Posts Tagged ‘ revelation ’

206: At Peace with Human Prophets–Personal Journeys

December 14, 2013
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206: At Peace with Human Prophets–Personal Journeys

The recent official statement on Race and the Priesthood has highlighted in a fresh way the difficult issue of prophets and apostles who are subject to the influences of culture and largely unexamined assumptions of their day that color their understandings of and impact their statements about sometimes very important matters. If this is so, how then should we view them and the nature of “prophetic inspiration”? What does it mean for us as church members when we come to understand “revelation” as a much more human-saturated process than the “hotline phone with God” model that we perhaps once assumed?…

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135–136: Racism and the Book of Mormon

October 28, 2012
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135–136: Racism and the Book of Mormon

This episode examines the status of the claim that the Book of Mormon teaches that dark skin is a curse from God, that because of their wickedness God cursed a group of people and actually brought about a miraculous change in their skin color so as to make them seem “loathsome” and not enticing to a more righteous group with whom they were in conflict. This claim relies upon a literal reading of various passages in the Book of Mormon that seem to draw this conclusion, as well as an extremely strong view about prophetic and scriptural inerrancy. But is…

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131–132: The Word of Wisdom

October 15, 2012
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131–132: The Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom has been in the news again, triggered by a claim about caffeine made on a network news show, which led to an official LDS Newsroom statement clarifying the church’s position, which led to fascinating discussions and events, including hilarity at BYU over its policy of serving only de-caffeinated drinks, as well as some church members exulting that now they have an official statement that they can use to tell others to back off when they try to force their “spirit of the law” Word of Wisdom interpretations on them. What is it about the Word of…

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39: Intellectuals and the Mormon Tradition

June 28, 2011
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39: Intellectuals and the Mormon Tradition

In early June, the Deseret News published a list compiled by Leonard J. Arrington in 1969 of the “most eminent intellectuals in Mormon history.” As you can imagine, the feature generated a lot of discussion both on the newspaper’s website, as well as in many corners of the Mormon bloggernacle. Who among those listed still belong in the Top Ten? Who should be on there now? Why aren’t any women listed, and which women should have made that list then or if a new list were compiled today? <br /> In this Mormon Matters episode, host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists…

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35–36: Moving Beyond the “Negro Doctrine”

June 7, 2011
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35–36: Moving Beyond the “Negro Doctrine”

This month marks the thirty-third anniversary of the 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to “all worthy males” in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since that day, little has been said by Church leaders on any topic related to the ban, including the reasons for the ban, the doctrinal justifications for the ban, and the process by which the ban came into existence in the first place. Even without such clarifications, the Church has nevertheless successfully grown in Africa and in U.S. inner cities with large African-American communities. Mormon Matters is very pleased this week to for the…

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27: Mormons and Their Leaders

April 12, 2011
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27: Mormons and Their Leaders

This episode, which was recorded a couple of days after the close of the April 2011 General Conference, explores the interplay between Latter-day Saints and those who are called to lead them as prophets, seers, and revelators. Why do some church members want to elevate leaders’ words delivered at conference almost to the level of scripture? Why is there so much adoration of leaders even as they regularly acknowledge their own humanity and fallibility, and even speak of the adulation they receive as one of their biggest challenges? To whom do church leaders aim their words, and why? How much…

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Spiritual Guidance: A GC Talk Review

July 20, 2010
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Spiritual Guidance:  A GC Talk Review

I wanted to try a new feature – going through some of the previous GC talks to discuss some of the ideas put forth.  I decided to start with E. Scott’s talk from the Oct 2009 GC session:  To Acquire Spiritual Guidance.  This was a talk I enjoyed when it was first given, although the last 3rd got a little repetitious on the whole porn thing (Did you notice that porn has now gone mainstream?  New motto:  Porn, it’s not just for Priesthood session anymore.)

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Understanding the Atonement

July 13, 2010
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Understanding the Atonement

The atonement is to Christianity what enlightenment is to Buddhism:  the foundational concept.  How do you feel about the atonement?  I admit to some mixed feelings on the concept of atonement.

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Faith, Knowledge, Belief, and Stochastic Theory Part 4: Finding Truth – An Optimization Problem

June 30, 2010
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In part two of this series I discussed Bayesian inference. Specifically, I discussed how Bayesian inference provided us with a mechanism for deciding in what we should place our confidence given all the information we possess and will yet obtain. This was all framed in the context of confidence. I’d like to discuss an alternative way of looking at Bayesian inference – namely optimization.

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Wandering Mormons as Nephites

June 27, 2010
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More than two years ago, the Holy Spirit began insisting that I re-read the Book of Mormon. Of course, I didn’t immediately recognize the impulse as anything but a good idea originating within my own intellect. That’s what I do with anything – process it intellectually first. I knew spending more time reading scriptures would be the spiritual equivalent of walking more for my heart, so I put it on my to-do-list. You know all about the to-do-list that never seems to get any shorter because of emergencies and recurring requirements. So, re-reading the Book of Mormon stayed on the…

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Faith, Knowledge, Belief and Stochastic Theory Part 3: Putting It All Together

June 23, 2010
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In part one I introduced the problem I see with our current understanding of faith, introduced some basic statistics, and weakly drew a comparison to faith. In part two I introduced deductive and inductive reasoning, and showed how Bayesian inference leads to good inductive reasoning. I also gave a brief example of how this might work in real life. In this post I would like to put all these concepts together into at least one way of viewing faith, knowledge, and belief. I will do this by examining the plausible reasoning of three individuals: a stereotypical believing Mormon, a Mormon…

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Eternal Progress vs. Eternal Increase: A Poll

June 1, 2010
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Eternal Progress vs. Eternal Increase:  A Poll

One of the distinct LDS doctrines is that of eternal progression:  the idea that we continue to grow and develop as individuals throughout eternity unless through our own choices we stop progressing.  But there are two different interpretations of this doctrine that both seem to be supported by authoritative statements.  Are both interpretations correct?  Or is one correct and the other incorrect?

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The JST of the Bible and Early Christianity

May 26, 2010
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Early Christian Theological Differences I recently read Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman. One of the interesting realities on which Ehrman elaborates is that early Christianity was anything but homogeneous. More specifically, there were many factions, some heterodox, some orthodox, some in the middle. Some of the books of the apocrypha, gnostic texts, and other early Christian writings seemed to support various theological ideas not represented, and in fact, even repressed in what became the canonized New Testament.

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After Action Report: The Community of Christ Did WHAT?

April 21, 2010
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Headline in the Independence Examiner for Thursday, April 15, 2010: “Delegation Takes No Action on Human Sexuality Issues: Church Will Continue Dialogue.” Headline  by John Hamer on BCC on Thursday, April 15, 2010: “Gay Rights Revelation Added to The Community of Christ D&C” ———- The two headlines above generally cover the spectrum of opinion about what happened at the Community of Christ World Conference as it completed the process of canonization of a new Section 164 for its D&C. The spectrum of opinions about whether what happened was a good thing or bad thing, of course, runs even more broadly.…

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What Dreams May Come

March 24, 2010
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What Dreams May Come

OT SS Lesson #12 Whether dreams come from the unconscious mind or directly from God, they are valuable sources of revelation. Dreams can tell us important things about ourselves and our relationships that may remain veiled deep in the psyche if we are unskilled at interpreting the symbolic language from which they present. The great attainment of Joseph of Egypt and the message this scriptural character brings to readers of the Old Testament is the importance of developing an ability to decode symbolic dream messages and using them to integrate our conscious and subconscious knowledge.

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Mormon Myths as Transferable Charisma

March 23, 2010
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Richard Bushman has recently given a presentation on ‘Joseph Smith and the Routinization of Charisma’. One of Bushman’s arguments seems to be that Charisma was located in the office rather than the person. That these divine or supernatural powers were transferred to whoever held a particular office.  Moreover, it was through this coupling of bureaucracy and charisma that Joseph led the early Church and through which it was transferred to Brigham Young. Yet, as the bureaucracy and membership grew it would seem that the ability of both members and leaders to draw upon or demonstrate this office-based charisma became more limited.…

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You’re the Bishop: Poll #3

February 18, 2010
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You’re the Bishop:  Poll #3

Bishop Bill back with more.  We’ve had fictionalized situations in the last two installments with a YW and a YM.  Now, let’s have a situation with an adult.

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True or Bizarre: A Poll

January 27, 2010
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True or Bizarre:  A Poll

While there are moral truths that all religions tend to share (don’t kill, don’t steal, be nice to people, etc.), religions also include “bizarre” differentiators to distinguish each religious community (often in food prohibitions, clothing choices, or supernatural beliefs). These “bizarre” elements hedge up the community and create borders between the religious group and those not in the religion.  Without these “fences,” a church would cease to be a community.  But a negative byproduct of these “bizarre” elements is that they are indefensible on grounds of logic or “truth.”  So, what elements of Mormonism are “true” and which ones are merely…

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You’re the Bishop: Scenario #1

January 21, 2010
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You’re the Bishop:  Scenario #1

Welcome to “You’re the Bishop,” a new installment at Mormon Matters.  My name is Bishop Bill.  Once every few weeks I’ll post a situation that I had while I was bishop, and let you decide how to handle it.  Everybody gets to play, even the ladies out there.  After a week, I’ll add a comment with what I did in the situation, and how it turned out.  Let’s play!

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The Word of Wisdom and the Temple: Personal, Political and Prophetic Dimensions

December 28, 2009
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The Word of Wisdom and the Temple: Personal, Political and Prophetic Dimensions

Obedience to the Word of Wisdom, it is commonly known, was not always a requirement for entering the Temple or advancement in the Priesthood.  What is less clear from the historicl record is when this principle moved to become a requirement.  President Joseph Fielding Smith believed the change occurred in 1851, but an excellent article by McCue has shown this cannot be the case [1].  Others have argued that it occurred under the Joseph F. Smith administration (he seems to have been the first to have said it was a commandment – but it was only made a test of fellowship in…

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