Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

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Five
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Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Five » Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:18 pm

So, here's a contradiction that bothers me. I was watching the latest Zelph on the Shelf video today where they brought up the changes made to the temple endowment session in 1990. And since then, there have been several things that they've tweaked and altered during the ceremony.

What struck me was the contradiction presented by the necessity of the Restoration because things had been altered and taken out of the holy books and ceremonies after Christ and the apostles died. Yet, here they are, changing things. And one of the defenses you hear about the necessity of a living prophet, is so that we can continue to receive revelation from God about how He wants things done.

I am having trouble articulating why this bothers me and why I see it as a contradiction. I guess it could simply be that I believe an eternal God like Mormons supposedly believe in, would have truths and covenants that would never need to change. Those things would always be true, today and tomorrow. Like, changing them, altering them, or stopping those practices would be an admission of their lack of importance or somehow being wrong(like the original temple ceremony with the blood oaths and threats or the Priesthood ban on black men). All growing up, dealing with the temptations of what my friends were up to, the movies they were seeing, the way they talked about girls, I felt secure enough in the church because I was told, "we are a peculiar people" and I was supposed to be proud of that. So, I don't really buy the excuse that revelation would need to change with the times and seasons. Just to use the Priesthood ban as an example, if everyone around us is racist, why do God's people have to be racist? I mean, if people of black skin color were supposed to have these gifts and sacred ordinances all along, that moment in history more than any other seems like a time to be proud of being a "peculiar people." Same with polygamy, same with early temple endowments. If it was crucial for salvation for my grandparents to mime slitting their throats and disemboweling themselves, why is this eternal rite not also true for me?

I am not partial to the idea that a God who knows you intimately and can see what you will do, would do things simply to test your commitment. Like baiting you constantly because obedience to humiliating or painful things is more important than the actual binding in heaven and earth of the covenants you make. With all the temptations we are already plagued by, our trust in God's laws and His plan must constantly be tried as well.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:42 pm

It’s paradoxical.

Once you see these patterns of institutional dishonesty and carefully worded denials, your trust in the church and it’s leaders quickly evaporates.

Then you apply this thinking to God, and get similar results.

Then you apply this thinking to your government leaders, educational institutions, and parents and friends on social media.

Suddenly you realize the world is one gigantic mess and you don’t trust anyone.

Nothing is real under the surface. We’ve become humans who lie, cheat, and steal to better ourselves at the expense of our reality so we can sit back, eat tacos, and watch Netflix on a Tuesday night.

We’re doomed as a species on planet earth.

Doomed!
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

Reuben
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Reuben » Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:37 pm

Here's a contradiction I see.

A. The fact that the ordinances changed implies there was an apostasy.

B. Latter-day prophets have changed the ordinances.

C. There cannot be an apostasy after Joseph Smith.

You can recover consistency by tossing out one of these - though B is a fact, so you'd be dumb to toss that one. A faithful Mormon can't toss out C. So what to do? Accept them all, of course! As long as you leave plenty of time between thinking each of them, it doesn't hurt your head much.

Or maybe you can split some very fine hairs over the meaning of "changed."

Or maybe you can toss out A when convenient, and temporarily retreat to "A'. The fact that the ordinances changed without authorization implies there was an apostasy." But A' is circular: asserting that ordinances changed without authorization requires an apostasy to have happened. It's consistent, but useless.

I'm sure there's some really clever resolution to this I'm not thinking of, though, perhaps having to do with a loose but tight translation, an Abrahamic test, or eternal but only technical truths.
Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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Five
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Five » Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:59 pm

Oh good. So, I'm not alone then.

A test... Hm, a test... :| ah, like, how do you prove the authority is still there? If it ever was, I mean.

I went looking for a quote from the church in regards to prophets speaking directly with God, because I vaguely remembered one of them admitting that no, they don't. That the revelation they receive is exactly as you or I hear it, through burning busoms and still small voices(ooohhh! Ohhh! And if you draw a "Prophets are not perfect, they're just men" you get a royal flush in the game of "So it's no different than any other religion.")

Anyway, I found this https://answers.yahoo.com/question/inde ... KtxptOYkjN
Lol. The third answer sounds like an exmo, being real, and quoting GBH. Then keep scrolling and you've got a bunch of obvious Mormons saying "Yes", contradicting the quoted word of the prophet. XD

Looks like you're right on the money, Reuben. If the prophet is not infallible, then his authority cannot be guaranteed. If he doesn't hear the voice of God directly, then his authority cannot be guaranteed(I'm sure we'd all get a super special feeling inside if we were in the position to make the call, "Am I the one? Am I the next one to lead God's people?" It doesn't mean you're legit selected). So, there's no guarantee of authority; how can these changes be valid? It doesn't work the way they say it works.

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2bizE
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by 2bizE » Fri Oct 23, 2020 11:39 am

It is a paradox. As Mormons, we believe the article of faith that says we believe all that has been revealed and all that more will be revealed in the future...meaning, we fully expect things to change.

Yet, Mormons think that all doctrine is revealed currently. How many times have you heard people say “we have all truth”? We don’t or the article of faith would be “we believe we know everything and everyone else is wrong.”

I think RMN has been good to show people that change is not only okay, but expected.
~2bizE

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1smartdodog
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by 1smartdodog » Fri Oct 23, 2020 11:54 am

God cant foretell the future, so he needs to change things up when he realizes the current situation demands change. He is a little slow at times 30 to 40 years, but eventually he gets it.


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Hagoth
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Hagoth » Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:35 pm

The standard copout answer is that God delivers his message line-upon-line. I don't know how that explains why he would require throat slitting pantomime for 150 years and then drop it, but it's an answer that seems to satisfy people.

But would have really helped with my faith in modern prophets is something that you hinted at, Five; having prophesies and policies that are actually ahead of the times, rather than dragging along behind everyone else or getting mired in contemporary bigotry.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Hagoth » Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:53 pm

Five wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:59 pm
I went looking for a quote from the church in regards to prophets speaking directly with God, because I vaguely remembered one of them admitting that no, they don't.
Joseph F. Smith in the Smoot hearings said, among other similar statements: "I have never pretended to nor do I profess to have received revelations. I never said I had a revelation except so far as God has shown me that so-called Mormonism is God’s divine truth; that is all." He also said that the most recent revelation had been the Manifesto, 25 years before, but if you read the Manifesto you see that it is not a revelation. It is a policy statement addressed "To whom it may concern."

Also, no president or apostle of the church has seen Jesus, despite attempts to give the impression that they have. Everyone knows the story of Lorenzo Snow being visited by Jesus in the temple but that story crumbles away very quickly when you examine the facts (I have a write-up if anyone is interested). Years later President Grant was asked in a letter which church leaders had actually been visited personally by Jesus Christ. Grant responded, “I know of no instance where the Lord has appeared to an individual since His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith.” (First Presidency Letterpress Copybooks, Vol. 72)
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Five
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Five » Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:05 pm

Thank you, Hagoth! I knew I had heard it said somewhere by the prophets and apostles(and actually, you succinctly hit all of the bullet quotes that I could remember; I incorrectly thought bits and pieces of these things were said by the same person). That is exactly the axle the contradiction swivels on. Because if they can't see the Lord, if they don't hear His voice better than I, what authority??? To do what? That ability to talk directly to and for God was the only thing that lent credence to them changing anything about policy or the running of the church.

On the other hand, it is incredibly clear now, the admonition for expecting so much from our prophets; the "sometimes they're speaking for God, and sometimes they're just speaking as a man" apologetic has some stark clarity when considering God never talks to them.

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Hagoth
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Hagoth » Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:52 pm

Yeah, they like to tell us they have special access to God, but it seems like the best they can do is to pass on policies created by their lawyers and try ti insinuate that they came from God. In light of the fact that the guys who are supposed to be God's mouthpieces don't seem to have anything unique to offer except demands for us to treat them as if they had a celestial Bat Phone, I think it's safest to assume that everybody has exactly the same access to God, whoever or whatever that might be.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Lucidity
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Lucidity » Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:17 pm

You aren’t wrong that there are inconsistencies. Like most things in the church the leaders like to have it both ways. I’ve had the doctrine vs policy discussion with my TBM friend many times. It’s doctrine when it needs to be and a policy when it needs to be.

The answer is always the church is true.

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Five
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Re: Restored vs. Continuing Revelation

Post by Five » Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:31 pm

Put very aptly. Always, no matter what evidence, the church is always true.

I was reading back through old threads on this forum today and thought of another question regarding this. It's not quite the same topic but rather than make a new thread, I'll bring it up here, if it's alright.

Why would the church allow paintings of Joseph Smith translating the plates be shown or be presented with incorrect information in the depiction? This probably got under my skin the most about FAIR's apologetics, stating that several religious paintings have incorrect depictions based on an artistic interpretation. That the paintings were not meant to be taken literally.

It's bothered me since I read this defense in August but I could never really articulate why until reading an old thread here. On the face of it, I disliked the excuse because it's essentially "You believed that? Who's fault is it that you got taken advantage of, moron?" as an argument. It's gaslighting. But also...it's disingenuous. If you were going to commission artwork to illustrate how the event took place, why would you look at the picture of Joseph Smith with his face lit by candlelight, touching the plates and studying them, with his scribe in the background, and not correct it? We don't hang any pictures of bleeding Christ on the cross for the simple fact that it's not the church's focus. Yet a picture of Joseph with the plates gets a, "eh, whatever"?

The only logical motivation I can conceive of is that church leaders manipulated this imagery deliberately, with purpose to hide the strangeness of Joseph with his head in a hat. It'd be one thing if they showed pictures of him reading the plates like a book but in classes and conference, they spoke about him placing his face in the hat to receive revelation. But they didn't do that. If it's true, who gives a flying hoot if it's weird? So, the deceptive behavior speaks to a shame, a fear that should not be present if it were true.

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