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4 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I find it rewarding to read this essay about the development of Jewish and Christian canon:

http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/TextAndContext.pdf

And then read 1 Nephi 13:20-42

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Below is a quote from the article cited above-  I have italicized some passages I will discuss briefly below.  This comment is perhaps to help others NOT familiar with our LDS doctrine in understanding the significance of Kevin's post; he has been modest and kind here in not pointing out some implications of the article posted, written by Margaret Barker, a briilliant Methodist scholar who studies the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Quote

Once a community has defined itself by means of a canon of Scripture, there is a new beginning. All the texts in the chosen canon would have had an original context, which presupposed a certain pattern of shared beliefs within which the text was set. The context was as much a part of the meaning as the words themselves. Set in a new context, the same text would soon acquire a new meaning. This, together with the complex history of how the familiar Old Testament was formed, has important implications for any reconstruction of Christian origins. We have to ask: Which Scriptures did the first Christians know and use, and how did they understand what they were reading? The evidence suggests that the texts which became the Old Testament of the Western Church were not identical to those used by the earliest Church, and that removing even the texts we have from their cultural context in the so-called Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha has hindered any attempt to reconstruct Christian origins. Jerome, (around 400 CE) made a new translation of the Bible to replace the many older Latin versions. Where there was a Hebrew original to use, he made this the basis of his translation, but the books found only in the Greek Old Testament, which had been the Church’s Scripture from the beginning, he considered to be of less importance. Thus there arose a division within the Christian Old Testament, not on the basis of Church custom but on the basis of the Jewish canon of Scripture. Augustine warned that this procedure would divide the Church by implying that the Greek tradition was defective, and would create difficulties for Christians in the West who would not have access to a Hebrew text in cases of dispute.1 Jerome argued that a translation from the Hebrew text (and the Hebrew canon) was imperative, if the Jews were to accept it as the basis for discussion and cease their declaration that the Church had false Scriptures2 . Jerome used the Hebrew text of his day, even though there had been accusations in the second century that the Jews had altered the text of Scripture after the advent of Christianity. 3 Jerome’s was a mismatch of both text and canon, even though he believed that he was promoting Hebraica veritas, Hebrew truth

 

1.  The importance of the idea that context creates the meaning of words- that is, the same words in a different situation may have a totally different meaning.   This is a central point found as well in what is now known as "Empirical Theology" which has grown out of the work of William James and Heidegger, and many other philosophers including Ludwig Wittgenstein.  The view is also found in physics and in virtually all areas of 20th century philosophy and literature, including Art.  The whole movement toward non-representational art is a reflection of the idea that human ideas do not "represent" the world as it is, but simply AS WE PERCEIVE IT AS HUMANS and our particular brain "wiring" and the affect of that on context.  More can be found in my siggy- with the Rorty quote

It looks at language - and thus also at scripture, and human communication in general, and the way in which language attempts to "represent" human mental states including ideas in language .   Part of this then also includes the work of Thomas Kuhn, who wrote extensively on paradigms, or the nature of human "theories" about the nature of the world.

2. The notion that the Christian Church in the middle ages was heavily influenced by pagan- not Hebrew, but pagan Greek philosophy- can be seen as one of the major causes of what the COJCLDS calls the "apostasy".  Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy combined with Christian ideas and caused them to change, so that the  writings which became "Bible" as it existed then as approved and declared "Canon", was quite different than the beliefs of the early Apostles etc.

This is the central point of Kevin's post and this article he has given us.

I know we have a lot of new folks, so I have taken the liberty to say a bit about the very important significance of what Kevin has shown here.

And then the Book of Mormon quote:  Wow!

Please correct as needed Kevin, if I messed it up, mea maxima culpa!  ;)

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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6 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I have a KJV so I can increase the comfort level when my LDS family members visit and our inevitable, and interesting, discussions of religion happen. In my hair-brained opinion, Paul is pretty much butchered in the KJV. 

I really like the KJV for his historicity and contributions to the English language. The way it articulates certain passages is incredibly beautiful, but I agree, major concepts, especially those described by Paul, are butchered. I sometimes wonder the extent to which this is a function of the translation itself, or our language shift in the 400 years since it was written. Things like faith in the 1600s having a meaning more akin to the Greek "pistis" stand out as particular examples.

6 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I use an RSV as my main Bible, but also have an NRSV that includes the additional canonical books of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches.

I jump around depending on the context for my own personal study. I teach Elders Quorum and use the KJV there for consistency with others, but I supplement it with the New Oxford Annotated I have for personal study, which is really just the NRSV with extra footnotes and accompanying essays. One of my dear friends is Ukrainian Orthodox, and I work with St. Vladimir's right now in the context of Ukrainian resettlement, so it helps being on the same page (pun intended) as far as additional canonicity goes.

6 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

Did Joseph Smith like Luther's Bible? I could see why native German speakers would like a German Bible, but a native English Speaker preferring a German Bible? I must not understand.

It's hard to say. That is indeed a distinct possibility, but he just referred to it as his "German bible." I personally lean towards it being Elias Huttero's "Novum Testamentum harmonicum," published in 1602. Josiah Quincy and Wilford Woodruff noted that Joseph would often use a "polyglot" New Testament in his sermons, that included at least Hebrew and German, or a Bible of "various tongues." Thomas Bullock reports that Joseph had a bible "in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew and German." Elias Huttero's work is about the only that fits the bill there.

As for why Joseph preferred it, Joseph was (imo) just as interested in finding the correct translation in the traditional sense of the word as he was in finding the most correct interpretation, through reasoning and the revelatory process. In fact, his King Follet Sermon combines all three aspects of this interest, turning to reason, translation, and revelation to expound on his view of God. We know he studied Hebrew and German, but know less about his studies into Latin or Greek, so his preference for the German New Testament might be motivated as much bit its quality as being the only higher quality translation he could comprehend compared to his available English translation.

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15 hours ago, halconero said:

I really like the KJV for his historicity and contributions to the English language. The way it articulates certain passages is incredibly beautiful, but I agree, major concepts, especially those described by Paul, are butchered. I sometimes wonder the extent to which this is a function of the translation itself, or our language shift in the 400 years since it was written. Things like faith in the 1600s having a meaning more akin to the Greek "pistis" stand out as particular examples.

I jump around depending on the context for my own personal study. I teach Elders Quorum and use the KJV there for consistency with others, but I supplement it with the New Oxford Annotated I have for personal study, which is really just the NRSV with extra footnotes and accompanying essays. One of my dear friends is Ukrainian Orthodox, and I work with St. Vladimir's right now in the context of Ukrainian resettlement, so it helps being on the same page (pun intended) as far as additional canonicity goes.

It's hard to say. That is indeed a distinct possibility, but he just referred to it as his "German bible." I personally lean towards it being Elias Huttero's "Novum Testamentum harmonicum," published in 1602. Josiah Quincy and Wilford Woodruff noted that Joseph would often use a "polyglot" New Testament in his sermons, that included at least Hebrew and German, or a Bible of "various tongues." Thomas Bullock reports that Joseph had a bible "in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew and German." Elias Huttero's work is about the only that fits the bill there.

As for why Joseph preferred it, Joseph was (imo) just as interested in finding the correct translation in the traditional sense of the word as he was in finding the most correct interpretation, through reasoning and the revelatory process. In fact, his King Follet Sermon combines all three aspects of this interest, turning to reason, translation, and revelation to expound on his view of God. We know he studied Hebrew and German, but know less about his studies into Latin or Greek, so his preference for the German New Testament might be motivated as much bit its quality as being the only higher quality translation he could comprehend compared to his available English translation.

Regarding the KJV, it's probably a little of both the clunkiness of translating Paul and the shift of the language. I have a copy of the original preface to the KJV--25 pages or so--and it makes the point that the KJV is intended to help make the Bible available to the "common reader." 400+ years later, I imagine it might be difficult for LDS missionaries in Baltimore, for example, try to read passages from the KJV with an immigrant from Nigeria. I'd just bust out an easy-reading translation, maybe a Good News Bible.

I have spent some time with the New Oxford Annotated; a great, scholarly work. Hopefully, your Elder's Quorum is appreciative.

Thanks for the context for Joseph Smith's interest in German Bibles. I'm part way into the Rough Rolling book, and so I'm feeling a little whiplash. The Author has been emphasizing how unschooled Joseph Smith is--he needed a school teacher and a printer to clean up the Book of Mormon text--but at some point he's a polyglot with preferences for German translations. An interesting fellow, to be sure.

 

 

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Here are today's Friendly Friday questions:

Several of you have referenced Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon, and I've read it this week. In it, there are two notions that I can't puzzle my way through. I've tried to look them up on the LDS Church's website, which some of you patiently steer me to now and again, and I am still bottom over tea kettle.

Here they are:

Joseph Smith said that "I will preach on the plurality of gods. I am going to tell you how God came to be God." And yet the Book of Mormon says that there is only one God and that that God doesn't change.

  • Is there a principle of expanding understanding at work here? 
  • Does the Book of Mormon trump the King Follett sermon?

I can agree with the Book of Mormon when it teaches about there being one, unchanging God. So far, so good in my book. The King Follet sermon is way out there for me though, and somehow you all reconcile both.

I appreciate your willingness to walk me through some of these things. They're probably basic, and maybe even boring, for you all. 

 

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2 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

Here are today's Friendly Friday questions:

Several of you have referenced Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon, and I've read it this week. In it, there are two notions that I can't puzzle my way through. I've tried to look them up on the LDS Church's website, which some of you patiently steer me to now and again, and I am still bottom over tea kettle.

Here they are:

Joseph Smith said that "I will preach on the plurality of gods. I am going to tell you how God came to be God." And yet the Book of Mormon says that there is only one God and that that God doesn't change.

  • Is there a principle of expanding understanding at work here? 
  • Does the Book of Mormon trump the King Follett sermon?

I can agree with the Book of Mormon when it teaches about there being one, unchanging God. So far, so good in my book. The King Follet sermon is way out there for me though, and somehow you all reconcile both.

I appreciate your willingness to walk me through some of these things. They're probably basic, and maybe even boring, for you all. 

 

It's a mystery, actually, we cannot comprehend it.

BUT the "fake science" human explanation, speculative paradigm, is that when God organized his Kingdom , for US, that was the beginning of "time" relative to this universe and his creations.

Yet He/ has /had /continues to have/ his own progression in, possibly, a "different time", in unknowable universes or dimensions etc.

Think of the literal translation of "per omnia secular saeculorum", which is usually just translated "forever".

"Through all (the) world of the worlds"

We live in a Kingdom -a "world" encompassing worlds without end!

Those who are exalted become able to organize their own worlds.

Yet time is relative within each context.  So the words make it hard to define, our feeble brains and language are simply not able to fit it into words.

Now regarding fathers.

You personally have only one biological father who gave you life

For each of us, we have ONE biological Father we love and who is "ours", to whom we owe love and respect etc

Yet there are literally billions of  "fathers" as we call them, on earth, they are just not ours!

We have only ONE FATHER GOD who is OUR GOD who created us, and our world, whom we love and worship, etc

That's the way I see it, and I have seen no other explanation :)

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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2 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
  • Is there a principle of expanding understanding at work here? 
  • Does the Book of Mormon trump the King Follett sermon?

Yes to both, as explained hopefully above

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2 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I can agree with the Book of Mormon when it teaches about there being one, unchanging God. So far, so good in my book. The King Follet sermon is way out there for me though, and somehow you all reconcile both.

Hopefully you got it.

Your personal earthly father will be YOURS forever, and El, /Eloheim is the father of all spirits- Our Father who art in heaven. = BOM

Follette= But there are other fathers of other children in other worlds out there as well.  

But our Father who art in heaven will always be ours.

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3 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

Here are today's Friendly Friday questions:

Several of you have referenced Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon, and I've read it this week. In it, there are two notions that I can't puzzle my way through. I've tried to look them up on the LDS Church's website, which some of you patiently steer me to now and again, and I am still bottom over tea kettle.

Here they are:

Joseph Smith said that "I will preach on the plurality of gods. I am going to tell you how God came to be God." And yet the Book of Mormon says that there is only one God and that that God doesn't change.

  • Is there a principle of expanding understanding at work here? 
  • Does the Book of Mormon trump the King Follett sermon?

I can agree with the Book of Mormon when it teaches about there being one, unchanging God. So far, so good in my book. The King Follet sermon is way out there for me though, and somehow you all reconcile both.

I appreciate your willingness to walk me through some of these things. They're probably basic, and maybe even boring, for you all. 

 

There are some doctrines we use the King Follett Discourse for as additional referencing, but it hasn’t been canonized as it is a compilation of 4 sets of notes that were never proofed or approved by Joseph, but put together after his death iirc. When the sets agree, I think it is pretty accurate, but there is some stuff that just doesn’t make sense. Joseph was not shy about using reason and even speculating and we need to be careful not to assume everything he said was doctrine.  If he repeated teachings in several sermons, those are good indications we should be listening. 
 

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/king-follett-discourse?lang=eng

The Book of Mormon is canonized and so takes precedence, but we believe in continuing revelation, so it gets sticky on which trumps which, depending on the subject.

Plurality of Gods is something we tend not to delve much into due to lack of revelation. So some members believe God the Father had a Father and so on for the eternity past and others believe somehow the Father is the first God and most probably go “I have other, more pressing things to think about, I don’t really want to get into it because it doesn’t make sense in either way; I will learn when God wants me to know about it”.

God’s Heavenly Council would, in my belief,  also consist of those who had already experienced mortality, perhaps on another world, and been resurrected…but we are getting into speculation on who the Sons of God in the Council are. 
 

https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Council_in_Heaven

Edited by Calm
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Many of the Articles of Faith have origins in the restoration movement, specifically the Alexander Campbell restoration movement. Early Mormon leaders were very much involved in the Campbellite movement and the Articles of Faith reflect the milieu of that time. For example, the concept of first principles of the gospel faith, repentance, baptism was borrowed from the teachings of Campbellite minister Walter Scott.  Walter Scott would visit towns in 1827-1830 and go to the school. He had a distinct five fingered hand exercise he would teach the school children who would then go home and share it with their parents to help gain interest in his nightly gospel preaching events.

As an evangelist, he would first come into a community and find a group of children.[3]: 338  He would ask them to hold up a hand, and then point to each finger and say "faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit."[3]: 338  Once the children had learned the mnemonic, he would ask them to tell their parents that he would be preaching that same gospel that evening.[3]: 338 .”

These first principles were brought from Parley P. Pratt to Joseph Smith, who then used them in the Wentworth Letter.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Scott_(clergyman)

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1 hour ago, 2BizE said:

Many of the Articles of Faith have origins in the restoration movement, specifically the Alexander Campbell restoration movement. Early Mormon leaders were very much involved in the Campbellite movement and the Articles of Faith reflect the milieu of that time. For example, the concept of first principles of the gospel faith, repentance, baptism was borrowed from the teachings of Campbellite minister Walter Scott.  Walter Scott would visit towns in 1827-1830 and go to the school. He had a distinct five fingered hand exercise he would teach the school children who would then go home and share it with their parents to help gain interest in his nightly gospel preaching events.

As an evangelist, he would first come into a community and find a group of children.[3]: 338  He would ask them to hold up a hand, and then point to each finger and say "faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit."[3]: 338  Once the children had learned the mnemonic, he would ask them to tell their parents that he would be preaching that same gospel that evening.[3]: 338 .”

These first principles were brought from Parley P. Pratt to Joseph Smith, who then used them in the Wentworth Letter.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Scott_(clergyman)

Take the good you find in the world and make use of it.  A solid church doctrine. 

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3 hours ago, Calm said:

There are some doctrines we use the King Follett Discourse for as additional referencing, but it hasn’t been canonized as it is a compilation of 4 sets of notes that were never proofed or approved by Joseph, but put together after his death iirc. When the sets agree, I think it is pretty accurate, but there is some stuff that just doesn’t make sense. Joseph was not shy about using reason and even speculating and we need to be careful not to assume everything he said was doctrine.  If he repeated teachings in several sermons, those are good indications we should be listening. 

Thank you so much. This explanation makes sense to me.

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On 6/18/2022 at 7:37 AM, 2BizE said:

For example, the concept of first principles of the gospel faith, repentance, baptism was borrowed from the teachings of Campbellite minister Walter Scott.

 Acts 2:38 covers all of them apart from Faith so it's not like it's some special sequence that no one thought of before.

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I'll be in Salt Lake City in October for three nights and four days. Therefore, today's Friendly Friday questions are:

  • What are the LDS historic sites and tourist destinations I should see? I'll have a rental car, so I can travel around the city and surrounding area a little bit. I'm also healthy and am up for a decent walk, so long as the neighborhood is safe.
  • What are the overrated sites I should avoid?

 

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On 6/17/2022 at 11:41 AM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Here are today's Friendly Friday questions:

I just wanted to say that I find your questions to be both thoughtful and interesting.  Thank you for your participation on this board.  I wish I had more time to consider them (my life has been crazy).  I know this one is a week old, but I wanted to provide my point of view on these things:

On 6/17/2022 at 11:41 AM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Joseph Smith said that "I will preach on the plurality of gods. I am going to tell you how God came to be God." And yet the Book of Mormon says that there is only one God and that that God doesn't change.

  • Is there a principle of expanding understanding at work here? 
  • Does the Book of Mormon trump the King Follett sermon?

I can agree with the Book of Mormon when it teaches about there being one, unchanging God. So far, so good in my book. The King Follet sermon is way out there for me though, and somehow you all reconcile both.

I'll break my response down into these numbered concepts:

1. The teaching that God does not change.

I think people often misunderstand (or misconstrue) this teaching in the scriptures.  The Bible teaches this (Malachi 3:6, James 1:16), as does the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 10:18-19Mormon 9:9, Moroni 8:18) and our Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 20:12, 17).

The Bible also teaches the same thing about Jesus Christ:   "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).

But, the Bible also says that Jesus (the Word) was "made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), and was born of Mary as an infant and "grew, and waxed strong in spirit" (Luke 2:40) and "increased in wisdom and stature" (Luke 2:52) and "learned he obedience" and was "made perfect" (Hebrews 5:8-9) and was "highly exalted" by his Father (Philippians 2:9).

So when the Bible says that Jesus is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever", it can't possibly be teaching us that Jesus didn't progress as a man on this earth, or that he didn't pass from a spirit life into a physical body, and then die and ascend to heaven with a resurrected body and become exalted.  It must be referring to something else, like the consistency of his ways and his teachings and truth.

I submit that God's "unchangeableness" is entirely centered around the consistency of his ways and his teachings and truth, and this is exactly what is being conveyed about the "unchangeable" God in the Book of Mormon.  In Mormon chapter 9 of the Book of Mormon, Moroni is lamenting over the unbelief of his brethren and their denial of the consistency of God's dealings with mankind.  First, he focuses on those who claim that there are no more revelations or prophecies (etc.):

Quote

7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.
9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
(Mormon 9:7–10)

Moroni reasons that since God does not change, then there is no reason to assume that there are no longer any prophecies or revelations.  God is consistent in his ways.

Then later in the chapter, he focuses more on the idea that miracles no longer exist:

Quote

15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
(Mormon 9:15–19)

So clearly the point here is that God doesn't change his ways.   God is a God of continuing revelation (and therefore an assumed open canon of scripture), and God is a God of miracles, and those who deny these things are in effect asserting that God is a changeable God.  But God does not change.

It is not saying that God never lived on an earth or that God never increases in glory, or anything like that, for clearly Jesus did those things and he is "the same" yesterday, today, and forever.

2. The plurality of Gods:

I think this one can be explained most easily with a quote from the apostle Paul:

Quote

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
 7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge
(1 Corinthians 8:4–7)

Paul states that there "be gods many, and lords many", but "to us" there is but one God.  In other words, even though there are many gods, only one God is our God, only one God is relevant to us.  He is the Supreme God, the "God of gods" (Deut 10:17), and the "One God and Father of all, who is above all" (Eph 4:6).  Jesus Christ is his Divine Son and the representative God the Father.   And the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are "one God" in unity, to fulfill the purposes of God the Father (3 Nephi 11:36).  So when the Book of Mormon teaches there is "one God", it is referring to the one and only God who is our God:  God the Father, as represented by his Son, Jesus Christ, and born witness of by the Holy Ghost.

The Book of Mormon also provides teachings on the potential for other gods, such as in 3 Nephi 28:10: "And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;"

3. How "God came to be God":

I believe Joseph Smith was referring to God's relationship to us when he spoke of how "God came to be God".  Elsewhere (in scripture revealed by Joseph Smith), we are taught that spirits "have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal" (Abraham 3:18-19), and that God is "without beginning of days or end of years" (Moses 1:3).  So Joseph was not suggesting that God came into being at some point in time, but that he came to be "God", our God, in the aspect of our relationship to him.

Now, to the questions:  Is there a principle of expanding understanding at work here?  And, does the Book of Mormon trump the King Follett sermon?   I don't see any reason for any "trumping".  Many of the same concepts co-exist in Bible teachings and in our other books of scripture (Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price).  We just need to try to understand what is being taught in these statements, and they can live together perfectly fine.

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20 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I'll be in Salt Lake City in October for three nights and four days. Therefore, today's Friendly Friday questions are:

  • What are the LDS historic sites and tourist destinations I should see? I'll have a rental car, so I can travel around the city and surrounding area a little bit. I'm also healthy and am up for a decent walk, so long as the neighborhood is safe.
  • What are the overrated sites I should avoid?

 

Gotta see the tabernacle.

Also THIS

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/feature/templesquare?lang=eng

Also go up one of the canyon roads, like up Cottonwood canyon to see how fast the city disappears and turns into beautiful forrest, but still has great city views as well.    But doing this in October could be dicey- make sure the weather is good.  Steep canyon roads that are icy are....  not fun!

As far as I know having lived in SLC for a year, it is vry safe-  I know of no "bad" neighborhoods, but also I lived there like 30 years ago.

Edited by mfbukowski
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14 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I just wanted to say that I find your questions to be both thoughtful and interesting.  Thank you for your participation on this board.  I wish I had more time to consider them (my life has been crazy).  I know this one is a week old, but I wanted to provide my point of view on these things:

I'll break my response down into these numbered concepts:

1. The teaching that God does not change.

I think people often misunderstand (or misconstrue) this teaching in the scriptures.  The Bible teaches this (Malachi 3:6, James 1:16), as does the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 10:18-19Mormon 9:9, Moroni 8:18) and our Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 20:12, 17).

The Bible also teaches the same thing about Jesus Christ:   "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).

But, the Bible also says that Jesus (the Word) was "made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), and was born of Mary as an infant and "grew, and waxed strong in spirit" (Luke 2:40) and "increased in wisdom and stature" (Luke 2:52) and "learned he obedience" and was "made perfect" (Hebrews 5:8-9) and was "highly exalted" by his Father (Philippians 2:9).

So when the Bible says that Jesus is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever", it can't possibly be teaching us that Jesus didn't progress as a man on this earth, or that he didn't pass from a spirit life into a physical body, and then die and ascend to heaven with a resurrected body and become exalted.  It must be referring to something else, like the consistency of his ways and his teachings and truth.

I submit that God's "unchangeableness" is entirely centered around the consistency of his ways and his teachings and truth, and this is exactly what is being conveyed about the "unchangeable" God in the Book of Mormon.  In Mormon chapter 9 of the Book of Mormon, Moroni is lamenting over the unbelief of his brethren and their denial of the consistency of God's dealings with mankind.  First, he focuses on those who claim that there are no more revelations or prophecies (etc.):

Moroni reasons that since God does not change, then there is no reason to assume that there are no longer any prophecies or revelations.  God is consistent in his ways.

Then later in the chapter, he focuses more on the idea that miracles no longer exist:

So clearly the point here is that God doesn't change his ways.   God is a God of continuing revelation (and therefore an assumed open canon of scripture), and God is a God of miracles, and those who deny these things are in effect asserting that God is a changeable God.  But God does not change.

It is not saying that God never lived on an earth or that God never increases in glory, or anything like that, for clearly Jesus did those things and he is "the same" yesterday, today, and forever.

2. The plurality of Gods:

I think this one can be explained most easily with a quote from the apostle Paul:

Paul states that there "be gods many, and lords many", but "to us" there is but one God.  In other words, even though there are many gods, only one God is our God, only one God is relevant to us.  He is the Supreme God, the "God of gods" (Deut 10:17), and the "One God and Father of all, who is above all" (Eph 4:6).  Jesus Christ is his Divine Son and the representative God the Father.   And the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are "one God" in unity, to fulfill the purposes of God the Father (3 Nephi 11:36).  So when the Book of Mormon teaches there is "one God", it is referring to the one and only God who is our God:  God the Father, as represented by his Son, Jesus Christ, and born witness of by the Holy Ghost.

The Book of Mormon also provides teachings on the potential for other gods, such as in 3 Nephi 28:10: "And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;"

3. How "God came to be God":

I believe Joseph Smith was referring to God's relationship to us when he spoke of how "God came to be God".  Elsewhere (in scripture revealed by Joseph Smith), we are taught that spirits "have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal" (Abraham 3:18-19), and that God is "without beginning of days or end of years" (Moses 1:3).  So Joseph was not suggesting that God came into being at some point in time, but that he came to be "God", our God, in the aspect of our relationship to him.

Now, to the questions:  Is there a principle of expanding understanding at work here?  And, does the Book of Mormon trump the King Follett sermon?   I don't see any reason for any "trumping".  Many of the same concepts co-exist in Bible teachings and in our other books of scripture (Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price).  We just need to try to understand what is being taught in these statements, and they can live together perfectly fine.

Absolutely nailed it, uh, so to speak

Also as a fan of logic, after 40 years of pretty in-depth study looking for contradictions and inconsistencies, there are none that I have found that cannot be resolved, as you point out very well here in your reply.

It APPEARS perhaps that there is an inconsistency between monotheism and polytheism in the LDS paradigm, but as you demonstrate, It just is not there.

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On 6/13/2022 at 3:14 PM, webbles said:

For some people, the use of Adam Clarke's commentary is a faith problem. 

Some people get these ideas in their head that if Joseph Smith did or said something, it always had to be from inspiration.  I think the Lord expects all prophets and us to spend some time researching and figuring out answers to problems ourselves.  He is not just going to give us all the answers.  There is no learning and growth in that.  If corrections and better renderings of KJV passages could be made by using the Adam Clarke or some other sources, that achieves its purpose.  The Lord fills in the parts we can't do for ourselves.  So the Lord gave Moses 1 through revelation as Joseph could not have gotten that from any other means.  Many times faith problems are created by people manufacturing expectations or assumptions that should never have been made to begin with and the Church and leaders don't live up to those expectations. 

The one thing I have noticed about the JST or inspired version is how little LDS critics tend to avoid it in terms of the changes or additions.   I think in part when compared to the KJV, the JST versions just read better and make better sense.

Edited by carbon dioxide
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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

It APPEARS perhaps that there is an inconsistency between monotheism and polytheism in the LDS paradigm, but as you demonstrate, It just is not there.

And, as I know you are aware, the early pre-Nicene Christians handled it well too, and discussed the plurality of gods quite often.  It wasn't until later that the Greek philosophy people messed everything up.

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6 hours ago, InCognitus said:

And, as I know you are aware, the early pre-Nicene Christians handled it well too, and discussed the plurality of gods quite often.  It wasn't until later that the Greek philosophy people messed everything up.

Yep, agreed

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Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a notion of mortal sin and venial sin? 

1 John 5:16-17, which is an important source for understanding that some sin is "unto death" and some sin is "not unto death," isn't usually disputed for accuracy of translation:

Quote

 

16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

 

 

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