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Infallibility


inquiringmind

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I've always believed that the Bible (as originally inspired) is doctrinally infallible.

As a Mormon, I would tend to view The Book of Mormon the same way, but is that how Mormons view it?

I've seen it suggested that the Nephite prophets believed that Jesus and The Father were the same person, and that there was only one God, but were mistaken.

Is that possible?

Does it matter?

Is the Book of Mormon (as originally written on the gold plates, or as translated by JS) doctrinally infallible?

Is that the way latter day saints here view it?

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You present a wonderful question which reinforces the basic need of mankind. A prophet helps us hold to the iron rod, a church without one, any church, soon distances itself from God. So if you have a prophet leading your church, then little else does matter since it will be God leading your church, not books, not ideas, and not debates.

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I've always believed that the Bible (as originally inspired) is doctrinally infallible.

As a Mormon, I would tend to view The Book of Mormon the same way, but is that how Mormons view it?

I've seen it suggested that the Nephite prophets believed that Jesus and The Father were the same person, and that there was only one God, but were mistaken.

Is that possible?

Does it matter?

Is the Book of Mormon (as originally written on the gold plates, or as translated by JS) doctrinally infallible?

Is that the way latter day saints here view it?

I am not currently LDS. But this is my understanding.

Different people read the same scriptures and have completely different understandings of them. So it is self evident that any scriptures of themselves are never infalliable.

One must "receive the Spirit" to understand any true scripture correctly.

One must put all their beliefs and traditions "on the alter" and be ready to give them up if necessary if they desire to receive the true spirit.

One must be ready to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk if they desire to receive the true spirit. God requires not just "works", he requires intense works that fill up all your life. If you are not interested in that, it is hard to receive the correct spirit.

Following the "iron rod" requires one receive and follow the correct spirit with the scriptures. If there are minor or even significant errors in the "scriptures"(which are produced by prophets, but who are still men in the flesh), the correct spirit will compensate and still lead one correctly.

Richard

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I don't think I view anything/anyone (short of Deity) as doctrinally infallible. The idea that there is continued revelation suggests to me that our current knowledge is imperfect (and therefore fallible). While many might argue that Moroni is talking about errors other than doctrinal (historical, for example), he himself says, "And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn itbecause of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater thingsthan these." (Moroni 8:12). His admission that there are imperfections relieves me of any burden I might feel under to try to explain what appear to be errors. I'll gladly admit that I believe most of the "errors" people find in the Book of Mormon are misunderstandings, but I don't sweat it when something appears to be an "imperfection."

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Is the Book of Mormon (as originally written on the gold plates, or as translated by JS) doctrinally infallible?

“Charity never faileth.”(1 Corinthians 13: 8 ). So this attribute and whatever is done with it (the pure love of Christ) are infallible. Charity is bestowed upon all who are true followers of Jesus Christ. This is how they become the sons of God, so that when He shall appear they shall be like Him, for they shall see Him as He is, the hope of being purified even as he is pure. (Moroni 7: 46-48).

The Book of Mormon, like people, is infallible despite any perceived (real or imagined) imperfections by virtue of the larger role in the salvation of God’s children when applied properly in the hands and grace of Christ and those who follow Him. One cannot eventually go wrong by following its precepts by the Spirit and engaging in all it points to and testifies of. When the saints have sufficient charity to cover their sins and imperfections in the grace of Christ and play a role in the salvation of their brothers and sisters, they become infallible in this same regard.

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I've always believed that the Bible (as originally inspired) is doctrinally infallible.

As a Mormon, I would tend to view The Book of Mormon the same way, but is that how Mormons view it?

I've seen it suggested that the Nephite prophets believed that Jesus and The Father were the same person, and that there was only one God, but were mistaken.

Is that possible?

Does it matter?

Is the Book of Mormon (as originally written on the gold plates, or as translated by JS) doctrinally infallible?

Is that the way latter day saints here view it?

Regarding the possibility that Nephite's believed that Jesus and the Father (El Elyon) were the same person but were mistaken, I'm not opposed to the possiblity since my view of prophets permits it. However, in this case I think that those who make this proposal are the ones who misread, mis-contextualize, use presentist reading of the same set of selected proof-texts, and overlook important passages. In Paradigms Regained, I wrote:

If we take the Book of Mormon at face value and accept the time and place that it asserts for itself, read in light of Barker's work, the context presupposes a reading in which Jehovah is Jesus, the Son of the Most High. And that is what the Book of Mormon clearly says:

And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.123

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and said unto them: Behold, ye have heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father; therefore, whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day . . . Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end.124

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/papers/?paperID=6&chapterID=50

Also see for instance, Brant Gardner's

http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2003_Monotheism_Messiah_and_Mormons_Book.html

And of course Barker's The Second Person.

http://www.theway.org.uk/back/431Barker.pdf

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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I've seen it suggested that the Nephite prophets believed that Jesus and The Father were the same person, and that there was only one God, but were mistaken.

Is that possible?

I'm not so sure that 3 Nephi 11 supports that theory.

6And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:

7Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.

8And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man bdescending out of heaven; and he was lothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.

9And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:

10Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

11And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

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Does it matter?

No.

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Is that the way latter day saints here view it?

I think the best way to understand how LDS view the concept of "infallibility" is to understand how we view "revelation" including scripture (which would usually be included in "past revelations") written by past prophets, seers and revelators.

Here is an excellent article in my opinion summarizing our view and it includes a very concise statement about "infallibility" toward the end:

We make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, or revelators.

And this would include their works as well, even those inspired by God.

http://lds.org/ensign/1989/11/continuous-revelation?lang=eng&noLang=true&path=/ensign/1989/11/continuous-revelation

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There are a few basic doctrines which are infallible: the atonement, the existence and nature of God, etc. etc. - info contained within the 13 articles of faith - as for the rest? Most information is contextual / relativistic / so as Jesus told the scribes / Pharisees... you have to go with the spirit of the thing, not the letter of it...

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There are a few basic doctrines which are infallible

Disagree. All doctrine is explained through human language and therefore is incomplete and fallible.

CFR that LDS believe those doctrines are somehow "infallible".

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I try to distinguish between the 'message' and the 'content.' What is the message? That Jesus Christ saves. That is infallible. What is the content? The specific words used to convey the message, which could be full of errrors.

Like the Bible, I like to refer to the Book of Mormon as infallible, but not inerrant.

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As far back as I can remember, I have been taught and I have believed that all religious expression is the product of fallible human beings. Scripture, all of it, is no exception. For a multitude of reasons the written word contains inconsistency, contradiction and even error. As has already been said, the current prophet is the most important oracle to get truth by; that is the doctrine of the LDS Church: the current prophet trumps all previous prophets. And connected to this is the doctrine that if you follow the incorrect counsel of the current prophet you will be blessed for doing so anyway.

I don't hold to this extreme view of obedience. It has always made me uncomfortable. My belief in the fallibility of men makes it impossible for me to obey blindly. In the past, I have also quoted the LDS maxim, "When the prophet speaks the debate is over". But I do not hold myself to it....

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A prophet helps us hold to the iron rod, a church without one, any church, soon distances itself from God. So if you have a prophet leading your church, then little else does matter since it will be God leading your church, not books, not ideas, and not debates.

I should think that a church, any church, that relies on anyone other than Jesus to "hold to the iron rod," would soon distance itself from God.

Respectfully,

Balzer

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I should think that a church, any church, that relies on anyone other than Jesus to "hold to the iron rod," would soon distance itself from God.

Respectfully,

Balzer

So throw out the scriptures?

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So throw out the scriptures?

:rofl:

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I've always believed that the Bible (as originally inspired) is doctrinally infallible.

As a Mormon, I would tend to view The Book of Mormon the same way, but is that how Mormons view it?

I've seen it suggested that the Nephite prophets believed that Jesus and The Father were the same person, and that there was only one God, but were mistaken.

Is that possible?

Does it matter?

Is the Book of Mormon (as originally written on the gold plates, or as translated by JS) doctrinally infallible?

Is that the way latter day saints here view it?

Anything that has been touched by the hand of man has the chance of being fallible.

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Anything that has been touched by the hand of man has the chance of being fallible.

And what has not been "touched by the hand of man"?

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I've always believed that the Bible (as originally inspired) is doctrinally infallible.

As a Mormon, I would tend to view The Book of Mormon the same way, but is that how Mormons view it?

I've seen it suggested that the Nephite prophets believed that Jesus and The Father were the same person, and that there was only one God, but were mistaken.

Is that possible?

Does it matter?

Is the Book of Mormon (as originally written on the gold plates, or as translated by JS) doctrinally infallible?

Is that the way latter day saints here view it?

I think its dangerous territory to view anything in such black and white terms as infallible.You can paint yourself in a corner if you look at it that way. By infallible do you mean everything in there is 100% true? Because careful study of the Bible and BOM provides many contradictions (which I will not address as this will ultimately derail the thread's original question.)

With that being said the books have their merits and their base claims improve lives. Unless the books were physically written by God's own hand and the text was untouched by human interference or reasoning, I could possibly assume them infallable.

However, they were written by men who are not perfect even if they were prophets. If the Bible is infallible, why do we need the BOM? If the BOM is infallible, why the need for modern prophets?

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Well, not all of them.

Respectfully,

Balzer

Since none of the scriptures have come to us directly from the Lord's mouth himself to our ear, what prophets are you giving a pass to allow them to hold onto the iron rod for you?
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Since none of the scriptures have come to us directly from the Lord's mouth himself to our ear, what prophets are you giving a pass to allow them to hold onto the iron rod for you?

You know I'm not LDS right?

Respectfully,

Balzer

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I've always believed that the Bible (as originally inspired) is doctrinally infallible.

inquiringmind,

I am not trying to cut into your thread. But could expand on what you mean in this statement? It seems to be a problematic statement on the surface.

Given that there are a number of sects of believers that extract differing doctrines from the Bible, you would at least have to account for interpretative bias. I suppose I don't see it as doctrinally infallible for that reason.

Not saying I don't hold to Biblical infallibility, I actually do, just in a different sort of way than that. I would tend to think the Bible is spiritually infallible.

That may sound like a bit of jibberish, I mean how can a book be spiritually true? It is just a book.. a collection of words it doesn't live, breath, make decisions and has no attributable spiritual elements on its own. However, I think a major role the Holy Spirit has is breath life into these words for us. Make the truth of them come alive, so to speak.

I suppose I see, the Bible as well spring of spiritual truth and if we illicit the Holy Spirit either directly or through mortal agents the Holy Spirit employs we will receive such truth infallibly. However, if dip into this wellspring in a willy nilly sort of fashion using and sort of cup we may run the risk of diluting or tainting what we have drawn and not actually receive any such spiritual truth that is therein.

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