Church plural

The Sufi

2019.08.30 04:23 ernob9 The Sufi

"Sufi" is an Arabic word derived from the Latin word "Sofi" which means "the wise ones" (plural). It is also a popular name for Islamic mystics, who probably adopted this term from the Latin church which they encountered in their efforts at propagating Islam. So, join the community and share your wisdom, that is, so far as can be done humanely.

2020.10.30 01:52 God_Is_Good123 Apostolic Succession: Is It Biblical?

"What is Apostolic Succession?"

The doctrine of apostolic succession is the belief that the 12 apostles passed on their authority to successors, who then passed the apostolic authority on to their successors, continuing throughout the centuries, even unto today. The Roman Catholic Church sees Peter as the leader of the apostles, with the greatest authority, and therefore his successors carry on the greatest authority. The Roman Catholic Church combines this belief with the concept that Peter later became the first bishop of Rome, and that the Roman bishops that followed Peter were accepted by the early Church as the central authority among all of the churches. Apostolic succession, combined with Peter’s supremacy among the apostles, results in the Roman bishop being the supreme authority of the Catholic Church – the Pope.

It's Not Biblical

However, nowhere in Scripture did Jesus, the apostles, or any other New Testament writer set forth the idea of “apostolic succession.” Further, neither is Peter presented as “supreme” over the other apostles. The apostle Paul, in fact, rebukes Peter when Peter was leading others astray (Gal. 2:11-14). Why would God make a man who denies Christ 3 times in the same day the head of the Church, instead of Paul who was the apostle to the Gentiles anyway? Yes, the apostle Peter had a prominent role. Yes, perhaps the apostle Peter was the leader of the apostles (although the book of Acts records the apostle Paul and Jesus’ brother James as also having prominent leadership roles). Whatever the case, Peter was not the “commander” or supreme authority over the other apostles. Even if apostolic succession could be demonstrated from Scripture, which it cannot, apostolic succession would not result in Peter’s successors being absolutely supreme over the other apostles’ successors.
Catholics point to Matthias being chosen to replace Judas as the twelfth apostle in Acts chapter 1 as an example of apostolic succession. While Matthias did indeed “succeed” Judas as an apostle, this is in no sense an argument for continuing apostolic succession. Matthias being chosen to replace Judas is only an argument for the church replacing ungodly and unfaithful leaders (such as Judas) with godly and faithful leaders (such as Matthias). Nowhere in the New Testament are any of the twelve apostles recorded as passing on their apostolic authority to successors. Nowhere do any of the apostles predict that they will pass on their apostolic authority. No, Jesus ordained the apostles to build the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). What is the foundation of the Church that the apostles built? The New Testament – the record of the deeds and teachings of the apostles. The Church does not need apostolic successors. The Church needs the teachings of the apostles accurately recorded and preserved. And that is exactly what God has provided in His Word (Eph. 1:13, Col. 1:5, 2 Tim. 2:15; 4:2).
To put it bluntly, apostolic succession is not Biblical. The concept of apostolic succession is never found in Scripture. What is found in Scripture is that a true church (small c) will teach what the Scriptures teach and will compare all doctrines and practices to Scripture in order to determine what is true and right. The Roman Catholic Church claims that a lack of ongoing apostolic authority results in doctrinal confusion and chaos. It is an unfortunate truth (that the apostles acknowledged) that false teachers would arise (2 Pet. 2:1). Admittedly, the lack of “supreme authority” among non-Catholic churches results in many different interpretations of the Bible. However, these differences in interpretation are not the result of Scripture being unclear. Rather, they are the result of even non-Catholic Christians carrying on the Catholic tradition of interpreting Scripture in accordance with their own traditions. If Scripture is studied in its entirety and in its proper context, the truth can be easily determined. Doctrinal differences and denominational conflicts are a result of some Christians refusing to agree with what Scripture says – not a result of there being no “supreme authority” to interpret Scripture.
"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."-1 John 2:6-7
Alignment with Scriptural teaching, not apostolic succession, is the determining factor of the trueness of a church. What is mentioned in Scripture is the idea that the Word of God was to be the guide that the church was to follow (Acts 20:32). It is Scripture that was to be the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is the Scriptures that teachings are to be compared to (Acts 17:10-12). Apostolic authority was passed on through the writings of the apostles, not through apostolic succession.
"For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."-Romans 3:3-4

"What About Matthew 16:18-19?"

"And I say also unto thee [Simon], That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."-Matthew 16:18-19
Catholics will often point to this passage and say, "See! Peter was the first Pope." This interpretation arose centuries after the event and the writing of Matthew’s Gospel. From a Roman Catholic view, this passage is like a seed that only later flowered into the Church’s interpretation. So for Roman Catholics, the lack of mention of successors to Peter, bishops, and a hierarchical ecclesial structure—along with Jesus’s later giving of the keys not to Peter but to the church (Matt. 18:15–20)—is no deterrent to this understanding.
Additionally, the Magisterium—or teaching office of the Catholic Church—claims to possess Christ’s authority to provide the official interpretation of Scripture. And since they’ve officially interpreted Matthew 16:18 this way, this understanding stands as the authoritative and true one.
However, it is very difficult to come to this conclusion if preconceived notions aren't being injected into the text, much less, if the passage itself isn't being ripped out of its proper context. In fact, the following verses undeniably prove that Peter cannot possibly be the rock upon which the Church is laid upon:
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."-1 Corinthians 3:11
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."-1 Corinthians 10:1-4
"He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."-Deuteronomy 32:4
“There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”-1 Samuel 2:2
"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower [...] For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? [...] The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted."-Psalm 18:2, 31, 46
"And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer."-Psalm 78:35
We are thus forced to interpret the passage in a way that's consistent with the rest of Scripture. If we wish to do so, we need to (like I said) exegete rather than eisegete.
In context, Jesus probes his disciples for what the general public thinks about the identity of “the Son of Man” (vs. 13). Their response indicates the breadth of the popular understanding of Jesus: He is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another prophet (vs. 14). So Jesus redirects His probe: “But whom say ye [plural = the disciples] that I am?” (vs. 15). Peter responds for the Twelve: Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, God the Son incarnate (vs. 16). Jesus approves Peter for rightly identifying him, underscoring that his disciple didn’t humanly figure out this truth. Rather, it came as divine revelation—from Jesus’ heavenly Father (vs. 17).
It is upon this confession, that Jesus is the Messiah, that the Church is built upon. This interpretation is further supported and confirmed by verse 20 (i.e., the verse that immediately follows verses 18 and 19).
"Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ."-Matthew 16:20

The Nature of the Church

The universal Body or fellowship of Messiah is composed of all people, Jewish and Gentile, who through faith in Him have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and grafted in. It began at Shavuot (Pentecost) with the immersion of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Yeshua, and it will be completed when He returns. Membership in the universal Body is not based on any earthly organizational affiliation but on faith in Yeshua the Messiah.
The local body is the visible manifestation of the universal Body. It is a congregation of believers organized for the purpose of glorifying God through worship, instruction, accountability, fellowship, service and outreach. Whereas entrance into the universal Body is based on an act of faith, entrance into the local body is based on an act of volition in obedience to God.
The officers of the local congregation are elders and deacons, but the true Head to whom all are ultimately answerable is the Lord Yeshua (Acts 2:1-4, 41-42, Rom. 11:29; 12:4-13, 1 Cor. 1:2; 7:17; 11:16; 12:12-27, Eph. 1:22-23; 2:11-22; 3:10; 4:4-16; 5:23-24, Col. 1:18, 1 Tim. 3:1-13, Heb. 10:19-25; 13:7, 17).
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2020.10.27 20:36 MysteriesOfGodliness Eloheim, Jehovah and Michael and the Adam-God Doctrine

Usually the most misunderstood point concerning Adam-God is the identity of Eloheim and Jehovah. Well in short, Eloheim is our Heavenly Great-Grandfather and Jehovah is our Heavenly Grandfather. Some quotes:
“Eloheim, Yahovah and Michael were father, son and grandson. They made this earth and Michael became Adam.” (Brigham Young, as quoted in Joseph F. Smith Journal, 17 June 1871, Church Archives)
“After the deed was done, the Lord enquired for Abel, and made Cain own what he had done with him. Now says the grandfather, I will not destroy the seed of Michael and his wife, and Cain I will not kill you, nor suffer anyone else to kill you, but I will put a mark upon you.” (Brigham Young, Speech at the territorial legislature, Church Archives, 5 February 1852, MABY, Ms d 1234, Box 48 fd 12)
“You call your spiritual children together and hold a council with them; and in the contemplation of a new earth, a Saviour must be provided. You call for volunteers, there may be a number of bright sons reply. It is your right to choose the one dearest to your own heart, he being worthy of the position. Another among the volunteers may become offended, and rebel against the plan, and lead many away with him. The chosen one is ordained to his calling, a calling in the Priesthood, and placed in full charge of the organization of the new earth, its redemption and sanctification. Thus the faithful son becomes the creator and redeemer of the new world, Grandfather remaining the highest authority, Architect and Chief Commander, while you, the Father, remain in reserve for other important duties, and thus the six days of creation go on and the earth is finished and is indeed glorious and beautiful.” (Brigham Young, as quoted in Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 27 January 1860)
“Adam was as conversant with his Father who placed him upon this earth as we are conversant with our earthly parents. The Father frequently came to visit his son Adam, and talked and walked with him; and the children of Adam were more or less acquainted with their Grandfather, and their children were more or less acquainted with their Great-Grandfather; and the things that pertain to God and to heaven were as familiar among mankind, in the first ages of their existence on the earth, as these mountains are to our mountain boys, as our gardens are to our wives and children, or as the road to the Western Ocean is to the experienced traveler. From this source mankind have received their religious traditions.” (Brigham Young JD 9:148, 12 January 1862)
“It was not usual for kings to eat and drink before their subjects, but here dignity was lost in sensual hilarity; and in the midst of these orgies, it would seem as a climax to his folly, he [Nebuchadnezzar] adds impiety by ordering his servants to fetch out of his treasure house the holy vessels of gold and silver which had been dedicated to the Lord in the temple, and which Nebuchadnezzar had seized when he took Jerusalem and had placed them where they were, but had always held them sacred, never allowing them to be used for any purpose whatever; but the wine-heated king had lost all reverence for his grandfather or Jehovah; he seemed madly rushing on to his destruction. These holy vessels were brought forth, and he and his lords ‘drank wine in them.’” (Hannah T. King, Contributor 5:216 #6, March 1884)
In the original endowment, Jesus and Jehovah were two separate characters:
“The St. George Temple endowment included a revised thirty-minute ‘lecture at the veil’ which summarized important theological concepts taught in the endowment and also contained references to the Adam-God doctrine. For example, Brigham Young taught in this lecture that Adam ‘had begotten all the spirit[s] that was to come to this earth, and Eve our common Mother who is the mother of all living bore those spirits in the celestial world. . . . [They] consequently came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in.’ This teaching may have been included in the veil lecture as late as the turn of the century. It is uncertain whether the St. George Temple veil ceremony’s Adam-God teaching was included in all temples. This probably was not the first time Adam-God had been mentioned in the endowment ceremony. Although official temple scripts do not exist prior to 1877, several unfriendly published accounts of the Endowment House ceremony contain cast listings and dialogues of different characters during the creation scene for Elohim, Jehovah, Jesus, and Michael. Their recounting of the concomitant presence of Jehovah and Jesus provides further evidence of the use of the Adam-God doctrine in the temple ceremony.” David John Buerger, The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony, Dialogue Vol. 20, No. 4, pg. 50-51)
Hyrum said that:
“ . . . there is a whole train and lineage of Gods . . .” (Hyrum Smith, 27 April 1843, as quoted in George Laub’s Journal)
The theme of Theogony (or family of the Gods) runs throughout ancient myth. As Brigham said, Eloheim, Jehovah and Michael are Father, Son and Grandson, and Jesus is hence the Great-Grandson. This is the pattern found all over ancient religion and mythology: There are three creator Gods (who are always linked to the previous world), and the third then sends His Son to redeem the world
Take the Egyptian myth for instance. Atum (or Adam, as Hugh Nibley notes) is the third creator God whose Son’s blood is then shed as an Atonement
The fact that the Adam-God doctrine is found in ancient religion and myth is the reason behind why some joined the Church in the first place:
“Brother Cannon said there was a learned Doctor that wanted to be baptized . . . He (the doctor) is satisfied that the doctrine of the plurality of God and that Adam is our Father is a true doctrine revealed from God to Joseph and Brigham. For this same doctrine is taught in some of the old Jewish records which have never been in print and I know Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young have had access to, and the Lord has revealed this doctrine unto them or they could not have taught it. President Young said if all that God had revealed was in fine print it would more than fill this room but very little is written or printed which the Lord has revealed.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 4 September 1860)
One ancient text says this concerning Adam:
“For this one, Adamas, is a light which radiated from the light; he is the eye of the light. For this is the first man, he through whom and to whom everything came into being, (and) without whom nothing came into being. The unknowable, incomprehensible Father came forth. He came down from above for the annulment of the deficiency . . . The incorruptible man Adamas asked for them a son out of himself, in order that he (the son) may become father of the immovable, incorruptible race, so that, through it (the race), the silence and the voice may appear, and, through it, the dead aeon may raise itself, so that it may dissolve.” (The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit)
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2020.10.27 16:30 MysteriesOfGodliness Introduction

Hi, I’m an independent fundamentalist. Still an LDS Church member. I believe all the things taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, including Celestial Plural Marriage, the Adam-God Doctrine, etc. I hope you’ll have me here
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2020.10.27 13:32 kittehgoesmeow What A Day: Wet A$$ Planetoid by Sarah Lazarus and Crooked Media (10/26/20)

"I don’t see anything criminal about this." - Bet-hedger Vladimir Putin, on Hunter Biden's business ties

Rounding The Coroner

With eight days of the election remaining, the Trump administration got caught covering up another White House coronavirus outbreak, continued actively spreading the virus around the country, and issued an official statement of surrender. Consider the pro-death vote locked up.
In a particularly spectacular show of recklessness, the White House will host a second Amy Coney Barrett corona-thon.
Here’s the unfair thing about being a decent person: Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell may never feel a shred of regret for causing tens of thousands of deaths or hollowing out American democracy, but no matter how this election ends, you’ll remember what you did or didn’t do over the next eight days for the rest of your life. What happens next is still up to us, and it’s now or never.

Look No Further Than The Crooked Media

In case you missed it: Joe Biden stopped by Pod Save America to talk about what's stake for our democracy in the 2020 election, his final debate with Trump, the climate crisis, Vote Early Day, and what we can do in the final days of the campaign. It’s a great interview, so give it a listen on the Pod Save America feed and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts

Under The Radar

The Department of Health and Human Services has suspended a taxpayer-funded $250 million propaganda campaign about how the Coronavirus Response is Going Great, along with a planned Santa collaboration. HHS official Michael Caputo, who’s out on medical leave, worked out a deal with the chairman of (we did not make this up) the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas: Santa performers would extoll the benefits of a coronavirus vaccine, in exchange for early vaccine access. (It’s unclear how Melania “Fuck Christmas” Trump felt about this.) That plan fell apart because, as every expert predicted, there is no vaccine yet. The agency may have less whimsical problems ahead: HHS political appointees are reportedly prepared to leave en masse if President Trump loses the election, leaving behind a hobbled health department in the middle of this winter’s coronavirus surge. At least 27 political appointees have already left HHS since the pandemic began.

What Else?

A White House lawyer was involved in the scheme to smear Hunter Biden in the Wall Street Journal. Your tax dollars at work!
El Paso, TX, residents have been told to stay home for two weeks, as coronavirus cases overwhelm the area’s hospitals. Alexa, play Donald Trump At Last Week’s Debate: “There was a very big spike in Texas, it's now gone.”
Some Michigan sheriffs have said they won’t enforce a ban on openly carrying guns near polling places on Election Day. Not the greatest.
Trump plans to win Pennsylvania by...promising revenge on Pennsylvania for making it hard for him to hold a superspreading rally. Your move, Pennsylvania.
Jared Kushner asserted today that Black people are complainers who simply don’t want to be successful, then went back to failing at the job he got by marrying a rich guy’s daughter.
Trump appointee Ronald Sanders has resigned over an executive order meant to strip away job protections for tens of thousands of civil servants: “I simply cannot be part of an Administration that replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance.”
The president of Fox News and several top anchors have been told to quarantine after they were exposed to an infected person on a private flight. Fox News told employees in an internal memo that there are “a few positive COVID-19 cases” at the company. Alexa, play Fox News Hosts Downplaying Coronavirus For Months.
Sunday night’s 60 Minutes episode featuring interviews with both candidates, which Trump tried to undermine by releasing footage ahead of the broadcast, scored the show’s highest ratings since Stormy Daniels stopped by in 2018.
Watch your step, the Moon’s wet.

Be Smarter

President Trump has fueled a rise in “Patriot Churches,” a network of congregations that are as political as they are religious. The churches are part of what religion experts describe as a Christian nationalist movement which has thrived under Trump, as Trump brought evangelicals and “fringe” Christians into the mainstream. The congregations share the common belief that America always has been and should remain a Christian nation, and that American Christianity is under attack. Here’s one pastor outside of Knoxville, TN: “Black Lives Matter isn’t being powered by the Holy Spirit. Antifa isn’t being powered by the Holy Spirit. They can’t save this land. There’s only one organization that has a shot at saving America, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ.” Trump’s personal contempt for conservative Christians doesn’t seem to pose a problem.

What A Sponsor

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The program focuses on three key interventions in the employment pipeline that are critical to individual success, and where transportation can play a major role:
Whether you’re in need of a ride or you want to donate and support others, the Jobs Access Hub makes it easy to take action. Qualifying individuals can use the Hub to see if a ride is available, and if so, Goodwill or United Way will distribute the ride credits.
LyftUp is Lyft’s comprehensive effort to expand transportation access to those who need it most. Through LyftUp, Lyft partners with leading nonprofits to help provide access to free and discounted rides to individuals and families who lack affordable, reliable transportation.

Is That Hope I Feel?

Georgia voter suppression appears to have backfired big-time.
Young people in Texas are voting early in astounding numbers; 66 percent of the 748,973 voters under 30 who had cast ballots as of Sunday didn’t vote in 2016. In part thanks to them, Democrats have real hope of flipping the Texas House.
A federal judge has blocked the Department of Housing and Urban Development from implementing a rule that would make it harder to bring discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act, while a legal challenge plays out.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine candidate has been shown to produce an immune response in both young and old adults, according to an AstraZeneca spokesman.


Gremliny Nussboo on Twitter: "I had no idea that was the plural for a group of Pence aides."
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2020.10.26 18:50 dwell_in_safety The church fails to answer the big questions

One of the appeals of the church is that the restored gospel presumably answers life's "big questions". Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the purpose of life? But on close inspection the church fails miserably to answer these questions.
  1. "What is the purpose of life?" The church's answer is to 'prepare to meet God.' But what is the purpose of life after we're finished preparing to meet God? Would life then be purposeless? What was the purpose our existence during the pre-mortal life? What was the purpose of life when we existed as intelligences? Intelligences are not created or made. They have no purpose at all. They just randomly exist for no reason at all. Thus, if the restored gospel is true then our lives are ultimately meaningless since intelligences were not created for a specific purpose.
  2. "Where did I come from?" The church's answer to this question is "the pre-mortal existence." But this answer merely kicks the can down the road. Where did we come from prior to the pre-mortal existence? We are supposed to have existed as intelligences. But where do intelligences come from? No where. Thus the church's final answer to "where do we come from?" ends up being "nowhere."
Thus, we came from nowhere and our existence is ultimately meaningless. Pretty profound, right?
The church not only fails to answer life's big questions but it raises many other unanswered questions of it's own.
  1. Where did God come from? The typical LDS response is 'from his heavenly parents.' And this starts an absurd infinite regression of deities that is totally at odds with reason and everything else written in the scriptures about there being only one God. The infinite regress of deities also contradicts verses like Mosiah 3:5 that teach Christ was divine 'from all eternity to all eternity.'
  2. Why would God punish an innocent person for the sins of others? Not only is it unjust to punish innocent people but to do it to your own son is a form of cosmic child abuse.
  3. How can people in the spirit world overcome bodily addictions if they don't have their physical bodies? They can't. They don't have a second chance after all.
  4. How can God be all-knowing if he doesn't know where matter comes from? The Restored Gospel teaches that God did not create matter. If someone were to ask God "where does matter come from?", he would just shrug his shoulders. Does that sound like a being who "knows all things"?
  5. Will eternal life really be happy for women who are in a plural marriage? Obviously not. Will mortal life be happy for women who live in fear that their husband will re-marry for eternity once they're dead? Obviously not. So much for the "plan of happiness."
  6. Why on earth would God erase our memories of the premortal existence? What kind of idiot would believe this?
  7. How can I distinguish promptings from the Spirit from my own thoughts? There is no way to tell.
  8. Why does Satan continue to provide the needed opposition for us to exercise our agency if his goal is to destroy our agency? He could achieve his goal of destroying human agency by simply not tempting us to do anything bad. Yet another hole in the restored gospel.
  9. How can the Holy Ghost be part of the Godhead if he doesn't have a physical body, was never baptized, isn't married, etc.? More nonsense. And what about the Holy Ghost's future confirmation? Will the Holy Ghost one day "receive he gift of the Holy Ghost"? It's total stupidity.
  10. Why does a God command animal sacrifice? It seems like vegans and vegetarians have higher standards than God. It seems reprehensible to worship a being who commands animal cruelty.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Feel free to add to it. Yet these questions alone are enough in my judgment to conclude the church fails miserably to answer life's big questions.
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2020.10.26 10:28 Tekhnika Polygamy is adultery

ADUL'TERY, noun [Latin adulterium. See Adulterate.] 1. Violation of the marriage bed; a crime, or a civil injury, which introduces, or may introduce, into a family, a spurious offspring. 2. In a scriptural sense, all manner of lewdness or unchastity, as in the seventh commandment.
Adultery is a violation of the marriage bed (union of one man and one woman). Bigamy and Polygamy are illegal. It is also illegal according to the law of God. Polygamy violates the marriage of one man and one woman.
BIG'AMY, noun The crime of having two wives at once. But the term is ordinarily used as synonymous with Polygamy, and may be more justly defined, the crime of having a plurality of wives.
Bigamy and Polygamy are crimes according to the state and God.
ADUL'TERATE, verb transitive To corrupt, debase, or make impure by an admixture of baser materials;
Polygamy functions precisely as adultery does, adding something that taints that which was pure. It takes the holy matrimony of one man and one women, and corrupts it.
LEWD'NESS, noun 1. The unlawful indulgence of lust; fornication, or adultery.
Lewdness is to indulge in lust. You must not lust after women and seek to obtain more wives. Polygamy is lewd.
Matthew 5 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
To lust after women is to commit adultery in your heart. If you are already married and you are looking at other women to make your wives, you're committing adultery. We are not to treat our spouse as an idol and lust after her. We are to view her as a gift from God, a stewardship of love that requires prayerful and faithful care. The moment you start looking upon other women other than your (one) wife the moment adultery finds itself in you.
Matthew 19 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
The word for divorce came to be the phrase sepher kerithuth, which meant writing, certificate or bill of divorcement. The Hebrew word for putting away, or “send[ing] her out of his house,” as it is worded in the KJV version of Deuteronomy 24:1, was shalach. The Pharisees were asking Jesus about whether it was permissible for a man to expel his wife from his home (shalach) for any reason he deemed sufficient, without regard to whether or not he formally gave her a sepher kerithuth, i.e., divorced her.
Jesus answers that “Whoever separates from his wife and marries another without getting a divorce from the first wife is committing adultery.”
Polygamy is to leave the first wife (not necessarily in a literal way, but certainly in a way that deviates from the matrimony of just the two of them in their emotional and intimate union) and marry a second. It’s to put away your original wife out of your heart, which is adultery.
Polygamous romantic love is an oxymoron for both the man and the woman. Polygamy does not increase a man's emotional opportunities-- it halves them, or quarters them, or eighths them. NO man has an endless supply of intimate giving. The beauty of romantic love is its depth, not its breadth. And for a woman polygamy is giving all and receiving part. To 'adulterate' is to 'render something poorer in quality by adding another substance, typically an inferior one, to make impure, degrade, spoil, taint.' 'Adulterate' and 'adultery' are sister words, and in this sense polygamy functions precisely as adultery does, adding something that taints something that was pure.
Jacob 2 27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; 28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
Jacob says here that polygamy and concubinage defiles the chastity of women. One man and one women is the law of God. Polygamy is unchastiy.
CHASTITY, noun 1. Purity of the body; freedom from all unlawful commerce of sexes. Before marriage, purity from all commerce of sexes; after marriage, fidelity to the marriage bed. 4. Purity; unadulterated state;
Polygamy is unlawful commerce of God because he commands that it be one man and one woman.
ADUL'TERY, noun [Latin adulterium. See Adulterate.] 1. Violation of the marriage bed; a crime, or a civil injury, which introduces, or may introduce, into a family, a spurious offspring. 2. In a scriptural sense, all manner of lewdness or unchastity, as in the seventh commandment.
Polygamy is unchastiy. Polygamy adulterates the union of one man and one woman. Polygamy is a grosser crime according to God. Polygamy is a violation of the marriage bed established by God being between one man and one wife.
Therefore polygamy is adultery.
Polygamy is unlawful commerce. Polygamy can't be lawful in the eyes of God because he has already set forth his law on marriage.
Genesis 2 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Mark 10 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
Ephesians 5 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
D&C 49 16 Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be bone flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;
Jacob 2 26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. 27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
D&C 101 1835 4 Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.
Polygamy is a whoredom, sin, iniquity, abomination, and a crime.
Jacob 2 23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. 24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
[definitions are taken from 1828 Webster’s dictionary]
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2020.10.25 19:10 MartinelliGold Where are all the Gospel Topics Essays???

If I go search for the Gospel Topics Essays on the church website, I get this list:
Or this list:
But I thought “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” was also an Essay, and it’s not included in either of those lists.
How many Essays aren’t included in the list??? When did this happen? Where do I find all of them?
submitted by MartinelliGold to exmormon [link] [comments]

2020.10.24 01:47 ScrapyardGod [Scrapyard of the Gods] [Derby] - Chapter 6

Another post for the Derby.
First Next>
Cover Art
“I have no idea what I’m going to tell her.” The sausage sizzled and Holland was sure Triska heard that over any words he could say. Except maybe ‘You want some sausage?’ Not that it mattered if she heard him or not, she was a dog.
A dog staring up at him with the biggest, wettest eyes he’d ever seen.
“Yorna will probably handle the technical stuff, yeah?” he asked, caving in and fishing the smallest piece out of the pan. He tossed it up in the air and watched her snatch it on the way down, happy as could be. “But that just means she’ll ask me the personal questions. Wreckage questions.”
He’d been wracking his brain all night to prepare. And he still had no idea what she might ask. Whether she remembered anything at all. He didn’t know if he had it in him for a ‘your parents are dead’ conversation. The only one of those he’d been through had been a sentence.
Sil probably deserved better than he’d gotten.
Holland flipped the sausages one more time and took a knife to one, making sure it had all browned. He divided them up along three plates. He’d wanted to make four, but Yorna was clear Ebisu wouldn’t bother staying. He’d be out the back door with his computer before they even knew Sil’d woken up.
Worst bedside manner he’d ever seen.
“I guess we’ll just wing it. What’s the worst that could happen?” The toaster dinged and he fished that out next, stacking them next to the eggs. Which were thankfully still warm. Now he just had to hope they stayed that way until the others got here. “Beyond emotionally crippling a teenager.”
Triska offered nothing, just continued to beg. Even though Yorna had thrown down a perfectly good bone for her. Honestly, the nerve.
He was setting the table when he heard the footsteps. Two pairs coming down the hallway. Couldn’t be anyone else, they wouldn’t be having classes here for another month.
Yorna came in first, smiling but only to a point. Her shoulders were wound like a spring and her hands were hidden among the handles of two paper bags. She met his eyes and there was panic there. Hidden behind her lecture face, but she wasn’t enjoying herself.
The girl though, he still wasn’t ready for that. Her eyes flicked to his the moment she passed the threshold. Sunken and red and far, far too distant for a kid. He wouldn’t even call her awake, just present.
She’d gotten out of that gaudy bodysuit at least. Nice hardy desert clothes now. She wouldn’t stand out so much. Though when she walked up to him and almost looked him right in the eye, he knew that was always going to be a problem. She hadn’t seemed that tall when he was carrying her.
“Hello,” she said, not even a hint of an accent.
“Hey yourself,” he said. Because what was he supposed to say?
Triska introduced herself as well, walking right up to Silvea and shoving her nose against her stomach. The girl stared at the dog like she was about to faint, and Holland reached out to grab her by the collar. Triska whined and struggled as he pulled her back, but a sharp whistle got her to sit.
“Sorry.” He kept his hand on the dog’s back just in case. No point in spooking the new arrival. “Should have heeled her when you came in.”
“It’s...fine.” The girl did not look fine. She looked ready to bolt, hands wrapped around the ends of her scarf like she could use it as a weapon. Yorna calmly took to the table behind them, finishing setting the places. “I’ve never seen a dog this big.”
Triska came up to his ribs sitting down. There were bigger dogs, much bigger. Dogs designed to take down bears or cliff-snakes.
“You like her?” Holland through on his biggest smile, scratching her behind the ears. “Bought her off the fighting pits before they could throw her into the grinder. They breed their dogs big and mean, but if you get to them fast, they’re sweethearts.”
Triska whined in the affirmative, her tail thumping against the floor behind them. Silvea didn’t look convinced. If anything her face had gotten even paler and she was slouching just enough for her hair to screen her eyes.
“She’s...a dog.” She wrung her hands, seeming to shrink into the new clothes. Then she put her arms out and dipped into a bow, just barely meeting Holland’s eyes. “My name is Silvea Trasento.”
Behind her, Yorna shrugged. Holland watched the spacer awkwardly go through her bow and wondered if he should say something. He decided just to offer his hand instead.
“G.B. Holland.”
Silvea stared at it as if his fingers might grow teeth and bite. But she did reach out her hand, grasping his own. The shake was limp and weak and entirely uncertain and her skin was smooth enough to feel like velvet.
Holland couldn’t escape the thought that this planet would snap her in half.
“Thank you for saving me,” she said, in a voice so quiet he almost missed it. Her language wasn’t quite there yet, every word flat and dull. He had a strong urge to pull her into a hug, but that might be overstepping.
“Just doing my job,” he said, because what did you say to that? It could have been his job if you squinted a bit at the description. Though that would also get Silvea labeled as ‘salvage’ and they were thankfully in the wrong town for that.
“Holland scouts out crashes for the city,” Yorna helpfully answered, putting a hand on each of their shoulders and guiding them towards the table. “Or for one of our local mechanics when the city is otherwise occupied.”
“I’m really more of an independent contractor.” Holland took the chair closer to Yorna’s as she put the girl in her chair. Silvea just passively went along with all of it, looking down at the food like he’d hocked a pile of glowing slop onto the plate. He wasn’t that good of a cook, but it was just eggs and sausage.
Or maybe they didn’t have those in space.
“You certainly have questions,” Yorna began. She took her own seat, fork in hand, and paused when she noticed Sil was staring at her. The girl looked expectant. For what, he couldn’t say and it didn’t look like Yorna knew either. “...And the both of us will do our very best to answer them. Though I can’t promise easy answers.”
Silvea was staring not at her eyes, but at the fork. A slow and deliberate movement saw the girl pick up her own.
Holland also had questions.
“I doubt any of this will be easy,” she muttered. He couldn’t agree more. “Start with the big things.”
“Where am I?”
Silvea had never seen food like this. Sausage, eggs, toast, all of that was common of course. But it all looked so...greasy.
There was no network for her to look up the ingredients or how it was prepared. The sausage might be pig, soy, or even cat for all she knew. The eggs might have been a substitute or they could be entirely alien. And who knew what grain had gone into the bread.
It was the clothes all over again and it would be everything now. No accountability for anything. Her implants were awake now and they were angry. A little red light had appeared in the bottom left corner of her eye telling her there was no connection. She had never seen it before. She had no idea how to turn it off.
“Most will call it the Scrapyard.” Yorna picked through her food with a fork, drawing up a bit of meat that practically dripped and put it into her mouth. Silvea had had her pegged as a priest, but what priest ate without thanking something? As long windedly as possible. “Some the Heap. Some Hell or Downwell or ‘Nouadhibou’ for whatever reason. That one is from a scholar who was obsessed with-”
“You call your planet Scrapyard?” Silvea had a pit opening in her stomach. A name like that.... “Crashes. You said crashes, plural.”
Holland looked up from his plate. He was smaller now, outside the armor and the smoke. She could see pockmarks running down his jaw, old scars. His hands had been rough and calloused. More than the workers at the docks.
Him and Yorna both, they looked so weathered. Like the planet was slowly stripping away their skin.
Like they’d never been offworld. Not once.
“Am I stuck here?” she asked, cutting off whatever answer he had been making. That was what she was really asking, wasn’t it?
Holland looked to Yorna then the dog before finally meeting her eyes.
Silvea dug her thumb into the prong of a fork, waiting for it to bleed. She knew something was wrong. Something beyond a crash.
“In this system, there is a complex series of satellites.” Yorna slipped back into the voice of a lecturer, her hands clasped on the table. Her eyes were closed now. “We do not know who built them. We don’t know how to talk to them. We don’t know how they work. We are aware of them only through a few observatories stationed around the planet.”
Silvea could feel a laugh come on. This was the preamble to a pulp novel. And then at the end it would turn out to be a simulation pumped into the tube by bored, cruel cryotechs.
“We have determined three directives followed by the satellites.” Yorna held up her fingers like a fucking schoolteacher. “They prevent any man made object from leaving the planet’s atmosphere.”
Silvea shoved a knuckle against her mouth. Quarantine. She’d crashed on a godsdamned quarantined world.
“Two. The satellites employ an unknown method to capture ships from across the galaxy during FTL travel and force them to enter the orbit of the planet.”
A hand settled on her shoulder, rough and strong. Quiet words tried to coax her hand back before she broke skin. Yorna continued.
“Three. The satellites ensure that these captured ships come down to the planet’s surface.” Yorna opened her eyes just in time for Holland to take Silvea’s wrist, wrenching her hand away from her face. If she was phased, she didn’t show it. Which Silvea might have appreciated if she didn’t want to THROTTLE THE SKY! “Typically within deserts as they have no arable land. The Well, as it’s called, is at least considerate.”
“The Well.” It had a name. The thing had a name. Captured her ship. Forced it to crash. Deliberate wording, something that happened regularly. Enough for people to make a career out of it. “Least it’s got that going for it.”
It wasn’t an accident. None of it was accidental.
Something murdered her mother.
“We still don’t know the methods it uses to choose ships, but there doesn’t seem to be any pattern. We see everything from small ice-haulers to colony ships. Most of us are descended from the latter, they’re actually designed to enter an atmosphere.” Yorna kept talking and her voice was getting quieter. Silvea could hear a roar rushing to her ears. Was this a panic attack? Or just anger?
“Eat.” Holland’s voice was closer, right in her ear as he forced a fork into her hand. “You look ready to pass out or have an aneurysm. Eat before it gets cold.”
Silvea opened her mouth to tell him right where he could stick the food. Then he filled it with toast.
A minute later she was staring at her own empty plate. She hadn’t even tasted it, just....
“Woke up from a tube, got shot at, slept for a whole day, had your mind messed with, and all on an empty stomach.” Holland slid her his own untouched plate. She hesitated for a moment before taking the offer. “I’m amazed you can think coherently.”
“This isn’t going as well as I’d hoped,” Yorna said, looking down at her own meal as if contemplating giving it to Silvea. She wouldn’t mind. Not at all.
It tasted awful, like she was sliding an entire tub of grease down her throat.
She wanted to eat until she was sick.
She wanted to gouge out Holland’s pitying eyes.
She wanted to sleep.
“I want to sleep,” she said, letting the fork clatter against the plate. Clean again. She barely felt full. Or angry. Or sad. Just...just tired again.
“I’m afraid accommodations are the one thing I do not have,” Yorna said, sounding genuinely apologetic. “They had spare rooms before I became the Sister here, but they were remade into storage rooms or schoolhouses or a disastrous attempt at a brewery.”
“For now, I was thinking you would come with me.” Holland smiled. “I don’t live too far away. Could grab some sheets from here, throw together something in one of the empty rooms at the shop. At least for a little while.”
A little while. Right. What the hell was she going to do?
“I,” had many more questions, some of them she didn’t even know yet, “would like that.”
“Then I suppose I’ll go and get some bedding ready.” Yorna slid the remains of her plate across the table, refilling her water-glass in the same motion. Silvea stared at the food for a moment before downing it as well. She couldn’t afford to waste charity.
She had all but cleaned it (and Yorna finished discussing preparations with Holland) when there was a knock at the door.
“Would you get that?” the Sister asked, refilling Silvea’s glass again before heading out of the room. “If it’s important, tell them I’ll be along shortly.”
Holland nodded, getting up from his chair. Silvea watched him walk to the door. Wondered at the slight limp in his step. Had he gotten that from carrying her or had it been there before?
She owed him. A lot.
What the hell was she going to do?
Triska looked up from her bone, the dog’s ears perked and fur raised. She gave a growl, low and far too dangerous for the mut that had been begging for scraps minutes ago. Holland noticed, looking to the dog and pausing with his hand near the handle. Instead he leaned close to the door.
Silvea almost missed his exclamation, but there was no mistaking the way his back tensed. Something was wrong.
If there was one person Holland did not need to see today it was Jen Caricon.
But there he was, leaning against one of the posts propping the awning. He only had two cronies with him today. A fresh-faced slab of a man reading a pre-founding philosophy novel and Butcher Bevvy.
He was almost certain the new guy was more dangerous. Wouldn’t that be funny.
Holland looked at Silvea, her big eyes staring owlishly at his back, and motioned for her to stay quiet. Triska he let growl. Might as well set the tone for the conversation.
He took a deep breath and opened the door, steeling himself for the inevitable. Jen took one look at him and grinned ear to crooked ear.
“Georgie Boy!”
No reaction. That was what he wanted.
“Jen,” he said, offering the most minimal nod he could muster. Caricon had the skinny, hard frame of a wastelands cutthroat but dressed like a casino owner. All vibrant, fitted suits inexplicably free of dust and grime. Today’s model was canary yellow with pale blue stripes. It made him the most punchable man on the continent. “I wasn’t expecting to see you.”
“I wasn’t expecting to see you! I thought you’d still be off hunting treasures.” He leaned in close, black hair falling over his eyes. They were conspicuously silver, rumors flying whether it was natural, a graft, or he was dipping into cybernetics. “Certainly not at church for this unholy hour. There isn’t even a reading today.”
“I got in late and had to drop a few things off.” Holland leaned against the doorframe, blocking their view of the inside. Hopefully Sil would be smart enough to keep her head down. At least Triska barking would cover her noise. “Streets were closing up so I crashed here for the night.”
“To defile a priest,” the big guy said, flipping pages in his book.
“And stayed for breakfast.” Bevvy grinned, teeth stark white and gleaming. “Classy.”
“Now now, the good Sister is old enough to make her own decisions. Especially when the man is nice enough to bring her treasures.” Jen leaned in further, Holland forcing himself not to flinch back. The man’s eyes were alight. “But you didn’t give it all to the Church, did you? You always keep something back for the mech.”
“And you should know that I reserve such things as my rent.” Holland leaned forward to match him and it was Jen who flinched first, stepping back from the door. Butcher Bevvy crossed her arms, nails backed by steel-glass resting on her skin. “If you want any of it, you head to the market like anyone else. I do contract work, not auctions.”
“And that’s a shame. You should know that I-”
Jen paused and his eyes widened like moons. Holland followed his gaze over his shoulder to see Silvea out of her chair, looking at the door with unhidden curiosity. Tall, thin, pale, and so out of place in heavy desert clothing.
When he turned back around, Jen was right in his face, voice barely a whisper.
“You should know I pay good money for anything that the Well sends us.” Holland could almost hear him salivating. Had he heard rumors already or was this genuine? “Well beyond what you need for rent. Enough to make people comfortable.”
Holland heard Silvea take a step back, faint under Triska’s growls reaching a fever pitch. Had she heard or did she merely suspect?
“I seem to recall we had an agreement some three months ago. You wanted a crate of rare antibiotics and I told you to go fuck yourself.” Jen’s eye twitched. The brute’s book snapped shut and Bev stood straighter, nails lengthening. “Sadly, I never received notice of payment so I had to sell it at market to the hospital. And if you didn’t honor that contract, how can I trust you with anything else?”
Holland could slow them down, maybe for a whole minute if the bruiser didn’t outpace Bevvy. Would that be enough for Silvea to find Yorna? Maybe if he sent Triska with her. But he could hold them longer if he had his dog.
Jen starred silent long enough for him to have a rough plan together. Then he laughed, reaching out unwarranted to clap Holland on the shoulder.
“Well, that’s a shame, a real shame. Ah, but I’m going off topic, we’re not here for business, but charity! Bev.” The woman glared death before reaching behind her legs, grabbing two bags, and throwing them at his feet. “Fresh clothes for the needy! Well, not fresh, you will want to make sure they’re properly laundered.”
Holland could picture Hadis in his mind’s eye, the vein on their forehead throbbing.
“I’ll pass that along,” he said, picking up the bags and bringing them inside. “Was there anything else?”
“Oh no, nothing else. Just keep everything in mind.” Jen shot him a smile that might have been winning, but only if the game was rigged. Then he turned on his heel, his two cronies following a step behind. “You know where I am if you want to do business.”
Holland watched them go all the way into the street. The moment they rounded the corner, he slammed the door shut.
It wasn’t his voice, but Yorna’s, having returned with bedding. She dropped the bundle next to the others, rushing forward to examine the ‘donations’.
“I suppose I will take these to the guards.”
“Why bother. They won’t find anything.” Holland dug a knuckle into his temple as Triska’s growls trailed off to low, unhappy whimpers. Silvea, for her part, was staring wide-eyed at Yorna. Like the woman had started killing cats in front of her. He coughed until he had her attention. “I was hoping that introduction would come later. Jen isn’t really our best foot forward.”
“Why would you introduce him at all?” Silvea asked, glaring at the closed door. An expression not too far away from Triska’s. “That suit alone should have him shot.”
She kept a sense of humor. Probably a good sign.
Unless she didn’t.
“Jen’s like a cockroach, he’ll get into your house whether you let him in or not.” Or how many times the guards had stepped on him. And now he’d never be able to leave Sil alone. At least until Lord Guido came back from the desert. “We should head back to the shop now before anyone else comes snooping. Rumors are probably flying by now and Tsuk’s going to kill me for not checking in.”
“You spent the night here?” Silvea asked as Holland started gathering up the bags. They had a spare cot somewhere at the shop. He could clear out one of the storage rooms, move all the crap from there somewhere else, and give her a place with some shelves. Wouldn’t be pretty, but nothing in this town was. Except Yorna.
“Wanted to give you a familiar face when you woke up.” He tried a grin as he put the mass of bedding on his shoulders, tucking the clothes under his arm. At least it was all clothing. Lighter than her and he’d carried her farther. “As familiar as we are.”
Silvea blinked at him, her eyes sliding to Yorna.
“I thought you said you didn’t have guest rooms?”
There was a long, awful silence.
“We should really get going,” he said, turning towards the door. A whistle got Triska bounding along behind him, thankfully oblivious to any implications. “Yorna, thank you for hosting us.”
“Please, I love to have you over. Do come again.” Yorna smiled at Silvea, a hand on her shoulder. “That goes for you to. Come back again when you’re settled in. I can answer any questions you have.”
“Right.” The girl’s eyes shifted to the floor. “I...thank you.”
Holland opened the door and stepped outside, pleased to feel the sun. More pleased to find no one in the street save a couple people putting up their washing. Silvea followed, Yorna giving him a wave behind her back.
Sil hesitated at the threshold, staring up at the awning like there was a monster waiting on the other side of it.
“You ready to go?” Maybe there was something she forgot. Or he forgot. The sunlight made her look downright bloodless and he could see her shoulders slumping.
“Yeah,” she said after a moment. Her eyes met his and there was a faint, certainly forced, smile on her lips. “I guess this place is home now?”
Holland did not own the building. He couldn’t guess how Tsuk would react to a sudden guest. He probably couldn’t offer anything permanent. And Lord Guido might decide to send her deeper into the continent, far away from raiders and black markets.
Triska barked and spun around in a circle, ecstatic just to be outside. The smile became more genuine.
“Guess so,” he said, motioning her to follow. “Welcome home.”
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2020.10.23 16:43 INCMythbuster My thoughts on the Prophecies of Manalo and the Iglesia ni Cristo (Part 3)

Ends of The Earth
It is the claim of the Iglesia ni Cristo that the phrase “ends of the earth” has to mean the time near the end of the earth opposed to the “end of the earth” which is Judgment Day. There is no other possible explanation because a round earth has no ends. When countered with the fact that the people of those days did not know the earth was round, they say that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit so it cannot contain errors. Their proof is Isaiah 40:22:
Isaiah 40:22 KJV It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,…
Spoiler Alert! The earth is not round. It’s spherical. A circle is not a sphere. A circle does have an edge, border or “ends”.
Using their logic, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Apostle John were not inspired by the Holy Spirit when they wrote the following:
Isaiah 11:12 KJV And he set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Revelation 7:1 KJV And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth,
Jeremiah 6:22 KJV Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.
The word for “earth” in Hebrew is “erets”, (Strong's Hebrew 776). The only meaning it had in those days is soil, ground, land, country, or territory. The concept of earth as the world or a spinning globe did not exist until at least the 15th century A.D. when it was discovered that earth was a planet. An astronomer named Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) is credited for this discovery. The planet earth didn’t need a name until then.
Even the English word “earth” originally meant the ground or soil long before it meant the planet we live on.
The name Earth derives from the eighth century Anglo-Saxon word erda, which means ground or soil. It became eorthe later, and then erthe in Middle English. These words are all cognates of Jörð, the name of the giantess of Norse myth. Earth was first used as the name of the sphere of the Earth in the early fifteenth century.
There were three elements to the world of the ancients - earth (land), heavens (sky) and seas. This is what the people understood about their world. Earth meant land. Ends of the earth meant the ends, borders or edges of the inhabitable land and/or the inhabitants therein. Isaiah did not change the meaning of soil or land to mean a spherical planet that has no ends. The world and earth were not synonymous in those days. The earth was land only.
God personally named the dry land “earth”.
Genesis 1:9-10 KJV 9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas:
2 Peter 3:5 KJV For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Psalms 90:2 KJV Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Earth, as a spherical planet has no ends, but land does. The argument that “ends of the earth” must mean time because the earth has no ends is a futile argument.
The Iglesia ni Cristo teaches that the phrase “end of the earth” means Judgment Day so the phrase “ends of the earth” has to mean near Judgment Day. You might be surprised to learn that there is not a single instance in the entire Bible where the phrase “end of the earth” is used to mean Judgment Day. So, how can “ends of the earth” mean near Judgment Day? The expression “end of the earth” always pertained to land or its inhabitants, so how could "ends of the earth mean a period of time?
"End of the earth" has come to mean Judgment Day in our modern-day understanding, but it was not so in the days of the writers of the Old and New Testament. Below, you will see that what I am telling you is true.
(Qatseh Erets)
From Strong’s Hebrew Concordance
Qatseh ( H7097): end; extremity, border, outskirts (of city); condensed term for what is included within extremities; at the end of a certain time.
Erets ( H776): whole earth (opposed to a part); earth, opposed to heaven or sky; inhabitants of the earth; country, territory, district, region, tribal territory, piece of ground, surface of ground, soil, people of the land, in measurements of distance
Deu 13:7 KJV Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end (H7097) of the earth even unto the other end of the earth (H776);
Deu 28:49 KJV The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end (H7097) of the earth (H776), as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
Deu 28:64 KJV And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end (H7097) of the earth (H776) even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
Psa 46:9 KJV He maketh wars to cease unto the end (H7097) of the earth (H776); he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
Psa 61:2 KJV From the end (H7097) of the earth (H776) will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than
Isa 5:26 KJV And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end (H7097) of the earth (H776): and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:
Isa 42:10 KJV Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end (H7097) of the earth (H776), ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.
Isa 48:20 KJV Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end (H7097) of the earth (H776); say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.
Isa 49:6 KJV And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end (H7097) of the earth (H776).
Jer 25:33 KJV And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end (H7097) of the earth (H776) even unto the other end (H7097) of the earth (H776): they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.
The English phrase “ends of the Earth” in the plural is used throughout the Bible with multiple Hebrew words for “end/ends”. A helpful tool to search for these verses is You can search any word or phrase and it will provide you with every occurrence of that word or phrase in a variety of Bible versions. For our purposes, I am only going to list the verses where the original Hebrew Words are used by the Iglesia ni Cristo to mean “last days”.
(Qatseh Erets) Verses used by INC to prove “Last Days” timeline of a Last Messenger and re-emergent Church:
From Strong’s Hebrew Concordance (Same as Above)
Qatseh ( H7097): end; extremity, border, outskirts (of city); condensed term for what is included within extremities; at the end of a certain time.
Erets ( H776): whole earth (opposed to a part); earth, opposed to heaven or sky; inhabitants of the earth; country, territory, district, region, tribal territory, piece of ground, surface of ground, soil, people of the land, in measurements of distance
Isa 43:5-6 KJV 5Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends (H7097) of the earth (H776);
Isa 62:11 NIV The Lord has made proclamation to the ends (H7097) of the earth (H776): “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’ ”
(Qatseh Erets) If the above verses mean “last days”, why don’t these?
Psa 135:7 KJV He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends (H7097) of the earth (H776); he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.
Prov 17:24 KJV Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends (H7097) of the earth (H776).
Jer 10:13 KJV When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends (H7097) of the earth (H776); he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
Jer 25:31 KJV A noise shall come even to the ends (H7097) of the earth (H776); for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
Jer 51:16 KJV When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends (H7097) of the earth (H776): he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
(Qatsah Erets) Verse used by INC to prove “Last Days” timeline of a Last Messenger and Re-emergent Church
From Strong’s Hebrew Concordance
Qatsah (H7098): An end, extremity, from the whole of, from among (of what is included between extremities)
Erets (H776): whole earth (opposed to a part); earth, opposed to heaven or sky; inhabitants of the earth; country, territory, district, region, tribal territory, piece of ground, surface of ground, soil, people of the land, in measurements of distance
Isa 41:9 KJV Thou whom I have taken from the ends (H7098) of the earth (H776), and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
(Qatsah Erets) If the above Verse means “last days”, why don’t these?
Job 28:24 KJV For he looketh to the ends (H7098) of the earth (H776), and seeth under the whole heaven;
Isa 40:28 KJV Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends (H7098) of the earth (H776), fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
Isa 41:5 KJV The isles saw it, and feared; the ends (H7098) of the earth (H776) were afraid, drew near, and came.
Two of the above verses (Isa. 41:5, Isa. 40:28) were written by the same man – Prophet Isaiah. In fact, Isaiah 40:28 is only one chapter earlier and Isaiah 41:5 is only four verses away from Isaiah 41:9, “Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth”. Isaiah used the exact same Hebrew words. Do you really think he could mean two totally different things?
(Kanaph Erets) Verse Used by INC to Prove “Last Days” Timeline of a Last Messenger and Re-Emergent Church
From Strong’s Hebrew Concordance
Kanaph (H3671): wing, extremity
Erets (H776): whole earth (opposed to a part); earth, opposed to heaven or sky; inhabitants of the earth; country, territory, district, region, tribal territory, piece of ground, surface of ground, soil, people of the land, in measurements of distance
Isa 24:15-16 NIV 15Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. 16From the ends (H3671) of the earth (H776) we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.”
(Kanaph Erets) If the Above Verse Means “Last Days”, why don’t these?
Job 37:3 KJV He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends (H3671) of the earth (H776).
Job 38:13 KJV That it might take hold of the ends (H3671) of the earth (H776), that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
Another argument the Iglesia ni Cristo uses to prove the “ends of the earth” can have something to do with time is that the Hebrew word “Qatseh” can mean a conclusion of a specific period of time. This is true, but it must be a specific measurement of time; for example: hours, minutes, days, months, years, etc. Earth IS NOT a measurement of time. Also, it must mean the conclusion, not “near the end”.
The following are all the verses using the Hebrew word “qatseh” as the end of a specific period of time. None contain the plural form “ends”. “End” is specific.; “Ends” are not.
Genesis 8:3 KJV “the end of the hundred and fifty days”
Deuteronomy 14:28 KJV “at the end of three years”
Joshua 3:2 KJV “after three days”
Joshua 9:16 KJV “at the end of three days”
2 Samuel 24:8 KJV “at the end of nine months and twenty days”
1 Kings 9:10 KJV “at the end of twenty years”
2 Kings 8:3 KJV “at the seven years' end,”
2 Kings 18:10 KJV “And at the end of three years”
Ezekiel 3:16 KJV “at the end of seven days”
Ezekiel 39:14 KJV “after the end of seven months”
submitted by INCMythbuster to exIglesiaNiCristo [link] [comments]

2020.10.23 16:09 Dr_Aradius Bardaisan, the forgotten Gnostic poet and statesman

This post is in response to u/Sun2027's kind question about my fascination with Bardaisan (154-222 AD), the Syriac Gnostic poet, composer, philosopher, ethnographer, and quite possibly the spiritual leader of the first and only Gnostic state (?) - more on this below. I'm not a scholar of Syriac Christianity, so this is more of a personal and speculative take, but I hope one evocative of why Bardaisan can still matter for us beyond just an historical footnote. Brace yourselves, this is long.
If you've never heard of Bardaisan (also Latinized as Bardesanes), then G.R.S. Mead's short chapter about him is a great first intro. Posekel's paper on Bardaisan's influence offers a fresher and more comprehensive take, and this Encyclopedia Iranica entry provides some wonderful additional details and interprets him through the lense of his Persianate context. Throw in Ilaria Ramelli's extensive work and what emerges is a highly contested, fragmentary, very human, deeply fascinating picture of a theologian as significant as he was forgotten (i.e. very). He was said to be a Valentinian and/or an opponent of Valentinianism, an astrologer and/or a critic of astrological determinism, an Aristotelian and/or a Middle Platonist. Frankly, not everyone agrees that he was a "Gnostic", but the Orthodox don't get to claim a dude they've spent centuries maligning as one of teh bad gnusticks. So let's have a look at what echoes of Bardaisan still resonate today:
Osroene and religious freedom (for Christians at least)
OK, let's start with the juicy theo-political stuff. At the time of Bardaisan's literary and political activity, Osroene (with the capital in Edessa) was a client state on the Eastern border of the Roman Empire (today it's Syria and Southern Turkey). It was Aramaic-, Syriac- and Arabic-speaking (with normal Greek and Latin influence), culturally aligned with the Parthian Empire, populated by large Marcionite and proto-Orthodox communities. Sandwiched between the Parthians (who periodically persecuted the suspiciously Roman-friendly Christians) and the Romans (fucking genocidal maniacs), Osroene became the first state in history to officially embrace Christianity with the conversion of its king, Abgar VIII. And sources favorable to Bardaisan attribute this unprecedented success to Bardaisan, an aristocrat, member of the king's court.
Apparently he was a spiritual leader so influential that the Orthodox Ephrem the Syrian had to embark on a whole campaign of de-Bardaisanization over a century after B's death. Which raises an interesting question - in those 150 years of Bardaisanite dominance in Edessa, what exactly was the official religion of Osroene? If heresiological reports are to be trusted about the nature and influence of Bardaisanite theology, then the first "official Christianity" in history was a form Gnosticism.
This is not just a matter of bragging about who arrives first on the political stage; this unprecedented religious freedom is what allowed the distinctive tradition of Syriac Christianity to be born - and it was born under Bardaisan's pen. Depending on how you date and ascribe early Syriac literature, either Bardaisan's works or works from the Bardaisanite milieu are the earliest preserved Syriac Christian literature aside from the Bible. He wrote countless hymns, he wrote music for them, he wrote theological works, and thus the Syriac-speaking people of Osroene launched a tradition which spread across Mesopotamia, then into India (St Thomas Christians), and all the way throughout China.
After the end of the Abgarid dynasty, Bardaisan died in exile, in Armenia. Which, 80 years after his death, became the second state in the history of the world to make Christianity its official religion. Coincidence? Probably, but I'd like to think that Bardaisan's influence also laid some of the important groundwork there too. (I mean, Ancient Armenia is just literally next door from Osroene.)
The Hymn of the Pearl (or, of the Robe of Glory)
OK, back to theology. There are two surviving texts which are attributed to Bardaisan without much dispute, and the HRG is one of them. If someone asked me for a short statement of a Gnostic worldview, this is the text I would give them (chances are you're probably already familiar with it). It's not heavy on doctrine, but it's got all the hallmarks of lived Gnosticism - the feeling of alienation; the feeling of consubstantiality with a Divine realm, one inhabited by a plurality of beings you're related to, starting with a Divine Father and a Divine Mother; the path of rememberance and return which brings you home after a brief sojourn in this chaotic and forgetful world; a feeling of hope and Divine goodness which permeates the text; even the symbol of the robe links it to some NHL texts. And yet the real genius of it is that it is so open, even ecumenical; it articulates the mystical experience of many spiritual traditions. If you're interested in a Gnosticism which builds bridges to other paths without sacrificing its heart, this hymn is your creed.
The Hymn of the Daugher of Light
The HDL is part of the Acts of Thomas, an early Syriac apocryphal text which probably doesn't have too much to do with Gnosticism in terms of the hagiographical storyline, but which includes the Hymn of the Pearl and other poetic inserts likely from the Bardaisanite milieu (or maybe from under his pen directly). And the Hymn of the Daughter of Light is a deeply beautiful poem in praise of the Divine Feminine. Who is She? Sophia, Thunder Perfect Mind, Barbelo, Virgin of Light (Books of Jeu), Ecclesia/Church (as a later Armenian manuscript would have it), the Holy Spirit? We don't really know, but the poet is portraying her in language evoking (I think intentionally) both Temple mysticism of Esoteric Judaism and the Bridal Chamber mysticism of the Valentinians. Seriously, just read it and try not to fall in love.
Then have a look at the Gospel of Philip, specifically the passages referring to the Mystery of the Bridal Chamber - and how it portrays it in terms of Temple mysticism. As a collection of fragments from other (unnamed) sources, and yet displaying an uncommon affinity with Syriac Christianity which is essentially just being born then, GPhil could in fact be referring to the same early tradition of Bridal Chamber mysticism which the Bardaisanite hymn is also drawing on. (I mean, could be that GPhil post-dates Bardaisan and quotes some of Bardaisanite material!) In any case, these two texts absolutely go together. As does the HDL and the Thunder Perfect Mind - one as Her speech, the other as Her worship.
And the thing is that while we don't know much about the Valentinian Bridal Chamber rituals, Bardaisan's early Bridal Chamber poetry lays the foundation for Syriac Bridal theology, which then furnishes a language for a whole lot of Muslim and Baha'i mysticism of love. Hell, Bardaisan basically single-handedly created the next 1800 years of Syriac symbolism - everyone east of Athens is indebted to him, most of all his greatest foe and greatest debtor, Ephrem the Syrian.
Prayers of the Acts of Thomas
(Available under the HDL link as well.) This is a pretty debatable attribution, but one theory is that the amazing epicletic prayers which seem to address the Holy Spirit as the Divine Feminine (and possibly other AThom prayers too) are also inserts quoted from Bardaisanite literature. More of poetic spirituality of the Divine Feminine - and, I mean, you can actually pray just by reading them out.
The Book of the Laws of Various Countries
The BLVC is not the most riveting of reads, but it is the second, longer and historically more significant of Bardaisan's directly attributable works (although it is technically a dialogue with a disciple named Philip, the scribe in this case). The prologue is ostensibly directed against the Marcionite community of Edessa, but is essentially an argument against demiurge/two-god theories in general, by way of showing how moral freedom is so fundamental to the universe that even the elements will be judged based on how they used their freedom. In other words, the intrinsic fucked-up-ness of the universe is a result not of human error (Orthodoxy) nor demiurgic error (Sethianism) nor angelic error (Simon, Basilides), but rather of the fundamental nature of freedom as a "universal constant", an ontological and ethical necessity. Sounds like a strange idea to us accustomed to more deterministic models (it's possibly an Epicurean influence, but B's cosmology is really unclear and debatable), but if you want a Gnosticism without the Demiurge - Bardaisan is your guy.
Also, both the Mead chapter and the Posekel paper talk about the book's philosophical significance in terms of establishing the Christian argument against astrological determinism, which - to my mind - looks like an ethical and demythologized version of the Sethian idea of the Immoveable Race free from the influence of planetary archons. The sources used by the Encyclopedia Iranica entry do speak of some other Valentinian and possilby Sethian influences on B as well, he wasn't just a critic!
And beyond that, the books is actually an early ethnographic look at, well, the laws of various countries. Bardaisan was said to be particularly interested in India and henceforth treated as a bit of an authority on the subject, but that portion of his writing unfortunately didn't survive; the BLVC is pretty geographically wide. Which is pretty cool in itself.
Conclusion, finally, Jeez
All of this is just based on what's attributable to Bardaisan with some degree of certainty. What of his works was preserved, survived no doubt thanks to being sufficiently inoffensive to the Orthodox copyist. And it paints a picture, possibly, of an Orthodox-friendly Gnostic thinker akin to the Eastern Valentinian tradition (with its "Orthodoxizing" Tripartite Tractate, Excerpts of Theodote, or Treatise on Resurrection), perhaps a figure bridging theological worlds that others felt too distinct? A model, one might say, for those of us who do seek to have an ecumenical understanding of Gnosticism?
And what of the works which haven't survived? Did Bardaisan lay some of the philosophical groundwork for Origen's doctrine of apokatastasis, as Ramelli has argued? What of his seemingly Epicurean-Aristotelean doctrine of elements which seems to equate matter in part with darkness, like the Books of Jeu and Manichaean works, what is the relation between them? Did Bardaisan write the Odes of Solomon, a collection of joyful and triumphant Christian poetry with "suspect" theology and so reminiscent of what we are told about his lost poetic works? Did his lost work on the metaphysics of light contribute to Manichaean theology of light, and from there to Shi'a Illuminist philosophy? Reconstructions are fraught, a comprehensive one might be impossible. But I think the fragments we have do tell the tale of a unique Gnostic theology which might have survived in ways far more vibrant than we'd usually think.
submitted by Dr_Aradius to Gnostic [link] [comments]

2020.10.22 19:42 Mac-__ Is John Dehlin Becoming as dishonest as the church?

Edit: Maybe I should have said as dishonest biased as the church? End edit.
In his latest video, "How many wives did Joseph Smith have?" he shows a quote from Brian C Hales website saying: "In a 1915 statement, Josephine Lyon declared that her mother, Sylvia Sessions told her in 1882 that she (Josephine) was Joseph Smith’s daughter.10 DNA testing has since proven that she was"
What the full quote actually says: "In a 1915 statement, Josephine Lyon declared that her mother, Sylvia Sessions told her in 1882 that she (Josephine) was Joseph Smith’s daughter.10 DNA testing has since proven that she was the daughter of Windsor Lyon, NOT Joseph Smith." Emphases mine.
That's messed up. Or an unfortunate and pretty significant mistake that needs to be corrected.
When the church does that in their material it ticks me off and now John is doing it too.(?) Sigh. Mormon stories are good but some of these new "Understanding Mormonism" video's just seem a bit off somehow.
Edit: His point would have still stood either way but he shouldn't have tried to make his case even more clear cut than it is. It's strong enough without it. Just would have taken a few more seconds of explaining it.
Instead he goes on to say, "Now she may or may not have been JS's daughter, but clearly she had sex with JS or she wouldn't have told her daughter that she was Joseph's daughter."
No, we know by DNA testing that she was NOT JS's daughter. But the point would still stand.
He should have just put the whole quote and then said, "Now it turned out she wasn't JS's daughter, but the most likely explanation would be that Sylvia did have sex with JS or she wouldn't have told her daughter that she was Joseph's daughter." And probably having sex with both Windsor and Smith in the same time period.
Side note: I could see my tbm family saying, "Sylvia just meant that Joseph was Josephine's spiritual father of sorts or told her that to give her more confidence and more clout within the church community, etc." I'm sure there are even more bad apologetic answers too, lol.

The main reason why I posted this is because when I saw it and right away noticed the incorrect quote and commentary, I thought to myself, man if Dan Peterson, John Gee, a person at Fair, Saints Unscripted, etc, did something like this you better believe I'd point it out (as I have if you look at my past posts), so I better be consistent and do the same here even though I obviously agree with John overall about the church. End edit.
submitted by Mac-__ to mormon [link] [comments]

2020.10.22 18:03 30yearstoolong Oaks and homosexuality

I know this isn't news to anyone, but I was perusing exmo Tiktok, and needed to do some research on Oaks for a comment. In doing so, I came across his interview on “Same-Gender attraction” (, that quite terrible. It’s worth a full read, but I’d include a TW for those who have had negative experiences with the church’s treatment of homosexuality.
Highlights include the following: Homosexuality isn’t normal (whatever that means) “This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal”
‘Homosexuals’ don’t exist: “I think it’s important for you to understand that homosexuality, which you’ve spoken of, is not a noun that describes a condition. It’s an adjective that describes feelings or behavior. I encourage you, as you struggle with these challenges, not to think of yourself as a ‘something’ or ‘another,’ except that you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
Homosexuals should remain celibate as “marriage is between a man and a woman”: “We expect celibacy of any person that is not married.”
Homosexual feelings should be suppressed because it’s the same as being a kleptomaniac, alcoholic (gotta get in those digs on anyone that ever takes a drink), or having anger management issues: “homosexual feelings are controllable... If we cater to the feelings, they increase the power of the temptation. If we yield to the temptation, we have committed sinful behavior. That pattern is the same for a person that covets someone else’s property and has a strong temptation to steal. It’s the same for a person that develops a taste for alcohol. It’s the same for a person that is born with a ‘short fuse,’ as we would say of a susceptibility to anger.”
Homosexual feelings aren’t born: “we do not accept the fact that conditions that prevent people from attaining their eternal destiny were born into them without any ability to control” (except for blacks who were unable to marry in the temple for 150 years despite it being required for salvation…)
He states that therapy (the kind he oversaw for years at BYU) can be harmful and may have been abusive, BUT he and the church accept no responsibility for them: “there are abusive practices that have been used in connection with various mental attitudes or feelings. Over-medication in respect to depression is an example that comes to mind. The aversive therapies that have been used in connection with same-sex attraction have contained some serious abuses that have been recognized over time within the professions. While we have no position about what the medical doctors do (except in very, very rare cases — abortion would be such an example), we are conscious that there are abuses and we don’t accept responsibility for those abuses.”
I’m trying to avoid most of what Elder Wickman says in the interview, but this next line is particularly terrible: “Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.”
Back to Oaks-You can’t have joy without marriage: “There is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband, a wife, and posterity. Further, men are that they might have joy. In the eternal perspective, same-gender activity will only bring sorrow and grief and the loss of eternal opportunities.” He also compares homosexuals to paraplegics and the mentally impaired, and states that all three groups shouldn’t reasonably expect marriage: “There are people with physical disabilities that prevent them from having any hope — in some cases any actual hope and in other cases any practical hope — of marriage. The circumstance of being currently unable to marry, while tragic, is not unique.”
Wickman also agrees that homosexuality is comparable to being handicap, and are just self-absorbed into thinking their challenges are more difficult than others. Oaks is also fine with people being ashamed of their homosexual kids. I also love how they put partnership in quotation marks, trying to invalidate the very idea of it: “I can also imagine some circumstances in which it might be possible to say, ‘Yes, come, but don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your “partnership.””
Then we get some of his best stuff: “There is no such thing in the Lord’s eyes as something called same-gender marriage. Homosexual behavior is and will always remain before the Lord an abominable sin.” He also states that marriage is a religious ceremony only, not political or social. This despite marriage pre-dating Christianity by millennia. “For openers, marriage is neither a matter of politics, nor is it a matter of social policy. Marriage is defined by the Lord Himself. It’s the one institution that is ceremoniously performed by priesthood authority in the temple [and] transcends this world.”
Then there’s a bunch regarding the addition of a constitutional amendment to permanently disallow same sax marriage. Additionally, the church sees civil unions as the same as marriage, and doesn’t want those either.
As my last point, they’re actually asked about the irony of the church practicing plural marriage, the he excuses it by saying it was driven by God, so it isn’t ironic. He then bemoans the difficulty of plural marriage, and how happy most were to be done with it (which is why they kept doing it in secret for years after they said it stopped): “I see irony in that if one views it without the belief that we affirm in divine revelation. The 19th century Mormons, including some of my ancestors, were not eager to practice plural marriage. They followed the example of Brigham Young, who expressed his profound negative feelings when he first had this principle revealed to him. The Mormons of the 19th century who practiced plural marriage, male and female, did so because they felt it was a duty put upon them by God.
When that duty was lifted, they were directed to conform to the law of the land, which forbade polygamy and which had been held constitutional. When they were told to refrain from plural marriage, there were probably some who were unhappy, but I think the majority were greatly relieved and glad to get back into the mainstream of western civilization, which had been marriage between a man and a woman.”
Sorry, that was longer than I intended. I know the church’s homophobic tendencies, and that Oaks is a bigot, but I just couldn’t believe everything that was written in one place like that.
submitted by 30yearstoolong to exmormon [link] [comments]

2020.10.22 02:59 Wide_Lab_8211 please help me with my linguistics homework

  1. can you identify the set of sounds that precede each of the alternative pronunciation of the plural ending in the following words? a) bat, book, cough, ship b) cab, cave, lad, rag, thing c) bus, bush, church, judge, maze.
  2. what features does each of these sets have in common?
submitted by Wide_Lab_8211 to u/Wide_Lab_8211 [link] [comments]

2020.10.20 17:15 upholdingthefaith Seeking to Understand

I have a few topics I would humbly request some assistance in understanding. I am a Christian, but the modern church is in bad shape and it's gone as far as recently seeing a popular mega church suggest we could unhinged the Old Testament from our Bible.
I wholeheartedly reject that idea and recognize the depth of knowledge and reverence the Jewish community has for the Hebrew Bible. I am hoping to learn. I hope I don't offend. I have no intention of discussing anything outside of The Old Testament. Specifically within The Torah, but I think other parts are relevant and might come up.
Is this correct? Should this be seen as like creation of the whole Universe? Or would something like When God began to create... be more accurate?
Regarding the second one, I had heard the Shva at the start of Genesis 1:1 indicates a dependent clause and fits with the starting word of Genesis 1:2. This is less about God communicating how time, space, and matter came to be and more about what the Israelites would be thinking about. How did everything I see get here? Who made it? Is there any other God? Who's in charge? That type of thing.
Thank you again for any wisdom you can share. I only seek to learn and am where I'm at. I have an interlinear Bible on my phone and recognize the hill I have to climb understanding the mindset of those in who lived in the ancient near east. A bigger hill to climb understanding the flaws of reading an English only text and what can be lost. I only hope to deepen my knowledge and better reflect my Father in Heaven. But don't shy away from the use of the Hebrew Bible. The burden is on me to learn. I can at least follow along at this time and have the built in concordance to help out. Although syntax is lost on me at this point, I dont need verses in ESV. That's rude to ask in my opinion.
submitted by upholdingthefaith to Judaism [link] [comments]

2020.10.20 17:08 __WanderingRonin__ The religion of Zen Buddhism originated with the teachings of the Buddha.

The Gateless Gate: The Buddha Holds Out a Flower [6th Case]
When Shakyamuni Buddha was at Mount Grdhrakuta, he held out a flower to his listeners.
Everyone was silent.
Only Mahakashyapa broke into a broad smile.
The Buddha said, "I have the True Dharma Eye, the Marvelous Mind of Nirvana, the True Form of the Formless, and the Subtle Dharma Gate, independent of words and transmitted beyond doctrine. This I have entrusted to Mahakashyapa."
Mumon's Comment
Golden-faced Gautama really disregarded his listeners.
He made the good look bad and sold dog's meat labeled as mutton.
He himself thought it was wonderful.
If, however, everyone in the audience had laughed, how could he have transmitted his True Eye?
And again, if Mahakashyapa had not smiled, how could the Buddha have transmitted it?
If you say the True Dharma Eye can be transmitted, then the golden-faced old man would be a city slicker who cheats the country bumpkin.
If you say it cannot be transmitted, then why did the Buddha approve of Mahakashyapa?
Mumon's Verse
Holding out a flower,
The Buddha betrayed his curly tail.
Heaven and earth were bewildered,
At Mahakashyapa's smile.
re·li·gion [noun]: the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods."ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
Similar: faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching, doctrine, theology, sect, cult, religious group, faith community, church, denomination, body, following, persuasion, affiliation
People who study the path clearly know there is such a thing; why do they fail to get the message, and go on doubting? It is because their faith is not complete enough and their doubt is not deep enough.
Only with depth and completeness, be it faith or doubt, is it really Zen; if you are incapable of introspection like this, you will eventually get lost in confusion and lose the thread, wearing out and stumbling halfway along the road. But if you can look into yourself, there is no one else.
Foyan Qingyuan [1067-1120]
Our Master Huangbo once attended an assembly at the Bureau of the Imperial Salt Commissioners at which the Emperor T‘ai Chung was also present as a śramanera. The śramanera noticed our Master enter the hall of worship and make a triple prostration to the Buddha, whereupon he asked: "If we are to seek nothing from the Buddha, Dharma or Sangha, what does Your Reverence seek by such prostrations?"
"Though I seek not from the Buddha,' replied our Master, ‘or from the Dharma, or from the Sangha, it is my custom to show respect in this way."
"But what purpose does it serve?" insisted the śramanera, whereupon he suddenly received a slap.
"Oh," he exclaimed. "How uncouth you are!"
"What is this?" cried the Master. "Imagine making a distinction between refined and uncouth!' So saying, he administered another slap, causing the śramanera to betake himself elsewhere!
Huangbo Xiyin [died 850?]: On the Transmission of Mind
Commentary and questions: Zen is a religion. Does the word 'religion' stir up some trouble in your mind at the mention of this being so? Now before you aim outwardly to debate this point, consider what is being said here first. The Buddha is one of the most famous historical religious figures of all time, and the teachings of Zen have their basis and development from the original teachings of the Buddha. It could be said that Bodhidharma introduced something more pure from the original teachings of the Buddha, but he worked from the sutras of the Buddha's teachings in order to establish the sect and core philosophies of Zen Buddhism. This is a historic objective fact.
If Zen isn't a religion and has nothing at all to do with the Buddha's teachings, why would the teachings of the Buddha be included in one of the most essential core works on Zen ever written, The Gateless Gate?
Now as far as what the standard reactions of the prominent users of the forum tend to be on the subject of Zen being a religion, one should consider the case of why there will be such a strong reaction against this statement. Many people here obviously have an axe to grind against religion for one reason or another, so they perhaps come to Zen as a sort of refuge away from any vestiges of religion or religious philosophies, yet Zen is a religion regardless of their preferences and aversions.
They may look to the austerity and 'emptiness' of Zen, and perhaps focus on the surface-level seemingly nihilistic or atheistic qualities of it, all while confirming their biases and ignoring outright incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. This is merely higher and less identifiable form of picking and choosing, which is also warned against in Zen.
submitted by __WanderingRonin__ to zen [link] [comments]

2020.10.19 14:22 Alwayslearnin41 Can someone explain what I thought....

I always really liked polygamy. It was to help women who had been widowed as they weren't able to own property, it was because there were more righteous women than men, it was to make sure that there were lots of children blah de blah blah.....
The church essay on Polygamy in Kirtland and Nauvoo tells this little nugget of a story:
"When God commands a difficult task, He sometimes sends additional messengers to encourage His people to obey. Consistent with this pattern, Joseph told associates that an angel appeared to him three times between 1834 and 1842 and commanded him to proceed with plural marriage when he hesitated to move forward. During the third and final appearance, the angel came with a drawn sword, threatening Joseph with destruction unless he went forward and obeyed the commandment fully."
Why on earth did I think it was ok for God to send an angel with a drawn sword to do that, but he couldn't have sent one to Hitler or the guys who flew the planes into the twin towers or even Laban??? (I know it's made up!)
What was my thinking? How did I rationalise that? Why did I ever think it was ok?
submitted by Alwayslearnin41 to exmormon [link] [comments]

2020.10.17 17:53 God_Is_Good123 Statement of Faith

The following is a written Statement of Faith describing the purpose of this page/account and its beliefs.

General Purpose

This page was made to evangelize the lost, win souls, and disciple saved believers thereafter as Torah Observant Christians.
"My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips."-Psalm 89:34

Section 1 – The Scriptures

The sole basis for our belief is the Bible, composed of the sixty-six books of the Tanakh and B'rit Hadasha (the Old and New Testaments). The Scriptures, in their entirety, are inspired by God and are inerrant in the original manuscripts. This was accomplished, not by dictation, but by God superintending the human authors in such a manner that, using their individual personalities, they composed and recorded, without error, God’s revelation to man.
The inerrancy of the Scriptures extends to every category to which they speak, including faith, practice, science, and history. The Scriptures are our full and final authority being the complete revelation of God (Proverbs 30:5-6; Isaiah 40:7-8; Jeremiah 31:31; Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; Romans 3:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Hebrews 1:2 and Revelation 22:18-19).
To maintain a strong Bible emphasis; we use the King James Version (KJV) in our Bible study, memorization of Scripture, and the preaching of God’s Word. It is important that one accepted translation of the Scripture be used to avoid confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Section 2 – God

We believe that there is one true, holy God, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit). Each possess equally all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 48:16; Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13-14; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:7).

Section 3 – The Father

We believe God is Father over all creation, thus its sovereign ruler. He is Father of Israel, whom He has chosen as His unique people. He is Father of Messiah Yeshua whom He sent into the world to redeem mankind and creation. He is Father of all who trust in His gracious provision of the forgiveness of sin in Yeshua (Exodus 4:22; Matthew 3:17; John 1:12; 3:16; Acts 17:29; Galatians 3:26; 1 Peter 1:3).

Section 4 – The Son

God the Son became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel, who was conceived by the Spirit of God and born of the Jewish virgin Miriam (Mary). He is both fully God and fully man, united forever without division or confusion (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1, 14; 8:58; 10:30-33; Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3).
Messiah Yeshua died as a substitutionary sacrifice for man’s sin, and all who believe in Him are declared righteous on the basis of His shed blood. The Messiah’s substitutionary death was the purchased price for our redemption and was foreshadowed in the Tanakh in the slaying of the Passover lamb, the sin and trespass offering, and the sin offering on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:15-16; 17:11; Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53:4-6; 10-12, Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 12:10; Mark 10:45; Romans 3:24-26; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 21; 1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus the Messiah arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father and will one day return for all who believe in Him. Presently He serves as our Kohen Gadol Elyon (Great High Priest) according to the priesthood of Melchizedek. As such, He is intercessor and Advocate before the Father on behalf of all believers (Genesis 14:17-20; Psalm 16:10-11; 110:4; Zechariah 6:12-13; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Hebrews 7:1-25; 8:1; 1 John 2:1).

Section 5 – The Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit)

The Ruach Hakodesh is a person. He possesses all the distinct attributes of Deity and hence He is God. He does not call attention to Himself and is ever present to glorify and testify of Messiah Yeshua (Genesis 1:2; Psalm 13:7; John 15:26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
During the period of the Old Testament, the Spirit of God was active in creating the world and temporarily gifting, empowering and filling individuals for special service (Genesis 1:2; Exodus 31:3; Numbers 27:18; Judges 6:34).
The Spirit of God is active today, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He regenerates, seals, and sets the believer apart to a holy life. He teaches the truth and energizes believers in prayer, worship and service. At the moment of salvation, each believer is immersed by the Spirit of God into the Body of Messiah and is permanently indwelt by the Spirit of God. Therefore, every believer is complete in Messiah and in possession of every spiritual blessing. However, it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to be constantly filled (controlled) by God’s Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26; 16:7-15; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 12:13; Ephesians 1:13, 6:18; Colossians 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).
At salvation the Holy Spirit imparts at least one spiritual gift to every believer for the purpose of edifying and equipping the Body of Messiah. Believers ought not to emphasize searching for their gifts, but rather giving attention to the Scriptural requirements of becoming spiritually mature in order to function in the Body. If this is done, every believer’s gift shall become evident. Although believers should earnestly desire greater spiritual gifts, individual believers should never actively seek to obtain spiritual gifts because they are given according to the sovereign choice of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:11, 31, 14:1; Ephesians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 4:10).
We do not endorse the modern tongues-speaking movement for the following reasons:
  1. It usually gives an undue prominence to a gift that had only limited value even in New Testament times (1 Corinthians 12-14).
  2. It often suggests that tongues-speaking is the necessary evidence of the special work of the Spirit when in fact the Holy Spirit never seeks to draw attention to Himself, but He is a witness, pointing to Messiah Yeshua and the mighty deeds of God (John 14:26; 15:26, 16:7-8; Acts 2:11).
  3. It tends to place more emphasis on tongues-speaking as an external manifestation of the Spirit than of the sanctifying work of the Spirit within the believer (Romans 15:6; Galatians 5:22-23).
  4. It claims that “ecstatic utterance” is also tongues-speaking when the gift in New Testament times was that of speaking in previously unlearned foreign languages (Acts 2:6-11, 10:46).
  5. It often fails to see that God sovereignly gives His gifts, not on demand, and that no one gift is for everyone (1 Corinthians 12:11).
Our position is that believers in their local bodies, should seek the more excellent way of love and be zealous about perfecting and utilizing the more useful and edifying gifts (Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 12:28-31, 13:1-3, 13, 14:12, 19, 23, 27-28; Galatians 5:22-23).
In stating our position on the modern tongues-speaking movement, we do not mean to detract from the sincerity or Christian character of the many believers within the movement.
We also believe that God has promised to physically heal according to His will. This may occur miraculously, medically or naturally. Supernatural healing may occur in response to prayer and accordance with God’s sovereign will. However, healing cannot be claimed unconditionally in this age as a result of atonement, as is salvation (Exodus 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Galatians 4:13; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 1:20; James 5:14-15; 1 John 5:14-15).
Regardless, one does not need to affirm the continuation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit in order to subscribe to this page (nor do they need to do so in order to be saved, for that matter). Said affirmation is simply what this page leans towards, as it is the more Biblical position to take concerning this rather emotionally vexing issue plaguing the Church.

Section 6 – Man

Man was created in the image of God to enjoy His fellowship and to fulfill His will on the earth. He was created in innocence; but by voluntary transgression, the first man, Adam, fell into sin. As a result, the whole race was plunged into condemnation and death. All mankind is born in a sinful condition and all commit sinful acts in thought, word, and deed, resulting in separation from God. From this condition of separation, man can be redeemed only by the grace of God, through faith in the completed work of Messiah Yeshua (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:17, 3:6; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 63:6; Ezekiel 18:4; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 5:12-19, 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-7).

Section 7 – Salvation

The salvation of mankind is wholly a work of God’s grace through faith in the finished redemptive work of Messiah Yeshua. He took upon Himself human form and yet honored the divine law by His perfect obedience. By His sacrificial death He became our substitute, making full payment for the penalty of our sins. He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where He is now enthroned, making intercession for all who believe. Salvation is not in whole or in part a result of human works of goodness (and neither are good works necessary as "evidence" of one's salvation). It can be appropriated only by personal faith in the Redeemer’s death and atonement. Through this substitutionary work, His righteousness is imparted to us.
Salvation can never be lost because it is wholly dependent on the finality of Messiah’s work on our behalf. God gives assurance in His Word that all who have trusted in His Son will never be plucked from His hand. Our relationship with God, established by faith in Messiah alone for salvation, is an irreversible bond in which all believers are eternally secure (John 10:28-30).
The sole condition for receiving everlasting life is faith alone in the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach, who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man’s sin and rose bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18, 6:47; Acts 16:31).
Faith is the conviction that something is true. To believe in Yeshua (“he that believeth on me hath everlasting life”) is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it (John 4:14, 5:24, 6:47, 11:26; 1 Timothy 1:16).
No act of obedience, preceding or following faith in the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach, such as commitment to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from one’s sin, baptism or submission to the Lordship of Messiah, may be added to, or considered part of, faith as a condition for receiving everlasting life (Romans 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5). This saving transaction between God and the sinner is simply the giving and receiving of a free gift (John 4:10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelation 22:17).
Assurance of everlasting life is certainty that one is eternally secure simply by faith in Yeshua. Assurance of everlasting life is based only on the promise God makes in His Word that everyone who believes in Messiah Yeshua alone possesses everlasting life (John 5:24; Titus 1:2; 1 John 5:9-13). Good works, which can and should follow regeneration, are not necessary for a person to have assurance of everlasting life (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8).
Assurance is of the essence of believing in Yeshua for everlasting life. That is, as long as a person believes in Yeshua for everlasting life, he knows he has everlasting life (John 5:24, 6:35, 47, 11:27; 1 John 5:9-13).
Discipleship (Growing in Christ)
The ultimate goal of the Holy Spirit’s work in the believer’s life is to produce spiritual maturity reflected in consistent Christlike behavior and attitudes (Luke 14:25-33; Galatians 5:22-25; Colossians 1:23-29). Therefore, obedience to the Word of God, while not necessary for obtaining everlasting life, is the essential responsibility of each Christian (Romans 6:12-23; 1 Corinthians 2:14–3:4; Hebrews 5:13-14). However, the Bible does not teach that this obedience will be manifested in all believers. If a believer does not yield to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in his experience, failure will result, evidenced by sinful acts or even prolonged disobedience (1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Galatians 5:16-21).
The believer is assured of everlasting life and is thus eternally secure, since that life is guaranteed by the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach to all who believe in Him, and is based upon His substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:38-39, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 cf. Galatians 2:21). Therefore, it is inconsistent with the gospel and with Scripture to seek to gain or keep everlasting life by godly living. The Scriptures, however, do present several motivations for obedience in the Christian life.
  1. A powerful motivation for living the Christian life is gratitude to God for saving us by His grace (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:14 -15; Galatians 2:20).
  2. Believers should also be motivated by the knowledge that their heavenly Father both blesses obedience and disciplines disobedience in His children (Leviticus 26:1-45; Hebrews 12:3-11). God is not mocked. Whatever a person sows, that he also reaps (Galatians 6:7).
  3. Finally, every Christian must stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, not to determine his eternal destiny, for that is already set, but to assess the quality of his Christian life on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12). Anticipating either reward or loss of reward at the Judgment Seat should also motivate believers to perseverance and to faithfulness to God’s revealed will (1 Corinthians 3:10-17, 9:24-27; James 5:8-9; 1 John 2:28). One’s capacity to glorify Yeshua will forever be based on how faithful he was in his stewardship in this life (Luke 19:17, 19, 22-26).
All believers, though forgiven, still have a sinful capacity in this life. The flesh will continue to wrestle with the Spirit, and the Spirit with the flesh, until the day comes that a believer will have received their new glorified body at the resurrection. In spite of these facts, God has made provision for believers to live more obediently to Him through identification with Messiah Yeshua, reliance upon the Holy Spirit’s power, and knowledge of the Scriptures (if a believer so chooses to also run the race that discipleship commands of us who are already saved through faith) (Genesis 15:6; Isaiah 53:4-6; Habakkuk 2:4; Zechariah 6:12-13; John 1:12-13, 3:16, 5:24, 10:28-29; 17:17; Acts 4:12; 10:9-10; 13:38-39; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:21-22, 2:14; Titus 3:5-7; Hebrews 7:25, 10:4-14; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 1:8, 2:2, 5:9-13).
We believe the only evidence of salvation is revealed in Whom a person is trusting in to get him to heaven. We believe it is heresy to teach that a person can know he is saved or lost because of his behavior, or for others to believe a person is saved or lost because of his behavior (Romans 4:4-5, 11:6; Galatians 2:16, 21; 1 John 5:13).
This page believes in Free-Grace theology, as opposed to Lordship Salvation. (To see the stark differences between the two, click here). Lordship Salvation, in any of its forms, is not endorsed by this page and will be consistently rebuked through sermons and/or teachings on key debate passages when concerning the topic of salvation overall.
[Note: If you're more of a visual learner, click here to see a quick demonstration of the gospel.]

Section 8 - The Body of Messiah

The universal Body or fellowship of Messiah is composed of all people, Jewish and Gentile, who through faith in Him have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and grafted in. It began at Shavuot (Pentecost) with the immersion of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Yeshua, and it will be completed when He returns. Membership in the universal Body is not based on any earthly organizational affiliation but on faith in Yeshua the Messiah.
The local body is the visible manifestation of the universal Body. It is a congregation of believers organized for the purpose of glorifying God through worship, instruction, accountability, fellowship, service and outreach. Whereas entrance into the universal Body is based on an act of faith, entrance into the local body is based on an act of volition in obedience to God.
The officers of the local congregation are elders and deacons, but the true Head to whom all are ultimately answerable is the Lord Yeshua (Acts 2:1-4, 41-42; Romans 11:29, 12:4-13; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 7:17, 11:16, 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:11-22, 3:10, 4:4-16, 5:23-24; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Hebrews 10:19-25, 13:7, 17).

Section 9 - The Ordinances

There are two signs of the New Covenant commanded by the Messiah to be practiced by His followers. These are water immersion and the Messiah’s Yizkor (Lord’s Supper).
Water immersion, which has its origin in Jewish ritual immersion, is by immersion of the believer in water. It is meant to symbolize both one’s faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Redeemer as well as one’s own death to sin and resurrection to new life.
The Messiah’s Yizkor is based on the Passover seder and is the commemoration of His death until He comes and our continual fellowship with Him. Partaking of Messiah’s Yizkor is for believers only and should always be preceded by solemn self-examination.
Though we seek to be obedient to the Lord in the practice of these ordinances, we do not regard either as a means of salvation. On the contrary, they are a symbolic expression of our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua (Matthew 26:26-29, 28:19; Acts 8:26-39; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).

Section 10 - Satan and Angels

We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, a fallen angel and the open and declared enemy of God and man. He is the originator of evil; and, as god of this world, he now rules the non-believing world system.
He and his agents are active in blinding mankind to spiritual truth, inciting anti-Semitism and hostility toward Israel, and attempting to defeat believers. His sin is that of pride in seeking to usurp the power, position, and glory of God.
Believers can and should resist Satan by applying Scriptural truth. He is a creature and, therefore, is not omniscient or infinite; and God has placed limitations on him (Isaiah 14:11-17, 19; Jude 9; Ephesians 6:10-18).

Post Directory

Christian Apologetics (Defending the Faith)

Soteriology (The Study of Salvation)

Bibliology (The Study of the Bible)

Eschatology (The Study of Last Things)

Ecclesiology (The Study of the Church)

Frequently Asked Theological Questions

Practical Teachings

submitted by God_Is_Good123 to u/God_Is_Good123 [link] [comments]

2020.10.16 20:21 lfofavila My personal opinion on the statement of Joseph, that God has a human body.

My personal opinion on the statement of Joseph, that God has a human body.
Hey, I'm a new member of the Church, I for 1 years struggled with the idea of God being a man in another universe, and things like that. I know that these things never was a Church Doctrine, but a popular opinion among members, since there's the idea of man may becoming like God.
Reading Jewish literacture, the Kabbalah, a source that Joseph had contact before the King Follett Sermon, I bring my interpretation on this topic.
God is a eternal being, but he choosed to be in a tabernacle, because as a pure unity was not possible to create other things, so God abdicated from his unity and has gone to multiplicity. This eternal being, exists before the creation of everything, that includest the creation of genders, so God was a being not male nor female. The title Elohim means gods (in the plural), so when we say Elohim, probably we are refering to the multiple natures of God, the Eternal one now has a female (Mother in Heaven) and male (Father in Heaven), so He abdicated from the Unity to create this multiplicity.
The Father and the Mother, having a human body, that's what the Jews would call the "Primordial Adam", just a test drive of the life in a human body, it's not the Adam and Eve of the history that we know (So, no Adam-God theory). Then God created all things of the world, as we know in the Genesis narrative. Including the Spiritual Children, whose have a divine origin, but it's not divine per-se. So, they need to progress, to become like Elohim is. And created His first son, Jesus, and created the Plan of Salvation.
God then, sent Michael to the earth, to live as Adam, but from his side he created Eve. If we go to Genesis 1:27 " So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. ", and if we go to the Jewish Literacture, Adam and Eve were a androgynous being, so God divided then in two. So this it's a good point about the Heavenly Father and the Heavenly Mother being one in what is called Elohim. And that's may be a explanation to " For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. ", becoming one flesh in the meaning the Heavenly Father and the Heavenly Mother are One, besides being two distinct beings.
So, we can become Gods, in the sense our nature be purified, and we reaching a unity with God, our thoughts, our desires, our wishes and all of our things become Heavenly, we reaching a point in the Godhood very "elevated". Not about we creating our own planets, and our own civilizations.

So, that's my personal opinion and interpretation on the topic. Y'all may not agree, and I'm perfectly fine with it, I just want to know what do you think about it, is it heretic in some point (if yes tell me, then I can try to fix it).
submitted by lfofavila to latterdaysaints [link] [comments]

2020.10.16 05:23 BlueZir Just finished No Man Knows My History. Here is my short review.

I’ve read Rough Stone Rolling, and as much of Saints as I could stomach (a whole couple chapters). I also grew up in the church, which was a serious detriment to understanding the history of Joseph Smith, but through study I have been able to mostly overcome that handicap.
There were a few things that finally clicked for me while I read this book that made church history make a bit more sense and I want to cover some of those things up front.
Joseph Smith moved the church from Palmyra to Ohio because that’s where Sidney Rigdon was and his whole congregation.
Joseph looked at moving the church to Missouri and made ample false revelations about the church being there but in the end most of the actual church members living in Ohio didn’t actually want to move to Missouri so they didn’t. Joseph then blamed the Missouri problems on the Missouri Saints’ unrighteousness.
The church had to leave Kirtland because Joseph broke the law with his the Kirtland Safety Society. The situation in Missouri was largely unworkable and the population of Missouri definitely mistreated the Saints, to put it lightly. The Saints were not without fault but they did not deserve the treatment they deserved in Missouri. It also seems likely that Joseph sent Porter Rockwell to assasinate Governor Boggs to attempt to fulfill Joseph’s prophecy of a violent death for Boggs.
That’s how the Saints ended up in Nauvoo. Joseph Smith set up Nauvoo as a theocracy of sorts where he had the final say in all matters. He wanted as much business of the town to go through him as possible, River fairy’s and land deals included. Many people accused him of trying to enrich himself this way.
Joseph Smith was lynched (yes, lynched) not because of the reason I told people on my mission (claiming to be a prophet and claiming to see God, hardly anyone knew that he claimed to see God anyways) or even because he had dozens of wives but because he was essentially a dictator who was seen to be infringing on people’s rights and was viewed as dangerous to Illinois. The last straw was when a newspaper in Nauvoo published well founded claims from people with personal experience about polygamy and some other topics. The editors of the newspaper kept their one issue as dry as possible because they didn’t want to be seen as sultry or as debasing any women.
Joseph couldn’t accept anyone sharing the truth about him, especially from well respected and well trusted people so he ordered the printing press destroyed.
The governor got involved and Joseph ended up giving himself up to the law. The governor didn’t recognize Joseph’s life was in mortal danger and allowed through negligence for him to be murdered.
That’s the basic story of Joseph Smith and I never got it while I was in the church. I was told and I taught that Joseph was martyred for testifying of Christ and that he lives.
I also want to quickly talk about Joseph’s polygamy. Joseph did not have multiple wives. He had one wife, Emma, and tons of girl friends that he had sex with. He didn’t provide for any of his other ‘wives’ like Brigham Young later would. He didn’t openly spend time with them, he didn’t support them, he just wrote them letters, saw them behind his wife’s back and almost entirely without her knowledge. For the few months that Emma knew and was trying to accept polygamy she suggested that Joseph marry two sisters living in their house. Joseph had already married these two girls but he couldn’t let Emma know so they did another ceremony and he married them again. She then kicked them out of the house shortly after because she never really accepted polygamy. When Emma would have Relief Society presidency meetings Emma likely didn’t even know that Joseph was ‘married’ to the entire presidency.
There is ample evidence that Joseph Smith was having sex with his wives. One of them thought that he was the father of her daughter Josephina, dna proved him not to be but there is good reason to believe that the mother knew where children came from. There is also testimony of Joseph’s “plural wives” saying they shared a bed on their “wedding night.” Anyone who claims Joseph wasn’t having sex with his “wives” is ignoring a lot of evidence.
I want to finish my review of the book by talking about the murder of Joseph and Hyrum. It was a terribly sad event. Joseph didn’t deserve to die and after reading about all of his misdeeds and his megalomania Brodie still makes you feel like his murder was a terrible tragedy and a miscarriage of justice. Because of how his life ended it really does make your mind gloss over some of his faults and it at least made my mind view him as possibly a prophet in some way. If you go into this book with enough confirmation bias you will come out believing just as strongly as you did before you started that Joseph was a prophet and that he was truly building God’s kingdom on earth, and his martyrdom really does seem to support his ‘prophetic’ calling if one wants it to.
I highly recommend this book. It made me look forward to the day when Netflix or HBO pick up a miniseries on Joseph. It will be amazing.
submitted by BlueZir to mormon [link] [comments]

2020.10.16 04:59 TracingWoodgrains On Mottes and Mythologies: A Defense of The Motte

Edit: Per request, I have now made the body of the essay, sans introduction, available on Medium.
Around the time Scott Alexander took down Slate Star Codex and went viral as he did so, /themotte drew more outside attention than it has at any point before or since, and I wrote a piece intended to introduce outsiders to the community, then shelved it for if and when it made sense to release it. I intended to hold it in case a paper or magazine somewhere decided to do a piece on this peculiar community with its roots in Scott's writing.
This is not that moment, and there are no outsiders to introduce. But there are a whole lot of insiders. As I made perhaps all too clear the other day, this is not the only type of space I like to spend time in. I feel strongly that there is value in building other models as well, strongly enough that I made a decision that's led to more than a few proclamations of permanent damage to /themotte. Many of you very rightly upset with me in specific, many of you wonder if this space has a future. Given that, it seems appropriate to release that piece in slightly edited form, not to introduce outsiders to the community but to introduce insiders to it.
I don't know that I'd write every word in this essay the same were I to write it today. Reality can never quite live up to our ideals, and like many of you I find myself in a particularly conflicted spot at the moment, but those ideals are worth fighting for. That in mind, I'd like to introduce you to /themotte, seen through my idealistic lens. If someone is wondering why I stay here, or why I remain a mod, or what the point of any of this is—well, this is my best stab at it.
And for those who get to the end of this and wonder—well, if I believe all this, why would I ever create a schism group off of this community? I think spaces like this are worth fighting to maintain. But I don't think they can be the home of every useful discussion, nor do I think they need to be that to be valuable. Pluralism in discussion norms is valuable, and I think it’s worth the effort to build multiple functional tents rather than to aim to make one tent serve all purposes. I also feel strongly, now more than ever, that those who hold the values I describe in this piece have a responsibility to do their part to make this space one of construction, not destruction; to lower the temperature and raise the sanity waterline, not to raise the temperature and lower the waterline. The idealized view of /themotte works precisely to the extent we make it work.
That's enough sermonizing. Without further delay, the piece:
"The purpose of this subreddit is to be a working discussion ground for people who may hold dramatically different beliefs. It is to be a place for people to examine the beliefs of others as well as their own beliefs; it is to be a place where strange or abnormal opinions and ideas can be generated and discussed fairly, with consideration and insight instead of kneejerk responses." - /themotte's foundation
I'm not the first person, or the best, to have written about the values at the foundation of /themotte. Back in 2014, Scott wrote what would become one of the most famous Slate Star Codex pieces: In Favor of Niceness, Community, and Civilization, written in response to Arthur Chu describing his own approach to the world.
In Chu's world, the only point of online arguments is "to generate a spark that might catch," where "to the extent that [his] words have any value at all, they have value to the degree that they helped someone out there get so [ticked] off and so riled up they said "F--- it" and went out to break some [stuff]." He believes that "persuasion mostly doesn't work," that the correct approach is to use people as "negative example[s] to hold in contempt and disgust." His goal with views he disagrees with, in other words, is to push them entirely out of the sphere of conversation, using any tactics necessary. "The purpose," he says, "is to prevent evil ideas from being exchanged."
Scott, responding to a similar argument from Chu years ago, carefully outlines the argument that the history of progress and civilization has been one in which people who hate each other's views find ways to be nice to each other anyway:
Every case in which both sides agree to lay down their weapons and be nice to each other has corresponded to spectacular gains by both sides and a new era of human flourishing.
He outlines his own community philosophy in light of that:
I seek out people who signal that they want to discuss things honestly and rationally. Then I try to discuss things honestly and rationally with those people. I try to concentrate as much of my social interaction there as possible.
So far this project is going pretty well. My friends are nice, my romantic relationships are low-drama, my debates are productive and I am learning so, so much.
And people think “Hm, I could hang out at 4Chan and be called a ‘f--’. Or I could hang out at Slate Star Codex and discuss things rationally and learn a lot. And if I want to be allowed in, all I have to do is not be an intellectually dishonest jerk.”
The Motte isn't Slate Star Codex, a community that until Scott took it down centered around discussion of "psychiatry, science, history, culture, politics, esotericism, kaballah, book reviews, and, you know, other things in that category." Scott Alexander has never been directly involved with it. It's a splinter group that initially rose organically out of a thread in the SSC subreddit intended to contain "Culture War" issues, the range of social and political topics that involve intense societal disagreement and polarization.
It is a place committed to the goal of allowing fervent enemies to "lay down their weapons and be nice to each other", where as long as they're willing to follow strict standards on courtesy, effort, and engagement, people with deep disagreements can candidly present and argue through their perspectives.
That's its founding ideal. In practice, it tends to attract a distinct and peculiar subset of the population, a group that universally respects Scott Alexander, unconditionally opposes Stalin, and can't seem to agree on all that much else. No single ideological label covers more than half of the people there, but more than a third identify as any or all of capitalist, classical liberal, and libertarian. Other popular labels include moderate, liberal, centrist, transhumanist, conservative, democratic, civic nationalist, and progressive. Passionate but smaller groups, in turn, identify with a range of more extreme labels, including a handful of anarchists, a couple of communists—and, yes, a few reactonaries and alt-right.
It's a volatile sort of group to hope to keep together in any real way. The miracle is that it typically works out alright. Every week, the group gets several thousand comments, including a number of well-written, thoughtful ones from a broad range of perspectives. I know of nowhere else where I can jump from reading about the difficulty of recruiting blue-collar candidates in Australian politics to the multi-cultural draw of the major scale, over to the way private property enhanced a socialist video game or the value of true diversity in media, then finish it off by learning about the structure of the Mytelinean Revolt. There are plenty of controversial topics, like a discussion on how Republicans love Trump because he's willing to punch back, all you ever wanted to know about adolescent gender transition, or perhaps most heated of all, the potential implications if intelligence is genetically determined. There are plenty of points, too, that are simply fascinating for their own sake: the mindset of modern China, a philosophical conversation between a robber and a 7-11 clerk, the ins and outs of the Korean education system.
Those are highlights, of course. While there are dozens of comparable posts each week, the moment-to-moment is much more mundane, full of many of the same small dramas and internet slapfights that characterize any online space. The promise, and the curse, of an open heterodox space like the Motte, is that anyone can make their case on almost anything provided they speak plainly, provide evidence, and minimize antagonism. It provides exposure to the fascinating, the beautiful, and the ugly in the cultural and political sphere. Anyone who pokes around there very long will find commentary that's well outside the Overton window and at least a few points to vehemently disagree with.
It's important not to romanticize it too much. The ideal is always in mind, but reaching towards it is a constant process and the community is not immune to criticism. As is to be expected from a group of detail-obsessed contrarians, much of the most pointed criticism comes within the group itself. To reduce things to the American political spectrum for a moment and to bring out the most common arguments, left-leaning people regularly report the feeling that the group is drifting, or has drifted, too far right and too reflexively against left perspectives. Right-libertarians there object to the frequency of bans and strictness of the moderation, particularly of people espousing right-coded views. People who support locally unpopular views can rightly notice the difficulty of swimming against the stream, even in a culture aimed at encouraging openness. Since the simple demographic reality of the group is that the bulk are younger nerdy white American atheists skeptical of identity politics, it can accurately be criticized for being a deeply non-representative slice of the world, with the inherent limitations that brings.
If you fundamentally believe that there should not be open discussion spaces for candid discussion and disagreement on controversial issues, you simply will not be happy with The Motte. To the rest who go there and notice ways the group falls short of its claimed ideals, I present the same, admittedly cliche, challenge I've given before: Be the change you want to see. It's a small community eager for high-effort, informative, fresh content. If you have something to say, something you think people there are overlooking or should prioritize more, put in some time and research and say it. The community will thank you. One of the most valuable features of the space is its open audience, willing to discuss almost anything that can be made compelling. If you’d like to see better topics, give people something better to talk about. The Motte is far from perfect, but its ideals are sincere.
That all describes what The Motte hopes to be. Why do I, personally, stick around there?
I'd like to go on a tangent and get personal for a moment.
There are more people I know of with attitudes similar to Arthur Chu's, people who are certain in their own morality and willing to openly condemn, mock, and cut off all who disagree. I'm lucky that my family members reject Chu's philosophy. If they did not, I would likely never see them again. I'm lucky, too, that I reject Chu's philosophy. If I accepted it, I would still be a Mormon (and a noxious one at that), and never would have met my boyfriend.
I'd like to take a moment to describe two schools of thought within Mormonism, the faith and culture in which I was born and raised:
One prominent 20th-century Mormon leader, Bruce R. McConkie, was very much of the mold of Chu. He wasn't afraid to make enemies, confidently calling out Catholicism as "the great and abominable church", calling the intellect of Mormons who believe in evolution "weak and puerile", and confidently explaining how Mormonism showed black people to be inferior. When a member asked him to explain a disagreement, he responded, "It is my province to teach to the Church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent," and made it clear to the member that his soul's salvation depended on accepting McConkie's guidance.
One of his contemporaries in the faith, Hugh B. Brown, had an approach more in line with Scott Alexander's argument. Here's what he had to say on truth:
I hope that you will develop the questing spirit. Be unafraid of new ideas for they are the stepping stones of progress. You will of course respect the opinions of others but be unafraid to dissent—if you are informed.
Now I have mentioned freedom to express your thoughts, but I caution you that your thoughts and expressions must meet competition in the market place of thought, and in that competition truth will emerge triumphant. Only error needs to fear freedom of expression. Seek truth in all fields, and in that search you will need at least three virtues; courage, zest, and modesty. The ancients put that thought in the form of a prayer. They said, 'From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half truth, from the arrogance that thinks it has all truth—O God of truth deliver us'.
McConkie was confidently wrong time and time again, pressuring many into echoing his ideas or staying silent, creating an atmosphere where to question is to be wrong. People who followed him into dead-ends were left holding dogmatically to absurdities, bullying those who dared notice the reality of evolution or other inconvenient truths, and creating deep divisions. When McConkie's approach fails, it gets ugly, and causes a lot of pain in the process, usually turning someone to the polar opposite of the belief they once had. Brown's approach, by contrast, leaves sufficient room for humility and error, allowing people to stand firm in their morals and beliefs while respecting differences. When it fails, you're left able to adjust thoughtfully and without excess pain.
I was lucky to have family and friends who listened more to people like Brown than they did to those like McConkie. It meant that, growing up, I never got stuck on particularly hardline beliefs like young-earth creationism or anti-evolution. I was encouraged to take science seriously, to pursue truth, to ask questions. We laughed and groaned together when people brought up McConkie-style approaches. When I started spending more time around non-Mormons, I didn't feel constantly pressured to convert and argue with them.
Despite that openness, and despite constant exposure to arguments against Mormonism online from ex-Mormons or onlookers, I took almost a decade from the time I started questioning parts of the Mormon narrative to the time I left. Why? Part of the reason is that the church inoculates you against "anti-Mormon literature." They tell stories of people who leave the church for petty reasons, they point to the worst arguments against them (and if you don't believe there are bad arguments against Mormonism, take a look at this site or imagine walking past a bunch of guys with signs like this on your way to church gatherings), and they talk up just how misled and bitter those who leave the church are. Even clicking on a questioning website as a Mormon gives you a horrid feeling of disgust of the sort Arthur Chu describes as synonymous with morality. How could you ever trust anything from people so evil?
But that wasn't the whole problem. The other problem was that I kept running into ex-Mormons who confirmed this preconception in my mind. See, a lot of the people who care enough to track down every conversation about a religion after leaving it are the ones who really, really hated it. More often than not, they share Chu's mindset. So they bully, and they shame, and they mock, and they bring up every nasty part of Mormonism, and they push Mormons out of polite conversation, and they feel incredibly righteous while doing so. Does it work? Well, it sure gets Mormons to stop speaking out as much, so perhaps by Chu's standards it does. But for me as a Mormon growing up, it played right into the narrative I was looking for. I saw my boogeymen come to life and cuss me out. Meanwhile, my Mormon community would constantly bring dinners and cookies to each other, help each other move, and plan group service projects for the old lady down the street. I saw a bunch of kind, loving, thoroughly decent people around me, and what looked and felt like a heartless, bitter crew of leavers, and so it felt perfectly obvious which path was better.
It took years to work up the courage to seriously engage at length with the possibility my faith might be false. When you're told your whole life that an idea is evil, it's hard to shake. You can feel the evil when you see it. Every time I saw "anti-Mormon literature", I physically flinched away and seized on whatever apologetics I could find, no matter how convoluted, to "debunk" it and recommit myself to the narrative of my faith. After I reached the breaking point that allowed me to seriously engage with them, I had a few memorable conversations. You can actually see the last discussion I had as a still barely-believing Mormon, the one that finally pushed me over the edge. What worked more than anything else in the end? A polite, thoughtful ex-Mormon who took me seriously, responded carefully point-by-point, and left me no room whatsoever to see him in the narrative of misguided or evil people leaving the truth out of spite.
Afterwards, I got to deal with all the fallout, from two camps: the Chu/McConkie school of thought, and the Brown/Alexander school of thought. Like I said above, I was lucky with my family and friends. Every single one of them took the kind, understanding approach. They remained precisely the people I thought they were; I remained precisely the person they thought I was. They supported and loved me, even knowing that I was taking a path of irreconcilable disagreement with their core beliefs. I wasn't so lucky with the Arthur Chus of the Mormon world. To their credit, none was quite as vitriolic as Chu, but they had their dogma and they were sticking to it. One told me I was likely possessed by the devil. Another worried about my tender feet being led down the thorny path to Satan's grasp. None of them could ever have a normal conversation with me or treat me like a regular human again. Those relationships, some quite close, were irreparably damaged.
By the time I was ready to drop a second bombshell on my family after realizing I was gay, there were no more Arthur Chus in my life. To this day, I've never faced a word of real-world abuse about it or had a single friendship damaged because of it. The people around me, Mormon and not, have been universally loving and understanding. Up through today, I have close friends both inside and outside of Mormonism, people I can trust with my life. They've seen me make some of the most dramatic ideological changes someone can make, and they've trusted and respected me enough to treat me like a human the whole way.
With that long digression out of the way, let me return to the question I posed: Why do I stick around at The Motte? Again, if you click around for long, you're going to find some ideas you find abhorrent. I do. If you don't find them organically, you have a group of people like Chu, constantly at the ready to notice and highlight the worst points, finding them for you. And you have voices like his saying, loudly, confidently, with the full force of moral certainty on their side, that giving air to those opinions, even letting them into the conversation, is evil and should be shut down. Why hang around an atmosphere like that?
It's pretty simple. I remember the kid I was, born into and seriously committed to a set of beliefs that I would need to seriously examine and step away from later in life. I remember just how rare it was to have a candid, good-faith discussion with people on the other side. I remember just how damaging the Arthur Chus both in and against my community were, how much unnecessary pain they caused. And if there's any chance in an increasingly polarized world to build a space that allows that kid to honestly discuss his most controversial, difficult opinions and get sincere engagement and pushback instead of being shut down or mocked?
I will drag myself across broken glass to maintain that space, and all the Arthur Chus in the world aren't enough to convince me otherwise.
That's The Motte for you. It's not perfect. It doesn't always live up to the ideals Scott Alexander and others have championed. But it comes closer to being a working discussion ground for people who hold dramatically different beliefs than anywhere else I've found, and that's just not the sort of thing you give up on.
submitted by TracingWoodgrains to TheMotte [link] [comments]

2020.10.16 01:13 RubySmith1 I’ve Finally Learned How to Fulfill My Duty

I’ve Finally Learned How to Fulfill My Duty
By Xiaolian, Italy
I’ve Finally Learned How to Fulfill My Duty
Almighty God says, “It is through the process of doing his duty that man is gradually changed, and it is through this process that he demonstrates his loyalty. As such, the more you are able to do your duty, the more truth you shall receive, and the more real your expression shall become. Those who merely go through the motions in doing their duty and do not seek the truth shall be eliminated in the end, for such people do not do their duty in the practice of truth, and do not practice truth in the fulfillment of their duty. They are those who remain unchanged and will be cursed. Not only are their expressions impure, but everything they express is wicked” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Putting your heart into your duty and being able to take responsibility require you to suffer and to pay a price—it is not enough simply to talk about it. If you do not put your heart into your duty, instead wanting always to exert physical effort, then your duty will certainly not be done well. You will simply go through the motions and nothing more, and you will not know how well you have done your duty. If you put your heart into it, you will gradually come to understand the truth; if you do not, then you will not. When you put your heart into performing your duty and pursuing the truth, you then become gradually able to understand God’s will, to discover your own corruption and deficiencies, and to master all your various states. If you do not use your heart, but only exert physical effort on the outside, then you will be unable to feel the changes in your different inner states or the reactions of different states in different environments. These are all matters of the heart” (“Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Christ’s Talks). From God’s words we can see that we have to be attentive, responsible and seek the truth to fulfill our duty. I was careless in the past. I didn’t put much effort into anything. It was the same in the house of God. I wasn’t trying for the best results in my duty. Whenever I encountered something complex that required hard work, I was careless and irresponsible so I was always making mistakes in my duty. Later on I came to understand a little about my own corrupt disposition from God’s words and how to fulfill my duty to meet God’s will, then I could perform my duty responsibly and steadily.
My duty at the time was checking translations into Italian. I was diligent at first and willing to resolve any difficulties that came up. But as time went by, I was faced with a backlog of documents and began to get a bit uneasy, especially when I saw documents with notes in all sorts of colors and masses of periods, commas and other punctuation marks. Every single one had to be checked for formatting and placement. I got restless. I thought, “How much thought will I have to put into this? It’s too much effort.” Then I wouldn’t want to check them so diligently anymore, but would just look them over and make sure they were more or less correct. Sometimes I needed to quiet my mind and really think about whether the translation was accurate, but when I saw a complex sentence structure, I’d make these selfish calculations: “It takes so much effort to deliberate and research every word, and if I come up empty-handed, won’t that be a waste of energy? Forget it, I’ll leave it to someone else for them to take care of.” And just like that, I was carelessly going through the motions in my duty.
Over time, constant problems started cropping up. Other people were finding some capitalization and punctuation errors in documents I’d checked and some of them even had a few words missing from the translation. I felt really bad when I saw that. Someone else saw those little problems right away but I hadn’t when they were right in front of me. And how could there be such glaring omissions? The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. One day after lunch I received a message that said there was a really basic mistake with the singular and plural in a document I’d checked. It felt like a knife through the heart. How could I have been so careless? How could I have overlooked such a basic error? I couldn’t be sure whether or not other documents I’d checked had similar errors. My work was riddled with errors. What was I to do? In my suffering, I hurried to come before God and pray. I reflected on my state and my attitude toward my duty recently.
I read a passage of God’s words: “[I]f you do not put your heart into your duty and are careless, just doing things in the easiest way you can, then what sort of mentality is this? It is one of just doing things in a perfunctory manner, with no loyalty toward your duty, no sense of responsibility, and no sense of mission. Every time you do your duty, you use only half your strength; you do it half-heartedly, do not put your heart into it, and just try to get it over and done with, without being conscientious in the least. You do it in such a relaxed manner that it is as though you are just playing around. Will this not lead to problems? In the end, people will say that you are someone who performs your duty poorly, and that you simply go through the motions. And what will God say to this? He will say that you are not trustworthy. If you have been entrusted with a job and, whether it is a job of primary responsibility or one of ordinary responsibility, if you do not put your heart into it or live up to your responsibility, and if you do not see it as a mission God has given you or a matter with which God has entrusted you, or take it on board as your own duty and obligation, then this is going to be a problem. ‘Not trustworthy’—these two words will define how you go about your duty, and God will say that your character is not up to par. If a matter is entrusted to you, yet this is the attitude you take toward it and this is how you handle it, then will you be commissioned with any further duties in the future? Can you be entrusted with anything important? Perhaps you could be, but it would depend on how you behaved. Deep down, however, God will always harbor some distrust toward you, as well as some dissatisfaction. This will be a problem, will it not?” (“Only Through Frequent Contemplation of the Truth Can You Have a Way Forward” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God observes the hearts of men. Every one of His words struck at my fatal flaw. Then I realized that doing things the easy way in our duty is a perfunctory attitude. There’s no attentiveness in this, it’s just glossing over things and not taking responsibility at all. Thinking back on my performance, whenever something required time and effort, I’d adopt the quickest least demanding shortcut method to get it done. I’d do whatever was easiest, saved me the most hassle, or was the least tiring. When there were a lot of new words or difficult grammar points or sentence structures, I wouldn’t make a serious effort to look them up. I’d take the easy route of marking them and asking someone else. When I saw complex notes or needed to carefully check the punctuation, I’d just give them a cursory look and then overlook some problems. I was being careless and shirking my responsibility toward my duty and God’s commission. I only thought about avoiding fleshly suffering. Where was there even a small place for God in my heart?
I later read more of God’s words that said: “For people with humanity, performing their duties just as well when no one is watching should be easy; this should be included in their share of responsibilities. For those without humanity and who are not dependable, performing their duties is a very taxing process. Others always have to worry over them, supervise them, and ask about their progress; otherwise, they will do damage every time you give them a job to do. In short, people always need to self-reflect when performing their duties: ‘Have I adequately fulfilled this duty? Did I put my heart into it? Or did I just muddle through it?’ If any of those things occurred, then that is no good; it is dangerous. In a narrow sense, it means such a person has no credibility, and that people cannot trust him. To put it in broader terms, if such a person always just goes through the motions when doing his duty, and if he is continuously perfunctory toward God, then he is in great danger! What are the consequences of being knowingly deceitful? In the short term, you will have a corrupt disposition, commit frequent transgressions without repenting, and not learn how to practice the truth, nor will you put it into practice. In the long term, as you continuously do those things, your outcome will disappear; that will land you in trouble. This is what is known as not making any major mistakes but constantly making minor ones. Ultimately, this will lead to irreparable consequences. That would be very serious!” (“Life Entry Must Begin With the Experience of Performing One’s Duty” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Seeing God laying bare the nature and consequences of my carelessness before me, I couldn’t help but feel scared. Going through the motions in our duty is deceiving both others and God. This attitude is condemned by God. If I didn’t repent, sooner or later I’d commit a serious transgression and be eliminated by God. When the church made arrangements for my duty, I made a solemn vow to perform my duty properly, but when it actually required me to make an effort, I was mindful only of the flesh, fearing trouble and suffering. I was cursory and careless when I checked the documents so I missed even the most obvious errors. Wasn’t that cheating? These thoughts filled me with regret and self-blaming, so I prayed to God: “Almighty God! I haven’t been responsible in my duty, but have been trying to fool You. This is disgusting to You. I’ve been so lacking in conscience. God, I want to repent. Please guide me, give me the will to endure hardship and the ability to forsake the flesh and fulfill my duty.”
In every document after that, I’d check every word I saw that wasn’t quite apt in multiple dictionaries. I’d ask brothers and sisters or a professional translator when I couldn’t be sure until I was completely clear. For documents that were difficult and long, I wouldn’t dare just go through the motions and muddle through them, but I’d carefully consider each sentence repeatedly and in detail, trying my best to increase the accuracy of the translation. When finalizing a document, I’d list all the details I needed to check and constantly remind myself that every step needed to be considered thoroughly. I’d check every detail when finalizing and try my best to reduce the number of errors at the final stage. After some time, I was clearly getting better results in my duty and my error rate went down also.
Another sister joined the team later who helped standardize the formatting of the finalized translations. She’d ask me from time to time, “Is this punctuation mark right? What’s the deal with that punctuation?” When she asked a lot of questions, I’d get quite annoyed and think, “It’s too much trouble explaining everything. Just go by the finalized document.” So I just fobbed her off and said: “This is the finalized document. There aren’t any problems with the punctuation. Punctuation in Italian and English are basically the same. Most of it can be handled like English, but there are exceptions. You have to consider the meaning.” Then she asked me, “Our current reference books are the kinds professionals use. I don’t understand some parts. Do we have any simpler documents on Italian punctuation?” I said we didn’t yet. After that I figured I should create a document that new members could refer to, but there were so many punctuation marks. That would mean checking the reference books and would be too much of a hassle. I put it off for the time being. I thought that would be the end of the matter, but when she handled the Italian punctuation like English like I told her in her formatting, she went ahead and deleted all the spaces before and after the dashes in a document over 150,000 words long. I was just stunned when I found out. In Italian, you have to have a space before and after a dash to avoid mixing dashes up with hyphens, which is different from English. But I didn’t tell her about that. There was nothing for it. She had to go back through and correct each one. I felt so bad and regretful. I hated myself and thought, “Why didn’t I just put in a little effort in the first place to make a reference document? Why was I always thinking of the flesh and so afraid of hassle? She had to go through it again all because of my carelessness. It had to be verified again too. That took effort, and the main thing is that it delayed our work progress. Wasn’t that disrupting the work of God’s house?” Those feelings of indebtedness, self-blame and regret welled up again. I just wanted to slap myself across the face. Why am I just making do again? What’s wrong with me?
One time in my devotionals, I came upon a passage of God’s words: “Is it not something within a corrupt disposition to handle things so flippantly and irresponsibly? What thing? It is scumminess; in all matters, they say ‘that’s about right’ and ‘close enough’; it is an attitude of ‘maybe,’ ‘possibly,’ and ‘four-out-of-five’; they do things perfunctorily, are satisfied to do the minimum, and are satisfied to muddle along as they can; they see no point in taking things seriously or striving for precision, and they see less point in seeking principles. Is this not something within a corrupt disposition? Is it a manifestation of normal humanity? To call it arrogance is right, and to call it dissolute is also entirely apt—but to capture it perfectly, the only word that will do is ‘scummy.’ Such scumminess is present in the humanity of a majority of people; in all matters, they wish to do the least possible, to see what they can get away with, and there is a whiff of deceit in everything they do. They cheat others when they can, cut corners when they are able, and are loath to spend much time or thought considering a matter. So long as they can avoid being revealed, and they cause no problems, and they are not called to account, they think all is well, and thus they muddle forward. To them, doing a job well is more trouble than it is worth. Such people learn nothing to mastery, and they do not apply themselves in their studies. They want only to get the broad outline of a subject and then call themselves proficient at it, and then rely on this to muddle their way through. Is this not an attitude people have toward things? Is it a good attitude? This sort of attitude that such people adopt toward people, events, and things is, in a few words, ‘to muddle through,’ and such scumminess exists in all of corrupt mankind” (“For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (9)” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words incisively pointed out the root of my lack of effort in my duty. My scumminess was too serious. I was living from my corrupt satanic disposition, doing everything with a perfunctory and deceitful attitude. When the sister asked me about the proper use of punctuation, I didn’t want the hassle. I didn’t take it seriously and didn’t want too many questions, so I just fobbed her off by telling her to follow a simple rule. And when she asked me about the reference document, I could have made one for her, but when I thought about the cost in terms of my own suffering, I decided not to bother. I was worried about mistakes cropping up, but I still decided to cheat my way through it. It would have been great if I’d saved the effort and things had gone fine. Every time I did things without effort, I was relying on luck to muddle through. I was always looking to use the minimal amount of effort to get by. I wasn’t making a real, honest effort to fulfill my duty by considering every single detail and doing my utmost to ensure there were no mistakes. It looked like I was working, and I was answering questions, but in reality, I was just fooling that sister and being sly. As a result, she trusted my answers and made some serious errors and exhausted herself on fruitless work. She even had to redo huge amounts of work, which slowed down overall work progress and brought losses to the work of the church. The principle behind my actions, to do the easiest, most hassle-free thing, was a principle of harming people. I was using petty tricks to save effort in the short term. I hadn’t suffered physically, but my transgressions in my duty were nonstop and disrupted the work of God’s house. I was harming others and myself! I was tasked with such an important job, but I took it lightly, and was perfunctory, irresponsible, deceitful, and careless, and dismissive of the consequences. I didn’t have the slightest conscience. Only then did I see how serious my scumminess was, how lowly my integrity was, and how worthless I was.
Later on I watched a video of a reading of God’s words. Almighty God says, “If people cannot express what they ought to express during service or achieve what is inherently possible for them, and instead fool about and go through the motions, they have lost the function that a created being should have. Such people are what are known as ‘mediocrities’; they are useless refuse. How can such people properly be called created beings? Are they not corrupt beings that shine on the outside but are rotten within? … Who could your words and actions be worthy of? Could it be that such minuscule sacrifice of yours is worthy of all I have bestowed upon you? I have no other choice and have been wholeheartedly devoted to you, yet you harbor wicked intentions and are half-hearted toward Me. That is the extent of your duty, your only function. Is this not so? Do you not know that you have utterly failed to perform the duty of a created being? How can you be considered a created being? Is it not clear to you what it is you are expressing and living out? You have failed to fulfill your duty, but you seek to gain the tolerance and bountiful grace of God. Such grace has not been prepared for ones as worthless and base as you, but for those who ask for nothing and gladly sacrifice. People such as you, such mediocrities, are utterly unworthy of enjoying the grace of heaven. Only hardship and interminable punishment shall accompany your days! If you cannot be faithful to Me, your fate shall be one of suffering. If you cannot be accountable to My words and My work, your outcome will be one of punishment. All grace, blessings, and the wonderful life of the kingdom shall have nothing to do with you. This is the end you deserve to meet and a consequence of your own making!” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words say, “I have no other choice and have been wholeheartedly devoted to you, yet you harbor wicked intentions and are half-hearted toward Me. That is the extent of your duty.” These words pierced my heart. God gave me the chance to perform my duty, so I could seek and gain the truth through my duty, cast off my corrupt disposition and be saved by God. But instead of seeking the truth, I just cared about the flesh, fobbing off and deceiving God. I thought of how God became flesh to save humankind, enduring enormous humiliation and pain, pursued and persecuted by the government, condemned and rejected by people, but He always expresses the truth and works to save people. Our caliber is lacking so we understand the truth slowly. Not only has God not forsaken us, but He fellowships with us seriously from every angle. He explains all truths in great detail. He tells stories, gives examples and uses metaphors to help us understand. Some truths are complex and touch on many things, so God breaks them down and gives us outlines. He patiently and systematically guides us to understand the truth bit by bit through fellowship. We can see that God takes great responsibility for our lives. But then how did I treat my own duty? I thought that putting in more thought and effort wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t being serious or responsible when reviewing documents. I’d take the path of least resistance without looking at the outcome or the consequences. I’d been taking God’s commission lightly, just skating through. Where was my conscience? I deserved God’s punishment. But God never gave up on saving me. He used His words to enlighten me and lead me, help me know myself and understand God’s will. If I kept slacking off and going through the motions in my duty, I wouldn’t deserve to live or be called human. So I prayed to God: “Almighty God! My scumminess is too serious. I’m not willing to carry on living in this shameful and undignified way. Please give me the strength to practice the truth so that I can live out a true human likeness and fulfill the duty of a created being.”
Later, I read God’s words: “As a human, to accept God’s commission, one must be devoted. One must be completely devoted to God, and cannot be half-hearted, fail to take responsibility, or act based on one’s own interests or moods; this is not being devoted. What does being devoted refer to? It means that while fulfilling your duties, you are not influenced and constrained by moods, environments, people, matters, or things. ‘I have received this commission from God; He has given it to me. This is what I’m supposed to. I will therefore do it regarding it as my own affair, in whichever way yields good results, with importance laid on satisfying God.’ When you have this state, you are not only being controlled by your conscience, but devotedness is also involved. If you are only satisfied with getting it done, without aspiring to be efficient and achieve results, and feel that it is enough simply to put forth some effort, then this is merely the standard of conscience, and cannot be counted as devotion. When you are devoted to God, this standard is a bit higher than the standard of conscience. This, then, is no longer just a matter of putting forth some effort; you also must put your entire heart into it. You must always regard your duty as your own job to do, take burdens for this task, suffer reproach if you make the slightest mistake or if you are slipshod in the slightest, feel that you cannot be this kind of person, because it makes you so unworthy of God. People who genuinely have sense fulfill their duties as though they are their own jobs to do, regardless of whether anyone is supervising. Whether God is happy with them or not and no matter how He treats them, they always have strict demands of themselves to fulfill their duties and complete the commission with which God has entrusted them. This is called devotion” (“Only by Being an Honest Person Can One Be Truly Happy” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words showed me a path of practice. We can’t go by our mood and preferences in our duty, doing whatever we want. We can’t just muddle through when something requires hard work, but we should treat our duty as God’s commission, as our own responsibility. We should put in thought and effort for the best results. However difficult, whether we’re being supervised or not, we should always carry out our duty with all our heart, mind and strength. When I recognized this, I prayed to God, willing to repent and practice according to God’s words. Afterward, I made the time to create a document on punctuation use in Italian for new members to refer to. After that I summarized common problems encountered in translations and listed out everything that required attention. I would check this during document review so nothing would be missed. And when a brother or sister asked me a question on their duty, I wouldn’t just take a cursory look and use my imagination to answer, but carefully consider their question, apply the principles and look for professional knowledge I could use to answer them. When I didn’t understand something, through actual effort coupled with enlightenment and guidance from God, I’d gradually understand it. I also reflected a lot on my incorrect motives in my duty. Whenever I encountered difficulties and wanted to just skate through, I would pray to God to forsake the flesh so I could resolve those issues with the true amount of effort needed. Gradually, my attitude in my duty was corrected significantly and I was muddling through things less. I became able to perform my duty in a steady manner. This change in me was entirely the result of God’s judgment and chastisement. Thanks be to God!
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2020.10.13 23:53 God_Is_Good123 Why I'm KJV Only

First, let's get through some of the weaker objections to KJV Only before we get to the only decent one.
"It's language is archaic. It's too hard to understand. And what about other languages? Thus, it's outdated and falls short of other versions."
Every new "Bible" that hits the market attacks the King James Bible with the flat-out lie that the KJV is too hard to understand. They all claim that the King James Bible is "too archaic." "You can’t understand the Elizabethan language. It’s just too difficult to understand." This is the number one reason people lay down their King James Bible.
However, recent evaluation shows the reading level of the King James Bible to be fifth grade, as a whole—many individual passages would be lower. The modern "Bibles" are shown to be between sixth and ninth grade levels as a whole. The modern versions claim to increase readability when in reality, they often make readability more difficult. Source
Regardless, even if we grant that the KJV is indeed "too archaic," would you rather have a hard to understand but perfect Bible, or an easy to understand but corrupted Bible? I used to be scared to touch the KJV because I really thought it would be too difficult for me to understand. However, God really does bless believers with understanding of His Word if we trust in Him and what He said to guide us. He will give you understanding:
"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."-1 John 2:26-27
KJVO people do not believe that God can't speak to believers through other versions. On the contrary. We just believe that God will gift them with understanding if they do seek out a perfect version, and that they will always come to find out that it's the KJV. God will put the KJV in their hands if they're truly seeking it. If not this, at least a translation in their language that stems from it. Seeing as we know what happened at Pentecost, (Acts 2), none of this is rather too farfetched to assume. After all, with God, all things are possible.
"The KJV doesn't translate the Greek word for (blank) and the Hebrew word for (blank) exactly as said. Therefore, it is a poor translation compared to modern ones."
The KJV is a perfect translation regardless of the Hebrew or Greek because, if we were to translate literally from those languages, we would vastly change things God meant in plain English. For example, nobody wants to translate Shakespeare into modern English. Do you want to know why? Because all the rich language and meaning would be lost if that happened. The Hebrew is for the Hebrew and the Greek is for the Greek. Conversely, the English is for the English translation. This all feeds into what I'm about to say next.
Stripping random Hebrew words out of context is kind of like someone randomly yelling the word "duck" at you while you're taking a stroll through your local park. Okay, well what kind of "duck"? Duck as in "duck and cover," or duck the animal? People are usually throwing around frisbees and balls at the park, after all. But there's also roaming ducks at said park too. Obviously, there must be a distinction and separation made between the two words if the immediate context and minimal information given doesn't definitively lead us down to one conclusion or the other, because we simply don't know all the facts to make such a decision. Making the wrong decision here could lead to wildly different conclusions. Thus, God makes the distinction as easy as possible in every instance like this in the best translated version of the Bible. The KJV.
If we cannot find the definitive meaning of something in an original language on our own for the context given simply being too vague by itself, God usually, if not, always makes something clear for us by using a different word and/or phrase in English (specifically for the KJV) to convey what He originally meant. If we translated the exact same things said word for word, the original message could be perverted and/or lost on us for attempting to decide upon what to do next in situations like this (despite requiring knowledge only God has). Putting ourselves in the position to make such decisions in situations where this happens in Scripture (of which are many) would be the equivalent of putting ourselves in the place of God.
This kind of ludicrous attitude is what “scholars" have committed to in translating modern "Bibles" and have been doing so for as long as we can remember. It's woefully wrong and it's the reason why we have hundreds upon thousands of perversions found in Scripture by modern translations, and also why we see so much sorely mistaken and unbiblical doctrine all throughout the known Christian world. [Note, Greek and Hebrew words can actually have anywhere between 5 to 13 different definitions. Not just two. This is just an example of showing the problem for words that could simply have 2 meanings. Not only that, but all the “lexicons" for these words can't even agree with each other on what each specific definition for each specific word is. And no “scholar” even agrees on what's the best “lexicon” to use. Who's the final authority here then? Obviously, “scholars” believe it's you.]
"Why the KJV out of all the other versions? Why not the ESV or NIV? Thus, KJV Only is silly."
Logically speaking, God is perfect and should very easily be able to preserve His word. Thus, there must be a perfect Bible out there without the need to delve into "the Greek" or "the Hebrew" or cross reference other fallible "Bibles.” After considering all the evidence, I've come to the conclusion that that perfect, inerrant, authoritative word of God (Bible) is the KJV. My logic of there being a perfect Bible (whether or not it's the KJV does not matter) is supported by and filtered through Scripture first and foremost:
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."-Matthew 24:35
Let's look at some verses, shall we?
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."-2 Timothy 3:16-17
According to the Word of God, "the man of God" is perfect if he has the Scriptures in his hands and abides by them and only them. Why would the Bible make such a proclamation, if there was not one book for the man to depend upon? Do you think that God would make it difficult to know His truth, or that He would lock it behind language barriers, cultural contexts, and various manuscripts in multiple places rather than simply put it all in one place to be easily accessible to all?
"Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."-Hebrews 10:7
Notice, this verse says book (as in singular) and not "books." There must be one book from which we derive all our doctrine. Otherwise, things would be confusing ("For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints"; 1 Cor. 14:33) and it could be harder for someone to get saved, despite Jesus saying it only requires child-like faith to come to God and nothing more:
"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight."-Luke 10:21
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."-Luke 18:17
"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."-Matthew 18:1-5
Do you really think learning a whole new language and pouring over thousands upon thousands of manuscripts could be considered "child-like" faith?
"The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me."-Psalm 116:6
Reading the Gospels as ancient documents to be analyzed, dissected and read in their original languages may be a legitimate activity in its own right, but you’ll never come to faith in that way. That would be like performing literary source criticism on a love letter in order to get to know your beloved better. God is not limited by time, space, and the whims of culture and human language. His Word was meant to withstand the test of time, and be preserved. And we know this because the Scriptures say so.
"The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."-Psalm 12:6-7
The point I'm trying to make here is that English speakers have an easier path to the Word of God through simply approaching and reading the KJV, rather than having to learn a whole new language. Maybe someone decides to learn Hebrew and/or Greek, and that's great. But for the rest of us who don't, doctrinal sacrifices (most specifically those pertaining to the subject of salvation, as I'm well aware the rest of the Bible is rich with deeper meaning that requires one to study; Pro. 25:2 cf. 2 Timothy 2:15) aren't suddenly being made if we decide to make that decision. Since I'm KJVO, I'm perfectly fine with the belief that God preserved His Word in the English language through that version. If someone cannot speak English, then any other version translated using the KJV's manuscripts would do just fine for that person's language. Simple as that.
Now let's look at some other passages.
"And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."-Luke 4:20-21
This passage, again, seems to make clear that there is one book, and that everything you can learn about what God has decided to reveal to man is found in one place.
"And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”-Deuteronomy 8:3
Why would God starve His children by making it unnecessarily difficult for us to find His perfect preserved Word? Not only that, but this verse says that by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God does a man live. Not just some here and some there, but every. Would God sprinkle some of His Word here, or there? Or would He simply put it all in one place?
Fortunately, Scripture has already answered this for us: He would put it all in one place:
"Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book."-Jeremiah 30:2
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."-Joshua 1:8
"Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them."-Isaiah 34:16
God promised He would preserve His word forever. This promise of preservation goes beyond just the general message of the Scriptures to the very words themselves (Psa. 12:6-7). God did not promise He will preserve His word (singular), but His words (plural). If not every word God breathed-out is preserved, then we cannot say with certainty that the Scriptures are pure and inerrant.
Now, let's look at how God feels when we try to put words in His mouth or intentionally leave out what He says, as well as a commandment He gives in regards to this:
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."-Deuteronomy 4:2
"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."-Proverbs 30:5-6
"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."-Revelation 22:18-19
I'm not "KJV Only" just because it's the KJV. I'm first and foremost a big believer of God being able to preserve His words, then am I KJV only. It's not the other way around. I come to the first conclusion, then the second after the fact. That means I pour through all the evidence of the KJV being the perfect Bible after having realized there must be a perfect version. KJVO folks do not conflate the two processes. If God led us to believe it was the ESV, then that's what we've would've considered as perfect. It's the same with every other version. But alas, we always come to the conclusion that it's the KJV after considering all the facts and evidence supporting it, not before.
"For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."-Psalm 119:89
What I've shown you here does indeed establish the fact that there is one book, and one place where you can find all of God's Word in full. If "KJV Onlyism" is "bad" because we believe God can actually preserve His Word like He said He did, then all I have to say is Romans 3:4.
In the proceeding arguments, I intend to present all the evidence that leads KJVO to believe that it can only be the King James Bible that fits the description of a perfect, inerrant, authoritative Word of God, in contrast to every other version that simply cannot conceivably fill that very specific role in a Christian man or woman's practice of their faith.
"The KJV doesn't use the oldest manuscripts that we have available and, thus, has errors and scribe additions."
This is the most typical response I get when I say I'm KJV Only. However, older doesn't always mean better. And I'll show you why.
The KJV translators used the 1525 Daniel Bomberg, 2nd edition of the Jacob Ben-Chayyim Masoretic text for the Old Testament and the Received Text (otherwise known as Textus Receptus), originally published by Roman Catholic scholar Desiderius Erasmus, for the New Testament. These are considered the best original language texts for the following reasons:
  1. They represent the majority of ancient, manuscript witnesses.
  2. These manuscripts were used consistently and without interruption by God’s believing people. In fact, they can be traced all the way back to Antioch, where "the disciples" were first called Christians (Acts 11:16). Almost every time you read about Antioch, it's only positives. God did nothing but bless Antioch, used Paul to correct it immediately whenever things got out of hand, and delivered Paul whenever it did (Acts 6:5; 11:19-30; 13:1-4; 14:26-28; 15:35-41; 18:22-23; Gal. 2:11-21; 2 Tim. 3:11). If these manuscripts were good enough for Paul, then they should be good enough for us.
  3. These manuscripts were never lost to the “sea of time” or ever laid aside by God’s people. They were continually copied and re-copied and show signs of being worn out from use, thus indicating the confidence God’s people placed in them as being God’s holy Word.
Yet, on the other hand, the original language texts used to translate modern versions must be rejected for the following reasons:
  1. The manuscripts utilized by modern translations are few and represent the minority of witnesses.
  2. Those manuscripts have their origin in and around Alexandria, Egypt, an area infamously known for false teaching. With even Origen, (an early Church father), himself admitting this. Antioch and Alexandria are both mentioned for the first time in Acts 6. In contrast to Antioch, Alexandria is only mentioned 4 times in the Bible, but each time it is, it's never good. And every single modern Bible today comes from Alexandria (Acts 6:9; 18:24-26; 27:26; 28:11).
  3. The manuscripts utilized by modern translations are in pristine condition (comparatively to the ones used for the KJV), indicating they were never used by God’s people.
  4. Those manuscripts give the appearance they were altered or corrupted by heretical men who desired to undermine Christian doctrine.
People like to depend on the Alexandrian manuscripts because they're "older" than the Masoretic and Textus Receptus manuscripts. Newsflash: Older doesn't always mean better. Again, God is easily able to preserve His word. Why would He have any trouble keeping His word by administrating godly men in history to preserve, re-copy, and translate the manuscripts they had in their appropriate times, despite them seemingly being further ahead compared to the "older," yet, fallible Papyrus/Alexandrian manuscripts? It's simple to reconcile these facts when you realize the manuscripts for the KJV were used quite often and that the Alexandrian/Papyrus texts weren't. Hence why we don't seemingly have any "older" texts that are used for the KJV (and why they had to be copied and re-copied) in comparison to newemodern "Bibles" due to worn out use for the former and little to no use for the latter (with "wear and tear" for "older" texts being due most notably to the passage of time, not use).
When confronted with the reality of these facts, I get told:
"Well it's not like any important doctrine is being affected here, it's fine. You're just being silly and overzealous."
Actually, core doctrine is indeed being put in danger by all these modern "Bibles." Don't believe me? Look at the staggering number of "Bibles" that strip a key verse in Acts. Specifically, Acts 8:37. Want to know what that verse is? I'll give the verses right before and after it so as to give it some context:
"[36] And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? [37] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. [38] And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."-Acts 8:36-38
Just look at what this looks like when you remove this passage of verse 37. This is where you get all your Catholics believing that baptism comes before salvation, effectively making your salvation dependent on works. The crazy thing is, these Alexandrian manuscripts aren't even consistent in their heretical theology! They not only strip and add to God's word flippantly, but they make doctrinal statements that contradict each other all over the place and support a wide variety of heretical beliefs which include (but are not limited to): Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Jehovah's Witness theology, Eastern Orthodox, arianism, annihilationism, universalism, gnosticism, “humanism,” and so much more.
Another example would be even the most popular verse of the entire Bible not being immune to this treatment. John 3:16:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Go ahead and look for yourself how many modern "Bibles" omit the word "begotten" here, effectively making Jesus look like a son (small s) of God (as if a created being like an angel or human) and not the only begotten Son (big S) of God (Who is, obviously, not created)...
It's subtle things like this that you'll find sprinkled everywhere throughout modern versions. The first recorded words of the serpent were “Yea, hath God said [...?]” (Gen. 3:1). This question was designed to instill doubt and uncertainty about the trustworthiness and authority of God’s words. God had spoken clearly to our first parents; they were obliged to believe and obey. Then the serpent appeared, and the authority of God’s Word was his first target. The enemy has never stopped attacking that target; indeed, he continues to this day. He wants to undermine our trust in the authority of God’s Word. Once we understand this strategy, we realize the battle for the Bible isn’t a modern phenomenon. It’s part of a battle stretching back to Eden.
Among the many differences between the King James Version and most modern translations of the Bible, one of the most significant is in 1 John 5:7. The KJV contains a longer reading called the "Comma Johanneum" which is not present in almost any modern translations. The verse in reference, in the KJV, reads:
"[7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. [8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."-1 John 5:7-8
[Note, I include verse 8 for reasons that I am about to make clear by way of quoting another translation's reading of both verses 7 and 8.]
Obviously, this a clear proclamation of the Triune nature of God. It is the clearest we've ever gotten and scholars still see to it to remove it any chance they get for dependence on Alexandrian manuscripts. Let's look at a modern "Bible's" reading of the verse. The NIV:
"[7] For there are three that testify: [8] the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement."-1 John 5:7-8
This modern "Bible" not only omits pretty much the entirety of verse 7, but also the words "there are three that bear witness in earth" in verse 8 so as to try and make the two frankensteined verses make any sense. It even says "these three are in agreement" rather than "these three agree in one" in verse 8.
This is a deliberate attack on the Trinity.
I am not being "overzealous." I do not believe you need to read the KJV to be saved. I just believe that, if there is a perfect version out there, believers should obviously take advantage of that, no? Reading a corrupted Bible, then, would be like reading God's Word with the lamp off versus simply turning the light on (KJV). Not only this, but if there is a perfect Bible, it'll certainly make it easier to shut down Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Catholics, and other heretical beliefs with ease if we could all simply agree upon there being one sole, perfect, inerrant, and authoritative Bible/Word of God. It could very well lead many others who are lost to the aforementioned heresies to being saved, in fact. So, this is awfully important to get right.
With all that being said, there is one, (and only one), decent point raised by critics of KJVO. The point in reference being:
"If the 1611 AV is in fact the preserved word of God, why do contemporary re-printings of it omit the apocryphal texts it first included?"
The answer to this oft raised question is actually pretty easy. Before giving that answer, however, we need to address some things first concerning the Apocrypha and give some background information on both it and the KJV, so that the final answer I give to this question will have fuller effect.
Apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible. While Catholic tradition considers some of these texts to be deuterocanonical, Protestants consider them, well, apocryphal. The main reason as to why Roman Catholics receive the apocryphal books as Scripture is because the Roman Catholic Church says so. Since they believe that the church is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice, whatever it says is final. Therefore, the matter is not up for debate (for them, at least). There are other reasons why they regard Apocrypha as canon, but I am not going to cover all of them due to the fact that the KJV already does not include the Apocrypha. (Yes, I know the 1611 KJV once did, but I'm getting to that. Hold your horses.).
The Apocrypha include added books and texts such as: Tobit, Judith, Baruch including the "Letter of Jeremiah" as the 6th chapter or standalone book, Sirach, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Additional verses to Esther, Additional verses to Daniel: Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24–90) Susanna and the Elders (Vulgate Daniel 13) Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14)
In these books is essentially the doctrines of purgatory and salvation by works (through the practices of praying for the dead and tithes/almsgiving for both). This is woefully wrong. However, for the sake of the argument (and time), I'm going to simply establish some of the reasons why we as Protestants do not include the Apocrypha within our Bibles, rather than go into finer detail as to why the Apocrypha does, in fact, contradict the rest of Scripture (though, if one is interested in finding out said contradictions for themselves, they can click here for more information):
  1. The Apocrypha is never cited in the New Testament as Scripture. Though the New Testament cites directly, or alludes to, almost every book of the Old Testament as Scripture, it never cites the Apocrypha as being God's Word. The Apocrypha was not the Bible of Jesus or His apostles. While Jesus and His apostles often quoted the Masoretic Text, they never quoted the Apocrypha. While there may be some allusions to the apocryphal books by New Testament writers, there is no direct quote from them. An allusion is not the same as a direct quote.
In addition, no New Testament writer ever refers to any of these books as authoritative. Quotes from the accepted books are usually introduced by the phrase, "It is written," or the passage is quoted to prove a point. But never do the New Testament writers quote the Apocrypha in this way. Furthermore, no book of the Apocrypha is mentioned by name in the New Testament.
If the writers of the New Testament considered the Apocrypha to be Scripture, we would certainly expect them to refer to it in some way. However, we find no direct quotations. This is in contrast to over 250 quotations from the authoritative Old Testament Scriptures.
The fact that the present canon was repeatedly quoted as being divinely authoritative as well as the absence of any direct quote is an indication of the extent of the canon - it did not include the Apocrypha. [Note, I'm well aware some believe that the book of Enoch, a book considered by both Protesants and Catholics to be apocryphal, was quoted by Jude. However, there is evidence suggesting Jude wasn't actually citing 1 Enoch, but that it was/is the other way around instead. Some of that evidence can be found and expounded upon here.]
  1. The Apocrypha has always been rejected by the Jews as Scripture and, therefore, could not have been part of the Jewish canon at the time of Christ's life. The Jews have never considered these works to be divinely inspired. They explicitly denied their authority. At the time of Christ we have the testimony of the Jewish writer Flavius Josephus that there were only twenty-two books divinely inspired by God. These books are the same as our thirty-nine in the Old Testament. The books of the Apocrypha were not among these. The same testimony is found in Second Esdras - the Ezra legend. This work was written in A.D. 100. Therefore, these books were never part of the Hebrew canon of Scripture.
  2. The books of the Apocrypha were written during the four hundred silent years between the Book of Malachi and the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist. Jewish and New Testament sources both agree that no divinely inspired prophetic utterance of extra-revelation occurred during this time.
The common argument I hear against this line of reasoning would be:
"Why would the Jews, who denied Christ, know anything about what should be in the Old Testament anyway?"
Another argument against my position (that position being that the KJV doesn't include the Apocrypha and, therefore, the Apocrypha should not be considered as inspired), would be:
"Well the original 1611 KJV had the Apocrypha. It wasn't removed until much later in 1885. If the original KJV is supposed to be the Holy Word of God, removing the Apocrypha negates that statement and begs the question: 'Is the current KJV sans the Apocrypha the Holy Word of God?'"
Well, here's the kicker. Lo and behold, the Apocrypha are found within the Septuagint which was made for a Jewish community in Egypt when Greek was the common language throughout the region. I've already established in my previous defenses why you shouldn't trust any of the Coptic, Alexandrian, and Papyrus manuscripts. So, the Septuagint translation proves nothing. The fact that the Apocrypha is found in the Septuagint translation does not prove anything in the slightest. In fact, all it does is merely testify that the Alexandrian Jews translated other religious material into Greek apart from the Old Testament Scripture. A Greek translation is not the same thing as a book being part of the Hebrew canon.
The Apocrypha were even labeled as non-canonical by Saint Jerome, a 4th century monk and scholar who made the original translation from the original languages in Latin that is still, to this day even, used by the Roman Catholic church. Even at the time of Saint Jerome's translation, (the only scholar around his time who knew Hebrew), the Apocrypha could only be found in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Jewish Canon finished during the silent years, which, we've already established as a problem considering both Jewish and New Testament sources agreeing that no new and divinely inspired revelation occurred during this time. Because of these reasons, (amongst many others), Jerome felt the Apocrypha didn't belong and held no value (the meaning of apocryphal is "these don't belong"). He only kept them at the behest of his friend Saint Augustine. Saint Jerome, mind you, is yet another early Church father amongst the many (including Origen, as I previously stated) that testify to the fallibility of the heretical Alexandrian manuscripts.
Another typical argument against what's been said here, (and one in support of the validity of the Septuagint), would be the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, which, are Papyrus manuscripts that included some of the apocrypha and are dated to being written at around 3 B.C. to first century A.D. Again, this argument already falls flat on its face considering I have already shown you just how "dependable" these manuscripts are in my defense for the KJV as well as the impossibility of anything coming from the silent years. If you're a Protestant reading this, you should seriously reconsider which manuscripts you put your trust in, considering literally no Apocrypha are found in the Masoretic Text, versus the Septuagint in contrast. I say this because I see modern day Protestants everywhere scoff at the mere mention of KJVO due to the KJV translating from the Masoretic Text instead of the obviously corrupted Septuagint, which, many Protestants will quickly consider the latter more trustworthy than the former, despite everything I've said. It's just something I find strange and, quite honestly, ironic.
Furthermore, I want to finally address the argument that suggests the KJV is fallible due to firstly including the Apocrypha and later removing it. Let's go to 1560 where the Reformation was, by this time, in full swing.
By this time, there are already several available translations of the Bible in English (the Wycliffe's Bible from the 14th century, William Tyndale's work from the early 1520's, the Coverdale Bible which used Tyndale's translations of translations of the Vulgate [the Vulgate being Jerome's translation, mind you], the Matthew's Bible which was the first from the original languages, and the Great Bible which was a rework of Matthew's). The Reformers in Geneva decided to translate their own Bible as better texts became available (both for translation and instruction/reference) and they created the Geneva Bible. The first Bible with verse markings (the chapters we still use today were invented in 1412 at the University of Paris), the first with comprehensive text notes, translational notes, and chapter headings. This was a joint venture by some of the best scholars and translators of the Reformation and is still recognized in academic and theological circles as one of the best translations ever done as far as accuracy and readability. The 1560 Geneva Bible contained the Apocrypha, but it was separated from the rest of Scripture and contained almost no marginal notes. Many later editions of the Geneva Bible did not even contain the Apocrypha. Fast forward to 1611 and we've got a retranslation based on the Geneva Bible.
This is the King James Bible.
The King James Bible was authorized by King James 1st of England and was translated against the Vatican's wishes. It took 7 years to complete, (hence why it's titled the 1611 KJV). The Apocrypha were still included in the KJV at this time for historical reference, not doctrine. Seeing the treatment of the Apocrypha by the creators of the Geneva Bible only attests to that fact even further. It was neither holy nor inspired and its translators understood this. It just wasted space in the Bible. Not only this, but it too was separated from the rest of Scripture, just like in the Geneva Bible. This is in stark contrast to Catholic "Bibles" today that not only include but also integrate the Apocrypha with the rest of Scripture.
Fast forward even further to 1885 and we see the removal of the Apocrypha in the KJV. The reasons are as follows:
  1. It was around 1885 when the masses learned how to read instead of a privileged few (wealthy and educated).
  2. The printing press made everything easier making the KJV available to everyone versus the few copies handwritten by scribes.
  3. More people started seeing the contradictions within Scripture. Namely in the Apocrypha versus the rest of Scripture. Considering the treatment of the Apocrypha by those who created the Geneva Bible and those, at this time, being made aware of the history and origins of it, it's unsurprising why there's a removal of the fallible texts in the KJV. The absolute best argument against this act of "heretical removal" (as the Catholics like to put it) was the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls which includes some of (not even all) the Apocrypha. That argument, however, no longer works after having already established as such.
The reason we see this removal of the Apocrypha in the King James Bible is because God never wanted it there in the first place. The only reason the Apocrypha was even included in the original 1611 KJV was for historical reference purposes. Not doctrinal. People saw it somewhat valuable for the former but disregarded it when it came to the latter. When, as I said, the masses began to learn how to read instead of only a very privileged few, everyone saw it a waste of space in their Bibles and recognized its uninspired nature due to not only the history and origins behind it, (despite not yet knowing about the very obviously corrupted Dead Sea scrolls at this time), but also its wealth of stark contradictions to the rest of Scripture. The only reason it was easy for people to pick and point out the contradictions was because it was separated from the rest of Scripture by being placed smack in the middle between the Old Testament and the New. If it weren't for this, you'd have an incredibly corrupted KJV as well as every other Protestant Bible probably including and integrating the Apocrypha too.
Knowing everyone and everything the Bible had to go through just for this to happen, this removal should be considered a miracle. This is one of those “God had to be at play here" moments. I know this to be the case due to what I'm about to say. The final nail in the coffin:
God’s Word(s), based upon Psalm 12:6-7, has gone through a seven-fold purification process in the English language. Beginning with Wycliffe's Lollard translations (not yet purified), then Tyndale's Bible (purified once), Coverdale's Bible (purified twice), Matthew's Bible (purified 3 times), the Great Bible (purified 4 times), the Geneva Bible (purified 5 times), and then the King James Bible, (or Authorized Version; purified a 6th and 7th time).
This providentially guided process certified the purity of God’s Word as He divinely guided the translators to burn off any dross by their continual translation. Therefore, the King James Bible represents the culmination of purity.
This is the hand of God.
"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."-Psalm 118:8
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