I have a question.

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Minyan Man
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I have a question.

Post by Minyan Man » 17 Oct 2016, 09:58

I have been doing alot of reading lately. Some of the books have to do with Church doctrine & Church history.
I always seem to come back to Rough Stone Rolling. The topic starts with Polygamy & Polyandry and the justification.
The Author, Richard Lyman Bushman says on Pg 440,
He (JS) did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin
.

On Pg 441 the Author says:
that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another
.
He says:
The path to happiness was "virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God". What
was a believer to do with conflicting injuctions? Joseph reached a terrifying answer: "that which is wrong under one circumstance, may
be and often is, right under another." This unnerving principle was a foundation of the government of God. "Whatever God requires is right,
no matter what what it is".
It sounds like anything can be justified. Forget the 10 commandments & other teachings in bible or BoM. Revelation trumps the scriptures.
My question is: Isn't this dangerous?

I understand that all revelation for the Church comes from the Prophet.
Once a principle is revealed we must seek our own revelation from God that
the principle is true or not. (for what it's worth.)

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Holy Cow
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Holy Cow » 17 Oct 2016, 13:23

MM,
I completely agree. This kind of justification that anything goes, as long as God commanded it, can be a pretty slippery slope. That's the mentality you see with people like Warren Jeffs, justifying his behavior, or Marshall Applewhite from the Heaven's Gate cult. I think both of these guys would argue that God commanded them to do the things they were doing. I don't buy it. The church teaches that we are responsible for our actions, and that we have been given free agency. If we do something wrong, we can't simply claim, "the devil made me do it." So, why can prophets say, "God made me do it?"
I prefer to lean on the bible's advice that, "by their fruits you shall know them." Like you said, we have a responsibility to figure out for ourselves what we believe is from God, and what is a prophet's personal opinion or advice.
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Roy
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Roy » 17 Oct 2016, 14:17

And this is how obedience becomes the first law of heaven...

One of things that made JS great was his ability to think outside the box. He was a visionary in the truest sense of the word. He challenged convention and social norms. He turned the calcified religious orders of his day on their head.

OTOH one of the justifications for polyandry was that in God's eyes no marriages performed by earthly authorities were valid. Once God gave the sealing power to JS, all these former arrangements were done away and everybody became relationally unattached and relationally available. With this perspective and polygamy in mind, a person could marry other men's legal wives and not believe that they acted in the wrong.

He took principles to the next level...and the next... and the next... until it finally killed him.

If God can command genocide in the bible and even drown the whole earth save a select few - could He not also command a mutually self destructive nuclear attack that would trigger a perpetual nuclear winter? Could this not be seen as a divine reset button? Where is the boundary? Is there even such a thing as good and bad? Is there merely "obedient" and "disobedient"?
"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

Minyan Man
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Minyan Man » 17 Oct 2016, 15:05

As I thought about it, JS had to be formidable presence to the believers within the Church.
I picture him as a "rock star" within the community he lived in.
Who would follow a short, overweight, bald man with the same revelations? (No offense intended.)

Another thought, if the Church wants us to find out for ourselves if specific revelations are true or not,
why should they (the general membership) be critical if we didn't receive an answer at the same moment in time?
This goes for anything:
- Moving to Nauvoo.
- Blacks & the PH.
- Same sex marriage.
- etc.

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Heber13
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Heber13 » 17 Oct 2016, 15:15

Minyan Man wrote:My question is: Isn't this dangerous?
It is dangerous if it is about something that can really be bad. That sounds simplistic, but I think it is saying the same thing as Bushman...what is right is not constant and universal because situations are not identical. Often religious stuff is about the heart, and so that gets tricky to legislate it to laws and rules without exceptions. Since we see through the glass darkly, we aren't sure about our hearts, others hearts, or the will of God with perfect surety. We just have faith and try to get as close to truth as we can, and adjust it when we see we were wrong...even prophets do that.
Minyan Man wrote:that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another
and also what is right in one circumstance may often be wrong in another...like if people are allowed to commune directly with God. Joseph Smith could do this and have all kinds of experiences. Others cannot because keys now dictate who can and can't.

Does that make Joseph Smith a fraud? Does that make it impossible for God to work that way?

Nope. I don't think so.
Minyan Man wrote:He (JS) did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin
That is Bushman's opinion based on his research.

But only God knows the answer to that. It can be argued both ways. You have to choose what you want to believe about it. There is no definitive answer.

Is this whole religious thing dangerous??? It can be.

Abraham was gonna kill his son...right? So...what if I think I'm being told to do that? That would be very dangerous...on many levels, even if it was right for him to do and he was stopped. What if...???

I guess it is best said...
Holy Cow wrote:we have a responsibility to figure out for ourselves what we believe is from God, and what is a prophet's personal opinion or advice.
We also have a responsibility to choose to follow it or not.

It is not clear cut.
It is not easy.
There is no "non-dangerous" choice for all things if we want growth, learning and experience. We can't photocopy someone else's experience. We have to have some of our own, and that is dangerous.

Joseph Smith doesn't get to be known for good or bad without taking some risks, and just playing it safe. He lived most of his life in danger.
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 » 18 Oct 2016, 12:46

Claiming God asked you to kill your son then saying an angel intervened, beheading a drunken scoundrel then stealing from him and kidnapping his servant, marrying women who were already legally married to other men, marrying young teen girls, ... Just to name a few .. of these faith promoting stories or criminal acts? The God I feel close to and drawn to my entire life isn't the type to condone any of those things. Am I naive or are those dudes crazy?

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Heber13
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Heber13 » 18 Oct 2016, 13:06

I think there is a difference between "mentally ill" crazy and hullicinating and seeing things and not living in reality

vs

Mystical and spiritual and following God's will to receive revelation.

I totally believe there is a difference.

Finding out which is which is the kicker. There are no hard-fast rules. You have to choose what you believe.

Also...even those who thought they were "right" ... like Abinadi ... still paid a price for their belief, even when others thought they were crazy. As did Joseph Smith. Or so the story goes.
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."

ydeve
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Re: I have a question.

Post by ydeve » 18 Oct 2016, 15:17

I actually really like the story of Nephi killing Laban, because it teaches very clearly that life is complex, it isn't black and white. I suspect that we don't fully understand the importance of the brass plates to Nephi and his family, but we can understand that Nephi was up against a wall. Two things that were both absolutely uncompromisable for him were on the block, and one of them had to give. Would it have been right for you to kill Laban? Would it have been right for me to kill Laban? The answer is clearly no. But then, we aren't Nephi. We aren't in his shoes. And we really can't judge him.

Who are we to judge people who feel like God is directing them away from the church? Or gays who often must choose between suicide and what they've been taught is the only path to the Celestial Kingdom? Or the investigator who desires with all their heart to get a confirmation that the church is true, only to get the answer no? Yes, we've gotten different answers from God than they did, but we really can't judge other people's decisions; we are not the eternal Judge. I suspect that more often than not, when me make judgements about other people's decisions, we are judging incorrectly.

However, there is a judgement that we can and need to make. And that is, "What am I going to do and who am I going to listen to?" We work out our own salvation before God with fear and trembling. It doesn't mean that people who come to a different answer than us are wrong; it means that we are different.

Yes, personal revelation trumps scripture. If it never did, then it would be meaningless. We'd all just follow the prophet, who can never go wrong. But a cursory glance at history shows that that clearly isn't the case. And yes, this is dangerous. It means that we need to be very careful to not be led astray, whether by other people or our own thoughts. The Lord has provided numerous signposts of various importance. In no particular order, we have the advice of parents, of church leaders, the written scriptures, our own righteous desires, the two great commandments, etc. They are all very useful, but they don't always agree with each other. It is our job to resolve the conflicts.

And whichever choice we make, there will always be many people out there who are certain that we're abandoning God.

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Shawn
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Re: I have a question.

Post by Shawn » 18 Oct 2016, 15:54

I recently realized that Rough Stone Rolling is an apologetic work. Bushman is just much more tactful than FAIR.

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DarkJedi
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Re: I have a question.

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Oct 2016, 18:26

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.
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