Jump to content

Useful comments from Ben Spackman


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I wish the church could do some of this in our Sunday school classes. 

This. I like learning more about the scriptures. Historical context. Culture of the time. I think we swung the pendulum too far to discussion and a ‘what do you think about that’ style. In RS, I realized it lends itself to being a gospel living support group. I would prefer a different approach in Sunday School. 
 

But, I recognize all wards don’t have scripture scholars. I want an institute style class but we don’t have the teachers.

*I’ve read Spackman  for years. I like his style and recommended him to our SS teacher. 

Edited by bsjkki
Link to comment
1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

This. I like learning more about the scriptures. Historical context. Culture of the time. I think we swung the pendulum too far to discussion and a ‘what do you think about that’ style. In RS, I realized it lends itself to being a gospel living support group. I would prefer a different approach in Sunday School. 
 

But, I recognize all wards don’t have scripture scholars. I want an institute style class but we don’t have the teachers.

*I’ve read Spackman  for years. I like his style and recommended him to our SS teacher. 

And I think it could really help because we have so much baggage about what scriptures have to mean that it can be jarring to realize that the people who wrote them would not agree with us at all.  Not that we can't read scriptures and apply it to us today but there is a lot that we can get out of it from understanding how it was applied when it was written.  

And you are right in that most wards don't have the scripture scholars that can teach that kind of stuff, so it would need to be in the manuals.  Because not everyone can go to a church school and take religion classes, and not everyone has access to institute.  

Link to comment
3 hours ago, bluebell said:

I wish the church could do some of this in our Sunday school classes. 

Quite honestly I think they have to keep it simple. 

Link to comment
4 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Quite honestly I think they have to keep it simple. 

Yes. Church curriculum (as related to me by someone closely involved, who works in the COB) is written for the "average"  member of the Church, which means a member for less than 5 years and an 8th-grade equivalent education. 

Plus, the force of tradition is VERY strong among the S&I folks tapped to write the Bible manuals, AND the S&I folks who are at the first level of approval. 

Link to comment
1 minute ago, The_Monk said:

Yes. Church curriculum (as related to me by someone closely involved, who works in the COB) is written for the "average"  member of the Church, which means a member for less than 5 years and an 8th-grade equivalent education. 

Plus, the force of tradition is VERY strong among the S&I folks tapped to write the Bible manuals, AND the S&I folks who are at the first level of approval. 

Thanks for affirming that. I didn't know how to keep it kind ;)

 

Link to comment
50 minutes ago, bluebell said:

But, I recognize all wards don’t have scripture scholars. I want an institute style class but we don’t have the teachers.

If you are not in Provo Church Central, ;) it jest aint gonna happen.

I was asked to give a sacrament meeting talk on "God and Creation" - 20 minutes- and used some scholarly stuff - all BYU "approved" ;) even some stuff from Church sites-and half the ward loved it, and I think the other half thinks I am an apostate!  The different reactions were palpable.

Link to comment
56 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

If you are not in Provo Church Central, ;) it jest aint gonna happen.

I was asked to give a sacrament meeting talk on "God and Creation" - 20 minutes- and used some scholarly stuff - all BYU "approved" ;) even some stuff from Church sites-and half the ward loved it, and I think the other half thinks I am an apostate!  The different reactions were palpable.

Because they don’t hear it in Sunday school ever. They need to hear it in church more. 

Link to comment
44 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Because they don’t hear it in Sunday school ever. They need to hear it in church more. 

Yes and no.

Half need it, half think it is apostate.

Let me give you an example, right here and now, on this board.

"No death before the Fall".

How could that be? Literally? No dinosaurs?

No! The HUMAN EXPERIENCE of the WORD "death" ( all things created by Words) could not exist without the word/ name existing.

I believe that dinosaurs did not mourn death, nor anticipate death, nor of course have such a word, and so the concept, the human experience of, and word "death" did not exist before there were humans capable of creating the name and the word, attempting to capture the human experience of "death".

Of course animals fell to the earth and decomposed, and returned to dust, but there was no human experience of "death"

So now am I an apostate or not? ;)

Is that a valid interpretation of church Doctrine?

Link to comment
14 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Yes and no.

Half need it, half think it is apostate.

Let me give you an example, right here and now, on this board.

"No death before the Fall".

How could that be? Literally? No dinosaurs?

No! The HUMAN EXPERIENCE of the WORD "death" ( all things created by Words) could not exist without the word/ name existing.

I believe that dinosaurs did not mourn death, nor anticipate death, nor of course have such a word, and so the concept, the human experience of, and word "death" did not exist before there were humans capable of creating the name and the word, attempting to capture the human experience of "death".

Of course animals fell to the earth and decomposed, and returned to dust, but there was no human experience of "death"

So now am I an apostate or not? ;)

Is that a valid interpretation of church Doctrine?

When our prophets have said there was no death before the fall I think they meant there was no death on this planet as it was in the beginning when this planet was formed from what it was before then.

I don't think they meant there was never any death, ever, anywhere else.  And I also don't think they meant as far as any dinosaur or other animal was able to tell as if they needed an animal to be able to tell.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, bluebell said:

The reason that half of them feel that way about death and the fall is because personal opinion of prophets and apostles was too often taught in Sunday School.  Joseph Fielding Smith's and McConkie's personal opinions on it were heavily circulated in decades past.  It would be really nice if the church would handle that.  

The official teaching of the church on evolution is that it has no official teaching.  People can have whatever opinion they want of it.  The members would benefit greatly from knowing that the church is fine with people believing in evolution (and fine with them not believing in it).

I think they are making an effort.

This was published in the Feb 2016 New Era

Quote

 

“The church has no official position on evolution. Organic evolution or changes to a species inherited traits over time is a matter for scientific study.   Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution”

Also:

The details of what happened on this planet before Adam and Eve aren’t a huge doctrinal concern of ours.  The accounts of the Creation in the scriptures are not meant to provide a literal, scientific explanation of the specific processes, time periods, or events involved.


Before we were born on earth we were spirit children of heavenly parents with bodies in their image.  God directed the creation of Adam and Eve and placed their spirits in their bodies.  We are all descendants of Adam and Eve, our first parents, who were created in God’s image.  In addition for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family.   They fell from that state and this fall was an essential part of Heavenly Father's plan for us to become like him.  

 

I think this solves the apparent conflict, and the church is not commenting on scientific issues while yet maintining the belief in the literal scriptures.

My interpretation of what this says is that A&E were the first line of a tribe or family- perhaps the "Chosen People" to receive revelation from the Lord.  Notice it does NOT say that they were necessarily the first created in God's image, but simply that they WERE created in God's image.   And of course it might be saying God's SPIRITUAL image.  There are several ways to see it.  BUT it says that all living humans are descendants of A&E- which is still I suppose a scientific assertion, about a spiritual matter and therefore possibly a category error- or at least it is asserting that, but it does make the assertion.  But other than this- the statement is purely a statement of spiritual beliefs.

I have to look it up I guess but I also think it makes it clear that science is science and church is about spirituality, that they are two entirely different disciplines.

And of course BYU teaches evolution and secular science classes.

As I have said for 40 years, science is about the mechanics of the world, - "how" they world works, while church teaches the PURPOSE of the world and our purpose in being here.

Link to comment
2 hours ago, bluebell said:

The reason that half of them feel that way about death and the fall is because personal opinion of prophets and apostles was too often taught in Sunday School.  Joseph Fielding Smith's and McConkie's personal opinions on it were heavily circulated in decades past.  It would be really nice if the church would handle that.  

But your thought here that they were expressing personal opinion (and implied is that they shouldn't have, or that today's setting shouldn't be colored by it) is also personal opinion. In the absence of a Church position, it is equally opinion to say their opinions should not have the stature and presence that they do. It's possible that they were right back then, and our "advanced" views today are less advanced than we think they are. 

I'm a conservative person (old-fashioned, traditional), and I think it's wiser to "conserve" the traditional views in the absence of clear Church positions. So far, curriculum and CES have retained this conservatism, to the chagrin of others who want the "Saints Unscripted" -type approaches to be taught as if it's "the way it was," and not opinion. 

6 hours ago, bluebell said:

And you are right in that most wards don't have the scripture scholars that can teach that kind of stuff, so it would need to be in the manuals.  Because not everyone can go to a church school and take religion classes, and not everyone has access to institute.  

If you have to choose between having the manuals be conservative or progressive, I think it's much better for the progressives to have to endure traditional literalism than it would be for the conservatives to have to endure the "this was all way less literal than people have thought" emphasis. When codified in the manuals, I mean. I think there is a much higher risk with commitment, enthusiasm, and belief with the latter than with the former.

As it is, we are stuck with the manuals largely having inane "what do feel prompted to do because of this story?" type questions as far as guiding discussion, so neither side is really gotten into from the manual side. 

Link to comment
2 hours ago, bluebell said:

The reason that half of them feel that way about death and the fall is because personal opinion of prophets and apostles was too often taught in Sunday School.  Joseph Fielding Smith's and McConkie's personal opinions on it were heavily circulated in decades past.  It would be really nice if the church would handle that.  

I was baptized in 1979 and saw all that stuff, and it scared the fadoozle out of me. ;)   It was around the time of the Jim Jones "People's Temple" mass suicide- people following what they thought was an infallible prophet with all kinds of weird theories- and here were these guys preaching golden plates and apparently repudiating science?  And they have these prophets too that are saying all this weird stuff?

I was finishing up my Master's in philosophy at the time, in a Phd program in a secular university (full disclosure- I did not finish it) 

I loved the idea of an immanent embodied God organizing the earth.  Did man make God or did God make man?  BOTH!  Very sophisitcated stuff I thought!  But this Joseph Fielding Smith?

Well of course I researched and researched and then came across Moroni 10- stating that we can ASK GOD and go by what GOD tells us???  How can that BE?

Well that then would be a guard against a Jim Jones situation.   I could always ask God- that comes first as a guard against any prophet gone wacko....

So than I prayed about the church and got a very strong and clear - and certain personal revelation that THIS is where the Lord wants me!

And so here I am today putting personal testimony ahead of anything else, and putting first what I know is right.   

Link to comment
18 minutes ago, rongo said:

In the absence of a Church position, it is equally opinion to say their opinions should not have the stature and presence that they do. It's possible that they were right back then, and our "advanced" views today are less advanced than we think they are.

How about asking the spirit?

Neither are completely "right" imo- it's what you do with the teachings and apply them in your life- THAT is what makes the difference.

Link to comment
1 minute ago, mfbukowski said:

How about asking the spirit?

Neither are completely "right" imo- it's what you do with the teachings and apply them in your life- THAT is what makes the difference.

Completely agree. For those who have their answer, the official manual stuff is secondary to that. 

Link to comment
2 hours ago, bluebell said:

People can have whatever opinion they want of it.  The members would benefit greatly from knowing that the church is fine with people believing in evolution (and fine with them not believing in it).

The problem is that they would be losing a LOT of really great, spiritual folks with great families etc who are also ultra conservative, and unable to work their way past what they have believed all their lives, and are not able to wrap their minds around seeing it differently.   Who could do that?   It's a culture within a culture-and it is horribly hard to change cultures.

I suspect it will take at least another generation of moving very slowly but surely, principle by principle.   I remember the 1990 changes in the presentation of the endowment and the surprise and concern they caused.   Today it seems it is tweaked every month ;) and no one blinks.

Slowly but surely is the way!.....

 

Link to comment
13 minutes ago, rongo said:

Completely agree. For those who have their answer, the official manual stuff is secondary to that. 

It HAS to be!   Honestly!  Don't know if you were around then or old enough to understand, 44 years is a long time- you'd probably have to be in your 60's to fully comprehend it, but Jim Jones was a huge cultural event, seeing "cults" everywhere.   The Spirit HAS to be your final guide!

Link to comment
35 minutes ago, rongo said:

But your thought here that they were expressing personal opinion (and implied is that they shouldn't have, or that today's setting shouldn't be colored by it) is also personal opinion. In the absence of a Church position, it is equally opinion to say their opinions should not have the stature and presence that they do. It's possible that they were right back then, and our "advanced" views today are less advanced than we think they are. 

I'm a conservative person (old-fashioned, traditional), and I think it's wiser to "conserve" the traditional views in the absence of clear Church positions. So far, curriculum and CES have retained this conservatism, to the chagrin of others who want the "Saints Unscripted" -type approaches to be taught as if it's "the way it was," and not opinion. 

If you have to choose between having the manuals be conservative or progressive, I think it's much better for the progressives to have to endure traditional literalism than it would be for the conservatives to have to endure the "this was all way less literal than people have thought" emphasis. When codified in the manuals, I mean. I think there is a much higher risk with commitment, enthusiasm, and belief with the latter than with the former.

As it is, we are stuck with the manuals largely having inane "what do feel prompted to do because of this story?" type questions as far as guiding discussion, so neither side is really gotten into from the manual side. 

Have you been able to listen to some of Spackman's stuff on the history of teachings on Evolution and the church?  It's interesting stuff.

Link to comment
11 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Have you been able to listen to some of Spackman's stuff on the history of teachings on Evolution and the church?  It's interesting stuff.

I don't do podcasts or Youtube much. I know Ben Spackman, though, and am familiar with his views. He is a good, very smart guy. His sister Tanya was also a member of FAIR (I left FAIR in 2011). 

Link to comment


 

Quote

curriculum and CES have retained this conservatism

There is quite a bit that is no longer referenced in the newer materials though. The Gospel Principles manual was revised to be much more dependent on scripture than authority quotes and removed speculation.
 

Ben mentioned a 1998 iirc Ensign article on the flood is commonly referred to as evidence of the Church’s actual position but that was never referred to in any CES curriculum published since then, which is strange if it is actually viewed as somehow authoritative. 
 

That they are still publishing the 1980 OT manual when others have been revised is a mystery. My guess is it needs to be a major revision as there is a lot of good material out there, but there is also some conflict on removing some of the non supported by revelation traditions and it is simply a time game till the attitude that has led to stripped down versions with recommendations to study nonchurch produced materials as is occurring with other educational materials like Gospel Topics dominates everything.  The Church is putting way too much effort and finding into scholarship and hiring people with more academic background and making it easily accessible for personal study to stay in the status quo of tradition first for much longer Imo. 

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
10 hours ago, rongo said:

I don't do podcasts or Youtube much. I know Ben Spackman, though, and am familiar with his views. He is a good, very smart guy. His sister Tanya was also a member of FAIR (I left FAIR in 2011). 

It's only about 20 minutes long if I remember right, but I totally understand the no podcast thing.  I find the history interesting because it shows how/why JFS's and McConkie's views on the matter were pushed so hard for so long.  They were certainly very confident in their ideas, and they weren't afraid to go after people who didn't agree (not 'go after' in a bad sense).  But not everyone in the First Presidency or quorum of the 12 apostles agreed with them.  And there was never any 'revelation' claimed on their ideas. It was their personal opinions on how to read scripture that they used to extrapolate whether or not evolution could fit in.

They certainly may be right, but there is no real reason to just assume they were.  And too many members are in the habit of just assuming something someone taught was correct because it was taught.  This is how we get people leaving over some stuff that seems insignificant.

 

Link to comment
10 hours ago, Calm said:

There is quite a bit that is no longer referenced in the newer materials though. The Gospel Principles manual was revised to be much more dependent on scripture than authority quotes and removed speculation.
 

Ben mentioned a 1998 iirc Ensign article on the flood is commonly referred to as evidence of the Church’s actual position but that was never referred to in any CES curriculum published since then, which is strange if it is actually viewed as somehow authoritative. 
 

That they are still publishing the 1980 OT manual when others have been revised is a mystery. My guess is it needs to be a major revision as there is a lot of good material out there, but there is also some conflict on removing some of the non supported by revelation traditions and it is simply a time game till the attitude that has led to stripped down versions with recommendations to study nonchurch produced materials as is occurring with other educational materials like Gospel Topics dominates everything.  The Church is putting way too much effort and finding into scholarship and hiring people with more academic background and making it easily accessible for personal study to stay in the status quo of tradition first for much longer Imo. 

@rongo

This was accidentally attributed to me, but it's to Rongo.

Link to comment
30 minutes ago, rongo said:

C'mon! It should be a great honor to have something from me attributed to you. ;)

Mostly, I just wanted you to have a chance to respond and you might not see it without a notification.  :D 

Link to comment
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...