The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

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primarycolor
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by primarycolor » 28 Jul 2009, 17:27

Just an aside to this thread

It has always bothered me that Joseph Smith never seemed to "use" the Book of Mormon. Can you point to speeches, talks, critiques, thoughtful meetings where he and other leaders went over the Book of Mormon with a fine tooth comb?

Instead of the School of the Prophets, shouldn't the School of the Book of Mormon have preceded it?

No, instead, Joseph Smith went on to bigger and better things.

You would think that such a treasure would not just be heralded- but methodically read and re-read. But instead it was then and is mainly promoted now as a "witness."

But, here again, why didn't Joseph Smith preach from the Book of Mormon, quote from it, carry it with him till his dying day? Do you think that he labored over it like we do? Deciphering so many rich meanings? Or, was he done.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Jul 2009, 05:10

I don't think he really understood it all that well, frankly - probably because it was used primarily as a witness, as you have said. I also try to remember that, for him, it was the on-going, "new" revelations that were the most important - that he was focused on building a community and was much more interested in what pertatined directly to that community building. It was only after that community had been established to a significant degree that his successors started emphasizing the BofM as it is now used - and, really, even now not as much as the Bible is emphasized in other denominations.

One of the main criticisms of the LDS Church by other denominations is that we don't use the Bible as much as they do, and I think that applies to the BofM, as well - notwithstanding Pres. Benson's and Pres. Hinckley's emphasis on it. It literally is impossible to treat it / them like the BIble is treated in other denominations, given how much the current words of the current prophets and apostles also are emphaszied - and the simple fact that we have over twice as much canonical scripture to study. The emphasis really is different - and that's one thing about the Church that I actually like, since it opens the door WIDE for a more inclusive view of "scripture" and allows for personal revelation. I love reading the scriptures, but I love just pondering every bit as much - and that's actually encouraged for the common member in the Church.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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jmb275
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by jmb275 » 29 Jul 2009, 10:23

Ray Degraw wrote:that he was focused on building a community and was much more interested in what pertatined directly to that community building.
I completely agree with this. I think, like so many religious sect (cult) leaders he got up in creating a community. This becomes even more apparent when one considers the Kirtland Safety Society, polygamy, the Council of Fifty, and Joseph becoming king. I don't know that I would say that Joseph was on a power trip, but I do think it likely that Joseph considered himself a philospher king. This explains much of his behavior in my mind.
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
- Joseph Smith, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)

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spacious maze
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by spacious maze » 30 Jul 2009, 22:12

Ray Degraw wrote:I don't think he really understood it all that well
I wonder about this. I don't necessarily disagree, but from reading the King Follett discourse, he seemed quite certain in his theological views. He must have felt he understood somethings enough to overturn thousands of years of monotheistic theology. It has been said that JS could go into details about what heaven would be like. When he preached, he would refer to stories in the BoM. He would speak on the nature of God. How does he know? Did God tell him that He was once man? That Adam was Michael? Is this revelation documented with the others?

The argument can and has been made that all the new ideas from LDS theology and cannon can be found from earlier and contemporary resources (one true church, apostasy, temples, restoration, eternal matter, multiple heavens, multiple earths, God was man ect...). Without debating whether or not these sources were used to craft LDS theology, I wonder where he claims these ideas come from. The King Follett discourse is a sermon- not a revelation, not a piece of cannon. Who told him this stuff? How could he be an authority on such radical theology? Because this stuff isn't in the BoM or the PoGP.

I know, off topic, but I always wondered about the origins of these extra LDS goodies.

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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 31 Jul 2009, 05:25

By not understanding it very well, I meant ONLY the actual content of the BofM. Much of what was taught back then about it doesn't really match the text very well - as it would have if he had studied it rigorously - or been like most authors and knew it inside and out.

If you accept his general statements about visitations / visions, it seems to me that he learned some very basic, general things about it and the people it describes - but it doesn't appear he got an in-depth "tutorial" on it. Personally, with what I've been able to glean about him and his personality, I just don't think he cared much about it as a religious proof text - so he didn't study it intently to create / restore the core theology of Mormonism. I think that process was "other revelation" driven.

Frankly, most of the "heretical" docrtrines of Mormonism, as you mention, aren't in the BofM and PofGP. Most of them were taken from interpretations of the Bible - which is why, I think, he once said that the main difference between Mormons and Protestants is that Mormons believe the Bible and Protestants don't. I think he was MUCH more interested in re-establishing what he viewed as a pure Biblical theology than in using the BofM to do so - and I personally think that is pretty much indisputable. I think he saw the BofM as what some ancient prophets thought and taught, but I think he viewed its purpose MUCH more as a second witness of the Bible and a witness of his calling than as a primary proof text.

I like that view, since I think it fits the book itself much better.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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HiJolly
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by HiJolly » 31 Jul 2009, 05:33

spacious maze wrote: The argument can and has been made that all the new ideas from LDS theology and cannon can be found from earlier and contemporary resources (one true church, apostasy, temples, restoration, eternal matter, multiple heavens, multiple earths, God was man ect...). Without debating whether or not these sources were used to craft LDS theology, I wonder where he claims these ideas come from. The King Follett discourse is a sermon- not a revelation, not a piece of cannon. Who told him this stuff? How could he be an authority on such radical theology? Because this stuff isn't in the BoM or the PoGP.

I know, off topic, but I always wondered about the origins of these extra LDS goodies.
Could it be . . . . Revelation?! (nod to the Church Lady)

I've read Lance Owens' papers about how Joseph was tutored both in Kirtland but mostly in Nauvoo by Jewish Kabbalists, but much of his speculation lacks support in the evidence. Not that others who had the background didn't meet Joseph and teach him things, but the extent of the information exchanges on that topic is what I question.

I think that when a topic was raised, if Joseph was curious concerning it then he sought 'further light and knowledge', and at *that*, he was the best. I think he obtained much through that. I say that because he would embrace much of, say, kabbalah, and then at the same time would absolutely oppose and contradict some of the core beliefs of that 'system' of belief. He was unique, taking what he felt was 'truth' and blatantly discarding the rest.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by Poppyseed » 31 Jul 2009, 09:46

primarycolor wrote:Just an aside to this thread

It has always bothered me that Joseph Smith never seemed to "use" the Book of Mormon. Can you point to speeches, talks, critiques, thoughtful meetings where he and other leaders went over the Book of Mormon with a fine tooth comb?

Instead of the School of the Prophets, shouldn't the School of the Book of Mormon have preceded it?

No, instead, Joseph Smith went on to bigger and better things.

You would think that such a treasure would not just be heralded- but methodically read and re-read. But instead it was then and is mainly promoted now as a "witness."

But, here again, why didn't Joseph Smith preach from the Book of Mormon, quote from it, carry it with him till his dying day? Do you think that he labored over it like we do? Deciphering so many rich meanings? Or, was he done.

I am not sure Joseph didn't do all those things. It is clear that the early missionary effort of the church used the BofM almost exclusively. I don't think they even talked about the first vision. I think it would be a mistake to think that JS didn't highly value the doctrines revealed in the book. I think that this new conduit for revelations was open and I think Joseph was trying to understand and produce as much clarity as possible on a vast amount of issues and information. Heck....if God had opened the heavens to you, wouldn't you go crazy asking every question known to man?
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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jmb275
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by jmb275 » 31 Jul 2009, 09:54

Ray Degraw wrote:By not understanding it very well, I meant ONLY the actual content of the BofM. Much of what was taught back then about it doesn't really match the text very well - as it would have if he had studied it rigorously - or been like most authors and knew it inside and out.

If you accept his general statements about visitations / visions, it seems to me that he learned some very basic, general things about it and the people it describes - but it doesn't appear he got an in-depth "tutorial" on it. Personally, with what I've been able to glean about him and his personality, I just don't think he cared much about it as a religious proof text - so he didn't study it intently to create / restore the core theology of Mormonism. I think that process was "other revelation" driven.

Frankly, most of the "heretical" docrtrines of Mormonism, as you mention, aren't in the BofM and PofGP. Most of them were taken from interpretations of the Bible - which is why, I think, he once said that the main difference between Mormons and Protestants is that Mormons believe the Bible and Protestants don't. I think he was MUCH more interested in re-establishing what he viewed as a pure Biblical theology than in using the BofM to do so - and I personally think that is pretty much indisputable. I think he saw the BofM as what some ancient prophets thought and taught, but I think he viewed its purpose MUCH more as a second witness of the Bible and a witness of his calling than as a primary proof text.

I like that view, since I think it fits the book itself much better.
I think you raise some interesting points here Ray. I haven't thought of it quite like this before. It is strange the shift away from that type of study and more towards an emphasis on the Book of Mormon. In light of what you say here I wonder if the revelation in the D&C 84 about not heeding the Book of Mormon was meant as much for Joseph as for anyone else.
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
- Joseph Smith, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)

Poppyseed
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by Poppyseed » 31 Jul 2009, 09:58

And just on another note....

I was thinking about the argument concerning the authenticity of the BofM with regards to the lack of historical/anthropological evidence and I was kinda mulling that over in my mind.

Does the lack of evidence really disprove the book? Maybe it does. But then I read (by accident) this scripture in the D&C 25:4 where it says "Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come." To me, this opens the possibilities up to God and his purposes. If the BofM was given to bring people to Christ and that He will use the book to try the faith of His people, then wouldn't "hiding" evidence be an essential part of the exercise?

And then I was thinking about how gaining the knowledge of the bofm DIDN'T prove the church to be true, and there are many ideas presented here that make a lot of sense in this regard. But I can't help but see how a spiritual confirmation wouldn't at least open the door to one seeking to find out if the gospel is indeed restored, revelation and authority restored too, and then a formal church structure in which for all of it to function. I don't think it dismisses all doubt, but I do think it is an important foundation to things. I hope I am understanding the point of the OP correctly here.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: The BoM ends all doubts about the Church's truthfulness?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 31 Jul 2009, 10:52

Personally, I agree that JS doesn't seem that familiar with the BOM (more with the Bible), but rather than because he was trying to build a community (which he was, under Sidney Rigdon's tutelage), but more because of how he viewed scripture. We say to "liken the scriptures unto us" because that's what JS did. He didn't need to focus on the writing of the past, because scriptures are just full of examples of how to approach God and get your own revelations. So, IMO, the BOM was used as a missionary tool (as was rightly pointed out, FV was not widely known and not a missionary tool) because it "proved" that Mormonism had something unique that created a whole new view of religion. Religion was not something to be held in reserve for leaders and clerics only, but these stories were to be emulated across all humanity. Everyone was to seek their own revelation and live by it.

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