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12 minutes ago, chochmah said:

Others may have greater insights, but this approach works for me: 

1. The answer to what is official doctrine is not as straight forward as it may seem.  What we must remember before any discussion is that this telestial realm in which we live is designed to be one of faith.  Faith is required in an understanding of what is doctrine.  By wanting a fixed formula that will define what is official church doctrine we are  forsaking the faith that applies to life here. 

2. The first logical step might be to claim that canonized scripture is what Church doctrine is. 
    A. However, there is no clear procedure for canonization and decanonization.  
    “Canonization procedures in the Church have never been officially specified.  And not all revelations given to Church presidents have been presented to the Church for sustaining.  The title page to the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants notes that the revelations were "Carefully Selected From The Revelations of God" and compiled by a committee of four presiding elders, including Joseph Smith.  Elder George F. Richards, original chairman of the 1921 Doctrine and Covenants committee, wrote in his journal 29 July 1921 of other noncanonized revelations:  "We read the revelations which do not appear in the present edition of the Doctrine & Covenants, about twenty in number, with the view of recommending to the First Presidency certain of them to be included in the edition we are just now preparing."  The First Presidency apparently did not approve these suggested additions, for no new revelations were included in the 1921 edition.”  
The 'Lectures on Faith':  A Case Study in Decanonization, by Richard S. Van Wagoner, Steven C. Walker, and Allen D. Roberts, DIALOGUE:  A JOURNAL OF MORMON THOUGHT. 
    B. At least one member of the First Presidency or Twelve said there is a higher measuring stick than canonization. 
        (1) First Presidency member George Q. Cannon responded to this very issue in an 1891 question: 
    “It seems nonsensical that the Prophet of God should submit to such a test as this (common consent), and not deem the revelations he received authentic until they had the approval of the different quorums of the Church.  They were authentic and divinely inspired, whether any man or body of men received them or not.  Their reception or non-reception of them would not affect in the least their divine authenticity. But it would be for the people to accept them after God had revealed them.  In this way they have been submitted to the Church, to see whether the members would accept them as binding upon them or not.  Joseph [Smith] himself had too high a sense of his prophetic office and the authority he had received from the Lord to ever submit the revelations which he received to any individual or to any body, however numerous, to have them pronounce upon their validity.” 
George Q. Cannon, Juvenile Instructor 26 [1 January 1891]: 13-14. 
        (2) Elder Bruce R. McConkie, writing before he was called to the Twelve, supports Cannon's thinking: 
    “Revelations given of God through his prophets ... are not subject to an approving or sustaining vote of the people in order to establish their validity.  Members of the Church may vote to publish a particular revelation along with the other scriptures, or the people may bind themselves by covenant to follow the instructions found in the revealed word.  But there is no provision in the Lord's plan for the members of the Church to pass upon the validity of revelations themselves by a vote of the Church; there is nothing permitting the Church to choose which of the revelations will be binding upon it, either by a vote of people or by other means.” 
McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, page 150. 
    C. But are those scriptures perfect?  No. 
        (1) Brigham Young never minced words:  
    “I have heard some make the broad assertion that every word within the lids of the Bible was the word of God.  I have said to them, "You have never read the Bible, have you?"  "O, yes, and I believe every word in it is the word of God."  Well, I believe that the Bible contains the word of God, and the words of good men and the words of bad men; the words of good angels and the words of bad angels and words of the devil; and also the words uttered by the *** when he rebuked the prophet in his madness.  I believe the words of the Bible are just what they are; but aside from that I believe the doctrines concerning salvation contained in that book are true, and that their observance will elevate any people, nation or family that dwells on the face of the earth. The doctrines contained in the Bible will lift to a superior condition all who observe them; they will impart to them knowledge, wisdom, charity, fill them with compassion and cause them to feel after the wants of those who are in distress, or in painful or degraded circumstances.” 
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 13:175 (May 29, 1870). 
        (2) But modern revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants and modern restoration of the Book of Mormon would allow us to view those scriptures as being infallible, wouldn’t it? 
            (A) Elder B.H. Roberts further taught, 
    "The message of the Old Testament was not written by the divine hand, nor dictated by an outward compulsion.  It was planted in the hearts of men, and made to grow in a fruitful soil.  And then they were required to express it in their own language after their natural methods and in accordance with the stage of knowledge which their time had reached.  Their human faculties were purified and quickened by the divine Spirit; but they spoke to their time in the language of their time; they spoke a spiritual message, accommodated to the experience of their age, a message of faith in God and of righteousness as demanded by a righteous God."
B.H. Roberts, Seventy's Third Year Book. 
            (B) Brigham Young addressed this.  
    “I am so far from believing that any government upon this earth has constitutions and laws that are perfect, that I do not even believe that there is a single revelation, among the many God has given to the Church, that is perfect in its fulness.  The revelations of God contain correct doctrine and principle, so far as they go; but it is impossible for the poor, weak, low, groveling, sinful inhabitants of the earth to receive a revelation from the Almighty in all its perfections.  He has to speak to us in a manner to meet the extent of our capacities, as we have to do with these benighted Lamanites; it would be of no benefit to talk to them as I am now speaking to you.  Before you can enter into conversation with them, give them your ideas, you are under the necessity of condescending to their low estate, so far as communication is concerned, in order to exalt them.”
Brigham Young, JD 2:314. 
            (C) Brigham Young also taught, 
    “When God speaks to the people, he does it in a manner to suit their circumstances and capacities.  He spoke to the children of Jacob through Moses, as a blind, stiff-necked people, and when Jesus and his Apostles came they talked with the Jews as a benighted, wicked, selfish people.  They would not receive the Gospel, though presented to them by the Son of God in all its righteousness, beauty and glory.  Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to re-write the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is.  And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be re-written, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. According as people are willing to receive the things of God, so the heavens send forth their blessings.  If the people are stiff-necked, the Lord can tell them but little.” 
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:311. [13 July 1862] 
    D. Even if we knew canonized scripture were the final word, there is still the question of interpretation.  Who is the official interpreter of scripture?  One looks in vain to find authority that only the President of the Church or someone else is the official interpreter of Church doctrine and scripture. 
        (1) Hugh Nibley writes that we are to obtain an understanding of what the scriptures and doctrines are and are not to wait for Salt Lake City.  He sees this as a strength of the Church.  
    “We don't have a professional clergy — a paid ministry that gives official interpretations of the scriptures — as we've always said we don't.  There's no office in the Church that qualifies the holder to give the official interpretation of the Church.  We're to read the scriptures for ourselves, as guided by the Spirit.  Joseph Smith himself often disagreed with various of his brethren on different points, yet he never cracked down on them, saying they'd better change this or that, or else.  He disagreed with Parley P. Pratt on a number of things, and also with Brigham Young on various things.  Brigham said that Joseph didn't know a thing about business [though he presided over the business interests of the Church]. 
    Joseph rebuked Parley P. Pratt for things said in the newspaper Parley was editing, but he didn't remove him from the editorship. ‘The paper is not interesting enough.  You're not putting the right things in it.’  Still he left it entirely up Parley what to do.  This has always been the policy in the Church — a lot of degree of differences.  It should not worry us.” 
Hugh Nibley, Terrible Questions, reprinted in Temple and Cosmos. [Bracketed Information Added]
            (A) No one has the calling to interpret scripture. 
            (B) Therefore we should not be passive in scriptural interpretation, but as a “nation of prophets” [Book of Numbers 11:29] we should use the privilege of the Holy Ghost to come to understand it ourselves. 
        (2) Also from Hugh Nibley, 
    “‘But who's to interpret it?  Do I have a right to interpret the scriptures as much as anyone else?’  Of course.  You may remember that the wars of the Reformation were fought on that issue:  ‘Does the ordinary person have the right to read the scriptures?’  We regard that as a definite step forward in the Lord's work on the earth, and in the Church every individual is commanded to read the scriptures for himself.  Of course, the story of the last dispensation begins with the Prophet Joseph, as a young boy, reading the scriptures very much for himself, putting the most literal interpretation on them, belonging to no church at the time, without asking for anybody's permission.  So we do that also.  As far as official interpretation of the scriptures is concerned, the Latter-day Saints scoff at the idea that one must study special courses and get a special degree — ‘training for the ministry’ — and thus interpret the Bible for others.  Joseph Smith noted many times that interpreters of the scriptures like William W. Phelps and Frederick G. Williams read the scriptures quite differently than he, but he didn't order them to stop or to change.  He said we should try to use reason and testimony, but that's all we can do.  The Brethren are instructed to stick to the scriptures in all their teachings:  ‘No man's opinion is worth a straw: advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions.’”
Hugh Nibley, Gifts, reprinted in Approaching Zion. 
            (A) If only the First Presidency and Twelve were tasked with interpreting scripture, too many hope, then we could lull and be at ease in Doctrinal Zion. 
            (B) But the Lord requires more of us. 
        (3) Hugh Nibley adds, 
    “When Brigham Young was asked in an interview with a representative of the New York Herald, (Do) you, like the old prophets, receive direct revelation from God?" he answered, "Yes, and not only me, but my brethren also."  "Does that extend to all the Church without reserve or rank?"  "Yes, and it is just as necessary for the mother to possess this spirit in training and rearing her children as for any one else."  "It is not absolutely necessary, then, that each person receive revelation through you?"  "Oh, no; through the spirit of Christ, the Holy Ghost; but to dictate the Church is my part of it" [56] — what the Brethren say is the word and the will of the Lord (confer D&C 84), but only, as President Clark pointed out no less than twenty-seven times in a speech on the subject, when they are so moved upon by the Holy Ghost.  "How can we know that?" asked Brother Clark.  By following the oft-repeated principle that everyone must so live that the Holy Ghost will reveal to him whether the others are speaking by the spirit or not. [57] 
    ‘Do you know whether I am leading you right or not?  Do you know whether I dictate you right or not?  Do you know whether the wisdom and the mind of the Lord are dispensed to you correctly or not? ... I have a request to make of each and every Latter-day Saint, or those who profess to be, to so live that the Spirit of the Lord will whisper to them and teach them the truth.... In this there is safety; without this there is danger, imminent danger (you otherwise get a tyrant or a dictator); and my exhortation to the Latter-day Saints is — Live your religion (and you'll know for yourself).’ [58]” 
Hugh Nibley, Criticizing the Brethren. (Parentheticals by Nibley) 
Footnotes: 
Fn56. "Interview with Brigham Young," by a representative of the New York Herald, in Deseret News 26 (23 May 1877): 242. 
Fn57. J. Reuben Clark, Jr., "When Are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture," second part of an address delivered 7 July 1954, at Brigham Young University, pages 5—17. 
Fn58. Brigham Young JD 17:51. 
            (A) If only the President of the Church could receive revelation, we would need no faith, other than perhaps that the Church is true. 
            (B) But there is an ongoing need to have faith within our lives.  That is the nature of this mortal, fallen existence where we have come to learn.  
        (4) Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught:
    “... it should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine.  It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.” 
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Doctrine of Christ,” from the April 2012 General Conference. 
            (A) As good as men as they are, their interpretations are not foolproof. 
            (B) We must obtain our own understanding.  This does not give us license to believe whatever we chose or is fashionable, but empowers us to know from God for ourselves.
        (5) Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke from the Brigham Young University Marriott Center to a Utah South Area broadcast on September 13, 2015, which I attended.  He addressed many topics.  One of them concerned challenging doctrinal issues.  In a very straightforward manner he indicated that the First Presidency and Twelve don’t necessarily have all the answers to these questions, but that there are many scholars within the Church who are equipped to bring light to these questions. 
            (A) There are non-general authorities, often scholars, whose duties in life put them in a position to know more about some doctrinal fine points than the twelve who lead them. 
            (B) This does not meant we shouldn’t give serious consideration to what they have to say.  Humility and wisdom will always serve us well.  

3. But are the canonized scriptures the highest source of knowledge?  Brigham Young famously was asked by Joseph Smith to indicate what was higher source of revelation, the published scriptures or the words of the living prophet. 
    “I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtland in my early days.  At that meeting some remarks were made that have been made here today, with regard to the living prophets and with regard to the written word of God. The same principle was presented, although not as extensively as it has been here, when a leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject, and said:  ‘You have got the word of God before you here in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give revelations according to those books, as what is written in those books is the word of God.  We should confine ourselves to them.’ 
    “When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, ‘Brother Brigham I want you to go to the podium and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God.’  Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said:  ‘There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day.  And now,’ said he, 
    “... compared with the living oracles those books [of scripture] are nothing to me.” 
Cited in P.L. Barlow, Bible, pages 92-93 and in Bradshaw, In God’s Image and Likeness, 712] “I would not give the ashes of a rye straw for all those books ... without the living oracles ...” [Brigham Young, Journal, 27 January 1860, page 417, Brigham Young, delivered 7 October 1864, page 339; also Conference Report, October 1897, pages 18–19] 
    A. So following the living prophets, seers and revelators is more binding in terms of doctrine than are the scriptures. 
    B. But are those prophets, seers and revelators infallible? No.  No one has ever said so.  
        (1) From the LDS Newsroom:
    “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine.  A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church.  With divine inspiration, the First Presidency ... and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ... counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith.  Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.” 
LDS Newsroom, "Approaching Mormon Doctrine," (of 4 May 2007). 
        (2) Elder Stephen L. Richards in the 1930s answered a question of another member of the twelve put in a letter about the literalness of the Jonah story.  His response was that rarely was there ever a revelation that came down that wasn’t in some small way tainted by the culture, language and assumptions of that individual.  Are we better than they?  We are in no position to tell God he made a mistake in sending us to this telestial realm of ambiguity with the faith it requires.  
    C.  So does this mean we don’t have to bother reading the scriptures or listening to our Church leaders?  Certainly not.  The Lord has sent these as messengers.  However, merely because there is occasionally static in the receipt of the message, we don’t blithely reject the entire message.  We are given many wonderful sources but in the end it is up to us to ferret through them.  This is not something we can delegate to someone else. 

4.  In the end our relationship is primarily with God.  The institutional Church is a necessary but insufficient condition for exaltation generally and for finding true doctrine specifically.  Just as we ask investigators to know for themselves whether the Book of Mormon is true.  Can you find an isolated Seventy, BYU religion professor, mission president, etc. who comes up with a neat clean formula for what is official doctrine?  Probably, but while they are sincere, their understanding on this is limited, however well intended.  The church exists to connect us with the ordinances that allow for greater personal revelation and we are to learn by “study [of the scriptures, prophets as the first needed step] and by faith [by asking God ourselves]. D&C 107:99. [Bracketed Material Added]
 
5.  This relationship with God is one of the faith and of the spirit.  We are here upon this earth to show faith in him.  Mercifully, he has given us the Holy Ghost to guide us.  If, however, we set our own ground rules that rule out faith, we will have failed the test of mortality.  If we set up standards that do not allow for the spirit to influence us, we will never find the true path.  Faith requires a tolerance for ambiguity (for lack of a better term) in our lives, an acceptance of ambiguity of our leaders at times, and an acknowledgment of uncertainties in our scriptures.  If his plan were given to us in the irrefutable clarity that some well intentioned individuals demand, then there would be no need for faith.  On this earth we work in partnership with God.  And so at times, we must balance our need to follow with our need to develop our own godly gifts.

6.  Some upon finding a disturbing quote, an upsetting incident in the life of a leader feel that they are among the few who are truly enlightened and that the mindless masses would not be blind misguided followers if only they were more informed, as they are.  There are, however, countless deeply committed LDS who have read as much and more than the critics whose brashness sometimes cover a fear to truly and honestly plumb the depths.  But the faith, spirit and wisdom of the humble and honest hearted allow them to see.  They are neither foolish nor prideful enough to through out the baby with the bath water. 
 
7.  Some time those distracting “did you knows” are human foibles or the flaws in the record.  But there are also paradoxes in the gospel, which understandably unsettle some.  Joseph Smith offered an invitation in 1844 when he taught that “by proving contraries truth is manifest.” [History of the Church 6:428].  A paradox (a “contrary” in Joseph’s day) is an apparent contradiction which masks a greater underlying truth.  The foolish see in rich paradox a simple contradiction.  However, the wise seek greater truths in their prayerful, thoughtful efforts at reconciliation.
The perceptive poet William Blake noted that “without contraries [or paradoxes] there is no progression.” [Norton Anthology of English literature:  Major Author’s Edition, Abrams et al, New York:  W.W. Norton, published in 1975, see page 1323 William Blake made that comment in 1790 in his book, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell] 
The great Danish theologian, Søren Kierkegaard, wisely wrote in this vein, “To cultivate faith in a transcendent, eternal, omnipresent God, who allegedly became incarnate in the form of a particular human being who was put to death, requires one to overcome the offense to one’s reason and to adopt a tolerance for paradox.” [Cited in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy].  Søren Kierkegaard, once insightfully commented that the more paradox a religion has, the truer it is likely to be.  Similarly the polymathic German philosopher, Wilhelm Dilthey, said “Paradox is a characteristic of truth.”  Only the humble will seek to understand paradoxes.  
  
8.  It is interesting and I think instructive that in the temple, the most sacred place for us on the earth where we reverently retire to worship, there are no classes, no question and answer periods, no instruction, no correction.  No guidance on the plenitude of paradoxes to be found there.  It is just us and the Lord.  Perhaps one reason why we are to be very careful in discussing sacred things is in part so that it becomes a very personal enterprise, between us alone and the Lord.  That is how we will come to understand the highest and deepest doctrines of the kingdom.  That is a model for learning that we can profitably apply to all other aspects of our experience in the Church.  

9.  For the same reason the scriptures are not written in a fluid way.  There are little bits and pieces here that do not always seem to clearly relate to the next passage.  The Lord very easily could lay out very organized, outlined doctrinal dissertations.  But he does not, for a wise purpose.  We must look for bits here and there and piece it together ourselves, humbly keeping an open mind, with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord from these deliberately designed choppy texts.  We should never be frustrated that the complex symphonic fugue of the gospel is not a simplistic schmaltzy polka.  

10.  It is ultimately between us and god.  We do need the church, and its ordinances, and its leaders.  But in the end it is up to us.  We have divinity within us that God respects.  
 

You deserve a rep point, would that I could give you one. 

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2 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

You deserve a rep point, would that I could give you one. 

For length or content?

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On 8/12/2021 at 3:01 PM, Fether said:

The reference of JFS seems to be more of a hypothetical situation that would never happen. Similar to questions like “what if your prophet tells you to murder your friend?”. I don’t think it was a genuine warning that a prophet is going to mislead you so you should follow scripture.

So a prophet has never/would never contradict cannon?

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9 minutes ago, Eph2,8 said:

So a prophet has never/would never contradict cannon?

Depends on how you define “contradict”. JSjr changed the Bible slightly in his translations. As long as you don’t co wider that a contradiction, then no. Prophets do not contradict cannon.

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3 hours ago, Fether said:

Depends on how you define “contradict”. JSjr changed the Bible slightly in his translations. As long as you don’t co wider that a contradiction, then no. Prophets do not contradict cannon.

Well, I agree in a general sense that  "prophets do not contradict cannon." Of course no prophet would say, "faith in Christ is not necessary for salvation." However, I think if we say that a prophet will never nor could ever contradict cannon in any way - we are attributing a sense on infallibility to them which might bite us in the butt. I like to think of the title page of the Book of Mormon, "And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God" I assume "faults" goes beyond a simple grammatical or spelling error. I think that same line applies to prophets as well. I'm sure if both of us combed every conference talk from a prophet since the restoration, we could probably find some statements that might be contradictory to some scriptures in the cannon. If you really want I can probably drum some up tonight. Doesn't mean the prophet is not a prophet. Just means he's... human. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Eph2,8 said:

So a prophet has never/would never contradict cannon?

Of course they have.  Because canon isn't the same as approved by God.  The canon in Christ's day was the mosaic law and Christ changed that.  Joseph Smith contradicted canon on multiple occasions.  And canon has been adjusted by prophets (hopefully by revelation).

Canon merely means Church leadership reviewed a document and by vote made it official policy/teaching".  In the Church it usually requires common consent.  Basically anything a prophet said, a conference talk, a letter, a proclamation or declaration, a press release.  If we vote it in, it's canon.  If we never vote it's not.  Nothing about canon changes the truth of a statement.

What should never happen is contradicting revealed truth, and that's very different from canon.

Edited by JLHPROF
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2 hours ago, Eph2,8 said:

Well, I agree in a general sense that  "prophets do not contradict cannon." Of course no prophet would say, "faith in Christ is not necessary for salvation." However, I think if we say that a prophet will never nor could ever contradict cannon in any way - we are attributing a sense on infallibility to them which might bite us in the butt. I like to think of the title page of the Book of Mormon, "And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God" I assume "faults" goes beyond a simple grammatical or spelling error. I think that same line applies to prophets as well. I'm sure if both of us combed every conference talk from a prophet since the restoration, we could probably find some statements that might be contradictory to some scriptures in the cannon. If you really want I can probably drum some up tonight. Doesn't mean the prophet is not a prophet. Just means he's... human. 

I agree. When I hear “will a prophet ever contradict canon”, I interpret that as meaning “will a Prophet ever contradict canon purposefully and in an official setting”

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

I agree. When I hear “will a prophet ever contradict canon”, I interpret that as meaning “will a Prophet ever contradict canon purposefully and in an official setting”

Ah yes, we had fallen prey to the battle of semantics. Well, I'm glad we both agree! 

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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Of course they have.  Because canon isn't the same as approved by God.  The canon in Christ's day was the mosaic law and Christ changed that.  Joseph Smith contradicted canon on multiple occasions.  And canon has been adjusted by prophets (hopefully by revelation).

Canon merely means Church leadership reviewed a document and by vote made it official policy/teaching".  In the Church it usually requires common consent.  Basically anything a prophet said, a conference talk, a letter, a proclamation or declaration, a press release.  If we vote it in, it's canon.  If we never vote it's not.  Nothing about canon changes the truth of a statement.

What should never happen is contradicting revealed truth, and that's very different from canon.

Well, the canon in Christ's day was the Old Testament... which is still canon today. Sure some practices and ordinances changed, but canon (scripture) did not change. I think it's a little unfair to call scripture a "document". I suppose in the sense that it's just ink on a paper, but do we both agree that scripture was (again, hopefully) inspired by God before it was declared canon? For instance, was The Gospel According to Matthew only true teaching after it was "voted on"? And yes I agree that canon doesn't...change truth, but do we not look to canon for truth? Is that not why it's voted in, because it contains truth? Of course the canon isn't infallible, but it's not completely dismissible. 

It sounds like you speak of "truth" as some esoteric energy floating around in the cosmos. How can I come to know truth? Through purely personal revelation? You mentioned revealed truth and the canon. Isn't something canonized because it contains written revealed truths? It's not like anyone has ever proposed canonizing Lord of the Rings (though I would not oppose) because it makes no claim to be truth revealed to a prophet. I suppose that's what this entire thread is about. Maybe I need to go back and read the whole thing :):):)

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7 hours ago, Eph2,8 said:

Well, the canon in Christ's day was the Old Testament... which is still canon today. Sure some practices and ordinances changed, but canon (scripture) did not change. I think it's a little unfair to call scripture a "document". I suppose in the sense that it's just ink on a paper, but do we both agree that scripture was (again, hopefully) inspired by God before it was declared canon? For instance, was The Gospel According to Matthew only true teaching after it was "voted on"? And yes I agree that canon doesn't...change truth, but do we not look to canon for truth? Is that not why it's voted in, because it contains truth? Of course the canon isn't infallible, but it's not completely dismissible. 

Canon was selected by a bunch of clerics between 200 & 500 AD when the general canon was chosen.  There is no evidence any revelation from God directed what made it in and what was left out.  Just a lot of academic debate.  Different religions accept different Biblical books. 

The Old Testament still contains the Song of Solomon which Joseph Smith declared not to be inspired scripture (but fun for kids to giggle at in Sunday School).  And don't get me started on modern day revelations that we conveniently ignore because we've never bothered to bring them up for canon vote.  There are things in canon that represent the writer's opinion as much as God's.

Quote

It sounds like you speak of "truth" as some esoteric energy floating around in the cosmos. How can I come to know truth? Through purely personal revelation? You mentioned revealed truth and the canon. Isn't something canonized because it contains written revealed truths? 

Truth is knowledge of things as they are, were, and are to come.  In other words, reality not opinion.  There are many things that should never be contradicted by "continuing revelation" because they simply are the way things are.  And there are other things that can be corrected.  The spirit should help us recognize the difference.  But God doesn't reveal things that are false in one revelation and change to true for the next.

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I personally hold that to be true which 1) has my own personal witness and 2) is consistent with the teachings of the prophets.

And if the two don't agree (which happens), I hold my position in abeyance until further light and knowledge is gained.

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

Canon was selected by a bunch of clerics between 200 & 500 AD when the general canon was chosen.  There is no evidence any revelation from God directed what made it in and what was left out.  Just a lot of academic debate.  Different religions accept different Biblical books. 

The Old Testament still contains the Song of Solomon which Joseph Smith declared not to be inspired scripture (but fun for kids to giggle at in Sunday School).  And don't get me started on modern day revelations that we conveniently ignore because we've never bothered to bring them up for canon vote.  There are things in canon that represent the writer's opinion as much as God's.

Truth is knowledge of things as they are, were, and are to come.  In other words, reality not opinion.  There are many things that should never be contradicted by "continuing revelation" because they simply are the way things are.  And there are other things that can be corrected.  The spirit should help us recognize the difference.  But God doesn't reveal things that are false in one revelation and change to true for the next.

Clerics in 200 AD compiled the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price? News to me. I guess that's true for the New Testament and specifically Catholic Bible, because - and admittedly I do not know all of the history surrounding this - even that original selection of canon has been altered. Even the Old Testament was already canonized by 200 AD in things like the Septuagint. Yes, different religions have different canons but other religions are not true or living so I don't see the relevance. 

I actually strongly agree about the modern revelations not contained in canon - I'm not sure if we technically proclaim an "open canon" anymore, but if we do we should start using it! I also agree that certain things in canon can represent the author's opinion more than God's. Certainly not every word in canon is true, but I think it is absolutely needed to establish truth. I also agree that the Spirit will teach us truth, but what happens when two people both claim that the Spirit told them something? Do we not appeal to canon to shed light on the subject? What's the point in turning to scriptures if they might not even be true? I think if we depart too far from canon then we come away with "well I think that God is like this," or "well I think that God is like this!" It becomes a never ending fast and testimony meeting of people's perceptions about God, seemingly unrooted in canon but every one "confirmed" by the Holy Ghost in the perpetrator's mind. 

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20 minutes ago, Eph2,8 said:

different religions have different canons but other religions are not true or living so I don't see the relevance. 

Could/would you please define what exactly you mean by the term "other religions?" I would appreciate it very much. Thanks.

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4 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

There is no evidence any revelation from God directed what made it in and what was left out. 

Is there any evidence that revelation from God via the Holy Spirit was not involved in directing the discussions? Do you essentially believe that the bishops of the church at that time did not seek divine guidance in their various local ministries or work in solving dissensions and creating a canon? Is your conclusion as expressed above based on your belief that the great apostasy was in full force at that time?

One last question, just to understand - If I said that the early Anabaptists in the early 16th century were the first seeking to restore as opposed to reform the existing Christian church, would you agree or disagree with that? Their contemporary, Desiderius Erasmus it seems to me was trying to restore the church from within. The Protestants were seeking to reform it from without, and the Anabaptists (non-Protestants) sought to restore it from without, centuries prior to the LDS church seeking to restore it from without. Any thoughts on that paradigm?

I'm asking, not as an advocate for Anabaptism, but out of my interest in your knowledge of church history beyond that of the LDS church. I ask this because I am constantly fascinated by the harmony and good relations between the old colony Mennonites and the LDS folks in our area. They seem to share something (perhaps it is simply Anglo culture and sense of isolation and lack of acceptance here in Mexico). Or I wonder if it is something older and deeper? Thanks for your thoughts.

Edited by Navidad
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38 minutes ago, Eph2,8 said:

Clerics in 200 AD compiled the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price? News to me. I guess that's true for the New Testament and specifically Catholic Bible, because - and admittedly I do not know all of the history surrounding this - even that original selection of canon has been altered. Even the Old Testament was already canonized by 200 AD in things like the Septuagint.  Yes, different religions have different canons but other religions are not true or living so I don't see the relevance. 

:rolleyes: smart alec.

Quote

I actually strongly agree about the modern revelations not contained in canon - I'm not sure if we technically proclaim an "open canon" anymore, but if we do we should start using it! I also agree that certain things in canon can represent the author's opinion more than God's. Certainly not every word in canon is true, but I think it is absolutely needed to establish truth. I also agree that the Spirit will teach us truth, but what happens when two people both claim that the Spirit told them something? Do we not appeal to canon to shed light on the subject? What's the point in turning to scriptures if they might not even be true? I think if we depart too far from canon then we come away with "well I think that God is like this," or "well I think that God is like this!" It becomes a never ending fast and testimony meeting of people's perceptions about God, seemingly unrooted in canon but every one "confirmed" by the Holy Ghost in the perpetrator's mind. 

The relevance is that popular vote doesn't have ANY bearing on the truthfulness of a revelation. 
A lot of the New Testament books are Paul's letters to people, not revelations from God. Paul and Peter disagreed on doctrine, Peter held more authority.  But his teachings are divine and above reproach?   
They are no more divine or inspired than half of the stuff in the Joseph Smith Papers project.  But they got put in scripture by men not holding priesthood authority a couple of centuries after Christ and Paul's take on the gospel has led to the modern day faith vs works debate.
Meanwhile actual revelations from heaven to the prophets and apostles languish in obscurity because nobody even considered canonizing them. 

So yeah, not a big proponent of canon.

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55 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

:rolleyes: smart alec.

Haha... sorry. I can get away from myself sometimes.

55 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

The relevance is that popular vote doesn't have ANY bearing on the truthfulness of a revelation. 
A lot of the New Testament books are Paul's letters to people, not revelations from God. Paul and Peter disagreed on doctrine, Peter held more authority.  But his teachings are divine and above reproach?   
They are no more divine or inspired than half of the stuff in the Joseph Smith Papers project.  But they got put in scripture by men not holding priesthood authority a couple of centuries after Christ and Paul's take on the gospel has led to the modern day faith vs works debate.
Meanwhile actual revelations from heaven to the prophets and apostles languish in obscurity because nobody even considered canonizing them. 

So yeah, not a big proponent of canon.

I actually do agree with most of this. Though I would still ask about canons like the BoM, D&C, PoGP, which would - hopefully haha - have been canonized by men holding priesthood. Sure, the OT and NT have their issues, I would agree on that. I guess my question would still ultimately be how do we all find truth above reproach without it being unconsciously stained by our own bias, especially truth that we can all unify behind - a rare sight today! Thanks for sharing, I appreciate your input!

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1 minute ago, Eph2,8 said:

Haha... sorry. I can get away from myself sometimes.

I actually do agree with most of this. Though I would still ask about canons like the BoM, D&C, PoGP, which would - hopefully haha - have been canonized by men holding priesthood. Sure, the OT and NT have their issues, I would agree on that. I guess my question would still ultimately be how do we all find truth above reproach without it being unconsciously stained by our own bias, especially truth that we can all unify behind - a rare sight today! Thanks for sharing, I appreciate your input!

You are searching for something that does not exist- faith itself precludes the possibility of "truth above  reproach".

Faith is about things HOPED FOR BUT NOT SEEN.

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10 minutes ago, Eph2,8 said:

Though I would still ask about canons like the BoM, D&C, PoGP, which would - hopefully haha - have been canonized by men holding priesthood.

We are to read "good books" and learn from personal revelation, not a committee of men.

That is how creeds are made, an abomination to Joseph 

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

We are to read "good books" and learn from personal revelation, not a committee of men.

That is how creeds are made, an abomination to Joseph 

Well, lets not take things out of context. The specific creeds which Joseph referenced were made by a committee of men who were not authorized by God. These were the abominations. I think that one could absolutely refer to the Articles of Faith as a creed. They are short, concise declarations of faith. That does not make them an abomination. The proclamations are creeds as well. They are made by committees of men, these ones authorized, and contain declarations of belief. Surely they are not abominations. Is a random lay member of the church authorized to receive personal revelation concerning official doctrine? In Elder Holland's latest address to the BYU faculty - which caused no small ripple - he seems to dispute that. What happens when two people's "revelation" contradict each other? Where can we look to find out who is right? Also, is scripture nothing more than a "good book"?? 2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

You are searching for something that does not exist- faith itself precludes the possibility of "truth above  reproach".

Faith is about things HOPED FOR BUT NOT SEEN.

So it is impossible for me to know truth above reproach? Jesus is the Christ. That's a only sort of true statement? Not above reproach? Can we not start there and work our way out? I ask these questions sincerely, I want to know what you mean.

Yes, I have faith in truths that I have no tangible proof of, but that does not mean the truths - or my perception of them - are only semi true. God can be true above reproach, but I might be unable to prove that truth. Both can be true. Does not mean we should not pursue the perfect truth which has been revealed to men. 

John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

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45 minutes ago, Eph2,8 said:

Well, lets not take things out of context. The specific creeds which Joseph referenced were made by a committee of men who were not authorized by God. These were the abominations. I think that one could absolutely refer to the Articles of Faith as a creed. They are short, concise declarations of faith. That does not make them an abomination. The proclamations are creeds as well. They are made by committees of men, these ones authorized, and contain declarations of belief. Surely they are not abominations. Is a random lay member of the church authorized to receive personal revelation concerning official doctrine? In Elder Holland's latest address to the BYU faculty - which caused no small ripple - he seems to dispute that. What happens when two people's "revelation" contradict each other? Where can we look to find out who is right? Also, is scripture nothing more than a "good book"?? 2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

If this is a canonized creed do we have to believe it?

  • 10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

I know more than a few members who question parts of it.  (I happen to believe it, but just for the sake of argument...)

Or
D&C 119:1 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,

Canonized instruction, never revoked.
 

Edited by JLHPROF
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15 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

If this is a canonized creed do we have to believe it?

  • 10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

I know more than a few members who question parts of it.  (I happen to believe it, but just for the sake of argument...)

Or
D&C 119:1 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,

Canonized instruction, never revoked.
 

Well, we do not "have to believe" anything. I think that if we pray, study, listen, cross reference, etc. then we will be shown the truth and be given a choice to believe in it or not. The canon gives us a great place to go and dig. To find. To become. There are members that question everything, but someone questioning something does not mean it isn't true. I think we could both agree on that. Whether we believe in the truth does not change the truth. 

I think there is a difference between specific commandments the Lord has given in the canon, and general doctrine/mind of God stuff. There are probably thousands of specific commandments that aren't followed anymore. 

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3 hours ago, Eph2,8 said:

So it is impossible for me to know truth above reproach? Jesus is the Christ. That's a only sort of true statement? Not above reproach? Can we not start there and work our way out? I ask these questions sincerely, I want to know what you mean.

Yes, I have faith in truths that I have no tangible proof of, but that does not mean the truths - or my perception of them - are only semi true. God can be true above reproach, but I might be unable to prove that truth. Both can be true. Does not mean we should not pursue the perfect truth which has been revealed to men. 

John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Well I see things differently.

In fact, we all do, and that's the point.

Read the Rorty quotes in my siggy and this whole discussion goes poof. The problem is language itself.

We cannot get beyond appearances and then we wonder why your truth differs from mine.

All religions think they are the truth, and all are a little right

 

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Well I see things differently.

In fact, we all do, and that's the point.

Read the Rorty quotes in my siggy and this whole discussion goes poof. The problem is language itself.

We cannot get beyond appearances and then we wonder why your truth differs from mine.

All religions think they are the truth, and all are a little right

 

I read the quotes, no poofing happened for me. I checked out your blog a little bit, and it looks like you believe in subjective truth, as opposed to an objective, ultimate, and absolute truth. If I'm wrong, please correct me! Last thing I want is to strawman. Fun thought experiments for sure, but that seems a very dangerous and un-Christian worldview. God stands above men, with Himself being the embodiment of truth (John 14:6). Truth absolutely exists outside of the human mind and creation. Just like I said to another person, truth exists regardless of our ability to articulate, process, perceive, even to string sentences together as you seem so attached to. 

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