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Revelation and the LDS Church – Question time

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by misanthropic_clown, May 31, 2009.

  1. misanthropic_clown

    misanthropic_clown Active Member

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    Revelation and the LDS Church – Question time

    One of the distinguishing elements of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the concept of revelation continuing from God to man. This concept does not merely extend to the ability of the prophets to receive guidance from God concerning the direction of the church, but the ability of every member to utilise the gift of the Holy Ghost to receive answers to both personal issues and issues concerning any group over which they hold some official responsibility. In other words, as the Prophet receives revelation for the whole church, a Bishop may do so for his ward and parents for their own families. This also allows individuals to receive confirmation of the truth of revelation received by the Prophet.

    The issue I seek to address primarily is the ability of the Prophet to receive revelation concerning the entire church, using Official Declarations 1 & 2 (OD1, OD2) to illustrate the issues of plural marriage and the withdrawal and subsequent extension of the Priesthood from and to black LDS members.

    At present, I am going to take some time to compile information on the issues surrounding the OD’s, but would like to extend the opportunity for members of this forum to ask specific questions so that I will be able to ensure I address them. When this compilation is done, I will post the information either in this thread, or separate threads depending on how extensive it gets.

    So, the opportunity is yours to ask questions about LDS revelation in general, and questions about polygamy and the black priesthood issue.
     
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  2. Halcyon

    Halcyon Lord of the Badgers

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    Mine is a general question - why would God reveal things to only one or a small group of men and then rely upon human dissemination of the information and the subjective understanding and affirmation of that information when it is received by the wider membership, possibly leading to schism, rather than simply broadcast the information to everyone at once?
     
  3. misanthropic_clown

    misanthropic_clown Active Member

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    There go my hopes of a gentle start :p
     
  4. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Not to worry. You can trust Halycon to keep it civil. :yes:
     
  5. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Actually, this is a very simple question to answer. Almost without exception, whenever God has revealed something to a latter-day prophet, it has been as an answer to a prayer asking for guidance, direction or clarification on a specific topic. I am unaware of any time when Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff (who received the revelation ending the practice of polygamy), Spencer W. Kimball (through whom the revelation pertaining to Blacks and the priesthood came) or any other prophet or apostle was simply going about his business and suddenly heard the voice of God giving him instructions to pass along to the Church membership. Revelation is almost always given in response to prayer, and often to prayers offered over a long period of time, accompanied by fasting and studying the scriptures. In order to receive revelation from God, a person must be in a receptive frame of mind, which would be the case if prayer with the intent to receive an answer was involved.

    This alone would make it highly unlikely that God would even want to try to disseminate the same information to 13.5 million members simultaneously, particularly when a portion of those members are not living in such a way that the Holy Ghost would be able to get through to them in a way any less obvious than hitting them over the head with a two-by-four. Finally, even if God did speak to all 13.5 million members at once instead of to His Prophet and Apostles, you'd still have subjective understanding of the information because some people are not as spiritually in tune as others. People would interpret the message as they pleased and you'd have a situation where one person would be saying, "God told me..." and another saying "Well, that's not what He told me!" With the pattern being what it is, we know that the initial revelation was received by the one individual God has chosen to speak for HIm, followed by twelve others who received confirmation that what the prophet said was, in fact, what God had said. Ultimately, each member of the Church is responsible to pray for that same confirmation, but a top-down approach seems to be to be the only real logicial one.
     
  6. gnomon

    gnomon Well-Known Member

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    What part do Elders and members of the First Presidency play in revelations? For example, are the writings of Elder Oaks considered part of revealed theology or is it just one man's respected opinion? Or perhaps just his interpretation? I guess I'm asking who receives revelation for the Church today?
     
  7. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    The President of the Church, aka the Prophet -- today this is Thomas S. Monson -- is always the first to receive revelation and, as I mentioned in my post to Halycon, it is almost always in response to a prayer concerning a specific question or point of doctrine. He presents this revelation to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They then fast and pray about it, both collectively and individually. When they all agree that the revelation the Prophet has shared with them represents God's will for the Church, it becomes, for all intents and purposes, officially binding upon the membership of the Church. It is presented to the members of the Church in the next semi-annual General Conference, at which time it is requested that each member give his sustaining vote. The Church is not a democracy, however, and a unanimous sustaining vote is not required to make a revealed doctrine officially part of the Church's doctrine.

    The writing of the individual General Authorities (such as Dallin Oaks, but even Thomas S. Monson) are not specifically doctrine, but the opinions and interpretations of the author.
     
  8. gnomon

    gnomon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that. I've been reading some of Oaks' writings.

    I didn't know the President of the Church was also the Prophet. Learned something new today.
     
  9. Autodidact

    Autodidact Intentionally Blank

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    Why do religionists think that:

    1. Others are interested in their practices.
    2. They are an unbiased source of information about their own religions.
    3. Others are ignorant about same.
     
  10. Autodidact

    Autodidact Intentionally Blank

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    Or alternatively, so that the person claiming to receive the revelation doesn't have to worry about being contradicted.
     
  11. tomasortega

    tomasortega Active Member

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    my questions are simple and basic.

    1. how is it that god only decided to reveal himself under his true LDS definition to some guy, joseph smith was it? about what, 200 years ago? when humanity existed for tenths maybe even hundreds of thousands of years before that. because to believe that is to believe that god simply looked down on us, indifferent, with his arms folded for 98% of human history.

    2. is it true that the book of mormon claims that god especially likes or preferrs fair skinned people. in other words, is god a racist? if god is the creator of all humans, then that means that he deliberately chose to create some people (dark skinned) inferior to others(light skinned)

    3. is poligamy a sin? or immoral? adultery? if so, then why did you lds only realize it this late in the game. didnt god tell you? and why are some of you (fundamentalists) still practicing poligamy.

    4. is it true that you believe that god was himself a human being once, and that after death you too will be god's? if so, then why worship god in the first place? its idolatry isnt it? since god was just like you once.
     
  12. Autodidact

    Autodidact Intentionally Blank

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    So just say, strictly theoretically, there was a dishonest prophet, who claimed to receive revelations that he actually did not. How would this be detected?
     
  13. Apex

    Apex Somewhere Around Nothing

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    This thread is about the LDS concept of revelation and questions dealing with such. All of you questions are off topic. I suggest you open a new thread with your questions so they may be better answered without derailing this thread. That is, of course, you are truley interested in honest answers to your questions.
     
  14. Autodidact

    Autodidact Intentionally Blank

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    What? These questions are a direct response to the OP, which assumes all of the things I referred to. If you want to answer my questions, do so. If not, not. It's entirely up to you.
     
  15. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    I would surmise that Apex is saying that the LDS Church has not received any revelation on the matters you mention.
     
  16. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I'll try to keep my answers simple and basic, too. And to the degree that your approach is civil and respectful, my responses will be, too.

    God has revealed Himself many, many times before Joseph Smith. He has also spoken to a number of prophets since Joseph Smith. If your question is why He spoke to Joseph Smith, it was because the Church Jesus Christ had established eighteen centuries earlier had fallen into apostasy. He wanted to restore it to the earth.

    Roughly. It was actually in 1830.

    I'm not following you. God spoke to prophets during the 4000 year period of time covered in the Old Testament. He then sent His Only Begotten Son to earth to atone for the sins of mankind. Prior to His death, Jesus Christ established His Church and called twelve Apostles to preside over it in His absence. He promised to continue to guide His Church through revelation after His death. Unfortunately, the Apostles were all martyred and the authority He had given them was lost. Christianity continued to exist for hundreds of years afterwards, but not in its original form. When the time was right, God re-established it in a country where it could once again begin to flourish and from which it would spread throughout the world. That doesn't sound like indifference to me.

    No, it is not true. The Book of Mormon teaches that the Lord "doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white,bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile."

    It is a sin and immoral unless God has specifically authorized it, which He has done on occasion.

    Adultery is always a sin and immoral.

    A small percentage of LDS men (about 5%) had more than one wife during about a fifty-year period in the last half of the nineteenth century. The practice was started when God authorized it. It was discontinued when He said to discontinue it.

    None of "us" are still practicing polygamy. Referring to fundamentalist offshoots of the LDS Church as being part of the Church is more or less the same thing as referring to Protestants as fundamentalist Catholics.

    It is true that God has given human beings the potential to be like Him. That is LDS doctrine. God's beginnings are not known definitively. Some Latter-day Saints believe that God was once a man. Others do not. Many simply have no opinion on the subject. One way or the other, what God may have been before "the beginning" is not stated anywhere in the LDS canon.
     
    #16 Katzpur, May 31, 2009
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  17. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Twelve dishonest men would have to serve in the capacity of Apostles. Any revelation given to the Prophet is also subsequently given to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, who fast and pray for confirmation that what the Prophet has told them truly is God's word.
     
  18. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I think it's because others ask questions about their practices.

    Everyone has a bias. I do. You do. If someone wanted to know the truth about what Mormons believe, I suspect they'd get more accurate information from me than from you.

    Their ignorance is clearly apparent as soon as they open their mouth (or begin to type, as the case may be).

    How do any of these questions pertain to revelation?
     
  19. tomasortega

    tomasortega Active Member

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    tell you what, though i have lots to say. ill concentrate only on the part where you claim mormons/the book of mormon/joseph smith is/ are not racist.


    first we have:

    1 NEPHI 13:15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

    apparently god thinks white people are especially beautiful. now, why would god say something like that when he loves and accepts people of all races? by saying whites are especially or exceedingly beautiful he implies that blacks are not as beautiful as whites.

    second we have:

    1 NEPHI 12:23 And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

    THE CONTEXT TO THIS VERSE IS:

    The Native Americans are the decedents of those "who dwindled in unbelief." As a punishment for their disbelief, their skin was darkened and they became "a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations."

    third we have:

    2 NEPHI 5:21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them

    DEAR SWEET JESUS. CAN IT BE MORE OBVIOUS???????

    God cursed the Lamanites (the ancestors of the Native Americans) causing their skin to turn dark and making them "loathsome" to His people.

    fourth we have:

    2 NEPHI 30:6 And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and delightsome people.

    hey guys, there is good news for those filthy native americans. Before many generations pass, Native Americans will convert to Mormonism, their skins will turn white, and they will become a "delightsome" people. </SPAN>

    fifth we have:

    3 NEPHI
    2:14 It came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;
    2:15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

    BASICALLY God removed his curse from the "good" Lamanites (the ones that "united with the Nephites"), and they "became exceedingly fair, with skins "white like unto the Nephites."


    NOW, ARE YOU GOING TO GET OFFENDED, CLAIM I AM RUDE FOR QUOTING YOUR HOLY BOOK AND USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO RUN AND HIDE, OR ARE YOU GONNA COME OUT AND TRY TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF??
     
  20. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    God does not reveal things to only a small group of people. Everyone has a conscience, our conscience literally comes from Christ - everyone who follows their conscience follows Christ.

     
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