« Posts of the Day | Main | Posts of the Day »

Comments

"Nevertheless, my impression is that LDS religious scholars (at least at BYU) are held to rules that don't apply to anyone else."

As they should be. I think Latter-day Saints can be thrilled with many (but, hardly all) Biblical studies. However, I question Kent P. Jackson's and Mogget's views that those same studies should be templates for Scripture study within the Church.

I would amend what both of them have been saying. A Latter-day Saint should, "seek out the best professional training, use the best academic tools, examine the best available ancient evidence, be aware of the best of current scholarship. . . " However, it should end there. Any and all assumptions that created that information should be questioned, and some of it rejected. As Joseph Smith said, the truth of God doesn't come from books and the studies of the learned, but by the Spirit and Revelation. If we are never taken seriously by the World then we are the better for it as only the things of the Spirit can be known of the Spirit. If we play by the rules of the World, we will become lost and darkened - losing even what we have.

So, we're supposed to take Joseph Smith's suppositions as binding?

I've only skimmed Jackson's piece, back in December when I was in Youtah, but I found myself wanting to question him on aspects of it.

I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but one time, I actually studied the Book of Mormon, as opposed to reading it, which I've done many times.

I can't remember exactly what I did, but it seems I became intrigued with understanding the time line and the genealogy. I don't remember much now, but I do remember that my faith increased. I was surprised when that happened, I wasn't even attempting that huge goal.

Nitsav, I'll grant that Jackson was trying, in a sense, to carve out some space for LDS scholars to raise questions and differ (in good faith) on a range of issues. But there's a lot of uncertainty about which questions fall in which category. And, of course, there's a larger issue of whether it is right for scholars or universities to label some issues as not open to scholarly discussion.

If we are never taken seriously by the World then we are the better for it as only the things of the Spirit can be known of the Spirit. If we play by the rules of the World, we will become lost and darkened - losing even what we have.

Perchance could you clarify what exactly "the World" is?

"Personally, I think making LDS presuppositions binding on LDS scholars makes dealing with professional colleagues problematic and might even make their scholarship suspect in the eyes of non-LDS scholars."

This seems to be very true; the scholarship is often dismissed. Sadly. Why do people think insights from one perspective can never be applicable in other spheres of reference?

Jettboy,
I am curious. Why should potential scholars blow all that time and money on an eduction that they should subsequently ignore?

Elder Boyd K. Packer said in a speech once that "the world" is already well represented in scholarship. What the Church needs is not balanced scholarship and fair-mindedness. What it needs are advocates.

It was an interesting speech. I don't have the link for it, but I think that everyone in the nacle should at least be passingly familiar with it (whatever you think of his arguments).

Seth, I believe the quote comes from Elder Packer's talk "The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect." The money quote: "In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary." I discuss the article and provide a link to it in my post "Faithful History."

Seth and Jettboy,
The problem is that there is no such thing as the "world". It is an empty category that we fill with whatever we decide should fill it. The Amish think that the "world" is cell-phones. The JW's think that the "world" is any government institution. Polygamists think that the "world" is sanctioned monogamy. How do Mormons construct the "world" and why are some things included and others not? How do you know the "world" when you see it?

Elder Boyd K. Packer said in a speech once that "the world" is already well represented in scholarship. What the Church needs is not balanced scholarship and fair-mindedness. What it needs are advocates.

Actually what the church needs are less people trying to build higher and larger walls between "us" and "them". If you are going to take the "screw anything that does not fit my ambiguous category of 'the World'" approach, it cannot but lead to more contention and animosity between various groups. Advocates come in many stripes, and those acquainted with what some would call "worldly theory" may in all reality be some of the best advocates around.

"The World" is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, that Miracles happen, that God still speaks to Man. For a Latter-day Saint, it is anyone who denies the Book of Mormon, rejects the reality of the Gifts of the Spirit, and shuns Morality.

It astounds me how spiritually ignorant most people in the Nacle are about Mormonism when they profess that religion. Of course, that is orignally the reason I created my own blog. One man against the World of doubters and apostates.

Jettboy,
Not to question your authority or anything, but why should I adopt your definition of "the world"? I, unlike SmallAxe, don't have a problem with divinely directed isolationism, but in so doing one must make very sure that the motivating factor actually is God and isn't one's own pride and sense of self-righteousness. Certainly a withdrawal from the "world" does not given the moral decisions of an individual greater weight than those who seek to engage and improve the world.

Futher, please answer my question. It truly seems like you are trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

"It astounds me how spiritually ignorant most people in the Nacle are about Mormonism when they profess that religion."

Ditto.

"How the New Testament Came to Be" reminds me of a series of (eight?) articles in the Ensign magazine starting in January 1982, entitled "How the Bible Came to Be." (also at http://tinyurl.com/2oasf9)

I actually don't have a problem with isolationism. Or at least I acknowledge that there are times in which isolation is the right approach. I do however, have a problem with over-essentialisms and over-simplications where a category (such as "the World") basically means "anything I do not agree with" AND at the same time is incapable of being clearly understood WHILE assuming that it is objectively true and clear.

The problem that I have with Jettboy's definition of "the world" is that it over-essentializes people into those that are of "the World" and those who are not (are people really that simple? Do they not still have things that we can learn from them?). And over-simplifies notions of "denying Jesus is the Christ", "rejecting the gifts of the spirit", etc. (as if these things are self-evidently clear). His position ultimately leads to an isolationism based on the presupposition that we have nothing to learn from "them". Revelation cannot possibily come from them.... Ironically similar to the rhetoric of "a Bible, a Bible". Is it a wonder we haven't received more divine light?

Do you reject the Scriptures when it says the same thing? Have you read the book of Moroni recently? I have said nothing that they have not said.

Do you reject the Scriptures when it says the same thing? Have you read the book of Moroni recently? I have said nothing that they have not said.

Once again, the problem that I have is that you act as if Moroni is self-evidently evaluated. I have issue with either:

A) Your interpretation of Moroni (although I am not quite sure what passages you are refering to).

B) Your application of Moroni to this circumstance (given that you have not clarified the ambiguity of "the World").

C) You ignoring my appeal to Nephi (could I not make the same argument you are making? "Have you read 2Nephi recently?").

D) All of the above.

I really don't mean to sound rude here, but you don't know me and have no reason to assume that I neither do not understand the scriptures or have not read Moroni recently.

FYI, a quick check using the LDS.org text search shows the Book of Mormon uses the term "world" in at least three different senses: (1) the physical world, as in "the first part of this record, which speaks concerning the creation of the world" (Ether 1:3); (2) all the inhabitants thereof, as in "And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world" (1 Ne. 11:27); and (3) as a gloss for sin or, more generally, haughty secular society, as in "those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world" (1 Ne. 22:23).

The term "world" appears only three times in Moroni (8:8, 12; 10:19). In each case, the reference is to the first sense, referring to the physical world.

With Moroni, I wasn't specifically refering to the "World," but more to my own comment:

""The World" is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, that Miracles happen, that God still speaks to Man. For a Latter-day Saint, it is anyone who denies the Book of Mormon, rejects the reality of the Gifts of the Spirit, and shuns Morality."

He may not have called it "The World," but I think that was his implication.

"He may not have called it "The World," but I think that was his implication."

On what basis? Just because you assert it?

Even if you were right, what does it mean to "reject the world"? If my brother looses his testimony, do I "reject" him? If my coworker has premarital sex, should I never speak to them? You're not quite getting the point that this issue is one of interpretation, and we are all trying to figure out how to interpret it.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Now Reading

Blog powered by Typepad

General Books 09-12

General Books 06-08

General Books 04-05

About This Site

Mormon Books 2013-14

Mormon Books 2012

Science Books

Bible Books

Mormon Books 09-11

Mormon Books 2008

Mormon Books 2007

Mormon Books 2006

Mormon Books 2005

Religion Books 09-12

Religion Books 2008

Religion Books 2004-07