When is it scripture?

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Bear
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When is it scripture?

Post by Bear » 23 Apr 2014, 09:06

I know we talk about something is only scripture/doctrine if it is canonized/voted in. But where does that idea actually come from? If a person says that what some apostle said back in the day is doctrine (gc talks) what quotes can I share to make him understand that it is not so? Do we have any precise statement from the church stating that? I know we have a recent talk saying that not everything taught is scripture (uchtdorf) but is there a more clear cut version?

Thanks:)


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Shawn
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by Shawn » 23 Apr 2014, 13:59

Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/a ... n-doctrine
Yeah, it's tagged as "Commentary" and is posted on Mormon Newsroom. I don't know how official it is, but it makes sense to me. Though it addresses doctrine rather than scripture, I think it applies.

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Shawn
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by Shawn » 23 Apr 2014, 14:07

Interestingly, the following seems to say that only the "standard works" are officially considered scripture:
When holy men of God write or speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, their words “shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4). The official, canonized scriptures of the Church, often called the standard works, are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. -https://www.lds.org/topics/scriptures?lang=eng
Though it also states "God, who is the same 'yesterday, today, and forever' (2 Nephi 29:9), continues to reveal scripture in modern times as He did in ancient times," it doesn't point to any scriptures being revealed besides what is in the standard works, unless I missed something.

Here's an issue - I don't think everything in the scriptures should be called scripture, and neither did Bro. McConkie (at least not everything in the Old Testament):
In the Old Testament, Genesis is the book of books—a divine account whose worth cannot be measured. Exodus and Deuteronomy are also of surpassing worth. Numbers, Joshua, Judges, the Samuels, the Kings, and the Chronicles are all essential history, interwoven with deeds of faith and wonder that form a background for an understanding of the Christian faith. Leviticus has no special application to us and, except for a few passages, need not give us permanent concern. Ruth and Esther are lovely stories that are part of our heritage. The Psalms contain marvelous poetry, and the portions that are messianic and that speak of the last days and the Second Coming are of great import. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations are interesting books; Job is for people who like the book of Job; and the Song of Solomon is biblical trash—it is not inspired writing. Ezra, Nehemiah, Obadiah, and Jonah are the least of the prophets; and all the rest of the prophets—Isaiah above them all—each in his place and order set forth the doctrinal and prophetic word that must be studied in depth. https://www.lds.org/manual/teaching-sem ... k?lang=eng

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DarkJedi
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Apr 2014, 04:27

Great question and topic, Bear. I think part of this question has to do with terminology. I think we all recognize canonized as scripture, although Shawn makes a really good point about certain parts of those texts and many of use here have reservations about others (Book of Abraham, for example). We then have those more zealous members (of which there seem to be plenty) who believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of the prophet to be scripture, and the Ensign to be scripture, and everything said in GC to be scripture. And we have others who recognize good teachings from other sources (other religions and even literature and movies) to be scripture, at least for them.

Other than what Shawn shared and the essay on the front page of this site (which are both really addressing doctrine), I can't find a definitive declaration of what is scripture. I also can't find where church leadership has indicated that everything they say is scripture or everything in the Ensign is scripture - I think that is one of Mormonism's teachings of men and/or perhaps a misinterpretation of D&C 1.

Even a search on lds.org (searching the word "scripture") does not give a definitive answer. I did note, however, that of the GC talks referenced on that search each speaker when speaking of the scriptures was always talking about the canonical scriptures.

I know this doesn't answer your question.
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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On Own Now
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by On Own Now » 24 Apr 2014, 06:07

Joseph Fielding Smith:
It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teaching of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine. You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted. --Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation
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Earl Parsons
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by Earl Parsons » 24 Apr 2014, 13:21

If something agrees with my preconceived notions, then it's scripture. If it doesn't agree, then it's an opinion or wasn't "translated correctly." :lol:

Interesting quotes in this thread. The McConkie quote seems so imply that the value of a book of scriptures is related to how useful it is in proving the restoration.

I'm not sure about the Joseph Fielding Smith quote. New and disruptive revelations happen throughout the scriptures. So a revelation that doesn't jive with established scriptures isn't unheard of.

I think this is a really interesting question. If we had an official definition of scripture or doctrine that would help answer a lot of questions.

Bear
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When is it scripture?

Post by Bear » 25 Apr 2014, 06:55

Yeah. Basically, if I had to give a talk at some point in the future then I would live to include a little snippet like: "general conference talks aren't scripture. Neither is any book written by any church member including the q12" etc etc but I'm sure people want something for me to back that up. And I don't really have any quotes. I mean I can probably find tons of other quotes that will speak completely against the quotes I rely on.. So it's basically a war of quotes...


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Old-Timer
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by Old-Timer » 25 Apr 2014, 07:54

Church history (and history in general) is a war of quotes - so pick the ones you like and don't worry about doing what everyone does.

Sometimes, it really is that simple.
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.

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SamBee
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by SamBee » 25 Apr 2014, 08:43

Curious how Ruth, Esther and the Song of Songs all of which have positive representations of women barely make Brother McConkie's list.

Or Job which is one of the few scriptures which deals with the ever present question of why good things happen to bad people.

Why is Leviticus considered lower than the discussion of the revolutions of Kokaubeam around Kolob?
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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meggle
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Re: When is it scripture?

Post by meggle » 26 Apr 2014, 09:57

I've at least twice heard "For the Strength of Youth" referred to as scripture. Most recently I heard this in sacrament meeting. I got up and left. Of course this is in a stake that once based an entire stake standards night on the "no flip-flops to church challenge" (they seriously had the girls sign a pledge).

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