The Folk Prophet

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Everything posted by The Folk Prophet

  1. Church leaders being fallible has been taught and believed since Joseph Smith taught it himself. Not sure why Uchtdorf's comment is so revolutionary to some.
  2. an extent. I would content it's much more along the lines of the similarities to masonry and the temple. The same could be argued, of course, the Joseph Smith used what he knew, (or that the Lord used what Joseph knew), or one could look at it in the light of some truth was maintained in the masonry rituals through the years. One doesn't prove the other, etc... I see it the same way with seer stones. The fact that others used them previously to Joseph, that it was common in any regard, doesn't prove that Joseph was influenced by them. Moreover, it could very reasonably have influenced the interpretation of those who saw Joseph use them, and thereby create the reports from others as we read them. But it doesn't concretely prove that he was influenced by them in any way. Seer stones are documented Scripturally, stones prepared for seers and translation LONG before they were popular in Joseph's time. I admit, my "hogwash" p.o.v. is my own. But it is as supportable a p.o.v. as is making otherwise a statement of historical fact.
  3. I'm familiar. Still interpretive. Still hearsay. And I still think its hogwash. It has nothing to do with Bushman's qualifications as a historian, or anyone else's, for that matter. It's the nature of the history itself. To draw a concrete conclusion of this nature is unfair. You are certainly free to draw that conclusion. I am pointing out that it is not requisite for everyone to -- not on your word or on Bushman's. Joseph Smith was, is, and will be spoken of for good and evil. So anything said of him may be suspect to prejudice. History is also extremely susceptible to error of communication, misreporting, and the general fallibility of human kind. Bushman reports the facts and doesn't assume prejudice or stupidity in them one way or another unless there is evidence of prejudice or stupidity. But that doesn't mean that no prejudice or stupidity existed. If a reliable quote from Joseph himself existed saying something along the lines of, "I was highly influenced by the seer-witch-woman in the village and that's why I started looking at seer stones," then I'll reconcile my thinking. Otherwise, I'm not buying.
  4. Moreover, there is an assumption that the Sunday School manual is and always has been the complete and perfect answer to teach everyone exactly what they need to fulfill their intellectual concerns and desires about the church. This is patently unfair and a ridiculous expectation. The manuals are put together to teach the gospel as best they can. They are developed by committee and then reviewed and approved by the appropriate authority. To expect that they will cover every detail that is concerning to every one of the millions of members through the years is unrealistic. And to blame "the church" as if they were trying to cover things up is just plain silly. People are going to have concerns with the church. Satan is working his very hardest to ensure this is the case, and people are weak and skeptical and naturally of little faith. The Sunday School manual cannot possibly account for every single instance of every crisis of faith that members face. The Lord expects us to study and learn, have faith, pray, listen to the spirit, etc. not be spoon fed every minor detail, even those that hardly matter, in is Sunday School.
  5. To be fair, Joseph called the process a translation. So that would be a fairly easy thing to come to if one did not bother to every do a single bit of reading or research into it. Because it has nothing to do with anything. As has been pointed out, it has been taught and has never been covered up. But it is not the objective of the church. Moreover, there is also, as has been pointed out, a cultural divide that makes certain things difficult for our culture to understand. It's entirely reasonable to not openly discuss something that is difficult to understand culturally, in favor of discussing the things that actually do matter, meaning spiritually. I mean, we don't generally go into detail in Sunday School about how they bled out the animals when doing sacrifices and smeared the blood all over the alter, etc. The gory details of it would be quite shocking to our culture as we don't generally slaughter our own animals anymore.
  6. Members being uneducated has nothing to do with anything. People are idiots. That includes members of the church. This hardly needs to be said because it's been said many times if one cares to look into it in any regard but... Sunday school is not about teaching history. This is not the domain of "the church" as you like to call it, though calling a picture painted by an artist "the church" seems pretty unfair. Regardless, the church's position is, and always has been, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.
  7. I call hogwash on this. Historical interpretive hearsay at best.
  8. Very well. Though I don't know that a piece-by-piece dismantling of it is an accurate description of the following. But I can express ideas that conflict with it and make it highly suspect. First, the DNA analogy - The problem with this theory is that it is based on a supposition that the acorn-to-tree potential lies in the intelligences. We don't know this. In fact, the idea that we are gods in embryo is clearly based on the idea that we are children of God. We become the children of God when we are born as spirit children to him. Previous to that, we don't really know how we relate to God. We don't know much about intelligences. It's possible that intelligences also include the basis for all living creatures... We just don't know. The idea that all intelligences have the potential to become Gods is not supportable in scripture. If it is supportable elsewhere, I'd be interested to see it. Most LDS thinkers fairly easily accept the idea of eternal future. You never hear much on the idea of our existence stopping, and it is fairly doctrinally clear. Moreover, and more important to this discussion, is the idea of progeny. It's easily accepted that we will be gods, raise spirit children to become gods, who will raise spiritual children to become gods, etc., etc... But in reverse there's a trend to question this idea. So let's think through this: We know that there are an infinite number of intelligences. How do we know this? Because we have been promised endless progeny. This time each one of us that makes it to the celestial kingdom. Assuming then that we help our spirit progeny also attain eternal life, along with the obligatory endless progeny, etc., etc., etc... But only one couple gaining eternal life with the promise of endless progeny is enough. There is no end to the amount of intelligences out there to become spirits. The sheer number of infinite argues against the potential of only one in infinity being capable of self-exaltation. There's a chance, but that chance is so astronomically small that it is practically worthless, numerically speaking. As you pointed out, Christ does set some precedence for uniqueness. However, He only set a precedence of uniqueness in that He was given the power to do so. (Hel 5:11) The power to redeem us was given to Him by our Father. So this sets no precedence for taking power upon oneself. We know that He still had to fulfill all righteousness, the same as all of us, and be obedient to the Father to gain eternal life. The power the Savior had, as near as we know, was given to Him by the Father. Moving on. When considering the astonishing concept of an infinite number of souls becoming an infinite number of Gods and creating infinite worlds for infinite spirits to populate. And then upon their exaltation they have infinite spirit children who create infinite worlds, etc.... the chances that our God is the very first of this infinite number is astoundingly improbable. An argument for our God being the first is a concept based in either human arrogance or some sense of apology to other faiths' precepts. If the first, it stems, ultimately, from man's need to be special, and that our God is the best, the first, the top of the chain. And it implies that when and if we become gods, that our children, upon languishing in mortality, must necessarily worship a lesser god than we do. Yet we will be the creator of their world, creator of their universe, creator of their souls, and even literally fathers and mothers to their spirits. Follow this forward a billion or so generations and it becomes meaningless to those mortals, in the same way that it should be meaningless to us. Why does our God need to be the first to have all glory, power, dominion, and be worthy of our ultimate worship, honor, and love? But will it make us lesser gods? Will a billion generations down the inheritance lessen those gods a billion times more? Will they not be considered, as with us, inheritors of all glory, power and dominion? I'm not sure I follow why one would explore ideas like this as if there is some sort of inherent problem in God being a son as well -- Like it lessens God to make Him a son. But how can we presume to take away that glory from the Father? Being son's of God is to our glory. I would content that the implication of our having the blessing of a loving Father, but God does not, is actually degrading to him, not enhancing. Idealizing God as Fatherless disparages Him. But the ultimate problem with the theory is it's based on the false idea that we can abandon doctrine because it's no longer emphasized. I've gone on about this in another thread, but I'll recap here. It is doctrinal, despite what the apologetic naysayers argue, that God was once a mortal man. This was taught by prophets and apostles. It has never been repudiated or disavowed. It is doctrinal. God was once like us. Why it's popular to ignore teachings of previous apostles and prophets is beyond me. It's as if to some that anything stated before 2011 doesn't count anymore. I'm not buying into that trend. Trying to work God having been a mortal man once into self-exaltation causes numerous problems. The theory implies that God, of His own volition, took upon Himself a spirit body, then took upon Himself a physical body in a mortal form, then died and took upon himself a Celestial body. If this is the case, Why? Why go through the mortal experience if there is no test to be given, if there is no God to obey, no ordinances to fulfill, etc., etc... There are also plenty of teachings in accordance with God once being a man that teach that God became God through obedience. So who did he obey? The theory supposes universal laws. Once again, if so, then we could theoretically do the same. Just obey the law and become exalted without God. But we cannot. We must obey God's law and keep His ordinances. This is the eternal law. I suspect you are somewhat accounting for laws in the idea, but what about ordinances? One could fairly easily explain away something like baptism (though one could argue the case on it, I'm sure), but I'll cut to the point quicker. Doctrinally (specifically scripturally) we know that no one may be married or given in marriage after this life (Matt 22:30). Marriage is an ordinance that must be attended to in mortality. (This is true of all ordinances, but we'll stick to marriage because it makes the quickest point). So this creates problems for the idea of God's self-exaltation. How did He get married? If He didn't, how is He exalted? How could it be a requirement for us but not for Him? Either way, the theory presumes that either God took these ordinances upon Himself, or did not require ordinances. There is no precedence for that. Even Jesus fulfilled the law, and He did not take ordinances upon Himself. Finally, concerning the original post and the concern with infinite regression. The contention against infinite progression is solely based on the philosophy that there must be a starting point of any given thing. But this is unsupportable and unprovable. So what's the point it trying to support or prove it from a scientific or logical standpoint? Resolutions will never be provided by quibbling over something that cannot be proved. So instead of approaching infinite regression from a mortal wisdom point of view, does it not make a whole lot more sense to turn to the wisdom and revelation of prophets and apostles for how it all works?
  9. That doesn't justify blaming the whole religious world though. I prefer to look at it as the righteous and the wicked instead of Christian/Non-christian or Mormon/Non-mormon or In the church/Out of the church. It just seems weird to call believers to repentance because of others sins. Sure rates have shot through the roof as compared to our current society. As compared to Sodom and Gomorrah? Or ancient Rome in the prime of it's corruption? I'm not so sure. Not downplaying there's a problem. Just saying that the whole birth-control made sex recreational thing doesn't work for me. Sexual recreation has always been a part of history and corruption in society. I'm not ranking them by saying they're different. The agenda of those who claim they are different is to justify one because they presume acceptance of the other. It's a nonstarter when made to religious folk who don't believe that. But I make the argument against it because they are not the same. The spiritual and psychological differences are vast. Part of this can be seen in the identity issue. No one identifies themselves as an adulterer, for example. This is only an issue in the gay world, and yet it has HUGE psychological consequences that play very, very deeply into the repentance process and the difficulty of altering one's lifestyle. That doesn't mean cheating on one's wife with another woman is more acceptable a sin, and that is not what I'm saying. I do not disagree with the idea that artificial birth control played a role. But to give the blame to it in the terms fatima did... Not buying that. Sex was all about procreation before birth control? I don't think so.
  10. This reads like it's the righteous's fault that the wicked are wicked. It also reads like people are products of society rather than the other way around. There seems to be a suggestion too that it's okay with righteous people for anyone to sleep around as long as its hetero. It's also historically inaccurate. Sexual perversion was around a long time before modern birth control. And claiming that hetero and homo sexual activity is the same sin is an opinion that is not religiously supportable, and it is not an obvious reality to all Christian people in the least.
  11. You're actually pretty close to spot on, in my opinion. Just not 100%. But I certainly understand the reservations you have for physical blessings in reward for good behavior. At a black-and-white level it really doesn't work does it? Life, as in our mortal physical existence, is not fair. It just isn't. And good people get hurt and bad people get rich, etc., etc., etc... There is not a literal, material X for Y transactional agreement with the Lord, except, perhaps, in specific instances where the Lord says directly to someone, "Go and do this and I will do this." There are certainly cases of this. One example that comes to mind is Nephi in the Book of Mormon, who is promised by the Lord that he will have Laban delivered into his hands from his obedience. I'm certain there are other examples one could find. But beyond those specific instances, I agree with you, and think that anyone, including those who spoke in the meeting you heard on tithing, will come to learn that it just doesn't work that way. That being said, there are general promises of general physical well being in response to obedience. General health to the church for keeping the word of wisdom. General financial well being to the church for obeying the law of tithing. Etc., etc... But to claim that if you keep the word of wisdom you'll never get sick would be silly. Your priesthood question is a good one, and one that a lot of people do not really understand about the priesthood. In point of fact, one does not need the priesthood to heal. This is not the function of the priesthood. Miracles come by faith. This is scriptural. Priesthood blessings are a way for those who belong to that priesthood to serve and to pass on the power of God with blessings of faith. Do they sometimes show results where the lack of priesthood does not? Yes. Why? Because it shows authority, which is important to God. No man may take that authority upon himself (Hebrews 5:4). But any man (or woman) may show faith and see miracles accordingly. In other words, healing is a sign of the priesthood, rather than the other way around. It shows who has authority and indicates who is the true followers of Christ. But that does not mean healing or other miracles are exclusive to the priesthood, and mistaking the power of God to only mean miracles and to only associate it with the priesthood is false thinking. edit: I wanted to add, to know of the priesthood and the power and authority it has to heal, and then to decline or turn away from it, however, would be a lack of faith, and in that case might directly result in failure.
  12. I'm responding in detail so we don't end up despising each other or something. :) There's an obvious bit of emotional escalation here, so let's smooth it over. I appreciate your efforts to do so above, and your apologies. You may be reading things into my posts that I'm not intending. I may be doing the same. I admit that my last post was a bit annoyed. For that I apologize. However, the previous posts were not annoyed, but legitimate attempts to point out logical flaws I saw. You taking them as rude and condescending is unfair. Accordingly your responses came across to me like you were only interested in arguing the point rather than actually discussing it. And you are reading things into it that I didn't say. I never said it was completely and utterly stupid, for example. I said it doesn't align with known doctrine. Why do you translate that to me calling it completely and utterly stupid? I apologize if it sounded that way, but I promise you, I did not mean it. I think the theory flawed. It's obviously intelligently thought out and holds some merit. But it's flawed. I accept your point above, however, that the discussion of flawed theories can be useful, if approached carefully. It can also be a breeding ground for some pretty negative things (not that I'm applying that to your theory, but just generally). This sort of comment wasn't exactly welcoming further discussion and is wherein I got a bit frustrated myself. I did not "simply" fire back. I don't think the points are unrelated to what I was trying to say. And I don't think the response was inherently weak. I made a sincere effort to try and show how going outside known doctrine can lead to any extreme. That being said, I do in fact, think your response concerning Jesus setting a precedence for unique intelligences was an insightful and interesting point. I don't think it solves the problems, but it is interesting. And as far as your conversion of my "I'm not of a mind to list them," to "I can't come up with right now".... also somewhat inflammatory. "I am not of a mind to" means I am genuinely disinterested in discussing it further because it feels like you only want to argue its merits. I find that surprising because you've admitted yourself several times that it's a bit out there. Regardless, my interest in the theory has waned because of the contention. I really have no interest in arguing this sort of thing. I'll point out doctrinal discrepancies that I see if there seems to be interest. Otherwise, feeling like others are frustrated at me, and feeling frustrated myself, just really doesn't appeal to me. So forgive me for what you perceived in my posts, I'll forgive you for what I perceived in yours, and I'll see you in other threads...or perhaps even later on in this one.
  13. Oh come on. Your idea contradicts several gospel doctrines. I'm not of a mind to list them, particularly when they're not exactly obscure. And I'm not interested in arguing. You can call my response weak. Whatever. Align theories within known gospel doctrine or it's not useful. That's my point, and it's valid.
  14. Sure it does. If we're going to theorize about things they still have to fit within the scope of what we do know. Otherwise the speculation is not useful. We may as well randomly throw out any old theory then, which isn't helpful. Let's see...we're all lab rats in an alien race's experiment and God was given His power by those aliens. Here's one someone actually told me they believed. There are a myriad of different supernatural creatures out there with various powers, and the Holy Ghost is just one of them whose power happens to be the ability to give us warm fuzzies in order to deceive us. Just throwing out random theories may be entertaining, but I don't see it as useful unless the theories actually make sense within the scope of revealed gospel truths.
  15. The problem with this theory is that if one intelligence could do this, then any other intelligence could do this as well, which would mean that there is potentially no need for God to save us. The we could, of ourselves, take on a physical form and achieve perfection without going through the test of mortality and the grace of Christ. This is false. We know it's false. No intelligence can achieve exaltation without being granted it.
  16. The teaching by the member is a bit of a false understanding of contingent blessings. People love to talk about things like tithing in these terms, but it's invalid. Pay tithing=get more money is not promised by the Lord anywhere. God responds on His own terms and according to His own will. The only situation wherein the above is true is in relation to covenants, wherein the Lord literally promises us something based on our actions. The "according to my command" part of this is pretty important. Whatever we ask "that is right" He will grant. And what is right? That which is God's will. Prayer is transactional from a certain point of view, though putting it into a term like that is unnecessarily degrading to it. God is our Father. He loves us. But He also means what He says. And He has set forth conditions and promises. So back to tithing. What have we actually been promised? That he will open up the windows of Heaven and pour us out a blessing so large that we can hardly receive it. And He will do this if we pay our tithing because He said He will. That doesn't mean He won't bless us otherwise. All of us our blessed in ways we don't deserve. God loves us and shares blessings freely. (He also tries us freely). But He has promised us greater blessings for obedience. But the nature of those blessings are His to give. If we take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments, for example, He has promised us His Spirit. Call it transactional if you will. But that is His promise to us. Prayer is for us, not for God. He doesn't need our prayers, we need them. Praying, whether individually or as a large group, is meaningful only to us and our faith and our growth and our relationship with God. The Lord will do what the Lord will do. God may well bless us with material blessing for obedience, or He may not. But he WILL bless us for it. That, He has promised. God has commanded us to ask for blessings, so I wouldn't be afraid of that. Ask in Humility and with an absolute "Thy will be done" attitude. But we should ask. That being said, your thankful point of view is wonderful and appropriate. Never let go of that! Keep up the sincere pondering! These sorts of questions are great to ask. Stay humble and listen to the Holy Spirit when it testifies of truth. It will guide you right. :)
  17. I think it's impossible to not be aware, in certain instances, that we are doing better than another. How we react to that awareness is the important thing. I don't consciously compare myself to others (well, usually-- I make mistakes, of course) but it's pretty clear that I'm doing better than some and to say otherwise would be a lie. It's like the people who say "I don't see color." Well, yes they do. What they really mean is that although they see, it doesn't play into how they feel or act. I can be aware of someone's seriously screwed-up life without letting it cause me to think, act, or be un-Christlike.
  18. Agreed. We are not meant to interpret scriptures of our own volition. That is the prerogative of prophets and apostles. That may be another thread though. Prophets and apostles have interpreted these things for us. And they all support God was once a man and that He had a father, with the ambiguous exception of Pres. Hinkley's words as reported by the press. Jesus Christ understands everything we are going through because of the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. God the Father was as we are now. There is not an implication therein that God the Father experienced everything we did. I never said that. Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father because he has literally felt everything we go through. I am not arguing that the reason God the Father must have had brothers and sisters is because he understands us. That's backwards at best. I'm arguing that God the Father must have had brothers and sisters because he once was as man is now. President Hinkley clarified in Conference that we should NOT look to the press reports as sources of doctrine. You're entire p.o.v. seems to stem from just exactly that. We don't know a lot about it = true We don't know anything about it = false This is not true. I haven't brought up a single thing from Mormon Doctrine. Though I would dare bet that in this case it does support my thinking. That doesn't mean anything. Are you claiming Mormon Doctrine is nothing but a pack of lies? :) There is a significant difference between reasoning by what you are referring to as prominent LDS figures (which I will call prophets and apostles to be clear) and prominent Catholic figures. Not to the world, sure. But to someone with a testimony that this church is led by the spirit of revelation, very much so. Sure, mistakes are made. But I will give the benefit of the doubt to revelation unless it is specifically clarified otherwise. If and when the church says Joseph Smith was mistaken on this matter, then I will discard it. Otherwise, I'm going with Joseph Smith. And I would argue that it is dangerous to do otherwise. There is also a huge difference between, "I think," and "Jospeh Smith taught". The latter is what I'm advocating. Yes, the first falls under the latter, but that's irrelevant. I'm not making stuff up and throwing out some whacko extrapolated philosophy. This was taught to me by a prophet. Doctrine is not a document. Doctrine is ideas and philosophies that are accepted as true. Calling a document doctrine or not has no meaning. Clearly some ideas from the King Follet Discourse are doctrine and some ideas from it are not. Blanketing the entire document as a write-off is invalid. So what? So is the D&C. Part of it, yes. Parts of it, no. That just isn't true. Parts of the discourse have been quoted and used in numerous manuals and talks. It is fine to teach from it within this scope. (Note, I see you sort of say the same when you add "There are nuggets in that document that is mirrored in doctrine - and those we teach.") As I pointed out to Funky, we don't interpret scriptures. Apostles and Prophets do. In this case, Joseph Smith - a prophet - interpreted the scriptures for us. Who am I to reinterpret it on my own? As far as I know, no other prophet or apostle has ever refuted Joseph Smith's interpretation. I do see your point here. My contention is that it is more harmful to be mealy mouthed and apologetic in this particular case than it is to be clear and straightforward. "This isn't doctrine so you can believe whatever you want" is not appropriate. "This is what Joseph Smith taught us on the matter" is appropriate. The baggage carried over by previous beliefs is always an issue, but it doesn't justify lack of clarity and honesty on any given subject, specifically when directly asked about it. If an investigator doesn't ask, sure, you don't teach them about plural marriage in the early church. If they DO ask, you answer honestly. "Yes." And then you carefully explain why and how. That is also an interpretation and isn't justifiable. You're assuming it is not necessary. Based on what? I contend we let Joseph Smith speak for himself. Moreover, that's not what it's really about. When asked a direct question we need to speak the truth. Because I know that last comment will lead back to Pres. Hinkley, let me address that again. His comments were reported by the press. The church and Pres. Hinkley have specifically told us not to rely on the press's report. To assume he changed the church's stance or lied is unfair and invalid. Okay, okay.... I've put my thoughts down fairly fully. And I accept your rights to view it differently. And I agree that we should be careful about what we say to investigators and new members. But I believe that we cannot make a blanket rule on that. Each situation and individual is different. Do we prepare a lesson for Gospel Principles about God the Grandfather? Of course not. And if the question is directly asked in church, sure...we can be careful about specifying that we don't know much about it. Frankly, I'd be more careful about speaking of it in church because of responses like this thread than I would be in fear of offending a new member. Arguments in church are never a good idea. :) But in a public forum on the internet, I think it's important to answer a direct question honestly and clearly. It's not like the enquiry can't be Googled a half-second later to verify the claim. It's not like there isn't another thread right next door arguing the same point in all it's gory detail. And if we're going to play something down that was taught by the prophet Joseph Smith as "we don't necessarily believe that", we better have a good source as to why. It is significantly less potentially harmful to explain the reality of what we actually do believe - even if it's quote-unquote pseudo-doctrine - and then explain the principle behind it. And if we don't believe something, for whatever reason, it's best to leave it to the prophet. "Here's what Joseph Smith said." Me, as a faithful LDS member, not believing something Joseph Smith said does not give me the right to claim it false. (Alternatively, as I've pointed out, I do NOT think it valid to use "Here's what President Hinkley said in a press interview," unless we clearly point out, as well, that he also told us not to rely on press interviews for church doctrine.) Note: Joseph Smith's teaching on the Father having a father is not from the King Follet discourse.
  19. To be technically technical, yes. One Volume though. Volume = one big book though in my vernacular.
  20. "Spoke" is a bit of a stretch. I mangled Ilonggo. My grandparents went to Cebu. We shared a mission President (the mission split between when they came home and I went out).
  21. Bacolod was my mission. Negros and Panay islands. 1990-92.
  22. That depends on if you define it by the original intent of the author or the literal form of it's publication. Regardless, mine is one big book!
  23. Yeah, on my mission (Philippines) we had at least one apartment with graves in the backyard. Not buried, but the above-ground cement tomb things. Kind of cool...and kind of creepy.
  24. Just finished up the Lord of the Rings trilogy, extended additions, plus all the special features. Took about 3 weeks. Now reading the book. (edit: I should say "books" to be clear, but technically the copy I have is all in one big book.)