Page 3 of 4

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 22 Sep 2016, 14:54
by Heber13
Great discussion. Thanks for sharing.
FaithfulSkeptic wrote:
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?
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.
Good clarification.

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?
Me: Yes
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.
Me: Yes.
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.

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 22 Sep 2016, 15:16
by Heber13
nibbler wrote:"Good fruit" is relative.
Well said.

I went on a discussion with missionaries this past week. The message to the investigator was not to convince them the truth is one way, the church's way, for all people. It is not to prove all are going to hell except mormons and so you better get on board with us...we are the "right" people, we have the answers. (However, I might think the missionaries thought this...but it wasn't the true message they were delivering).

The message was: I have found something that is worthwhile to me, and we want to share it with you. Pray about it. Does it feel right to you too?

I believe that the fruit will be good for some, not good for others. And that is ok. That may not be what I always hear in church. But that is ok, truth can be understood on many levels.

But the fact it is relatively good for some means those people that accept it (with faith) need a friend, the good word, and a responsibility to get involved with the church to continue pursuing the thing they found good for them.
If the hornets like it this much it must be a good apple.
We actually found this to be exactly true. The ones with hornets, and the worms and most eaten by birds were the nastiest and most inedible gross apples in the yard...but...we also knew those were the apple trees making the sweetest apples when we could find the good ones. There is whole other lesson in that...how opposition works. But that is for another thread.

For those who can't imagine trying an apple that had hornets burrowed in it...that is fine...they don't HAVE to have that fruit and that tree. They will be fine without it...maybe...or maybe they will take drugs and whether they are unhappy or unhealthy has nothing to do with this apple tree but completely different set of choices and circumstances. We might make up stories..and say since they didn't eat apples like us...they are drug addicts...but that isn't necessarily true.
nibbler wrote:Maybe good fruit is dependent on timing.
Absolutely brilliant, nibbler. I think it is, and I think that plays into this discussion on polygamy and Joseph Smith. It also can shed light on the Correlation Committee, and the Word of Wisdom laws, and the Internet today. Timing plays a role.

To go back to the apple tree analogy...100 years ago...many of the apples I threw away may have been used up and eaten and people wonder how anyone could think they are anything but perfectly good, and fine apples. Well...in today's world...when I can go to the grocery store and pickup perfect and huge apples...well...these ones in my yard are relatively inferior. Why eat them when I can have better? But when there was no "better" in the past...they were good fruit.

Often we judge today's experiences by past standards. Sometimes that is good. Not always. We progress and develop. We need modern prophets.

But timing is everything.

More to your point, nibbler....I don't have to judge the tree as producing good or bad fruit only by the unripe ones I picked too soon, or the rotting ones I picked too late. I should realize the role I play in the timing of it and what I did to properly judge based on experience, wisdom and knowledge. Timing is everything.

Sometimes the scripture I read 10 years ago means something completely different to me today. Words didn't change...but the taste in my mouth does.

I'm grateful for that...it is why scripture continues to be efficacious over hundreds of years.

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 22 Sep 2016, 15:25
by Heber13
Weaselgirl wrote:I mean, is this part of the Church culture, this weird unrealistic expectation of absolute perfection the reason why there is so much fear and shame attached to making a mistake?
I think so in many cases, Weaselgirl. Somtimes that attitude holds us back as a church. However, not everyone is like that. But I have experienced it too much, and see the shame and guilt and drive towards perfection...and I seek to have a more loving and more accepting church welcome us into the chapels as we are, not a sign outside the church door that reads "You must be this tall spiritually to enter".

But I believe the temples are setup that way. And so..we have let that flow too much in to too many things in our church...and it holds us back from welcoming and loving more people.

We have so many inactives in our ward that simply don't feel welcome to come to church, have been offended, or feel like they need to be more worthy before they try to come back to church.

And that makes me sad.

I teach my kids how special they are, and allow them to make mistakes, and love them anyway. I sometimes think I'm too liberal...so I understand it is not easy for church members to know how to hold high standards and also being accepting and loving. To me...that is why we have church...to practice balancing these things.

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 22 Sep 2016, 16:02
by FaithfulSkeptic
This is such a great discussion! It's so great for me to get different perspectives on how people view their faith. Thanks so much for your comments. And keep them coming! :thumbup: :clap:

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 23 Sep 2016, 06:31
by Heber13
I wonder what the tipping point is for some people who can no longer believe JS a prophet. What does it?

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 23 Sep 2016, 07:56
by Holy Cow
Heber13 wrote:I wonder what the tipping point is for some people who can no longer believe JS a prophet. What does it?
Heber, just want to make sure I understand your question. Are you asking what the tipping point is pushes people over the line from believing that JS was a prophet, to no longer accepting him as a prophet?
If that's what you're asking, then I would say, for me, it isn't just one thing. As I started learning about JS's life, I became more and more shocked, the more I learned. But, there wasn't one single event that pushed me over the line. It wasn't until I looked at his life as a whole that I decided that I couldn't believe that he was a prophet. I have no problem with him making mistakes. I have no expectations that a prophet has to be perfect. For me, it was just the way he lived his life. The treasure digging and magic stuff in the beginning, the Fanny Alger affair, the marriages that he told women to keep secret from Emma, the Council of 50, the Danites, the presidential run, the Nauvoo Legion, the Book of Abraham, the way he dealt with people who disagreed with him. It goes on and on and on. When I start to look at his life as a whole, I see him spending a lot more of his time on kingdom-building, raising himself up above others, and becoming increasingly grandiose as time went on. I just feel like I would have to adjust my definition of a 'prophet' so far, that it would then include anybody and everybody, and I believe that defiles the title of 'prophet.' It makes more sense, to me, to let go of trying to come up with creative ways to be increasingly flexible in order to call him a prophet. I know this is only my perspective, but for me, JS's life was full of bad fruit, and the good fruit was few and far between. It just seemed like his life became more focused on building up his own kingdom, and focusing on his own prestige and pleasures, and wasn't much focused on building Christ's kingdom. He talked about building Christ's kingdom, but to me personally, feels like it was a smoke screen.
So, there isn't one thing that was the tipping point for me. It's the way he lived his entire life. I believe God can speak to all of us, and work through all of us, but I don't believe that makes us all prophets.

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 23 Sep 2016, 09:16
by Heber13
You answered my question, HC. That is what I was wondering...because I think there are valid reasons why at some point a person rejects JS as a prophet. And I don't want this thread to only be about how JS can be considered a prophet despite the problems. I want the discussion with both sides of the scale. It helps me understand both perspectives. And you know what Obi-wan says about truth and perspectices ;)

I'd like to hear from others too. Including you lurkers out there :wave:

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 23 Sep 2016, 16:17
by Shawn
What about from D&C 121:34-40?
...the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we...exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man....

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 24 Sep 2016, 08:44
by Heber13
I like that scripture that came through the prophet :)

I actually see it applies in many ways.

Is it possible it would apply for a while, until repentance brings the man back in line to be worthy of the priesthood again? Kind of like losing those periods of time when revelation ceased with Joseph, and then later, start to receive revelation again as he worked through his issues?

Or once power and authority is "amen"-ed, is it forever gone as an absolute? No good apples?

How do you believe God works with his children?

Re: What's My Line?

Posted: 24 Sep 2016, 16:29
by ydeve
I feel like we in the church conflate two completely different concepts in the word "prophet". One is "God's mouthpiece", and the other is "someone who holds the keys of administration in the church". I don't think these two concepts are the same at all.

Joseph Smith taught that
A prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such.
This is clearly referring to the first definition. If you look at the Old Testament and even some BoM prophets like Abinadi, they weren't part of the administrative structure of the church. The people at the time didn't recognize them as prophets. And yet this is how we regard them today. How I understand JS's quote is that what makes someone a prophet isn't authority in their position, but rather the words they speak being in agreement with the will of God. Another way to look at it is no one permanently has the position of "prophet" (first definition), since they are only such when they are speaking God's words. And yes, it means that there can be (and often are) a great many "prophets" around at the same time.
Numbers 11:29 wrote:And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
I accept that JS was a prophet when he spoke the words of God and wasn't a prophet when his words and actions were contrary to God's will. The same goes for the Q15. Christ taught that "by their fruits ye shall know them." We can know when someone is acting as a prophet by the fruits that their words (back to Alma's seed analogy) bring to our lives.