Defending the Faith: Let's not overcorrect doctrinal differences


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  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 5, 2012 9:10 a.m.

    Bill McGee

    - You made a great point, and I have thought about that many times. The mormon church puts so much emphasis on Joseph Smith that it is almost like he is their version of the virgin Mary. They don't pray to him or anything, but you are right, you can go weeks hearing about Joseph Smith and not hear hardly anything about Christ. Kind of odd, and a striking similarity to the virgin Mary story. I have even seen plenty of housed with pictures of Joseph Smith, yet not one picture of Christ....

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Nov. 5, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    Mark C,

    An excellent point. Folks sometimes try to beat us over the head with the "as far as it is translated correctly" thing but then they go on about how this book in the Bible is dubious or this couple of verses are not original, etc., etc.

    I come away thinking that our qualification is far less than theirs is.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 5, 2012 8:04 a.m.

    RE; Mark C,Well, as far as it is translated correctly." The answer should be
    more properly "YES, we do.". true,
    The original articles of faith. #8 We believe in the Word of God recorded in
    the Bible; we also believe the Word of God recorded in the Book of Mormon, and
    in all other good books.

    RE: Bill in Nebraska, Protoevangelium,(Gospel) And I will put enmity between
    thee and the woman, and between thy seed and *”HER seed”(sperma,4690);… (Genesis
    3 :15).
    when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son-* “Made of a Woman”-
    born under law.(Gal 4:4 NIV) *unique miracle.“
    The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him
    Immanuel, ”which means “God with us”(Mt 1:23 NIV). Fulfills the prophecy of the
    virgin birth, Isaiah 7:14).

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2012 7:51 a.m.

    "To not over correct" would be good advice for the political opponents beating each other over the head in the 4th Congressional District race.

  • Mark C Gilbert, SC
    Nov. 5, 2012 7:31 a.m.

    May I weigh in also with our sometimes apologetic reply to the question "Do you believe in the Bible?" I hear frequently the answer couched with a qualified "Well, as far as it is translated correctly." The answer should be more properly "YES, we do." The translation thing can be discussed at another time/place. That wasn't even the question! Just how many times is the Bible testified of or quoted by our apostles and prophets? Have you ever counted the testimonies of or references to the Bible in the Book of Mormon? And not once is there an apology! The Bible is the Word of God as is the Book of Mormon. There is no need to cringe or apologize for the Bible! I love the Bible and I am so grateful for how it has been preserved and passed down through the centuries by good, Godly and inspired men and women. We must uphold the Bible and testify of its truthfulness without any condescending reference! For goodnes sake, a verse in the Bible began the Restoration.

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Nov. 4, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    Vanka are you saying you know completely Mormon Doctrine and can judge when others correct each other?

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    Nov. 4, 2012 7:39 a.m.

    Like the young missionary's concern about devotion to Mary, others often see our "devotion" to the current prophet or to Joseph Smith as equally troubling. I go for weeks sometimes where the speakers in Sacrament Meeting never mention Christ at all except in passing, but go on at length about some leader of the modern Church. Compare that to the devotion I see regularly from my mainstream Christian friends who speak of Christ, pray to Christ, and witness of Christ quite fearlessly on a daily basis. While we have some differences of opinion on who Christ is, and what our relationship to Him ought to be, their commitment, quite frankly, puts us to shame. So, before we say anything, we need to think carefully about motes and beams.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 3, 2012 8:57 p.m.

    Brahmabull: I don't ignore those statements, just that many of those statements have no bearing on my own salvation. They don't make the individual any more a prophet or less of one. Prophets, Apostles are all men just like you and I. They do say and do things just as you and I do.

    I remember a story about Brigham Young where he stated in the morning what we should do pertaining to the army coming to Utah. Later the same day he stated that in the morning you heard what Brigham Young said, and now you will hear what the Prophet Brigham Young has to say. It was a complete 180 from what was said in the morning. It happens all the time. It even happens today. That is why it is left up to us to determine whether it is revelation or just an opinion. In another thread someone mentioned that the brethren have softened their view of homosexuality, yet if you read carefully that is not true. Just as the Savior loves the sinner, he will not approve of the sin. The only person I can save is me.

  • Laura Jane Hilton Head, SC
    Nov. 3, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    Amen and Amen to a wonderful lesson. The Gospel is true and we Members know it. I like the teachings of the Apostle Paul where he says, "I become all things for ALL men". When I became a Member of the Church, The Missionaries didn't teach me how wrong my old faith was, but how right and true the answers to my questions I had for them of the Book of Mormon. We have to keep in mind, Some Sheep just have not made it to the door yet. I have learned to respect other faiths. Remember, some scripture knowledge is better than none.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Nov. 3, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    I get a kick out of those who talk about the truth of "mainstream" Christianity. Christian denominations vary widely regarding their interpretations and understanding of doctrine, and there are also often major disagreements within those denominations. But rather than squabble with each other, they often seek out targets with the more unusual interpretations. So why don't many protestants (root word is "protest") go after the Catholics? Probably because they recognize Catholicism as a more universal and powerful adversary, and the backlash might not be at all pleasant. Better to attack the "Mormons," and even declare them "non-Christians" (Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints), and then delve deeply into all kinds of misinformation, and declare it all to be a self-serving fantasy. Yeah, that works.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Nov. 3, 2012 7:55 a.m.

    When something is poorly understood, you're going to see two things: (1) vast conjecture, and (2) declarations that it is all a myth. Many people know a lot about various subjects, but are clearly ignorant regarding spiritual and ecclesiastical things--not because they're bad people, but because of their backgrounds and the fact that they've been deprived of both information and also serious and deep thought. When people don't understand something, rather than admit it, they often resort to saying it must not be real, or it must not matter. Then there are those who basically major in minor things, and worry about things that are of little relevance, and often DON'T matter: Do the gates of heaven swing, or slide? How many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin? Can God make a rock to big that he can't lift it? Silly conjecture can be just as worthless as simple fantasy and total rejection of all truth.

  • garybeac Chapel Hill, NC
    Nov. 2, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    What a great article! Short and to the point. I think we need to pay much more attention to grace and its benefits. For example, rarely does one hear someone express their gratitude for the Word of Wisdom for guiding us to ponder and pray about things that can affect our physical and mental health. What are more usually heard are descriptions of the horrors of alcohol, tobacco, etc., as if we should be motivated to adherence by fear rather than by love and respect for Heavenly Father and the advice He so tenderly proffers us.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    Nov. 2, 2012 3:36 p.m.

    I really liked the article. The comments are often another matter. I am very much surprised that there can be so many argumentative comments after reading such an article.

    I might not be entirely ready to admit that I could be wrong about everything I believe, but I do see that there is plenty of room for error, even when you are studying the scriptures.

    Actually, I read this article just after reading in D&C 20:11-12, 17-36 and thinking how clearly the whole thing is, and how often we can get our defenses up for no reason when others talk about doctrines similar to what is in our modern scriptures: "...Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end, Amen." (verse 28.) [It helps, of course, when we realize that nowhere in scripture does it say that "one God" is the same as "one Being."]

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 2, 2012 10:51 a.m.

    Bill - you seem to want to split hairs because I said doctrine instead of scripture. You said it wasn't scripture, so yes, I misspoke. You get the point though. You are just trying to justify using prophets statements to your advantage only when it helps prove your point. Then you ignore and dismiss other statements when they contradict. Keep doing that, I am sure it will help you in the long run.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Nov. 2, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    A Scientist,

    Given your other posts, I was quite surprised to find out you attend priesthood and gospel doctrine classes each week. This is not a criticism, I am just wondering why you do so if you are as atheistic as some of your other posts make you out to be.

    As to the disparity of doctrine. I have attended priesthood and gospel doctrine for decades and in various parts of the country. I have not found nearly the disparity of doctrine you indicate. Yeah, there are a few folks with "interesting" opinions here and there. But you have them in every aspect of life. The real points of discussion should (and usually do) come down to how to apply the principles learned.


    Outstanding example. Thank you.

  • meinmt HUTTO, TX
    Nov. 2, 2012 10:32 a.m.


    It serves no purpose to take something out of context to try to discredit someone. Obviously, the indication of "mainstream Christianity" is the generally accepted and preached doctrines of the majority of Christian churches. Just as obviously to the attentive reader, both "mainstream" and LDS faiths base their core beliefs in Christ.

    Reread the article, in its entirety this time, and try seeing with your eyes and hearing with your ears (& heart) and see if you can find the real meaning in this excellent piece. It's good counsel for people of all faiths, but especially ours as a very active missionary church. Some of us just tend to get a little out of focus sometimes and Brother Peterson is reminding us of an important point.

    Nov. 2, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    A Scientist: Yours is the most intelligent posting so far.

  • wkb1005 Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 2, 2012 10:19 a.m.

    It has always amazed me that some members of the Church have a completely "Mormon-centric" view of the universe. Any suggestion that there might be another point of view on a particular doctrinal question, or any deviation from "the manual" must be rejected, or worse, ridiculed. (Example: Jesus couldn't have changed water into real alcoholic wine because of the Word of Wisdom.) We, of all people, should be the most doctrinally tolerant. Taking a "step back" and looking superficially at what we believe and teach can be downright horrifying to trinitarian Christians. Dr. Petersen has very kindly and diplomatically proposed as much in his article. It would be good for all of us to take his words under advisement and avoid thinking that "man's best friend is his dogma".

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 2, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    I sit in Gospel Doctrine and Priesthood classes almost every Sunday and listen to the Mormons over correct one another's doctrine. It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

    And that Sunday fiasco pales in comparison to what I read on these comment boards. Mormons in general are not representing their religion very well.

    So sad.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Nov. 2, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    I too enjoyed the article. It is too easy to become offended and to then retaliate with an attitude of needing to do one better. Mountainman's example was exceptional.

    With regards to church art depicting moments from church history and Book of Mormon. I realize that they are not photographs and therefore not always 'accurate'. But keep in mind, artists generally feel to present a subject in a way that is easy to understand or symbolic. It would be difficult to portray something that happened in total darkness - a black canvas may work in some art galleries; and so the artist paints as though there was a porch light or something. Not accurate, but it gets the message across. Painting an accurate depiction of Joseph translating the plates is always difficult --- since he was always behind screen, all that would show up would be the scribe and a blanket. So, the artist takes a few liberties. Whether that is the best approach is a matter of opinion.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 2, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    RE: Bill in Nebraska, Heavenly Father, not the Holy Ghost. Wrong,

    This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about, His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the “Holy Spirit.” (Mt 1:18 NIV).

    The “Holy Ghost” shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.(Luke 1:35 KJV) . Spirit/Ghost same Greek word pneuma.

    …at *Jersusalem … who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the “Holy Ghost(Spirit)” and bring forth a son yea, even the Son of God. ( Alma 7:10).
    S/B, "In *Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet(Malachi) has written: ".'"( MT 2:5),, Fulfilled Prophecy is what separates the Holy Bible from all other books..
    @ the truth: The Holy Spirit is God(Acts 5:3,4)

  • true huddersfield, england
    Nov. 2, 2012 4:12 a.m.

    I appreciate this article by Daniel Petersen. One of the best examples of over correction is the way the church illustrates in pictures how Book of Mormon was translated. Members of the church should know the full truth of how Joseph smith used a stone instead of actually reading the plates as all the illustrations show. Because of my spiritual testimony of the Book of Mormon this does not affect my testimony but it does cause a slight lack of trust in leadership for not portraying history they way it actually is. As the scripture states "Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come" (D&C 93:24). Not as some imagine it was to make it look more appealing.

  • manaen1 Buena Park, CA
    Nov. 2, 2012 2:56 a.m.

    "It is very easy for Latter-day Saints to overreact to doctrinal difference with mainstream Christianity." -- Heading of accompanying photo.

    This is disappointing from the DesNews. Jesus is the main stream of Christianity. Therefore, the gospel that Jesus restored is mainstream Christianity and the doctrinal differences others have with it are the measure of how far they are out of mainstream Christianity.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Nov. 1, 2012 9:44 p.m.

    I was recently on a team teaching assignment with one of our full times missionaries and he was magnificent! The lady we were teaching recoiled upon hearing his recounting of the first vision and stated emphatically, " I don't need your Apostles and Prophets, because I have a personal relationship with Jesus". My 19 year old companion, wise beyond his years or inspired said, " That's wonderful, where did you learn about Jesus"? To which she replied, "From my Bible". "And who wrote the Bible, was his next inquiry"? "Prophets and Apostles" she said. "See how much we need Apostles and Prophets"? He replied. Powerful lesson without offense given or taken! No overcorrecting but wonderful teaching!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 1, 2012 9:12 p.m.

    Brahmabull: No where in my posting did I even mention it was his opinion or it was doctrine. Those are your words not mine but what else is new.

    Fact is I agree that he was teaching a correct and true principal. Stating something is not scripture is not the same as saying it is an opinion or is/isn't doctrine. The book cited is not scripture and should not be taken as scripture. Lots of what apostels and prophets have written in books are not always doctrine but opinion. President Kimball's book "The Power of Forgiveness" was written while he was an Apostle, not as President of the Church. It has good sound principles that should be used as a teaching tool but is not scripture. Again quit trying to mislead people to think everything said by the leaders of the Church is always DOCTRINE or SCRIPTURE. It is not but it can be used as a tool for teaching principles and doctrine as the spirit dictates.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Nov. 1, 2012 7:11 p.m.


    You simply have to use yoour head and used plain logic.

    The holy Ghost has no body and therfore can NOT possibly concieve anything. And we know this becausw all know how babies are concieved.

    We do not understand the micracleous conception nor have all the details and so no one canfully explain it.

    However, using logic and all clues given, we figure this much out: in our current fallen state we can not bear God the Fatheer's presence, so it makes perfect logical sense there must be a medium for that to happen, hence the Holy Ghost.

    we do know others were transfigured to be in God's presence. Moses for one, and the transfiguration of Jesus with 3 of his apostles and Joseph Smith.

    The Holy Ghost must have been involved in these as well.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Nov. 1, 2012 7:09 p.m.

    It was Jesus Christ the Eternal Son who came down from heaven and "overshadowed" the Virgin Mary.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Nov. 1, 2012 7:07 p.m.

    To skeptic if Jesus Christ himself organized religion an all knowing God how can it be a bad thing? Religion does not make the world a bad place. Muslims were in the wrong at wtc. As long as God the FAther and his son Jesus Christ will tell us how to live a happy life and return to them Satan and his angels will do what they can to say it is nonsense. Should we compromise at the expense of Eternal Salvation.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Nov. 1, 2012 6:48 p.m.

    Does anyone with sincerity looking at finding out the truth about religion? What God himself said on the subject. You can't change the law of gravity by choosing not to beleive in it. Why are Gods truths any different? People are not asked to give up truths they learned. Someone taught to be honest and serve there fellowmen why forsake that truth. Truth is independent of human beleif. Why not find out what the Lord said on what to beleive. Good way to find peace is search for the truth and choose to live it. Won't happen though as long as Satan and his Angels say beleive it not. Did Jesus amend what the FAther said to not cause contention? Being tolerant is being respectful of those that disagree with you. Not compromising truth to avoid contention.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    Nov. 1, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    The part about "much humbler walls" makes sense. I always thought that if the wall were a high as Bro. Friberg pictured them, Samuel would likely have broken his neck jumping down from it.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Nov. 1, 2012 2:44 p.m.


    Good comeback to Joeblow. That was creative. Unfortunately, you may not have read his first post. He fully admits that nobody knows for sure, and that we all may be wrong.

    Bill in Nebraska - I see you are back to the old habit of claiming certain things are only opinion when they don't support your point of view... Thats sad to see. What is even more odd is after claiming Joseph Fielding Smiths book isn't doctrine, you follow it up by quoting the same Joseph Fielding Smith in your last paragraph. Just doesn't add up.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 1, 2012 2:34 p.m.

    I have many reservations about organized religion, but I think 99% of them would disappear if all the religions in the world would do two things – first, espouse total non-violence; and second, drop all pretenses of certainty and superiority. You may say I’m a dreamer…

  • Gadfly Smyrna, TN
    Nov. 1, 2012 2:28 p.m.

    Daniel Peterson and I rarely see eye to eye and I have been higly critical of several of his articles. Therefore, in all justice, I must say that this is a good article. Well done.

    And, by the way, unicorns come in a variety of colors but are predominately white.

  • Unwieldy Toaster Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 1, 2012 1:42 p.m.

    To me, arguing religious doctrine is like arguing about the color of unicorns.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 1, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    Sharrona: You cite Doctrine of Salvations which is not scripture according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. However, one must understand that she was carried away in the spirit but was impregnated by Heavenly Father, not the Holy Ghost. Basically a difference of interpretation. In that Joseph Fielding Smith is correct. When one looks at mainline Christianity and the triune God, then yes one can say that the Holy Ghost is what impregnated Mary. However, if one takes each of the members of the Godhead as three separate beings, which is taught in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, then one must agree that the Father impregnated her. No matter which it is a miraculous pregnancy where she knew no mortal man while conceiving her son, and the only begotten son in the flesh, Jesus Christ. Our Savior, our redeemer, our Master.

    Further, Joseph Fielding Smith further stated it was nothing more than a natural child birth which it was in that she carried the babe in her womb for nine months,gave birth the same way every other child is born. Except for the resurrection, the birth of the Savior would meant nothing.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Nov. 1, 2012 10:56 a.m.

    Religion is not a science and doctrine is a highly subjective and speculative field of study. It’s all too human to become dogmatic about that which we can’t prove. But I’ve found the study of comparative religion to be an edifying enquiry that leads to deeper understanding of not only others' beliefs but my own as well.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 1, 2012 10:54 a.m.

    RE: effectively launched into an attack on Mary.

    The “pale” of Christianity believes the birth of Jesus was a unique miracle by the Holy Spirit/Ghost, same Greek word(Pneuma).

    ”They tell us that the BoM states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge that statement. The BoM teaches No Such Thing! Neither does the Bible!”( Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation.
    (Jesus)…born of Mary at Jersusalem … who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost(Spirit) and bring forth a son yea, even the Son of God. ( Alma 7:10).

    "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet(Malachi) has written: ".'"( MT 2:5),, Fulfilled Prophecy is what separates the Holy Bible from all other books..

    The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.(Luke 1:35) .

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 1, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    The world would be a better place without organized corporate religion and their snake oil salesmen.. If you can't find God in yoor own heart and mind, then they have nothing to sell you. God is being itself,, not a being.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 1, 2012 9:52 a.m.

    "You might be wrong."

    And I can fully and completely admit that.

    Can you?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 1, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    Re: "If we all approached religion from the position that we just might be wrong, the world would be a far better place."

    You might be wrong.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 1, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    How about this as a guiding principle.

    You have your beliefs, and others do also.

    Your beliefs are just that - things that you believe. Maybe you believe them strongly, but that does not make them correct and it does not make them right and it does not make them true. Nor does it make them false. We just don't know.

    If we all approached religion from the position that we just might be wrong, the world would be a far better place.

    The world trade center buildings would probably still be standing if people understood that.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Nov. 1, 2012 8:54 a.m.


  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Nov. 1, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    Good advice from Daniel Peterson. The surest way to antagonize someone you're trying to reach is to attack something they hold sacred even though you mean well. I learned that the hard way when I was younger. I'm more circumspect now albeit with lapses when I know I've gone too far.