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'Inspired fiction' and doctrine and covenants section 27


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On 3/22/2021 at 11:07 AM, smac97 said:

I think those who seek salvation, but who reject the messengers who bring it, are in serious error.  Nevertheless, as deeply flawed as their position is, I welcome such persons who buy into the "inspired fiction" meme in fellowship in the Church.  We are all of us working to improve our understanding of God and His plans for us.  It is not for me to withdraw or withhold fellowship from those who differ from me on this issue.  I also won't speculate as to their standing in the Church generally, and will instead leave such things to those who are in authority and have proper stewardship.

That is generous and tolerant of you, Smac. 
 

I generally agree but would add the important caveat that their ruminations about the Book of Mormon being “inspired fiction” or “a pious fraud” or whatever should not be given any degree of consideration or stature in our formal Church discourse, classes, worship services, etc. It is, after all, false doctrine and, as such, has the propensity to mislead the vulnerable and weak in the faith. 
 

If I were a teacher in a formal Church classroom setting, I would not entertain commentary that was laced with such falsehood, nor would I long remain as a student in such a setting where said falsehood was being entertained or propounded. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Okay.

But novels are understood to be fictional.  

You presuppose that which is in dispute, namely, that Moroni is "fictional."

What if we are all just part of a big computer simulation?

Interposing imponderables doesn't really advance the discussion.

Thanks,

-Smac

I was pointing out holes in the argument 

Every thing we discuss here is an imponderable

Any good positivist would see every word on this board as fantasy bordering on psychosis.

It's just naive to think otherwise.

And if God hadn't clobbered me with my testimony I would agree with them.

 I cannot imagine being born with this Doctrine and seeing it as true until proven false.

Many folks here just take it as true without even thinking about it.

Most people take all alleged scripture as fictional!

"INSPIRED fiction " for this group is a good thing!

 

For them it's the only way they can accept it!

don't take that away from them!

Edited by mfbukowski
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54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I was pointing out holes in the argument 

Okay.

54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Every thing we discuss here is an imponderable

Well, no.  If we operate within a particular paradigm, where certain presumptions are in place, then many imponderables become quite ponderable (though others remain unanswerable).

54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Any good positivist would see every word on this board as fantasy bordering on psychosis.

It's just naive to think otherwise.

And if God hadn't clobbered me with my testimony I would agree with them.

I don't think that's a fair characterization.

54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

 I cannot imagine being born with this Doctrine and seeing it as true until proven false.

Nor can I.

54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Many folks here just take it as true without even thinking about it.

Are you sure?

54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Most people take all alleged scripture as fictional!

"INSPIRED fiction " for this group is a good thing!

For them it's the only way they can accept it!

don't take that away from them!

I can't go along with this.  I will continue to speak against the "Inspired Fiction" theory as espoused by members of the Church, just as I would if members started to espouse theories rejecting the divine sonship of Jesus Christ.  I think both concepts need correction and rebuttal.  I've previously said this:

Quote

Can a person have faith in The Book of Mormon while simultaneously rejecting The Book of Mormon as to its historicity? I don't think so. Such a concept renders Joseph Smith a fraud and a liar, and the book itself a fraud and a lie. A fictional Book of Mormon has no real power, and renders it as nothing more than a quirky self-help book. It becomes no more relevant to the salvation of men than Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins or How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. These are useful books, to be sure. For some, they are even life changing. But The Book of Mormon declares itself to be the word of God through inspired prophets.

Can a person have faith in Christ while simultaneously rejecting Christ as an actual, historical figure? I don't think so. Rejecting the historicity of Christ renders Christ a fictional role model, like Atticus Finch or Gandalf. A fictional Christ has no power to atone, no power to forgive, no power to save.

{Similarly,} I think the Inspired Fiction folks have not really thought through the ramifications of their proposal.   The "fake but accurate," "I can reject what The Book of Mormon claims to be and what Joseph Smith represented it to be, but still accept it as scripture" type of reasoning is a fundamentally flawed line of reasoning. Elder Oaks aptly described it as "not only reject(ing) the concepts of faith and revelation that The Book of Mormon explains and advocates, but it is also not even good scholarship." This is why I find advocacy of this approach problematic. Such advocates are steering others up a spiritual blind alley; a path, I think, which sooner or later will culminate in a crisis of faith and/or a rejection of The Book of Mormon. After all, one who rejects its historicity has already rejected a substantive, even vital, part of the book. Rejecting the rest of it would seem to be just a matter of time.  I think an affirmative denial of the book's historicity will, sooner or later, become fatal to a testimony of the book. Ambivalence about historicity is perhaps possible, but affirmative denial is, I think, not compatible with an enduring and efficacious testimony of The Book of Mormon.

Thanks,

-Smac

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7 hours ago, smac97 said:

Okay.

Well, no.  If we operate within a particular paradigm, where certain presumptions are in place, then many imponderables become quite ponderable (though others remain unanswerable).

I don't think that's a fair characterization.

Nor can I.

Are you sure?

I can't go along with this.  I will continue to speak against the "Inspired Fiction" theory as espoused by members of the Church, just as I would if members started to espouse theories rejecting the divine sonship of Jesus Christ.  I think both concepts need correction and rebuttal.  I've previously said this:

Thanks,

-Smac

I disagree MOST vehemently.

Edited by mfbukowski
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10 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Okay.  So do you reject the supernatural altogether, and/or do you have some other explanation for who appeared (or for what happened to) Joseph Smith on September 21, 1823?

I don't reject the supernatural altogether. I want to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, so I don't discount the possibility of resurrected beings per se. I'm just skeptical that there were Nephites.

What do I think happened on September 21, 1823? Joseph said in his 1832 history that he was praying for forgiveness (having fallen into "transgressions and sinned in many things which brought a wound upon my soul") and the Lord "shewed unto me a heavenly vision." I suspect that's what it was: a nighttime vision or dream. Given the teenage Joseph's interest in buried treasure and lore about the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, I think it's quite plausible that he believed he was visited by the spirit of an ancient American who was the guardian of a treasure buried in a nearby hill (believed to be an Indian burial mound).

But having stood in a replica of the cramped, low-ceilinged bedroom where the encounter allegedly took place, I'm skeptical a heavenly being was physically present in the room that night. For one thing, there's nowhere to hover, even for a person of middle stature.

Edited by Nevo
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I heard the other day that the narrative that we'll be Gods one day has changed, to only becoming "like" God now. Is this true? Because if so, that's another change that will have to be explained away to the older generation and even a little younger as well. Is this another thing Joseph may have been wrongly inspired about? 

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59 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I heard the other day that the narrative that we'll be Gods one day has changed, to only becoming "like" God now. Is this true? Because if so, that's another change that will have to be explained away to the older generation and even a little younger as well. Is this another thing Joseph may have been wrongly inspired about? 

If we are like God... not “almost like” God, but “like” God, doesn’t that mean we too will become gods (uncapitalized not to decrease significance, but because God capitalized is a name to me)?

Did you hear this from a believer or a critic?

Quote

In 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon experienced a vision of the afterlife. In the vision, they learned that the just and unjust alike would receive immortality through a universal resurrection, but only those “who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise” would receive the fulness of God’s glory and be “gods, even the sons of God.”28Another revelation soon confirmed that “the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.”29 Latter-day Saints use the term exaltation to describe the glorious reward of receiving one’s full inheritance as a child of Heavenly Father, which is available through the Atonement of Christ, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.30

The title is “Becoming like God”, meaning IMO “becoming gods Iike God”.  It is full of references to humans’ divine nature inherited from their heavenly parents.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/becoming-like-god?lang=eng

More:

Quote

Joseph Smith continued to receive revelation on the themes of divine nature and exaltation during the last two years of his life. In a revelation recorded in July 1843 that linked exaltation with eternal marriage, the Lord declared that those who keep covenants, including the covenant of eternal marriage, will inherit “all heights and depths.” “Then,” says the revelation, “shall they be gods, because they have no end.” They will receive “a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.”33

 

Quote

“What kind of a being is God?” he asked. Human beings needed to know, he argued, because “if men do not comprehend the character of God they do not comprehend themselves.”36 In that phrase, the Prophet collapsed the gulf that centuries of confusion had created between God and humanity. Human nature was at its core divine. God “was once as one of us” and “all the spirits that God ever sent into the world” were likewise “susceptible of enlargement.” Joseph Smith preached that long before the world was formed, God found “himself in the midst” of these beings and “saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself”37 and be “exalted” with Him.38

Joseph told the assembled Saints, “You have got to learn how to be a god yourself.”39 In order to do that, the Saints needed to learn godliness, or to be more like God. The process would be ongoing and would require patience, faith, continuing repentance, obedience to the commandments of the gospel, and reliance on Christ. Like ascending a ladder, individuals needed to learn the “first prin[ciples] of the Gospel” and continue beyond the limits of mortal knowledge until they could “learn the last prin[ciples] of the Gospel” when the time came.40 “It is not all to be comprehended in this world,” Joseph said.41 “It will take a long time after the grave to understand the whole.”

As mortals we try to become more like God so that postmortality we can become gods like God.  Pretty straightforward IMO.

Edited by Calm
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More:

Quote

Since that sermon, known as the King Follett discourse, the doctrine that humans can progress to exaltation and godliness has been taught within the Church. Lorenzo Snow, the Church’s fifth President, coined a well-known couplet: “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.”43Little has been revealed about the first half of this couplet, and consequently little is taught. When asked about this topic, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley told a reporter in 1997, “That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don’t know very much about.” When asked about the belief in humans’ divine potential, President Hinckley responded, “Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly.”44

 

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13 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I heard the other day that the narrative that we'll be Gods one day has changed, to only becoming "like" God now. Is this true? Because if so, that's another change that will have to be explained away to the older generation and even a little younger as well. Is this another thing Joseph may have been wrongly inspired about? 

"When you grow up, you'll be like your (Mom/ Dad)!

Does that imply you will be LESS than your Mom or Dad?

Not to me!

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23 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That is generous and tolerant of you, Smac. 
 

I generally agree but would add the important caveat that their ruminations about the Book of Mormon being “inspired fiction” or “a pious fraud” or whatever should not be given any degree of consideration or stature in our formal Church discourse, classes, worship services, etc. It is, after all, false doctrine and, as such, has the propensity to mislead the vulnerable and weak in the faith. 
 

If I were a teacher in a formal Church classroom setting, I would not entertain commentary that was laced with such falsehood, nor would I long remain as a student in such a setting where said falsehood was being entertained or propounded. 

We are so good at judging others testimonies aren't we?

Those who do will get when they deserve because God loves us all, even if we are wrong.

But of course that is not even possible.   Ain't pride great?

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On 3/29/2021 at 11:05 AM, Scott Lloyd said:

I generally agree but would add the important caveat that their ruminations about the Book of Mormon being “inspired fiction” or “a pious fraud” or whatever should not be given any degree of consideration or stature in our formal Church discourse, classes, worship services, etc. It is, after all, false doctrine and, as such, has the propensity to mislead the vulnerable and weak in the faith. 

You are a reporter of alleged truth for your living, so you know exactly how not to insert any shade of your own opinion into the stories you write, you have never made a mistake or inflated or deflated a "fact" of what "really happened" because of course you can see all sides of any question and report "what really happened"while totally detaching your own opinion from anything you have ever written.  NONE of it was ever even slightly "fiction", your own opinion, or misleading or off the mark, of course.

That's great because since the above is your opinion, it doesn't need to be factually correct so you are still on the mark (so to speak) 

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NEARLY ALL of Christian doctrine was taught by Christ himself in the form of parables, or, if you will, "inspired fiction"!

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

You are a reporter of alleged truth for your living, so you know exactly how not to insert any shade of your own opinion into the stories you write, you have never made a mistake or inflated or deflated a "fact" of what "really happened" because of course you can see all sides of any question and report "what really happened"while totally detaching your own opinion from anything you have ever written.  NONE of it was ever even slightly "fiction", your own opinion, or misleading or off the mark, of course.

That's great because since the above is your opinion, it doesn't need to be factually correct so you are still on the mark (so to speak) 

Maybe, in the interest of leveling the playing field, you could tell us your current/former occupation so we can use it as an occasion to lace our responses to you with snarky irrelevancies. 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

 

NEARLY ALL of Christian doctrine was taught by Christ himself in the form of parables, or, if you will, "inspired fiction"!

 

It’s my understanding that His parables were not definitively propounded as non-fiction as is the Book of Mormon and the events pertaining to its coming forth. 
 

And it’s not the use of illustrative fiction for teaching truth that is being objected to. It’s the implicit and false denial of fact where fact does exist. 

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

We are so good at judging others testimonies aren't we?

Those who do will get when they deserve because God loves us all, even if we are wrong.

But of course that is not even possible.   Ain't pride great?

I’m not judging anyone’s testimony. I even agreed with Smac that those who entertain false positions about Book of Mormon authenticity should be accepted in full fellowship. 
 

What I AM wary about is ADVOCACY of such positions in formal Church venues (worship services, classes, etc.) in obvious contradiction of Church doctrine. As I’ve argued before on this board, our Church meetings and classes need to be a sanctuary where attendees can be assured that what is said and done therein has the imprimatur of doctrinal authenticity. There is already more than enough opportunity in secular arenas for us to have our beliefs challenged and disputed. Let’s keep our formal Church gatherings a sanctuary where we can engage in spiritual renewal. 

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6 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I’m not judging anyone’s testimony. I even agreed with Smac that those who entertain false positions about Book of Mormon authenticity should be accepted in full fellowship. 

I think almost every member of the church is anxious and willing to accept the Book of Mormon as authentic history. I am. The problem is the tension that is felt trying to fit square pegs in round holes, and every time someone points at a square peg and says "um, that doesn't fit" ... someone likely questions their testimony. It has happened to me and others on this board. 

If you'd like members to stop entertaining "false positions" on Book of Mormon authenticity, then where did the events in Book of Mormon take place? Any hesitation on the response means there needs to be more wiggle room on how we define true and false positions.

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16 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I think almost every member of the church is anxious and willing to accept the Book of Mormon as authentic history. I am. The problem is the tension that is felt trying to fit square pegs in round holes, and every time someone points at a square peg and says "um, that doesn't fit" ... someone likely questions their testimony. It has happened to me and others on this board. 

If you'd like members to stop entertaining "false positions" on Book of Mormon authenticity, then where did the events in Book of Mormon take place? Any hesitation on the response means there needs to be more wiggle room on how we define true and false positions.

I don’t think it unreasonable at all to embrace the belief that Book of Mormon events took place somewhere in the Western Hemisphere without being able for now to pinpoint precise geographic coordinates. If you want to befuddle me with a problematic “square peg,” you’ll have to do better than that. 
 

That said, I don’t think it is intended that we be able to respond definitively to each and every question about the Book of Mormon background and origins. Otherwise, there would be no need to exercise faith, and we are placed in this mortal sphere in part to develop faith. I believe there will always be enough of uncertainty for that need to exist. So long as the question can remain open, without antagonists being able to definitively slam the door shut, that is sufficient to the moment, for there will thus be reason for prayerful inquiry. 

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

I don’t think it unreasonable at all to embrace the belief that Book of Mormon events took place somewhere in the Western Hemisphere without being able for now to pinpoint precise geographic coordinates. If you want to befuddle me with a problematic “square peg,” you’ll have to do better than that. 

I'm not trying to befuddle you with a square peg, I'm trying to communicate to you that if you insist all the people that can't make it fit have a false position, there will be no resolution to this discussion.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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4 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I'm not trying to befuddle you with a square peg, I'm trying to communicate to you that if you insist all the people that can't make it fit have a false position, there will be no resolution to this discussion.

I’m only saying that the Church is under no reasonable obligation to provide a platform for advocacy of positions that contradict its settled doctrines, not even from those who profess membership. 

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14 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I’m only saying that the Church is under no reasonable obligation to provide a platform for advocacy of positions that contradict its settled doctrines, not even from those who profess membership. 

and by "settled doctrine" you mean "Book of Mormon events took place somewhere in the Western Hemisphere"?

That's settled and there's no chance that the Church might receive further revelation on it?

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2 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

and by "settled doctrine" you mean "Book of Mormon events took place somewhere in the Western Hemisphere"?

That's settled and there's no chance that the Church might receive further revelation on it?

No. 

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5 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t think it unreasonable at all to embrace the belief that Book of Mormon events took place somewhere in the Western Hemisphere without being able for now to pinpoint precise geographic coordinates. If you want to befuddle me with a problematic “square peg,” you’ll have to do better than that. 
 

That said, I don’t think it is intended that we be able to respond definitively to each and every question about the Book of Mormon background and origins. Otherwise, there would be no need to exercise faith, and we are placed in this mortal sphere in part to develop faith.  

 That now sounds exactly like my position but  Then why is historicity as even important?

 Frankly  My own prejudice is that I find people who require it have shown a lack of faith, and are missing the point by discounting the power of the parables and allegories

 I see historicity as a crutch to belief, and frankly were I to judge testimonies, (I try not to, not always successfully) I would find those who demand historicity as the ones who simply cannot drink in the words alone and know they are from God.

I don't think I will ever understand that.

It's not that I do not believe in historicity, it is just irrelevant to me and it seems somewhat immature in faith to demand it.

 The message is far greater than who said it or where or when.

Edited by mfbukowski
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I don't really want to get enmeshed in the whole historicity-as-integral-to-belief vs. historicity-as-incidental-to-belief debate.  I'll simply point out that if purportedly-believing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are "sqeamish" (my word) about such things as angels, metal plates that purport to contain the records of ancient civilizations' dealings with God, translators who, purportedly, are prophets, seers, and revelators, and so on and so forth now, we ain't seen nothin' yet: sealed two-thirds, brass plates, records of Lost Tribes, records of the people of Enoch, other records quoted, directly but without attribution, in the Book of Mormon, and on and on ...  Temples are going to need libraries!!!  And for some of us, all that will be is yet another reason for purportedly-faithful Latter-day Saints to get their noses out of joint: "Whaddaya mean my local Temple is closing so that they can add a library onto it?!  I'll have to drive how much further?!"  I freaking swear!  We're worse than the faithless Israelites who were sustained miraculously for decades in the wilderness:  "Ah, geez!  Manna from heaven ... again?! " [/END OF RANT ;):D]

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21 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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2 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I don't really want to get enmeshed in the whole historicity-as-integral-to-belief vs. historicity-as-incidental-to-belief debate.  I'll simply point out that if purportedly-believing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are "sqeamish" (my word) about such things as angels, metal plates that purport to contain the records of ancient civilizations' dealings with God, translators who, purportedly, are prophets, seers, and revelators, and so on and so forth now, we ain't seen nothin' yet: sealed two-thirds, brass plates, records of Lost Tribes, records of the people of Enoch, other records quoted, directly but without attribution, in the Book of Mormon, and on and on ...  Temples are going to need libraries!!!  And for some of us, all that will be is yet another reason for purportedly-faithful Latter-day Saints to get their noses out of joint: "Whaddaya mean my local Temple is closing so that they can add a library onto it?!  I'll have to drive how much further?!"  I freaking swear!  We're worse than the faithless Israelites who were sustained miraculously for decades in the wilderness:  "Ah, geez!  Manna from heaven ... again?! " [/END OF RANT ;):D]

Interesting thoughts. 
 

But now that we have digital, will we still need brick-and-mortar libraries for all that stuff? Even microfilm is antiquated these days. 

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