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emergence of new justifications for the black priesthood and temple ban


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38 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

I did not know that God made mistakes. 

God doesn't make mistakes- people do.

We do not believe in infallible prophets.

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11 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

We do not believe in infallible prophets.

No, we don't.

But we (many of us?) do believe in a God who has demonstrably shown Himself both capable of correcting and willing to correct His prophets through the ages.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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38 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

He was born in Vermont and his family moved to New York when he was three. What was in his culture there that would make him racist?

And why do you think God made a mistake? As I noted to Mark, I was taught that God did not make mistakes. Am I wrong?

But if it were a mistake on anyone's part, it must have been relatively insignificant in the eyes of God, looking back on the history of how God dealt with errant prophets.

I think the entire nation thought some were less than, unfortunately. My ancestor, a Massachussetts native, was part of the group that revived the slave trade back in the day. He was a horrible person, yet a northerner, and a racist.

I don't think God had anything to do with whatever mormonism is today. Isolation, when mormonism was in its infancy, and the power of tithing and compound interest is what fuels todays' mormonism.

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19 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I think the entire nation thought some were less than, unfortunately. My ancestor, a Massachussetts native, was part of the group that revived the slave trade back in the day. He was a horrible person, yet a northerner, and a racist.

I don't think God had anything to do with whatever mormonism is today. Isolation, when mormonism was in its infancy, and the power of tithing and compound interest is what fuels todays' mormonism.

Can you point to anything voiced by Brigham Young during his early years in the church that would hint at racism. Even anecdotal accounts?

You and I disagree pretty strongly on your second point.

Edited by Glenn101
just wanted to change it a bit.
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1 hour ago, Glenn101 said:

I did not know that God made mistakes

Well, there are those pesky scriptures that say " God repented " :ph34r:

Having seen the actions of humans currently and throughout history, I can imagine God saying to Himself, " What have I done ? "

Side note: there are 10s of millions of people TODAY that live as slaves. It has very little to do with racism and much to do with power of one person over another.

Edited by strappinglad
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1 hour ago, blueglass said:

I transcribed LaJean Carruth's reading of Elder Orson Pratt's speech.  (Utah Territorial Legislature 27-January 1852),  George Watt shorthand transcribed by LaJean Carruth and presentation given at MHA Conference 2014 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAPtLLMHBoo) I wish I could post or email to friends.  Have not posted publicly as Paul Reeve asked that I not.  

Any word of timing of the release?  Or do you mean this was released, but Paul doesn't want it circulated in just that limited form?

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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

No, we don't.

But we (many of us?) do believe in a God who has demonstrably shown Himself both capable of correcting and willing to correct His prophets through the ages.

I don't recall contradicting that.

I think it is quite clear what Brigham Young's reasoning was if you read the accounts of what was happening in 1852.

He was under a tremendous social pressure to stop creating what was seen as a "mongrel race "of integrated polygamist Mormons. 

I suggest you look at the research.

Edited by mfbukowski
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9 hours ago, blueglass said:

Assuming that a prophet is infallible is a violation of the central tenet of agency.  If a prophet has agency a prophet can make mistakes. 

This.

But the idea that Brigham Young and his successors got something so big so wrong for so long is probably a scary thought for Mormons who have been taught all their lives that all they have to do is follow the prophet

3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I have never thought that blind obedience has a place in the church, unless it is blind obedience to one's own conscience. Personal revelation is The Rock on which Christ established his church, or at least that is the way the church has consistently interpreted that scripture.

Even when I was an active member, I had no problem with prophets making mistakes.  They are messengers, and perfection never has been a prerequisite for being called by God as a messenger.  If prophets were infallible, why bother giving us the Gift of the Holy Ghost?  There would be no need for personal revelation, only for blind obedience.   

Edited by Eek!
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6 hours ago, strappinglad said:

Well, there are those pesky scriptures that say " God repented " :ph34r:

Having seen the actions of humans currently and throughout history, I can imagine God saying to Himself, " What have I done ? "

Side note: there are 10s of millions of people TODAY that live as slaves. It has very little to do with racism and much to do with power of one person over another.

Those “petty scriptures” were altered in the Joseph Smith Translation to obviate the notion of God repenting. 

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9 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

He was born in Vermont and his family moved to New York when he was three. What was in his culture there that would make him racist?

And why do you think God made a mistake? As I noted to Mark, I was taught that God did not make mistakes. Am I wrong?

But if it were a mistake on anyone's part, it must have been relatively insignificant in the eyes of God, looking back on the history of how God dealt with errant prophets.

Brigham and most of the Mormon people came from a culture which had overarching racist attitudes, even in the North -- where anti-negro and anti-Lincoln riots took place during the Civil War.  Yes, there were abolitionists and Underground Railroad workers in the North too, my own ancestors among them, but being from the North did not mean one had not bought into the myth of Cain as the archetypal Satanic negro.

God has always allowed ancient and modern Israel to exercise their agency and to choose wrong paths.  Sadly, the Mormons weren't worthy of a change as a people until June 1978.  Their leaders were clearly ready for that change several decades earlier, but God is patient.  The same applied to the Jews, who were not allowed to begin the modern gathering of Israel until 2000 years after God sent them into a harsh Exile.  That Exile was punishment for disobedience.  That's what the rabbis say.  We need to look at all such matters sub specie aeternitatis.

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9 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Not sure I’m following you here. Are you saying the restriction was left in place because Brigham Young and every subsequent president of the Church right down to Spencer W. Kimball until he finally “saw the light,” as it were, were backsliders?

As i pointed out to Glenn, it was the Mormon people, not leaders like David O. McKay and his contemporaries, who stymied the desire to immediately reintroduce ordinations of negroes.  Pres Kimball simply happened to be on station when the Lord decided to reintroduce such ordinations.  I am only guessing, based on the obvious racism I encountered among otherwise nice LDS members from time to  time in the decades leading up to 1978.  Based on the positive response which the Brethren received in 1978, I'd say that the Lord acted at just the right time.  I personally wanted him to act earlier, and so did the late Jerald Tanner -- who apostatized over the issue, and then began his long effort to destroy the LDS Church, which only resulted in strengthening it.

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9 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

But if it were a mistake on anyone's part, it must have been relatively insignificant in the eyes of God, looking back on the history of how God dealt with errant prophets.

I don't think the ban can be said to have been a mistake any more than saying that the brother of Jared (or any other prophet of his time), had he not seen the finger of the Lord, had made a mistake. I don't see the institution of the ban as a matter subject to accountability or judgement since it is not a matter of what was sensible and right (or misguided and wrong) for past "dispensations", but of the Lord's expectations of His people in these dispensations and  "sub-"dispensations and the minimum progress to be made within them.

And just as we now condemn any theory explaining that God wasn't to have had a body of flesh and blood, so we condemn the racist theories of the past.

Edited by CV75
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8 hours ago, Calm said:

Any word of timing of the release?  Or do you mean this was released, but Paul doesn't want it circulated in just that limited form?

The audio was released by Carruth at MHA.   Reeve and Rich are working on a book/paper on the topic.  Orson cuts through the slavery vs. indentured servitude language.  The servitude laws passed in UT are compared to Illininois and Indiana.  "Is it not known to this honorable council the light in which slavery is looked upon by almost every enlightened nation or heathen? They look upon it with disgust! There may be individuals in those countries that are starving to death in their midst, but they look upon binding a man to life to bondage and slavery. They look upon it in a different light from what many others look upon it. They consider it one of the worst of evils. Do we not wish to have influence upon them for the sake of their salvation? We wish to find access to parts of Europe to the learned men of Europe and to be the means in the hands of the almighty to bring them to the knowledge of the truth we believe in. Is not this our desire and intention? Wherein can it be expedient for us to suffer slavery to come into this territory when we can avoid it? It would not be a sin to keep it out. Why it would give us a greater influence among the other nations of the earth, and by that means save them. Should we hedge up the way before us by introducing this abominable slavery? No! My voice shall be against it from this time until the bill shall pass – if you are determined to pass it."   I transcribed the audio so I could study it in more detail.  Many great excerpts from Orson Pratt's speech (See Reeve's book Ch5).

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The rationalization for the rebuttal of #3 is a bit weak. Polygamy ingrained an “in” identity that may have well afforded a better environment for the emerging latter-day saint society to seperate it from the “other”. Maybe. Maybe not. But I am of the opinion that historical evidence suggests such.

Inclusion of blacks may have, given the weakness/biases/failings of the majority of the converts may have been a stumbling block the church was not ready to tackle. Indeed early accounts do show the sad racial biases our black converts had to deal with from other members (even before the priesthood ban became practiced policy).

This, of course, does *not* mean rationalization #3 is/was correct. Maybe inclusion of blacks would have reinforced culural identity like polygamy maybe did instead of weakening it (as the previous paragraph asserts as a possibility). The fact is I just don't know how it would have all played out were it otherwise.

What I do know is that there a gospel principles even now that the church has not and is not yet ready to adopt. All of that leads me to conclude #7 as the best option. Maybe a mistake, maybe a pragmatic tolerance of our weaknesses by God, maybe something else or some combination. I simply don't know.

But if I did have personal revelation on the matter it would be a violation of that trust to tell everybody that God has told me the answer and this is it!

 

 

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10 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

No, we don't.

But we (many of us?) do believe in a God who has demonstrably shown Himself both capable of correcting and willing to correct His prophets through the ages.

Bro Hamba!  I just suggest you take a look at this FAIR presentation- this is ONE view of how Bro Brigham was being personally portrayed in the "media" of his day- alleging that he was creating a "mongrel race" in his private enclave of Mormondom, and the other which is difficult to read today.  Again this is from a FAIR presentation- showing the thoughts of the day from the "media" of the day.

The language is so vile I hesitated to even include it here but again this is from FAIR

We need to understand the climate of the day surrounding these issues.

https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2015/rethinking-the-mormon-racial-story

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Edited by mfbukowski
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24 minutes ago, Nofear said:

The rationalization for the rebuttal of #3 is a bit weak. Polygamy ingrained an “in” identity that may have well afforded a better environment for the emerging latter-day saint society to seperate it from the “other”. Maybe. Maybe not. But I am of the opinion that historical evidence suggests such.

Inclusion of blacks may have, given the weakness/biases/failings of the majority of the converts may have been a stumbling block the church was not ready to tackle. Indeed early accounts do show the sad racial biases our black converts had to deal with from other members (even before the priesthood ban became practiced policy).

This, of course, does *not* mean rationalization #3 is/was correct. Maybe inclusion of blacks would have reinforced culural identity like polygamy maybe did instead of weakening it (as the previous paragraph asserts as a possibility). The fact is I just don't know how it would have all played out were it otherwise.

What I do know is that there a gospel principles even now that the church has not and is not yet ready to adopt. All of that leads me to conclude #7 as the best option. Maybe a mistake, maybe a pragmatic tolerance of our weaknesses by God, maybe something else or some combination. I simply don't know.

But if I did have personal revelation on the matter it would be a violation of that trust to tell everybody that God has told me the answer and this is it!

 

 

I agree with you completely.

Whether or not it was a "mistake" is open to conjecture.  I suppose one could say that given the opposition to the combination of polygamy combined with racial integration, the world was not yet ready to assimilate Mormonism, and so the Lord inspired Brigham.

We think we have problems with the media today!!

A Broadway play gently chiding us is nothing compared to this..... stuff. !

Regardless, this sort of thing does not exactly help the missionary effort- it doesn't today, and whether or not it would have led to more Haun's Mill massacres in those wild days, perhaps destroying the church, is anyone's guess.

Second guessing the Lord is a hazardous game, and so is judging our neighbors and especially the "Lord's Annointed".

Again it all comes down to an interpretation of the data which we all need to make for ourselves.   I don't think we have any other option other than to let the past die and get on with living today.

But we are rather obsessed with history, aren't we?

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17 hours ago, blueglass said:

Black, White, & Mormon II Conference Panel 2: Getting Past the Racial Past.  
Nancy Tessman Auditorium, Salt Lake Public Library, June 30, 2018.

Dr. Paul Reeve UofU, primary writer of the Race and Priesthood essay.  Book:  Religion of a Different Color Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness.    https://www.amazon.com/Religion-Different-Mormon-Struggle-Whiteness/dp/0199754071

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPWb5xj9jO8&feature=youtu.be&t=23m2s

New justifications for the previous priesthood and temple bans

We should just move forward? 

"Obiously you are talking to an historian and an historian will never believe that we should just move forward without actually understanding our racial past." 
"The LDS church disavowed in 2013 the theories advanced in the past from the 19th century about the curse of cain, fencesitters, less valiant in the war in the heaven, however, what does this mean since 1978? 
What I have seen is a variety of new justifications for the previous priesthood and temple restrictions crop up to replace those that had been disavowed and its like playing whack a mole at the carnival!"
If we don't understand our racial history we will continue to try these kinds of justifications. That's why the history matters.  Let me give you some examples:

New false justifications:
1.  Spread the gospel in stages first jews then gentiles as parallel to first the gospel got go go to the white people and then to black people.  Refutation:  The first documented black person joined the church in 1830 the founding year of the faith.  There was no parallel to jews first then gentile as it was always taken to black people and black people were ordained in the early days of the church.  
2.  God has always discriminated in distributing priesthood power to the tribe of Levi as parallel.  The tribe of levi analogy is a false parallel because none of the other tribes were prevented from partaking of the ordinances necessary for their salvation like temple and priesthood restrictions prevented black people of African descent from doing.  The levites were in essence the old testament equivalent of modern day temple workers, not the equivalent of modern day priesthood holders.  
3.  Giving black people access to temple and priesthood would have brought down the church.  This idea suggests that conforming to American racial norms and prejudices was necessary for the church to survive.  However, the same year 1852 that Brigham Young openly announced the racial priesthood ban the church openly acknowledged that its members believed in and practiced polygamy.  Polygamy brought considerable scorn from the nation and did not end until the federal gov nearly ground the lds church into dust, and yet lds leaders willfully stood against the curse of derision for what they believed was a divine principle.  Why would conforming to racial prejudices be necessary?   standard of truth from wentworth letter:  "the standard of truth has been erected . . so no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing . . . . "  and yet treating black people equally would have? "  
4.  Revelation removed the restriction therefore a revelation must have started it.  This idea suggests that the ending of the restriction explains the beginnings.  I do not have to first tell my children to touch a hot stove before I tell them don't touch that it's hot!"  If there was a revelation to begin the restriction - can we read it?  Will someone show it to us?    can anyone point to it?  Where is it? There is a total of 1 revelation on race and the priesthood in the canon and it came in june 1978 and returned mormonism to its racially universal roots. 
5.  God will not allow the prophet to let the prophet lead the church astray.  Taken within in its proper context this comes out of wilford woodruff in 1890 who was defending the manifesto ending polygamy as a revelation in the face of accusations from fellow mormons that he was a fallen prophet and had merely bowed to political pressure.   Assuming that a prophet is infallible is a violation of the central tenet of agency.  If a prophet has agency a prophet can make mistakes. 
6.  mormon leaders were trapped by historical circumstances - everyone was racist back then.  this idea is based on the premise that we should not judge historical figures by the standards of today, but by the standards of their day.  Presentism as historians define it is superimposing present day values and understandings on the past.  It is not an act of presentism to hold those leaders accountable for their choices because people in the past argued against slavery and for racial equality including eventually joseph smith.  Also joseph smith sanctioned the  ordination of black men to the priesthood, he was not trapped by historical circumstances.  brigham young said, in 1847, we don't care about the color.  therefore when he started to care about color he was not trapped by the views of the time because he had already expressed an open view.  brigham young said we have one of the best elders - an african (Walker Lewis) 
7.  We don' know why
brigham young said he knew why.  5 feb 1852.  If there never was a prophet or apostle of Jesus Christ spoke it before i tell you this people that are commonly called negroes are the children of cain.  I know that they are.  I know they cannot bear rule in the priesthood in the first sense of the word."  April 2006. Gordon b Hinckley "how can any man [Brigham Young, Joseph F Smith] arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible? "  

In my personal life since I was born just barely after 1978, I have heard all of these at one time of another.  Many in just the last few months.  Question is what can we do to abandon these mistakes and false justifications for the ban proposed >1978?  Who are the primary proponents of these false justifications?  It's important to identify the sources of the new justifications and to push back hard.  
 

In our daily lives we follow our rational minds.  Flat earth?  Our brains decide that such has less evidence and hence to side with the conclusion that is less likely we completely grasp such as irrational.  Some claim we didn't land on the moon.  The evidence while interesting seems to carry less weight than the conclusion that Armstrong and others were there.  So whereas most of us conclude that the evidence is stronger in favor of a moon landing we choose not to take the less rational conclusion and hence most of us believe we in fact had a lunar landing mission.  We do this every day in our lives.  We fully expect the sun to come up.  We expect our food to taste a certain way.  We anticipate the most reasonable conclusion at every turn in our lives.  But strangely we don't do this in religion.  I shouldn't say it that that way.  Some of us who understand any particular issue don't do this within our religion.  Take this issue.
What is the most rationale explanation for the race ban?  Why are modern prophets so sure the "past doctrines" that explain the ban are racist false theories, while leaning towards believing the ban from God?  Do we have God on record helping them sort this out?  Does that not seem odd to anyone.  What makes Elder Oaks so sure those theories taught in the past were false while the original ban he seem so sure it was from God.  Does he or others claim God came down and helped them sort it out.  Or is he imposing their collective confidence that they have felt the spirit confirming that what his predecessors taught that they felt collectively by the spirit to be false.  IOW if the Holy Ghost told him that what his predecessors taught was false and if his predecessors taught such false things having their own certainty by the spirit.  Then Why can't it be that the present understanding by the spirit is wrong and the the past teachings by the spirit are actually true.  If one's source for knowledge that a teaching is false is the same source that gave confidence in the false past teaching..... than how can anyone have confidence.

Now before you jump in to create some mental gymnastic loophole.  I am not asking for a reconciliation here.  Instead I am asking if we can be collectively vulnerable here and ask ourselves with all our defensiveness set aside, what is the best, most logical, most rational, most reasonable explanation here.  And most people (there is always someone who will believe a flat earth no matter what), come down once they grasp the data that the race ban is complete racist nonsense.  That these men are winging it and because it only takes one of them to teach nonsense and it takes all of them collectively united to correct nonsense and taking into account their hesitancy to throw each other or their predecessors under the bus, they often come off collectively being 40 years behind the times.  

Again you can freely disagree.  And your right that a less likely, less reasonable, less rationale, answer could in fact be the right one.  But none of us are thinking rationally if we live our life expecting the less likely answer to be true.  That is the definition of irrational thinking.  

rational thinking is we expect the expect able.  When new evidence comes in that makes a less likely expectation now the most likely expectation, we change our minds.  But we don't living for the less likely expectation before the evidence comes in.  That's irrational thinking.  We don't plan at night for the sun not to come up the next day.  So with an explanation on that ask yourself
- Whats the most rational explanation for the Race ban and supporting doctrines of the past?
- how about the Book of Abraham conundrum?
- first vision accounts?
- lack of miracles in a verifiable age
- Nephi's transoceanic vessel?
- 2000 stripling warriors not losing 1 person in battle against a larger more experienced army and then many "fainting" from blood loss, but no gangrene and all return ASAP to health and fighting again?

You see we below the surface recognize that we choose intentionally to take a less likely answer on some or all of these.  Now stand back and look at all 2000 troublesome issues at once.  How irrational is it to choose the less likely explanation on 1400 of them?  Is that rational?  Could all 1400 or even all 2000 have the less likely explanation be the right one?  sure but that chance is so minute that it is for all intents and purposes statistically absurd.

Once you choose to be rational rather than get excited about loopholes, this gets harder to reconcile issues like Race and Priesthood

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3 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Those “petty scriptures” were altered in the Joseph Smith Translation to obviate the notion of God repenting. 

Please explain then, the need for an open canon for ongoing revelation?  Clearly God does not "repent" but I think inspired interpretation of the language used in scriptures clearly changes over time- which is precisely the point Joseph was illustrating by revising scripture.

So did God "repent" in inspiring Joseph to change scripture?

Who got it wrong then, Joseph or the previous prophets who wrote it that way originally?

There is no way out of the trap of believing in infallible prophets AND believing in the Restoration!   If prophets are infallible and the scriptures were revealed "Once for All Time" then there is no need for ongoing prophets.

It's as simple as that.

Edited by mfbukowski
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18 hours ago, blueglass said:


5.  God will not allow the prophet to let the prophet lead the church astray.  Taken within in its proper context this comes out of wilford woodruff in 1890 who was defending the manifesto ending polygamy as a revelation in the face of accusations from fellow mormons that he was a fallen prophet and had merely bowed to political pressure.   Assuming that a prophet is infallible is a violation of the central tenet of agency.  If a prophet has agency a prophet can make mistakes. 
 

I just want to stress this again.

Simple logic.

If God doesn't allow prophets to go astray then there is no need for a Restoration.

Yes we can rationalize answers- "'It wasn't translated correctly' - AND after all we don't HAVE the "original"- therefore the earlier prophet got it right but it was not passed down to us correctly"

So we move the fallibility blame to others than the prophet.

How much does that matter?

The "scripture" is incorrect and therefore needs revision.  It doesn't matter how it got "wrong", we can rationalize anything we want - but  what matters is that it NEEDS REVISION and that is what prophets are for.

So we can debate who's fault the error was all day- and in fact we are doing that.

The fact remains that what WAS understood has CHANGED.

Call that "God repenting" or blame it on the prophet making a "mistake" or just accept that prophets are "fallible".

It really doesn't matter pragmatically.

We no longer believe what was believed in the past.  Gosh could it be that religion like science, can change and still be "right"?  Can it be that human needs change and language and understanding of God changes and that is why we need an open canon and THAT is what makes Mormonism unique and valuable in the world today? 

That we should stop worrying about history and get on with getting our lives straight today?

Nah, it couldn't possibly mean that.  ;) 

Somebody has to get the blame after all ! 

And it is up to us to judge who that devil is/was!   We can't leave that up to the Lord- he might repent!  It's great we don't have to!   ;)

 

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Please explain then, the need for an open canon for ongoing revelation?  Clearly God does not "repent" but I think inspired interpretation of the language used in scriptures clearly changes over time- which is precisely the point Joseph was illustrating by revising scripture.

So did God "repent" in inspiring Joseph to change scripture?

Who got it wrong then, Joseph or the previous prophets who wrote it that way originally?

There is no way out of the trap of believing in infallible prophets AND believing in the Restoration!   If prophets are infallible and the scriptures were revealed "Once for All Time" then there is no need for ongoing prophets.

It's as simple as that.

I believe the Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to make a revision (the so-called “new translation”) of the Bible to more perfectly convey His own word and will to people living in the latter days. Whether this entailed restoring lost scripture, removing errors that had been made and perpetuated over time, providing a clearer rendering than even that which had been written by the original author, or (as I believe) a combination of all of these is of no great moment. He is the Lord and God Almighty, and He can do anything He sees fit with the scriptures He provides His sons and daughters in whatever period of time or age they might receive them. 

In short, I don’t see the great conundrum here that you appear to. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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22 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I believe the Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to make a revision (the so-called “new translation”) of the Bible to more perfectly convey His own word and will to people living in the latter days. Whether this entailed restoring lost scripture, removing errors that had been made and perpetuated over time, providing a clearer rendering than even that which had been written by the original author, or (as I believe) a combination of all of these is of no great moment. He is the Lord and God Almighty, and He can do anything He sees fit with the scriptures He provides His sons and daughters in whatever period of time or age they might receive them. 

In short, I don’t see the great conundrum here that you appear to. 

Well I kind of agree with that last statement-  about it being a "conundrum" . I put it all down to linguistic confusion actually.

So it kind of makes no sense to say the prophets did or did not make "mistakes"- as I see it now.

As in all these discussions it becomes a question of definitions.  And you certainly understand wording and its twists and turns!

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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