This week’s lesson is on prayer. Below is a list of links taken from the main FAIR web site and the FAIR Wiki, which may help in discussing possible questions or issues that could potentially come up while studying this topic. Again, please note that by providing these resources we are not suggesting that they be included in any lessons taught. Rather, they are intended to be used as helps by the instructor or participating class members in case the issues do come up during class or personal study.
Due to the number of questions that have been submitted through FAIR’s “Ask the Apologist” feature that have coincided with the lessons taught in Relief Society and priesthood quorums from the Gospel Principles manual so far this year, we are starting a series of blog posts that will address potential issues in each lesson. Please note that by providing these resources we are not suggesting that they be included in any lessons taught. Rather, they are intended to be used as helps by the instructor or participating class members in case the issues do come up during class.
The Holy Ghost Came to Adam and Eve
Depending on how far you get into Moses 5 (the entire chapter is listed under “Additional Scriptures”), several different issues could come up:
Attributes of the Holy Ghost
The Mission of the Holy Ghost
Please feel free to comment about any other potential issues I may have missed.
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Revisions, and Canonization
The latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project is a massive work, and I’m not just talking about its bulky physical dimensions. It is pregnant with possibilities for Mormon scholarship.
Robin Jensen is a member of the Church History Department staff and an editor of the recent JSP volume. While making transcriptions of Joseph Smith’s revelations Jensen has identified “Many additions, revisions, deletions, or other types of redactions were made by multiple people on the manuscript” between the time they were recorded, edited for publication, and updated as the needs of the Church grew.1 Jensen explains that many “simple minor changes” were made in addition to “significant changes made to the text…sometimes entire phrases were added.” For Jensen, this indicates the “non-static” nature of the revelations which were adapted to language and understanding of the recipients and the changing needs of the Church.2
I recall while on my mission in southern California being told at one door “You don’t know what you believe; let me tell you what you believe.” Stephen E. Robinson wrote in 1997:
I am very happy to discuss my beliefs with anyone, but it is absurd—and a sure sign of bad faith—to argue with me that I do not really believe what I think I believe! Any religious group, whether Jewish, Mormon, Baptist or whatever, ought to be able to define itself rather than be defined by its antagonists. (Stephen E. Robinson, How Wide the Divide?[Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997], p. 12)
I believe one can extend this principle to not merely include a “religious group” but the members of that religious group as well. Every individual Jew, Mormon, Baptist, etc. “ought to be able to define” his/her beliefs rather than have such defined by antagonists. [Read more…] about Notice of Discretionary Authority
During my time as an undergraduate geology student at Brigham Young University (B.S. 1984), the “days of Peleg” (Gen. 10:25) came up more than once. I fondly recall Professors Morris Peterson, Ken Hamblin, Lehi Hintze and others chatting with us students around campfires during geology field trips. I recall them making the point that there were better interpretations than the highly creative interpretation that it was the continents which were divided during the days of Peleg. These professors were the ones that first introduced me to the plainer understanding that “divided” was more likely intended to communicate a political reality that has continued uninterrupted to this day — that boundary lines or borders between tribes were established. They reinforced the fact that there is little biblical and no physical evidence to go out on a geological limb to claim that Gen. 10:25 refers to a catastrophic episode of continental drift.
First, a little background: FAIR is an all-volunteer organization. One of the things we do is answer questions submitted through the FAIR web site. These questions are forwarded to a group of about 100 volunteers, any and all of whom are likely to reply to the questioner. We try to answer every question. Some questions generate only one response; others spur several volunteers to reply.
The questions we get run the gamut, from criticisms of LDS beliefs, to questions about Church history, to help dealing with critical family members.
Sometimes we receive comments critical of FAIR itself. Most often these are from non-Mormons. Occasionally, however, they’re from Latter-day Saints who disagree with something published by FAIR.
I gave a short talk recently, and it was suggested that I post it up here for others to read. I borrowed some of the information in the talk from a past president’s message I gave in the FAIR Journal. But, I still hope you find it valuable. Here it is:
Over on By Common Consent, john f. has has started an excellent discussion on managing — or failing to manage — the “grey areas” of the gospel. Excerpt:
…I suggest that members who retain their faith/belief often do so by taking a nuanced view of Church life and policy — seeing many aspects of how culture or policy apply to real life situations as falling into a gray area that their flexible faith is able to accommodate.
By contrast, I have observed ex-believers saying that members of the Church view things as black and white and that things are really gray. But in taking this approach, I have seen some ex-believers attribute black and white type of beliefs to members of the Church that very few, if any, believing members actually hold.
In the various articles, blogs, and comments related to Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, the Mormon honesty problem has come up. “Why didn’t Mitt Romney talk about what Mormons really believe?” asked one writer. “Mormons feel it is okay to lie about their beliefs,” stated a radio caller.
So do Mormons lie about their beliefs?