Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Apr 2019, 18:26

I have said from the pulpit that if the Atonement covers all sins and pain and suffering inflicted by anyone, then Jesus paid for his own actions that caused others pain and suffering - like his disappearance to talk with people at the temple when he was 12, and his entry into Jerusalem that pushed the religious and civil leadership to see him as a defiant threat, and the subsequent suffering of disciples, believers, and martyrs, etc.

By the same token, being born into mortality causes pain and suffering of multiple kinds for literally everyone. In a very real way, "the Atonement" is the only gracious theological answer to mortal life.

Having said that, yep, every prophet ever was a flawed human - and nearly every famous, charismatic leader (and especially reformer) has a major flaw. Adding people like King, Gandhi, Churchill, Jefferson, Franklin, etc. only makes it more obvious.
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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Daughter1
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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by Daughter1 » 25 Apr 2019, 20:11

Roy wrote:
25 Apr 2019, 17:03
I believe that we tend to follow certain schemas or formulas in our systematic religious beliefs.

....

(as an aside, I do not believe that we have a record of Jesus claiming to be perfect - that came from people that followed after. Also, when Jesus returned to Nazareth the townspeople rejected him saying "is not this the carpenter's son?" Therefore, whatever "perfection" Jesus might have displayed in his youth must not have been overly impressive to the people that he grew up with.)
I want to connect to both of these points. First, those schemas are a very true thing. Thanks for putting it into words. For many years, that was what my testimony relied on. I feel very fortunate to have questioned the validity and value of those sorts of chains prior to coming to a point where I questioned any of the solid points in my own testimony.

Your mention of Jesus claiming perfection made me realize that He did claim perfection. But it also makes me modify my timeline for when He attained it. He only claims perfection after His resurrection. When He visits the Nephites and gives the Sermon on the Mount equivalent, He ends with the admonition to "be perfect even as I and your Father in Heaven are perfect." When He gives the original Sermon prior to His death, He only says "be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." So He is not perfect until after His death and resurrection. I think dande's point about Christ's thoughts on how we interpret His story today ties in really well with this, as well as Curt's point about the Atonement covering Christ too.
dande48 wrote:
25 Apr 2019, 18:00
But I don't judge them for it, flaws and all. A lot of who we are stems from factors outside of our control. They tried to make the best sense of it, and find comfort and purpose. They did the best they could with what they had. They grew up in a different world, in different societies with different values. I don't even think many of what we percieve as "flaws" they felt (or their societies felt) were flaws. They are very human. Christ was very human. And I think that makes them very relatable.
This is the beauty of it to me as well. I felt sad when I was told "No, Nephi isn't proud - he's very humble." I saw all of the signs of a proud sibling who didn't get along great with his siblings, and that meant a lot to me because of my own interactions with my sister. It was the first time I saw the weaknesses of one of these scriptural heroes, and I was told that I was not seeing rightly. I think there is less of an overt objection to the idea now days (I've seen less, at least), but I think it's really cool to examine them in more depth. I'm really enjoying reading about what flaws stand out to other people. Especially in the Old Testament, which is my least-read book of scripture. I want to go and read or re-read these stories. Knowing the weaknesses draws me closer to the people.

Thank you everyone who has shared! I can't wait to hear more. And then go and read the stories.
I don't think there could ever be just one single philosophy or one single religion. Since there are so many different types of people, with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences between religions. And the fact that there are so many different descriptions of the religious path shows how rich religion is. - HH the XIV Dalai Lama

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SamBee
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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by SamBee » 26 Apr 2019, 02:18

Jesus exhibits doubt and fear in Gethsamene and on the cross. "Why have you forsaken me?" and "take this cup away from me," tell us that. Jesus also arguably had a temper on him.

However I do not think it is helpful to see Jesus as flawed. All other scriptural characters (except HF), yes, but Jesus no. In this case, Jesus should be an ideal to aspire to, not someone to be dragged down to our level.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
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dande48
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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by dande48 » 26 Apr 2019, 06:00

SamBee wrote:
26 Apr 2019, 02:18
However I do not think it is helpful to see Jesus as flawed. All other scriptural characters (except HF), yes, but Jesus no. In this case, Jesus should be an ideal to aspire to, not someone to be dragged down to our level.
I hope this isn't going too off topic, but why does Christ need to be perfect? Why does HF need to be perfect? And why do we need to aspire to be perfect? I understand there's the whole belief that he had to be perfect to perform the atonement, etc, but why? Personally, I still fail to see how inflicting punishment on an innocent third party somehow absolves the perpetrator, nor do I feel it's right or helpful to expect someone else to suffer the consequences of your mistakes. We should take responsibility for our mistakes, make reparations when possible, learn and grow from them. Wanting them to be "washed away", and paid for by someone else feels counterproductive. My mistakes have made me who I am.

Personally, I think "perfection" is one of those things a lot of people strive for, but would find it unbearably boring once they obtained it. Not to mention, a perfect person would be much harder to relate to.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by grobert93 » 26 Apr 2019, 06:19

SamBee wrote:
26 Apr 2019, 02:18
Jesus exhibits doubt and fear in Gethsamene and on the cross. "Why have you forsaken me?" and "take this cup away from me," tell us that. Jesus also arguably had a temper on him.

However I do not think it is helpful to see Jesus as flawed. All other scriptural characters (except HF), yes, but Jesus no. In this case, Jesus should be an ideal to aspire to, not someone to be dragged down to our level.
Didn't Christ come down to our level, though, in order to understand our experiences, pains and guilt? After all, he was born in a manger and outcasted by friends and family. Shouldn't he have gone through the worst of the worst if his atonement was going to mean anything to the rest of us?

I also think that having someone who we can relate to on a personal level also means that they aren't perfect and are prone to mistakes. We are told to love and trust in Jesus, but if he's some mystical being who's perfect and never did wrong, i'd feel intimidated to meet him as i am an imperfect being who has thoughts on a daily basis that would likely disqualify me for the highest kingdom. If he truly loved me, if HF truly loved me, wouldn't they want to related to me, to interact on the level that i understand? Plus, if we are to become as HF currently is, that must mean he was once imperfect and flawed in our human like way at some point.

I just don't know why i should worship and love and believe in a God and Savior whom are above my level, unrelatable and seem to be busy creating worlds and governing churches.

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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by DarkJedi » 26 Apr 2019, 08:28

dande48 wrote:
26 Apr 2019, 06:00
SamBee wrote:
26 Apr 2019, 02:18
However I do not think it is helpful to see Jesus as flawed. All other scriptural characters (except HF), yes, but Jesus no. In this case, Jesus should be an ideal to aspire to, not someone to be dragged down to our level.
I hope this isn't going too off topic, but why does Christ need to be perfect? Why does HF need to be perfect? And why do we need to aspire to be perfect? I understand there's the whole belief that he had to be perfect to perform the atonement, etc, but why? Personally, I still fail to see how inflicting punishment on an innocent third party somehow absolves the perpetrator, nor do I feel it's right or helpful to expect someone else to suffer the consequences of your mistakes. We should take responsibility for our mistakes, make reparations when possible, learn and grow from them. Wanting them to be "washed away", and paid for by someone else feels counterproductive. My mistakes have made me who I am.

Personally, I think "perfection" is one of those things a lot of people strive for, but would find it unbearably boring once they obtained it. Not to mention, a perfect person would be much harder to relate to.
I pretty much agree. "Little Lord Jesus no crying he makes"? Yeah, right, he was a baby like any other human baby. Further scripture tells us (D&C 93):
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the a fulness at the first, but received bgrace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from agrace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the aSon of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.
There are cross references as well, but I'm not beating anyone over the head with this. My own belief is that Jesus was fully God AND fully human. I do believe he understands us because he did descend below all things and that was part of his mission. In my own (probably warped) mind he experienced things both in mortality and during His atonement that were part of his "descent." Perfection in my view is a process that takes eons - God is probably there, Jesus may not have been until after the resurrection or maybe even sometime after that (again IMO).

Then there's the whole side of me that wonders why we even really need a savior, and if we do why does this savior have to be perfect?

Lastly in this regard, many of Joseph's earlier teachings were more unitarian (and it can be inferred from the BoM) - a core unitarian belief is that God is the only God, and Jesus is not necessarily a God and calling him the Son of God is not necessarily literal.
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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dande48
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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by dande48 » 26 Apr 2019, 09:11

DarkJedi wrote:
26 Apr 2019, 08:28
Lastly in this regard, many of Joseph's earlier teachings were more unitarian (and it can be inferred from the BoM) - a core unitarian belief is that God is the only God, and Jesus is not necessarily a God and calling him the Son of God is not necessarily literal.
Didn't the first edition of the BOM equate Jesus with God/the Eternal Father, rather than the Son of God? I thought it was later teachings that actually distinguished the two. I do think at the time of Jesus, when most people called themselves a "son of God" or "child of God", it was used in the familial, spiritual, metaphorical sense, much like we use the term today. In fact, we've got this bit of dialogue pointing to Jesus meaning it metaphorically:
John 10:33-36 wrote: The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
If Jesus really were the literal Son of God, this response seems awfully deceptive, as he would've been claiming to be using the term metaphorically, when he was actually using it literally (which is what the Pharisees were accusing him of). Also, there isn't any reference to Jesus calling himself God, outside of John. It seems implausible to me that those earlier authors would skip over such an important detail, were Jesus to make that claim. Plus, in all earlier manuscripts of Luke, after Jesus is baptized, God is recorded as saying: "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.", which also points to God both quoting the messianic prophecy in Psalms 2:7, but also using the term "Son" metaphorically and not literally. It took a few centuries for them to change this.

It's completely fine to believe Jesus was perfect and literally the "Son of God", and there are lot of thoughts onto what that actually means, and the actual nature of Christ. I remember a few places in the NT, where Paul is actually admonishing the importance of believing Christ "in the flesh", because certain sects had popped up which believed Jesus was only a spirit. It's not so cut and dry, even within the first few decades after Christ's death. But I think it's very understandable, reasonable, and even useful for certain Christians believe he was not the literal "Son of God", nor perfect.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by nibbler » 26 Apr 2019, 09:23

dande48 wrote:
26 Apr 2019, 06:00
I hope this isn't going too off topic, but why does Christ need to be perfect? Why does HF need to be perfect? And why do we need to aspire to be perfect?
I've found more power in the stories told in the gospels by viewing Jesus as a regular, everyday Joe that woke up to his divine nature. A divine nature that we all possess but fail to see.

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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by SamBee » 26 Apr 2019, 10:06

dande48 wrote:
26 Apr 2019, 06:00
I hope this isn't going too off topic, but why does Christ need to be perfect?
For the same reason any serious athlete goes for gold and not for fourth prize. Christ is an exemplar, not someone we should pull down and excuse our failures by. Jesus is there to get past our failures not to encourage them.

Baby Jesus had to have his diaper changed (or swaddling if you wish to be more accurate), but that isn't a great way of looking at him because it doesn't help us progress.
Personally, I still fail to see how inflicting punishment on an innocent third party somehow absolves the perpetrator, nor do I feel it's right or helpful to expect someone else to suffer the consequences of your mistakes.
Because it is the ultimate example of service. We do this all the time with our children, and excuse things that they do, we help them to learn their mistakes are wrong. Sometimes in life we have to take a beating for someone else, either by choice or by accident. If Jesus is guilty of something then we will focus on that, rather than the fact he did us this great aervice.

It is an example of service and is an example of how to break cycles of debt and revenge.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Prophetic Flaws in Scripture

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Apr 2019, 11:36

Well said, Sam.

There is power in the concept of a Savior and Redeemer, literal or symbolic, even though that concept can be distorted and manipulated, as well. I think forcing only one view actually distorts and minimizes its power, so I never argue with anyone who finds power in a view I don't share - unless I see that view as inordinately harmful or in opposition to Jesus' recorded teachings.
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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