Please Turn With Me in Your Bibles

There is a difference in practice between Mormonism and Evangelicalism that I was generally unaware of.  I do not at all think it is a foundational difference, but I would like to contrast the LDS use of scripture in sermons against that of Evangelical churches.

LDS Wards were sent this clarification on how Sacrament Meeting speakers should handle the scriptural passages in their talks.

“In order to maintain an atmosphere of reverent worship in our sacrament and stake conference meetings, when speakers use scriptures as part of their talks they should not ask the congregation to open their own books to the scriptural reference. Also, members should not use visual aids and their sacrament meeting or stake conference talks. Such teaching methods are more effective in classroom settings and leadership meetings. We believe these adjustments will enhance the spirit of our worship services.”

Aquinas explained in another thread the context and purposes for this instruction.

Some people confuse a talk with a lesson. In a lesson, it is common to ask people to look up a scripture so that people can discuss it. Discussion is expected. The sacrament meeting talk is not a designed as a forum for asking people to have a back and forth discussion from the pulpit. Talks and sermons likewise are not appropriate for the format of a class room environment that includes discussion. Some people confuse fora and need guidance.

I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon in an Evangelical church in which the pastor did not instruct the congregation to open their Bibles and turn with him to the text. Aquinas explained in the LDS context this would indicate a desire to discuss the text.  Evangelicals pastors do not have their congregation open their Bibles in order to engage in a discussion, but rather to encourage people to read scripture for themselves.

The general attitude among Evangelicals is that the most important thing that can be said on any particular topic is going to be said by the Bible.  What the pastor has to say should fall in line with the passage and only serve to support its truth.  So the time and distraction caused by pausing to open the Bible is worth it. There is a general attitude that the Bible is powerful and just by reading it people become more open to the Holy Spirit. Not that the binding and pages are magical, but that the thoughts and ideas are weighty and inspired.

I once heard a pastor explain “Open your Bibles, that way you’ll know if I’m not telling you the truth about the passage”.  The implication being that a personal study of the Bible is the surest way to ensure that theological corruption is kept out of our churches. So anything a pastor can do to encourage people to read the Bible for themselves is important.

One Mormon explained that Sacrament speakers should not allow their authority to be shifted away from them. In an Evangelical context, the Bible holds the highest authority in a worship service and nothing should be done to undermine it.

Would Mormons say that the Prophet (and the Priesthood) have a higher authority than scriptures?  Is this practice an evidence of that belief working its way down to the congregational level?

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44 thoughts on “Please Turn With Me in Your Bibles

  1. When I was in high school, us youth were kind of bad about bringing our Bibles to the Sunday youth service. They had Bibles under all of the chairs in the youth room anyway, so it was kind of like, why bother lugging your Super-Cool Teenager Study Bible around all day?

    One day we showed up for the service and the assistant youth director was speaking. He instructed us to take out our Bibles and turn with him to passage XYZ, as usual. But when we reached for the Bibles under the chairs, they were gone.

    “That’s right, I took them away. Now you have to trust what I tell you,” he said. It was an object lesson on the importance of studying the Bible for yourself. I guess it was a good lesson, since it’s stayed with me.

    I had never heard about this LDS policy until it was mentioned here the other day. I’ve always just brought both the Bible and my triple to my husband’s ward when I visit and turned to the passage being referenced and no one’s ever said anything about it. Wonder why I never thought about it before.

  2. Tim, in general I think you’re reading way too much into this directive, which, by the way, has been around for a long time. For better or worse, its purpose has more to do with the LDS view of what it means to be reverent during a sacrament meeting and the desire for uniformity in worship experience than it does any downplaying of scripture or enforcing priesthood authority. (I’m explaining my understanding of the policy, not defending it.)

    One Mormon explained that Sacrament speakers should not allow their authority to be shifted away from them.

    Yeah, one Mormon did. And as anyone who clicks on the link will see, that interpretation was basically laughed at by most of those in the discussion.

    Would Mormons say that the Prophet (and the Priesthood) have a higher authority than scriptures?

    I wouldn’t, and I’ve never heard anyone in the Church say that explicitly. Of course, we do believe in continuing revelation, which allows for the possibility of new scripture, so our understanding of scripture isn’t as set in stone as it might be for some other Christians. I think most members see modern revelation as adding to scripture and/or explaining it rather than contradicting it. (As a practical matter, if church authorities can write scripture, it’s kind of hard to say which has more authority.) My personal view is something like prima scriptura, although that’s not an LDS term and I don’t know how many would hold to it.

    Is this practice an evidence of that belief working its way down to the congregational level?

    No, it’s more of a difference in worship style.

    If you check out our Sunday school teaching manuals (they’re all available online), you’ll see that (at least for adult classes), discussion of the scriptures by class members is actively encouraged. The Bible, the Book of Mormon and D&C are all treated as the Word of God, and class members are encouraged to study them on their own and seek guidance and understanding through the Holy Spirit. Gospel doctrine classes do tend to focus on the meanings and application of scripture (while priesthood and Relief Society may look more at Church leaders’ current teachings), and certainly many participants in a typical class have the scriptures open then.

    And I’ve never heard any church authorities say anything that would suggest we shouldn’t read scripture, nor that what they say trumps scripture. Like I said, I think you’re reading too much into this.

  3. Jack said:

    I’ve always just brought both the Bible and my triple to my husband’s ward when I visit and turned to the passage being referenced and no one’s ever said anything about it.

    I do that all the time, and so do many others. The policy isn’t about people opening up their scriptures, it’s about the speaker asking them to do so. The directive is about speaking/teaching methods, not listening methods. There’s a huge difference.

  4. 1) fora is the plural of forum. I could have said they confuse forums, but instead I chose to say they confuse fora. No [sic] is necessary, it isn’t a misspelling.

    2) I didn’t say that asking the congregation to turn to the Bible would in the LDS context “indicate a desire to discuss the text. ” Rather, I said that “In a lesson, it is common to ask people to look up a scripture so that people can discuss it. Discussion is expected [in a lesson].”

    3) I don’t claim to have any inside knowledge as to the reason for a particular letter besides what the letter itself says, but I’m offering what I believe makes the most sense given my experience. It’s a very practical reason. If someone wants to check or verify a scripture they can. But it seems to me that the letter is anticipating a type of style where the speaker asks the whole congregation to turn here, and then there, and then over there, and then back over here, and then back here and then again over there. Maybe some people are annoyed by such an approach, who knows. Maybe others don’t think it’s a big deal. I happen to think it’s not a very effective speaking style. But apparently someone thinks its a big enough problem to send a letter. And it’s probably the case that many wards don’t even have a speaker who does this, in which case the letter really doesn’t even apply to them, so they wonder what it all means.

    Most citations to scriptures in talks are rather uncontroversial anyway and there isn’t any need to instruct the whole the congregation to turn to a scripture mastery scripture or some scripture that is cited all the time anyway.

    Not to belabor the point, but here is an example. Suppose a speaker says “I would like you to turn with me to John 14:15. Then there is a long pause for the whole congregation to turn there. And then the speaker reads (no surprise) “If you love me, keep my commandments” and then goes on with his talk and says “Now, according to this scripture, if we love the Lord we should keep his commandments.” Was that really necessary to ask the whole congregation to turn there to make this subtle theological point? He could have just said “As the Lord told his disciples in John 14:15 ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.” In fact, he probably didn’t even need to say John 14:15 as everyone has already heard this scripture before and it’s not as if someone is going to say “Wait just a second. Hold on. I need to look that up and verify that because I’m really skeptical and I have serious doubts that the Lord would say such a thing.” Is this really such a controversial or complicated passage that they must open up the text then and there? Not to mention, many families are holding their babies or otherwise dealing with children. It’s just not necessary and merely turning there isn’t going to enhance their understanding.

    If people want to look up scriptures they can. I often look up scriptures on my own and I will write down the reference. I don’t need a speaker to tell me to do it, and if a speaker is misusing a scripture or citing it for the wrong proposition, I will know it anyway, and they are going to do that whether I look it up or not. Apparently someone somewhere feels a letter read broadly is going to solve the problem, and whether general letters like this are effective is another issue.

    4) You write “Evangelicals pastors do not have their congregation open their Bibles in order to engage in a discussion, but rather to encourage people to read scripture for themselves.” Just having someone open the Bible to a certain page doesn’t necessarily enhance scriptural understanding. They may “read” the scripture for themselves but people do this all the time. Most of the time Mormons are going be reading scriptures in the second hour and then again in the third hour, and if they are engaging in daily morning or evening scripture study they will be doing it again then.

    5) As we have already discussed at length, texts don’t interpret themselves and so to say the bible is the highest authority sounds good but in reality you need an interpreter and that interpreter will always be some human being.

  5. “I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon in an Evangelical church…”

    Me either.

    I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon in an Evangelical church.

    They are always what Lutherans would refer to as ‘Bible studies’.

    A sermon is where the law convicts (and kills)a person and where the gospel frees them (raises them). It’s not informational (although a sermon can have that aspect), but it is a Word that is DONE to the person.

  6. Eric,

    I think you were reading too much into my post. What I did not say was “clearly Mormons don’t value the Bible and must not ever read it”.

    I was explaining why Evangelicals do what they do. If Mormons don’t do the same things as Evangelicals it would be a mistake to say they don’t do them simply because they hold different values. There are a host of reasons to have different worship styles and I value that different worship styles exist.

    I included the comments of “one Mormon” because they were claiming some insight from a higher authority. I also included the link so that everyone could gain their own context into that quote (and not take my word for it).

    Aquinas,

    Sorry about the “[sic]”.

    Most of the time Mormons are going be reading scriptures in the second hour and then again in the third hour, and if they are engaging in daily morning or evening scripture study they will be doing it again then.

    I don’t believe I said that the only opportunity for people to read the Bible was when a speaker directed them to a passage. I would expect Mormons and Evangelicals to both be picking up the scriptures and engaging them in different context other than a Sunday morning sermon.

    Clearly by including your quote I was informing the uninformed that there are other fora where Mormons are opening their scriptures.

    I happen to think it’s not a very effective speaking style.

    I agree that a speaker’s effectiveness is diminished by asking people to turn their attention away from her. I think the vast majority of Evangelical pastors who spent any time honing their communication skills would agree. But in the Evangelical context it’s considered worth the sacrifice for a greater good.

    It would be unusual to have a congregation open to one specific verse, then jump 8 books forward for one more verse and then jump all of the way to Genesis for yet another isolated verse. I’ve never seen that. Typically pastors use a central passage that they preach from and if they want to cite additional passages they give the reference and move forward without waiting for the congregation to keep up with them.

    on a subnote, a great rule for reading the Bible I once heard was, “Never read a Bible verse” (always read what’s above and below the verse as well).

    Old Adam,
    I’m not sure how to engage you on this subject. The only sermon you’ve ever directed me to featured the pastor exclusively quoting Martin Luther and not even mentioning the Bible.

  7. Aquinas said
    But apparently someone thinks its a big enough problem to send a letter. And it’s probably the case that many wards don’t even have a speaker who does this, in which case the letter really doesn’t even apply to them, so they wonder what it all means.

    Joseph Smith once said something that would probably help everyone out in this situation . . .

  8. I was explaining why Evangelicals do what they do.

    OK, maybe I misunderstood your purpose. I’d agree that the reason that “turn to your Bibles” is common in evangelical sermons is because of the importance evangelicals place on the Bible.

    And for what it’s worth, of the last two evangelical services I attended, in one case the sermon had very little apparent connection with the Bible passage used (the pastor had some excellent points to make, they just seemed to miss the point of the Bible selection), while the other had me analyzing at one of Jesus’ parables in a different way and was actually quite interesting.

  9. So I usually read all the comments before leaving mine, but I’m afraid I am going to lose my train of thought. So, apologies if I say something that has already been stated.

    As has been mentioned before, this directive was given to speakers in Sacrament meeting, not to the members of the congregation. Members are encouraged to study the Scriptures frequently and at many different times. I know members who turn to every Scripture they hear in Sacrament meeting, in Sunday School, and in the PH/RS meetings. I know other members who carry a notebook, record all the Scriptures, and then study them at home. I know members who generally ignore what is going on around them because they’ve had an insight and are busily studying the scriptures to see what else they can learn.

    Lesson manuals for Priesthood/Relief Society, Gospel Principles, and Sunday School classes , even for the youngest children out of Nursery, encouraging reading and discussing the scriptures in class and in the home.

    Latter-day Saints are encouraged to read from all of the Standard Works. Daily personal and family scripture study is an extremely common practice among Latter-day Saints, although I am sure just about every member of the Church will say that they “can do better” in doing this.

    My point in all of this is that there is no reason to imply that Mormons set aside the scriptures because the First Presidency issued a letter stating that speakers should not ask members to turn with them to a particular passage during Sacrament meeting talks. (It should also be noted that there has never been any indication that talks should not use the scriptures. Quite the opposite, actually. Members are asked to focus on canonical scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets when speaking, and to avoid speculative or controversial matters–the last bit there being a change from what was the norm in the mid-to-late 1800s, but we are talking about the here and now.)

    Concerning the question of which is more important, the words of modern prophets or the scriptures, this is a non-issue for Latter-day Saints. The words of the prophets, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, are considered scripture. This question is akin to asking, “Which is more important, breathing or being alive?”

  10. On my mission we were having a discussion with an Evangelical and I started to quote John 3:16, and the guy cut me off and said, “Do you know what John 3:15 says? Do you know what John 3:17 says?” I was kind of taken aback, but I remembered the lyrics to some song we sang in the church choir back in the day and was able to quote John 3:17 at least.

    He then told us a lot of people can quote 3:16 but most couldn’t tell you what’s around it and we should always read the scriptures in context. Otherwise, he said, we could argue the Bible says “There is no God.”

    It’s a style difference between Mormon and Evangelical services. In general, Mormon sacrament meeting talks are more topical, and the speaker is likely to be jumping around the scriptures, whereas the Evangelical sermon will be based on a single chapter or passage.

  11. I thought I posted something this morning… and now I don’t see it. So, either I didn’t actually hit submit, or it is caught up in moderation for some reason. Anyone know?

  12. I thought the letter was an attempt at making Sacrament meeting talks less tedious, probably driven by a pet peeve of those in the first presidency.

    I do think the discouragement of visual aids is a step in the wrong direction if this is the case however.

    I don’t think we can read anything “doctrinal” into the letter.

    And, I am sure people still ask the congregation to turn to scriptures all the time. The fact that they had a letter about it shows that it is a common practice in LDS churches to ask the congregation to turn to a scripture being referenced.

    I did think the letter was a bit strange though.

  13. Tim,

    Good post.

    I agree with what you have shared. My pastor is constantly telling us to be like the ” Bereans”. To open up the Bible and check it out for oneself.
    I recall the first time I heard my pastor say that… it was so monumental to me….. it was truly a “wow” moment for me.
    I recall with fondness when my pastor said ” hey, if I am lying to you, I encourage you to walk out of here. To leave and not come back”. I was so astounded by that!

  14. “Would Mormons say that the Prophet (and the Priesthood) have a higher authority than scriptures? Is this practice an evidence of that belief working its way down to the congregational level?”

    The living Prophet giving sermons via General Conference or official publications is considered scripture (by Chapel Mormons) and it does trump anything from the Bible or previous LDS Prophet that conflicts with it. (but members would refer to it as “continuing revelation”)

    I don’t see any connection to the Sacrament talk directive though. (which was aimed at the person speaking, and not those listening to the talks) It was probably a pet peeve of the FP and nothing more. But your post has made me think more about this, and it’s a pity that we are not more involved in turning to our bibles together during a talk.
    I think the reason for this is that the speakers heavily focus on teachings of LDS Prophets and only sprinkle it with scriptures here and there. (even if the topic is based on a parable) They also use a story or two of their own experience and thoughts. Similar to a Conference talk.

    I have rarely heard a speaker in Sacrament give an entire talk on the meaning of a parable or teaching from the Bible in which they would read and ponder over each scripture. That is why it can be tedious for a speaker to stop and ask people to open their bibles if they are only using the bible for scripture references to back up their topic. You take the time to find the one scripture quoted and then the speaker was on to something else. Sunday school is where we study the bible together and discuss the scriptures more in depth.

    What bothered me most about the directive was that this is the kind of minutia we get today from LDS Prophets.
    With all of the suffering in the world and questions members have on doctrines, they sat around discussing THAT in a meeting and found it necessary to issue a letter to the church over it?

  15. First, I agree that this is only for speakers and not for members.

    Second, I do not think it is a Pet Peeve of the First Presidency. It is sound counsel on effective delivery of talks, and is actually common advice in most public speaking classes and situations. You provide the references, but you do not ask the audience to varify them while you are speaking. Now, I may seem a little harsh here, but in doing so you are destroying your own credibility. You are saying you are unsure that the reference actual says what you say it does. The idea of not giving up your authority would be more appropriately said as not giving up your credebility.

    Third, the current Presidency cannot trump what has already been revealed, and has never done so. Truth is truth, no matter who is in authority. As such if the modern prophet says something that is not in line with the previous prophets something is wrong (either they are wrong or you misunderstood what they said). All prophets, from Adam down to Thomas S. Monson, have the same authority in revealing truth and scripture and all will be in complete agreement with the others.

  16. Third, the current Presidency cannot trump what has already been revealed, and has never done so.

    Whatever.

    All prophets, from Adam down to Thomas S. Monson, have the same authority in revealing truth and scripture and all will be in complete agreement with the others.

    I am completely dumbfounded.

  17. I have limited experience in LDS churches, so I’ve never really noticed a difference in how LDS and evangelical churches treat scripture (aside from the obvious differences in what scripture is).

    One thing I have noticed about how evangelical churches treat scripture is that, while everyone is encouraged to study it for themselves and scripture is always the final authority, there is still kind of an attitude that scripture is only useful in church if someone expounds upon it. I recently visited a Catholic church for the first time, and was rather struck by how they just read scripture. Obviously I’m unqualified to discuss how Catholics treat scripture, but it did make me think about how that would never happen in an Evangelical church (at least not any of those I’ve gone to). It kind of made me wonder if we don’t value scripture as much as I thought we did.

  18. I am completely dumbfounded.

    Have a couple of exchanges with Captain Chapel there and he’ll quickly cure you of your capacity to feel dumbfounded at anything he says.

    Just don’t expect his responses to get more complicated than “nuh uh,” because they won’t.

  19. I am going to take a stab in the dark here and assume that shematwater hasn’t been over to BCC during the past month or so and read about Correlation…

    Kate,

    I think that Mormons and Evangelicals both take a very similar approach to studying scriptures. There is intrinsic value in reading them, but you are likely to get far more out of them by discussing them with others and trying to understand how the teachings apply in the here and now. To me, this shows a great deal of valuation for the scriptures.

  20. FWIW, this knee-jerk LDS basher was happy when that directive came out. I hated the noise of so many flipping through their LDS scriptures to following whatever the speaker was citing, as if they didn’t have ears to absorb and peacefully contemplate the spoken word. And I’m the guy who says we should have rock and roll wards, tambourine speaking in tongues wards, snake handling wards, etc to satisfy demand for alternative worship. But I wouldn’t be caught dead at the scripture flipping paper rustling ward. Everybody’s got their limits.

  21. ALEX

    I am curious to know what you are talking about with this “Correlation.”

    MEYERS

    I will admit that I have had a difficult time explaining what I mean in the past, and I would love to try and explain it all again, in another setting that is more conducive to such discussion.

    However, I am curious as to how the idea that all prophets have the same authority to reveal doctrine can be dumbfounding. Maybe I should clarify that I use the term prophet in reference to the President of the church. Does that help?

  22. shem,

    Go to BCC and read through the history of Correlation. The point here is that, especially in the late 19th Century, church leaders regularly contradicted one another, even in General Conference talks. So to claim that they will always be in agreement with one another is laughable.

    Not that this really has anything to do with the topic at hand.

  23. I wonde if part of the difference is whether the particular religious tradition is emerging from a history of expository oration or exhortation. A while back I remember an interesting discussion about how Mormon sacrementvtalks were strongly influenced be the Methodist tendency to exhortation. I have no idea about the accuracy of this idea, but at the time it helped me take a fresher and less judgmental perspective. It also seemed to fit with some other tendencies one can observe in sacrament talks. I think some of the orthodoxy vs orthopraxy discussion from the other week could fit here.

  24. I don’t know about Methodist exhortation, but testimony meetings are a longtime Methodist tradition.

  25. I’ve never heard an Evangelical minister – who was any good at public speaking – ask people to turn to a scripture verse and then just stand there awkwardly while everyone thumbs through their Bibles to find where he’s at.

    That’s what happens in LDS wards. It’s just a helpful tip for public speaking. You don’t sit around waiting for the audience. It’s distracting – and disrespectful to the audience.

    You’ve mistaken the intent here Tim. It has nothing to do with encouraging or not encouraging Mormons to reference their scriptures during talks. In fact, I’m sure the LDS leadership would prefer that the audience DID open their scriptures and follow along.

  26. shematwater ~ I am curious as to how the idea that all prophets have the same authority to reveal doctrine can be dumbfounding.

    That’s not the dumbfounding part. Saying that all prophets have the same authority to reveal doctrine is a subjective religious claim that ultimately can’t be proven / disproven.

    But as Alex Valencic said, the dumbfounding part is that you would claim that all prophets (even if that’s interpreted to mean only the President of the church) have been in complete agreement with each other for all time. That’s a problematic claim even where the biblical prophets are concerned, but where LDS history is concerned, there is no argument or wiggle room. LDS presidents have contradicted one another on a regular basis.

    Seth ~ I’ve never heard an Evangelical minister – who was any good at public speaking – ask people to turn to a scripture verse and then just stand there awkwardly while everyone thumbs through their Bibles to find where he’s at.

    Yup. They usually keep talking about the subject while they wait for people to prep the passage. So you’re saying this directive was introduced because Sacrament meeting speakers weren’t savvy enough at public speaking to know to do this?

    It sounds reasonable, although I would think that a directive telling people to keep talking about something while the congregation preps the passage would have done just as much good.

  27. It sounds reasonable, although I would think that a directive telling people to keep talking about something while the congregation preps the passage would have done just as much good.

    Aye, and there you have it, Jack. Unfortunately, and this has to rank up near the top of my list of things I wish were done differently, there are many times when, despite the notion of just teaching principles and letting people decide how to implement them, directions are given based on the lowest common denominator. Kind of a “this is the most basic letter-of-the-law interpretation” approach.

    On a related note, I just learned recently that there is a ward calling for Youth Talk Advisor or something like that. It is someone who is called to teach the youth how to give talks using savvy tips. I’ve never known anyone to hold this calling, but it exists, at least within the list of ward callings.

  28. Jack,

    You said:

    … the dumbfounding part is that you would claim that all prophets (even if that’s interpreted to mean only the President of the church) have been in complete agreement with each other for all time. That’s a problematic claim even where the biblical prophets are concerned, but where LDS history is concerned, there is no argument or wiggle room. LDS presidents have contradicted one another on a regular basis.

    It seems that you have a double standard here. That is, your statement that there is “no argument or wiggle room” in terms of the LDS Church leaders contradicting each other (note: I agree, they have clearly disagreed with each other before) is identical for the biblical prophets also, it’s just that you chose not to see it to be so because of your own faith claims, just as shematwater chooses not to see it for the modern LDS Church leaders. But for everyone who doesn’t hold your position on the inerrancy of the Bible, it is not simply “problematic,” it’s obviously the case (I think I’d like to hear what David Clark thinks about inerrancy too). There is “no argument or wiggle room” for the Bible either.

    Now, how would you feel if I were having a conversation with you about your belief and I just said something like, “that’s so obviously wrong it’s dumbfounding”?

    TRD

  29. I think that’s a pretty uncharitable reading of what I said, TRD. I was trying to concede that one could make the same charge of contradiction in biblical writers, though I do think that in the case of LDS leaders, the contradictions are even more blatant.

    If you ever catch me boasting to outsiders of how all of the prophets from Abraham to John the Revelator are in complete agreement and have never contradicted one another, feel free to tell me that you find such an assertion “dumbfounding.”

  30. A couple of things here are making me feel old: The LDS scripture flipping page rustling nonsense started in earnest when SWK strongly encouraged people in the mid-late 1970s to bring their scriptures to church as a primary source reference book to be used in meetings. IMO it was/is rare for LDS speakers to invite the audience to read along. But after SWK’s injunction, if the speaker cited something, much of the audience would be flipping through their scriptures, often after the speaker had moved on. In my own talks I would play games with the LDS page flippers (free entertainment) by citing an entire book and paraphrasing. So the page flipping would start and I could sense the frustration of the page flippers that I wasn’t going to indulge them by citing specific chapter and verse (i.e. “In Hebrews we learn Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. In that same book………………”)

    All I know is after the directive Tim quoted in his post came out, the page flipping paper rustling noise in LDS worship abruptly stopped and I’m very glad for it.

  31. That’s my point though Jack–I wouldn’t ever say that to you, because I appreciate you as a person and I can respect and try and understand your views and positions even when I entirely disagree with them. Moreover, I know that you are a smart person, and, even if you entirely disagree with shematwater, you are anything but “dumbfounded.” The fact that you can engage his thought and his arguments proves that to be the case.

    My other point is that it is not “even more blantant” that the LDS Church leaders have disagreed with each other as over against the biblical prophets–they are both equally blatant. There may be more material to work with, yes, but they are both obviously the case to anyone who doesn’t hold an inerrantist position for the Bible or thinks that the prophets (including modern LDS Church prophets) never contradict each other.

    Best,

    TRD

  32. And I am sorry if you felt I was being uncharitable towards you. I felt like shematwater just wasn’t getting a fair treatment here.

  33. I’m not sure we’re on the same page here, TRD. David Clark didn’t call shematwater “dumbfounded,” and that’s not an insult that I know of, anyways. He said that he himself was dumbfounded (read: astonished) by the assertion that LDS prophets have been in complete agreement with one another.

    My other point is that it is not “even more blantant” that the LDS Church leaders have disagreed with each other as over against the biblical prophets–they are both equally blatant. There may be more material to work with, yes, but they are both obviously the case to anyone who doesn’t hold an inerrantist position for the Bible or thinks that the prophets (including modern LDS Church prophets) never contradict each other.

    Believe it or not, TRD, I think I can agree with you here. If you want to read my charges of “more blatant” and “no wiggle room” as pointing out that there are far more examples of contradiction where LDS prophets are concerned, then I think we’re on the same page.

    Though my view of inerrancy wouldn’t mean biblical prophets never contradicting one another anyways, so there’s no reason I would ever make such a claim about the biblical writers as shematwater has done. (I really do need to sit down and blog about my view of inerrancy sometime.)

    I felt like shematwater just wasn’t getting a fair treatment here.

    I’ll freely admit that my patience with shematwater ran out some time ago and I don’t put much effort into my comments to him because I know it won’t go anywhere anyways.

    I suppose I should try to remember that other people still read these exchanges and try to make my remarks more carefully . . . case in point . . .

  34. Jack,

    Yes, you should blog on inerrancy; in fact, I think I have been asking for that for quite some time!

    And I don’t think that David Clark directly insulted shematwater. It was as much in his presentation of, and lack of engagement with, shematwater’s quote as anything else.

    Best,

    TYD

  35. You know, I have seen many attempts to show contradictions among the Leaders of the church, and so far, not one has really been a contradiction when actually understood.

    Now, I will admit that leaders have all disagreed in matter of opinion, but in matters of doctrine I have yet to see any contradiction between any of the prophets (or presidents) of the church.

    I am not talking about speculations and opinions, but doctrines, which have never changed.

  36. And I don’t think that David Clark directly insulted shematwater. It was as much in his presentation of, and lack of engagement with, shematwater’s quote as anything else.

    Dumbfound is a conjunction or “dumb” and “confound.” So I was dumb as in speechless. Since his original post left me dumb/speechless I don’t see how I could engage his comment, since I already admitted that speech was beyond my abilities in the face of that post. So the accusation that I did not engage his post is little more than a regurgitation of that which I freely admitted up front.

    As for the lack of presentational grace, I don’t see how saying I am dumbfounded is insulting. What is the better way of going about that, keeping in mind that I was, and still am, dumbfounded by the original comment?

    As for inerrancy, I am not a biblical inerrantist. Biblical writers contradict each other all the time. The only reason it’s more obvious when LDS prophets do the same is because 1) They are speaking English, 2) We know the context in which they are speaking, and 3) They live close to each other, temporally speaking. These three things make it much easier for the layman to compare and contrast what they say and see the contradictions.

  37. shem,
    I’ll grant you that what some LDS cite as doctrine is uncanonized apocrypha like JS’s KFD. But I’m hardly a well read Mormon and find your claim absurd.

    Have you ever hear of BY’s priesthood ban on people of African ancestry that held until 1978? How about BY’s Adam-G-d doctrine that was once part of the temple liturgy? What about BY’s anti-grace rant that was part of the temple liturgy until 1990? How about post manifesto polygamy and eventual ex’ing of apostles promoting it? Are you aware when HJG pull four don’ts out of his rear and made them a barrier to entry into the church citing D&C 89 WofW, that Stephen L Richards publically condemned the “policy”, resigned his apostleship but was talked out resigning? I say “policy” in the HJG-SLR case because something as serious as barring entry into the Kingdom is obviously a doctrine, even if HJG couldn’t be bothered to issue his own “revelation” on the matter to put the new policy into the LDS canon.

    One could go on and on.

  38. Well, David Clark, thanks for setting that all straight for me. I suppose I didn’t realize that you were literally incapable of engaging shematwater’s comment.

    Best,

    TRD

  39. DAVID

    I had no problem with your comment, though I still do not quite understand the resation.

    Steven

    Just because something is unconnonized does not mean it is not doctrine.

    As to everything else you go on to reference, none of them actually show a change in doctrine. I have heard all of them before. They are either unchanged, or they are changes in practice and not doctrine.
    The only one I have not heard before is the HJG-SLR story. However, as I did clarify that I was speaking only of the Presidents this would not apply to my statement, as Stephen L. Richards was never the President.

    As I have said, no one has yet been able to show me one instance where a president of the Church has taught doctrine that contradicted any of the Presidents before him.

  40. If I was going to have church, I don’t think I would tell people to please turn with me in their Iliads. But there probably would not be a sermon in my church, so I guess it doesn’t mater.

  41. This is very typical of mind control religion, I know… I was Jehovah’s Witness. We were also told not to turn to any Bible text during meetings. It’s all decided beforehand.
    Thank God I can read whatever i want now 🙂

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