Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

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Arcturus
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Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Arcturus » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:29 am

Just finished listening to RFM's most recent podcast #120. He airs Oaks speaking on reasons behind the priesthood ban, for which Oaks said he sought answers to but never received anything. Oaks then said something to the effect of: "in scripture the Lord rarely gives reasons for his commandments..."

Rarely? When I heard this I thought it was complete B.S. One example of God providing reason for a commandment in "scripture" is his commandment for Nephi to kill Laban -- i.e., that his posterity would not perish in unbelief.

I think Oaks is intentionally misleading his faithful subjects on this issue. If you'd like to contribute, please share any other scriptural examples of God giving reasons for commandments; or maybe I'm wrong on this. Off the top of my head, I seem to recall God giving reasons for random commandments in the D&C when JS is on his revelatory rampages... E.g., angel with a drawn sword (polygamy); redeem zion (Zion's camp).

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Reuben
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Reuben » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:08 am

Off the top of my head, 5 of the Big 10 have reasons given, either immediately or earlier in the text.

1. Have no other gods before me because I was the one who brought you out of slavery. (This is clearer in more modern translations.)

2. Don't worship idols because I'm a jealous god. (Generational threats that follow don't count as reasons.)

3. Don't misuse my name. (No reason given; the threat doesn't count.)

4. Keep the sabbath day holy because I rested on the seventh day of creation, and consecrated it for rest.

5. Honor your father and mother because you'll live longer.

6. Don't murder. (No reason given here, but Genesis 9:6 says it's because humans are made in God's image.)

7. Don't commit adultery. (No reason given.)

8. Don't steal. (No reason given.)

9. Don't ruin people's reputations by telling lies. (No reason given.)

10. Don't covet your neighbor's stuff. (No reason given.)
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Reuben
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Reuben » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:33 am

I think it's more likely that President Oaks is bullshitting (i.e. speaking without reference to the truth) than deceiving. I think he really wants it to be true that God rarely gives reasons. It would help absolve older administrations, and also justify the way recent administrations either don't give reasons for policies or are cagey about their reasons. If he doesn't get out his abacus and count, he can sit comfortably just knowing that he's spoken the truth because it feels true.

What actually bothers me most about his statements is his post-hoc reclassification of prior doctrine as theories. To be clear, I think he's morally fine speaking of them as theories. From his point of view, he's simply acknowledging the truth based on the assumption that doctrine can't be falsehoods or harmful bullshit. But his refusal to acknowledge the reclassification itself - probably to avoid suggesting that prophets have taught falsehoods and harmful bullshit as doctrine - is wrong.
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alas
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by alas » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:11 pm

Translate this to, “I speak for God and so I don’t have to give you peons a reason.” If Mr. Oaks knew a reason he would give it, but when his opinion of what God says is based in his own prejudice, then the reason is personal prejudice and the arrogance of Mr. Oaks that he thinks God shares his personal prejudices.

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1smartdodog
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by 1smartdodog » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:09 pm

Reuben wrote:I think it's more likely that President Oaks is bullshitting (i.e. speaking without reference to the truth) than deceiving. I think he really wants it to be true that God rarely gives reasons. It would help absolve older administrations, and also justify the way recent administrations either don't give reasons for policies or are cagey about their reasons. If he doesn't get out his abacus and count, he can sit comfortably just knowing that he's spoken the truth because it feels true.

What actually bothers me most about his statements is his post-hoc reclassification of prior doctrine as theories. To be clear, I think he's morally fine speaking of them as theories. From his point of view, he's simply acknowledging the truth based on the assumption that doctrine can't be falsehoods or harmful bullshit. But his refusal to acknowledge the reclassification itself - probably to avoid suggesting that prophets have taught falsehoods and harmful bullshit as doctrine - is wrong.
Yep. There is no theology in Mormondom to attempt justification of opinions. Leaders say whatever they feel good about and fits the narrative. Accuracy is not so important. Then the faithful drink it in as truth because it comes from authority.

It is a scenario that plays out all the time in religion and politics.


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deacon blues
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by deacon blues » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:05 pm

alas wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:11 pm
Translate this to, “I speak for God and so I don’t have to give you peons a reason.” If Mr. Oaks knew a reason he would give it, but when his opinion of what God says is based in his own prejudice, then the reason is personal prejudice and the arrogance of Mr. Oaks that he thinks God shares his personal prejudices.
This. They don’t have to apologize or give reasons.
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Corsair
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Corsair » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:07 pm

Whatever happened to the seminary mastery scripture, Amos 3:7?
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
This was the prime reference for why we needed living prophets and continual revelation. Amos gets trotted out whenever the function of prophets is in question, but never when details of operation might be needed. Oaks is largely stating that he trusts the revelation, but God never told him the reasons.

Whenever I read or listen to an apologist discuss this issue, I seem to hear this disappointed sigh since they have to defend this silliness yet again. It just doesn't go away and they are clearly exasperated that most listeners just don't buy their explanation. Oaks is simply trying to shutdown the questions based on his authority and experience(?) with revelation.

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Emower
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Emower » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:11 am

Corsair wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:07 pm
and experience(?) with revelation.
Or lack of it, according to himself. The art of being Mormon is to know when to use things in their correct context. The context is whichever direction the wind blows in April and October in SLC. The direction is dictated by the collective flatulence of 12 men all blowing in the same direction.

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moksha
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by moksha » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:25 am

If Oaks cannot articulate good reasons why he continues to be such a butthead to the LGBTQ community, then he needs to cease. He should try filtering his rhetoric through the lens of God's love instead.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Apologeticsislying
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Apologeticsislying » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:04 am

moksha wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:25 am
If Oaks cannot articulate good reasons why he continues to be such a butthead to the LGBTQ community, then he needs to cease. He should try filtering his rhetoric through the lens of God's love instead.
He can't comprehend love because he has none to give. It sails right over his head. What he imagines he has is authority, and that doesn't need love, at least not in his opinion.
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

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jfro18
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by jfro18 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:36 am

The problem with current leaders is that they want to wash their hands completely of the insanity of early prophets whether it's the ban on blacks, marrying teens, Joseph Smith identifying the Egyptian god min with an erect penis as God on his throne, whatever.

But you can't do that without either throwing them or God under the bus, and neither works in official statements.

So instead they just say they don't have the exact reasons or answers and then brush over it.

If you say that Brigham Young was a racist, power hungry assclown... you then bring into question why God transfigured him into Joseph Smith to tell members he was the chosen one (yes, I know that didn't actually happen).

If you say that the revelation was wrong and that they got inspiration to fix it... you just elevated yourself above God.

At the end of the day all this church cares about is obedience. As long as members are blindly obedient, they will continue to give their time, money, and lives to this church. The moment that members realize it doesn't add up... that obedience fades and so do the riches that follow for the leaders and church.

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MoPag
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by MoPag » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:49 am

Corsair wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:07 pm
Whatever happened to the seminary mastery scripture, Amos 3:7?
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
This was the prime reference for why we needed living prophets and continual revelation. Amos gets trotted out whenever the function of prophets is in question, but never when details of operation might be needed. Oaks is largely stating that he trusts the revelation, but God never told him the reasons.

Whenever I read or listen to an apologist discuss this issue, I seem to hear this disappointed sigh since they have to defend this silliness yet again. It just doesn't go away and they are clearly exasperated that most listeners just don't buy their explanation. Oaks is simply trying to shutdown the questions based on his authority and experience(?) with revelation.
Oh and then there is Exodus 33:11 King James Version (KJV)
11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Remember how they taught us that this is EXACTLY how our prophets talk to God? So why doesn't Oaks just ask God when he's talking to him "face to face." :roll:

Apologeticsislying wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:04 am
moksha wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:25 am
If Oaks cannot articulate good reasons why he continues to be such a butthead to the LGBTQ community, then he needs to cease. He should try filtering his rhetoric through the lens of God's love instead.
He can't comprehend love because he has none to give. It sails right over his head. What he imagines he has is authority, and that doesn't need love, at least not in his opinion.
Wow! He really is like Lord Voldemort!
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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alas
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by alas » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:52 am

Apologeticsislying wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:04 am
moksha wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:25 am
If Oaks cannot articulate good reasons why he continues to be such a butthead to the LGBTQ community, then he needs to cease. He should try filtering his rhetoric through the lens of God's love instead.
He can't comprehend love because he has none to give. It sails right over his head. What he imagines he has is authority, and that doesn't need love, at least not in his opinion.
That inability to comprehend love fits several of them. This inability to comprehend love puzzles me. Well, not puzzles but creeps me out and I find myself unwilling to think that badly of them. I instinctively want to believe the best in people and so I have a hard time believing what I am hearing from them. It really creeps me out because my father was that way and I really suspect he was a psychopath. Statistically, there should not be that many psychopaths among 15 men. But Bednar, Oaks, Nelson, and that is just the worst of them. There are others that I have wondered about what the heck is wrong with them. They think they love people, but it is a totally selfish feeling of needing the adoration of the “loved” one. So, somebody assure me that I am wrong here and we don’t have several psychopaths in the general authorities.

So, what is it about selecting general authorities that selects for psychopaths?

Gatorbait
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Gatorbait » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:28 am

Going out on a shaky limb here, so please bear with me.

First of all, even though we disagree with Oaks, we probably should not villainize him. After all, he was with the very first group that published the very first volume of "Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought". In a very real sense, he was a NOM way before most if not all of us- though I doubt he'd ever admit it. He was rubbing shoulders with some of the first to publish in a kind way, some of the things that it took most of us 40 plus years to find out about.

Secondly, Oaks is a human person, same as all of us. He has his weaknesses for sure, but he has also many strengths, or did have before he got so old. Some of us have met him and I'd say most of us would say he's a good guy. (I know, go ahead and sneer.....I do too, but he is a good guy.)

Third and lastly, Oaks is smart. He knows how to work the system and climb the ladder of success as he sees it. Oaks also believes, at least in my opinion, that the ends justify the means, and I don't. He and many others in authority in this and other churches have the same problem- they don't know that they don't know. To re-quote Mark Twain, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble, it's what you know for sure that just ain't so".

Good advice for any general authority or any of us is to not act as though we know what God is thinking because we don't. That goes for Oaks as well.
"Let no man count himself righteous who permits a wrong he could avert". N.N. Riddell

Reuben
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Reuben » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:10 pm

Gonna have to agree with Gatorbait on this. It's easy to villainize the "other side," especially when they do that to us and people we identify with.
alas wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:52 am
So, what is it about selecting general authorities that selects for psychopaths?
I think it selects for collective narcissism, specifically insecure narcissism on behalf of the church. Narcissistic behavior often appears psychopathic, but it's really just pathologically self-protective.

To be clear, I think most GAs aren't collective narcissists, and only a handful are. I would expect higher scores than average on the collective narcissism scale, though, and would love to see a study done...

An example prompt from the CNS: "My group's importance is not sufficiently recognized."
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alas
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by alas » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:44 pm

Reuben wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:10 pm
Gonna have to agree with Gatorbait on this. It's easy to villainize the "other side," especially when they do that to us and people we identify with.
alas wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:52 am
So, what is it about selecting general authorities that selects for psychopaths?
I think it selects for collective narcissism, specifically insecure narcissism on behalf of the church. Narcissistic behavior often appears psychopathic, but it's really just pathologically self-protective.

To be clear, I think most GAs aren't collective narcissists, and only a handful are. I would expect higher scores than average on the collective narcissism scale, though, and would love to see a study done...

An example prompt from the CNS: "My group's importance is not sufficiently recognized."

You are right that there is overlap in the behaviors of those two PDs. It can be hard to tell them apart from a distance and not knowing any of them personally, let alone getting them to takes a professional evaluation from a psychologist, all I’m doing is arm chair psychologizing.

One study that I did see, tested people who had become CEO, elected politicians, religious leaders and other “rise to the top” mostly men, but they found a surprisingly high number of men scoring high on both the narcissistic PD and psychopathic PD. I don’t remember numbers but it was like 18 times the % in the regular population. The study authors speculated that to rise to the top of most organization you had to be #1 driven and #2 not care who you step on to get to the top. At the time I wondered how well it applied to BKP, DHO, and RMN. They also speculated part of why women are less represented in such positions is that PPD & NPD were much less common in women, but it was an old study, so some sexual stereotyping might have been going on with blaming the women themselves for not rising to the top as well as thinking that women care more who they step on.

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Jeffret
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by Jeffret » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:53 pm

Gatorbait wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:28 am
Secondly, Oaks is a human person, same as all of us. He has his weaknesses for sure, but he has also many strengths, or did have before he got so old. Some of us have met him and I'd say most of us would say he's a good guy. (I know, go ahead and sneer.....I do too, but he is a good guy.)
I'm afraid I can't agree with that. Oaks has done far too many things to elevate himself at the cost of others for me to call him a good guy. He has attacked vulnerable groups far too viciously for decades. He has proclaimed that his religious freedom trumps others', particularly those that seek freedom from religion (an essential aspect of religious freedom if it is to mean anything). He was involved in the reparative therapy and anti-gay crusades when he ran BYU. He may be a personable guy if you don't fall into any of the groups he attacks. He may even sometimes be nice to the groups or people he attacks, but the people who have been on the receiving end of the reparative therapy or long-term repeated attacks don't find him a good guy.

Oaks has far too much blood on his hands and far too many deaths at his feet for me to consider him a good guy. In a recent conversation, even a faithful, active, believing relative railed against Oaks and the harm he has caused and continues to cause.
Gatorbait wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:28 am
Third and lastly, Oaks is smart. He knows how to work the system and climb the ladder of success as he sees it. Oaks also believes, at least in my opinion, that the ends justify the means, and I don't.
I don't see how that supports the claim that he is a good guy.

Having critiqued his statements on religious freedom for many years, I'm left with one of two mutually exclusive conclusions: 1) He really isn't as smart about it as he's purported to be. His arguments are full of holes and disregard basic case law. 2) He argues whatever case his client wants him to. In this case the client is the Church and is primarily done for his own benefit. He's gone from both the arguing the facts and the law approaches to the last ditch effort of pounding on the table and yelling like hell.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

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deacon blues
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Re: Oaks and Reasons for God's Commandments

Post by deacon blues » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:54 pm

I'll add my two bits. When the Spirit told Nephi to kill Laban, He/She (the Spirit) gave Nephi at least a couple of reasons why it had to be done. In fact the Spirit or something told Caiaphas the same thing about Jesus. Jesus gave the brother of Jacob some feedback on building and lighting barges. Jesus told John the Baptist why He had to be baptized. I think the scriptures are full of explanations. Dallin Oaks is just blowing smoke in his own eyes. But I could be wrong. ;)
God is Love. God is Truth

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