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Neutral Scholarship Re: Joseph Smith - Is it Even Possible?


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16 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I just read the The Family Proclamation trying to get your point, and honestly, I don't see anything in the form of marriage described there that would disqualify polygamy.  What did you have in mind?

A man is singular.  A woman is singular.  If you want to pretzel twist, I don't see anything in the Family Proclamation that would disqualify gay marriage. If I was married to my partner, I would be married to a man.  The proclamation clearly states I can marry a man and a woman.  I choose a man.  

Anyone can force an interpetaton if they try hard enough. Polygamy is another form of marriage.  For a church that practiced a different form of marriage to attack another group who wants to practice their form of marriage is ironical at the least.  Others may even see it as hypocritical. The persecuted become the persecutors.  Of all of the churches that should have stood up for the right to an alternative marriage, it should have been the one that knows the unfairness of persecution for having a different belief on what traditional marriage is..

Edited by california boy
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15 hours ago, Ahab said:

Right.  A correct form and any of the many incorrect forms.  I wish that had been one of the more prominent points in that debate.  It isn't that we lack in imagination when imagining a form of marriage. 

Our point was mainly that there is a right (as in righteous) way to be married to another person and any way that isn't that way isn't the right way to be married.  And that is still our main point.

For a Church that seems to be all up in arms about protecting religious liberties, isn't it hypercritical to try and force by laws what other religions believe about marriage?  There are plenty of Churches that disagree with that doctrine.  Is the Church going to go after other doctrinal disagreements they have with other churches?  Why not have a ballot unitive over the Godhead?  Or the Word of Wisdom.   Let's get the entire country to conform to the Church's  beliefs by passing laws.  Is that the goal?

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15 hours ago, Ahab said:

Right.  A correct form and any of the many incorrect forms.  I wish that had been one of the more prominent points in that debate.  It isn't that we lack in imagination when imagining a form of marriage. 

Our point was mainly that there is a right (as in righteous) way to be married to another person and any way that isn't that way isn't the right way to be married.  And that is still our main point.

I really don't care what the Church wants to believe.  But you act like God has spoken out on this issue.  To date, only fallible humans have made assumptions.  You know where that has lead to in the past.

Can you point to a revelation received by any leader in the Church where they have claimed God actually said He didn't approve of same sex marriage?  I mean what is the point of having a person who speaks directly to God if he can't receive answers to such big questions?

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On 8/29/2020 at 4:17 PM, bdouglas said:

Alter Idem on Robert Ritner thread said:

This is a curious thing. What is that prevents the ex-Mormon from simply leaving and finding another church or belief system that suits him better than Mormonism, and then leaving it at that?

For example, my wife is a convert from the Catholic church. She went to Catholic schools as a child and teenager, and met the missionaries when she was 20 and never looked back. She has literally never spent even a minute of her life since bashing Catholicism. Rather, she says, “I love the Catholic church, but I don’t believe it. Not since coming into contact with the Book of Mormon.”

What is it that prevents a Bill Reel or a John Dehlin or a Jeremy Runnells from doing the same? They are not content to leave Mormonism, they wish to see it burn, abolished, wiped from the face of the earth.

What is that prevented John Bennett or Symonds Ryder from simply walking away and saying, “Well I’m glad all that crazy Mormonism is behind me”? Why did they turn virulent enemy and seek the life of JS?

What is that prevented Lucifer from saying, “I’ll dwell here in my space, and let Christ, Abraham et al dwell in theirs. I can be as happy in my place as they are in theirs”? But Lucifer doesn’t do this. He cannot, will not, rest until God and Christ and goodness generally are banished from the universe.

I think the answer to this question is that it is not possible for anyone, once they have come into contact with JS and the Restoration, to take a neutral position. Once you come into contact with these things you are compelled to vote yay or nay; and if you vote nay——well then you become an enemy and you assume the posture of an enemy and it becomes a battle to the death.

And if you think it is anything less than a battle to the death, you are deluding yourself.

For this reason I think the turn LDS scholars made some time back to produce scholarship that was neutral on the truth claims of the church, or at least not front and center——I think this was/is misguided. Everyone has to stake out a position, and this position has to be clear and unequivocal.

So: let the battle commence.

All good questions, and the simple answer is this...

They can not explain away the Book of Mormon, nor the Prophet who translated it, so they must kill him and his good name, again, again, and again. You are correct, when I left the Baptist Church at age 21, I never looked back. In fact I go out of my way, not to criticize it, and by so doing, harm any of my family and friends, testimonies. I both love and respect them all, and the Church in which I was raised.,

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20 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

All good questions, and the simple answer is this...

They can not explain away the Book of Mormon, nor the Prophet who translated it, so they must kill him and his good name, again, again, and again. You are correct, when I left the Baptist Church at age 21, I never looked back. In fact I go out of my way, not to criticize it, and by so doing, harm any of my family and friends, testimonies. I both love and respect them all, and the Church in which I was raised.,

Since you are generalising about people other than yourself including myself, I can say with confidence that you are completely wrong about "the" answer, even if it is the simple version. Many people have many different reasons for vocally opposing the church, and they can have good, righteous reasons. 

@bdouglas  I think there are ample demonstrations in this thread that make it clear that the church, specifically both the culture and institution, does not make much space for believing scholars to dissent in an acceptable way. People already have bias, but this fact by its polarising nature would inevitably promote more entrenched bias for believers and ex-believers.

Edited by Meadowchik
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11 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

 

You sound like you're doing precisely that here, implying that the people who "get it" are the ones who know God's voice. 

It's comments like these which imo undermine your pages of philosophising, making all that effort appear to be for naught.

Lol. Sorry

No, the people who hear God's voice are the ones who get it.

Buddha heard God's voice.

He got it. How does that negate my beliefs on mysticism as the only way?

Language is a mass of confusion as is clearly manifested here and everywhere "heavy" issues are discussed.

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, california boy said:

A man is singular.  A woman is singular.

That's the common argument that Bible believers tout out against polygamy using Genesis 2 even though the Bible shows polygamous marriages condoned (and even supported) by God happening under that same foundation.  There's no pretzel twist in the concept that the covenant of marriage is always between a man and a woman, even in a polygamous marriage.  That's simply how it works.  In a polygamous marriage a woman doesn't marry the other wives, the woman marries the man and the man marries the woman.  It's not that difficult, it's not forced, it's the same form of marriage.  The Family Proclamation reinforces that same principle.

Edited by InCognitus
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9 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

That's the common argument that Bible believers tout out against polygamy using Genesis 2 even though the Bible shows polygamous marriages condoned (and even supported) by God happening under that same foundation.  There's no pretzel twist in the concept that the covenant of marriage is always between a man and a woman, even in a polygamous marriage.  That's simply how it works.  In a polygamous marriage a woman doesn't marry the other wives, the woman marries the man and the man marries the woman.  It's not that difficult, it's not forced, it's the same form of marriage.  The Family Proclamation reinforces that same principle.

Whatever you need to get this to work for you is fine with me.  That is what religion does to justify just about anything.  

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12 hours ago, The Nehor said:

So what is God's opinion on funko pops? I find I don't care one way or the other and so clearly I am just a wishy washy ignoramus who needs to either love or hate them depending on God and Satan's preference. So which is which?

Also, can you clarify God's position on tie-dyed clothing, gyros, and whether a strong or weak mayor city structure is God's preferred method for local governance? Thanks in advance.

Simple test, if it's actually a good thing then God approves of it, but if it's a bad thing you can safely conclude that God would not and does not like it. 

I'd rather teach others how to fish than to take on the job of trying to catch fish for them.

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35 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

That's the common argument that Bible believers tout out against polygamy using Genesis 2 even though the Bible shows polygamous marriages condoned (and even supported) by God happening under that same foundation.  There's no pretzel twist in the concept that the covenant of marriage is always between a man and a woman, even in a polygamous marriage.  That's simply how it works.  In a polygamous marriage a woman doesn't marry the other wives, the woman marries the man and the man marries the woman.  It's not that difficult, it's not forced, it's the same form of marriage.  The Family Proclamation reinforces that same principle.

CFR on the bold, thank you! 

I've been down this road before, and there is no evidence of it, besides saying one must marry their brother's wife if he dies. Problem is they don't prove that the brother that marries the deceased brother's wife has another wife. 

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24 minutes ago, california boy said:

Whatever you need to get this to work for you is fine with me.  That is what religion does to justify just about anything.  

I didn't write the Bible, but that is how marriage functions in the Bible (with and without polygamy).  People often don't like the polygamy part so they try to get around it by using arguments like you did to justify their ideas.

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

For a Church that seems to be all up in arms about protecting religious liberties, isn't it hypercritical to try and force by laws what other religions believe about marriage?

No, not at all.  Voting is simply a way for an individual person to speak out to tell others what that person approves of and does not approve of.  An individual's vote does not speak for other people unless those other people happen to agree with that individual.  So nobody is forcing anyone else to do anything, and each individual's vote should reflect what that person personally approves of or does not approve of.

1 hour ago, california boy said:

 There are plenty of Churches that disagree with that doctrine.  

The two-edged sword of personal agency.  Each person is free to think and feel whatever they think and feel even when that causes disagreements.

1 hour ago, california boy said:

Is the Church going to go after other doctrinal disagreements they have with other churches?  

We're going to continue to share what we think and how we feel even when other people do not agree with us, if that's what you are wondering.

1 hour ago, california boy said:

Why not have a ballot initiative over the Godhead?  Or the Word of Wisdom.   Let's get the entire country to conform to the Church's  beliefs by passing laws.  Is that the goal?

If that's what enough people are willing to stand up for, to say what they want, then I might be okay with putting all of that up to a vote. Any opposed will still be able to speak up and make their views known.

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8 minutes ago, Tacenda said:
47 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

That's the common argument that Bible believers tout out against polygamy using Genesis 2 even though the Bible shows polygamous marriages condoned (and even supported) by God happening under that same foundation.  There's no pretzel twist in the concept that the covenant of marriage is always between a man and a woman, even in a polygamous marriage.  That's simply how it works.  In a polygamous marriage a woman doesn't marry the other wives, the woman marries the man and the man marries the woman.  It's not that difficult, it's not forced, it's the same form of marriage.  The Family Proclamation reinforces that same principle.

CFR on the bold, thank you! 

I've been down this road before, and there is no evidence of it, besides saying one must marry their brother's wife if he dies. Problem is they don't prove that the brother that marries the deceased brother's wife has another wife. 

This is all off topic, but I had 2 Samuel 12:7-8 in mind, the prophet Nathan speaking to David the words of the LORD:

Quote

7  And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8  And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

The LORD says he "gave" the wives to David.  Condoned and supported plural marriage right there.

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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

 

Also, do you think that it is right or wrong to feel the way you describe or the way 2BizE describes, or are they both valid responses?  

I'm not questioning whether either response is valid.  But knowing that many have overcome or avoided similar feelings and keep their testimony intact and remained members of the church may be helpful to members struggling in the dire situation presented by 2BizE.

Of course, not everyone is looking to keep their testimony intact or remain members in the church so they are free to start a blog to convince others to experience the sense of betrayal and animosity they've experienced themselves.

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18 minutes ago, gopher said:

I'm not questioning whether either response is valid.  But knowing that many have overcome or avoided similar feelings and keep their testimony intact and remained members of the church may be helpful to members struggling in the dire situation presented by 2BizE.

Of course, not everyone is looking to keep their testimony intact or remain members in the church so they are free to start a blog to convince others to experience the sense of betrayal and animosity they've experienced themselves.

It doesn't have to be about that, and can be about helping others experience joy and progression from better principles.

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1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

This is all off topic, but I had 2 Samuel 12:7-8 in mind, the prophet Nathan speaking to David the words of the LORD:

The LORD says he "gave" the wives to David.  Condoned and supported plural marriage right there.

Please read through this, it's not condoning whatsoever. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/does-2-samuel-12-support-polygamy/

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30 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

It doesn't have to be about that, and can be about helping others experience joy and progression from better principles.

What do you mean by 'helping others experience joy and progression from better principles'?

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28 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

This sounds more like trying to justify a prior assumed position than to read it for what it says (from the article):

Quote

That verse has the Lord’s message to David spoken from Nathan the prophet, and it says how the Lord gave David the wives of Saul. But God’s comments to David through Nathan in 2 Samuel 12 meant that God was speaking to David more about the throne and its authority than about wives. 

If God didn't intend condone or support plural wives, then why did he implicate himself in the deal?  

Edit:  A lot more has been said on this topic here.

Edited by InCognitus
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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Since you are generalising about people other than yourself including myself, I can say with confidence that you are completely wrong about "the" answer, even if it is the simple version. Many people have many different reasons for vocally opposing the church, and they can have good, righteous reasons. 

@bdouglas  I think there are ample demonstrations in this thread that make it clear that the church, specifically both the culture and institution, does not make much space for believing scholars to dissent in an acceptable way. People already have bias, but this fact by its polarising nature would inevitably promote more entrenched bias for believers and ex-believers.

I was “generalizing” about the podcasts, and not everyone, including or excluding you at all. In this you are completely wrong for taking  my comments out of “that” context. If it struck a nerve, it was not one I was aiming for. 

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8 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

This sounds more like trying to justify a prior assumed position than to read it for what it says (from the article):

If God didn't intend condone or support plural wives, then why did he implicate himself in the deal?  

Edit:  A lot more has been said on this topic here.

My c/p of the end of the article below, that I hoped you would read through.

Conclusion: God Does Not Condone Polygamy

But to return to the original question, God definitely did not condone polygamy in 2 Samuel 12:8. In fact when you read the next few verses (2 Samuel 12:9–12), you see that instead of David receiving “even more” blessings, he had forfeited some of those and instead would be punished for his adultery and for the murder of Uriah with public humiliation, divisions, and war within his own household.

Edited by Tacenda
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41 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

My c/p of the end of the article below, that I hoped you would read through.

Conclusion: God Does Not Condone Polygamy

But to return to the original question, God definitely did not condone polygamy in 2 Samuel 12:8. In fact when you read the next few verses (2 Samuel 12:9–12), you see that instead of David receiving “even more” blessings, he had forfeited some of those and instead would be punished for his adultery and for the murder of Uriah with public humiliation, divisions, and war within his own household.

Conclusion:  Justification of an a-priori position.  (I did read it).  Please read the link I included in my prior post.

Think about what the article is saying here: "God definitely did not condone polygamy in 2 Samuel 12:8. In fact when you read the next few verses (2 Samuel 12:9–12), you see that instead of David receiving “even more” blessings, he had forfeited some of those and instead would be punished for his adultery and for the murder of Uriah with public humiliation, divisions, and war within his own household."    How does the latter part of the statement justify the reassertion of their position, "God definitely did not condone polygamy"?   Think this through logically, this kind of thinking implies (1) God gave the wives to David (2) God promised him blessings, and (3) God set him up to fail because he ended up not getting the blessings that God promised him and we have his plural wives to blame.   That's pure illogical reasoning (see below for the real reason David lost his blessings). 

One of the common arguments against polygamy is the pointing out of problems that may occur because of it, with the logical fallacy being that the plural marriage was the cause of those problems and therefore it isn't of God.  But all marriages can have problems if any partner in the marriage breaks serious commandments (and David certainly did that).  Divorce and unhappiness in marriage is common today, but is that the fault of the practice of marriage itself?  Of course not, but that's the same charge that is being levied against David and his plural wives in this case.

The real cause of the loss of blessings with David is not because of his plural wives, but because of David's behavior in one incident as is clearly stated in the following:

1 Kings 15:5:   "Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." 

Of course that "matter" included the adultery with Bathsheba.

Edited by InCognitus
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50 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

I was “generalizing” about the podcasts, and not everyone, including or excluding you at all. In this you are completely wrong for taking  my comments out of “that” context. If it struck a nerve, it was not one I was aiming for. 

Even then, you are misrepresenting the people named. If you spend some time listening to their views, the Book of Mormon is clearly not credible to them and they can support that position very reasonably.

And of course it strikes a nerve when people repeat harmful falsehoods. This "us versus them" of Mormondom is just lousy.  

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1 hour ago, alter idem said:

What do you mean by 'helping others experience joy and progression from better principles'?

The principles of Mormonism do not bring all earnest believers joy, contrary to its promises. For these individuals, once they realise it fails them, talking about and listening to others talk about the experience can be very helpful in identifying why it failed so that they can rebuild their lives on better principles.

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Buddha heard God's voice.

Well, technically he was already enlightened and then he heard the voice of the God Brahma telling him to go teach his path ;) 

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On 8/29/2020 at 2:17 PM, bdouglas said:

I think the answer to this question is that it is not possible for anyone, once they have come into contact with JS and the Restoration, to take a neutral position. Once you come into contact with these things you are compelled to vote yay or nay; and if you vote nay——well then you become an enemy and you assume the posture of an enemy and it becomes a battle to the death.

Hmm. I have come into contact with JS and the Restoration. So has @3DOP. We both have voted nay. But I don't consider us your enemies and you my enemies, and I don't see us engaged in a battle to the death.

Unless behind our backs and off the board you guys are all planning our assassinations ;) 

Also, you have come into contact with Roman Catholic Church. Do you have a neutral position on her? I assume you have voted nay. Thus there is nothing unique about people taking a position on the LDS church.

But perhaps you mean something else by "come into contact with"?

 

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