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Does historicity matter?

Posted: 12 Oct 2014, 11:22
by Cadence
I recently heard the Elders quorum President state "it does not matter if the BofM is historical, what matters is the message". I wonder if this will be the new approach in the years to come. Will the church shed the notion of it being an actual history?

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 12 Oct 2014, 12:13
by mom3
Cadence - I think that would help a lot of people, if it could be just a great message or source for inspiration a lot of individuals and families might have some serious peace in life. It wouldn't fix everything but it would be a start.

For me I would like it to be a book about Christ and Christ actions etc. Allegory, parable, whatever - but Christ message - not Nephi or whomever. That's my take. Either that or just drop the whole thing.

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 12 Oct 2014, 13:00
by SunbeltRed
That's pretty interesting. I have never heard that addressed at Church before in that fashion. I know recently a friend was at a Ward Council and the Bishop was a bit upset because he perceived that during a comment or discussion during Gospel Doctrine the person made reference to something being non-literal in the Old Testament (If we can't accept some non-literalness of the OT, accepting non-literalness of the BOM is going to be very difficult).

I think it may be an approach going forward, but will seep in slowly depending on the make-up of Stake and Ward leadership. If it becomes more prevalent I suspect it will be more grass-roots than top down.

That doesn't really help me or my generation since we were raised on the BOM being literal and accepting it as non-literal but an inspired book creates all kinds of paradigm issues. I am curious to see how this will be addressed in the future.

-SBRed

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 12 Oct 2014, 13:05
by Curt Sunshine
I think, like a lot of other things, this will be a natural result of different generations seeing things differently than past generations.

Also, even Elder Holland said that people who only can see the Book of Mormon as an inspired work are welcome in the Church, so it's not totally a grassroots effort.

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 12 Oct 2014, 13:09
by DarkJedi
I haven't heard the message put out that way, either, but it is essentially what I believe. That EQP sounds like he might fit in here, and may have put himself out there a bit. While I believe it, I have not said so publicly as he has done.

I could see the leadership of the church headed in this direction, although I'm again not sure they will be so blunt about it. Nevertheless, if this guy had the guts to say this and hasn't gotten terrible pushback, more power to him. I tend to agree with SBRed - the challenge is going to be getting the message through to the "old guard" and that's why I think the top leadership won't be as openly blunt.

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 12 Oct 2014, 13:37
by nibbler
Am I to assume that was a private discussion or was it in front of a group?

I often hear variants where someone will say that the scriptures (all the canonical works) aren't meant to teach history, what's important are the spiritual lessons to be learned. I may have said as much myself. That usually doesn't ruffle many feathers because that's a statement that literalists can still agree with. If it was taken much farther than than...

I think that in the future this may very well be the only way forward. If the majority should move more toward that point of view it will be very interesting to see how it affects some of the narratives that are meant to establish the church's truth claims. That's probably what's really at issue. People may not be comfortable with what that new mindset implies, they may fight against it to protect other beliefs.

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 13 Oct 2014, 13:24
by Cadence
nibbler wrote:Am I to assume that was a private discussion or was it in front of a group?

I often hear variants where someone will say that the scriptures (all the canonical works) aren't meant to teach history, what's important are the spiritual lessons to be learned. I may have said as much myself. That usually doesn't ruffle many feathers because that's a statement that literalists can still agree with. If it was taken much farther than than...

I think that in the future this may very well be the only way forward. If the majority should move more toward that point of view it will be very interesting to see how it affects some of the narratives that are meant to establish the church's truth claims. That's probably what's really at issue. People may not be comfortable with what that new mindset implies, they may fight against it to protect other beliefs.
It was during a combined meeting priesthood and relief society. I thought it strange and progressive at the time. I would say he is in the minority in my ward. Mayb it will catch on.

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 13 Oct 2014, 19:04
by jhp33
Well, I guess really think about the question for a minute.

All things being as they are, does historicity matter? As in, if the Book of Mormon turns out to not be historical, would that being so have a direct effect on your salvation?

To me, the answer is definitively no.

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 13 Oct 2014, 20:50
by SilentDawning
For me, it only matters if the church claims it is historically accurate. The church is in the truth business. If it leads the membership, and investigators to believe its a historically accurate book, then it matters immensely. If the church claims the BoM, which is "the cornerstone of our religion" is historically accurate, and it isn't, then there is a real problem.

For me, the book would still have value given its message, but it certainly does deal a blow to the truth claims of the church if it's not an accurate historical record. And the church does promulgate the idea it IS historically accurate. On my mission, there was a video we showed investigators repeatedly about South American ruins and how they corroborated the stories in the BoM.

I think there is a strong case for believing the church claims it is a historically accurate book. And the number of times I hear "I know the Book of Mormon is true" in sacrament meeting is mind-boggling.

I like the idea that man can get closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by another book -- I have felt that in many aspects of my life. With the exception of the four gospels, and particularly the sermon on the mount, the BoM seems to have more truthful, pithy statements that have touched me in the past.

At this point, I dont' care much if it's not historically accurate, however. The church has a place in my life that I'm comfortable with. I can still live the MOrmon life I live even if it's not a historically accurate book. In a way, the essay on the Priesthood Ban Disavowel was what really burst my bubble. I don't believe everything wholesale any more. What matters is what I think after I consider all...

Re: Does historicity matter?

Posted: 15 Oct 2014, 02:07
by SilentDawning
Heard a radio talk show host make a comment today.

He said "they who control the past, control the future, and they who control the present, control the past".

Reminded me of the selective history members have been exposed to over the years. The church controlled that present, but with the advent of the internet, they lost control, and bloggers have it now.

So, this perspective indicates that historicity does in fact matter -- a lot.