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Claim the Book of Mormon is “inspired fiction” & still be exalted to Celestial Kingdom?


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38 members have voted

  1. 1. Grant Hardy (FAIR Presentation)

    • I’m LDS and I believe Grant Hardy is WRONG—among other things, one must affirm belief in historical “Nephites” to inherit the Celestial Kingdom
      4
    • I’m LDS and I believe Grant Hardy is RIGHT—one can believe the Book of Mormon contents to be “inspired fiction” and still inherit the Celestial Kingdom
      19
    • I’m LDS & and this poll makes me uncomfortable and/or I think the pollster is incompetent, doesn't understand Mormonism, etc.
      7
    • I’m not LDS
      8


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8 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

If I were stranded on a deserted island and a Book of Mormon (without chapter headings, introductions, or modern annotations) fell from the sky, I think I would probably give it several thousands of readings. I'd probably have no clue where the setting was, I'd have some decent guesses based on mentions of elephants, horses, steel, silk etc., but wouldn't worry that much about it. Why would it matter?

Since I'm on a deserted island, I'd have nothing better to do than read and pray as the book recommends, and if I received a confirmation of its truthfulness I'd do my best to abide by the teachings. I'd hope that would be enough to be worthy of salvation.

To be honest, I'd be pretty frustrated if I were rescued by Mormon missionaries who insisted that the Book of Mormon was a historical account of Hebrews in the New World. Odd, after thousands of readings I didn't find that claim anywhere in the book, and I never concluded it was a book about America, but now all the sudden my salvation is dependent on that belief?

 

Interesting post.  I think you would assume it was meant to be based in America, even if you had no other context.  Off top of my head. 1) sailing across ocean from Old World 2) description of Lamanites sounds a lot like early descriptions of Native Americans 3) Lamanites being isolated from the rest of the world until Columbus comes.  You could make an argument these references are too vague to make a connection, but I think you would.  

But, you bring up an interesting thought experiment.  It made me think of another thought experiment.  A lot of hypotheticals here, but what if...What if the BOM Introduction said "The following is a book of scripture, revealed to Joseph Smith in a miraculous revelatory experience.  We are not sure this is an actual historical record of actual people or if it is an inspired, complex allegory Joseph received from God that was meant to teach a proper understanding of the role of Jesus Christ and the atonement."  What if everything else in church history unfolded exactly the they did, and we have a church of 15M members today who read the BOM and accept it as scripture.  Pres. Benson did the same emphasis on BOM in the 80's, etc, everything exact same.  Would the church be any different today?  Would our approach to the BOM be any different?  Would the meaning it has in individual lives be any different?

    

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This thread is reminding me a bit of the discussion we had regarding some quotes people took from Richard Bushman a few weeks back to make it look like he was doubting the foundational tenets of Mormonism. Maybe not the exact same but I could see how critics would want to use it against us.

In regards to inspired fiction, that would make no sense to me as too many things happened (11 witnesses, Kirtland Temple dedication etc.) I can't see how it all could come from fiction.

Finally, in spite of the rantings and railings of our critics, there is a continually growing case for the historicity of the Book of Mormon. 

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Did Grant Hardy actually say that one could believe the BofM to be inspired fiction and still be exalted?  I don't recall the quote, and I was there.  Perhaps you could give us the verbatim quotation.  Otherwise your questions are based on a false claim -- unless you believe that a fictional claim is as good as a true one, and therefore any unscientific poll would be just as valid.  How about it, Erik.  Did you think this through?

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/fairmormon-2016-report/

 

Quote

The question can be: Can faith in the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction be a saving faith? And I think the answer is: Absolutely! At the judgement bar, if you were to say to God, “I couldn’t quite make sense of the Book of Mormon as an ancient American codex, given the available evidence, but I loved that book, I heard your voice in that book. I tried to live as best I could my whole life according to the precepts of that book,” I believe God will say well done thou good and faithful servant.

 

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11 hours ago, Five Solas said:

I'm not sure what your post has to do with anything, Bobbieaware.  But as thread author--let me make Tom Waits in reply:

"You'll go waltzing Mathilda with me..." 

Enjoy!

--Erik

Simply using the literary device of sarcasm to point out absurdity.

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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/fairmormon-2016-report/

The question can be: Can faith in the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction be a saving faith? And I think the answer is: Absolutely! At the judgement bar, if you were to say to God, “I couldn’t quite make sense of the Book of Mormon as an ancient American codex, given the available evidence, but I loved that book, I heard your voice in that book. I tried to live as best I could my whole life according to the precepts of that book,” I believe God will say well done thou good and faithful servant.

That quote is a very different statement than the thread topic would imply.  Although he apparently said more than this quote alone.

Not being able to reconcile the Book of Mormon with historical data is NOT the same as considering it to be fiction
In terms of degree I am far more comfortable with this quote than any idea of "inspired fiction".
 

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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

Interesting post.  I think you would assume it was meant to be based in America, even if you had no other context.  Off top of my head. 1) sailing across ocean from Old World 2) description of Lamanites sounds a lot like early descriptions of Native Americans 3) Lamanites being isolated from the rest of the world until Columbus comes.  You could make an argument these references are too vague to make a connection, but I think you would.      

I've tried my best to read it without any assumptions about location. Its hard to do. But what I did notice is that I struggled to get the Lehites across the Pacific Ocean. For me, if the author(s) intended three trans-oceanic voyages before 550 BC, then I have no doubt its fiction. The only way I can be confident in the historicity is if its set within sailing distance of Jerusalem. Fortunately an Asian setting works just fine for me.

1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

But, you bring up an interesting thought experiment.  It made me think of another thought experiment.  A lot of hypotheticals here, but what if...What if the BOM Introduction said "The following is a book of scripture, revealed to Joseph Smith in a miraculous revelatory experience.  We are not sure this is an actual historical record of actual people or if it is an inspired, complex allegory Joseph received from God that was meant to teach a proper understanding of the role of Jesus Christ and the atonement."  What if everything else in church history unfolded exactly the they did, and we have a church of 15M members today who read the BOM and accept it as scripture.  Pres. Benson did the same emphasis on BOM in the 80's, etc, everything exact same.  Would the church be any different today? Would our approach to the BOM be any different?  Would the meaning it has in individual lives be any different?

I imagine many more billions of people around the world could better relate to the Book of Mormon if the introduction was a simple invitation to a spiritual experience instead of a historical "record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas".

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

That quote is a very different statement than the thread topic would imply.  Although he apparently said more than this quote alone.

Not being able to reconcile the Book of Mormon with historical data is NOT the same as considering it to be fiction
In terms of degree I am far more comfortable with this quote than any idea of "inspired fiction".
 

It seems the quoted question is: "The question can be: Can faith in the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction be a saving faith?".  The rest of the paragraph explains the meaning of "saving faith".  It would seem the debate would be over if "saving" is equals to Exaltation.

Edited by salgare
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14 minutes ago, salgare said:

 It would seem the debate would be over if "saving" is equals to Exaltation.

Which of course we know it isn't.

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6 minutes ago, salgare said:

It does mean being saved to the Celestial Kingdom true?

No.
D&C 132 tells us that there will be those saved in the Celestial Kingdom who are NOT exalted.

And salvation doesn't only apply to the Celestial kingdom as scripture also tells us there are those "saved" to other kingdoms.

Edited by JLHPROF
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5 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

No.
D&C 132 tells us that there will be those saved in the Celestial Kingdom who are NOT exalted.

And salvation doesn't only apply to the Celestial kingdom as scripture also tells us there are those "saved" to other kingdoms.

In looking at the whole quoted paragraph

'The question can be: Can faith in the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction be a saving faith? And I think the answer is: Absolutely! At the judgement bar, if you were to say to God, “I couldn’t quite make sense of the Book of Mormon as an ancient American codex, given the available evidence, but I loved that book, I heard your voice in that book. I tried to live as best I could my whole life according to the precepts of that book,” I believe God will say well done thou good and faithful servant."'

I assume by Grant's last sentence he is referring to the Celestial Kingdom, no?

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2 minutes ago, salgare said:

In looking at the whole quoted paragraph

'The question can be: Can faith in the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction be a saving faith? And I think the answer is: Absolutely! At the judgement bar, if you were to say to God, “I couldn’t quite make sense of the Book of Mormon as an ancient American codex, given the available evidence, but I loved that book, I heard your voice in that book. I tried to live as best I could my whole life according to the precepts of that book,” I believe God will say well done thou good and faithful servant."'

I assume by Grant's last sentence he is referring to the Celestial Kingdom, no?

I think so.  I don't think exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom (or even salvation in the Celestial Kingdom) can be achieved by doubting the revelations that opened the restoration through Joseph Smith.  And Joseph Smith met these people of whom we are debating their historical existence.

It's like asking, can we be saved if we doubt that Christ was a historical person?  Can't we be saved by following the idea of Christ?
I would say no.

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15 hours ago, Five Solas said:

To be sure... 

;0)

And you might take it back one step further and challenge your own assumption concerning "spirit prison"--a Mormon construct, although some say it's borrowed from the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.  Either way, it's not Biblical (an "intermediate state" is not easily reconciled with Hebrews 9:27).

--Erik

The the spirit prison may be an LDS "construct" but there is a greater attestation for it in the scriptures (1 Peter 3:19) than Purgatory. If I understand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory correctly, it is a time of purification of the righteous after death, a final purification to cleanse them of all uncleanness in order that they can become pure enough (perfectly pure?) to be in the presence of God.

Hebrews 9:27 must be read in the context of all other revealed scriptures. That scripture does not explicitly say that the judgment will come immediately after death, but that it will come after death. Christ's words to the thief on the cross "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise" denotes some kind of intermediate place that is not with God, because Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to touch him after his resurrection because "not yet ascended to my Father." Jesus had gone to some place called Paradise as did the thief that was penitent while on the cross next to him. Then Peter talks of Christ preaching to spirits in prison. All before he was resurrected and ascended to His Father in Heaven.

And Peter also tells us that the Judgment begins with the righteous. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17).

This is not proof positive of anything, but certainly makes the LDS doctrine of a spirit prison very plausible. Actually Peter alone makes such a place very probable.

Glenn

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2 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I've tried my best to read it without any assumptions about location. Its hard to do. But what I did notice is that I struggled to get the Lehites across the Pacific Ocean. For me, if the author(s) intended three trans-oceanic voyages before 550 BC, then I have no doubt its fiction. The only way I can be confident in the historicity is if its set within sailing distance of Jerusalem. Fortunately an Asian setting works just fine for me.

Ralph, why is it that you struggled to get the Lehites across the Pacific? Do you doubt that God could have been helping them?

Glenn

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13 hours ago, salgare said:

Do you believe there is no orthodoxy in the Mormon Church?  Do you follow the Nuanced Mormonism where its all about orthopraxy?

I do believe that there is orthodoxy in the church.  Of course there is.  

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5 hours ago, churchistrue said:

Interesting post.  I think you would assume it was meant to be based in America, even if you had no other context.  Off top of my head. 1) sailing across ocean from Old World 2) description of Lamanites sounds a lot like early descriptions of Native Americans 3) Lamanites being isolated from the rest of the world until Columbus comes.  You could make an argument these references are too vague to make a connection, but I think you would.  

 

I think someone who was not brought up in North America might look at it quite differently.  Ocean travel from the Middle East  does not have to end up in America, there were other explorers besides Columbus (iirc even for Americs there are other suggestions such as John Cabot), and the descriptions are close enough imo to match a number of other attitudes towards aboriginal groups.

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"The question can be: Can faith in the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction be a saving faith? And I think the answer is: Absolutely! At the judgement bar, if you were to say to God, “I couldn’t quite make sense of the Book of Mormon as an ancient American codex, given the available evidence, but I loved that book, I heard your voice in that book. I tried to live as best I could my whole life according to the precepts of that book,” I believe God will say well done thou good and faithful servant. "

  I would then hope God would add , " and , by the way , I will tell you the truth about the BoM historicity ."

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2 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

The the spirit prison may be an LDS "construct" but there is a greater attestation for it in the scriptures (1 Peter 3:19) than Purgatory. If I understand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory correctly, it is a time of purification of the righteous after death, a final purification to cleanse them of all uncleanness in order that they can become pure enough (perfectly pure?) to be in the presence of God.

Hebrews 9:27 must be read in the context of all other revealed scriptures. That scripture does not explicitly say that the judgment will come immediately after death, but that it will come after death. Christ's words to the thief on the cross "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise" denotes some kind of intermediate place that is not with God, because Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to touch him after his resurrection because "not yet ascended to my Father." Jesus had gone to some place called Paradise as did the thief that was penitent while on the cross next to him. Then Peter talks of Christ preaching to spirits in prison. All before he was resurrected and ascended to His Father in Heaven.

And Peter also tells us that the Judgment begins with the righteous. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17).

This is not proof positive of anything, but certainly makes the LDS doctrine of a spirit prison very plausible. Actually Peter alone makes such a place very probable.

Glenn

Thanks for that I was thinking of a way to respond as well but you said it much more coherently then I could have.

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21 hours ago, Five Solas said:

Peppermint Patty's thread, "Grant Hardy's Presentation on The Book of Mormon" got shut down before salgare's question to Scott Lloyd ("can one claim the BoM is inspired fiction and still be exalted?") could be clearly & concisely answered--so I thought I'd turn it into a poll. 

What do you think? 

--Erik

One will not make it to the CK while still claiming the BoM to be a work of fiction.  The CK itself would have to be fiction if the BoM were fiction. As the poll currently stands, 40% of LDS on this board will not make it to the CK.  But that's not too much different from the inactivity rate of the Church....

;)

Edited by BCSpace
Addendum
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I believe Nephi and Moroni and everyone in between were real people but I chose the second choice because I believe God is more merciful than we are.  I also believe we will all know the truth of it before we get to the Celestial Kingdom. I feel sorry for those who don't believe Nephi was a real person because I look forward to meeting him and discussing his voyage and the construction of his boat.  I also would love to hear of Moroni's journey though  the American continent to bury the plates and to dedicate the temples. There are OT people I look forward to meeting too, Samuel and Daniel for starters.

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1 hour ago, SteveO said:

...but if you believe in Christ, you'll believe the Book of Mormon.

;)

Mormons have been accused by some Christians of not believing in Christ.  By these Christians' definition of what it means to believe in Christ, the accusation makes obvious sense.   By the Mormon definition of what it means to believe in Christ, the accusation is absurd. 

Using belief in the Book of Mormon for a litmus test of whether or not one believes in Christ is doing the same thing. 

In my mind's eye, I can see Christ rolling His eyes and shaking His head as Mormons and Christians squabble over who does or does not believe in Him based on this or that litmus test.

Hear the parable of the travelling merchant:  A certain wealthy merchant had many children and one day he left on a very long trip.  While he was gone, his children began arguing about what manner of man he was.  The disputations grew sharp, harsh words and strong blows were exchanged, deep hurts inflicted.  Then one day the merchant returned.  His children all rushed to him, so glad to see him again, and asked him which of them was the most correct.  He said to them, "Some of you have come very close to the truth, but I'm actually much more concerned with how you treated one another in my absence."

Edited by Eek!
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33 minutes ago, Eek! said:

Mormons have been accused by some Christians of not believing in Christ.  By these Christians' definition of what it means to believe in Christ, the accusation makes obvious sense.   By the Mormon definition of what it means to believe in Christ, the accusation is absurd. 

Using belief in the Book of Mormon for a litmus test of whether or not one believes in Christ is doing the same thing. 

In my mind's eye, I can see Christ rolling His eyes and shaking His head as Mormons and Christians squabble over who does or does not believe in Him based on this or that litmus test.

Hear the parable of the travelling merchant:  A certain wealthy merchant had many children and one day he left on a very long trip.  While he was gone, his children began arguing about what manner of man he was.  The disputations grew sharp, harsh words and strong blows were exchanged, deep hurts inflicted.  Then one day the merchant returned.  His children all rushed to him, so glad to see him again, and asked him which of them was the most correct.  He said to them, "Some of you have come very close to the truth, but I'm actually much more concerned with how you treated one another in my absence."

"And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good."

If the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction, then you're correct, it is eye rollingly silly about who believes what about Christ.

...but if it is what it claims to be, then any believer of Christ would take a vested interest in what it has to say.  

 

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9 hours ago, churchistrue said:

 

Quote

The question can be: Can faith in the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction be a saving faith? And I think the answer is: Absolutely! At the judgement bar, if you were to say to God, “I couldn’t quite make sense of the Book of Mormon as an ancient American codex, given the available evidence, but I loved that book, I heard your voice in that book. I tried to live as best I could my whole life according to the precepts of that book,” I believe God will say well done thou good and faithful servant.

 

Finally, someone came through with an actual quote from Hardy.  And what he says makes sense.  Thank you, Erik.

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Let's think this through

The Book of Mormon states its own definition of truth in Alma 32.

It says that it is true if it becomes "sweet" to you.

IF belief in the celestial kingdom is sweet to you, then the existence of the celestial kingdom is "true" for you

IF belief in the celestial kingdom involves belief in the Book of Mormon (and I would say it must for the above reasons- one belief justifies the other- AND it is sweet to you, then both are true

The entire question entails a question which is incompatible with the Book of Mormon's own definition of truth

The question presumes there is a reality outside of "what is sweet to me" in religious questions by which the BOM may be judged as true or false.

This is the correspondence theory and the correspondence theory is not compatible with Alma 32!!

The entire premise of the OP is based on a non-sequitur 

Mormonism preaches a contexual truth where truth is dependent on its acceptance within a social milieu, ie: Mormonism.

There is no other way to judge it.

Belief in Mormonism gives Mormon salvation which means the sure knowledge that our sins will be forgiven by the atonement.   It is its own language game and defines its own terms- it is "true in its own sphere" as is stated in D&C 93

Yes it is circular but no religious claims can be anything else.  There is no objective basis for judging religious claims other than being "sweet" to us

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      --H.L. Mencken
    • By hope_for_things
      Where did the Book of Mormon come from.  I constantly hear this idea argued from both apologetic and critical sides.  All in an attempt to explain how Joseph could have produced the Book of Mormon.  Yet, when it comes right down to it, both sides should be able to agree on some pretty basic historical facts from the evidence.  
      Joseph Smith dictated the content of the BoM to some scribes Nearly everyone should be able to agree on that statement, and I think that really explains it in a nutshell.  I was thinking about other figures in history that are revered for things they produced.  Newton, Einstein, Beethoven, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.  Do anyone else spend so much time asking where they came up with their masterpiece works?  Where did Einstein get that amazing theory of relativity?  Where did Michelangelo get that amazing statue of David.  How could they have possibly produced these things?  Where did they come from?  
      I think we spend so much time looking for evidence, trying to find parallels, seeking to understand where the BoM came from, that we are missing the answer right in front of our faces and we should all be able to agree on.  The BoM came from Joseph Smith.  This is the clear and straightforward answer that both believers and nonbelievers should be able to agree on, and its the simple answer to a highly debated question.  
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