Good clarification.FaithfulSkeptic wrote:This has me a little confused. This sounds pretty black & white, but I don't think that's what you are trying to say. With your example later on of picking apples, you had good and bad fruit from the same tree. So if I understand you correctly, a prophet can bring forth good and bad fruit, and you just have to decide what is good and discard the bad? The bad fruit doesn't invalidate all the good fruit that comes forth. That makes sense to me.Heber13 wrote:
Judging them to be true prophets or false prophets is what it is all about. That is the testimony or faith we work through. Do we trust they bring us knowledge and truth from heaven, or are they wolves in sheep's clothing?
Help me keep my thoughts straight...but here is the intent of my message...In general, I judge JS to be a prophet (black and white...he is or he is not)...based on the fruit of his actions which are not black and white but are a sliding scale of it being good enough for me to tip the scales from False Prophet to True Prophet. Once I have him in my mind as a prophet, I can pick and choose to obey based on my understanding and my faith on various subjects. What a prophet is can be a deeper discussion, but in general (not in absolute terms), I can accept him as a prophet.
It just is difficult to talk about it without having an opinion. I can state my belief or opinion, even if the underlying elements that lead me to that opinion are drastically different than others. And sometimes, that is where the understanding comes from...getting to the underlying elements so we don't talk past each other.
Something like this:
Friend: So, you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?
Friend: Do you know all the things he did? There is so many things that make him seem like he is not worthy of a prophet of God. Some horrible things.
Me: Yes, from what I've studied, I accept him as a prophet.
Friend: Did you know about his hiding polygamy, and even with a girl as young as 14.
Friend: Then how can you believe he could possibly be a prophet?
Me: Because I read the whole body of work...all the good, all the bad, all the questionable stuff I don't know if we understand. It isn't so clear cut and easy, some is messy. I wonder if we would think the same of Moses if we had the details of Moses' life like we do of a modern prophet we see close up and documented like Joseph Smith. I'm not making excuses...I'm simply stating my belief is in Joseph as a prophet...an imperfect mortal trying to follow God's will. I actually feel better about God working with imperfect mortals, because perhaps he can even work with me.
Friend: Doesn't that make you think prophets are worthless?
Me: Nope. I do think of them differently than I did in my younger days. 1 Cor 13:11-13
Does that clarify what I mean?? I think at a top level...without specifics and complicated answers...the high level answer is black and white. I believe Joseph is a prophet. Yes. Binary.
Detailed levels on this issue, or that issue, or this thing or that thing, or this teaching or that teaching, or this sin and that sin....once we get into details it is not black and white easy binary thinking.
The tree produces good fruit and bad fruit, enough good fruit I eat it and it nourishes me, I throw out the bad apples and I believe the tree is good.