Archive for March 2007
My guest, Anthony Larson, has written several books and a number of articles presenting his unique view of science, which he believes supports both ancient prophets and modern LDS prophets and writers in their world view.
He and I differ substantially in our assessment of both science and religion, specifically the LDS beliefs. He believes in what he calls catastrophism - that changes in the world, the solar system and the universe happen quickly and suddenly; that new planets can be birthed in the space of days.
Tony is an advocate of the writings and speculations of Velikovsky, which have been rejected by modern science. For example, he speculated that a planet or comet passed by the earth at the time of Moses, taking about six months, causing the events at that time considered miraculous, such as the water being turned to blood, or turned red.
Tony favors maverick scientists over the consensus of the various scientific disciplines, contending that the mavericks will be proven correct - that modern science is undergoing a major revolution. He further contends that the mavericks are bringing science around to the Mormon point of view.
Within this maverick science Tony claims there is support for the literal interpretation of Joshua 10:12-14 and Helamen 12:14-15 which speak of the sun standing still or the earth stopping its rotation.
Tony believes that LDS have turned from prophecy and lost sight of the imminence of the Second Coming because it has not happened and have focused on day to day needs. He contends that they need to be cognizant of prophecy and interpret it properly, which interpretations he is prepared to elucidate. He has written his books to convince LDS that Joseph Smith had the keys; that he explained them, but LDS have just overlooked them.
Regarding sources and interpretation, I expressed my doubt regarding the value of a number of sources which he uses to establish what he calls the Mormon position. He turns to a number of 2nd and 3rd hand sources to assemble what he claims to be Joseph Smith's teachings. Further, he uses the speculations of 19th century LDS writers as though their speculations were in fact direct revelations. Joseph Smith, himself, claimed to be human with views acquired through normal means as well as that which he had received in his prophetic call. He made no claims to omniscience or infallibility. That is, he was not always speaking as a prophet. Also, I feel that Tony ignores the foundation laid by Joseph Smith in which he considered us to be children with much to learn; that much was withheld from ancient prophets; and that many ideas and traditions will be overturned by knowledged gleaned from many sources including study, theory and future revelation regarding the creation of the earth which has been withheld, to be revealed only at Christ's second as stated in D&C 101:32-34.
He believes that the future of the earth can be clearly established through interpretation of the sources he has assembled which are both clear and obvious.
I consider the enterprise of producing a scenario of the future to be very problematic for several reasons. I referred to Joseph Smith's desire to know the time of the Second Coming. He was given a revelation, but he did not know what it meant, and could only speculate as to its meaning. (see D&C 130:14-17)
A precedent established by New Testament writers demonstrates a significant problem regarding interpretation and application of prophecy. They drew passages from the Old Testament pointing to an event in the life of Jesus as its fulfillment. There is a problem with their interpretations. Upon reading the Old Testament passage in its context, in many instances, there is no way an ancient reader would have seen it as prophecy of an event hundreds years in the future to be fulfilled in the life of Jesus. I mentioned Isaiah 7:14 as an example. There are many such passages. This suggests that we not be so certain that prophetic passages we can accurately produce a scenario of future events.
Also, as history testifies, there is room for wide diversity of interpretation particularly of such texts as Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation and forward looking sections of the D&C, not to mention the reported comments of Joseph Smith and others.
I enjoyed our discussion and the participation of a number of callers and email.
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This is the 25 March 2007 episode of the Mormon Miscellaneous Worldwide Talk Show, now in its 27th year. To listen to future Talk Shows live, go to www.k-talk.com Sunday evenings 5:00 - 7:00 pm MST. If you have a question or comment, your participation is invited, regardless of your point of view.
I discussed the Statements of the LDS First Presidency with my guest, Gary Bergera. This is the title of a very handy book gathering doctrinal statements and arranging them according to topic, and also chronologically within each topic.
Gary explained his approach to the project. He drew from more than 40 sources, from 1833 to the present, which are, or contain, items which were authored by, or endorsed by, the First Presidency and thus represent those points upon which it has chosen to write, as the highest quorum in the LDS Church. Addresses and writings of individual members of the First Presidency are not included. That the unified statement of the First Presidency is of higher authority than an individual statement of a member of the First Presidency, or of another General Authority, has been declared many times by LDS leaders.
We discussed several points:
2. Why certain sources were included and why others were not.
3. This book is a convenient collection of doctrinal statements; a considerable guide to the written pronouncements of the First Presidency. While very valuable, it should not be considered something which it is not.
4. It is not the Mormon Creed.
5. The book is not the handbook of official Mormon Doctrine.
6. It is not a comprehensive collection of Mormon doctrinal beliefs. This would require going beyond the collection in this book to the much larger body of sermons, articles and writings of Mormons which are not statements or specific endorsements of the First Presidency.
7. Their statements have a rather narrow focus and tend to address very basic doctrines.
We discussed with each other and with callers and email a number of specific doctrinal topics in the book, including: abortion, when the spirit enters the body, evolution, the U.S. Constitution, status of books by LDS authorities, the Adam-God theory, differences on the omniscience of God, birth control, common consent, Book of Mormon geography.
A few of the other topics covered are: Word of Wisdom, sexual relations, second coming, sons of perdition, marriage, Godhead, Satan, euthanasia, labor unions, intellectualism, gender, gathering, gambling, excommunication, exaltation, church discipline, child abuse, capital punishment, education, dress and grooming, debt, cremation, artificial insemination and adoption.
I enthusiastically endorse this work as valuable to anyone interested in LDS doctrinal beliefs.
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This is the 18 March 2007 episode of the Mormon Miscellaneous Worldwide Talk Show, now in its 27th year. To listen to future Talk Shows live, go to www.k-talk.com Sunday evenings 5:00 - 7:00 pm MST. If you have a question or comment, your participation is invited, regardless of your point of view.
Read the Synopsis at: http://mormonmiscellaneous.com/synopses/id17.html
One interested in Joseph Smith should be interested what he himself said about himself. I assemble 138 sources to discuss Joseph Smith’s self characterization as a prophet, yet, typically human, imperfect, fallible and in search of further light and knowledge, all of which he viewed as consistent with his claim to be a prophet. I include many of his admissions of human weakness; his acknowledgement that he could fall; examples of his denials of infallibility and omniscience; his policy that all revelation needs to be tested, including his own, because not all revelation is from God.
Program Notes are available for this episode. Included are all of the sources, quotations and references (138) with discussion of a number of incidents in Joseph Smith’s life related to this topic, some not covered in the Talk Show. Also included is a section gathering a number of passages which demonstrate the broad parameters allowed Biblical prophets.
If you are interested in the Program Notes go to: http://mormonmiscellaneous.com/id22.html
This is the 4 March 2007 episode of the Mormon Miscellaneous Worldwide Talk Show, now in its 27th year. To listen to future Talk Shows live, go to http://www.k-talk.com/ Sunday evenings 5:00 - 7:00 pm MST where your participation will be invited regardless of your point of view. Official Website: http://mormonmiscellaneous.com/
Read synopsis at: http://mormonmiscellaneous.com/synopses/id16.html
I assembled many sources from Joseph Smith which present his thinking. He declared that, with the restoration the heavens were opened. This created the opportunity for a great deal of new study, pondering, theorizing and new interpretation. To Joseph Smith growth demanded that the saints be free in their pursuit of greater light and knowledge. This pursuit would include gathering from new revelation, old revelation and the many truths abroad in the world. He taught that in this growth process, Latter-day Saints would be at vastly different levels of gospel advancement. This would include considerable divergence in their personal beliefs. He left doors wide open for reinterpretation and evolution in LDS belief, both personal and institutional. Full understanding of gospel and other truths would not be attained until long after the resurrection. He endorsed and defended doctrinal diversity. He refused to formulate a creed because this would stifle the freedom necessary for the growth of the saints.To demonstrate the degree of Joseph Smith’s support of doctrinal diversity I discuss three different concepts of the Godhead he endorsed concurrently during the Nauvoo period (1841-1844).
This is the live recording of a paper I presented at the Sunstone Theological Symposium held in Salt Lake City last August, 2006. It includes a response by Chuck Schofield and questions from the audience
Following the Symposium, I was invited to prepare this paper for publication in the Sunstone Magazine. This resulted in a significant expansion beyond that in the original paper. The resulting article was published in the 144th issue of Sunstone, December 2006. It includes numerous references, additional quotations and 68 footnotes with more than 100 sources used to elucidate these views of Joseph Smith.
This article is available at http://mormonmisc.podbean.com/estore-catalog/
New Testament Translations
for LDS Consideration To read Program Synopsis go to: http://mormonmiscellaneous.com/synopses/id15.html
To read Program Synopsis go to:English speaking Mormons would find a number of their views more clearly supported in many of the renderings in modern New Testament translations. For this, and other reasons, I contend that English speaking LDS may appreciate and profit from the reading and study of Bibles in addition to the KJV. There are several reasons, from my LDS perspective, why I prefer many renderings found in modern translations over those in the KJV. These would include: greater clarity, use of a better Greek text and support for a different translation than that found in the KJV.
I read and commented on a few examples, including: John 1:1; 4:24; Mark 10:18; Eph 3:19; 4:13, 24; 5:1;1 Cor 15:49; Gal 1:15; Phil 2:12; 2 Tim 3:16; Heb 1:1-5; 1 Pet 2:2; 3:18-22; 5:10. Among these are several of a number of passages in modern Bibles which much more explicitly support LDS views of man's ultimate potential. From my Mormon perspective, I much prefer modern Bibles on this, and many other concepts.
Also, I commented on my very favorite New Testament translation with an explanation.
Interested in the Program Notes CLICK or go to: http://mormonmiscellaneous.com/id22.html
This is the 25 February 2007 episode of the Mormon Miscellaneous Worldwide Talk Show, now in its 27th year. To listen to future Talk Shows live, go to http://www.k-talk.com Sunday evenings 5:00 -7:00 pm MST where your participation will be invited regardless of your point of view.