False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

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DonBradley
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by DonBradley »

by the way, a much more stark version of this sort of dichotomy is provided in the Bible, which mandates that if someone, purporting prophethood, prophesies something and the prophecy fails, they are to be stoned to death as a false prophet.

Yet there's quite a bit of scholarship showing that some biblical prophecies, even from such archetypal prophets as Jeremiah, failed. The fundamentalists would never admit this, of course. They'll go into all kinds of contortions to have the false prophecies in the Bible be actually true. But if we lay aside such apologetic thinking in both Mormonism and Christianity it becomes clear that neither could survive the kind of this kind of dichotomy that requires a prophet to always be right.

Don

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by grindael »

DonBradley wrote:Grindael,

Yes, there were past LDS church leaders who taught that they, or some other prophet couldn't be mistaken.

In this teaching, they were mistaken.

Any other questions?

Don


According to you they were mistaken, but not according to them. This doctrine was there from the beginning. No error in the "revelations". Therefore, it is not a "non argument", nor a false dichotomy, (from their point of view, which is all that matters here) it is the simple truth. This is not about what individuals believe, but what the leadership of the church taught and believed.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by grindael »

CaliforniaKid wrote:
DonBradley wrote:Suppose I say, "I never told you I was perfect, but there are no errors in the message board posts that I have made." Now, explain to me how this statement obligates anyone to accept my message board posts in their totality or reject them in their totality, rather than accepting what I've written selectively.

Ready. Set. Go...!

This is an excellent point well stated.

But while the Richards and Smith statements don't consitute a compelling logical case for dichotomized reading, they do supply a compelling social constraint. The institutional Church takes these statements as gospel and teaches its members that these are the only ways to read the scriptures, which means anyone who wants to carve out a middle way is not only tilting against an awful lot of momentum and tradition, but also risks divorcing the scriptures from the very social context that makes them meaningful.


Exactly. But Don's point is apples and oranges. He is not claiming to be the Oracle of the Message Boards speaking with divine authority "what the Lord would say if he were here." (Marion G. Romney, 1945). To overturn this teaching, you must fundamentally change what the Church claims to be at its core, which I'm not sure the leadership is going to go for.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Sammy Jankins »

DonBradley wrote:Grindael,

Yes, there were past LDS church leaders who taught that they, or some other prophet couldn't be mistaken.

In this teaching, they were mistaken.

Any other questions?

Don


Why doesn't God clarify that? From a believers perspective this false dichotomy (created by God prophets, not critics) is setting people up for failure. Not only is this not clarified, it is being reinforced. As recently as October General Conference Russell Nelson stated

“Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray.

“And as you teach your missionaries to focus their eyes on us, teach them to never follow those who think they know more about how to administer the affairs of the Church than … Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ do” through the priesthood leaders who have the keys to preside.

“I have discovered in my ministry that those who have become lost [and] confused are typically those who have most often … forgotten that when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve speak with a united voice, it is the voice of the Lord for that time. The Lord reminds us, ‘Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’ [D&C 1:38].”5

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by grindael »

They'll go into all kinds of contortions to have the false prophecies in the Bible be actually true. But if we lay aside such apologetic thinking in both Mormonism and Christianity it becomes clear that neither could survive the kind of this kind of dichotomy that requires a prophet to always be right.


And yet today, we have many branches of Christianity (still surviving) who still quote Deuteronomy as a credential for prophetic infallibility:

17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. (Deuteronomy 18)

Where in modern Mormonism does anyone admit that Thomas Monson has or will give a false prophecy (or "revelation") or that he even can?

False prophets and false teachers are those who declare that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a duplicitous deceiver; they challenge the First Vision as an authentic experience. They declare that the Book of Mormon and other canonical works are not ancient records of scripture. They also attempt to redefine the nature of the Godhead, and they deny that God has given and continues to give revelation today to His ordained and sustained prophets.

False prophets and false teachers are those who arrogantly attempt to fashion new interpretations of the scriptures to demonstrate that these sacred texts should not be read as God’s words to His children but merely as the utterances of uninspired men, limited by their own prejudices and cultural biases. They argue, therefore, that the scriptures require new interpretation and that they are uniquely qualified to offer that interpretation. ...However, in the Lord’s Church there is no such thing as a “loyal opposition.” One is either for the kingdom of God and stands in defense of God’s prophets and apostles, or one stands opposed. (M. Russell Ballard, 1999)


We have a prophet living on the earth today. This prophet is the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has the right to revelation for the entire Church. He holds “the keys of the kingdom,” meaning that he has the authority to direct the entire Church and kingdom of God on earth, including the administration of priesthood ordinances (see Matthew 16:19). No person except the chosen prophet and President can receive God’s will for the entire membership of the Church. The Lord said, “There is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred” (D&C 132:7). The President of the Church is assisted by his counselors in the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, who are also prophets, seers, and revelators.

We should do those things the prophets tell us to do. President Wilford Woodruff said that a prophet will never be allowed to lead the Church astray:

“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2004], 199). ... We should follow his inspired teachings completely. We should not choose to follow part of his inspired counsel and discard that which is unpleasant or difficult. The Lord commanded us to follow the inspired teachings of His prophet:

“Thou shalt give heed unto all his [the prophet’s] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (D&C 21:4–5).

The Lord will never allow the President of the Church to lead us astray. (Gospel Principles, brackets in original)


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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by grindael »

TROLLBIN wrote:Don,

Oh boy, grindael is on a real tear now and he is such a confused soul. I think that is part of his psychosis of I'm-not-biased-and-can-never-be-wrong-or-completely-misunderstand-things. I don't mean to steal your thunder, but it is sad to see someone misunderstand quotes so badly. Anyway, I think his confusion lies around what a prophet is. For example, is a prophet a perfect hand-puppet for God? Do they lose their humanity and are they forever-more incapable of making a single mortal mistake? According to grindael, that comical caricature of a prophet is the one that he would like foisted on us. Or maybe instead Mormon prophets feel they are called of God and feel inspired by God and don't feel mistaken (or apologetic) about that. But of course, you'd have to be open to a different view than the narrow distorted world in which grindael lives.

Tobin


This idiotic straw man is really comical. It is Mormon "prophets" themselves who set up their own dichotomy, (as I have proven) not me. (I never once said they could not make a "single mortal mistake" - Brigham Young did though, about Joseph Smith and his "revelations"). What a stupid thing to glean from what I did say. But that is lost on this troll, who just can't seem to help making a fool out of himself with every comment he makes. I'm not the one claiming to have had space aliens visit me to critique my sex life, that is all Trollbin. Talk about confused! :lol:
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by grindael »

Kishkumen wrote:Thanks to everyone for your interesting and thought provoking contributions. I had not intended for this to be an argument about whether Mormonism itself was a black-and-white belief system. My intention was to point out the silliness of making the acceptance or rejection of certain interpretations, some of them obviously lacking priesthood authority, the litmus test for true faith.

I am on my phone right now, so I can't respond at length to some of the other posts here. I look forward to returning to this when I can do so more conveniently. Excellent points have been made and I want to respond to them.


Noted. What brought me to my comment was one of the links provided in the original article you sited by Boylan. Here is Stephen Smoot:

Turning to Price’s contention that Joseph Smith was the “inspired author” of the Book of Mormon, the question of whether God would actually inspire a liar is a non-issue for Price, who is an avowed atheist.38 Indeed, Price seems to see the “inspiration” of the Book of Mormon in the same sense that one would see “inspiration” in the works of Shakespeare or Homer, i.e., nothing more than an excellent literary quality. Because there is no God, Price’s “inspiration” means anything except actual revelation. This has not stopped Price from arguing that the Book of Mormon is no more a hoax than are the fictional works of other great authors. “We ought to realize,” Price opines, “that for Joseph Smith to be the author of the Book of Mormon, with Moroni and Mormon as narrators, makes moot the old debates over whether Smith was a hoaxer or charlatan.”39 By way of comparison, Price asks if Herman Melville and Shakespeare should also be considered hoaxers because they too wrote their fictional narratives in first person, introducing new fictional characters in the process.40

This argument falls flat as soon as one realizes that Joseph Smith never claimed the Book of Mormon was fiction like the works of Melville or Shakespeare. He claimed to have translated by miraculous means an ancient record written on real, tangible, physical golden plates given to him by an angel who was once an ancient Nephite prophet and one of the principle authors of the very book Joseph Smith translated. “[T]o my knowledge,” Hamblin quips in response to Price, “Shakespeare never said that the resurrected Hamlet appeared to him in a dream and gave him a prewritten play Hamlet on golden plates. Shakespeare also never claimed to have been resurrected and ascended into heaven. Frankly, the two examples are not even slightly analogous.”41

To insist on such mercurial definitions of “scripture” and “inspiration” is to make these crucial concepts meaningless, since anything that strikes one’s fancy could be qualified as “scripture” or “inspired,” if one followed Price’s opinion. Or, to paraphrase Robert Alter, “[this] concept of [scripture] becomes so elastic that it threatens to lose descriptive value.”42 Within the understanding of the Latter-day Saints, what gives a text “inspiration” and makes it “scripture” is not its literary merit, but rather when the text is created under the influence of the Holy Ghost (see Doctrine and Covenants 68:4). Price may call any work of literary excellence “scripture” if he likes, but for him to call the Book of Mormon “scripture” while denying that it comes from God is to introduce a concept totally alien to the faith of the Saints. ("The Imperative for a Historical Book of Mormon", Stephen O. Smoot, http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-im ... of-mormon/)


This is what Don was trying to argue to me, that his comments on the internet are comparable (in analogy) to "inspired" words of Mormon Prophets. It's at the heart of the argument. This (IMO) is the mindset of those like Boylan, who cannot conceive of the argument in any other way. All or nothing. Watch where Smoot goes with this,

But how could the Book of Mormon possibly convince others of the truthfulness of biblical teachings if it is fraudulent? And why would God use a book created under false pretenses to serve as the star witness of his existence in the latter days? What are we to think of these prophecies concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon if they were penned no earlier than 1829, and if the genesis of their content is not with Joseph of Egypt, Lehi, or a resurrected Jesus, but instead Joseph Smith? Are we to give God credibility or exhibit any faith in his powers if these passages amount to nothing more than language penned by Joseph Smith about himself? Furthermore, how is a supposedly fictional historical account in the Book of Mormon supposed to convince latter day Jews, Gentiles and the remnant of the house of Israel that Jesus is the Christ, and has made ancient covenants with their forefathers which are to be fulfilled in the last days?56 (Smoot, ibid)


...as Givens writes elsewhere, what outrages rival Christian denominations to this day isn’t so much “the content [of the Book of Mormon],” which sincere Christians could hardly object to, “but rather its manner of appearing; its has typically been judged not on the merits of what it says, but what it enacts.”58 For the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly the primary evidence for Joseph Smith’s divine call. What more could a skeptical world ask for in the way of proof of a genuine prophet than an unlearned New England farm boy “[finding] through the ministration of an holy angel, and translat[ing] into our own language by the gift and power of God”59 an ancient record written in “hieroglyphics, the knowledge of which was lost to the world”?60 Perceptive scholars like Paul C. Gutjahr recognize this clearly. “The presence of a new sacred text testified to the special status and powers of Joseph, who had translated it, and in turn Joseph testified to the truth of the book through his continuing revelations from God” writes Gutjahr in a refreshingly honest and evenhanded non-Mormon treatment of the Book of Mormon. “Neither the Prophet nor the book would, without the other, wield the oracular power each enjoyed.”61

It is therefore upon the Book of Mormon that Latter-day Saints build their confidence in not only Joseph Smith as a prophet, but the divinity of Christ and his Church. President Ezra Taft Benson taught

...that the Church stand[s] or fall[s] with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try and disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon is true . . . then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.62

Without the historicity of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith has no genuine prophetic qualifications. When the historicity of the Book of Mormon, and by implication the historicity of the Restoration, is sacrificed on the altar of the Inspired Fiction theory, Joseph Smith goes in an instant from being a “choice seer” (2 Nephi 3:7) chosen by God to reveal a new dispensation of the gospel to just another sad example of the type of religious imposter well known throughout history. At best he becomes a well meaning but deluded quack, and at worst a pathological liar. “It should be obvious,” writes Daniel C. Peterson, “that, if the Book of Mormon were false, little or nothing that is distinctive to our faith would stand. Joseph Smith’s prophetic mission and all of the other revelations that came through him would be called into question.”63 It should be obvious, but for some inexplicable reason this simple point seems to elude proponents of the Inspired Fiction theory. (Smoot, ibid)


This is why Callister's argument is THE argument they (Apologists) use when defending the Book of Mormon against it being fiction:

That is the genius of the Book of Mormon—there is no middle ground. It is either the word of God as professed or it is a total fraud. This book does not merely claim to be a moral treatise or theological commentary or collection of insightful writings. Like the Bible, it claims to be the word of God---written on gold plates, delivered to Joseph by a heavenly angel an translated by the gift and power of God. If that story is true, then the Book of Mormon is the holy word of God, just as it claims to be; if not, it is a sophisticated but nonetheless diabolical hoax that needs to be rejected and exposed by every honest seeker of truth. (Tad R. Callister, The Blueprint of Christ’s Church [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2015], 311).


The Willard Richards story is simply a cog in the wheel of this argument. All or nothing.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by DonBradley »

grindael wrote:
According to you they were mistaken, but not according to them. This doctrine was there from the beginning. No error in the "revelations". Therefore, it is not a "non argument", nor a false dichotomy, (from their point of view, which is all that matters here) it is the simple truth. This is not about what individuals believe, but what the leadership of the church taught and believed.


Absolute nonsense. Where the rubber meets the road it's always the individual who decides whether, and what, he or she will believe about a religion. Neither the religion's leaders nor anyone else can decide for someone what they will believe.

You're also cherry picking your quotes to support the dichotomy, when opposing quotes can be found as well. While you quote Joseph Smith as saying that there is no error in the revelations he has taught, you could just as well, and opposingly, quote his statement to David Whitmer after the Canadian copyright revelation failed: "Some revelations are of God, some are of man, and some are of the devil." Far from setting up the simple dichotomy you claim, Smith acknowledged that at least one of his revelations was not from God.

Hyrum Smith, as recalled by Abraham O. Smoot in the Provo School of the Prophets, used to say, about making prophecies, that "if you hit once in 10 times, that is all right."

The Book of Mormon acknowledges its possible errors on its title page.

And so on.

But even without these quotes, the illogic of argument is present on so many levels.

For example, you cite a statement by Joseph Smith saying that there are no errors in his revelations while ignoring that 1) asserting that his revelations are all right his not the same as staking his prophethood on that assertion, 2) the statement itself is not in a revelation, and therefore not necessarily correct under the terms of the statement, and 3) the Bible does explicitly stake a prophet's prophethood on his inerrancy, yet the biblical prophets, in whom you believe, make demonstrably false prophecies. If you reject Smith, who didn't stake his prophethood on his revelatory inerrancy for his errors, you've got many times over the reason to reject the biblical prophets for theirs. Yet you don't, suggesting that the supposed force of your logic is lost even on you.

Don

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by DonBradley »

Sammy Jankins wrote:
DonBradley wrote:Grindael,

Yes, there were past LDS church leaders who taught that they, or some other prophet couldn't be mistaken.

In this teaching, they were mistaken.

Any other questions?

Don


Why doesn't God clarify that? From a believers perspective this false dichotomy (created by God prophets, not critics) is setting people up for failure. Not only is this not clarified, it is being reinforced. As recently as October General Conference Russell Nelson stated

“Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray.

“And as you teach your missionaries to focus their eyes on us, teach them to never follow those who think they know more about how to administer the affairs of the Church than … Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ do” through the priesthood leaders who have the keys to preside.

“I have discovered in my ministry that those who have become lost [and] confused are typically those who have most often … forgotten that when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve speak with a united voice, it is the voice of the Lord for that time. The Lord reminds us, ‘Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’ [D&C 1:38].”5


Sammy,

The continued dichotomizing baffles me. I really don't see what good people expect to come from this rhetorical posture.

Don

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

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DonBradley wrote:by the way, a much more stark version of this sort of dichotomy is provided in the Bible, which mandates that if someone, purporting prophethood, prophesies something and the prophecy fails, they are to be stoned to death as a false prophet.

Yet there's quite a bit of scholarship showing that some biblical prophecies, even from such archetypal prophets as Jeremiah, failed. The fundamentalists would never admit this, of course. They'll go into all kinds of contortions to have the false prophecies in the Bible be actually true. But if we lay aside such apologetic thinking in both Mormonism and Christianity it becomes clear that neither could survive the kind of this kind of dichotomy that requires a prophet to always be right.

Don

At LDS meetings, is there open and frequent discussion about each member's views about which statements, say made at the most recent General Conference, are true and which are not? Or, is it an overriding implication if not explicitly expressed that the members are to follow all the words and teachings of the prophets?

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Themis »

DonBradley wrote:
grindael wrote:
According to you they were mistaken, but not according to them. This doctrine was there from the beginning. No error in the "revelations". Therefore, it is not a "non argument", nor a false dichotomy, (from their point of view, which is all that matters here) it is the simple truth. This is not about what individuals believe, but what the leadership of the church taught and believed.


Absolute nonsense. Where the rubber meets the road it's always the individual who decides whether, and what, he or she will believe about a religion. Neither the religion's leaders nor anyone else can decide for someone what they will believe.


If one does not want to believe what a religion requires then one will not be welcome. I doubt I could stay out of trouble for long if I were promoting the idea of the Book of Mormon being inspired fiction.

You're also cherry picking your quotes to support the dichotomy, when opposing quotes can be found as well. While you quote Joseph Smith as saying that there is no error in the revelations he has taught, you could just as well, and opposingly, quote his statement to David Whitmer after the Canadian copyright revelation failed: "Some revelations are of God, some are of man, and some are of the devil." Far from setting up the simple dichotomy you claim, Smith acknowledged that at least one of his revelations was not from God.


I'm sure we can find quotes saying all kinds of things, but my experience in the church and church history is that they do promote the idea of Joseph's revelations being very very accurate and things like the Book of Mormon being essentially all true or all false in the sense of coming from God and being about a real people. The Canadian copyright revelation is not something you see Joseph or the church promoting even though he probably did at the time make an excuse for it.

by the way I think this post from Brad is the best one of the thread

Brad Hudson

I agree, Don. When a prophet speaks, his followers cannot rely on his designation as prophet to answer the question: Is the prophet speaking for God? But I think your line of reasoning leads to the conclusion that there is no reliable means of telling whether anyone is speaking for God. I think that leaves you in the same place as me -- sorting through things lots of people have said in trying to decide how to live my life. I just don't operate under the illusion that I can spot the word of God among all those words.
42

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by grindael »

DonBradley wrote:
grindael wrote:
According to you they were mistaken, but not according to them. This doctrine was there from the beginning. No error in the "revelations". Therefore, it is not a "non argument", nor a false dichotomy, (from their point of view, which is all that matters here) it is the simple truth. This is not about what individuals believe, but what the leadership of the church taught and believed.

Absolute nonsense. Where the rubber meets the road it's always the individual who decides whether, and what, he or she will believe about a religion. Neither the religion's leaders nor anyone else can decide for someone what they will believe.

My argument is not absolute nonsense Don, but proven by the statements of Mormon “authorities”. What you are doing is injecting something else into the argument -- that somehow them claiming that their “revelations” are infallible, has anything to do with what an individual BELIEVES. They are two separate and distinct issues. Leaders can claim they are the “Oracles” of God all they want, and claim that what they say (as Mormon “authorities” absolutely do) that they speak for and as God and that if they do not they would be “taken”, and that has absolutely nothing to do with whether anyone BELIEVES them or not. That is not my point or contention. You are making it yours, and therefore mischaracterizing my argument.

DonBradley wrote:You're also cherry picking your quotes to support the dichotomy, when opposing quotes can be found as well. While you quote Joseph Smith as saying that there is no error in the revelations he has taught, you could just as well, and opposingly, quote his statement to David Whitmer after the Canadian copyright revelation failed: "Some revelations are of God, some are of man, and some are of the devil." Far from setting up the simple dichotomy you claim, Smith acknowledged that at least one of his revelations was not from God.

I’m not cherry picking quotes. They are MASSIVE in my favor. Are you really going to throw out a quote made some 50 years later? By the questionable David Whitmer? Where are the contemporary quotes, Don? Or at least half a dozen to support your argument made by Mormon “authorities” who were apostles under Smith. You are also preaching to the choir here, since I’m convinced Jo was a fraud. But that doesn’t change what he TAUGHT, backed up by Brigham Young, who knew him better than almost anyone. And others who also knew him well.
DonBradley wrote:Hyrum Smith, as recalled by Abraham O. Smoot in the Provo School of the Prophets, used to say, about making prophecies, that "if you hit once in 10 times, that is all right."

Again, a quote long after the fact and made in private and not taught to the general Church membership on the stand. What is the context for this quote? Do you have the entire entry? Talk about cherry picking.

DonBradley wrote:The Book of Mormon acknowledges its possible errors on its title page.

Really? Errors in the printing, not the revelations. Show me where it acknowledges that. Joseph Smith claimed,
"I wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated; …and that said title-page is not…a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation" (HC 1:71.).

So, who is acknowledging errors? Jo or Moroni?

So what is this directed at? We have no idea. He claims that the Book was written “by the spirit of prophecy and revelation”, and later claimed that there were “no errors in the revelations I have taught.” So what errors does he speak of? Most likely printing errors. As John S. Dinger writes,

In 1837, LDS Church members Parley P. Pratt (1807-57) and John Goodson (1814?-74?) republished the Book of Mormon in Kirtland, Ohio. Though it took seven years for a second printing, Church leaders had discussed republication as early as 1833. On June 25, 1833, the First Presidency (composed of Smith and two counselors) wrote a letter to Church printer W. W. Phelps in Missouri regarding the reprinting of the Book of Mormon, and stated: “As soon as we can get time, we will review the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, after which they will be forwarded to you.”9 Other printing-related projects and the subsequent destruction of the LDS Church-owned printing press in Independence, Missouri, by angry non-Mormons delayed the printing of a second edition of the Book of Mormon.

The second edition was financed by Pratt and Goodson, who were given permission to publish up to 5,000 copies; however, it is likely that only 3,000 were actually printed.10 Though published in the United States, many copies of the 1837 edition were taken to England, where they were distributed or sold by LDS proselyzting missionaries. This printing filled a need on both continents.

With this second edition, like virtually every edition that followed, changes were made to the text of the volume. As indicated by the letter to Phelps, Smith, and others–mostly Cowdery–worked to make the second edition of the Book of Mormon more closely follow the original manuscripts.11 Smith and Cowdery checked the 1830 edition against the Printer’s Manuscript in the winter of 1836 and into early 1837, marking up the Printer’s Manuscript in the process. As a result, Smith authorized more than 2,000 changes, mostly grammatical, to the text. The preface to the 1837 edition states: “Individuals acquainted with book printings, are aware of the numerous typographical errors which always occur in manuscript editions. It is only necessary to say, that the whole has been carefully re-examined and compared with the original manuscript” (p. v).

These are the errors that Smith speaks of, not the revelatory part of the Book of Mormon, which Smith claimed was given by God and contained no errors. He called it the most correct book on earth as you know.

DonBradley wrote:But even without these quotes, the illogic of argument is present on so many levels.


That’s not my problem, but the problem of the Mormon “authorities” that make the illogical argument that you are attributing to me.

DonBradley wrote:For example, you cite a statement by Joseph Smith saying that there are no errors in his revelations while ignoring that 1) asserting that his revelations are all right his not the same as staking his prophethood on that assertion,


He did not just assert that his revelations were “all right”. He claimed SPECIFICALLY that there were NO ERRORS IN THE REVELATIONS I HAVE TAUGHT. You are reading into it what YOU want it to say Don, not what Smith ACTUALLY says. You are the one ignoring what Smith actually said.
DonBradley wrote:2) the statement itself is not in a revelation, and therefore not necessarily correct under the terms of the statement, and 3)

Here is the entry from the HOC:

Sunday, 12.—At 10 a.m. I preached at the Stand. The following brief synopsis of my discourse was reported by my clerk, Thomas Bullock:
President Joseph Smith's Address—DEFENSE OF HIS PROPHETIC CALLING—Resurrection of the Dead—Fullness of Ordinances Necessary Both for the Living and Dead.

When did I ever teach anything wrong from this stand? When was I ever confounded? I want to triumph in Israel before I depart hence and am no more seen. I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught. Must I, then, be thrown away as a thing of naught?

I enjoin for your consideration—add to your faith virtue, love, &c. I say, in the name of the Lord, if these things are in you, you shall be [p.367] fruitful. I testify that no man has power to reveal it but myself—things in heaven, in earth and hell; and all shut your mouths for the future. I commend you all to God, that you may inherit all things; and may God add His blessing. Amen. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.366

There is a difference between binding scripture and scripture spoken by the power of the Holy Ghost. This line of reasoning by you is pretty desperate. Even BH Roberts knew Jo was defending his prophetic calling in this speech.
DonBradley wrote:the Bible does explicitly stake a prophet's prophethood on his inerrancy, yet the biblical prophets, in whom you believe, make demonstrably false prophecies.

Not according to LDS.org or the Church they don’t . Please SHOW me ANYWHERE, in ANY church publication where they claim that Biblical prophets make “demonstrably false prophecies”!
Victor Ludlow doesn’t mention it: https://www.LDS.org/ensign/1990/10/unlo ... y?lang=eng
DonBradley wrote:If you reject Smith, who didn't stake his prophethood on his revelatory inerrancy for his errors, you've got many times over the reason to reject the biblical prophets for theirs. Yet you don't, suggesting that the supposed force of your logic is lost even on you.

Where are you getting this from? You are putting words in my mouth that I didn’t say. Smith did stake his prophethood on his revelatory inerrancy, because he SAID SO. Brigham Young SAID SO. Other “prophets” have SAID SO. They can’t err in “revelation” because God would TAKE THEM. What about this don’t you understand? How am I cherry picking this? Show me otherwise by more than a couple of lame quotes. What I believe or don’t believe about the Bible is totally irrelevant. You are trying to make this about ME, not about what THEY SAID. I’m very surprised that you would.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Kishkumen »

It looks like Don is handling the issue better than I ever could. The man knows his stuff. He's one of the best scholars of Mormonism alive today. We are fortunate to have him pop by.

Despite the fact that I am no Don Bradley, I bring my own perspective to the table. And, I am in a sharing mood, so what the heck.

I am absolutely thrilled by recent developments among independently minded conservative Mormons, because if there were any group of LDS people who could effectively challenge the corporation, they would be the ones. Of course, I approach this whole thing as an unconventional Mormon by any standard. So, I am not particularly concerned whether Joseph Smith bragged about the correctness of his revelations (like he was going to be humble about them) or Wilford Woodruff loves spiritual tyranny. I am not obliged to buy into any of that. Neither is anyone else, really.

Those who have decided that Mormonism is all crap of course revel in the black and white view spouted by certain apologists, embraced by many Mormons, and they can support it with numerous quotes. That is fine. They repudiate Mormonism, find it stupid as well as unsupported by the kind of evidence they are looking for, so they will support that view any way they can. I am untroubled by that.

I start threads like this for the people who like being Mormon in some way and want to continue being Mormon--the people who see something good in it that they can work with. I don't start these threads for the folks who overwhelmingly see the bad, want nothing to do with it, and want to make sure everyone else see Mormonism for the utter fraud they believe it to be. I harbor no ill will toward such people, really. In fact, I consider many of them to be dear friends. I feel I can understand where they are coming from.

I stand by Paul's statement about seeing through a glass darkly. And, my faith and hope is that one day we will see things more clearly. It may never happen. But, it is something that I would love to have happen. I would love it if I survived the death of my natural body and understood things better than I do now. No, I am not banking on it, but I do hope and I would love it if it were true. I appreciate those people, be they people of faith or skeptics, who hunger to know more and understand better, and who are open minded enough and humble enough to see that we don't see through the glass clearly and probably won't for a long time yet.

In that spirit, I have a real difficult time, based on the evidence I have seen, trusting that anyone is much more than a fellow traveler on this trip. In other words, there is no way that I am going to place myself unquestioningly under the domination of a person who makes extravagant claims to special authority or divine insight. I am not saying I am closed to the idea of divine inspiration. I believe I have experienced inspiration. But that is quite different from saying that there is one person on the earth with special authority and everyone else has to go through that guy to obtain salvation. In my view, it is beneath the dignity of free, rational human beings to follow such a path.

So, yes, I don't think very much of the whole idea that the Book of Mormon is exactly what Joseph Smith claimed it to be or some kind of Satanic deception. In fact, that sounds completely stupid to me. Joseph Smith himself may have said so, and I feel no obligation to frame the question on his terms. I am responsible for my own quest for truth in this life. It is my life, and I will live it according to my best lights. I will not abdicate my personal spiritual and intellectual freedom and hand it over to kindly elders in Salt Lake City or self-appointed defenders of the faith.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by DonBradley »

sock puppet wrote:At LDS meetings, is there open and frequent discussion about each member's views about which statements, say made at the most recent General Conference, are true and which are not? Or, is it an overriding implication if not explicitly expressed that the members are to follow all the words and teachings of the prophets?


Sock,

The latter. Plainly, I disagree with the presumption that all leaders' statements are de facto true.

Don

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Res Ipsa »

Kish, having a fellow traveler such as you is about as much as one could hope for on this journey.

As always, the fallacy of the excluded middle is just silly.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Maksutov »

Brad Hudson wrote:Kish, having a fellow traveler such as you is about as much as one could hope for on this journey.

As always, the fallacy of the excluded middle is just silly.


It was Kishkumen's writing that impelled me to register and hang out here. Reading one of his posts gave my brain a boner and I liked it. :eek:
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Symmachus »

I am grateful, noble Kishkumen, that you would ever deign to respond to my comments. You are a venerable and marmoreal pillar here, I an unbaked brick.

In mulling over your response, it occurs to me that we might be talking about slightly different things, or at least that you might be talking about a wider range of issues than I was in my reply. What does leap out at me in your reply is the social element you focus on, and that's as important as the scholarship, which is and should remain a communal enterprise.

In this regard, then I certainly agree that Givens, Miller, etc. are on a totally different plane from the old FARMSians, a fraternity which clearly brooks no dissent among the membership (exhibit A: how they treat Bokovoy) and sees little need if any for discussion with outsiders unless they're fawning (exhibit B: Margaret Barker v. Owen). Given that livelihoods are involved (well, except for the continuing-in-status FARMSians), that kind of openness certainly is no small thing and, I admit, is probably reflective of a more open intellectual attitude, even if it hasn't yet translated into less or less-ish orthodox Mormonism in their scholarship.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Symmachus »

Maksutov wrote:It was Kishkumen's writing that impelled me to register and hang out here. Reading one of his posts gave my brain a boner and I liked it. :eek:


Same here + Dr. Scratch's reportage + DarthJ's utterly superb argument for an ancient Roman setting for the Book of Mormon.

Brad Hudson wrote:Kish, having a fellow traveler such as you is about as much as one could hope for on this journey.

As always, the fallacy of the excluded middle is just silly.


On other hand, one must be aware of what one of my venerable teachers used to call the "metaxic fallacy": the idea that the truth must lie in the middle ground between two falsehoods, aka the golden mean fallacy or, as our dear friend Dan Wotherspoon might put it: nuance.

Come to think of it, he might have been more venereal than venerable, and it might have been a metallic phallus, and I might have had too much to drink.
"As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them."

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by KevinSim »

Maksutov wrote:Reverend, I'm reminded of the arguments of C. S. Lewis and Josh McDowell and their "trilemma". Very convenient for Lewis and McDowell to limit possibilities to "Lord, Liar or Lunatic" while ignoring additional options, such as the Gospel records being incomplete, erroneous or invented. :wink:

Yes, when Lewis said there were only three possibilities he was actually declaring that Jesus might be a liar, but the Bible itself could never be a liar. That just showed how committed Lewis was to the absolute accuracy of the Bible.
KevinSim

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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by Kishkumen »

Thanks for the kind words, friends. Were it not for the informative, insightful, eloquent, and humorous folks here, I would not continue to return. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to associate with you all, even when we have been cross with each other and disagreed heatedly.

I aspire to live up to your generous praise.

Consul, I have to agree with you regarding the fallacy of assuming the middle is always where the truth is at. Honestly, this is, I think, sometimes a kind of appeasing rhetorical move. Sometimes it's just intellectual laziness. That said, when it comes to spiritual society, there may be a place for the gesture of bridging the gap between potentially contentious differences. And, the language of nuance can, in addition to being weasel words, be a place holder that embraces possibilities not yet fully grasped. I am not saying you are entirely wrong (in fact, the word is overused in progressive Mormon circles).

I am still trying to understand all of this Mormon stuff. Admittedly, there is some navel gazing here. Would I be so interested if I had not been born into it? Certainly not in the same way. I like the idea of the middle not just as a place between two other possible truths or falsehoods, but also as a place between where I came from and where I may end up. The fun for me is learning and being surprised by what I find.
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Re: False Dilemmas and the Faltering of Faith

Post by cafe crema »

DonBradley wrote:
“Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray.

“And as you teach your missionaries to focus their eyes on us, teach them to never follow those who think they know more about how to administer the affairs of the Church than … Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ do” through the priesthood leaders who have the keys to preside.

“I have discovered in my ministry that those who have become lost [and] confused are typically those who have most often … forgotten that when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve speak with a united voice, it is the voice of the Lord for that time. The Lord reminds us, ‘Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’ [D&C 1:38].”5


Sammy,

The continued dichotomizing baffles me. I really don't see what good people expect to come from this rhetorical posture.

Don

It baffles me, why does the LDS church continue to dichotomize this? Those are recent quotes from conference that push that dichotomy right up front.

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