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A Prophet's Reward and Apostasy of the Church


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46 minutes ago, kiwi57 said:

So the question for discussion is this: why should the Church's abandoning its doctrinal position on conjugal marriage, if such an abandonment were to happen, not be seen as a mere surrender to the shifting fashions of a fallen world?

If the goal of the Church to to maximize church membership.  If numbers are what we are focused on, then it would make sense to compromise our views to appease the widest audience possible.  If numbers do not matter that much but being on the right path is what is important, than we should not be concerned about how much the church grows or even shrinks.  Noah is a good example we should follow.  Even though he did not convert really anyone, he was a great missionary.  In the end, he was the winner and those that rejected him were the losers.  Better to be on the winning side with a not many people with you than be with the masses who are on the losing side who all drown together.

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1 hour ago, kiwi57 said:

So the question for discussion is this: why should the Church's abandoning its doctrinal position on conjugal marriage, if such an abandonment were to happen, not be seen as a mere surrender to the shifting fashions of a fallen world?

The biggest obstacle to answering your question is that the Church has been accused labelled as doing exactly that in the past.

Whether we think they did or not we still have to remove the appearance that we do things to surrender to the fashions of a fallen world.  Because that's already how it appears to many.

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2 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

If the goal of the Church to to maximize church membership.  If numbers are what we are focused on, then it would make sense to compromise our views to appease the widest audience possible.  If numbers do not matter that much but being on the right path is what is important, than we should not be concerned about how much the church grows or even shrinks.  Noah is a good example we should follow.  Even though he did not convert really anyone, he was a great missionary.  In the end, he was the winner and those that rejected him were the losers.  Better to be on the winning side with a not many people with you than be with the masses who are on the losing side who all drown together.

I agree with this statement.  But I would also say the church should not continue down a path simply because it has accepted traditions that may or may not have come from God.  The church has also been guilty of that.  The right position is not what the church thinks is God's opinion.  The right position is what is God's opinion.  If the church has preconceived ideas of what it thinks God's opinion is, it may take decades to find out if what the church thinks is actually what is.  Or if a different answer is the correct one.  So far, there doesn't seem to be a level playing field in search of the truth.

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2 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

For what it's worth, every church that has gone this route is now in terminal decline. It's counter-intuitive, but the surest way to shrink as a faith group is to appease the widest audience possible.

Correlation/=causation. I think the reason liberal churches are declining is that religion has been branded as a right wing concern. At least in the US, politics and religion are pretty much inseparable. The fundamentalists are conservative and of course are able to leverage that political base.

Edited by Gray
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1 hour ago, Alan said:

I think it can be successfully argued that the church has already surrendered on such issues in the past. I'm thinking of plural marriage and priesthood ordination, but there may be others

It's a matter of perspective, I suppose.  For me, obeying God (such as adhering to OD-1 (plural marriage) and OD-2 (priesthood ordination)) is never a bad thing.

Thanks,

-Smac

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6 hours ago, california boy said:

I agree with this statement.  But I would also say the church should not continue down a path simply because it has accepted traditions that may or may not have come from God.  

The Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity and about marriage are not merely "accepted traditions that may or may not have come from God."

6 hours ago, california boy said:

The church has also been guilty of that.  

Such as?

6 hours ago, california boy said:

The right position is not what the church thinks is God's opinion.  

The "right position" is also not what "shifting fashions of a fallen world" dictate (hat tip to Kiwi57).

In terms of discerning "God's opinion" (an odd phrase, that), as between guidance on this topic offered by A) the baying mob that is currently opposed to the Church's consistent positions on matters of morality, and B) the Church, as led by prophets, seers and revelators, the decision as to which guidance to follow seems rather clear.

6 hours ago, california boy said:

The right position is what is God's opinion.  

Following worldly notions about morality is like the situation described in Mormon 5:18 ("But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.").

6 hours ago, california boy said:

If the church has preconceived ideas of what it thinks God's opinion is, it may take decades to find out if what the church thinks is actually what is.  Or if a different answer is the correct one.  So far, there doesn't seem to be a level playing field in search of the truth.

With respect, I disagree.  The Church's teachings on morality have been remarkably consistent and clear.

Thanks,

-Smac

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10 hours ago, kiwi57 said:

So the question for discussion is this: why should the Church's abandoning its doctrinal position on conjugal marriage, if such an abandonment were to happen, not be seen as a mere surrender to the shifting fashions of a fallen world?

I think that is just one valid way to look at it (that it is a surrender to shifting fashions of a fallen world). But some may well have been urging it before it came fashionable. Or are urging it because they believe it is what Jesus wants them to do.

This is why I like to look at these issues holistically. For example, if the abandonment were to happen, what can be described as the new “whole” as comprehended by the various appendages being intimately interconnected. I like to use Joseph Smith’s reliance on the Atonement as a starting point, the hub of a wheel that has many spokes attached to it:

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth.”

How is the proposed principle consistent (or not) with the Atonement of Jesus Christ? How would the other doctrines change as a result, and would they still, as a result, be consistent with the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

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32 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity and about marriage are not merely "accepted traditions that may or may not have come from God."

Such as?

The "right position" is also not what "shifting fashions of a fallen world" dictate (hat tip to Kiwi57).

In terms of discerning "God's opinion" (an odd phrase, that), as between guidance on this topic offered by A) the baying mob that is currently opposed to the Church's consistent positions on matters of morality, and B) the Church, as led by prophets, seers and revelators, the decision as to which guidance to follow seems rather clear.

Following worldly notions about morality is like the situation described in Mormon 5:18 ("But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.").

With respect, I disagree.  The Church's teachings on morality have been remarkably consistent and clear.

Thanks,

-Smac

Yet following the worldly notion that discriminating against someone because of the color of his skin some how was the right thing to do. While leaders held on to tradition and pre conceived views of what they thought was God's opinion..

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1 hour ago, Gray said:

Correlation/=causation. I think the reason liberal churches are declining is that religion has been branded as a right wing concern. At least in the US, politics and religion are pretty much inseparable. The fundamentalists are conservative and of course are able to leverage that political base.

I absolutely agree.  Religion has left God and gone into politics.  And they are wondering why people are no longer interested in dogma that is tied stronger to a political party than the teachings of Christ.  Political campaigns and ballot measures became more important than how we treat others and how welcoming we are to those seeking the message that Christ taught.  It is those political adventures that have closed so many doors.  

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19 minutes ago, california boy said:

.......................................................While leaders held on to tradition and pre conceived views of what they thought was God's opinion..

Yet the real problem was that the authentic Joseph Smith tradition of ordaining Black men (Africans) was not followed by Brigham, and was not reinstituted until 1978.  Seems to be less about God's opinion and more about the shifting opinions of men.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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Posted 21 minutes ago

Just as a simplistic starting point, I’m looking at the teaching on the Atonement laid out in this manual https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/chapter-9-the-atonement-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng

“A. God governs the universe by law.” So, how is the law of marriage constructed, how was it instituted, and is it a law that can be substituted as circumstances change, for example, as tithing and fast offerings were substituted for the United Order? Are we excused in urging the breaking of the law because it could be substituted with another; is doing so a sin; and is there a penalty for it? We are all fallen, and we all sin, some even feel driven to it; does this alone justify our sins?

“C. Only Jesus Christ possessed the qualifications and attributes necessary to perform an infinite Atonement.” Because the Atonement is universal, everything about Jesus must be taken into account. He was born of a mother and a Father. He was raised in a traditional home practicing the religious law of the day and outside of that, grew from grace to grace; He was tempted but did not heed the temptation. He called Himself the Son of Man [of Holiness]. Others called Him sir, man and Rabbi. He had a gender identity as additionally reflected through His occupation, ministry, and final instructions on the cross. He referred to Himself as a Bridegroom and to His covenant people as the Bride. He defended marriage as it was practiced under the law of Moses’ and prior to that.

Edited by CV75
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10 hours ago, kiwi57 said:

............................................................

That is why I, along with many others, am so frankly bewildered by those who claim to be Latter-day Saints, but who seem to be urging just such a surrender on a currently fashionable issue.

There may be some who will interpret this as some kind of "slam" or insult. I assure you that it is no such thing. It represents my sober, calm and considered position. I have held it for a number of years now, and I have never been presented with any arguments that might make me reconsider that position.

So the question for discussion is this: why should the Church's abandoning its doctrinal position on conjugal marriage, if such an abandonment were to happen, not be seen as a mere surrender to the shifting fashions of a fallen world?

Yet the LDS Church did place plural marriage in abeyance in order to accommodate the demands of the U.S. Govt and most Americans -- who considered polygamy barbaric.  Is accommodation possible in the future?  If so, what might that entail?

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44 minutes ago, california boy said:

I absolutely agree.  Religion has left God and gone into politics.  And they are wondering why people are no longer interested in dogma that is tied stronger to a political party than the teachings of Christ.  Political campaigns and ballot measures became more important than how we treat others and how welcoming we are to those seeking the message that Christ taught.  It is those political adventures that have closed so many doors.  

Religion has always been political. I do agree that there has been an unhealthy feedback loop though. i.e. religious favor one party due to some issues but then identity politics make a feedback loop and they embrace policies that might not be as compatible in terms of the sect's theology. I think you definitely have seen that in Evangelicalism and perhaps to a degree with Mormonism. (More so for libertarian Mormons than conservative Mormons)

It goes both ways of course. While Mormons are dominantly Republican it's largely due to political views of liberals on certain social issues like abortion on demand and social norms regarding sexuality. However If a liberal Mormon is liberal due to say social justice issues on class or race they too have a tendency to adopt the group identity's views on things like abortion and the like.

I know the moderators appear to not like political discussions so I'll try and avoid those. While I'm personally quite conservative I do think that how many Mormons have embraced positions of Republicans uncritically is a big problem. Put an other way the Republican party (like the Democratic party) is a coalition between philosophically quite different groups. However what group's policy choices are dominant tends to vary based upon who the leadership is. Clearly Trump is very, very different from George W. Bush for instance. Yet you see for at least a segment of the Church that they tend to defend the currently pushed version of Republicanism - especially that promoted that year by talk radio and Fox News - rather than being more clear about what elements they like or dislike. And again to be very fair when I look at my liberal friends, I often see something quite similar going on.

It's sometimes more helpful to see where people differ from the mainstream of their party and why. But of course difference or even reasons for why they accept the mainstream views can mislead. We're very good at misleading ourselves (myself included) at why we believe something. Typically people will ape the justifications given by the party for why they believe something. What's more interesting is to try and analyze ones inquiry. That is do ones views seem to change as the mainstream of the party changes? If so, then I think we ought be very careful to analyze why we believe what we believe. We might find that's we don't believe for the reasons we think we believe.

Edited by clarkgoble
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57 minutes ago, california boy said:

Yet following the worldly notion that discriminating against someone because of the color of his skin some how was the right thing to do.

It is possible that the Priesthood Ban was borne of racism.  If so, then following the "worldly notion" prevailing in the 19th century was . . . wrong.  As wrong as it would be for the Church to follow "worldly notion{s}" today.

And it may also be possible that the Priesthood Ban was commanded by God.  We simply don't know.  The Priesthood is also restricted by other criteria.  I do not understand why the priesthood is restricted to males.  I also do not understand why the ancient priesthood was restricted to male Levites.  I also do not understand other aspects of the Restored Gospel.

But I'm not about to smear the Gospel with the broad brush of the-Church-was-wrong-on-the-Priesthood-Ban-so-it-must-also-be-wrong-about-its-teachings-about-the-Law-of-Chastity style criticisms.  It's just too pat for me.  Too convenient a cudgel.

57 minutes ago, california boy said:

While leaders held on to tradition and pre conceived views of what they thought was God's opinion..

The Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity are not based on "tradition."  I can see that you want to reduce the Law of Chastity to mere "tradition" and not doctrine, but it just doesn't work.

Thanks,

-Smac

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54 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yet the real problem was that the authentic Joseph Smith tradition of ordaining Black men (Africans) was not followed by Brigham, and was not reinstituted until 1978.  Seems to be less about God's opinion and more about the shifting opinions of men.

Your sticking to that idea I guess.
I still don't see that it is historically accurate.

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1 minute ago, JLHPROF said:

Your sticking to that idea I guess.
I still don't see that it is historically accurate.

Perhaps you could produce a copy of a revelation introducing the Priesthood ban under Brigham Young?  If you want to refer to historical accuracy as support for the ban, then this is the holy grail of missing pieces in your argument.

And, please, don't refer to the following to support your argument: the Levites; the Pearl of Great Price; or Jesus only preaching to the Jews.

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

It's a matter of perspective, I suppose.  For me, obeying God (such as adhering to OD-1 (plural marriage) and OD-2 (priesthood ordination)) is never a bad thing.

I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
But the topic at hand is the motivator for these changes.  Yes, God commanded the end of polygamy and the end of the priesthood ban.

The motivators that led the Church to take it to God and receive revelation were clearly societal in origin.  In many ways as Kiwi put it they were "currently fashionable issues", or that is to say changed to match the pervading views of society.

They may not have been "shifting fashions of a fallen world" but approved by God, however they still changed as a result of the society the Church was in at the time.
The same thing happened with the garments in the 20s, the temple endowment in the 90s, and will likely happen again.  God grants revelation for the situation in which the Church finds itself, but that doesn't make the situation any less a factor in the change.

 

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1 minute ago, ttribe said:

Perhaps you could produce a copy of a revelation introducing the Priesthood ban under Brigham Young?  If you want to refer to historical accuracy as support for the ban, then this is the holy grail of missing pieces in your argument.

The revelation that produced the ban was Abraham 1 and Moses 7.  Joseph translated it, expressed the views contained therein, and all Brigham did was make it Church policy.

Quote

And, please, don't refer to the following to support your argument: the Levites; the Pearl of Great Price; or Jesus only preaching to the Jews.

Why?  Because you said not to?

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Just now, JLHPROF said:

The revelation that produced the ban was Abraham 1 and Moses 7.  Joseph translated it, expressed the views contained therein, and all Brigham did was make it Church policy.

Why?  Because you said not to?

If the revelation that produced the ban was Abraham 1 and Moses 7, why did Joseph act in opposition of the alleged revelation?  Moreover, the reason I asked for something other than what you came up with is that, unlike so many other canonized latter-day revelations, reliance on the PoGP is subject to interpretation of scripture absent clarification and settlement of difference over the issue.

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Just now, ttribe said:

If the revelation that produced the ban was Abraham 1 and Moses 7, why did Joseph act in opposition of the alleged revelation?  Moreover, the reason I asked for something other than what you came up with is that, unlike so many other canonized latter-day revelations, reliance on the PoGP is subject to interpretation of scripture absent clarification and settlement of difference over the issue.

Yes, reliance on the PoGP is subject to interpretation of scripture.  In this case though we are talking about how Joseph and Brigham interpreted them.
Joseph and Brigham both taught that the negro were descendants of Cain, Canaan, and Ham/Egyptus.

I am not arguing the doctrinal merits of the ban.  The Church has already disavowed any doctrinal explanations.
But if we are going to look at the true origin of the ban we have to look for the source and not pretend it was just Brigham's mood swing racism.  Because that's not what history shows.

And BOTH Joseph and Brigham acted in opposition, just as many early leaders ignored other canon like the Word of Wisdom, the original marriage section in the D&C, and others.  I am getting a little tired of the false narrative concerning Brigham and the ban.  It makes people feel better but it isn't true.
 

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14 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Yes, reliance on the PoGP is subject to interpretation of scripture.  In this case though we are talking about how Joseph and Brigham interpreted them.
Joseph and Brigham both taught that the negro were descendants of Cain, Canaan, and Ham/Egyptus.

I am not arguing the doctrinal merits of the ban.  The Church has already disavowed any doctrinal explanations.
But if we are going to look at the true origin of the ban we have to look for the source and not pretend it was just Brigham's mood swing racism.  Because that's not what history shows.

And BOTH Joseph and Brigham acted in opposition, just as many early leaders ignored other canon like the Word of Wisdom, the original marriage section in the D&C, and others.  I am getting a little tired of the false narrative concerning Brigham and the ban.  It makes people feel better but it isn't true.
 

Well, on behalf of everyone who thinks Brigham may have used the PoGP as an excuse to enact a racist policy rather than as a true revelation of instruction to institute a specific policy on ordination to the Priesthood, let me be the first to apologize for bothering you with our tiresome argument.  As I see it, reference to the PoGP is nothing more than a crutch to support a revisionist history of what was going on around Brigham and the Church in those days.  I might also remind you that you are under no obligation to engage in arguments you find tiresome.

ETA: The fact that "BOTH Joseph and Brigham acted in opposition, just as many early leaders ignored other canon like the Word of Wisdom, the original marriage section in the D&C, and others" opens a whole new can of worms I'm not sure you want to open.

Edited by ttribe
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34 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
But the topic at hand is the motivator for these changes.  Yes, God commanded the end of polygamy and the end of the priesthood ban.

Agreed.

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The motivators that led the Church to take it to God and receive revelation were clearly societal in origin.  

Agreed.  I'm quite okay with that.  That seems to be what we are supposed to do.  

Quote

In many ways as Kiwi put it they were "currently fashionable issues", or that is to say changed to match the pervading views of society.

They may not have been "shifting fashions of a fallen world" but approved by God, however they still changed as a result of the society the Church was in at the time.

I think the changes relating to the end of polygamy and the priesthood ban were the result of revelation.  That the revelations stemmed from "the society the Church was in at the time" is quite understandable.

This is actually one of the reasons I am persuaded that the Church's policy changes in November 2015 were revelatory.  They certainly were not designed to placate worldly calls to embrace and endorse homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage.

Quote

The same thing happened with the garments in the 20s, the temple endowment in the 90s, and will likely happen again.  God grants revelation for the situation in which the Church finds itself, but that doesn't make the situation any less a factor in the change.

I agree.  And I am quite okay with such factors, provided that the Church's decision is, in the end, the result of revelation.

Thanks,

-Smac

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