't condemned for their polygamy, but that God showed mercy towards them because of their ignorance and the culture from which they emerged. Just because God extended this mercy doesn't mean He commanded or approved of the act. Perhaps it is you that has trouble with the English language?

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BookofMormonLuvr:

Except that in the Bible we have God giving the wives of Saul to David.

Because of David's lustful heart. The Lord was seeking to control David by making Himself the decider on who David would marry, because He knew David of David's lust. We can see what David would have married, had not the Lord tried to intervene, by looking to his son Solomon, who had a lustful heart like his father.

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The verse speaks to God's mercy concerning the cultural mistakes of the ancients, mentioning specifically idols. But I believe the overall message is clear concerning mercy towards their ignorance and that we are not cut the same slack under the New Covenant.

I made it clear that they weren't condemned for their polygamy, but that God showed mercy towards them because of their ignorance and the culture from which they emerged. Just because God extended this mercy doesn't mean He commanded or approved of the act. Perhaps it is you that has trouble with the English language?

They weren't condemned and more to the point, their polygamy was not condemned. You are grasping at straws to make you unsubstantiated opinion work. Unless you have scripture that reflects something accruately that God never allowed polygamy but was actively against it, you pretty much have nothing beyond your own limited perspective.

You are living proof why we need a living prophet today.

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Once you have prayed about the legitimacy of the prophet, recieve a testimony of the prophet and you sustain the prophet through prayer there is no need to question every little thing. Our rebellious and prideful attitudes will get us in trouble more often than not.

Warning: irony/satire alert: Mormons believe in being open minded, examining religious issues from all sides and praying to learn religious truth (to rely on God, not just humans)--before baptism. Following baptism, when the Brethren have spoken, there is no longer any need even to think about it, pray about it, or even have an open mind. The thinking has been done. End of irony/satire.

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Good question. And what about circumcision? I consider that much more of a mutilation than an extra set of holes in a persons ears.

As I said before, the oddest thing to me isn't the counsel regarding earrings and tattoos, it's the sheer inconsistency of it.

For example, how can it be acceptable for women to pierce their ears, but for men not to, if the issue is one of body "mutilation"? Why is poking holes in a woman's ears any less damaging than a man's ears? And since most other piercings are single-hole (nose, tongue), why wouldn't a nose piercing be preferable to ear piercings (thus reducing the number of holes by half)?

Of course, it could be argued that the counsel is based on cultural mores and styles, which would make more sense given recent LDS perceptions of such superficial things as shirt colors for men and beards. While this is more consistent, I'm not totally sold on the idea that such things are important to God.

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Warning: irony/satire alert: Mormons believe in being open minded, examining religious issues from all sides and praying to learn religious truth (to rely on God, not just humans)--before baptism. Following baptism, when the Brethren have spoken, there is no longer any need even to think about it, pray about it, or even have an open mind. The thinking has been done. End of irony/satire.

That's not what I said.

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