SteveVH

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  1. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Yes, I see that this thread has been moved to "Church History". I was told if I wanted to express a non-LDS view that I needed to post on "Christian Beliefs Board". That's hard to do when they move your thread. Very well. See ya'll later. I think I have my answer in more ways than one.
  2. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Yeah, you got me there.
  3. SteveVH

    Catholic Church and Prophets

    Because this is a new thread I will respond with the Catholic position concerning revelation so that both positions are clear: "'In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.' (Heb 1:1-2) Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2: 'In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in his sole Word - and he has no more to say... because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some new vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty,' (St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel) "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 65, 66) Yes, God inspires the leaders of our Church and yes they are guided by the Holy Spirit; one and the same thing. When Christ began to build his Church he made certain promises and gave amazing authority to that Church. He first gave the keys to the kingdom of God, entrusted to Peter. He then gave the power to bind and loose, the authority to legislate. What the Church does here is binding even in heaven. He then promised to remain with his Church until the end of time and to send the Holy Spirit to guide it into all truth. Instead of waiting for new revelation, the leaders of our Church, the bishops, are here to teach the Apostolic truth through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in doing so are prevented from error by that same Holy Spirit. That is where infallibility is so misunderstood. It is due to the action of the Holy Spirit, not the brilliance of a man. It means a greater understanding of a doctrine; a clearer way of expressing it. Doctrines can never change. Our understanding, however, and our ability to express the mysteries of God can grow and develop over the centuries. Public revelation is found in the Sacred Scriptures which were canonized by the Catholic Church, and in the oral transmission of the Apostolic Tradition. Examples of pubic revelation would be doctrines such as the Trinity, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the resurrection, original sin... those things that we are obligated to believe if we call ourselves Catholic. As for private revelation, this is the teaching, as I have already quoted: "67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations." (CCC par 67) Examples of private revelation would apparitions from Mary, or someone receiving a locution from Jesus. Many of these are approved of as authentic, but many more are not. In any case we are not bound to believe any of them, though I find those that have been approved to be most fascinating. In any event, they can never replace, change or supersede the deposit of faith we received from the Apostles. The sense that a prophet will receive new revelation from God. I will have to answer the rest of your post tomorrow. It is getting way to long and I am beat. Thanks for your questions.
  4. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    I don't really know how to respond to this. If he didn't then why in the world did his associates say that he did. You know, Jesus never wrote down a word. We depend upon the writers of the New Testament, in particular the Gospel writers, to relate a true accounting of what he said and did. " It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history..." (Joseph Fielding Smith - Mormon prophet, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.232-43.) " Was Joseph Fielding Smith just lying? Is his opinion here worth nothing? I can hardly remember what I wrote last week. It is fascinating that the office of the First Presidency had such astuteness in remembering the subject matter of a letter written three years prior and to have had the concern to follow it up for clarification, especially when it was in answer to a question from Brother Sparks from Oklahoma City. Three years later. Wow!
  5. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    No. Never. I may relate a general opinion based upon what I have read here but I certainly do not share anyone's posts. The general comment I would probably make concerning this thread is that Mormons basically reject the assertions made by Joseph Smith, et al, as to the location of Hill Cumorah in favor of their modern scholars. So they don't excavate it because they don't believe it is there. Edit: I do remember one specific post I saw on this forum that I did specifically mention, but then only the subject matter. I didn't even quote it. Someone was defending abortion on the grounds that the aborted baby must have chosen to be aborted in its pre-mortal life, therefore it was okay. But no names and I didn't even mention this forum.
  6. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    If you will look a little closer you will see that I qualified my definition of prophet, when used in connection with the Pope, to one who interprets divine truth. In that sense, and in that sense only, is the Pope a prophet. In a general sense we are all "prophets, priests and kings" by virtue of our Baptism. No, we do not believe in continued prophecy. We believe that God has said all he has to say in his Son, Jesus Christ. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;" (Hebrews 1:1-2) We are no longer in need of prophets for the purpose of receiving further revelation. We are in great need of prophets who can interpret the truth given to us in light of our current time, culture and issues. The fullness of God's truth has already been given to us. We only await his return. The Pope and the bishops have a prophetic role in the Church by virtue of their teaching authority. Again, they interpret the divine will of God. That is the first definition of a prophet. Here is a quote from the Catechism concerning the Magisterium's role in interpreting private revelation: "67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 67) You will certainly find no reference to a bishop as a prophet in the Mormon sense of the word. Now, I think it is time to return to the topic.
  7. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Fair enough. I have never said that it was doctrine and completely understand why it is not. That has never been my point. There were a few comments that excavating Cumorah would mean nothing either way. That is the sentiment to which I was referring. I have no intention of trying to rattle you.
  8. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Okay, lets make this very clear. I am not trying in any way to insinuate that the location of the Hill Cumorah is doctrine. To excavate Cumorah would either confirm Joseph Smith's beliefs or not confirm them. Apparently no one believes what was taught about this subject for the greater part of the existence of the LDS Church. I am fine with that. Again, I have never said it was revealed doctrine. Yes I understand that modern day Mormons do not believe what Joseph Smith, et al claimed. Everyone has made that very clear and I am happy to accept that answer. It is at least reasonable. Your letter was written in 1993, not 1990. The letter I have is dated October 16, 1990. Not the same letter, but interesting that they say very different things within a three year time span.
  9. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    No, Jason, I accept that you believe. I just don't understand how you arrive at your beliefs. Yes, I am certain that I approach many things with preconceived notions and those notions are non-LDS notions. No I have never been a member. Someone close to me became a member and that is when I started being interested in LDS beliefs, about five years ago. Just for grins, lets say that I run across something like this: "The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the earth, being about 6 feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker style and are quite general in style or the one fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally, near a thousand years. This is the description of them as given by Joseph the Seer, and he could 'See' whatever he asked the Father in the name of Jesus to see" Preconceived notion or not, I am going to ask if one is serious. And if one responds with "well it could be possible that when we landed on the moon we landed in an uninhabited area", or "Who is to say that they don't live underground", I am probably going to try and point some things out to this person. After reading what Joseph Smith and all the others had said about Cumorah, including an official letter from the office of the First Presidency dated in 1990, confirming that the hill in western New York was the hill referred to in the BoM, I don't think it is unreasonable for one to get the impression that this is what the LDS Church believed up to and including that date at a minimum. Assuming this to be the case, it is equally reasonable to ask the question: Why then do they not excavate it? And this question is based upon the fact that any suspected Christian religious site, outside of the Mormon world, is excavated. We want to know if what we believed was true is actually true. Do we need to re-think anything? Do we need to interpret the truth we have been given with a different perspective? Whatever the case, any and all truth that can be discovered can lead us to only one place; the truth. The closer we come to truth, the closer we come to God, whether through faith or reason. And yes, I certainly have my human weaknesses. I tend to get frustrated with answers that, in my mind, are non-answers. "If we excavated it then we would not have faith", and similar sentiments. Apparently I am to just let that go. Instead I try to point out that faith and reason should not be contradictory and that one can have both at the same time; indeed we must have both at the same time. The response I get is that I won't let someone speak for themselves. Everyone who has posted here has spoken for themselves. I have no power to not allow people to speak for themselves, nor would I want to.
  10. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Than you for your comments.
  11. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Thank you for your comments.
  12. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Thank you for your comments.
  13. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Let me assure you, I do not come here with "gotcha" questions and then run back to Catholic Answers and report how I won. No one there even Knows I am here and I do not report back in any manner as to my discussions on this forum. If you doubt that, then please go to Catholic Answers Forum and read my posts. I use SteveVH on that forum. I did come here because of the topic which was being discussed on CAF and to which few if any Mormons would respond. When that happens I like to go to the horses mouth. And you know, I suppose that I could just post the question and sit back and read the answers, but that isn't really the purpose of a forum, is it?
  14. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    Yes. It would mean that he was wrong and that what the LDS Church has believed (until very recently) was wrong. As late as 1990 an official letter from F. Michael Watson, Secretary to the First Presidency, written to Bishop Darrell L. Brooks, responding to an inquiry addressed to President Gordon B. Hinckley as to the location of the Hill Cumorah mentioned in the BoM, said this: "The Church has long maintained, as attested to by references in the writings of the General authorities , that the Hill Cumorah in western New York state is the same referenced in the Book of Mormon." So the idea that this is something that has always just been up in the air is misleading. Does this prove the BoM false? No. Does this prove the LDS faith as false? No. What it does is establish the credibility of the people making the statements. And if what they say cannot be believed then I would advise the LDS Church to stop publishing these statements and only stick to "canonized doctrine". It doesn't. it just means that there is still no outside evidence in support of it. Borrowing from who? I have read the Book of Mormon, or at least a good portion of it. To be honest I did receive a testimony and that testimony was "put this book down". I actually would feel sick when I started reading it and something deep inside told me I should not be reading it. But we are really getting off the subject line here.
  15. SteveVH

    Excavation of Hill Cumorah

    I will admit that I am use to being able to believe all that my Church teaches and holds as true. I have never had to try and sort out what is "opinion" from what is "doctrine". As a Catholic, I cannot and do not pick and choose what I wish to believe and not believe depending upon what I personally feel bound to believe. And please understand me here. If it was excavated and nothing was found, that in itself is not enough to disprove the Book of Mormon. What it would prove is that a definitive declaration from Joseph Smith, the founding prophet, was false. Whether or not that would rattle some is yet to be seen.