Daniel Peterson: 2 competing visions of 'restoration'

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  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 11, 2017 8:13 p.m.

    @The carvanmoveson,
    You seem to disagree with the thought: If one truly wishes to restore the real believe of Jesus then they need to convert to Judaism, because that is the only believe or religion that Jesus beheld. But, think about it. Jesus would have known how to write and if he was establishing a new religion he would have documented it. But, he had nothing to write because everything he stood for was already written in the Torah. Jesus had never heard or imagined anything about Christianity; much less the thousand different Christian churches of today that all conflicting with one and another. Jesus was just a good Jew seeking discipline reforming strict adherence to Judaism faith. And perhaps he believed he was the Savior of his faith, but he was not a Christian, that was the work of Paul.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Dec. 11, 2017 8:06 a.m.

    "Restoration", in the religious sense, means a bringing back of things that were lost. You can't "reform" what you don't have.

    So what was restored?

    3 things:

    1 - Correct doctrine, ie, "truth".
    2 - Correct organization, ie, a prophet, apostles, bishops, teachers, evangelists, etc.
    3 - Correct authority, or in other words, "real" authority, because when you're dealing with religion, the authority to do all you do in the name of that religion/God, either comes from God or it doesn't. Period. This "authority" is the Priesthood. Mormons are often mocked for claiming that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by John the Baptist and later on by the ancient apostles Peter, James and John and given Priesthood authority, but to claim that Priesthood authority comes via a piece of paper at a theological seminary or college is silly. Perhaps those who mock Joseph Smith's claims think Priesthood authority can be purchased on Amazon or at Wal-Mart?

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Dec. 11, 2017 7:51 a.m.

    @ skeptic - Phoenix, AZ - Dec. 8, 2017 10:32 a.m. - "If one truly wishes to restore the real believe of Jesus then they need to convert to Judaism, because that is the only believe or religion that Jesus beheld."

    Your claim is absurd.

    Why?

    Because Judaism believes in a Savior but they do NOT believe that Savior has come yet. Jesus said he was THE Savior, therefore Jesus Christ did not believe 100% in "Judaism" as taught in his day. Now, if you are simply claiming that "Judaism" as taught in Jesus's day, or if followed fully in Jesus's day, was merely early Christianity, then I can accept that.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 9:45 a.m.

    NoNamesAccepted. "The text clearly says there will be a falling away before the Savior returns"
    .
    True, …,Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. by their fruit you will recognize them. (Mark :15-16). Fruit can be false teaching e .g…,

    Do you believe JS’s prophecy about himself to his Inspired Version? “That seer… his name shall be called Joseph and it shall be after the name of his father”. ( Genesis 50:33 JST),. But Not found in Greek Septuagint(Apostles Bible) or dead sea scrolls.

    & (Paul), What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching….2Tim 1:13. E.g..
    Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.(Gal 3:6)VS

    (D&C 132:37)? Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Dec. 8, 2017 4:30 p.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted
    I read a very interesting thing on pages 89-98 of "Revelations of the Restoration: A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants and Other Modern Revelations, Deseret Book, 2000, by Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig J. Ostler.

    "What David Whitmer is asking us to believe is that the Lord had Moroni seal up the plates and the means by which they were to be translated hundreds of years before they would come into Joseph Smith's possession and then decided to have the Prophet use a seer stone found while digging a well so that none of these things would be necessary after all. Is this, we would ask, really a credible explanation of the way the heavens operate?"

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 3:09 p.m.

    @CMTM/Sharonna: "The restoration is not needed. Jude is intended to confirm the truth of Peter’s letter and encourage the saints to ground their faith in the written documents of the growing church, rather than listen to the gospel of the false teachers(JS)."

    In other words, you don't believe the New Testament means what the text clearly says it means. You interpret it to mean something slightly different. The text clearly says there will be a falling away before the Savior returns. You take that to mean we should ground our faith in the written word rather than following prophets.

    Fair enough. Guess what, everyone else enjoys the same privilege to interpret the scriptures in ways slightly different than the most obvious reading of the text might suggest.

    @Tyler D: "This to me is a completely devastating blow against Joseph Smith as a prophet."

    Why? A hat is dark. No cell phones or tablets back then. How did JS dictate long passages of the BoM with his head buried in a dark hat except through either super-human memorization...or some divine means?

    Ultimately, the work product is far more important than the process and the BoM continues to withstand all critics.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 2:54 p.m.

    RE: Skeptic. Jesus considered himself the Messiah of the Jews not the god of the future?

    Over 100 Bible verses prove the deity of Jesus Christ (e.g., John 1:1, 20:28). He is the great “I AM” (John 8:24, 58). He was worshipped as God. Many O.T verses that speak of YHWH are applied to Jesus in the N.T. Jesus is God.

    E.g…In Mt 22:32 Jesus quotes Ex 3:6, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” In John 8:58, “(Jesus)”.., before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews clearly understood Jesus to be calling Himself God because they took up stones to stone Him for committing blasphemy in equating Himself with God. ”

    (Jesus). “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come, the Almighty. (Rev 1:7-8)

    NT textual criticism. A side by side comparison between the two main text families (the Majority Text and the modern critical text) shows agreement a full 98% of the time. Of the remaining differences, virtually all yield to vigorous textual criticism. This means that our N. T. is 99.5% textually pure.

    I have the Greek Apparatus of John’s Gospel with the variants if your interested in serious study Greek lower criticism

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 8, 2017 2:18 p.m.

    Jesus was very much a Jew of the Mosaic law. A pungent social critic? Yes. But not the author of a new religion. Others who came after did that. It’s easy to lay it all on Paul but he was a key transformative figure in making a small Jewish movement adaptable to the larger pax Romana world.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 8, 2017 1:43 p.m.

    @bigD and Sharrona,
    Your acclamation that Jesus set up a new religion is very questionable. It is more probable that his real intent was to chastise the Jewish hierarchic, clean up the corruption, correct political behavior and to repent and return to following the Hebrew religion in practice and faith of the Patriarchs. If anything Jesus considered himself the Messiah of the Jews not the god of the future.
    It was years after Jesus death that the politics of change took on the mantel of a new religion and man's fantasies of the past took shape and the written word.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Dec. 8, 2017 1:28 p.m.

    @mhenshaw – “JS started "translating" by doing the only thing he knew to do.”

    First, I always appreciate people who are willing to have a conversation. Thank you.

    To your quote above, if we all agree that what Joseph was doing with the stone in the hat (i.e., people paying him to look for buried treasure using a seer stone) was a con job prior to his “prophetic mission,” on what grounds would we assume that used in another context it is not a con job?

    To your point about the Bible, I can see that holding for the OT but not the NT. Again, the Church’s claim is that apostasy happened very early in Christianity (months or a few years after Jesus died, not decades or centuries).

    If so, it makes no sense that everything written in the NT should be canonical.

    As Craig Clark pointed out, Mormonism simply adds to orthodox Christianity (which was not even fully formed until the 4th century, so how could it be apostate before then?). It doesn’t alter its core teachings in any fundamental way.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Dec. 8, 2017 1:10 p.m.

    @mhenshaw
    So the interpreters preserved in the stone box and buried in the hill with the plates for the purpose of the translation weren't even needed, just a rock that had been used for money digging. Why? because it was just a crutch.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Dec. 8, 2017 12:36 p.m.

    >>This to me is a completely devastating blow against Joseph Smith as a prophet.

    I don't know why it should be. JS started "translating" by doing the only thing he knew to do. He needed that crutch at first so God allowed it until Joseph learned a better method. Read the rest of the history--as JS grew in his prophetic calling, he eventually gave up the stone. One day he just tossed it to Oliver Cowdery (I think) and basically said, "Keep it. I don't need it anymore. I've learned how to receive revelation through the Spirit."

    In any case, if the BoM is what it claims to be, then the means and method of the BoM's translation are ultimately irrelevant.

    >>The books of the NT were written decades after Jesus died...

    The Bible is LDS canon because the Lord himself says that it "is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets." (1 Nephi 13: 23). That makes it sacred, even though it has errors and omissions, some for the reasons you noted. That's one reason the BoM is important -- to fill in those gaps and correct the mistakes.

  • Big 'D' San Mateo, CA
    Dec. 8, 2017 12:05 p.m.

    @Skeptic:
    "If one truly wishes to restore the real believe of Jesus then they need to convert to Judaism, because that is the only believe or religion that Jesus beheld. Jesus was born a Jew, Jesus lived his life as a Jew, Jesus died a Jew and if Jesus was resurrected he would have been resurrected as a Jew, and all his family, followers and friends where Jews. Anything to be restored concerning Jesus's religion would be in the Old Testament, the New testament is Paul's religion."

    It seems like you have only taken note of Jesus' heritage, but not His teachings or His actions. Much of His ministry was spent pointing out the errors of the Jewish tradition of the time, rebuking the Pharisees, and emphasizing the spirit rather than the letter of the law. The very first act of His ministry was baptism by John, an obvious signal of departure from orthodoxy. More importantly, He instituted a "new testament", or a new covenant, during the Last Supper. His was the great and last sacrifice, which we commemorate weekly when we partake of the sacramental emblems of His death. He instituted a new religion. His disciples were instructed to preach this new religion to all nations.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 11:54 a.m.

    Craig Clark Re: The Biblical covenants, (Abrahamic, Palestinian, Mosaic, Davidic) God made with the nation of Israel

    Three are unconditional in nature; that is, regardless of Israel's obedience or disobedience, God still will fulfill these covenants with Israel.
    One of the covenants, the Mosaic Covenant, is conditional in nature. That is, this covenant will bring either blessing or cursing depending on Israel's obedience or disobedience.

    Three of the covenants (Adamic, Noahic, New) are made between God and mankind in general, and are not limited to Israel.

    The New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34).made first with Israel and, ultimately, with all mankind.
    God promises to forgive sin, and there will be a universal knowledge of the Lord. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law of Moses (Mt 5:17) and create a new covenant between God and His people. Now that we are under the New Covenant, both Jews and Gentiles can be free from the penalty of the Law. We are now given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift (Eph 2:8-9).
    @ Skeptic. The sign of the N.T “.. after supper He took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20).

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 8, 2017 10:32 a.m.

    If one truly wishes to restore the real believe of Jesus then they need to convert to Judaism, because that is the only believe or religion that Jesus beheld. Jesus was born a Jew, Jesus lived his life as a Jew, Jesus died a Jew and if Jesus was resurrected he would have been resurrected as a Jew, and all his family, followers and friends where Jews. Anything to be restored concerning Jesu's religion would be in the Old Testament, the New testament is Paul's religion. Since Paul's time there have been all kinds of fake claims, religious writhing, fake histories, false prophets, different religious organizations and cults. How does one reform a fake believe. It seems the answer is one must forgo it and search for the truth and escape the falsehoods of man's errors.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 8, 2017 10:15 a.m.

    Tyler D,
    "If it was only in the earliest days of Christianity that the “church was true” why is the entire NT considered canonical by Mormons?"
    ____________________
    Great point. That the LDS Church accepts the canon as decided upon by the early church is evidence that Mormonism is overall more orthodox than either mainstream Christianity or Mormons themselves are ready to acknowledge.

    The canon decided upon by church fathers of the early centuries leaves in enough evidence to indicate divisions among early adherents. Paul devotes a lot of words to his quarrels with other factions he denounces in vituperative terms, those he describes as preaching “other gospels” that warrant them being “accursed.”

  • Top Hat Orem, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 9:31 a.m.

    Dan, thanks for your thoughtful review of this important book. RoseAnn Benson worked hard to provide fair and balanced treatment to both religious traditions. Brigham Young University Press and Abilene Christian University Press enjoyed partnering to copublish this volume.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Dec. 8, 2017 9:11 a.m.

    @Michael_M – “The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers”

    This to me is a completely devastating blow against Joseph Smith as a prophet.

    But it uncovers something deeper and more disturbing – namely, the human bias towards belief. We are desperate to believe and this has made us ripe for “money-diggers” throughout history.

    That aside, here’s something I don’t understand about LDS ideas on Restoration.

    If it was only in the earliest days of Christianity that the “church was true” why is the entire NT considered canonical by Mormons?

    The books of the NT were written decades after Jesus died, and did not take final form until the 3rd century (and canonized in the 4th century).

    Surely some of those writings contain errors that led to the apostasy.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 8, 2017 8:42 a.m.

    Restorationism was in reaction to an institutional Christianity that seemed irredeemably corrupt to some seekers of Christian purity. It presumes that the Christian religion began as something pure before drifting from its roots until it became defiled by the world. The quest was to recover that which was lost.

    It’s a hopeful dream although there never was a pristine primitive Christianity. Its beginnings were chaotic and factionalized from the very start.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 8, 2017 8:16 a.m.

    RE: NoNamesAccepted. “Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion= (apostasy) occurs and the man of lawlessness (the son of destruction) is revealed. (2 Thess 2:3 )

    You left out Verse 4, “He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he will seat himself in the temple of God, ‘proclaiming himself to be God.…,

    In (1Tim 4:1) Paul explains, “ The Spirit clearly says that in later(days) times some will abandon the faith.…” E.g…,“As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become”. But,

    "Once for all the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people."( Jude 1:3 "[NIV,NET NKJV…) “As translated correctly” Modern Translations are helpful.

    The restoration is not needed. Jude is intended to confirm the truth of Peter’s letter and encourage the saints to ground their faith in the written documents of the growing church, rather than listen to the gospel of the false teachers(JS).

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:32 p.m.

    Michael M: "How Joseph Smith brought 'the return of lost truths, lost texts and lost authority by divine messengers' is nothing like the Campbellites."

    Unless I'm missing something, wasn't that exactly Peterson's point?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 5:01 p.m.

    @CMTM: "As non-Catholic historians admit, it can be demonstrated easily that early Church writers, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Eusebius, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, had no conception of Mormon doctrine, and they knew nothing of a "great apostasy."

    Are these historians and these early Church writers unfamiliar with the New Testament?

    Thessalonians 2:1-5

    "1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
    ...
    5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"

    Is there some fancy Greek translation that alters the clear meaning of this passage?

    Obviously, Christian writers in the midst of such a "falling away" would be loathe to admit being a part of it, might honestly fail to recognize it was happening.

    Enough with the LDS bashing. Live your beliefs while respecting others.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    Dec. 7, 2017 3:02 p.m.

    // ...with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods! //

    Yes, it is quite good evidence of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon record that Joseph was observed to be dictating for hours from the bottom of a dark hat without any other source materials.

    And of course it did not matter where the plates were during the dictation process since Joseph did not know the language on the plates and did not perform that type of translation between languages. The translation into English was already done beforehand; all that was needed was for the English text to be given to Joseph Smith, as it was through the gift and power of God.

    The plates served other purposes in the Restoration and were not there for Joseph to consult and provide interpretations of.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 7, 2017 1:52 p.m.

    RE: Reformation VS. The Restoration of the Gospel?
    "As non-Catholic historians admit, it can be demonstrated easily that early Church writers, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Eusebius, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, had no conception of Mormon doctrine, and they knew nothing of a "great apostasy."
    Nowhere in their writings can one find references to Christians embracing any of the peculiarly Mormon doctrines, such as polytheism, polygamy, celestial marriage, and temple ceremonies. If the Church of the apostolic age was the prototype of today’s Mormon church, it must have had all these beliefs and practices.
    But why is there no evidence of them in the early centuries, before the alleged apostasy began? " Catholic Answers
    E.g…,
    -A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,..”(I Tim 3:2).
    The Apostles did not maintain any O.T. pattern of polygamy and they and the early church condemned it. " VS,
    (D&C 132:37)? Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousnessVS … Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.(Gal 3:6)

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Dec. 7, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    What it means to “restore” apostolic Christianity is one thing, how it allegedly happened is another. How Joseph Smith brought "the return of lost truths, lost texts and lost authority by divine messengers" is nothing like the Campbellites.

    Howe's book contained a statement from Emma's father which included: "The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods!"