MrShorty

Fallibility of prophets and scripture and revelation -- slavery

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Also, what do you mean by deciding if a prophet is right with regards to declaring something "sin"?  Their stewardship and keys bestow upon them this right, when they are acting in their office.  My responsibility is to obey, even if I don't receive the same witness.  What example could you provide where a prophet has declared something "sin" and it was false, not sin?

I wish I could think of a good example. There are so few examples to begin with, and those that are the "cleanest" do not quite fit into lds.net's discussion guidelines.

 

Perhaps an imperfect example would be the teachings against birth control. Teaching against birth control started out much harsher, much more negative, than they are today. Perhaps, also, this example illustrates thesquidster's point about who gets to "correct" (clarify or interpret is probably the way many would prefer to describe the process). With the Church's teachings on birth control, they were slowly softened and clarified (and the harshest rhetoric mostly allowed to fall by the wayside) by later prophets/apostles. This is also true for many of those principles that I take exception to -- the declaration to be "sin" was made by earlier prophets/apostles, but later prophets and apostles either softened the stance or appear to be letting the "sinful" declaration fade into history.

 

Or, as estradling mentions, are these examples of "God yielding to our insistence" for sin? Discernment seems to be a key element in this process.

 

 

 

So, when somebody rebukes or calls anyone to repent, especially in cases of false doctrine.. It better darn well be someone who presides over that person and not anyone else.. I would not DARE to call President Monson a teacher of anything false, even if I was convinced that he was, because if I did such a thing, I'm essentially saying I'm equal to the LORD .. which, without a doubt, I am not.

As with my earlier response to JAG's post (posts 18 and 19), does this mean that those who disagree with something prophets and apostles teach are completely banned from participating in the discussion? Are there ways to raise questions, concerns, and disagreements that do not invoke "calling the prophets to repentance"? Or, once the prophets have spoken, only "yes men" are allowed to participate in the discussion? It is interesting how many comments on the April 6th question that amount to chastising academics for trying to know more than our prophets and apostles, implying that they should keep quiet and not present their disagreements.

Edited by MrShorty

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I wish I could think of a good example. There are so few examples to begin with, and those that are the "cleanest" do not quite fit into lds.net's discussion guidelines.

 

Perhaps an imperfect example would be the teachings against birth control. Teaching against birth control started out much harsher, much more negative, than they are today. Perhaps, also, this example illustrates thesquidster's point about who gets to "correct" (clarify or interpret is probably the way many would prefer to describe the process). With the Church's teachings on birth control, they were slowly softened and clarified (and the harshest rhetoric mostly allowed to fall by the wayside) by later prophets/apostles. This is also true for many of those principles that I take exception to -- the declaration to be "sin" was made by earlier prophets/apostles, but later prophets and apostles either softened the stance or appear to be letting the "sinful" declaration fade into history.

 

Or, as estradling mentions, are these examples of "God yielding to our insistence" for sin? Discernment seems to be a key element in this process.

 

 

 

As with my earlier response to JAG's post (posts 18 and 19), does this mean that those who disagree with something prophets and apostles teach are completely banned from participating in the discussion? Are there ways to raise questions, concerns, and disagreements that do not invoke "calling the prophets to repentance"? Or, once the prophets have spoken, only "yes men" are allowed to participate in the discussion? It is interesting how many comments on the April 6th question that amount to chastising academics for trying to know more than our prophets and apostles, implying that they should keep quiet and not present their disagreements.

I think where mortal men are involved that disagreements are inevitable on all levels.. including among the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency.. But the manner in which the disagreements are dealt with matters. How, when and in what manner we voice concerns matters.

Remember, there's a reason why the church is called "the kingdom of God" .. Because, it's ummm NOT a democracy. But it's also not like any other kingdom on the earth.. As members of this kingdom we're highly favored, trusted and loved by our King. When we don't understand something we can go directly to our King in prayer. In fact He commands us to do so. What other earthly kingdom ever worked like that? None.

I think where we all get tripped-up is in the command to "be one" even as the Father and the Son are. As a people and as individuals we have our moments.. But we're not there yet. Even the brethren struggle with this. We're all still practicing at being one.

So how can we deal with and work through our differences in a way that will be pleasing to the Lord? First, I think we need to be very careful about what things we make public and what things we keep more private. Can we see how it's a very different thing to talk directly about our doubts and concerns with our bishop, our spouse or a trusted friend or family member than it is to voice our doubts openly on Facebook or in front of a Sunday School class? How and when we voice our concerns matters greatly. Just because we live in a democracy and have the right to express ourselves openly, doesn't necessarily mean that it's always right or good to do so. We are allowed and encouraged to express our disagreements openly in a democracy as part of the checks-and-balances that are more likely to keep the system "fair". But, again, the Kingdom of God has never been a democracy. We need to be careful to remember that. As soon as we start to treat it as though it were set up as a democracy, we begin to undermine its strength as a kingdom. The strength and integrity of the Kingdom rests firmly on the shoulders of the King. If the King has openly stated that we must be one or "ye are not mine" and "in as much as ye have done it unto one of these .. ye have done it unto me" it means we have to be much more careful of what we say and do to each other as part of the Kingdom.. Because it ultimately reflects how well we're in harmony with THE KING HIMSELF. That's an extremely tall order from our King! When we treat each other scornfully, try to exercise compulsion or usurp power and influence from each other, though such things may well all be an acceptable part of the Machiavellian intrigue and the politics-as-usual of earthly dynasties, in the Kingdom of our Lord we find ourselves at odds with the King when we engage in such actions and activities.

Second, many of us have positions of great trust in the Kingdom. There's a time to voice concerns and work through differences in a semi-public forum .. It's when we sit in various counsels with our brothers and sisters. Still we need to be courteous even when we disagree. As leaders of counsels we carry the extra responsibility of leading as the Lord would have us lead, rather than as we might be inclined to lead, making sure we get our own way .. Or rather making sure that we're not just doing it our own way INSTEAD of a better way that is in harmony with the Lord and the counsel as a whole. That's a very tall order from our Lord as well! But when a counsel really comes together it's an amazing and powerful blessing to be a part of.

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I wish I could think of a good example. There are so few examples to begin with, and those that are the "cleanest" do not quite fit into lds.net's discussion guidelines.

 

Perhaps an imperfect example would be the teachings against birth control. Teaching against birth control started out much harsher, much more negative, than they are today. Perhaps, also, this example illustrates thesquidster's point about who gets to "correct" (clarify or interpret is probably the way many would prefer to describe the process). With the Church's teachings on birth control, they were slowly softened and clarified (and the harshest rhetoric mostly allowed to fall by the wayside) by later prophets/apostles. This is also true for many of those principles that I take exception to -- the declaration to be "sin" was made by earlier prophets/apostles, but later prophets and apostles either softened the stance or appear to be letting the "sinful" declaration fade into history.

 

Or, as estradling mentions, are these examples of "God yielding to our insistence" for sin? Discernment seems to be a key element in this process.

 

As with my earlier response to JAG's post (posts 18 and 19), does this mean that those who disagree with something prophets and apostles teach are completely banned from participating in the discussion? Are there ways to raise questions, concerns, and disagreements that do not invoke "calling the prophets to repentance"? Or, once the prophets have spoken, only "yes men" are allowed to participate in the discussion? It is interesting how many comments on the April 6th question that amount to chastising academics for trying to know more than our prophets and apostles, implying that they should keep quiet and not present their disagreements.

 

Birth control is a great example per se the discussion at hand. I would also fully agree with the following sentiment "discernment seems to be a key element in this process," contingent upon the following guideline be careful not to call evil good, and good evil.  

 

As discernment is important, the overall emphasis of birth control has remained the same in connection with the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, "This blessing should not be postponed for selfish reasons."  Even with their harsher tones, their tone underlined the same principle of selfishness.  If we are using birth control as a means for selfish reasons, then yes, indeed, we are in sin as we are breaking at least two commandments.  The main commandment should be self-evident, multiply and replenish the earth.  In light of this, current prophets and apostles have further clarified other principles that broaden or clarify the previous statements.  In this thing, I am in agreement with theSQUIDSTER pertaining to stewardship; however, I think it important to note when and where a statement is made by a living prophet or apostle, or as JAG mentioned:

 

 

 

But when the whole point of the discussion is "the unified voice of the GAs can be/is wrong about this core doctrine/behavioral standard, because individual GAs were wrong in this particular pronouncement about the body temperature of translated beings"--I don't think that discussion leads to anywhere good. 

 

Discernment is also the ability to discern the intent, motivation, underlying the harsh or softer statements, and even the opinion of a prophet and apostles shouldn't be taken lightly as their opinions may indeed be scripture.  Discernment is intriguing also due to the notion that we grow grace for grace, here a little and there a little.  In light of JAG's comment, I am very cautious when I read or hear a member specifying they have "discerned" something different than the unity of the prophet and apostles.  Maybe it is because I don't consider myself a "good" or "spiritual" man, and thus from my perspective I am dumb founded when members assume their discernment is more purified, justified, than that of the combined stewardship of the apostles and prophets, thus, my first statement I am leery about this types of conversations.  

 

As pertaining to raising questions and concerns, sure there are.  It is called local leadership of the Church.  How often have we heard our leaders specify, if you have questions or concerns contact your local stake president, bishop, EQP, HPGL, RS, etc... 

 

Although I don't think it is intended; however, the last paragraph appears to create of false dichotomy: either we are banned or we are "yes man."  There is a difference between disappointment and outright calling out prophets and apostles as "wrong."  There is a difference between asking appropriate questions, having appropriate disagreements, in comparison to "the prophets and apostles are wrong," as I have seen recently and in the past. The later draws the attention to a warning in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 1: 14-16).  The key factor, each son and daughter of God "walking in his[/her] own way" while not giving heed to the Lord and his servants.   

 

I have a friend, an individual I consider to be a "good" guy who appears to be following a path borderline apostasy.  He, of course, doesn't think so, because his discernment of truth tells him, more often than not, his discernment is more inline with God than the prophet and apostles.  He knows what God meant when he provided us with the second great commandment, while the prophets do not. Without even knowing it, or outright denying it, he is confirming D&C 1: 14-16, prophecy fulfilled.

 

This notion indeed, in my honest opinion, is a conundrum (but not really). In these discussions, my heart leans toward the life of Jesus Christ, and would we have been a "yes man" type personality if we walked when Jesus walked the earth while he was declaring truth, or would we have been, "I will follow as long as I discern it to be true myself," or would we have been like the Pharisees who would see/hear and could not see/hear correctly?  Discernment is either properly or improperly applied.

 

EDIT:  One scripture I have grown to love is 1 Nephi 10:17.  I truly love the concept being taught.  Nephi increased in knowledge and understanding because he desired to see, hear, and know that which his father saw.  I also find it interesting that his asking appears to have always been in light of knowing, or believing, his father spoke the truth.  He never went in, "well...my father is an imperfect man, with weakness, so he could be wrong, or he could be lying, or he could just have good intentions."  He went in with the belief, and believing in, that his father was speaking God's will.  As a result, he received further light and knowledge.  For me, I like Nephi's example.  I go before the Lord believing they are telling me his will, and then I wait for the Lord.  

Edited by Anddenex

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First, I think we need to be very careful about what things we make public and what things we keep more private. Can we see how it's a very different thing to talk directly about our doubts and concerns with our bishop, our spouse or a trusted friend or family member than it is to voice our doubts openly on Facebook or in front of a Sunday School class?
So, agreement can be stated as publicly as one desires, but disagreement must be done in private, is that what we are saying? I suppose there is room to discuss this, but, as one who keeps his disagreements private, what does it mean and what are the implications of that disagreement?

"Unity" might be an important aspect of this, but it does suggest questions about what unity means. Does it mean that we become "carbon copies" of each other? Are there certain principles that are more important to be unified in than others ("In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." and how do we discern the essentials from the non-essentials (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_necessariis_unitas,_in_dubiis_libertas,_in_omnibus_caritas ).

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Another thing to be watchful for on this subject... Are the times the Lord gives in and gives us what we want, to our condemnation.  Using the Prophet to do so.

 

For example consider the lost 116 pages.  They asked.  God said no.  They wanted it anyways so God instructed Joesph Smith to hand it over to Martin Harris.  Did Joseph Smith lead Martin Harris astray?  I would say no.  But I would also say I bet Martin later wish Joseph had held firm and that they had listened to the first answer.

 

Another example is Israel's desires for a king.  They ask God (through Samuel). God (through Samuel) said no.  They wanted it anyways so God instructed Samuel to give them a king.  He even picked the man for them.  Did Samuel lead the Israelite astray?  Again I would say no... But history shows what Kings led to.

 

How many other things might look questionable but could very well be God giving people what they wanted (through the prophets) to their condemnation?

pretty much how the law of moses came about.....

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pretty much how the law of moses came about.....

 

 

That would be my understanding as well.  And note that in the Book of Mormon once the Nephites were converted to the Gospel they couldn't just cast off the Law of Moses... They had to go through it to the end

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So, agreement can be stated as publicly as one desires, but disagreement must be done in private, is that what we are saying? I suppose there is room to discuss this, but, as one who keeps his disagreements private, what does it mean and what are the implications of that disagreement?

 

I think it's very problematic to take a person (such as theSquidster) who is apparently discussing principles, and then act as though (s)he [sorry, Squids!] is trying to impose a hard-and-fast rule.

 

If we want a legal code, sooner or later we'll probably get one.  But lots of us probably won't like it very much, when it comes.  So why not just use the good judgment and Christian liberty with which we are currently endowed on this matter, instead of insisting on some sort of official written policy as to just how much we can "get away with"?

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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IMO, Sunday school is a great place to talk about principles we are conflicted about. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in any given Gospel Doctrine class. 

 

But doing so on Facebook, to me, is more than just unwise, it's disloyal. Just as I don't air my irritations about my husband for everyone to see, I don't throw my doubts into the ring for anyone to do with them as they will. I can talk bad about my husband and that's what people will remember; they won't see the part where I have a change of heart and/or we make up, and even if they do, they'll still remember the "bad" thing I said he did. 

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So, agreement can be stated as publicly as one desires, but disagreement must be done in private, is that what we are saying? I suppose there is room to discuss this, but, as one who keeps his disagreements private, what does it mean and what are the implications of that disagreement?

"Unity" might be an important aspect of this, but it does suggest questions about what unity means. Does it mean that we become "carbon copies" of each other? Are there certain principles that are more important to be unified in than others ("In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." and how do we discern the essentials from the non-essentials (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_necessariis_unitas,_in_dubiis_libertas,_in_omnibus_caritas ).

I believe unity is crucial. I'm still working on it and pondering what I think it means. I don't believe any of us are in too much danger of becoming carbon copies of each other just yet. Look at how different the brethren are in their personalities and backgrounds.. Look at the different LDS personalities on this forum.. Are we all becoming clones of each other? Is that really something we need to worry about? I don't personally believe that the ultimate goal is to become exactly alike in every aspect of our being.. I don't believe individuality is inherently a sin. I do believe it can become an idol though. If hanging onto who you think you are becomes more important than who you might BECOME then, hearing voices that encourage you to move outside your comfort zone and BECOME rather than "be yourself," will become fainter and fainter until all you hear will be your own voice trying to reassure itself that you know who you really are and that you don't need anyone else's opinion on the matter.. Not even God's.

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That would be my understanding as well.  And note that in the Book of Mormon once the Nephites were converted to the Gospel they couldn't just cast off the Law of Moses... They had to go through it to the end

And we're continuing to move farther away from the Law of Moses.  My first impression when Handbook 2 came out was exactly that - farther from the Law of Moses - from dictated / fixed rules - and closer to the Celestial law of each person being "anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do[ing] many things of their own free will, and bring[ing] to pass much righteousness"; and "it is not meet that I should command in all things".

 

So-called changes in "doctrine" or "hard-line stances" on particular topics can all (from what I can see) be explained either as the Lord allowing us to take those 116 pages (metaphorically) or as moving toward giving fewer concrete instructions and instead relying on us to understand the doctrine and principles and act accordingly.

 

Anddenex gave an excellent example of this in relation to birth control. When it was new(ish) and the prevailing culture was pushing it as a way to have consequence-free sex, of course the guidance from the GAs was hard-line (there had to be no room for misunderstanding or error).  Now the overall attitude has changed and the GAs can rely on those who understand the doctrines of marriage and family to obey that doctrine appropriately without specifics, and those who decline to understand that doctrine aren't going to be helped either way.

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So, agreement can be stated as publicly as one desires, but disagreement must be done in private, is that what we are saying? I suppose there is room to discuss this, but, as one who keeps his disagreements private, what does it mean and what are the implications of that disagreement?

"Unity" might be an important aspect of this, but it does suggest questions about what unity means. Does it mean that we become "carbon copies" of each other? Are there certain principles that are more important to be unified in than others ("In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." and how do we discern the essentials from the non-essentials (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_necessariis_unitas,_in_dubiis_libertas,_in_omnibus_caritas ).

 

While not directly answering your comments, the two quotes below are what came to my mind when I read your comments.

 

 

Does sameness depress you? The heavenly hosts, so we are told, all wear the same simple white garment--how monotonous! We all dress alike in the temple. Are you depressed to be there? No, the difference is in the person himself. It shines through as the individual spirit. The Father and the Son glowed exactly alike. Why doesn't one wear black and the other wear green or something like that? No. It is the outward sameness that allows inward sameness, the spirit, to shine through. Such monotony is put to shame by the multi-billion-dollar fashion industry of our times. The difference is that in heaven it is the individual spirit that shines through. What do we see in the temple, when we are all dressed alike? We must go out to the parking lot to assert our individuality in Mercedes, Cadillacs, and so forth. And which is the more depressing picture? The gaudy display of vanity fair is an attempt to cover up the spiritual and intellectual barrenness of the present world we live in.

-- Approaching Zion, Hugh Nibley

 

Mortality is far more likely to generate carbon copies than the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

 

Conspicuously lacking in the divine hierarchy is any sense of rank or class. Obedience and subordination in nowise jeopardize individual freedom and leadership and command, and in no way impose dictatorship as long as the whole concern of those above is to reach down in love to those below, and those below strive to rise in love to those above. (Moses 1:38-39.)

-- Old Testament and Related Studies, Hugh Nibley

 

Obedience is not what a "yes man" does. I know some will disagree with me, but obedience is a willful act, an informed choice acted upon; not passively following direction.

 

When I hear "disagreement" in relation to what the prophets have said, I also hear, "my mind's made up".  And that to me tells the Holy Ghost not to bother.

 

Finally, D&C 13:1 "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness."

 

Now, you could argue that this means simply that the Aaronic Priesthood will never again be taken from the earth, but to me, logic dictates that in order to keep this promise, the Lord must keep His Church on the earth, and in order to do that, he must keep His prophets on the earth and not allow them to lead His Church astray (which he also promised).  Thus, my goal is not to discern when / whether the prophets are wrong, or when their words don't apply to me, but to seek personal testimony direct from the Holy Ghost of their truthfulness and guidance and strength from the Lord to obey.

Edited by zil

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I am liking those two quotes from Nibley.  

I love Nibley.  He speaks to me (that is, in ways I need to hear / can understand / that make me rethink my assumptions).  And I have yet to find any logic flaws in his writing, thus, as the intro to Approaching Zion says, "He leaves nowhere to hide."

 

PS, Anddenex, I wish I could write as well as you - you've made some very well-thought-out and presented posts in this thread. I'm impressed.

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I love Nibley.  He speaks to me (that is, in ways I need to hear / can understand / that make me rethink my assumptions).  And I have yet to find any logic flaws in his writing, thus, as the intro to Approaching Zion says, "He leaves nowhere to hide."

 

PS, Anddenex, I wish I could write as well as you - you've made some very well-thought-out and presented posts in this thread. I'm impressed.

 

Thank you, you are very generous, despite all my grammatical errors.  I am trying to keep up with some of the better writers here on LDS.net :) 

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Although I don't think it is intended; however, the last paragraph appears to create of false dichotomy: either we are banned or we are "yes man."
I agree, and it seems like this kind of dichotomy shows up a lot in these kinds of discussion. I do not think the dichotomy is necessary, but it makes the discussion, in my mind, more muddled. What does that middle ground, where we are still having the discussion but have not come to complete agreement look like?

 

There is a difference between disappointment and outright calling out prophets and apostles as "wrong."  There is a difference between asking appropriate questions, having appropriate disagreements, in comparison to "the prophets and apostles are wrong," as I have seen recently and in the past.
How would you describe the differences? What is different about having appropriate disagreements and calling out prophets and apostles as "wrong"?

 

"This blessing should not be postponed for selfish reasons."  Even with their harsher tones, their tone underlined the same principle of selfishness.  If we are using birth control as a means for selfish reasons, then yes, indeed, we are in sin as we are breaking at least two commandments.
This can be an interesting aspect of it, and I think zil hits on this pretty well in post #35. Sometimes, declarations start as unexplained (or poorly explained) statements. As we progress, we better understand the reasons behind the declaration, and our understand of what is really "sinful" shifts and adjusts as our understanding of the underlying principles improves. Perhaps this is another way of saying that God tends to reveal to meet us where we are and allows us to grow into eternal truth.

 

I think it's very problematic to take a person (such as theSquidster) who is apparently discussing principles, and then act as though (s)he [sorry, Squids!] is trying to impose a hard-and-fast rule.
I apologize if I gave the impression I was trying to back theSQUIDSTER into some kind of corner. My intention was to assume there was a more nuanced way of understanding his/her statement and try to draw some of that nuance out.

 

When I hear "disagreement" in relation to what the prophets have said, I also hear, "my mind's made up".
I suspect that this is often true, but I don't think that it is universally true. I expect there are many (I tend to hope that I am among them) who can be in disagreement, but are still humble enough to be open to changing their mind if/when a better understanding or spiritual witness comes along to clarify.

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I was thinking today, that when we oppose the Lord's anointed because they counsel us to change something we don't think we should have to change, we are engaging in idol worship. We make our habits/transgressions/sins of greater importance to us than our covenants. It's a dangerous path to tread. 

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I apologize if I gave the impression I was trying to back theSQUIDSTER into some kind of corner. My intention was to assume there was a more nuanced way of understanding his/her statement and try to draw some of that nuance out.

Online I identify as a male cephalopod... In real life I was born as a male homo sapien.. not a cephalopod.. Despite this divergence in my online vs. real-life identities I have no future plans for anything drastic like a species-change operation... Hope that clears up any confusion.. ;)

As for a more nuanced explanation... To paraphrase and springboard off of Mosiah 4, I cannot tell you all the ways we can disagree, sin, be one, be good or bad, etc. for there are many. .. Too many to list.. Discernment is obviously needed. There are different degrees of disagreement.. I don't think we need to necessarily jump to conclusions like "I don't think I agree with what President or Bishop <insert name here> said last Sunday .. Oh no! Does that automatically make me an apostate?! " i do think that there's a tendency for many of us to feel like we should have an already-formed opinion about everything under the sun.. Because that sentiment seems so prevalent in the world today. All around us there are loud voices trying to bully us into agreement or shout us down at the first hint of dissent with their opinion. By contrast, the Spirit is a still small voice. I wonder if we sometimes gravitate to the loudest voices inside us rather than listening and pondering a little longer.. In my own experience, very often The Holy Ghost will give me an initial small impression right away.. and then wait to see if I'm listening and how open and sincere I am to further revelation .. Sadly, more often than I'd care to admit, I have a tendency to stop there and say something like, "Ok, Father, I got it. I would talk some more but, <insert favorite excuse here> .. I've got things to do, I'll call Sister So-and-so next week to see how she's doing.. Maybe set up a home teaching visit.. Right now I gotta get some sleep... Well.. right after one more episode of Dr. Who... Etc.. "

There are different voices outside of us and inside of us competing for our time and attention.. I think we need to be careful and not expect the Lord's voice to resemble all the other voices or work in the same manner.. Also, if we're trying to become more like Him, that probably means we need to express our own thoughts and concerns less after the manner and fashion of the world, loud and bullying, but with meekness and mildness and gentleness, long suffering, patience.. Etc. We can sometimes even disagree publicly and still do so in a manner that is respectful and honest. Still it matters who we're disagreeing with and who we're speaking to. I'd be extremely cautious about disagreeing with any of my leaders in public though... There might be an appropriate time to do so in a counsel .. But I just can't see it ever being appropriate to do so over the pulpit or on Facebook or someplace similar.. I might go to my Stake President if I had a question or concern about my Bishop.. Or go to my Bishop with a question or concern about a fellow ward member.. Or.. I might simply go to the person with whom I have a disagreement and speak with him in private.. But that probably depends on the disagreement.. Doctrinally I might kindly disagree with Br. So-and-so publicly.. Like we do here all the time on the forum.. But it still kind of depends on a lot of things...

Edited by theSQUIDSTER

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I agree, and it seems like this kind of dichotomy shows up a lot in these kinds of discussion. I do not think the dichotomy is necessary, but it makes the discussion, in my mind, more muddled. What does that middle ground, where we are still having the discussion but have not come to complete agreement look like?

 

Middle ground? As per my mind's eye, the middle ground is clarified in the statement given by Joseph Smith, "A prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such." When a prophet is acting as a prophet, he is delivering the mind, will, and voice of the Lord.  The Lord confirms this by saying, "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same," which lends ear to this verse of scripture, "But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

 

In this case, the first question I am able to ask myself, are the prophets speaking in their position of stewardship, or as Joseph Smith stated, "when [they] are acting as such." Discernment, and spiritual witness, highlights this is not middle ground.  This is the daylight in comparison to the dark night. Disagreement then becomes null. If we do disagree, openly, and what we are disagreeing with was indeed God's will, and a change occurs (as with Joseph and the 116 pages), we have not won, but surely we have lost and our heavenly Father allows us to suffer the natural consequences of our disobedience.

 

Then, you next question brings us to the "fallibility" of prophets.

 

How would you describe the differences? What is different about having appropriate disagreements and calling out prophets and apostles as "wrong"?

 

 

When is it appropriate to "call out" our prophets and apostles "as wrong" when they are acting in their position of stewardship. The answer, for me, according to doctrine is "never." When they are acting outside of their stewardship, acting as a man with his own thoughts, opinions, and desires -- never.  

 

However, when expressing their view points, personal published books, do I agree with everything they have declared.  No.  Would I "call them out," no. I will never stand on any ground where I publicly "call out" a prophet, even when acting as a man; although, in private circles and in edifying discussions I see no fault in specifying "I disagree with this specific point given by [insert leader's name], and this is why...."  Even here on lds.net, disagreeing with our leaders when they have spoken (or written books) which aren't cannon I see no fault in disagreeing with points.  This doesn't mean they are wrong, as it might mean (and more likely the case in light of JAG's quote), that I haven't learned the line-upon-line principle they have learned to grasp what they are saying.  As specified previously, there is also a difference between an open statement of disappointment, while still supporting their decisions.

 

A hot topic, button, is polygamy.  If polygamy were reinstated, would I have beef with any individual who specified (in sincerity and trust in God) that they were disappointed while remaining faithful to their God? No.  History, will again though repeat itself, those who outright call the prophet "wrong" will probably experience a similar fate as those in the early years of the Church.  I have found no evidence in scripture where the prophet declared, the sons and daughter's called them out as wrong, and it turned to be a good thing where they increased in favor with God. They incur the displeasure of God, and his wrath is kindled.

 

As pertaining to them being wrong, I pay close attention to those who hold the same office, and authority.  Brigham's Adam God theory.  How many brethren supported this teaching? At this moment, I would say, sure Brigham Young appeared to be wrong. 

 

Here are a few passages of scripture, paraphrased, I draw comfort in regarding the position of a prophet and God's guidance and love for those he has called to such demanding leadership positions.

 

1) Samuel made a decision as to whom he thought would be King.  When deciding to move forward the Lord then addressed as to whom he would have be King.

 

2) Balaam, due to his love for filthy lucre, he was willing to curse the children of Israel rather than bless them as he was directed. The Lord, in this case, was willing and prepared to kill Balaam should he proceed to do something contrary to God's will.  

 

It is my testimony and discernment, that God is indeed guiding his prophets toward the right solutions and right paths, and should a prophet seek to go against God, that would affect the Church collectively, he will do what is necessary to prevent such, even if it means a scenario similar to Balaam.

 

This can be an interesting aspect of it, and I think zil hits on this pretty well in post #35. Sometimes, declarations start as unexplained (or poorly explained) statements. As we progress, we better understand the reasons behind the declaration, and our understand of what is really "sinful" shifts and adjusts as our understanding of the underlying principles improves. Perhaps this is another way of saying that God tends to reveal to meet us where we are and allows us to grow into eternal truth.

 

 

Zil, definitely clarified the point. God meets the faithful where they stand.  God doesn't meet the disobedient and unfaithful where they stand.  In light of the later, unfaithful, he specifies "my hand is outstretched still."  Meet me where I am, and then I will provide you with further light and knowledge.  The faithful, will first grab God's hand and then allow God to be their teacher, and the faithful will grow line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept, grace upon grace.

 

When I think of prophetic declaration, as with birth control in the beginning (harsher tones), I think of Moroni's humble question regarding his weakness (fallibility), and the Lord responded in support of Moroni (in light of Moroni's known weakness), "And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness."  In weakness, a prophet may speak, and in that weakness the Lord still supports.  If the Lord supports, even their weakness, what message am I to learn then?

 

On a side note, a friend of mine posted a unique quote that I find rather connected to some member's notion on prophet fallibility and their willingness to assume they Lord has revealed something to them he didn't the prophet (please note, I am not highlighting or pinpointing or making a gotcha toward you, simply a general statement, and I am thinking of the friend I had mentioned previously):

 

"If God is a socially conscious political being whose views invariably correspond to our own prejudices on every essential point of doctrine, he demands of us no more than our politics require. [H]ow would our worship of [this kind of being] constitute more than self-congratulation for our own moral standards?

 

As an atheist, I like this God. It is good to see him every morning while I am shaving." [Eugene D. Genovese, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” The New Republic, 11 May 1992, p. 38]

 

 

This is prophecy fulfilled (D&C 1: 14-16)

Edited by Anddenex

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I often wonder if the "harsh rhetoric" about birth control forty years ago was not a very great deal closer to the true mind of the Lord than what we are told today. Perhaps -- not saying this is so, but perhaps -- God has allowed us to choose the lesser part, and now we and our children and our children's children will not get to enjoy the blessings that would have come with having chosen the better part forty years ago.

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I often wonder if the "harsh rhetoric" about birth control forty years ago was not a very great deal closer to the true mind of the Lord than what we are told today. Perhaps -- not saying this is so, but perhaps -- God has allowed us to choose the lesser part, and now we and our children and our children's children will not get to enjoy the blessings that would have come with having chosen the better part forty years ago.

The children *are* the blessings; that's the essence of the Abrahamic covenant. I was re-reading a talk by Brigham Young the other day, and he makes this point--yeah, exaltation entails being a king/queen; but over a kingdom that you have raised up yourself. Salvation certainly has other rewards, but if you opt out of parenthood you're opting out of your own kingship/queenship and quite possibly out of godhood itself.

God spent a century warning us of this; and those warnings have been largely recorded and preserved. Now, as far as the Church is concerned--on this issue at least, we seem to be on our own.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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On 11/30/2015 at 10:09 PM, MrShorty said:

We assume that He will ratify what the prophet teaches through the Holy Spirit in keeping with Moroni 10:5, but what if He does not?

Is God a liar? Are His promises sure or not?

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On 12/1/2015 at 12:33 AM, Anddenex said:

This is the type of question MrShorty I find troubling. The answer is yes to both (Although it is not that God does not give the same revelation, it is whether or not we are prepared to receive the same revelation), the question and the statement. 

Let's review the Book of Mormon.  Lehi receive's revelation that they were to leave Jerusalem.  

Nephi received the same revelation as his father

Laman and Lemuel on the other hand...

This is a wonderful example.  Now, I'd like to add in Sam.  And this is important in this example as well because:

Quote

To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

D&C 46:14

But I'm going to spin it a bit into a different application than usual because I don't think it is perfectly analogous to our situation.  Sam did not receive the revelation in the same manner that Lehi and Nephi did.  But he did receive enough revelation to believe Nephi's words and testimony.

Many people will not receive the direct, clear, perfect word of God directly into their hearts and minds.  But as well-intentioned individuals, they trust many of those around them.  Their bishops, their parents, friends they trust, etc.  And they will go along with it because of a line of trust / faith.

This is why the Church population is the last step in establishing Church Doctrine.  It acts as another check on the fallibility of prophets.  Whether that is intended or not, it is an effect.

The Lord will only require of us what we are prepared as a body to receive.  If the Prophet came out tomorrow and said,"OK, everyone, we're going to seal gay marriages in the temple and give the priesthood to women and make Donald Trump the First Bishop of the Church."  I think we'd all think he'd gone mad.  I honestly don't know how many people would even seek revelation to confirm it to begin with.  They'd just plain leave.  Of course, we have the liberal SJW part of the Church that would say,"So, the prophet finally wised up." And they'd begin listing additional items on their agenda that they want to spread through the Church.

I don't think that would ever happen.  But the reason I used such a ridiculous example is that the majority of the active membership of the Church ARE going to receive revelation confirming what the Prophet says. 

If a prophet does lead the Church astray on some minor matter, it will eventually be done away with.  If the prophet begins to lead the Church away on a serious matter, then he will be removed from his position.  Thus, the Lord, himself, is the final check on the prophet.  But I'd believe that the Lord would not remove him from his office UNTIL the prophet (as a man) has already done something wrong.  So, things could happen that will lead us astray for a brief time.  And it will be corrected pretty swiftly.

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