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Bible - "Translated Correctly?"


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The 8th article of faith reads, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly..."

Consider what the bible is - how the canon was established.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

There are different theories of when the present Christian canon came to be. The Council of Nicaea, Florence & Trent are theorized.

Many writings were disgarded (like the book of Mary), sometimes for corrupt reasons, to "box" it up, as Constantine ordered, to have more political power.

Some were persecuted & even killed for trying to translate the bible, like William Tyndale:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale

Is "the word of God" the literal word on the page? I don't think God spoke to Moses in Elizabethan English.

How do we know how to translate biblical scriptures?

Do we take them literally - like the 10 commandments, or do we liken them to us symbolically, as Jesus taught in parables?

Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickenth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, & they are life." - John 6:63

The words we use are tools to stir the spirit within us... & how they we are affected by a word depends on our interpretation.

How we interpret words is extremely important, especially since a signficant percentage of mental illness cases are considered to be rooted in misunderstandings of Christian doctrine.

Some biblical scriptures could be taken to mean fear & shame... Or the same scripture could be taken as loving spiritual guidance.

What matters is that we are uplifted spiritually by our interpretation... encouraged to have joy, either by appreciating or discovering new perspectives.

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How do we know how to translate biblical scriptures?

Do we take them literally - like the 10 commandments, or do we liken them to us symbolically, as Jesus taught in parables?

Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickenth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, & they are life." - John 6:63

Radical spiritualisation and allegorisation of scripture is just as harmful and false as radical literalism.

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Radical spiritualisation and allegorisation of scripture is just as harmful and false as radical literalism.

Please explain specifically how interpreting spiritual messages spiritually, & parables symbolically is as harmful as radically literal interpretations.

Taking scriptures literally (especially mistaught fear & shame) has been considered to be the root of most cases of mental illness... from depression to suicide.

The fact that UT leads the nation (is #1) for anti-depressant use, may have something to do with this.

Edited by HeatherAnn
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The fact that UT leads the nation (is #1) for anti-depressant use, supports this.

This is a very problematic statistic. See Valerie Hudson: http://www.fairlds.o...rmon_Women.html

It's good to take the scriptures allegorically when it's specifically stated that they are allegories. At the same time, I think we should be careful not to demythologize things to the point that, say, we forget that God had an actual body with parts and passions (including anger), as we once did in the Great Apostasy.

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith
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Please explain specifically how interpreting spiritual messages spiritually, & parables symbolically is as harmful as radically literal interpretations.

I said radically spiritualising or allegorising. You don't seem to want to accept any part of scripture as literal, especially if it goes against instant, feel-good gratification. Extreme allegorising very easily leads to losing one's moral compass. Any behaviour can be justified if prohibitions are not considered literal, but merely figurative. You would do well to read Scholem's essay "Redemption through Sin" which relates the history of this sort of idea which was had by an actual group of extreme allegorists.

The point of the atonement is that there ARE things which are wrong, things which we should feel guilt for, things which separate us from God. What the atonement gives us is the ability to overtcome that guilt, change our lives, become whole again and be reconciled unto God.

Taking scriptures literally (especially mistaught fear & shame) has been considered to be the root of most cases of mental illness... from depression to suicide.

CFR.

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I think we need to make some distinctions here.

We are talking on one hand about ancient texts written in ancient languages by humans who were part of their culture and times. That presents a huge problem in just rendering their words "accurately" in modern English, much less the underlying cultural contexts. But that is the job of scholars.

On the other hand, we have the spiritual interpretation of those words and that context written so long ago. In what sense are those words "accurately representing" some kind of "divine reality"?

I have sort of hand a discussion with volgadon on a similar issue and I raised questions about if Kabbalah is "true". In other words, is there anything "real" to be learned about the nature of God from Kabbalah, when it is totally within a Hebrew context. If you know no Hebrew, you cannot possibly understand Kabbalah. You may read about it, but it will always feel foreign and odd. Yet surely God reveals his truths for everyone- so what do we do with "truths" which are so restricted to one culture?

Whatever our understanding of scripture, if it be "literal" (meaning according to our present understanding of what those words probably mean, as translated and commented upon by competent scholars) or "figurative", allegorical, symbolic etc, it must be guided by the Spirit.

I think we can never totally escape our cultural "vocabularies"- all these truths will be filtered by our cultural prejudices. But certainly it is appropriate to interpret some scriptures literally- as volgadon has pointed out, especially the commandments for example.

But which we take literally and which we take figuratively is a decision we need to make individually in the creation of our own understanding of where we stand in relation to God and the universe, as determined by the Spirit. We can never surrender that to anyone else in slavish acceptance of dogma.

We need to keep that freedom to interpret according to our own consciences or we become automatons. :morg:

Edited by mfbukowski
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I said radically spiritualising or allegorising. You don't seem to want to accept any part of scripture as literal, especially if it goes against instant, feel-good gratification. Extreme allegorising very easily leads to losing one's moral compass. Any behaviour can be justified if prohibitions are not considered literal, but merely figurative. You would do well to read Scholem's essay "Redemption through Sin" which relates the history of this sort of idea which was had by an actual group of extreme allegorists.

The point of the atonement is that there ARE things which are wrong, things which we should feel guilt for, things which separate us from God. What the atonement gives us is the ability to overtcome that guilt, change our lives, become whole again and be reconciled unto God.

CFR.

If you read the following thread... you'll realize that I do accept some scriptures as literal...

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/54986-why-engraven-images-of-a-caucasian-jesus/

I agree with you about repentance....We need to correct thinking, which corrects feelings (motives) & actions... so we can be in line with God's will & be happier.

Figuring out what is correct & incorrect thinking takes both intellectually studying things out & also going by the spirit.

I read about mental illness being associated with misunderstandings of Christian teachings in the book, "Beyond Death's Door" by LDS Author Brent & Wendy Top.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2052839.Beyond_Death_s_Door

For more information regarding religion & mental illness...

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/06/23/mental-illness-nearly-invisible-in-many-churches/27191.html

http://realdoctorstu.com/2011/03/29/new-study-asks-can-religion-help-you-fight-serious-illness/

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Taking scriptures literally (especially mistaught fear & shame) has been considered to be the root of most cases of mental illness... from depression to suicide.

The fact that UT leads the nation (is #1) for anti-depressant use, may have something to do with this.

It is my view that the reason anti-depressant usage is so high in Utah is first because LDS tend to go to professional help either personally or in marriage counselling, while people of other states tend to go to drugs and alcohol, and then when people get to the professional the professionals "automatic" response to solving every problem is to give the patient anti-depressants.

I know this is true because it happened to me once. Went with my wife to the counselor, we were having some minor marriage problems, I was very exhausted from school and the marriage problems, the counselor went on a speal in which I thought he was going to give me some great incite into things, and then he says "I believe this pill, this anti-depressant with help you a great deal". I was just flabbergasted. I mean, I was just tired and had some minor marital issues, and the guy is wanting to give me drugs, and not sleeping pills either, but anti-depressants. This was also at an LDS college. Since I've discovered this is common in the counseling field, everyone is getting prescribed drugs when they don't actually need them.

It is my view that these two factors is the ONLY reason why Utah has high anti-depressant usage. Oh, as well as non-LDS in Utah, not having easy access to alcohol, so they also go to counselors.

Thus, this issue has nothing actually to do with the Church when one looks at it, other than as an aside.

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I think we need to make some distinctions here.

We are talking on one hand about ancient texts written in ancient languages by humans who were part of their culture and times. That presents a huge problem in just rendering their words "accurately" in modern English, much less the underlying cultural contexts. But that is the job of scholars.

On the other hand, we have the spiritual interpretation of those words and that context written so long ago. In what sense are those words "accurately representing" some kind of "divine reality"?

I have sort of hand a discussion with volgadon on a similar issue and I raised questions about if Kabbalah is "true". In other words, is there anything "real" to be learned about the nature of God from Kabbalah, when it is totally within a Hebrew context. If you know no Hebrew, you cannot possibly understand Kabbalah. You may read about it, but it will always feel foreign and odd. Yet surely God reveals his truths for everyone- so what do we do with "truths" which are so restricted to one culture?

Whatever our understanding of scripture, if it be "literal" (meaning according to our present understanding of what those words probably mean, as translated and commented upon by competent scholars) or "figurative", allegorical, symbolic etc, it must be guided by the Spirit.

I think we can never totally escape our cultural "vocabularies"- all these truths will be filtered by our cultural prejudices. But certainly it is appropriate to interpret some scriptures literally- as volgadon has pointed out, especially the commandments for example.

But which we take literally and which we take figuratively is a decision we need to make individually in the creation of our own understanding of where we stand in relation to God and the universe, as determined by the Spirit. We can never surrender that to anyone else in slavish acceptance of dogma.

We need to keep that freedom to interpret according to our own consciences or we become automatons. :morg:

Thanks, Mf. Those are good points, especially about interpreting with the spirit, & likening it to ourselves, instead of becoming automatic & thoughtless.

Another consideration is the tradition of placing value on these writings over those of others.

I love to read & learn - & I'd say the bible (especially the New Testament) is one of my favorites, but there are other books that have also helped me spiritually.

I don't believe in the literalness of some biblical stories ... yet I do believe in the potential for any good writing to provide some uplifting insights, especially parables we liken to us.

Writings intentionally written for that purpose (like scriptures) seem to be full of different angles of spiritual appreciation.

I've been taught to prioritize the Bible & Book of Mormon (& D&C & Pearl of Great Price) above other books.

I know some people get hung up on details & if they can't find some justification to seemingly inconsistencies, they throw it all out. I haven't & won't do that, yet I'm becoming more careful in interpretating.

Since, Joseph Smith was familiar with the Bible & Christianity of the day, no doubt it influenced his writings... some seem to be almost the exact same, KJV errors & all.

Still, what matters most is the effect (mostly from interpretation) of reading - does it help us spiritually, or not?

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It is my view that the reason anti-depressant usage is so high in Utah is first because LDS tend to go to professional help either personally or in marriage counselling, while people of other states tend to go to drugs and alcohol, and then when people get to the professional the professionals "automatic" response to solving every problem is to give the patient anti-depressants.

I know this is true because it happened to me once. Went with my wife to the counselor, we were having some minor marriage problems, I was very exhausted from school and the marriage problems, the counselor went on a speal in which I thought he was going to give me some great incite into things, and then he says "I believe this pill, this anti-depressant with help you a great deal". I was just flabbergasted. I mean, I was just tired and had some minor marital issues, and the guy is wanting to give me drugs, and not sleeping pills either, but anti-depressants. This was also at an LDS college. Since I've discovered this is common in the counseling field, everyone is getting prescribed drugs when they don't actually need them.

It is my view that these two factors is the ONLY reason why Utah has high anti-depressant usage. Oh, as well as non-LDS in Utah, not having easy access to alcohol, so they also go to counselors.

Thus, this issue has nothing actually to do with the Church when one looks at it, other than as an aside.

So, you're blaming UT leading the nation in anti-depressant use, on Utah Doctors, claiming they push it on their patients more than Doctors in other states do?

I do agree that some Doctor's are too quick to prescribe (especially to children which ticks me off!), but I think your claim is an overgeneralization, based on your experience, instead of considering Doctor's practices, nation-wide.

Also, your claim that people in UT seek councilors more often, would mean that UT also leads the nation in councilors, which is incorrect, according to US Dpt. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics...

http://www.bls.gov/o...t/oes211014.htm

Also, like us, Seventh Day Adventists do not drink alcohol, but as a group, do not use anti-depressants, as those in Utah (mostly Mormons) do.

Depression can be influenced by diet, exercise, sleep & other factors, but it's also greatly influenced by thoughts, & interpretations.

Those who feel depressed tend to interpret things in a negative, discouraging way.

Those who have a healthy self-esteem & outlook tend to interpret things in a postive, encouraging way.

Religious beliefs should be reconsidered... not just GA or church curriculum interpretation, but also how we interpret scriptures individually.

Some scriptures when taken literally could produce excessive fear & shame, contributing to depression. Yet, I've found when those same scriptures are interpreted symbolically, they can be inspiring & uplifting!

"As a man thinketh so is he..." -Proverbs 23:7

"And whatsoever thing persuadeth ment to do good is of me..." -Ether 4:12

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, becaue they are spiritually discerned." -1Cor 2:14

Edited by HeatherAnn
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So, you're blaming UT leading the nation in anti-depressant use, on Utah Doctors, claiming they push it on their patients more than Doctors in other states do?

That's not what he said.

He said that we Saints go to doctors more quickly than others do because we do not self-medicate, as so many do who turn immediately to alcohol and other stimulants or depressants, when we face problems.

The charge that Utahns use antidepressants more than other groups is based on faulty assumptions about very old data anyway, as are so many other negative "facts" about Utah (and, by "logical" extension, the Saints). I can't take the time right now to demonstrate this, but Utah likely does not lead the country in anti-depressant use, does not lead the country in teenage abortions (or pregnancies), does not lead the country in suicides, does not lead the country in spousal abuse. I have heard all of these charges (and a myriad of others like them).

Further, studies have shown that there are regional differences in how doctors prescribe. It is not unusual for doctors in one area to prescribe Xxxx much more often than doctors in another area, especially in mental health, even for similar conditions. (That's what pharmaceutical "detail men" get paid so well for accomplishing.)

The Rocky Mountain states (including Utah and Colorado) are among the highest users of anti-depressants, etc., but Utah is lower than the regional average. Would anyone really believe it were we to say that Navajos are more depressed than most USmericans because (living in Utah) they use more antidepressants? Probably, but he'd be labeled a racist.

Lehi

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That's not what he said.

He said that we Saints go to doctors more quickly than others do because we do not self-medicate, as so many do who turn immediately to alcohol and other stimulants or depressants, when we face problems.

Let's look at what Ldsfaqs wrote...

It is my view that the reason anti-depressant usage is so high in Utah is first because LDS tend to go to professional help either personally or in marriage counselling, while people of other states tend to go to drugs and alcohol, and then when people get to the professional the professionals "automatic" response to solving every problem is to give the patient anti-depressants.

I know this is true because it happened to me once. Went with my wife to the counselor, we were having some minor marriage problems, I was very exhausted from school and the marriage problems, the counselor went on a speal in which I thought he was going to give me some great incite into things, and then he says "I believe this pill, this anti-depressant with help you a great deal". I was just flabbergasted. I mean, I was just tired and had some minor marital issues, and the guy is wanting to give me drugs, and not sleeping pills either, but anti-depressants. This was also at an LDS college. Since I've discovered this is common in the counseling field, everyone is getting prescribed drugs when they don't actually need them.

It is my view that these two factors is the ONLY reason why Utah has high anti-depressant usage. Oh, as well as non-LDS in Utah, not having easy access to alcohol, so they also go to counselors.

Thus, this issue has nothing actually to do with the Church when one looks at it, other than as an aside.

Note the underlined & bolded parts.

The charge that Utahns use antidepressants more than other groups is based on faulty assumptions about very old data anyway, as are so many other negative "facts" about Utah (and, by "logical" extension, the Saints). I can't take the time right now to demonstrate this, but Utah likely does not lead the country in anti-depressant use, does not lead the country in teenage abortions (or pregnancies), does not lead the country in suicides, does not lead the country in spousal abuse. I have heard all of these charges (and a myriad of others like them).

Lehi, you don't have time to verify your incorrect claims? lol

I'm going to stick with the topic of depression - & suicide, since it's related.

Mental Health America found that Utah was the most depressed of all 50 states:

http://www.nmha.org/go/state-ranking

The Kurt Study found that Utah leads the nation in anti-depressant use:

http://www.mormonout.../kurtstudy.html

The Utah Department of Health reported Utah as having the 7th highest suicide rate in the nation

http://health.utah.g...cide/index.html

Further, studies have shown that there are regional differences in how doctors prescribe. It is not unusual for doctors in one area to prescribe Xxxx much more often than doctors in another area, especially in mental health, even for similar conditions. (That's what pharmaceutical "detail men" get paid so well for accomplishing.)

So, now you are blaming Utah doctors. :rolleyes:

IMO, That's insulting, not only to Doctors, but also patients, by assuming UT patients are more passive in their mental health care.

The Rocky Mountain states (including Utah and Colorado) are among the highest users of anti-depressants, etc., but Utah is lower than the regional average. Would anyone really believe it were we to say that Navajos are more depressed than most USmericans because (living in Utah) they use more antidepressants? Probably, but he'd be labeled a racist.

Lehi

Please provide statistical evidence that Utah is lower than the regional average, especially since each state was taken individually, in the link above I provided.

Unfortunately (or fortunately - depending on your perspective) There are many more Mormons living in Utah than there are Navajo Native Americans.

Also, Navajo Native Americans are considered an ethnic group, not a religious group, as Mormons are.

You can choose what religious organization to affiliate with, as you can also choose where to live in this free country. Yet you cannot choose your ethnicity.

Again... the point of this thread is to reconsider how we INTERPRET religious beliefs, especially those we consider sacred scripture.

Your subconscious doesn't filter things like your conscious does, so if you tell your subconscious to fear & feel shame, it will, no matter what.

We must be very careful about the charge to guard our thoughts, because from them flow our feelings & actions.

Edited by HeatherAnn
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This is a very problematic statistic. See Valerie Hudson: http://www.fairlds.o...rmon_Women.html

It's good to take the scriptures allegorically when it's specifically stated that they are allegories. At the same time, I think we should be careful not to demythologize things to the point that, say, we forget that God had an actual body with parts and passions (including anger), as we once did in the Great Apostasy.

Jeremy,

I just realized I didn't respond to your post.

Yeah, it is a concerning statistic.

I agree that it's good to take the scriptures sometimes literally (as with specific commandments) & sometimes symbolically to be related to us.

I believe we are made in the image of God - but that can mean a lot of different things.

My personal experience of God is a feeling, or higher energy - basically LOVE... & more importantly resonating.

Yet, I understand that we resonate with what's familiar & close to our hearts... like people, so imagining God to look like us, helps in that way.

Jesus, too is a personification of spirituality - a way to resonate.

I've been thinking about our purpose & how best to progress, especially with challenges.

We are to have joy - & to love... which I think is best done by harmonizing awareness (by study, experience etc.) with the spirit.

I think if we get too carried away with emotions - even spiritual feelings - & neglect to use logic, we don't do as well, as if we applied both.

Yet, if we get too carried away with logic - even scientific "proof" lol - & neglect to use spiritual discernment, we don't do as well, as if we harmonized both.

This harmonizing of both awareness & spirit applies to scripture interpretation too.

We (or should I speak for myself) need to learn to respect that there are many valid interpretations of scripture parables, or other sacred symbolism, depending on our stage of life & level of understanding.

I am moving this to Social Hall as a one time courtesy. In the future, if you use the discussion folder to preach the thread will be closed.

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