Sunday, October 05, 2008

Foundation Doctrine and Testimony

There has been considerable debate on the Internet among LDS and our friends of other Christian faiths about what constitutes official LDS Doctrine and what does not. The First Presidency of the LDS Church has released an official statement that reads that not everything a church leader has said on any occasion is necessarily official church doctrine. Instead, some teachings fall under the category of "well-meaning opinion." The criteria for doctrine by the LDS church according to this official statement is that the teaching should be clearly found in LDS scripture, in current LDS Sunday School Manuals, in official First Presidency statements, and/or repeated multiple times by past and present General Authorities of the LDS Church at General Conference and in current church publications such as the Ensign.

Some Christians of other faiths seem to have a difficult time with this statement because the LDS claim its General Authorities are Prophets, Seers, and Revelators like the Apostles and Prophets in the Bible. They tend to expect that these men should be infallible. But the LDS church does not teach a doctrine of infallibility of its leaders. The LDS church teaches that on the whole the Prophet and the majority of the Apostles would never lead the church astray. In other words, not everything said (as we understand it) is necessarily true just because of who these men are. But, if truth is to be revealed by God to man, we know where to look because the Prophets and Apostles of the LDS church hold the keys and authority to receive revelation for the whole church.

That brings up another important issue about the difference between core doctrine and opinion. And that has to do with individual testimony and a personal witness of truth by the Holy Ghost. See, the LDS church does not expect its members to blindly follow our leadership. Every member is expected to pray and ask God if the foundation doctrines of the LDS faith are true and are promised that if we ask with faith that God will reveal the truth of these foundation doctrines to the asker by the Power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, investigators of the LDS church are specifically asked before they are baptized if they have received such a witness and testimony as a prerequisite for baptism. This is done so that the individual member will have an independent witness that the doctrine is true directly from God Himself with no intermediary but Christ. By these means, the individual member develops a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who is our only mediator with the Father. Church leadership assist members with our relationship with Christ and help point us too Christ, but Christ is the only mediator between man and the Father.

So, how does this apply to the conversation with those of other faiths? Some have gone to great effort to scour LDS archives or archival publications such as "Journal of Discourses" and expect LDS to defend any quote they dig up. In some cases, some quotes in older books like "Journal of Discourses" and Orson Pratt's "the Seer" have taken a life of their own. Because some of these quotes are over 100 years old, and have not been commented on by more modern church leaders, it is difficult in many cases to even understand the true meaning and intent of the quote. In fact, many former-LDS I have talked to who question some of these teachings confess that they did not hear these teachings by the missionaries, from LDS scripture, from official LDS Sunday School Manuals, during weekly LDS church services, from current General Authorities of the LDS church in General Conference or in the Ensign (Official monthly LDS publication) or the LDS temple. They routinely say they read it or discovered it on their own.

But there is a more important issue here. And that issue is one of testimony. It is difficult for some to realize that to the LDS, there is a hierarchy of what we know to be true. Others think that everything the LDS church leaders say should exist on the same level. However, LDS believe what we believe because we feel that God Himself has revealed and confirmed to us that certain things are true by the Holy Spirit. What are those things? They are the foundation doctrines of the church such as that God Lives, Jesus is the Christ, the Bible and the Book of Mormon are God's word, that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that the authority of Christ's church was lost from the Earth and priesthood authority was again restored to Joseph Smith and God continues to call Prophets and Apostles today and continues to reveal His will and word through modern prophets.

Now, it is much easier for LDS to discuss any of these issues because we feel we have a testimony and spiritual witness of them. However, when it comes to other esoteric topics that routinely come up in discussion, it is more difficult because although we might have heard the quotes before, we don't necessarily have a divinely acquired witness and testimony that they are true or that we understand what the original intent of the quote. So, we say that such-and-such a quote in not doctrinal and should be considered a well-intended, well-meaning opinion. What adds to the debate is that often, LDS and non-LDS interpret these quotes differently and both sides lack modern, official commentary on these older quotes by Brigham Young or Orson Pratt, for example.

After assigning a particular quote to the level of "well-meaning opinion," The non-LDS often asks how can we consider so-and-so a prophet or apostle and not accept everything they say as absolute, universal, inviolate, inerrant, infallible truth? The reason is that our testimony and belief in Christ does not come from a faith in these leaders alone. Our testimony in Christ and His gospel comes from a spiritual witness from God through the Holy Spirit through prayer to Our Eternal Father in the name of Jesus Christ. Consequently, there are many topics which individual members have not received a spiritual witness on. We may have a spiritual witness from God that Brigham Young was a prophet so, anything Brigham Young says we will keep in consideration. But until more modern Prophets and Apostles comment on the particular quote in question or I receive a personal witness on a certain topic or about certain specific quote, I really cannot defend them.

I consider such quotes to be well-meaning opinion. In other words, because I believe Brigham Young was a true prophet, I will not outright reject what he said, but without personal revelation, I can neither support or reject the quote. I do try to point out if I think someone, who asks about a quote or teaching, is misinterpreting the quote and I will often give my opinion to help that person understand the context of the teaching. But in many cases, the teaching could be true as we understand it, or it could be inaccurate as we understand it, or maybe we misunderstand what is being said entirely. But the quotes themselves are not going to affect my belief in the LDS faith, because my belief is based on my trust in God alone and my testimony of truth in the core doctrines of the LDS faith which I have received through study, pondering, fasting, prayer, and revelation by God through His Holy Spirit.

There are those which read this and say that while these topics are not core doctrine today, they were the core doctrine then, and the early church members sacrificed to defend them and how could I turn my back on those teachings that the early church members believed in so much they gave their lives for them. Truth is that the core, fundamental doctrines of the church haven't changed.

My wife's has 3/4-th pioneer ancestry, and 1/4-th converted Missouri Mobbocrat ancestry. This ancestry includes surviving members of the Martin and Willie Handcart Company. According to their recorded journals and testimony (which I have and have read), they were converted by the same foundation doctrines that I was. They bore testimony of the same foundation teaching that I do. They were converted based on a spiritual witness that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, the Book of Mormon is God's word, and Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ and was called as a modern-day prophet. I didn't read any testimony by them based on the pet-topics I often hear on the Internet such as blood atonement, or Adam-God. I don't know of anyone who joined the church because of polygamy either. If LDS testimony is conditioned and automatic, then I would expect early LDS members to be testifying of Adam-God right along with everything else if it was such a core doctrine. Fact is, they don't. A good sign that the theory is completely contrived or a grave misunderstanding is that these odd teachings are not taught by other church leadership contemporary with Brigham Young and they are not found in early LDS testimonies.

Again, my evidence against theories like Adam-God and Blood Atonement being core doctrines is that no contemporaries of Brigham Young taught it and no early LDS member mentioned it in their testimony. If LDS testimony is as conditioned and automatic as some claim, then I would expect testimonies back then like "I would like to bare my testimony.... i know the church is true .... I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet ..... I know that the Adam is God .... I know that murderers must confess their sin and have their blood shed on the ground to be saved .... etc."

With regard to polygamy. These ancestors accepted the practice of polygamy only because they had a witness of the other truths of the gospel. The practice was a trial of their faith. And only because of this testimony, did the early Saints accepted that God required polygamy. In the same way, because of my testimony, I accept that God no longer requires that practice.

9 comments:

Seth R. said...

"The First Presidency of the LDS Church has released an official statement that reads that not everything a church leader has said on any occasion is necessarily official church doctrine."

Do you, by any chance, have a link to this statement? I'd like to read it.

Anonymous said...

Go to newsroom.lds.org and search under doctrine. The article is entitled "approaching LDS doctrine".

william said...

Finally, and perhaps most importantly — Nate is one of those remarkable types of Mormons who knows all (or at least most) of the tough historical and doctrinal issues with Mormonism — and yet retains a somewhat simple faith in the divinity of the church.
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williamgeorge
Search Engine Optimization

RJPope said...

David, you are basically addressing two things here; that people outside your faith (such as myself) not judge LDS general authorities (Prophets and such) too harshly because they are not ‘infallible’. And second, individual testimony and ‘a personal witness’ determines what infallible LDS doctrine is and isn’t.

Your first argument hinges on how a ‘position’ (LDS church leader, LDS teacher and/or LDS prophet) should not be synonymous with infallibility because men, in these positions, are not, “infallible.” Of course, this train of thought is logical. However, you are not addressing the real issue; the issue isn’t wither these men were infallible- but, were these men speaking on the behalf of an infallible creator! It does no good to say because men are fallible LDS prophets may OR may not have said infallible things! If LDS prophets (past and present) CLAIM (key word here) to speak on God’s behalf, then we have to conclude (via testing) that these things were either from God OR not from God. Period. This is common biblical knowledge and common since. Because all true prophecy is a revelatory enterprise (gift) in which God Himself secures the product then we know that when God is speaking (through that prophet) there WILL BE NO mistakes. We know this because God is the one we trust and He is the one securing it! Because we have a historical list of LDS prophets and with that list, a compilation of practices, doctrines and prophecies commanded by God; then we are directed biblically, to TEST these people AND their revelations (1 Thess 5:20, Deuteronomy 18), regardless of their position, their character OR how you (or other Mormons) personally feel about what they said! 2 Peter 1:20-21 says “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” This is not human initiative, David; it is not the will of man. Again, it is because God is speaking that we can trust it. AND, because God is speaking, God has a point; there is a meaning. It is not up to us to make our OWN meaning of the passage. God does NOT say (anywhere in scripture) that He will reveal unclear (cryptic or personal) revelation to any individual or a group of people via a ‘personal witness’ or through an individual testimony. David, this leads to my second point.

You said, “See, the LDS church does not expect its members to blindly follow our leadership. Every member is expected to pray and ask God if the foundation doctrines of the LDS faith are true and are promised that if we ask with faith that God will reveal the truth of these foundation doctrines to the asker by the Power of the Holy Spirit”.

David, there is NOT one passage in Old or New Testament scripture instructing us to inquire of the Lord on what we ought OR ought not to do regarding personal matters! Greg Koukl does a better job explaining this in, “Decision Making and the Will of God.” The Bible does NOT teach us to expect subjective internal promptings from the Holy Spirit as any kind of normative guide. Nor does the Bible model for us a mode of decision-making where we examine our hearts for communication from God telling us what to do! It does present decision-making using (1) the clear commands of Scripture, (2) principles of Wisdom, (3) counsel between believers, and (4) careful consideration. This does not mean that the Spirit does not lead us–rather, it describes how the Spirit leads us. (It might not be a comprehensive description, but it’s in the right direction). Of course Mormons follow this rational/spiritual decision making on a daily basis; they buy a car only after test driving it. They buy a house only after inspecting it. They marry a person only after dating him/her. They higher a babysitter only after checking references. Yet, you tell members to abandon logic (which comes from God) and to embrace a feeling (not biblical) as God’s FINAL word on a matter that is the most important of all things – their way of life and their salvation!!! This is NOT how Mormons deal with any other choice. It is backwards, it is disingenuous and it is dangerous.

You said, “We may have a spiritual witness from God that Brigham Young was a prophet so, anything Brigham Young says we will keep in consideration.”

Again, David, this has nothing to do with what YOU think (or feel) OR what other Mormons think (or feel). Because Brigham Young believed he was a prophet, because he believed he spoke on God’s behalf; then we have to measure (test, examine, investigate) NOT him as a person (how he treated his wife, paid his bills, ate his cereal and such) but his supposed ‘alleged revelations’ from God! This is all simple study and common since. It will simply not do (once again) to place yourself (or anybody) in a position of ‘truth detector’ because of what you FEEL is right. JW’s feel right (and they attribute that feeling to God); Muslims feel right (a feeling they contribute to God) and I feel right (I feel is accredited from God). Do you feel God is telling us we are ALL right? This isn’t biblical; this isn’t rational and it looks like a distractible excuse not to address the obvious problems with Young, Smith or anybody else who is recorded in your own history as speaking on God’s behalf and after simple research finding- they just didn’t- My final point.

There isn’t much in the history of Smith or Young- through most of their revalations, through most of their teachings, most of their decrees and ways in which they conducted their lives that remotely relates to and/or reveals who the Lord of the Old and New Testament is. There is absolutely no connection here. This is how we measure a man who says he speaks on God’s behalf; does the man’s God remotely look like the God of the Bible? We have to examine Gods revelation in the Bible in conjunction to Joseph’s revelation of God; and, do we see any correlations here? Because Young and Smith’s god spoke falsely (or it was Smith and Young’s fallible attempt to give their own prophecies), was racist (or this was the attitude of Southern bigots during Smith and Young’s lifetime) or was sexist (or Smith had his own sexual/polygamist agenda coincidently fitting the same sexual gratification criteria other cult leaders have followed) and was/and is too mysterious to reveal truth (or Smith/Young didn’t have it), then one can assert that we are now talking about TWO different gods…OR… If it was not two different gods, we have to turn our attention to Smith/Young; there are no other options; either Smith/Young believed what they were saying OR they deliberately said what they didn’t believe. I stand firm on my assertion, knowing (setting aside Young for the moment) Smith’s history, the sociological elements surrounding his life, the psychological elements during his life and evidence of false writings and prophecies to conclude the man was deliberately deceitful- and his ways of avoiding truth are still practiced within your church.

Blessings,

Bobby

BRoz said...

Thank you for your thoughful reply

#1 It seems to me that your basic assumption is that the interpretation of scripture is self-evident and that an honest person would not interpret scripture according to any bias, tradition, or personal experience, or pre-concieved ideas.

This is just false. The Bible itself says the Bible must be understood by the spirit of prophecy.

We know that well-meaning people interpret things differently. That is why we have a Supreme Court to interpret the constitution which is also an inspired document.

In the LDS faith there is a check and balances system. LDS are not just expected to blindly follow our leaders, but are encouraged to go to God for verification and are promised personal revelation. This is how our leaders continue to point us to Christ and how indidivual members develop of personal relationship with God as God both hears and answers our prayers.

There are some occasions when LDS leaders expect that members follow direction first. This may sound like a call to blind obedience to outsiders. But what outsiders don't understand is that members already have a witness of the core principles of the gospel and we know that best way to get a witness of truth is to first do it. Christ Himself taught this. "ye shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God of whether I speak of myself."


#2 [David, there is NOT one passage in Old or New Testament scripture instructing us to inquire of the Lord on what we ought OR ought not to do regarding personal matters! ]

It seems that you deny that God answers prayer directly by the Holy Ghost. Could it be that maybe you think God doesn't care about you. Or maybe God can't know that much about you.

I know that God cares about every aspect and intimate detail of my life. Now, I agree, oft-times the answer is "it mattereth not." But God still gives an answer.

You say the Bible doesn't teach to ask God. Doesn't Christ say again and again "Ask and ye will receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you"?

If you have been led to believe that God doesn't care about the details of your life, maybe you are not as close to God as you think.

RJPope said...

I just got home from work. It was a daunting day. Anyway, thanks for posting my thoughts. Thanks for getting back to me.

You said, “It seems to me that your basic assumption is that the interpretation of scripture is self-evident and that an honest person would not interpret scripture according to any bias, tradition, or personal experience, or pre-concieved ideas.

Is scripture hard to understand? I don’t think the majority of scripture is. Martin Luther felt that by relying on early Christian fathers (Augustine), devotional tracts and bible commentaries, anybody could then grasp the ‘whole thing.’ I certainly rely on theological observations and remarks regarding things I do not understand. Does this mean I need help (someone to interpret) biblical essentials; salvation, justification, sanctification and so on? I did have to rely on theological books for these terms. However, I read scripture for their common and clear connotations. As most people realize (I believe), ‘the plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain things’ in the Bible. However, I find that when OTHER religions add OTHER doctrines, the whole thing gets unavoidably messy. Don’t you?

You said, “This is just false. The Bible itself says the Bible must be understood by the spirit of prophecy”.

David, where is this passage?

In addition, you’ve taken my quote out of context, David. When I say, “David, there is NOT one passage in Old or New Testament scripture instructing us to inquire of the Lord on what we ought OR ought not to do regarding personal matters!” When I say, “inquire of the Lord” and “personal matters” I thought I cleared this up in the following sentence, “The Bible does NOT teach us to expect subjective internal promptings from the Holy Spirit as any kind of normative guide. Nor does the Bible model for us a mode of decision-making where we examine our hearts for communication from God telling us what to do!” I hope this cleared up any confusion. However, David, it is STILL not Biblical. You will not find anybody in the Bible, anyone who read scripture (who is recorded) in the first 3 centuries, or anybody after the Nicene Creed in 325 A.D. declaring we examine our hearts (or the hearts of others) for truth. We ONLY see this thinking emerge in the late 1800’s in New York. Isn’t this right, David?

You said, “In the LDS faith there is a check and balances system. LDS are not just expected to blindly follow our leaders, but are encouraged to go to God for verification and are promised personal revelation. This is how our leaders continue to point us to Christ and how individual members develop of personal relationship with God as God both hears and answers our prayers.”

Again, David, this is not Biblical. You will not find the disciples, the apostles or anybody in the Old Testament doing this. Warren Jeffs' official title in the FLDS Church was "President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator.” He also held the title of "President of the Priesthood.” Did your “check and balances” system work for his Mormon followers? They felt the internal witness of God. They testified with a sencear heart that Jeffs’ was a Prophet, Seer and Revelator. The burning of the bossom was there. So, was this God? This is a fair question, David. Was God playing a nasty trick on the FLDS? OR, were these Mormons indoctrinated to believe that their good hearts were God’s good direction? I only make the point (please pay attention to this) to cleary show how relying on one’s feeling is more then a ‘check and balances’ system; reyling on ‘personal revelation ONLY’ can (and has) lead good people astray and straight to hell.

You also said, “If you have been led to believe that God doesn't care about the details of your life, maybe you are not as close to God as you think.” This is a bit of a distraction to the real point, David. I am addressing what the Bible teaches as far as making prudent decisions. You have twisted the argument to be ‘God doesn’t listen’ (not my argument) as opposed to ‘The Bible does NOT model for us a mode of decision-making where we examine our hearts for communication from God telling us what to do.” This is still my argument (nothings changed, Dave). This way of thinking is foreign to biblical scripture. If you could address this, that would be great. Thanks.

Blessings,

Bobby

BRoz said...

Good stuff. We may have to agree to disagree.

#2 [Is scripture hard to understand? I don’t think the majority of scripture is. Martin Luther felt that by relying on early Christian fathers (Augustine), devotional tracts and bible commentaries, anybody could then grasp the ‘whole thing.']

If Martin Luther had it right, then why didn't the reformation stop with Luther? If the Early Christian Fathers were so reliable, then why did the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox go astray. If the words of the Apostles and Prophets were so clear and unmistakable, then why would Luther conclude that he needed to rely on the Early Christians Fathers interpretation and not the Apostles' words themselves? Joseph Smith's answer-- the words were pure when when they were give but many plain and precious truths were already added and subtracted. that is why a restoration was required.

#3 [David, where is this passage?]
1 Cor 1: 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Rev. 19: 10 for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Rom. 3: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

1 Cor. 2: 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Matt. 13: 23 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, . . . But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

According to Christ understanding the word depended on the quality of the ground the word is planted in.

#3 Warren Jeffs and the FLDS

This is a logical fallacy. There are feelings as well as thoughts inspired of God, from Satan, and from the flesh. The question is if someone can differentiate between the 3 sources.

#4 [The Bible does NOT model for us a mode of decision-making where we examine our hearts for communication from God telling us what to do.]

1 Kgs. 19: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Luke 24: 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Acts 2: 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

John 15: 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16: 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:

Gal. 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Eph. 4: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

The most important skill we can develop in this life is the ability to differentiate between the thoughts and emotions which come from the flesh, and from Satan versus those which are inspired by God through the Holy Ghost.

Many Evangelical Christian Pastors and individual members routinely talk about "feeling called" by God into such-and-such a ministry or down a certain path. The Bible is a check and balance to those feelings. There is no dichotomy here.

RJPope said...

David, I scanned over your last comments the day after you sent them. However, I had to set our dialogue aside due to running a Haunted House on Halloween. I had to focus on other things. However, two nights ago I realized I needed to actually read what you wrote and respond! Sorry about the delay. I hope you and your family had a safe Halloween and a blessed Thanksgiving. Okay. Lets go back at it…

You said in response to my Martin Luther comment, “If Martin Luther had it right, then why didn't the reformation stop with Luther? If the Early Christian Fathers were so reliable, then why did the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox go astray. If the words of the Apostles and Prophets were so clear and unmistakable, then why would Luther conclude that he needed to rely on the Early Christians Fathers interpretation and not the Apostles' words themselves? Joseph Smith's answer-- the words were pure when they were given but many plain and precious truths were already added and subtracted. that is why a restoration was required.”

As you know, I wasn’t referencing the Bible as a whole (nor was Martin Luther). I was referencing those passages (few) in the Bible that are difficult to understand or interpret. I believe, as do most people, that the Biblical essentials are understandable. It is no good to say Smith restored the Bible due to several obscure passages in the Old or New Testament. This is what your sentence ended up saying. However, if what you wanted to say was, ‘the Bible is corrupt and needed Smith to sort it out’ -well, okay. However, as I have said before (and I have carefully stated historical references, Dave), there is NO proof that the bible has been changed (the way you mean changed) over the years. History shows us the opposite is true; God’s word has not changed. Mormons speak of restoration without any evidence. History shows us several things (the Bible supports this position); men are corrupt; therefore, men HAVE and WILL corrupt the MEANING of scripture. I have debated this very point with you. You didn’t change the words of Psalm 82- you just interpreted Psalm 82 to fit your doctrine. Men have been doing this for 2000 years, Dave. So, it is no good saying the manuscripts have changed because men’s hearts have changed. It’s a straw man argument. Dave, this has to be bigger than I said/you said. It comes down to proof- as all things should (and you would agree IF we weren’t talking about Mormonism). You either have to throw history out OR not. To do one is to act illogical; to do the other is logical. There is no justifying it.

I had asked for scripture supporting your thought that prophecy was synonymous with the Bible. You did quote passages. However, the passages you cited reflected (not the Bible as a whole) but the letter it came from (which is often your argument regarding ‘adding to scripture’). Still, I appreciate it. But I must conclude with, I’m not too sure what you think it means.

You then say, “#3 Warren Jeffs and the FLDS: This is a logical fallacy. There are feelings as well as thoughts inspired of God, from Satan, and from the flesh. The question is if someone can differentiate between the 3 sources” and ended with (which follows from this thought), “The most important skill we can develop in this life is the ability to differentiate between the thoughts and emotions which come from the flesh, and from Satan versus those which are inspired by God through the Holy Ghost.”

David, this is the point; how does one differentiate between, God, Satan and the flesh when Mormons are taught to rely on their flesh ONLY (heart) for truth? Since you teach to investigate with the heart and all three can reside their, how does one discern who’s actually in it? And this is exactly the point the Bible is making (Jeremiah 17:9); how can we trust our own hearts when we are never for certain who’s speaking to us from them! Dave, you are willingly following/teaching unbiblical principals! I only brought up Jeffs to show that his followers followed their ‘hearts only’ (what Mormons are taught) as opposed to following their ‘heart’s AND the clear commands of Scripture, principles of Wisdom (investigation, weighing evidence and such) and counsel between believers. Mormon’s obviously do not follow this direction (regarding prudent decision making) or they wouldn’t be Mormons- they would be Christians.

Regarding prudent decision making; my point again is, “The Bible does NOT teach us to expect subjective internal promptings from the Holy Spirit as any kind of normative guide. Nor does the Bible model for us a mode of decision-making where we examine our hearts for communication from God telling us what to do!” You cited, 1 Kgs. 19: 12, Luke 24: 32, Acts 2: 37, John 15: 26, John 16: 13, Gal. 5: 22 and Eph. 4: 19. These New Testament scriptures do NOT support your thought, Dave. You do NOT find apostles and disciples looking inward (towards their heart) for any internal witnessing from God! Luke mentioned a burning as they READ Biblical scripture (this supports my argument); Acts clearly tells us the crowd is asking Peter and the apostles for INSTRUCTION; In John, Christ declares that the Holly Spirit will administer (to our heads and our hearts) who the Jesus of biblical scripture is (this supports my argument). Galatians says nothing about it and Ephesians, well, I just read it, there’s nothing there. You will see the clear case for my argument in the epistles, Dave. When Paul talks about the fruits of the spirit (1 Peter), marriage (1 Corinthians) when he talks about legal and religious matters (1 Corinthians) you find him ALWAYS giving INSTRUCTION. There is no hint (direct or indirect) in these passages that a believer must "hear from the Lord." You are grossly mistaken whenever you teach that the Biblical directive OR even the Biblical pattern is seeking God’s spoken confirmations. The exact opposite is the case: It is neither taught nor is the pattern modeled! This has to be more than, “agreeing to disagree.’ You are making a stand on unbiblical principals! And because I take the Lord God of the Bible seriously- I cannot (and am forbidden to not) play loose with His character, His words or His son. So, I cannot agree to disagree with this, Dave.

Dave, I honestly feel (and I am being sincere here) I am deconstructing a red herring (a distractible argument). I really do. You have (in my opinion) convinced yourself through years of careful rhetoric and sophistry to think how you think on this matter. When all this really ends up being (when we peel away the crafty and clever layers) is a doctrine entrenched in ‘avoiding truth as a means to glorify one’s doctrine and one’s SELF.’ That’s all this is. When you add your thoughts on Psalm 82, C.S. Lewis, the biblical scripture (clearly not supporting you argument), being ‘lead from the heart’ and other things, everything seems to appear as tactical diversions. The questions I hope you think about; why would a logical God need his chosen people to act/react illogically when conveying Good News (feeling God trumps God’s word, evidence/proof, your own prophets)? Why would a chosen people have to act disingenuous (C.S. Lewis, calling yourselves Christian, saying you believe the Bible 100 % )? God never promised we would ALL make it to heaven, Dave. There is a Hell- and there are vacancies. Since integrity, responsibility and good academia are dismissible pains; what criteria do you think you will be judged on? It appears you’ve erased so many boundaries, created so many loopholes, tried to synch up so many errors (and thus created newer problems) that, when dealing with your own faith, you have finally etched out (minimized) any divine power holding you accountable! Mormons have evolved to become their own judge and jury. That’s it. I am convinced, using my heart, my head and evidence that you are in serious, serious trouble. I say all of this in a sincere attempt to show you reason. And, through reason, hopefully the savior you’ve tragically lost.

Bobby

BRoz said...

Thank you for your heart-felt concern and comments. Please let me clarify something about my belief in the Bible. I believe in the Bible 100%. There isn't a verse of the Bible I do not accept. I may not accept the traditional evangelical interpretation but I accept the words as they are found in the Bible.

The Book of Mormon does say that the many plain and precious things have been lost from the Bible. This does not say that anything in the Bible is wrong. What it says is what we know. Many books of the Bible that the Bible itself makes reference to are missing. And concerning the loss of plainness. There is nothing that the Bible says is wrong. Its word is faithful and true 100%. But its language has been rendered ambiguous over the years. The proof is in the thousands of Bible translations and in the thousands of Christian denominations and non-denominations that claim as we do to accept the Bible 100% while assuming everyone else is a picker and a chooser.

Yes, I interpret the Bible through the lens of my faith tradition. I fully aknowledge my bias. If it wasnt for the Book of Mormon and the restoration, I would be left to accept totally illogical doctrines like the Trinity doctrine which claims 3 persons can be 1 undivided being, which is a consequence of ambiguous language.

Instead I understand that Stephen saw exactly what he said he saw; Jesus Chirst standing at the right hand of the Father, the same as Joseph Smith. And that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are 1 God, but 3 distinct persons, 3 seperate persons, with 3 individual wills that are perfectly unified in 1 purpose.

And now on to the Holy Ghost. You seem to have been taught that the heart of man can only be evil and that somehow the mind is surpreme over the heart. And you also seem to deny that nothing good you do is based on motivation of love in your heart.

Well, the heart and mind of man becomes evil because of the fall and both are corrupt. But the same God who created the mind and heart of man can purify and refine them. And Christ promised all believers that after he left he would not leave us comfortless but leave us the Gift of the Holy Ghost. And that the Gift of the Holy Ghost would lead us into all truth and testify of Him and bring all things to our rememberance.

So, lets talk about the Holy Ghost. Because it is the Holy Ghost which allows all believers in Christ to enjoy a personal relationship with God independent of anything or anyone else (this includes propehts and the Bible). The Bible and prophets point us to Christ. And Christ is our only mediator between us and the Father. And by the Power and opperation of the Holy Ghost all believers can communicate and commune with God the Father.

Christ and his Apostles instructed believers to pray to the Father in the name of Christ, and that Our Heavenly Father would answer our prayers by the power and operation of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the unspeakable gift, and the Bible uses terms like "still small voice" to descibe its operation in the mind of man, and "burning in the bosom" to describe its transforming and sanctifying power within the heart.

And it is by this power and operation of the Holy Ghost that I have a personal testimony and witness that God Lives, Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son in the First Vision, the Book of Mormon is Gods word together with the Bible, and the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is Christs Chruch and Gods kingdom on the Earth. I bare this testimony in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, Amen.