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 Post subject: Self-interest, Prophetic Claims, a 2x2 for Critique
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:19 pm 
Endowed Chair of Historical Innovation
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Money is just one way to serve self-interest.

Upholding the ethos that one speaks on behalf of God, for instance. Incredibly self-interest serving for some, though obviously not for everyone.

I suspect that anyone possessing such a belief -- who genuinely believes -- is likely motivated by some innate desire to do good things. If not, then the person is either insane or a twisted sociopath, which are both pretty easy to spot.

I do not think LDS church leaders are insane or sociopaths. I know quite a few of them, and those interactions have all left me with a sympathetic sense that they believe they're human beings doing God's work with God's authority.

Yet I do not believe, based on observation, that they do in fact speak for God -- that they are true prophets in the LDS sense of the word. Or said differently, I don't believe they speak for the God represented in Mormonism. Whether the actual God is a prankster or a jerk, is for another discussion.

That belief has nothing to do with negating the good things these men do. I expect them to do good things because that's in their nature. They want to serve the God of Mormonism, which is a good God. Selection bias picks church leaders who want to do good. I believe that, and I believe the data supports that.

And so, the doing of good works offers NOTHING by way of signal value for assessing if someone is, or is not, a prophet. Again, in the LDS sense.

A shockingly suspicious failure to do good works also doesn't help, because God may want certain things done a certain way in a certain order.

What is informative? Should we not look instead to the criteria of consistently avoiding bad works and outcomes?

I submit for critical input this "prophet evaluation form", a two-by-two matrix, flattened for textual convenience.

Quote:
Quadrant 1: (X) Claims to be a prophet, (Y) Does some bad works / causes some bad outcomes
  • Be wary, this is not likely a true prophet
  • Not someone to be followed or emulated

Quote:
Quadrant 2: (X) Claims to be a prophet, (Y) Consistently avoids bad works and directly causes no bad outcomes
  • Worthy of consideration as a true prophet
  • Candidate to follow or emulate, subject to individual evaluation and experimentation

Quote:
Quadrant 3: (X) Does not claim to be a prophet, (Y) Does some bad works / causes some bad outcomes
  • Be wary
  • Not someone to be followed or emulated

Quote:
Quadrant 4: (X) Does not claim to be a prophet, (Y) Consistently avoids bad works and directly causes no bad outcomes
  • Worthy of consideration as a neutral to positive influencer
  • Candidate to follow or emulate, subject to individual evaluation and experimentation


As should be evident, in this framework suggests that it should also make absolutely no difference whether someone claims to be a prophet or not. Quadrants 1 and 3 are nearly identical, as are 2 and 4, save for the provisional "prophet" label. In other words, the evaluation of prophet or no prophet is, itself, utterly meaningless. The only thing that matters is behavior and outcomes: someone who consistently avoids bad works and directly causes no bad outcomes is worth of consideration as an influencer and, pending individual evaluation and experimentation, is a candidate to follow or emulate.

Back to my conclusion above. My own journey in evaluating the types, frequency and severity of bad works done and bad outcomes created by various LDS church leaders, from Joseph Smith to present day, concludes that these self-proclaimed prophets are not reliable candidates to follow or emulate. That's my conclusion and that's my framework for reaching it.


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 Post subject: Re: Self-interest, Prophetic Claims, a 2x2 for Critique
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:48 pm 
Seedy Academician
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Location: The Brutus Memorial Rectory at Cassius University
Interesting work, Dr. Moore. I can see why campus is abuzz with excitement about your research. So, if the correlation between good works and prophetic identity is of negligible importance, then what purpose do prophets serve? One must suppose that they were believed to be good for something. Is it just theological window dressing?

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“God came to me in a dream last night and showed me the future. He took me to heaven and I saw Donald Trump seated at the right hand of our Lord.” ~ Pat Robertson
“He says he has eyes to see things that are not . . . and that the angel of the Lord . . . has put him in possession of great wealth, gold, silver, precious stones.” ~ Jesse Smith


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