I have a question.

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Heber13
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Heber13 » 18 Oct 2016, 19:38

I would say the slight clarification is that Bushman's objective is not to defend the church, but to present information in hopes the reader can reach their own conclusions. Historians are not exactly the same thing as apologetics. Although sometimes lines get blurred. And bushman readily acknowledges the difficulty in removing all bias. But intent is not to defend.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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nibbler
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Re: I have a question.

Post by nibbler » 18 Oct 2016, 19:56

I'm probably alone in this but I thought Bushman was very selective about where he applied details.

As to the OP.

I suppose anything can be justified. How we justify our actions speaks more to the type of god that we hope exists than the type of god that actually exists.
Sometimes, the thing you've been looking for your whole life is right there beside you all along.
-Peter Quill

GBSmith
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Re: I have a question.

Post by GBSmith » 19 Oct 2016, 04:48

This is a good example of "binding and loosening the law". Rabbis would consider a situation and then decide if the law should be strictly applied or could be loosened. You could consider it one person's opinion or an exercise in priesthood authority.

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LookingHard
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Re: I have a question.

Post by LookingHard » 19 Oct 2016, 04:53

DarkJedi wrote:
Shawn wrote:I recently realized that Rough Stone Rolling is an apologetic work. Bushman is just much more tactful than FAIR.
In the very broad sense of an apologist being a defender of the faith, yes. Bushman states he is a believer. There's nothing wrong with that, and I think that's what makes RSR special - despite being a believer he is not afraid to be honest and share facts.
If he is an apologist, he does seem to be more of "here are the facts" and even saying things like on page 75 about the M. priesthood restoration
the late appearance of these accounts raises the possibility of later fabrication
He does not state that is his view, but more than most any other "apologist" he is tipping his hat that those that reach this conclusion have some basis or at least taking the opposite view isn't the most solid ground from a historical perspective.

That plus Bushman's comment a few months ago about how the predominant narrative is not true and he can't be characterized as being just the same as many more typical apologists that fight for every inch of ground. But I will give you that in the end he says he is a believer. Does that make him a nuanced apologist? :problem:

Ann
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Ann » 19 Oct 2016, 09:36

[See gazillions of comments to know what I think of justifications for LDS polygamy. :smile: ]

I don't accept divine command theory anymore. It doesn't help me in any way to understand myself or God. It only explains how others have justified their questionable or difficult decisions. It's not an idea that actually helps me make my decisions. I like these quotes, but don't know where they're from:
In saying, therefore, that things are not good according to any standard of goodness, but simply by the will of God, it seems to me that one destroys, without realizing it, all the love of God and all his glory; for why praise him for what he has done, if he would be equally praiseworthy in doing the contrary? Where will be his justice and his wisdom if he has only a certain despotic power, if arbitrary will takes the place of reasonableness, and if in accord with the definition of tyrants, justice consists in that which is pleasing to the most powerful?
This one especially:
Divine command theory is therefore unlivable, even if it were correct. It puts moral truth inside an inaccessible black box.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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DarkJedi
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Re: I have a question.

Post by DarkJedi » 19 Oct 2016, 10:18

To me, if something is not verifiable in scripture (especially the Bible) then it's suspect. I do recognize that what might be right for one person may not be right for another, and I do recognize that we tend to try to apply modern ideals and morals to things that happened at earlier times where there were different ideals and morals. Still, killing a drunk guy for "records" when Nephi could have just absconded with the records and been done with it - I'm just not sure I buy God would do that. I certainly can buy Nephi justifying it in that way, just as earlier Christians justified the Crusades.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Heber13
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Heber13 » 19 Oct 2016, 11:29

I think part of the discussion includes context around divine command.

These commands from God don't come through in a vacuum. Sometimes we analyze them that way...focused on that one thing and if God said it, we have to choose to obey or not. But when God is giving commandments...they aren't typically coming from left field out of nowhere in a vacuum.

That is when Bushman's research is helpful. To see what is going on around the events of church history shed some light on it.

Doesn't change my opinion on polygamy. Just helps me better look for how God works with prophets.

I think it is out of context to talk about Nephi chopping off drunk heads as if God just said out of nowhere..."hey...go kill this guy...this is your test. And in 2016, these same random commandments will apply." Context changes the commandments God is giving, and whether we choose to obey them or not.
DarkJedi wrote:To me, if something is not verifiable in scripture (especially the Bible) then it's suspect. I do recognize that what might be right for one person may not be right for another, and I do recognize that we tend to try to apply modern ideals and morals to things that happened at earlier times where there were different ideals and morals.
I agree with DJ.

Because I accept that side of the argument, I also am open to the fact that some things in the scriptures do not justify or make it right for today...like Abraham having multiple wives...doesn't mean God wants me to. The bible can be used to justify good or bad. We still have to find out what is the good, using all tools at our disposal...including our intellect and experience and reasoning. Because of that...I will at times disagree with the prophets. That may be dangerous for me. But...safe isn't always the best.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Cnsl1
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Cnsl1 » 19 Oct 2016, 11:48

I agree in that I don't buy that God would do that, or direct his children to do those types of things. I think these scriptural stories are various men's ways of teaching a concept and justifying their own morality by attributing it to God. When we get people to do things because we make them believe "God" wants it, we can get them to do some pretty horrific things. People can do some pretty horrific things just because a human authority asks them to (e.g., holocaust, Stanley Milgram's obedience to authority experiments, Phil Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Study, or Abu Ghraib), so when they think GOD asks something of them, the level of potential egregious behavior is raised even higher.

I accept that others feel differently, and that some might believe God is the machine behind much of what happens in the world--good and bad--in order to accomplish his designs. I just don't accept or like the idea of using God to justify actions that clearly hurt people unless it's obviously in defense (but then you're already justified by basic laws of most societies). I suspect that most of the wars throughout the history of humankind were justified by the belief that God was behind them. My understanding of Christ's ministry was that he wanted people to stop that. (And I always found it odd that the God of the Old Testament--Jehovah--and the God/Jesus in the D&C acted and spoke so differently than did the guy in the NT Gospels. I used to think maybe the difference was related to actually being mortal, but then I decided it's more about the messenger than the source. We're getting "God's will" interpreted for us by people with agendas... but that's probably better for another thread).

Roy
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Roy » 19 Oct 2016, 12:01

ydeve wrote:And whichever choice we make, there will always be many people out there who are certain that we're abandoning God.
Like! :mrgreen:
nibbler wrote:I'm probably alone in this but I thought Bushman was very selective about where he applied details.
You are not alone. I remember reading something about Joseph saying that Black people were cursed as descendants of Cain/Ham and I remember thinking at the time the RSR had said that JS did not support that idea. I went and pulled out my copy and it read something to the effect of "with the exception of one lapse, JS never went there theologically." The statement was certainly true. JS did not go on and on about the subject or talk about it often as BY seems to have done, but if JS only espoused the curse of Cain theory on one documented occasion and then never spoke of it again - would not this one documented occasion be evidence for the mind of JS on the matter, rather than all the times that JS did not speak on the matter as evidence that his mind was not made up?

It was just that the way that the sentence was phrased made me think at the time that the curse of Cain stuff was completely brought into Mormonism by BY when that was not exactly the case.

I also read Bro. Bushman himself say that he wishes that he had not omitted information on the young ages of a number of the plural wives of JS.

I believe that Bro. Bushman is an apologist in the same way that we at StayLDS are apologist. He walks and models a path for how he personally makes the church work for him despite knowing the issues.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Heber13
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Heber13 » 19 Oct 2016, 12:06

nibbler...do you think Bushman's book had a purpose to bring readers to a certain conclusion about Joseph Smith?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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