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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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6 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

I don't care where any scripture comes from.  Virtually the entire D&C fell from the lips of Joseph.  Why should it matter if the Book of Abraham or the Book of Mormon did the same?
Nobody seems to care that Moses wrote Genesis or that Paul wrote Hebrews.  We are fine with Joseph writing D&C 4 based on a revelation.  Why do we care if Joseph wrote Abraham based on a revelation thinking it was a translation?  Because we have a double standard concerning our scripture.

Is the issue that Joseph said it was translation but it wasn't?
So Joseph looked at the papyrus and received the Book of Abraham.  Perhaps he thought that meant it was a translation and didn't realize it was direct revelation.
None of that matters and whether it was or wasn't "translation" doesn't make what he received any less true.

When it comes to our modern day prophets I think too many members like to give ourselves an out so we can only believe the bits we like. 
Kind of like an early Christian saying "Well, maybe that stuff Paul said was just his own opinion and not from God" or one of the children of Israel saying, "Well, maybe that part about honoring our Father and Mother was just Moses' idea".

Brigham Young - I know the Bible to be true in all its parts; It contains the words of the Gods, the words of angels, the words of devils, the words of men and, if you are very particular, the words of an ***.

I only care what it says and if it is correct doctrine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_authorship

But we only care if it is correct doctrine and THAT can only be confirmed by the Holy Ghost.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Otoh, there are those of us who do (I find it hard to believe I am that unique).  And there is a huge difference for me when the choice has been to rely on the easy manipulators to create false emotion rather than work at creating a moment which releases sincere emotion because of meaning (I am even reluctant to use the term "manipulation" here because of its frequent misuse elsewhere though in film meaning is an active work and thus is manipulation as well) and not decorative dressing, for example when passion/intensity is pretended to exist through intense music while what is really happening is flatter than a pancake.

I assume you could, if you wanted, be able to tell the difference between actual meaningful experiences and those that are created by mostly pure manipulation.  It may be more difficult to determine between experiences that mix the two.  There may be much overlap between manipulated emotion and emotion that is created through meaningful experience, but do you believe people are generally able to tell the difference between the two?

Agree.

I try to be aware of these points on each case and usually I know exactly where those emotions come from.   Meditation helps a lot because you in effect stand outside yourself and watch yourself thinking and feeling as an observer.

Your life itself becomes like a movie you are watching.  The goal is to not lose oneself in events but to remain a detached observer.

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It would be nice to be able to do both.  Detachedness in my experience prevents a full emotional commitment and therefore decreases enjoyment as in fun and even spiritual joy in life.

I grew up with basically having a running conversation between the detached me (visualized when young as this little man sitting in the back of my brain) and the me who felt like I was experiencing life or at least wanting to experience life.

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5 hours ago, bcuzbcuz said:

I've read many, many of your posts over the last few years. I've never agreed more with your thoughts than with these past two. I find them thoughtful and insightful.

My one reflection at this time is how, for some people, their interpretation of the feelings aroused from reading the Book of Mormon is IMO akin to how feelings can be aroused (manipulated) when watching a film. I can be brought to tears from watching a carefully performed, edited and produced scene. I can get warm, fuzzy feelings from a wide range of topics that actually have nothing to do with my reality. Of course, films can use music and setting to further enhance the effect, but there are certain ideas and topics that can trigger a following chain of emotions within me. 

I understand your concern.  You are not alone in observing that there is a risk of conflating "emotion" with "the Spirit."  Consider these remarks by Pres. Hunter:

Quote

I get concerned when it appears that strong emotion or free-flowing tears are equated with the presence of the Spirit. Certainly the Spirit of the Lord can bring strong emotional feelings, including tears, but that outward manifestation ought not to be confused with the presence of the Spirit itself.

This FAIR article also makes some good points.  Some excerpts:

Quote

It is a fundamental misunderstanding or misstatement to say that the LDS revelatory experience is exclusively or primarily “emotional.” The united witness of mind and heart is key in LDS doctrine. Even the body is involved in many instances, hence the use of language exactly like “burning in the bosom.” The LDS concept of human experience is not one where we are carved up into separate, rigid compartments labeled emotional, intellectual, and physical. The LDS approach to human experience is holistic and involves all of our faculties operating simultaneously and inextricably. According to LDS scripture, “the spirit and the body are the soul of man.” D&C 88:15 We are greater than the mere sum of our inner and outer parts. Ordinarily, it’s not possible, nor is it desirable, to reject and shut down any one of our faculties. All of them combine to provide useful and valid ways of coming to know ourselves, the world, and God. All are involved in true spiritual experience.

...

the united witness of intellect and heart are essential. If either does not agree, then revelation has not yet confirmed the matter under consideration. Anyone who relies exclusively on any one faculty – either feeling or reasoning or physical sensation – does not properly understand the LDS approach to spiritual witnesses.

{T}o be sure, many Church members will talk about how they “felt” when they prayed or had other experiences with God. However, it is to fundamentally misunderstand these experiences to assume (as critics often do) that talk of “feeling” means simply—or only, or primarily— experiencing an “emotion.” What's lacking from these descriptions is vocabulary. The problem with them is more semantic than it is substantial. The LDS member is stymied, in a sense, because there is no good, available word for what happens during a spiritual experience. These experiences are ineffable. By definition, they defy description. Since few of us have the poetic and metaphorical powers of prophets like Isaiah and John, we are left to try our best to convey what we've experienced in words laden with secular connotations which critics can misinterpret if they so choose.

This article by Latter-day Saint Jeff Lindsay also has some good points on this issue.  

Back to you:

Quote

 

When watching an emotional film, I seldom reflect over the reasons that I have been effected. I don't try to analyze how the film producer, director and actors have manipulated my emotions, although at times, I am aware of my embarrassment that my tears have been so easily coached out. 

I don't think I'm the only one who has had their well of emotions tapped for the purpose of selling movie tickets. 

When it comes to issues of religion, beliefs and faith, I also believe that emotions can be fooled, mislead and exploited, but that's just my opinion.

 

You make a fair point. However, I think the LDS Church's teachings about the Spirit, when duly and fairly considered, substantially reduce the risk of such manipulation.  

Here is a summary of my thoughts which I wrote in response to a friend having concerns about this issue.  In it I explained things I take into account when seeking to differentiate "emotion" from "the Spirit":

Quote

A) Consider the Circumstance of the Feeling:

 

A person may be able to determine whether a particular feeling derives from the Spirit or from mere emotional response to stimuli by looking at the source or circumstance of the feeling.  How did the feeling come about?  For example, every day there are sports fans all around the world who scream and shout in support of their particular team (we currently have a Brazilian exchange student living with us, and soccer looms very large in his life).  Are these people being influenced by “the Spirit?”  Generally not.  Sporting events are exciting, emotional.  My point in saying “consider the source” is to look at it from God’s perspective.  Does God communicate important and fundamental truths to His children through the emotional response they experience at a football game?  Probably not. 

 

So a person can, to some extent, differentiate “emotion” from “the Spirit” by examining the circumstances in which the experience occurred.  This is particularly helpful when you consider the teachings of the LDS Church.  For example, D&C 9:8 states: “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”  Elder Oaks put it this way: “We should recognize that the Lord will speak to us through the Spirit in his own time and in his own way. … We cannot force spiritual things … In most cases, ‘his own way’ is not the thunderous interruption or the blinding light, but what the scriptures call ‘the still small voice’ (1 Kgs. 1 Kings 19:12; 1 Ne. 1 Nephi 17:45; D&C 85:6). … We need to know that the Lord rarely speaks loudly. His messages almost always come in a whisper” (“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 10–12).

...

B) Consider the Apparent Purpose of the Feeling:

 

Another way to distinguish “emotion” from “the Spirit” is to again look at the experience from God’s point of view, and this time try to ascertain the *purpose* of the feeling.  That is, if God is trying to communicate with you, is He doing so in circumstances which have a discernible purpose?  Or is the feeling more properly attributed to a mundane response to emotive stimuli?

 

Let me give you an example: In high school I was a huge fan of music, mostly classical (Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak), movie soundtracks (John Williams), and musicals (Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Stephen Sondheim).  My high school’s marching band, of which I was a part, once traveled to LA to participate in a competition, and while there we saw Michael Crawford perform “Phantom of the Opera” in the Ahmanson Theatre.  I returned to Utah and began listening to the soundtrack on a regular basis.  I would retire to a darkened room in our house and listen to most of the tracks on really good headphones, with the volume turned up, and I would re-visit the staged play in my head.  By the time I would reach the last track, with the full orchestra at a crescendo, and the Phantom singing “It’s over now … the Music of the Night…”, I felt a tremendous thrill.  (Yeah, this is geeky, I know.   If you question my masculine bona fides, I refer you to the last play of the 2006 BYU-Utah game, in which Johnny Harline caught the winning pass in the end zone.  Here’s a YouTube vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dflMnmCCZk.  I remember being pretty thrilled about that, too.)

 

So here I am, a guy who felt *something* very strongly when listening to “Phantom of the Opera” in high school and, later, when watching a football game on TV.  However, these circumstances were not ones which I would think God would use to convey spiritual promptings.  These were instead merely emotive reactions.

 

C) Consider the Feeling’s Effect on Behavior:

 

Another factor to consider is to evaluate a feeling’s effect on your behavior and ask whether the behavior prompted by the feeling is conducive to God’s will.  If yes, then it could be the Spirit, but if not, then the feeling is likely just an emotive response.  I think this principle is described well in Moroni 7:16-17:

 

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

 

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

 

Thanks,

-Smac

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15 hours ago, Calm said:

Perhaps one of the limitations of having a relatively limited romantic life in terms of quantity.  I have never had the experience of believing I was fooled.  Nor have I felt fooled by emotion in other things, lack of knowledge or believing something that is false, but I don't remember where I believe my emotions led me wrong.  Perhaps because I have been reluctant to invest emotionally as well as secondguessed my emotions a lot.

That may all come down to the quantity (not necessarily quality) of life experiences. By that, I mean, I am 70 years old and have experienced many, many things of great variance and dimension. I get the impression that you are not as old as either TSS or myself. Am I wrong?

I have a tendency to jump in with both feet, without first testing the waters. My older brother thinks I'm naive and that that will get me into trouble (he's mostly right) but I still jump in. And as I stated, I have been fooled by my emotions.

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On 29 August 2016 at 1:13 AM, smac97 said:

I understand your concern.  You are not alone in observing that there is a risk of conflating "emotion" with "the Spirit."  Consider these remarks by Pres. Hunter:

This FAIR article also makes some good points.  Some excerpts:

This article by Latter-day Saint Jeff Lindsay also has some good points on this issue.  

Back to you:

You make a fair point. However, I think the LDS Church's teachings about the Spirit, when duly and fairly considered, substantially reduce the risk of such manipulation.  

Here is a summary of my thoughts which I wrote in response to a friend having concerns about this issue.  In it I explained things I take into account when seeking to differentiate "emotion" from "the Spirit":

Thanks,

-Smac

I think your three points are valid, to a certain point.

1) Consider the circumstance of the feeling.

This point, as with all three, are viewpoints from a mirror. Once that an emotion, a feeling, has been experienced, the circumstances can be reviewed. If considering an emotional experience from a movie, for example, it is probably possible to remember a scene, an action, the players, the story, the event, the music and then analyze the emotion that all the above has aroused. 

If, however, the emotion is the outcome from a very heated argument, where words, either in anger or stress, have given rise to deep seated insecurities or opened an emotional can of worms, reviewing the circumstances of the emotion may not be easy.

There are times when one can find oneself in a circumstance that is beyond one's own control. People expect certain behaviours, emotions included, in certain situations. In retrospect the feeling WAS the circumstance.

A feeling can therefore arise when thr feeling is expected. At a funeral, a wedding ,  a baptism, a church meeting. In these cases an emotion can be the result of being "swept along".

 

 

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"just a feeling"

As Christ said to Peter, Matt 16  [16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
[17] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

I think one learns to understand the difference between a feeling, and a spiritual manifestation.  Elder Bednar helps us understand  

See also his other two videos.

Edited by cdowis
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As a musician, I am in the emotion business. I have learned from experience some ways to distinguish between emotional and revelatory feelings. Some differences... the former can be frequent, repeatable, and intense but do not necessarily involve a change in my character or behavior. Feelings while performing or listening to music fit in the first category. The latter are relatively rare, not repeatable on demand, and unexpected but are invariably followed by an intense increase in love for others and some knowledge that becomes ingrained in my being. There have been some experiences that cross the boundaries. For example, being called as a bishop created some very intense emotional feelings. But the first Sunday as I looked at the members of our ward I felt what is called the "mantle" come upon me and I was filled with an intense love for every person in the chapel. This motivated me to do and say many things I would not have been able to do on my own and sustained me during trying circumstances. At the moment I was released, I felt the "mantle" slip away. While I still loved the people, it was not the same as before. 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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17 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

As a musician, I am in the emotion business. I have learned from experience some ways to distinguish between emotional and revelatory feelings. Some differences... the former can be frequent, repeatable, and intense but do not necessarily involve a change in my character or behavior. Feelings while performing or listening to music fit in the first category. The latter are relatively rare and unexpected but are invariably followed by an intense increase in love for others and some knowledge that becomes ingrained in my being. There have been some experiences that cross the boundaries. For example, being called as a bishop created some very intense emotional feelings. But the first Sunday as I looked at the members of our ward I felt what is called the "mantle" come upon me and I was filled with an intense love for every person in the chapel. This motivated me to do and say many things I would not have been able to do on my own and sustained me during trying circumstances. At the moment I was released, I felt the "mantle" slip away. While I still loved the people, it was not the same as before. 

 

You know what?  I have seen this in friends who have become Bishops..and then released.  It does change a person.  It shows somehow.  I am a musician too..albeit not a great one..but I played 5 instruments and now I can't hear..so..how I miss those feelings..that being said, in my head I can hear my sister's voice and I can harmonize..it is crazy weird.

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When every prophet of the Restoration has proclaimed that the Book of Mormon is exactly what it claims to be, no, you can't hope to enter the celestial kingdom if you go around teaching that the book is "inspired fiction."  How can any book be "inspired" when it lies about what it is?  The Book of Mormon claims to be a real history of groups of people in the ancient Americas. So how can it be "inspired" if it's lying?

And you have to wonder how folks like that guy deal with all the evidence of the Book of Mormon. Are they aware of it? Have they seriously considered it? Do they buy the silly anti-Mormon dismissals of it?

Edited by mikegriffith1
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3 minutes ago, mikegriffith1 said:

When every prophet of the Restoration has proclaimed that the Book of Mormon is exactly what it claims to be, no, you can't hope to enter the celestial kingdom if you go around teaching that the book is "inspired fiction."  How can any book be "inspired" when it lies about what it is?  The Book of Mormon claims to be a real history of groups of people in the ancient Americas. So how can it be "inspired" if it's lying?

The Book of Mormon says nothing about being a real history of people in the ancient Americas. The BOM account fits perfectly into history so long as we don't place geographical constraints on it.

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1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

The Book of Mormon says nothing about being a real history of people in the ancient Americas. The BOM account fits perfectly into history so long as we don't place geographical constraints on it.

The account fits perfectly in time but with no specific place? How is that even possible?

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1 hour ago, bcuzbcuz said:

The account fits perfectly in time but with no specific place? How is that even possible?

The same way other 4th to 5th-century Judeo-Christian texts fit perfectly in time with no specific place. Of course, there probably is a specific place. But like many apocryphal texts, from the Acts of Thomas to the Narrative of Zosimus, it isn't clear where.

Scholars don't dismiss the History of the Rechabites simply because they don't know where to find the Islands of the Blessed.

My guess is the Book of Mormon has the exact same setting as other contemporary religious texts, in both time and place.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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