Skip to comments.“Save Kolob”: Church News Says Book of Abraham “Not Central to the Restored Gospel”
Posted on 07/16/2012 5:38:35 AM PDT by Colofornian
High Priests Groups world-wide are still reeling at the Church News announcement that questions surrounding the accuracy and authenticity of the Book of Abraham are not as important as critics suggest because the book is not central to the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ despite its inclusion in the canonized LDS Standard Works. (Read Church News article here.)
Im stunned, said LaVerl Jensen, High Priest Group leader for the Spanish Fork 87th ward. If the Book of Abraham isnt all that important, why did God go to all that effort to make sure the Egyptian papyri containing Abrahams writings, miraculously preserved for millenia, made it all the way across the ocean and into the Prophet Josephs hands so he could translate them through the gift and power of God for our day?
More progressive-minded Mormons greeted the news enthusiastically, because in establishing that the Book of Abraham falls outside what is central to the restored Gospel, the Church News listed six narrow essentials presented by BYU Professor John Gee:
God exists; Jesus Christ is His Son; God talked and still talks with men through the power of the Holy Ghost; Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world; the Atonement is available to those who trust Jesus, turn from sin, make and keep sacred covenants, and follow the course throughout their lives; and the Book of Mormon is true, an authentic record of Gods interactions with actual ancient people.
Now where is the Book of Abraham in this? Dr. Gee concluded. It isnt. The Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel of Christ.
Im ecstatic about what this means, said Rulon Jeffries, a longtime subscriber to Sunstone and Dialogue. For years Ive been given grief by my LDS friends and family for having unorthodox beliefs about a whole range of issues. But now I can cite this article as proof that orthodoxy in the Church has been narrowed to these six central points.
* * * * *
Folks, for those who havent been able to figure out what I had thought would be obvious, the Church News article referenced above is real, but the responses are a spoof in the style of The Onion or some other satirical news source. I had hoped to raise, in a humorous way, a number of interesting issues that I think are raised by this Church News article:
1. The Book of Abraham is the key support for the LDS doctrine of the pre-existence, and the pre-existence is treated as a foundational doctrine in official Church curriculum. Indeed, the pre-existence has been and is often the starting-point when we introduce our Restored Gospel to those investigating or newly converted to our faith. It is the first estate of our existence as described in our familiar version of the Plan of Salvation. For example, in our Gospel Principles manual, elements of the pre-existence are covered in all of the first six lessons. And unsurprisingly, the Book of Abraham is cited in all six of the first six lessons of the GP manual. If the Book of Abraham is not central to the Restored Gospel, one wonders why its contents are found in the first six lessons of the official Church manual we use to teach investigators and converts the Restored Gospel.
2. It is interesting that the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon made it into Dr. Gees list of six central points, but that the historical authenticity of the Book of Abraham did not, and I personally wonder what the justification is for treating them differently. Both were deemed important enough by God to go to the trouble of revealing to Joseph Smith. And both books were represented by Joseph Smith to be genuine and accurate translations of ancient records accomplished by the gift and power of God.
3. Dr. Gees list of six central points is also interesting for the many core LDS beliefs that it does not include. For example, it does not even include a belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, nor does it even mention a belief in the Bible.
4. In determining the Book of Abraham is not central, Dr. Gee seems to overlook the close relationship between the Book of Abraham and the temple. So there is an interesting paradox in his list of six central points of doctrine: while he includes making and keeping covenants (and presumably temple covenants are included) on the list of six central doctrines, by saying the Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel it seems he downplays the significance of the book of scripture that creates the doctrinal foundation for many aspects of those temple ordinances.
5. Although we have a rich and well-established culture of belief that the mantle is far, far greater than the intellect, that Gods foolishness is wiser than the wisdom of men, and that we need to rely on the rock of revelation rather than leaning on the arm of the flesh, it seems that increasingly the statements of past prophets, seers, and revelators are being disregarded by LDS scholars. For example, despite statements by Joseph Smith and others indicating that the Lamanites and Nephites ranged all over the North American continent, LDS scholars are now telling us that all the BOM action was confined to a very small area in southern Mexico and Guatemala. This shift in LDS scholarly consensus, as well as the DNA controversy, preceded the Churchs recent decision to revise the official Introduction to the Book of Mormon (authored by an Apostle who was sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator) to eliminate the claim that the Lamanites were the principal ancestors of the American Indian. When todays LDS scholars are unable to develop satisfactory answers to challenges posed by critics, it seems the response is, increasingly, to downgrade the earlier revelation-based claims as being not central, rather than continuing in the faith that those revelations will ultimately be vindicated by scholarship. Im not arguing over whether this is right or wrong; Im just observing that its happening.
6. This recent Church News article represents an example of how this displacement of past revelation by modern scholarship is gradually occurring: by quoting LDS scholars in an official church publication like Church News or Ensign magazine. The Church News does not print everything that is said at every scholarly conference, so the fact that Dr. Gees statements were published in the Church News, rather than just being covered in the FAIR newsletter, suggests to Church members reading the Church News that Dr. Gees statements are endorsed by the Church. This process of allowing modern LDS scholarship to displace past revelation with the quasi-sanction of publishing LDS scholars statements in an official Church newspaper or magazine seems to ignore the long-established doctrine that the revelations of past prophets, seers, and revelators can be superseded only by the current President of the Church (but that doctrine didnt make the list of six central points either).
7. Lastly, one wonders, will this evaluation of the Book of Abraham as being not central result in it being eventually removed from our Standard Works? Dr. Hugh Nibley once said that without the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham, we would be just another Church. By stating the Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel, have Dr. Gee and Church News brought us one step closer to becoming just that?
* Thanks to Wade Nelson for pointing this Church News article out to me.
From the blog: 1. The Book of Abraham is the key support for the LDS doctrine of the pre-existence, and the pre-existence is treated as a foundational doctrine in official Church curriculum. Indeed, the pre-existence has been and is often the starting-point when we introduce our Restored Gospel to those investigating or newly converted to our faith. It is the first estate of our existence as described in our familiar version of the Plan of Salvation. For example, in our Gospel Principles manual, elements of the pre-existence are covered in all of the first six lessons. And unsurprisingly, the Book of Abraham is cited in all six of the first six lessons of the GP manual. If the Book of Abraham is not central to the Restored Gospel, one wonders why its contents are found in the first six lessons of the official Church manual we use to teach investigators and converts the Restored Gospel.
Good question, Andrew...if the so-called "Book of Abraham" (an Egyptian funeral document that Joseph Smith obtained for what would be the equivalent of $60,000 in today's $ value) isn't central to the alleged "restored" gospel of Mormonism, then there goes the centrality of the "pre-existence" of Mormons...who supposedly were supplied to Planet Earth by way of a planet near the star, Kolob.
From the blog: Dr. Gees list of six central points is also interesting for the many core LDS beliefs that it does not include. For example, it does not even include a belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, nor does it even mention a belief in the Bible.
Boy, I can understand "belief in the Bible" not being a basic Mormon central belief (that's pretty obvious from their doctrine alone!), but the belief that Joseph Smith is a prophet God not included as a central tenet of Mormonism??? This would just NOT sit well with THE Lds general authorities of yesteryear!
Whereas Jesus drew black-and-white, line-in-the sand words in John 14:6 ("I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me")...The past Lds general authorities drew the line at places like Joseph Smith and the Lds Church!
* "...EVERY spirit that does not confess that God has sent Joseph Smith, and revealed the everlasting Gospel to and through him, is of Antichrist..." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 435)
* "Whosoever... does not confess that God has sent Joseph Smith, and revealed the everlasting Gospel to and through him, is of Antichrist...," (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 176)
* "He that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.312)
For other similar quotes, see section two of this article: If Mormonism is 'anti-Christian,' then how can it be considered 'Christian?'
Btw, does that sound very civil to you for Mormon prophets to label us all as of Antichrist???
From this Mormon curtain article -- Smith wasn't a mere afterthought to Brigham Young's right-hand man...but a "god"!!! "You call us fools; but the day will be, gentlemen and ladies, whether you belong to this Church or not, when you will prize brother Joseph Smith as the Prophet of the Living God, and look upon him as a God, and also upon Brigham Young, our Governor (Heber C. Kimball of the Lds First Presidency, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, p. 88)
Not Restored but Re-Invented
Dropping BoA at least in public is probably due to it being indefensable (even more so than the others works attributed to J.Smith)
Seems Boa may be sliding toward Kinderhook plates status.
The lds-org denies that Jesus is the Creator, that everything was created THROUGH Him, BY Him and FOR Him.
They deny that Jesus created even the angels out of nothing.
They do NOT teach the truth about Jesus.
Captain Obvious is BACK!
If the Joseph Smith translation isnt SCRIPTURE, why did God go to all that effort to make sure the Reformed Egyptian TRANSLATOR; the Prophet Joseph Smith; the COMMAND to RE-translate the KJV of the BIBLE through the gift and power of God for our days?
"Now the way he translated was he put the urim and thummim into his hat and Darkned his Eyes than he would take a sentance and it would apper in Brite Roman Letters. Then he would tell the writer and he would write it. Then that would go away the next sentance would Come and so on. But if it was not Spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous. Thus was the hol [whole] translated."---Joseph Knight's journal.
"In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us."
(History of the RLDS Church, 8 vols.(Independence, Missouri: Herald House,1951),"Last Testimony of Sister Emma [Smith Bidamon]," 3:356.
"I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. . . . He [Joseph Smith] did not use the plates in translation."
---(David Whitmer,as published in the "Kansas City Journal," June 5, 1881,and reprinted in the RLDS "Journal of History", vol. 8, (1910), pp. 299-300.
In an 1885 interview, Zenas H. Gurley, then the editor of the RLDS Saints Herald, asked Whitmer if Joseph had used his "Peep stone" to do the translation. Whitmer replied:
"... he used a stone called a "Seers stone," the "Interpreters" having been taken away from him because of transgression. The "Interpreters" were taken from Joseph after he allowed Martin Harris to carry away the 116 pages of Ms [manuscript] of the Book of Mormon as a punishment, but he was allowed to go on and translate by use of a "Seers stone" which he had, and which he placed in a hat into which he buried his face, stating to me and others that the original character appeared upon parchment and under it the translation in English."
"Martin Harris related an incident that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone, Martin explained the translation as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin and when finished he would say 'Written,' and if correctly written that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used."
(Edward Stevenson, "One of the Three Witnesses,"reprinted from Deseret News, 30 Nov. 1881in Millennial Star, 44 (6 Feb. 1882): 86-87.)
In 1879, Michael Morse, Emma Smith's brother-in-law, stated:"When Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon [I] had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation. The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating word after word, while the scribes Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other wrote it down."
(W.W. Blair interview with Michael Morse,Saints Herald, vol. 26, no. 12June 15, 1879, pp. 190-91.)
Joseph Smith's brother William also testified to the "face in the hat" version:"The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by the power of God"("A New Witness for Christ in America,"Francis W. Kirkham, 2:417.)
"The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret was the same manner as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, while the book of plates were at the same time hid in the woods."---Isaac Hale (Emma Smith's father's) affidavit, 1834.
So, how have we responded to that comment?
#1 Some of us can multi-task (thank God). Otherwise, to hear some tell it, jihad terrorism and the Muslim threat would be the ONLY think we'd have the time, resources, and energy to oppose.
#2 Only a fool thinks the "brush fire" here on earth is the three-alarm, city-wide meltdown that hell represents.
Simply put, we take our cultural cue from a certain "Lord" named Jesus Christ...
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Luke 12:4-5)
So does Jesus say, "fear the Marxists/communists?" (No)
Does Jesus say "fear the enemies of our freedom loving republic within our borders?" (No)
Instead, does He say to exercise fear of the One who has authority to cast somebody into hell? (Yes)
So, indeed, our "fear" is on behalf of those who are placing their eternal spiritual lives at risk.
#3 Some have suggested that we "unite" behind an anti-Marxist/socialist cause. (And thereby simply ignore the ISM of MormonISM)
I could probably guess that the folks who the apostle Paul warned the church @ Ephesus about had the bulk in common with the sheep there. Both groups were "religious." So, did Paul play the "allies"-game-don't-divide-us others play? (No)
As Paul was leaving the church of Ephesus, he warned them with this high-priority alert:
"I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." (Acts 20:29-31)
Paul's cultural priority? (Defend against the false disciples who will proselytize the flock and draw away men unto themselves!)
You see, if you did something tearfully night and day for three years, do you think it's rather important? So what? We're just to conclude, "Oh, the man who contributed a good chunk to the New Testament -- what does he know about cultural priorities?"
Bottom line: I'll take Paul's and Jesus' already-revealed priorities to others' guesswork patchwork.
Pretty soon nothing Joseph Smith said or did will be used, as it is all being ‘discounted’, well publicly anyway.
For those of us outside the church, yes, they’re “walking it back” from JS. But doing it so slyly in the process.
Gradually diminishing its importance/significance vs. admitting that JS faked it. If they admit he faked the translation, then he’s a false prophet because he claimed he was able to do so via the power of their god.
If they persist in maintaining its veracity, then they show themselves to be obstinate in the face of irrefutable proof that it’s a funerary text and “reformed Egyptian” is fantasy.
Clever tactic to keep the TBM’s in line by “revealing” that the BoA isn’t all that relevant; “Focus on the BoM, we can keep stonewalling on that one for much longer.”
This announcement is further proof that the SLC hierarchy is not interested in truth or the spiritual well being of its members, just $5B malls.
Again, you brought mormons/Romney into this thread and never mentioned the exposure of mormonISM, this is the Religion Forum and the discussion is about a mormonISM book.
If you are are interested in talking about the religion of islam, why not start your own thread.
We’ve been down this road with similar folks before.
Nothing new under the sun, same old, tired vocabulary.
Tiresome, vulgar, petulant and ignorant.
I’m worried about my eternal salvation right now. Unlike others who are pre-occupied by the temporal and insist on trying to drag us into their mud wallow.
So keep on tilting at windmills, slandering and maligning all in the name of “saving our country”. I’m sure many like minded folks here on FR will be wondering after Nov why certain folks aren’t real receptive to others here any longer after the slash and burn tactics that have been enjoined by the ABO’s.
Keep focusing on the temporal, I’ll keep my focus on the eternal.
Good luck on your quest!
And Modern Day MORMONism is LYING to you about it.
Mitt is ONE of THEM!
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned;
and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given,
and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned.
Brigham Young - JoD 3:266 (July 14, 1855)
ARGUMENT: Mitt is a Mormon
CONCLUSION: Mitt is thus "dangerous" and a "threat" and no one should vote for him.
PREMISE: CHRISTians and CHRISTianity is bad, dangerous and a threat
ARGUMENT: Most AMERICANs are CHRISTian.
CONCLUSION: Therefore; the vast majority are CHRISTian and need an enlightened MORMON to lead them.
Is there anything more dangerous, particularly in a political setting, than the notion that an individual can himself be a God?
Has Romney ever repudiated this crazy and dangerous notion?
Have you 2 met?
If not, introduce yourselves to one another.
Maybe you could work out an agreement on which forums you’ll troll to post your “hate” comments on.
That way you won’t wear your “message” out.
The vocabulary is essentially the same, I’d hate to see it get lost in the commentary or watered down due to over saturation.
It is highly useful, informative and educational. Not like anything else posted./s