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MamaSheep

Questions about the LDS (Mormon) faith

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...I suppose if I force my scattered brain to focus, I am wondering how revelation works....

 

Thank you so much, that does help. :) I'll give this a shot, but please understand that for me some of this is an attempt to put words to things that I sort of just take as "given", which can be a little hard sometimes. But I can definitely see that it would not be a "given" for someone of a different background--I think it's a very valid question, I'm just trying to think how to explain and trying to say that if I'm not clear or don't give enough information I hope that you will say so and let me try again. And I hope at least THAT much makes sense, though reading what I just wrote I'm not sure...lol...

 

Anyway.

 

I think maybe it would help if I started with your question about how revelation works (in our beliefs) before addressing the issue of changes and "inconsistencies". So here goes.

 

Basically, to us, "revelation" just means any communication from God to man in any form, at any time, for any reason, under any circumstances. And it can happen in a great number of forms. Some revelations have been quite dramatic, such as the burning bush, a voice from heaven, an angel appearing with a message--though this sort of thing doesn't happen with great frequency. Some are more personal and a bit less dramatic, like a dream or a vision, or hearing a voice. Some (most, I would say) are even less dramatic, and can really be rather subtle and delicate--a sudden "impression", "suggestion", or "inspiration" that seems to come from a source outside oneself, or a flash of insight one would not have arrived at by oneself--that "still small voice" of the Spirit that often isn't even quite a "voice", but yet manages to communicate something, even without words.

 

With that in mind, I think I should mention that to LDS people, revelation is a fairly ubiquitous experience. Anyone could receive a revelation at any time, as God sees fit. The Spirit can, and does, communicate with anyone, anywhere, any time He chooses. Even non-believers. Anyone at all. The person to whom the communication is directed may or may not recognize it as such, may or may not give it any heed at all, may or may not even be aware that anything is happening. Or they might.

 

We also believe that the "gift of the Holy Ghost", which is given by the laying on of hands by someone who has been authorized by God to do so (which is done for every member of the church at confirmation), is basically a "gift" that God has given of...hmm....how to explain? A gift of becoming entitled (I'm not sure that's the right word, but we'll go with that for now) to revelation from God through the Holy Spirit--a more constant access, rather than just sporadic contact. Sort of a right to be heard and responded to. I don't know if I'm explaining this well. I once asked my husband, who is an adult convert to the church, whether he had noticed any difference between what it was like before receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and after. He said he had not expected there to be a difference, because he knew that before he had ever even considered joining the LDS church he had had many experiences in which he knew the Holy Ghost had communicated something to him very specifically. But, he said, that was sort of like getting a phone call where the other person calls you up, you answer, have a conversation, and then both people hang up and the line goes dead. He said that after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, it's more like the "phone line" is just always "live", and communication sort of flows both ways all the time--or at least COULD, if there were something to be said. The intensity of the "connection" sort of waxes and wanes, but it's always THERE. Unless HE (dh) hangs up the "phone" on his end (by allowing too many distractions in his life, or by doing things that God does not approve of, for example). That's about the best description I've ever heard. (I was confirmed when I was eight, so it's harder for me to compare before and afters.)

 

Anyway, my point is that revelation, in general, is considered to be more or less ubiquitous, perpetual, and even expected--particularly within the church. It's not an unusual occurrance that happens sporadically, or only comes to "the prophet" or the apostles. We do believe, however, that because God is a God of order, there are some...I don't know what to call it..."rules"? natural laws?...I don't know...some guidlines/restrictions/whatever involved. A person only receives revelation that pertains to THAT PERSON, or to something over which that person has stewardship, or authority. For example, I would (and have, and do) receive revelation from God regarding decisions that need to be made in my life (where to go to college, whom to marry, where to live), or unsolicited counsel about things God wants me to do (visit someone particular, respond to a circumstance in a specific way, avoid a particular situation--that has saved my life on at least two occasions that I am aware of). But I would not receive revelation about, for example, who my SISTER should marry. That's none of my business. My husband and I would (and have, and do) receive revelation about how to manage our own children and household, but we would not receive revelation about the best way for the neighbors to discipline their children (which is not to say we don't have opinions on the subject...lol). The same applies within the church. Most adult members of the church have some kind of leadership position or area of responsibility at some point in their life. It is expected that a person in a position of leadership in the church would seek revelation from God as to how best to perform their duties, who should fill any 'subordinate' positions, and so forth. But one would only receive revelation about THAT PERSON'S area of responsibility, and only for the time that person served in that position. So if I were the president of my ward's Primary (children's organization), I would expect to receive revelation about things like who should teach which class, how best to divide the children into class groups, gospel topics that should receive specific emphasis in that ward at that time, and that sort of thing. A primary president, because she has a stewardship over the children, might also be guided to pay specific attention in a certain way to a child who might be struggling with something in thier home life or whatever. But she would not receive revelation about how the Relief Society (women's organization) should be run. And after she was released from that responsibility, she would no longer receive revelation about those things. (Which, again, would not prevent her from having her own opinions. ;) )

 

So from all that there are a couple of things that I hope you would understand. One is that we (LDS) view revelation as a more or less constant "flow" of information, rather than as dramatic isolated instances; and the other is that although we frequently refer to the president of our church as "the prophet", we do not believe that he is the only one who can receive revelation.

 

We do believe, however, that God has called the president of the church to a position of stewardship over Christ's church. Therefore, if God wants to communicate something to the church as a whole, or to communicate something that applies to the way the programs of the whole church should be administered, that will be the channel that God would use, because that is the person who has that stewardship. The quorum of the twelve apostles as a whole has a similar church-wide responsibility and stewardship, and major decisions that affect the whole church need to be unanimously agreed to by the first presidency (president and his two counselors) and the Twelve, each of whom would seek the Lord's will in the matter. Similarly, if God wanted our family to do some particular thing He would communicated it to my husband and I, not to one of the children. If God wanted the Primary in my ward to focus on "faith" for the year, he'd guide the Primary president in that direction, not tell one of the class teachers. It's very orderly that way.

 

BUT. Any revelation that affects the whole church also affects me as an individual. And I am entitled (so to speak, and only because God said so, not because there's anything particularly special about me) to revelation from God about my own life and conduct. Therefore, any time the president of the church gives direction to the church, I am entitled, and indeed expected to go to God myself and receive His ratification and verification that this is, indeed, an instruction from God and that I, individually, should pay it heed. The same is true for every other individual member of the church. So for things like that there are very much two channels of communication. In fact, one of the apostles gave a good talk about that in a recent general conference of the church, if you're interested.

 

So that's a little about how revelation works. I hope that helps a bit. I need to go do something about dinner, but I'll come back later and write a bit about how we view revelations that change things. :)

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Coming into this late. This thread is HUMONGOUS!! Forgive me if this has already been addressed, please. My question is this:

 

Exactly WHEN did the church that Christ set upon the Earth fall into apostacy?

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Ok, I'm back. :)

 

First off, a smidge of housekeeping. Re-reading my earlier post I realize that I said we, "view revelation as a more or less constant 'flow' of information, rather than as dramatic isolated instances...". I SHOULD have said we believe in BOTH the more subtle ongoing kind of revelation AND the more dramatic kind. That's what I was trying to get at, but I realize now that I said it awkwardly and I don't want to throw anyone off who might be reading this.

 

Ok...so moving on...

 

 

Thanks Mamasheep, that was exactly what I was wondering, and very interesting as well!:001_smile:

 

Oh good! I'm so glad I asked for clarification then, instead of trying to address all the separate smaller points. :)

 

...I guess, I want to know how LDS members deal with the inconsitency of revelation, how do LDS members view this? Do you believe God sends these revelations to change previous revelations when they are needed? Is a revelation not as permanent as I assume it is? Is it possible for a past revelation to be seen in hind sight as false, or is it always valid at the time it is made, even if later it is changed?...

 

Hmmm...how to explain...

 

Revelation is (to us) just communication. Communication might be about either things that are permanent, or things that are temporary and specific to certain times and circumstances.

 

So, for example, the method by which salvation is available to mankind is viewed by us as permanent, and revelation about it has been consistent through all the ages. We believe that Jesus is the same being referred to as "Jehovah" in the Old Testament. We believe that from the days of Adam God has revealed to man the message that salvation is available only in and through this being: Jehovah, Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus. There is no other Redeemer. Adam was directed to Him, Noah was directed to Him, Abraham was directed to Him, Moses, and Jeremiah, and Elijah--all the prophets before Jesus lived on the Earth were directed by revelation to the same being. We believe that the animal sacrifices directed by God during that time period were intended as a method of focusing God's people on the coming sacrifice of their Redeemer. At the end of Jesus's mortal ministry, He established the sacrament of the last supper (communion) as a way to focus His people on the same sacrifice, now in the past rather than in the future. The specific "procedure" used to provide the focus was changed, and the direction of the focus changed from the future to the past, but the underlying purpose and the ultimate meaning of the messages were very consistent. We perceive 'modern' revelation as being also highly consistent on this issue as well, and not as something that can be "changed". So yes, some things are permanent and irrevocable, and God does communicate to people, through revelation, about these kinds of permanent things.

 

But something else that is consistent (in our belief) is that each time through history that God has established an officially recognized "people" on the Earth, by covenant, He has provided them with ongoing revelation, or communication, about the issues and circumstances they face in their own time and place. And yes, sometimes those are different from one age to another, and can even change mid-stream. And I think if you think about it, you will see that this makes good sense.

 

For example, it was not revealed to Adam (so far as we know) that Noah should build an ark. Nothing I know of indicates that ark-building was viewed as a permanently established religious practice either before Noah or after, even though it is widely accepted that Noah got the idea to build an ark through revelation from God. But even though it was a "new" revelation, it didn't replace the "old" revelation about sacrifices that had been part of the religious tradition since Adam. Similarly, even though God told Noah--by revelation--to take his family and a bunch of animals INTO the ark, that in no way prevented God from "changing his mind" and telling Noah to lead his family and all the animals OUT of the ark after the waters receded. It was temporary stuff, you see. Even though it was given by revelation, it was not permanent. So some things are temporary and shifting, and God also communicates to people, through revelation about these things.

 

So to us, the mere fact that a thing was revealed through revelation does not, by itself, indicate that the thing is intended to be viewed by us as permanent.

 

Other examples might be when God told the Israelites through Moses that they could go to Canaan, and then "changed his mind" and said they had to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years instead. Or when God told David NOT to build a temple, and then told Solomon that he SHOULD build a temple. Or when God told Jonah that Nineveh would be destroyed, and then didn't destroy it because the people repented. Or when Jesus set aside the whole Law of Moses because it had been fulfilled. Or for that matter, when Peter was told in a vision that it was ok to preach the gospel to the gentiles, even though when Jesus was alive he said they should only preach to the Jews.

 

The timing on the "changes" depends, I would suppose, on the circumstances and the reasons God had for giving the initial instruction, and what has changed, or what has NOT changed that should have but people didn't do as they were told--or, y'know, whatever the case may be for that specific revelation. It could certainly be said by an "outsider" that it was awfully "convenient" for God to tell Moses to part the Red Sea just when the Israelites were being pressured to return to Egypt, or that it was a little suspicious that just when the Israelites were expressing reluctance about going in and conquering Canaan Moses received a "revelation" telling him that they didn't have to (and in fact excusing himself from the undertaking altogether). An "outsider" might observe that it was "interesting timing" for Peter to say that it was ok to preach to gentiles so shortly after the Jews had rather vehemently expressed their general rejection of the Christian movement by getting its leader crucified. Internal or external or societal pressure might be one explanation. Another explanation might be that God was directing His people toward a particular goal, and in order to get there something needed to change.

 

Suppose I were standing on my front porch with a blindfold on, and my dh was with me, but not blindfolded, and he wanted to tell me how to get to where the car was parked on the street so I could get in and he could drive me to a particularly nice restaurant (or whatever, this is all hypothetical anyway, right? heh...). Suppose that because I had a blindfold on he had to tell me how to get there. He would tell me to take, oh...say four steps straight forward from the door (and would probably hold my hand so I didn't fall down). If that many steps got me to the top of the steps, he would then tell me to take two steps down. If my four steps were too timid and small, he might tell me I needed to take a couple more. If I took really big steps and was about to go unexpectedly off the step, he would warn me and give me new instructions. If I turned too much to the left because I couldn't tell exactly where "straight" was, he'd correct my angle. And he wouldn't tell me to step down because he changed his mind about going straight ahead on the flat, or that he suddenly decided flat was somehow "bad', but because the terrain had changed and where I was on a flat surface before, I am now at the top of the steps. Once I navigated myself down the steps, with his help, he'd tell me to turn right--not because there was anything particularly wrong with going straight ahead, except that if I wanted to reach my goal--the original goal that had NOT changed--I needed to shift my direction in order to stay on the the prescribed path. Once I got to the driveway, though, I would need to turn LEFT, not right. If I went right, I would run into the garage door--even though "right" was the proper way to turn before. Again, the goal is in the same place, and dh can see it, even though I can't. Now, of course I am familiar with the route I am describing, but I would be even more reliant on dh's directions if I were blindfolded in a strange location. And I would need to follow his instructions even when they "changed"--especially when they changed--in order to arrive at my desired destination.

 

For us, revelation is much the same. There is a goal out there that does not change. Along the way there might be other, temporary goals--the top of the steps, or the end of the sidewalk, figuratively speaking--but the ultimate goal IS permanent and does not shift. But in order to get there we have to be willing to follow God's ongoing leading (continuing revelation), which will sometimes shift with regards to temporary things in order to keep us headed toward that goal.

 

Make sense?

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Coming into this late. This thread is HUMONGOUS!! Forgive me if this has already been addressed, please. My question is this:

 

Exactly WHEN did the church that Christ set upon the Earth fall into apostacy?

 

Coming in late is totally ok. It's an oldish thread that was just recently resurrected anyway. And yes it is a HUGE thread and I am FLOORED by the number of views it has received. It's a great deal more than I anticipated when I started the thing...lol.

 

We view the Apostasy as a gradual thing, so there's no specific date for it. In general, we believe that apostolic authority was removed from the church when there were no more apostles. But that's not to say that all the people were "bad" from then on. On the contrary we believe that many people strove valiantly to live according to Christ's teachings, as they understood them, all through the centuries, and we have great respect for those who tried to keep the flame alight. So to speak. :) But we also believe that the true teachings and practices were gradually eroded away over the years without apostolic authority.

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Coming in late is totally ok. It's an oldish thread that was just recently resurrected anyway. And yes it is a HUGE thread and I am FLOORED by the number of views it has received. It's a great deal more than I anticipated when I started the thing...lol.

 

We view the Apostasy as a gradual thing, so there's no specific date for it. In general, we believe that apostolic authority was removed from the church when there were no more apostles. But that's not to say that all the people were "bad" from then on. On the contrary we believe that many people strove valiantly to live according to Christ's teachings, as they understood them, all through the centuries, and we have great respect for those who tried to keep the flame alight. So to speak. :) But we also believe that the true teachings and practices were gradually eroded away over the years without apostolic authority.

 

 

Thank you for doing your best to answer. However, I am still left a bit confused.

 

If a restoration of Christ's church was necessary, then there has to be one specific point in time where Christ's church was no longer on the Earth. It's one thing to say the erosion was "gradual," but even with gradual erosion, there is still a point certain when all elements of His church (or His Gospel, if you will) are gone, and a restoration becomes necessary.

 

When was that time?

 

Thanks,

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Oh-- I have another question too, not related to apostasy. :001_smile:

 

We have a lot of physical evidence that still exists from biblical times that reinforce much of what we read in the Bible. Great civilizations of the past leave behind many remnants that prove their existence to future generations.

 

Other than the Book of Mormon, what evidence has been found to support the existence of the peoples described therein? My understanding is that no physical evidence has been found, despite a great deal of archaeological work done in Central America by the LDS church.

 

If this is true, then how do Mormons explain this lack of evidence?

 

If my understanding is incorrect, then please correct me.

 

Thanks!

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Thank you for doing your best to answer. However, I am still left a bit confused.

 

If a restoration of Christ's church was necessary, then there has to be one specific point in time where Christ's church was no longer on the Earth. It's one thing to say the erosion was "gradual," but even with gradual erosion, there is still a point certain when all elements of His church (or His Gospel, if you will) are gone, and a restoration becomes necessary.

 

When was that time?

 

Thanks,

Something doesn't have to cease to exist before it can be restored. When you restore a classic car you're not building a replica of the original, you're taking what's left of the original and bringing it back up to it's full glory.

 

LDS belief is that the Gospel Truths that were lost are restored in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We don't believe that ALL Truth needed to be restored though. Certainly the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God survived, and the belief in His crucifixion and resurrection, among other things. We wouldn't have the Bible if it weren't for those who carried the remants of the Gospel forward through the ages.

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Oh-- I have another question too, not related to apostasy. :001_smile:

 

We have a lot of physical evidence that still exists from biblical times that reinforce much of what we read in the Bible. Great civilizations of the past leave behind many remnants that prove their existence to future generations.

 

Other than the Book of Mormon, what evidence has been found to support the existence of the peoples described therein? My understanding is that no physical evidence has been found, despite a great deal of archaeological work done in Central America by the LDS church.

 

If this is true, then how do Mormons explain this lack of evidence?

 

If my understanding is incorrect, then please correct me.

 

Thanks!

Lack of evidence doesn't equal lack of existance. Also, just because a place exists or a belief persists doesn't mean that what a particular faith believes happened there *happened*, or that the belief is true. I mean, Mt. Olympus is a real place, and there's tons of archeological evidence of the worship of Greek Gods, and vast records of the myths that were taught as Truth during acient times, but I doubt any Christian would believe that's an argument in favor of the validity of Greek myths and proof of the existance of Zues et. al.

 

There are some challenges to finding evidence of the Book of Mormon: 1 is, we don't know *where* exactly in the Americas it took place. Current teaching in the church is that it was probably somewhere in Central, or Northern-South America, but we don't know for sure. Also, at the end of the Book of Mormon the society was descending into chaos as the battling factions were fighting in decades-long war, and the winning faction wasn't known for it's record keeping. They also weren't Christian (it was the Christians who were being wiped out) so they wouldn't have found any Christian-related records worthy of keeping.

 

And study of ancient America is still a relatively new addition to archeology, and with the climate archologists are dealing with (very humid, compared to the very dry desert of the Middle East, which means delicate artifacts don't survive very well) and difficult terrain and vegetation (tall mountains and thick jungles) and it makes for some pretty spotty results in figuring out what the ancient people of these lands believed and what their way of life was like. Also, European settlers likely destroyed quiet a bit of what could have been evidence.

 

What it all boils to though is Testimony. Science and archology aren't what confirm to me that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit does that. Archeological evidence would be nice at all, but it's not a requirement for my faith.

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Thank you for doing your best to answer. However, I am still left a bit confused.

 

If a restoration of Christ's church was necessary, then there has to be one specific point in time where Christ's church was no longer on the Earth. It's one thing to say the erosion was "gradual," but even with gradual erosion, there is still a point certain when all elements of His church (or His Gospel, if you will) are gone, and a restoration becomes necessary.

 

When was that time?

 

Thanks,

 

Hmm...I see your point, but I think you and I view this rather differently. I understand that you feel that there would be no need for a restoration until every last trace and vestige of truth had been erased. And certainly you are entitled to believe as you choose on the subject. However, I see no reason to think that God would necessarily see it that way. I don't see why He would have to wait until there was no trace left. It seems to me that if the original church were no longer "listening", and had started making up its own rules and declarations without authorization from God to do so, that would be reason enough to choose new people who would listen, and begin again.

 

I'm not sure I agree with Xuzi's analogy of the restored car, as that would be more of a reformation of the original, which is not what I think God did. I think God provided a shiny new "vehicle" to replace the one that was still there, but no longer functioning properly. I don't see why He would have needed to wait until the dysfunctional one had rusted away to nothing before providing something that worked. And--to exploit the analogy a little further--if I were sitting in a bucket of rust going nowhere fast, and God came and offered me the gift of a new, functional vehicle, I hope I would not say to Him that I did not want it until my old one had disintegrated completely. That would seem ungrateful. And...cheeky. As I say, though, I fully respect that you believe differently on the subject. :)

 

For myself, I believe that the restoration actually did come from God and I don't feel it's really my place to argue with Him about whether it was really necessary. If He thinks it was, well that's good enough for me. I don't know the exact moment when He decided it was necessary to start things moving toward restoration (I think the invention of the printing press was a crucial step in that direction, but was it the first? I have no idea.), but I do believe that the New Testament contains some passages that explain that such a necessity would arise at some point in the (then) future, so I don't think God was caught by surprise with the whole Apostasy thing, and I believe that the Restoration was also prophesied, so it does not surprise me that God followed through on that, in His own good time.

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Lack of evidence doesn't equal lack of existance. Also, just because a place exists or a belief persists doesn't mean that what a particular faith believes happened there *happened*, or that the belief is true. I mean, Mt. Olympus is a real place, and there's tons of archeological evidence of the worship of Greek Gods, and vast records of the myths that were taught as Truth during acient times, but I doubt any Christian would believe that's an argument in favor of the validity of Greek myths and proof of the existance of Zues et. al.

 

There are some challenges to finding evidence of the Book of Mormon: 1 is, we don't know *where* exactly in the Americas it took place. Current teaching in the church is that it was probably somewhere in Central, or Northern-South America, but we don't know for sure. Also, at the end of the Book of Mormon the society was descending into chaos as the battling factions were fighting in decades-long war, and the winning faction wasn't known for it's record keeping. They also weren't Christian (it was the Christians who were being wiped out) so they wouldn't have found any Christian-related records worthy of keeping.

 

And study of ancient America is still a relatively new addition to archeology, and with the climate archologists are dealing with (very humid, compared to the very dry desert of the Middle East, which means delicate artifacts don't survive very well) and difficult terrain and vegetation (tall mountains and thick jungles) and it makes for some pretty spotty results in figuring out what the ancient people of these lands believed and what their way of life was like. Also, European settlers likely destroyed quiet a bit of what could have been evidence.

 

What it all boils to though is Testimony. Science and archology aren't what confirm to me that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit does that. Archeological evidence would be nice at all, but it's not a requirement for my faith.

 

:iagree: Especially with the part where Xuzi points out that archaeological evidence supporting the Bible no more "proves" that Christ is the Savior or the Son of God, or that the Christian God is even real, than archaeological evidence of the Greek civilization "proves" that their gods are real or did what they were purported to have done. That knowledge comes by way of the Spirit, not through archaeological proof. Certainly it would be interesting to find archaeological evidence of the sort you refer to, just as Biblical archeology is interesting. But archaeology is not what my belief in the Bible is based on, and it's not what my belief in the Book of Mormon is based on either.

 

However, there are some archaeological and linguistic bits and pieces that some people have found suggestive, and if you're interested in that sort of thing, this web site discusses some of them. I find these things intriguing, but not conclusive. Please note that it's not an official web site, though.

 

The one part of this post of Xuzi's that I have to disagree with is this bit:

...Current teaching in the church is that it was probably somewhere in Central, or Northern-South America, but we don't know for sure....

I would say that Central or northern South America are certainly the subjects of much speculation amongst members of the church, as those seem the most likely candidates for some of the geography described in the Book of Mormon, and some archaeological artifacts there seem to suggest at least contact with some of the ideas presented in the Book of Mormon. However, I am not aware of any actual "teaching" of the church to that effect, current or otherwise. As far as I am aware the church has never taken any official position on the question of the location of the Book of Mormon events beyond 'we don't know'. Well, except that it would have been somewhere in the western hemisphere.

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. Please note that it's not an official web site, though.

 

The one part of this post of Xuzi's that I have to disagree with is this bit:

 

I would say that Central or northern South America are certainly the subjects of much speculation amongst members of the church, as those seem the most likely candidates for some of the geography described in the Book of Mormon, and some archaeological artifacts there seem to suggest at least contact with some of the ideas presented in the Book of Mormon. However, I am not aware of any actual "teaching" of the church to that affect, current or otherwise. As far as I am aware the church has never taken any official position on the question of the location of the Book of Mormon events beyond, we don't know.

You're right, I shouldn't say "teaching", as it's never been explicitely stated by anyone in church leadership (to my knowledge) that they think that's where it most likely is, but certainly among the membership it's implied.

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Something doesn't have to cease to exist before it can be restored. When you restore a classic car you're not building a replica of the original, you're taking what's left of the original and bringing it back up to it's full glory.

 

LDS belief is that the Gospel Truths that were lost are restored in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We don't believe that ALL Truth needed to be restored though. Certainly the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God survived, and the belief in His crucifixion and resurrection, among other things. We wouldn't have the Bible if it weren't for those who carried the remants of the Gospel forward through the ages.

 

Okay, at what point in time were they lost to the extent that restoration became necessary?

 

I am not trying to be a pest-- but I am asking direct questions, and it seems to me that I am not getting direct answers.

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Okay, at what point in time were they lost to the extent that restoration became necessary?

 

I am not trying to be a pest-- but I am asking direct questions, and it seems to me that I am not getting direct answers.

We have given you a direct answer. The answer is: We don't know the exact time. We don't have a set year that we believe it happened, but we believe that Apostolic authority left the earth when the last Apostle died. When did he die? We don't know, probably somewhere within the first few centuries AD (more than likely well before 200AD). It's not really essential to our faith to know the *exact* moment the apostolic keys left the earth, anymore than it's essential to know the *exact* moment Christ entered the world as a newborn babe. We believe it happened, and that it was an important event, we just don't know the exact date of the event.

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Okay, at what point in time were they lost to the extent that restoration became necessary?

 

I am not trying to be a pest-- but I am asking direct questions, and it seems to me that I am not getting direct answers.

 

I'm so sorry it's coming across that way. I'm not trying to be obtuse, it's just that the most direct answer that I know of on the subject is that WE didn't make that decision, God did--and He has not seen fit to tell us at what time He made that decision. So we just don't know. Like you, I would find it interesting to know, but I don't. That's as honest and direct an answer as I know how to give. However, it's clearly a more important issue to you than it is to me, and I am very sorry not to be able to be of more help.

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:confused:

Lack of evidence doesn't equal lack of existance. Also, just because a place exists or a belief persists doesn't mean that what a particular faith believes happened there *happened*, or that the belief is true. I mean, Mt. Olympus is a real place, and there's tons of archeological evidence of the worship of Greek Gods, and vast records of the myths that were taught as Truth during acient times, but I doubt any Christian would believe that's an argument in favor of the validity of Greek myths and proof of the existance of Zues et. al.

 

There are some challenges to finding evidence of the Book of Mormon: 1 is, we don't know *where* exactly in the Americas it took place. Current teaching in the church is that it was probably somewhere in Central, or Northern-South America, but we don't know for sure. Also, at the end of the Book of Mormon the society was descending into chaos as the battling factions were fighting in decades-long war, and the winning faction wasn't known for it's record keeping. They also weren't Christian (it was the Christians who were being wiped out) so they wouldn't have found any Christian-related records worthy of keeping.

 

And study of ancient America is still a relatively new addition to archeology, and with the climate archologists are dealing with (very humid, compared to the very dry desert of the Middle East, which means delicate artifacts don't survive very well) and difficult terrain and vegetation (tall mountains and thick jungles) and it makes for some pretty spotty results in figuring out what the ancient people of these lands believed and what their way of life was like. Also, European settlers likely destroyed quiet a bit of what could have been evidence.

 

What it all boils to though is Testimony. Science and archology aren't what confirm to me that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit does that. Archeological evidence would be nice at all, but it's not a requirement for my faith.

 

I would agree with you that archaeology is not a requirement of faith. However, archaeology can do a lot by way or proving things to skeptics.

 

I disagree with your assertion that there has not been much archaeological research into ancient America. The LDS church has itself funded extensive archaeological research. And, of course, we know a great deal about the Incans, Aztecs, and Mayans. If Nephites and Lamanites also had great civilizations here, there should be some objective proof of it beyond that of faith, right? Isn't that why the LDS Church funds so much archaeological research, to find such proof??

 

You mentioned "delicate artifacts." I agree that time and war most certainly would lead to the deterioration of delicate artifacts. But what about pottery, stone vessels, buildings, etc.? What about instruments of war like spears and arrows? And if a faction demolishes another faction, haven't they, throughout the course of history, declared their victory and prowess for future generations? Don't they erect statues or monuments to remember the occasion?

 

I know that the LDS Church and BYU are doing TONS of archaeological research in Central and South America. What artifacts have they found to support the claims of the Book of Mormon?

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You're right, I shouldn't say "teaching", as it's never been explicitely stated by anyone in church leadership (to my knowledge) that they think that's where it most likely is, but certainly among the membership it's implied.

 

You are very right. I just don't want to cause any more confusion than necessary here..lol. So I thought it would be good to kind of draw the line there between "what the church teaches" and "what many members believe, even though there is no specific church doctrine on the subject". Because sometimes the difference does matter. :grouphug:

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And study of ancient America is still a relatively new addition to archeology, and with the climate archologists are dealing with (very humid, compared to the very dry desert of the Middle East, which means delicate artifacts don't survive very well) and difficult terrain and vegetation (tall mountains and thick jungles) and it makes for some pretty spotty results in figuring out what the ancient people of these lands believed and what their way of life was like.

 

Very interesting discussion.

 

But - just jumping in here as an Archaeologist to say that this bit isn't particularly accurate.

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We have given you a direct answer. The answer is: We don't know the exact time. We don't have a set year that we believe it happened, but we believe that Apostolic authority left the earth when the last Apostle died. When did he die? We don't know, probably somewhere within the first few centuries AD (more than likely well before 200AD). It's not really essential to our faith to know the *exact* moment the apostolic keys left the earth, anymore than it's essential to know the *exact* moment Christ entered the world as a newborn babe. We believe it happened, and that it was an important event, we just don't know the exact date of the event.

 

Hmmm. I have read back over the other posts, and, I would suggest, as respectfully as possible, that until this post, I was not given a direct answer. The answer is that you (collective you) don't know. It's certainly okay to say that you don't know something, but please don't say that answers couched in the terms of "it gradually happened" is a direct answer. I asked for a specific date. "Gradually" is not a specific date.

 

You have said that you know the keys restored to Joseph Smith by Peter, James, and John did indeed die out, and that this was an important event. But if the event was important, why don't you (collective you) know WHEN it happened? We may not know the EXACT date of Christ's birth, but we can estimate it within 50 years, at least. Does the LDS church have an estimate, within a margin of error of 50 years, as to when the keys were lost? Within 100 years? 200?

 

If the official doctrine of the church does have such an estimate, please tell me what it is.

 

If the official doctrine of the church does NOT have such an estimate, then please tell me: how can you be certain the "apostolic keys" did in fact die out if no one knows when this very important event happened?

 

I find this particular aspect of LDS theology to be very confusing. Thank you for engaging in this discussion with me!

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I'm so sorry it's coming across that way. I'm not trying to be obtuse, it's just that the most direct answer that I know of on the subject is that WE didn't make that decision, God did--and He has not seen fit to tell us at what time He made that decision. So we just don't know. Like you, I would find it interesting to know, but I don't. That's as honest and direct an answer as I know how to give. However, it's clearly a more important issue to you than it is to me, and I am very sorry not to be able to be of more help.

 

 

No worries. I didn't think you were being obtuse, just evasive. ;)

 

I appreciate the directness and honesty of this post.

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Very interesting discussion.

 

But - just jumping in here as an Archaeologist to say that this bit isn't particularly accurate.

 

I'm certainly not an archaeologist. I don't think Xuzi is either, but won't speak for her. I don't feel qualified to speak much on the subject of archaeology, so I don't think I will even attempt it. But here are a couple of links that might be more informative.

 

http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Brochures/Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.pdf

http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_BMEvidence.shtml

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No worries. I didn't think you were being obtuse, just evasive. ;)

 

I appreciate the directness and honesty of this post.

 

I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to be "evasive". In fact, I'm a little hurt that you would say that. Especially when we're doing our best to be helpful.

 

"It happened gradually, so there is no exact date," IS a direct answer to the question of "What is the exact date?" when one believes that a process happened gradually over a period of many, many years. It's a little like asking at what date and time a dead tree turns into compost. It's a gradual process. You can look at it at the beginning and say it's definitely a tree, and you can sift through it at the end and say it's definitely compost, but if you catch it somewhere in the middle, in the process of decay, which is it? If it's dead, is it still technically a tree? I don't know. What constitutes "compost", exactly? What if the thing is partly solid wood, and partly compost? If there is an exact scientific point in time at which the tree officially ceases to be a tree and officially crosses a line where it suddenly turns into compost, I don't have any idea what that would be. Decay of trees is not exact, so far as I know. And to me, the same principle applies to the decay of churches. You can't look at the clock on the wall and say, "Oh gee, it stopped being 'the church' and became 'apostate' on November twelfth at six thirty pm." It just doesn't work that way. And opining that it SHOULD work that way and demanding a time of death doesn't change the fact that decay doesn't work like that. And to point out that decay is not exact is not "evasive", it's a direct answer. If YOU want to pick a date--say 90-something AD--at which there were no more apostles in the church as the "official time of the beginning of the Apostasy" then you certainly can. But I don't see that as at all accurate or useful when one is talking about a gradual process.

 

And you're right, "obtuse" wasn't the right word for my end of the discussion. It's after midnight and I'm tired.

 

ETA: It occurs to me to mention that during the time Jesus lived on the earth He repeatedly pointed out that the religious traditions of the Jews had become corrupted, and then he went on to establish a new covenant--a restoration, so to speak. But He did not feel it necessary to give a specific date on which Jewish tradition had become "corrupted" then, either. He just said that it was, and then set up something new in place of that which had become corrupted.

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Very interesting discussion.

 

But - just jumping in here as an Archaeologist to say that this bit isn't particularly accurate.

You're right. I shouldn't say "new". But the knowledge of what those cultures was like is still fairly fledgling when compared to what we know about, say, ancient Mosopotamia or Egypt, am I correct? There isn't as much understanding (yet) as to what ancient American cultures were like because so much of what they had has been destroyed (by human hand or nature), and, to my knowledge, not many of them had written languages, and the ones who did have written language we haven't been able to translate (from the last PBS special I saw on ancient American ruins, but I don't know how old it was, has that perhaps changed?). There are SOME ancient American cultures that we know quiet a bit about, but there are also several that we know existed and built some things, but not much else. And we may be able to find evidence of buildings and agriculture and religious worship, but not be able to tell exactly *what* they worshipped.

 

My DD and I studied the chapter in SOTW 1 this week that covers the ancient Americas. There was a good bit of detail given about the Mayans and Aztecs, but there was also a lot of "We don't know why these people did these things" (such as the giant heads around the temples, and the huge Nazca drawings).

 

I'll be honest and say that I can't point to any definitive "Evidence" of the Book of Mormon, but it's not because there might not be some out there to point to. It's just because it doesn't really concern me. I only recently learned that the walls of Jericho is an actual archeological site (originally I only thought the city still existed and that the walls were loooong long gone). It didn't change my faith in the Bible either in the positive or the negative. It was just a "Oh that's nice" little discovery. What the acedemic world knows about ancient Bible lands or ancient American lands can be very interesting, but I don't concern myself with it that much because I don't see it as being necessary to my faith. If tomorrow archeologists were to uncover a site that said "Here Be Zerahemla!" I'd probably think "Oh, cool!" but it wouldn't have much baring on my faith.

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Hmmm. I have read back over the other posts, and, I would suggest, as respectfully as possible, that until this post, I was not given a direct answer. The answer is that you (collective you) don't know. It's certainly okay to say that you don't know something, but please don't say that answers couched in the terms of "it gradually happened" is a direct answer. I asked for a specific date. "Gradually" is not a specific date.

 

You have said that you know the keys restored to Joseph Smith by Peter, James, and John did indeed die out, and that this was an important event. But if the event was important, why don't you (collective you) know WHEN it happened? We may not know the EXACT date of Christ's birth, but we can estimate it within 50 years, at least. Does the LDS church have an estimate, within a margin of error of 50 years, as to when the keys were lost? Within 100 years? 200?

 

If the official doctrine of the church does have such an estimate, please tell me what it is.

 

If the official doctrine of the church does NOT have such an estimate, then please tell me: how can you be certain the "apostolic keys" did in fact die out if no one knows when this very important event happened?

 

I find this particular aspect of LDS theology to be very confusing. Thank you for engaging in this discussion with me!

 

I'm pretty sure there is no "official date" given by the church. But I'll jump in here and mention that it is obvious to an LDS church member that we disagree with the ideas that came out of the Council of Nicaea. So, I would offer it as my opinion that the Church moved toward apostasy somewhere between 100AD and 300AD.

 

I hesitate to even offer my opinion, because it's not really discussed all that much. We believe that the apostasy happened, but we don't believe that it's essential to know exactly when it happened--or even that you can know the exact date for a gradual process.

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Can you point then to what exactly happened that is considered an apostasy by the LDS church? Peoples, events, dates, arguments/issues.

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Can you point then to what exactly happened that is considered an apostasy by the LDS church? Peoples, events, dates, arguments/issues.

 

The primary issue would be loss of priesthood authority, held by the apostles but not held by later Christian leaders.

 

The fruits of this loss would be found in what we consider apostate doctrines and practices that then spread throughout the body of Christianity.

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The primary issue would be loss of priesthood authority, held by the apostles but not held by later Christian leaders.

 

The fruits of this loss would be found in what we consider apostate doctrines and practices that then spread throughout the body of Christianity.

 

What is the evidence for the loss of priesthood authority? What was the first instance (person, event) of observed apostasy in that matter?

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Can you point then to what exactly happened that is considered an apostasy by the LDS church? Peoples, events, dates, arguments/issues.

 

 

What is the evidence for the loss of priesthood authority? What was the first instance (person, event) of observed apostasy in that matter?

 

Well one evidence (to us) for the loss of priesthood authority is that the source of that authority, God, came out and SAID it was lost, and then proceeded to restore it. Whether you accept that evidence or not is obviously up to you, but I hope that you can understand that to us, it's pretty conclusive.

 

I am not sure what kind of information you are seeking. You seem to be asking about things that we might look at and say, "that's not right, it must be an aspect of the apostasy". I don't think I could give anything like an orderly, exhaustive listing of such things, but perhaps a few examples would be useful?

 

We would view bishops being ordained by other bishops as a problem. Decisions made by vote of popular opinion in council rather than based on revelation. Church leadership positions being filled by political appointment would be an apostate practice, to us. Infant baptism and sprinkling, the doctrine of the Trinity, the idea of 'original sin', the loss of proxy baptism for the dead, the idea that revelation has ceased, the closing of the canon...that sort of thing.

 

Is that helpful to your questions?

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We would view bishops being ordained by other bishops as a problem. Decisions made by vote of popular opinion in council rather than based on revelation. Church leadership positions being filled by political appointment would be an apostate practice, to us. Infant baptism and sprinkling, the doctrine of the Trinity, the idea of 'original sin', the loss of proxy baptism for the dead, the idea that revelation has ceased, the closing of the canon...that sort of thing.

 

Is that helpful to your questions?

 

Are these examples official LDS dogma, or would you say that these are just some things that come to your mind as possible examples? Please know that I mean no disrespect in any way-- but, for example, there might have been a time when I thought that Catholic leadership was determined by "vote of popular opinion" rather than revelation, but I was wrong. It's very possible I might have included such a statement in a litany of other things I believed Catholics taught, just off the top of my head, but what I would have been mentioning would have been my interpretation of Catholic beliefs, and not the official teachings of the Church (and some of it would not have been entirely correct).

 

So, to the best of your knowledge, are these official church teachings??

 

Thanks for answering!

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I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to be "evasive". In fact, I'm a little hurt that you would say that. Especially when we're doing our best to be helpful.

 

 

 

Please forgive me. I did not mean to hurt your feelings, and I never believed that you were deliberately being evasive.

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We would view bishops being ordained by other bishops as a problem. Decisions made by vote of popular opinion in council rather than based on revelation. Church leadership positions being filled by political appointment would be an apostate practice, to us. Infant baptism and sprinkling, the doctrine of the Trinity, the idea of 'original sin', the loss of proxy baptism for the dead, the idea that revelation has ceased, the closing of the canon...that sort of thing.

 

Are these examples official LDS dogma, or would you say that these are just some things that come to your mind as possible examples? Please know that I mean no disrespect in any way-- but, for example, there might have been a time when I thought that Catholic leadership was determined by "vote of popular opinion" rather than revelation, but I was wrong. It's very possible I might have included such a statement in a litany of other things I believed Catholics taught, just off the top of my head, but what I would have been mentioning would have been my interpretation of Catholic beliefs, and not the official teachings of the Church (and some of it would not have been entirely correct).

 

I don't know enough Catholic dogma to say what is and what is not a current Catholic belief or practice. And I absolutely don't know enough of Catholic church history to know what the practice was in 2nd - 6th centuries.

 

My understanding is the early church was not monolithic in believe or practice. What was done in Egypt might have been different then what was done in Rome which was different then what was done in Greece.

 

BUT Yes

We don't believe that bishops can ordain other bishops.

We do believe in an open Canon of scriptures.

We don't believe in infant baptism.

We do believe in baptism by emersion.

We do believe in proxy baptism for the dead.

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Are these examples official LDS dogma, or would you say that these are just some things that come to your mind as possible examples? Please know that I mean no disrespect in any way-- but, for example, there might have been a time when I thought that Catholic leadership was determined by "vote of popular opinion" rather than revelation, but I was wrong. It's very possible I might have included such a statement in a litany of other things I believed Catholics taught, just off the top of my head, but what I would have been mentioning would have been my interpretation of Catholic beliefs, and not the official teachings of the Church (and some of it would not have been entirely correct).

 

So, to the best of your knowledge, are these official church teachings??

 

Thanks for answering!

 

These are some things that came to my mind as possible examples. I was not making a statement of official church doctrine, or dogma (I am in no way authorized to do so) nor was I specifically targeting the Catholic church. As I pointed out earlier, we view the apostasy as something that took place gradually over a long period of time, and it would include the umpteen gajillion iterations of Christian church that developed over that time period, up until the present, each with their own variations of teaching and practice. My list was a few examples that came to my mind of things I have been told by other people are done in their churches, which I would consider to be not in harmony with what I believe to be God's authentic teachings. It is my opinion that the Catholic church does indeed have some "pieces" of truth that I perceive to be missing in some other churches I know of, but I think it is also missing a few crucial pieces and/or has made some unauthorized additions. However, my purpose here is to answer questions about my own faith, not to engage in systematic criticism of other people's beliefs.

 

I need to go run some errands, but if you'd like I can spend some time this evening searching up a few articles on the subject for you and can post some links. :)

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Please forgive me. I did not mean to hurt your feelings, and I never believed that you were deliberately being evasive.

 

Thank you. All is forgiven. :)

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Can you point then to what exactly happened that is considered an apostasy by the LDS church? Peoples, events, dates, arguments/issues.

 

Joseph Smith didn't look around at the other churches and decide there was something missing/wrong and so he found a new church to restore what he believed was lost or incorrect. He was just a boy, 14 years old, desiring to know which church to join in his own town, and so he prayed and asked God. God appeared to him.

I hope that those that are truly trying to understand or learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will take the time to read Joseph's account in his own words, which is fascinating, if only to understand how this religion began. It was not a reformation at all. It was a restoration. It is unlike any other. I think it is important to understand that perpective in order to understand our religion.

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I need to go run some errands, but if you'd like I can spend some time this evening searching up a few articles on the subject for you and can post some links. :)

 

Ok, following up. And just so you know, I have a busy night ahead of assembling freezer meals for my new freezer meal group, so I will most likely not be back again tonight. But here are a few links. They're what came up quickly when I went looking. I haven't read through them to make sure they have the sort of information you're looking for, but here's hoping!

 

http://lds.org/ensign/1984/12/early-signs-of-the-apostasy?lang=eng

 

http://lds.org/ensign/1995/12/apostasy-restoration-and-lessons-in-faith?lang=eng

 

http://lds.org/ensign/1988/10/whither-the-early-church?lang=eng

 

http://lds.org/ensign/1976/08/clement-ignatius-and-polycarp-three-bishops-between-the-apostles-and-apostasy?lang=eng

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