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Published: Thursday, Feb. 9 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

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scojos
Draper, UT

Nothing in this article offers "historical" facts or historical empirical wisdom or process.According to the writer Level A is the day to day litany preached without the need for any doubt,research or historical reference.The writer states that Level A is the "obvious truth of the gospel". If the truth was so obvious why write the article? Level B can be dismissed entirely because it is "anti". "Kimbell remarked that the church isn't eager to expose its members to such problems" because the "church isn't some sort of floating seminar in historiography". If that's the case then why write this article? I was expecting some historical enlightment in Level C. The writer states that level C is the synthesis of Levels A & B. But there was nothing put on the table to be sythesisized! Level A was blind acceptance and Level B was blind unacceptance! So what does the writer say about the synthetic byproduct. "The claims of the Restoration do, in fact (none given so far)stand up to historical examination, (none cited so far), although very likely by divine design" Note by divine design, not by historical relativity.He concludes that the "truth is neither so blazingluy obvious nor so indisputable as to compel acceptance" His "compel acceptance" is the real "tell" of his article, like back to Level A. Obey!

Commonman
HENDERSON, NV

I am in the synthesis level. As a graduate student, I am challenged daily in the historiography. I have found that my studies have strengthened my beliefs rather than weakened them. If you are disappointed that Dan Peterson didn't hold your hand and take you to every (or any) A and B level places, all you have to do is read the comments section in the news online every day for the past year. If you want level C, you are going to have to get busy and dig for it, though it is easier and harder because of the internet. If you need answers go look for them. I don't have a testimony of history, to many imperfect people on all sides inhabit it. I do know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truth restored.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Commonman - likewise to your "knowing" that it is truth restored, me and the rest of the 99.9 % of the earths population "know" that is isn't. So who is right?

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@scojos
I'm not sure if I was able to follow it but I think this is what was meant.

A is... shall we call it... whitewashed history, or basically only the positives presented.

B is the dirty history which doesn't inherently mean the church is false, just that these are the details that are dwelt on by antis and avoided at times by members. Something like Joseph Smith character flaws. Obviously none is perfect save Christ so his flaws don't necessarily mean he's not a prophet but those flaws are things that members frequently ignore and generally aren't presented in sunday school, but are brought up frequently by antis.

The idea of C is that with the combination of A and B you get a complete history to work with that isn't biased in favor or against the church from which to work with.

Verdad
Orem, UT

scojos, I think you need to re-read the article, because I don't believe that you're accurately representing what Peterson wrote.

Brahmabull, do 99.9% of the world's inhabitants really claim to "know" that Mormonism is false? Do you have survey data to back up your claim? I'm curious to know whether the polling percentages were at all different in northern India and southern India. And how, exactly, do the results from the island of Sumatra compare to those that you or your source got on the island of Borneo?

Personally, I'm astonished that 99.9% of the residents of such places have even HEARD of Mormonism.

pmccombs
Orem, UT

Commonman is right, for those who desire to be ranked in the arbitrary and make-believe categories presented here. You do have to "dig" for this sort of synthesis. Have you ever watched a professional hypnotist at work? He doesn't do much at all, other than petition the desires and beliefs of his subjects. _They_ do all of the (shall we say) "digging," and at the end of this effort they find a sure witness of every word that comes from their master's mouth. Can you see this? Yes, we can. Can you smell it? Hear it? FEEL it? Indeed, without question!

How do we know that "Level C" is not more a reflection of desire than of reality? After all, the Catholic apologist (among others) makes his religion stand equally firm under the scrutiny of historic inquiry; its adherents also convinced in part by the personal experience of the Holy Ghost and the confirmed miracles of God that THEIRS is, in fact, the only saving Church on the face of the earth. How now shall I believe?

donn
layton, UT

The Restoration stands up to history. Versus Reformation. The cry of the reformers were the 5 solas:
1 Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone") 2 Sola fide ("by faith alone")3 Sola gratia ("by grace alone")
4 Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone") Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone"
1. Sola scriptura is the teaching that the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative word of God and is the only source for Christian doctrine.
Roman Catholics and the Reformers both agreed that the creeds were statement of faith based on the Scriptures(Bible) only . Example of 2 things not restored, Baptism for the dead and pre-existence of souls had been condemned by early church councils.
Polygamy is sin; The Fifth Commandment (EX 20:12) "Honor your father and your mother⦠Not your other or mothers.

Main Street Plaza
Salt Lake City, UT

The headline reads "The Restoration stands up to history" but inside the piece, the author admits "There are areas of ambiguity, even unresolved problems, in church history." If that's a Level A lede and a Level B observation, what would be the Level C takeaway? Whatever it is, by definition, wouldn't it render the headline inaccurate?

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Verdad - it is quite simple. 99.9% of the earths population is not mormon. Muslims, catholics, and anybody with any other belief "know" that they have the truth in their particular religion just as mormons claim to "know" that their church is the only true church. Would those muslims be involved in suicide acts if they didn't "know" that what they were doing is right and true. Yet it can't be. Muslims, mormons, catholics can't all be right. And a church that claims to be the only true church, yet only has 14 million members is quite rediculous.

The main point is nobody "knows"... they may believe with all they have, yet they cannot know.

Dennis
Harwich, MA

What exactly was restored??? There was NO organized church 2000 years ago.
This article doesn't stand up to itself.

Verdad
Orem, UT

Brahmabull, your reasoning is self-contradictory. According to you, 99.9% of mankind "know" that Mormonism is untrue because they "know" that their own religions ARE true.

With this in mind, you say that "a church that claims to be the only true church, yet only has 14 million members is quite rediculous."

You continue on to say that "The main point is nobody 'knows'... they may believe with all they have, yet they cannot know."

By your own account, though, at least 99.9% of mankind -- and, in fact, maybe 100% of them, since your 99.9% deliberately excludes the Mormons -- believe that they CAN know.

Doesn't this, by your reasoning, make your position (that they CANNOT know) "ridiculous"? If being a member of a relatively small minority (of only fourteen million) makes one "ridiculous," what about YOU?

If you respond that virtually every other human being is wrong on this point, you fatally undercut your position that the mere fact of being in a minority proves a person not only mistaken but "ridiculous."

Thinkman
Provo, UT

How is the restored gospel in fact true?

What evidence is there that the Book of Mormon is truly a record of people who emigrated from Israel around 600 BC?

What evidence do we have that the temple ordinances are divine?

What proof do we have that Thomas Monson has been chosen by God?

All of these claims and many others made by the LDS church are just that, claims and not truths.

After living my life on Level A but then reading LDS church-sourced books and documents before the Internet Age, I fought against anybody that was "anti-mormon" for the next 15+ years. I have since realized that by so doing, I was "anti-thinking" and "anti-reasoned."

I'm not on Level B nor on Level C but rather on I guess Level D as I don't believe the LDS church to be any more inspired than the Baptist or any other "church." I believe in God but I don't believe that any human being on the planet speaks for God for another. I view the LDS church as an organization that is comprised of mostly well-meaning good people and leaders. I think that most though are too used to just bowing their head and saying yes and are indeed, "anti-thinking and anti-reasoned."

Caprice
PROVIDENCE, UT

Thank you for this excellent article. It was very enlightening and greatly appreciated. The writer is well informed and makes perfect sense to anyone who is not angry for one's own inward reasons. I too know that the Church of Latter-day Saints is truth restored. It is indeed the exact same church that Christ established on the earth prior to His crucifixion. God bless you, Dan Peterson, for your in tact article.

JohnEspley
RINER, VA

Very interesting article. If Dr. Peterson finds out where Dr. Kimball's original article can be found, I hope that information will be made available. I would like to read Dr. Kimball's original article, but Dr. Peterson's summary reflects my own opinion about LDS Church history.

John Wilson
Idaho Falls, 00

Nice scholorly work Mr. Peterson. Unfortunately, I think you were writing beyond the understanding level of most of the readers. They wanted you to provide "proofs" about LDS history. To me that was clearly not the intent of your article. I have enjoyed reading your articles, and look forward to future submissions.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Verdad - the point I was trying to make, which apparantly you missed, is that nobody can truly KNOW if their religion is the truth. See, if the muslims know, and the catholics know, and the mormons know, then there is a problem. Clearly they can't all be right. And you can't put your own beliefs (mormonism) above others stating that you know it is right, and they must all be wrong. They can't all be right, so how could they all get the witness that theirs is truth if it isn't? Somewhere there is a problem with the method in determining what truth is. 500 million catholics is pretty powerful - many I am sure are quite certain that they have the truth. So people should stop saying they KNOW, because clearly they can't.

Gramajane
OAKLEY, ID

When I studied math in my first few years of school, (kind of like the level A study of religion) we learned to know that certain symbols represented amounts and that with using the symbols/numbers we could know how much of whatever we had. We learned to add, subtract, divide and multiply. It worked in life. We could make money, buy and sell products and enjoy life. For most of us that is all we needed to know of math.

Then we were introduced to fractions and there was algebra, where we learned that 1 + -1 = 0 ?! At first it seemed that they had lied to us in grade school? One plus one does not ALWAYS make two?? WHAT?? Then we were introduced to geometry and more "higher math". What are all these letters doing mixed in with my math problems? Why don't they just give us the facts to start with? Why are they "hiding" things??? We may have felt confused and betrayed.

If we manage to not "quit school to run away and join a circus" (or todays' equivalent)-- we may just get to level C.--- IF we hang in there to study, listen well, and do our homework, trusting that the teachers probably know what they are talking about, as their lives seem to be in order and we know of so many who have graduated from college?

Now, for some of us, a LITTLE algebra is enough, we are more the business math type. We may decide we don't really need calculus or physics (or to find the solution to every anti challenge), because what we have/know, gets us where we want to go. We do not have to spend our time on calculus problems etc because we can see that people are a bit like plants, in that "by their fruits ye shall know them." The fruits of the LDS are good.

We enjoy our freedom and allow everyone to make their choices & mistakes as we can usually return to school even in old age (repentance). We just encourage people to not "drop out" when they hit the higher math (level C), nor judge others as idiots or worse.

It has worked for me and now I like to think of myself kind of like a free "math tutor", where I encourage others to check with the whole flow of the Bible, see if the info source is canonized, (Journal of Discourses is not) if the quote is in context, if this is just a "strawman", or a distortion that ends up so distorted that it is a lie. Does the promoter of this information have a conflict of interest, or maybe they just trusted the person that gave them the info, though that person didn't do their due diligence, but only accepted the professionally paid anti works at face value?

I don't enjoy higher math in real life, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel!

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

We are basically being told by Brahmabull that no one can know the truth about things spiritual because it is all in the mind and nothing concrete. Yet, the Lord constantly tells us through the Holy Scriptures (whether the Bible or the Book of Mormon) that we CAN know the truth of all things. All we have to do is ask and it shall be given to us. Knowledge comes from practical experience just as much as it does through someone teaching it to us.

The Holy Ghost reveals all spiritual truth to us if we ask with a sincere heart, real intent and with complete humility. Yet, others state this is hogwash, you can't know. They refuse to acknowledge that this truth is able to be obtained. They simply follow the ideas of the flesh versus the mysteries of God. It doesn't meet their criteria so you can't know. THIS IS FALSE. You can know and it is able to be obtained. Yes, I DO KNOW that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints is the only true and living Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. That knowledge has come through direct revelation to me.

Michigander
Westland, MI

Very true. The Restoration does stand up as genuine American church history. However, the subsequent LDS church's falsification and whitewashing of it certainly does not. And yes, Bill in Nebraska, I DO KNOW that the LDS Church is NOT the only true and living Church on the earth.

Searching . . .
Orem, UT

Gramajane:

Your example really isn't analogous to the thesis/antithesis/synthesis that Dr. Peterson is presenting here. The antithesis of addition/subtraction isn't fractions or algebra; they are simply expansions of the basic mathematics. All of the thesis/antithesis was performed over thousands of years. The thesis was performed primarily by the Greeks as they developed mathematics. Then, and over the ensuing years, antitheses were performed and theses proven or discarded and synthesis was achieved. In elementary school through high school, you were the beneficiary of this synthesis.

The problem with religion is that it is so subjective. The religious thesis/antithesis/synthesis journey is a personal journey that cannot be fully shared with others. You cannot give your inner feelings to someone else, you can only relate or explain them in the hopes that someone else will have similar feelings. For history, it depends on the documentation that is available. So much can be lost that this model can become essential.

The problem with Dr. Peterson's article is that he begins with a premise that the thesis is true, that the antithesis is a direct onslaught by evil people to destroy the thesis, and that the synthesis will be acceptance of the truth of the thesis with slight alterations to allow for undeniable antithetical truths. That is a biased and dishonest approach to arriving at truth. Instead, the thesis should be viewed dispassionately, the antithesis be given as much weight, each researched and evaluated, those elements that don't pass inspection discarded and the rest synthesized into the accepted truth, whatever it may be.

Everything should be evaluated, including feelings that you have during each stage of the journey. For example, Bill in Nebraska claims that we can "know the truth of all things" through asking Jesus. This is the thesis. We know because the Bible tells us so. The antithesis: But how do we know that the Bible is truthful? Pray to God to get the answer that the Bible is true so we can trust it to tell us that God answers our prayers which tell us that the Bible is true so we can trust it to tell us that God answers our prayers . . . Circular logic. Synthesis would be to bring the two of these together in a way that make sense personally, and that would probably come down to a battle between feelings and logic. I personally side with logic, and Bill, evidently, with feelings.

The thesis/antithesis/synthesis model is an effective tool when used correctly. Unfortunately, Dr. Peterson didn't explain that method.

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