Gospel Principles 2009 as a Significant Perpetuation of Traditional Mormon Theology

My research article on Gospel Principles now online at UTLM.

I put a lot of work into it (comparing a bunch of Gospel Principles editions took forever, and my wife is glad it’s over!), and I hope it’s helpful to others. To get your started:

Outsiders learning Mormon theology afresh are better suited starting with Gospel Principles than with Mormon scriptures (KJV Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) or literature authored by BYU religion professors. It functions not only as a concise guide to Mormon theology but also as an example of how Mormonism approaches its own canon. The existence and perpetuation of the book in Mormon culture is a corrective to suggestions that the religion is unconcerned with a holistic, coherent theological worldview. It begins with the nature of God and our pre-mortal existence (chapters 1 and 2) and then ends with final judgment and exaltation (chapters 46 and 47). It explains practical living in the context of a roughly systematic Mormon theology, and gives Mormons a sweeping worldview meta-narrative to understand ultimate reality and their grand purpose in life.”

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37 Responses to Gospel Principles 2009 as a Significant Perpetuation of Traditional Mormon Theology

  1. JimSpace says:

    (part 1)
    This is a very good and interesting presentation. Mormon biology and soteriology are two of the most perplexing problems in Mormonism, for it is contended that Adam and Eve were created without blood.

    The LDS.org Bible Dictionary sums up Mormon teaching this way:
    "Before the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood. There was no sin, no death, and no children among any of the earthly creations. With the eating of the “forbidden fruit,” Adam and Eve became mortal, sin entered, blood formed in their bodies, and death became a part of life." http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/f/2

    So, according to Mormonism, when Adam fell or transgressed, blood appeared in his body. But, Jesus had blood, as Mormonism believes too! Mormonism teaches that Jesus “made a perfect atonement for the sins of all mankind by shedding of his blood and giving his life on the cross.” http://scriptures.lds.org/en/gs/j/22

  2. JimSpace says:

    (part 2)
    Therefore, both the Bible and Mormon Jesus had blood, which according to Mormonism is the product of Adam's transgression.

    What we have here may be called a soteriological contradiction, for Jesus was holy and sinless–he did not have any products of Adam's transgression. (Luke 1:35; Hebrews 4:15)

    Another problem facing Mormonism is the preservation of the Latin name Lucifer. As it is a mistranslation of the Hebrew, it is not original nor is it a valid interpretation, as Isaiah 14:4-21 refers to the king of Babylon. A true latter-day revelation from God would not continue a translation mistake and breath life into centuries-old confusion. As Jesus said about God's word: "your word is truth." (John 17:17; Psalm 119:160). It does not preserve mistaken notions. Instead of "Truth Restored" as they declare, this amounts to "Error Sustained."

  3. f_melo says:

    It would be funny if Joseph Smith added to one of the gospels in his so-called inspired version, that Jesus´ blood shed on the cross was blue… or of some other color, and so it was spiritual blood.

  4. f_melo says:

    "My research article on Gospel Principles now online at UTLM"

    It´s been online for a while now, right? I remember reading that a few weeks ago.
    I thought interesting how they change the words to make the the gospel sound christian-like. Instead of becoming gods now it is to become like Heavenly Father.

    "The Great Apostasy is described not only as a loss of "apostolic authority and priesthood keys"[31] but also as a corruption of doctrine.[32] With an implicit reference to the First Council at Nicaea, those who taught that God is immaterial spirit are described as those "called Christians" in "false Christianity" with predominantly "pagan beliefs."[33] They "lost the understanding of God's love for us" and "did not understand the purpose of life."[34] Criticism of historic apostate Christendom remains strong, being only slightly toned down in the newest edition of the book.[35]"

    Now i want to see any mormons complaining that anyone here is "misrepresenting" their doctrine. They are the ones criticizing other religions, and putting them down as corrupt and devoid of authority.

  5. f_melo says:

    The Gospel Principles manual should get the status of scripture – i´ve seen that used more times to prepare talks and lessons than any Ensign or even the standard works. Every time there´s a doubt about basic doctrine people go to the Gospel Principles Manual as the authority – and the person will use whichever one, regardless of the date it was published.

  6. I wrote this blog post awhile back but it was put in a queue since it wasn't necessarily time-sensitive. No biggie.

  7. JimSpace says:

    I believe it is held that the pre-Fall Adam and Eve had spiritual bodies "quickened by spirit and not by blood." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:76–77) Commenting on this is Apostle Nelson, a renowned medical doctor specializing in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. He said: “While I do not fully understand all the biochemistry involved, I do know that their physical bodies did change; blood began to circulate in their bodies. Adam and Eve thereby became mortal.” ( “Constancy amid Change.” Ensign. November 1993, 33) In other words, the pre-Fall bloodless doctrine is unintelligible and unbelievable. Therefore I cannot believe it.

  8. f_melo says:

    I was just asking because i thought you may have added some new info that wasn´t there before.

  9. JimSpace says:

    Hi Aaron, does the Gospel Principles (2009 ed.) repeat the doctrine that there was no blood before the Fall?

  10. falcon says:

    Forgive the falcon if he gets a little harsh, but I find all of this stuff truly creepy! It really is a constant flow of nonsense with these people. I know the rank and file probably are totally oblivious to the strange and bizarre mental meanderings of Mormon prophets and apostles. And yet when this type of thing is exposed to them they are left to come up with some sort of explanation that gives way to a unique form of thinking that is illogical but fits their purposes. At the end of the day however, it's back to "follow the leaders, they'll never lead you astray." Mottos and slogans do work for the naive Mormon who had no sense of what he/she was getting into when they joined this aberrant cult.
    So when does the individual start down the road of accepting doctrines, practices and teachings that are so off-the-wall? I think it's the moment they buy into the "burning in the bosom" as a sign that God is revealing "truth" to them. It's at this moment that the Mormon convert turns over any amount of healthy skeptical thinking and places their spiritual development in the hands of folks who are clueless.
    As most here probably know, I have a Pentecostal orientation to my spiritual walk. Now in that approach to the Christian walk the gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifested and serve as a type of river or stream for the believer to flow in. The buoy to keep a believer stable and above the water in the stream, is the Word of God. So having said that, I find myself questioning everything. Now how can that be? Why wouldn't I just go with it? Well it's because I know how things that appear "spiritual" and "insightful" can be nothing more than the manifestation of someone's imagination and ego. I know that left to my own devices and without a firm foundation in the Word of God, I could be led or go all by my own volition, off on all sorts of tangents.
    With just a modicum of spiritual discernment, it doesn't take long to see these Mormon "principles" for what they are, pure mindless speculation. This is what Joseph Smith built his religious experience on and it has been the trademark of the Mormon brand ever since. These leaders get so impressed with what comes flowing through their minds, that driven by ego and pride, they think they've really captured some deep truths.
    Mormonism exemplifies that saying, "the blind leading the blind."

  11. falcon says:

    I would suggest to anyone interested in the topic of Christian apologetics; to get a good grounding in Christian doctrine with an eye towards the typical errors made by every cultic group. I've listed these before but I'll do it again in case we have new readers here. These are the essentials of Christianity.
    1. The Bible is the Word of God.
    2. The Trinity-one God, three persons.
    3. The Deity of Christ-He is God.
    4.The Virgin birth of Christ.
    5. Christ died for us. The blood atonement.
    6. Jesus' resurrection.
    7. Saved by grace a part from works.
    8. Jesus second coming.
    9. The judgement of God.

    Every cultic or aberrant religious group, that claims some sort of kinship to Christianity, has a false view of these basics. The Word of God and the Deity of Jesus, which is related to the nature of God, are most often attacked by these groups. If those targeted by Mormon missionaries, had a firm understanding of these things, they would dismiss the (missionaries) out-of-hand. Way too many people jump into the Mormon dunk dank thinking they are joining another Christian denomination. The missionaries make no attempt to be truthful and open about these very basic points.

  12. Sarah says:

    The excuse I've heard from a Mormon friend for changes in the wording (in our case, we were talking about the countless changes to the BoM despite her insisting it was more correct than the Bible), is that "the changes in wording are insignificant and don't change the meaning."

    Yeah, really.

  13. falcon says:

    I was wondering today about people who leave Mormonism and become Christians and those who leave Mormonism and become atheists. What I was wondering is if the outcome has something to do with how a person leaves Mormonism? For example, if a person leaves Mormonism because they uncover the truth about Joseph Smith and the early history of Mormonism, are they more likely to become an atheist? Where as a person who becomes interested in researching the doctrine of Mormonism, finds the truth as revealed in the Bible, i.e. they find God through His revealed Word, are they more inclined to shift over into Biblical Christianity? Then of course there's the group that just fades out of Mormonism because they lose interest in the religion. It's not so much that they lose faith in God, they're just ambivalent about it.
    Andy Watson was telling me about a young man he was corresponding with who had been raised Mormon but was now a Christian. He told Andy that even as a youngster he couldn't buy the Mormon polytheistic doctrine. He just didn't believe it, even as a kid. Now that's a whole different subgroup and one that really fascinates me. It's as if he had it "in" him even before he knew the truth of the matter. He just knew something wasn't right. We say it didn't ring true in his spirit.
    I also enjoy the testimonies of the Adam's Road band. One of the young men gets challenged on his mission by a Baptist minister who walked him through the Bible making the case for Christianity. The young man was so convicted that he started to read the NT and he becomes a Christian while on his mission for the Mormon church. As a result of that one pastors witness from the Word of God, a chain of events took place that brought all sorts of people out of Mormonism and into the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
    My last point I guess is fairly obvious. It's more important for Christians to know and understand God's Word then it is to know all about Mormonism. Some of us find Mormonism interesting like we might find any subject interesting. But when it comes to testifying to the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to know the Bible more than we do Mormonism.

  14. falcon says:

    This friend of yours really has the Mormon talking points down. This is where, if you're interested, to do the follow-up questions. I believe MRM has a listing of the changes so it's easily proven regarding whether or not the changes are significant. I'd ask her, "Are you interested in looking at those changes together?" As I've pointed out before, the average Mormon who has memorized their talking points, doesn't do very well with follow-up questions.

  15. Dale says:

    This is really strange, and the opposite of my experience back when I met with missionaries.

    I recently read through Preach My Gospel, the missionary handbook of how to evangelize, and what I noticed was all the things that did not happen in my experience. For example, ward members are encouraged to befriend people the elders are meeting with. That never happened with me. Beyond a hello, they didn't get to know me or pressure me at all.

    Also, I was surprised to see the Gospel Principles Book used mentioned God's wife early on. I think that would give any Christians pause, but it seemed like I was the only person who questioned it. The other investigators just overlooked it.

  16. falcon says:

    What have we got? Maybe 4,000 years of Jewish history and writing and another 2,000 years of Christian history and writing. And out of that we have doctrine that is considered "orthodox" and others that are considered aberrant and then a bunch that is truly heretical. Which brings us to Mormonism. Here's a religion that claimed to be a brand new product based on the visions and revelations of Joseph Smith. Smith saw fit to even change the Bible based on his continuously changing impressions and creative thinking which, he called, progressive revelation.
    Mormonism sees this progressive thinking as a major feature of their religion and something to get real excited about. The problem is, it is not aligned with basic orthodox Christianity. This of course is the bedrock (let's call it sand) approach that heretical groups are built on. The idea that a new form of religious thought is "in the face" of accepted tradition and Christian doctrine, is very attractive to some.
    The problem I see, is that Mormons really don't seek to get at the truth by examining the writings of the great thinkers in the history of the Church. This approach is rejected by Mormons because it is too "intellectual" in its approach. Mormons are more comfortable with accepting the random and rather strange utterances of their past and present false prophets. It would seem that some of these guys, like Brigham Young for example never had an unspoken thought.
    The important thing for Mormons isn't that these guys had some pretty weird ideas, but that their ideas weren't aligned with traditional orthodox Christianity. That in and of itself qualifies for accuracy and truth within Mormonism.

  17. This is the first time I've been anywhere near Gospel Principals. I read Aaron's article, and it made a lot of sense. Before, LDS would post stuff and I'd think "where did that come from?". Now I know.

    f_melo's comment about GP being elevated to "scripture" strikes a chord. One ex-JW I met a while back said he thought he was studying scripture, but he was actually studying the movement's manuals. I also think it was f_melo who commented that it was only after leaving Mormonism that he discovered that it hadn't taught him anything about Christianity.

    Now, I don't expect Mormonism to teach its followers too much about a rival religion like Christianity, but it seems it doesn't even teach it's followers about Mormonism either.

  18. falcon says:

    It's pretty obvious that the Mormon Gospel Principles have nothing to do with scripture, as we know it, but is the product of a lot of vain speculation on the part of Mormon false prophets and apostles. They just make this stuff up out of whole cloth with no clear understanding of the Bible or of Church history. What is a curious exercise, is to see some Mormons who have posted here, try to find a verse anywhere in the Bible that might vaguely relate to the the topic and apply it. In so doing they are hoping to get a Biblical endorsement for their odd teachings.
    Walter Martin writes in "The Kingdom of the Cults", "It is the contention of this writer that if the average Christian would become familiar once again with the great foundations of his faith, he would be able to detect those counterfeit elements so apparent in the cult systems, which set them apart from biblical Christianity." He says further that where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed in power and with a compelling relevancy, cults have made little or no headway.
    With these Gospel Principles of the Mormons, we need to get back to the idea that cults like Mormons are best confronted with information that exposes their use particularly of Biblical sounding terms but with quite different meanings common to orthodox Christianity. When Mormons manipulate terminology they put Christians at a disadvantage. This is particularly true when we look at the fundamental doctrines revealed in the Bible. Mormonism really is a semantic maze.
    I thought Andy Watson had an interesting observation after months of debating with some leaders of the JW cult. Andy told me that debating scripture was a waste of time because the JWs hear what you say and then filter it through their JW belief system. His conclusion was that in order to get them to move out of their cultic manner of thinking, you first had to destroy their confidence in the Watch Tower organization.
    I think this, in some ways, can be applied to Mormonism. Mormons believe that their religion is the "one true church". Once that belief is gone, everything else falls. In an odd sort of way, Mormons place their faith first in the institution of Mormonism and its leaders, and then the Mormon god. We can see why since their god isn't all that special being merely an exalted man.
    The more I'm involved in this ministry, the more Calvinistic I become in my beliefs. These folks can only come to the Father as they are drawn.

  19. Sarah says:

    Andy told me that debating scripture was a waste of time because the JWs hear what you say and then filter it through their JW belief system.

    It's very similar with Mormons. Despite the fact that my good friend insists that she has several translations of the Bible she likes to read, no matter the translation, her interpretation is filtered through the Mormon church's interpretation. Period. But she doesn't see it that way; she sees it as being open-minded and making her own interpretations and being smart. She even likes to say she took Biblical Hebrew and uses a Hebrew Bible too. But she's forgetting the fact that her Mormon beliefs influence the way she reads any kind of Bible.

    Mormons believe that their religion is the "one true church". Once that belief is gone, everything else falls.

    Yes but what do you do when someone has all of the core Mormon beliefs — exaltation, works, temple marriage, worthiness, etc. — but she has also told me she doesn't believe I (as a non-Mormon) wouldn't be able to make it into heaven. (Never mind the fact that she's contradicted herself several times about that idea itself.)

  20. wyomingwilly says:

    falcon, Andy is correct in his conclusion on JW's authoratative structure. With LDS it's always " The Church ", theirs is the " one true Church " . With JW's it's the same only they use the term" organization ", theirs is " Jehovah's Organization " , His visible channel of communication to mankind, i.e. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Jehovah's witnesses , headquartered in Brooklyn New York . Jw's are divided into two groups, the 1% or so that will go to heaven after death, the rest will stay on earth. To this larger group, Jehovah's W.T. prophet teaches : " …..the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, NOT TO INDIVIDUALS, reguardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization in mind. " [ watchtower magazine , 10-1 1967, p.587 ]

  21. wyomingwilly says:

    cont. With the Watchtower Society of JW's being Jehovah's visible " channel " , through which He communicates to mankind, the sincere JW is taught, " Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do. " [ watchtower magazine 12-1-1981, p27 ] So we see that the individual JW is'nt allowed to interpret the Scriptures for themselves, true doctrine comes through the prophet in Brooklyn N.Y. and the JW is counseled to submit and follow . This authoratative type arrangement is all to similar to that in Mormonism. While the individual LDS is told he can interpret the Scriptures for himself, he is warned not to spread his views to others if these views are in conflict with that of the LDS prophet, as it is only the First Presidency that has the authority to set fundamental doctrine for the church. The danger of being at odds with his leaders over doctrine can be a spiritually lethal position. LDS have been warned , " when the Prophet speaks, the debate is over. "

  22. falcon says:

    The apostle Paul was right when he talked in Ephesians 6 about the idea that we don't battle against flesh and blood. This is indeed a spiritual battle. The spirit of Mormonism has blinded your friend and the only way she'll ever get it is if she is delivered from it. So that's what I'd keep in mind when you're interacting with her. There's another saying that, "if I tell you, you can doubt me, but if you say it, it's true." So if you can formulate some questions to lead her to a point where she begins to have doubts, then she has a chance of beginning to see clearly. I must add that her "ah ha" moment will come only as the Holy Spirit massages her heart. That's why prayer is so important. I always like to remind myself of the weapons of our warfare that Paul also writes about in Eph. 6.

  23. falcon says:

    This is what happens when people give themselves over to a spirit of deception. The corrupt organizations that hold these people in its grasp are diabolical. I saw the JW headquarters last summer when I was in NY City and prayed against it. I told a friend of mine about it and he told me that the JW headquarters was for sale. I haven't confirmed that. I wonder where they'd move?

  24. wyomingwilly says:

    falcon, all is not well for the watchtower organization , a lot could be said about this.
    They seem to be moving to upstate N.Y. , the Patterson area. I am going to put
    together a list of similarities between Jehovah's " modern – day prophet "
    headquartered at Brooklyn N.Y. and , God's latter-day " living prophet " head-
    quartered at Salt lake City. One day I'll get to it. Both of these end-time prophets
    authoratative claims and the way they control their followers are so similar . I've
    mentioned before that my wife was a JW. It breaks her heart to see how LDS
    are promised by their prophets/apostles that they'll never lead be led astray. The
    Mormon people are good people. But like JW's they've been convinced that they
    need to submit to a prophet as the way to find favor with God. Matt. 24:11

  25. wyomingwilly says:

    Aaron, I need to take a moment here to say thanks for all the work you put into this particular
    project, and the other areas of research also . Bill, Eric, Sharon and yourself keep us up on
    information needed to have a more meaningful dialog with the Mormon people.


  26. falcon says:

    Andy Watson would keep me up to date on a weekly basis regarding his very intense interactions with some of the local JW big wigs in his area. So Andy gets invited to attend a Memorial service on what we'd call Holy Thursday. So the JWs are having what they call communion. The guy leading the service made it clear that he was the only one worthy enough to take the communion elements, which he did if front of anyone. The drill then is for the elements to be passed among the seated JWs who then simply pass them on, not being "worthy". Well when the first of the elements came to Andy, he took it (the bread I believe). You can imagine the reaction. So when the grape juice comes around, Andy gets into a tussle with the usher, a kind of back and forth struggle with the usher who says, "JUST PASS THEM ON!"
    Now we can see how people in these groups get beaten down and manipulated. A constant theme in Mormonism is the "Are you worthy?" scenario. So this keeps the rank-and-file Kool Aid drinker beaten down and under the thumb of the authoritarian structure of the religion. It's a basic manipulative technique used by cults.
    So when something like the "Gospel Principles" are taught, the folks just suck it up without thinking and simply memorize a few little dittys/slogans that keep them satisfied. The power of the "burning in the bosom" experience can't be underestimated in regards to all of this. It's a magnificent (diabolically speaking) emotional technique to capture and keep captive the believer. Throw in a little fear like spending eternity in outer darkness and the psychological trap is complete.
    It's pretty obvious why exMormons can be so angry and hostile towards the Mormon system and those that had seduced them into the cult.

  27. wyomingwilly says:

    falcon, I also got to observe firsthand what Andy witnessed .I saw the communion
    elements passed down each isle with only a couple of partakers . This scenario
    is the result of faithful Jehovah's witnesses following their prophet , and thus being
    faithful to God. You mentioned how in Mormonism its all about being worthy. As
    with LDS so it is with JW's and all those who are convinced they need a prophet
    to guide them today. It's the Watchtower prophet [ the Governing Body ] like the
    Mormon prophet who set the criteria for what determines if a person is indeed
    worthy, for one it's no saluting the flag or accepting a blood transfusion, for the
    other its no cup of coffee in the morning. Follow the prophet to gain God's favor !

  28. wyomingwilly says:

    falcon, my copy of the Gospel Principles [ 1997 p. 47-49 ] mentions that the
    Mormon prophet is a teacher who interprets the Word of God. Also it has the
    promise from a former Mormon prophet that the Lord will never allow the
    prophet to lead the church astray. I wanted to ask Aaron if the 1979 edition
    does say : " the Lord will never allow the president of the Church to teach
    us false doctrine. " If this is a correct quote, then if we looked over 180 years
    of teachings from the " living prophets " of the Mormon Church, would we find
    this quote to be acurrate ? ww

  29. falcon says:

    I've been wondering what a Mormon, who loves the culture, the people, the church, and thrives in the system, does when they discover that the Gospel Principles aren't true? I've read about Mormons who stay in the program even though they've come to understand that the doctrine is bogus. They kind of rationalize that the church does "a lot of good" so they stick around and play the game. My guess that it's kind of like belonging to some type of lodge or fraternal organization where by the members like the fellowship and the ceremonies and the different "ranks" and type of achievement orientation of the group.
    I don't know if someone could be truly "born again" and stay in Mormonism. We're talking about a totally different God. There is a book by Shawn McCraney titled "Born Again Mormon". I've never read it but have enjoyed his TV program "Heart of the Matter". Some would contend that a Mormon can be born again but I don't believe they can be born again and embrace the Mormon Gospel Principles. This is just not a simple matter of saying, "I've received Jesus as my Lord and Savior".

  30. wyomingwilly says:

    cont. And if the Mormon prophet has been found to have taught false
    doctrine to the Saints, and not repented of it, then can sincere LDS admit
    he is a false prophet/teacher ? May LDS take that step to examine
    whether they're being led by a reliable guide in scriptural interpretation ,
    2 Cor. 13:5, 1 Thess.5:21 .

  31. Violet says:

    Falcon. Exmormon Conference speaker, Steve Hassan, (see youtube videos) said when someone spoke to him about the Moonies, he would automatically go into a 'thought stopping' mode. He quotes himself thinking something about True Parents, True Parents, or 'Get Away Satan'. He wasn't afforded the luxury to think. Any questions regarding the church were 'negative' so they were 'Satan'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQEFZidFUDs&fe….

  32. 4fivesolas says:

    Good summary of the Biblical essentials of Christianity. These are all lynch-pin beliefs – if any of these Scriptural doctrines are denied I would run, not walk from this "church." If you remove any one of these essentials, the rest fall apart, or at least fail to make sense. Man's sinful fallen state would be another doctrine that I think all of Christianity does not make sense without, otherwise why do you need a savior?? Of course this could fall under the Bible is the Word of God and is true in what it reveals about man's fallen nature.

  33. WW wrote

    my copy of the Gospel Principles [ 1997 p. 47-49 ] mentions that the Mormon prophet is a teacher who interprets the Word of God


    Can you please post the quote, with the full reference?

    I've recently had an LDS post on another board that I should not judge the Mormon Church by how it interprets the Bible. I'd like to respond.

  34. Falcon referenced Walter Martin <blockquote<He says further that where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed in power and with a compelling relevancy, cults have made little or no headway.</blockquote>

    I'd like to "amen" this strategy, not because I've got much personal empirical evidence, but because it makes sense (and I trust the evidence will follow).

    My mission, then, is to find the "power and compelling relevancy" of the Gospel, which I believe is there in its original form, as faithfully preserved in the Bible.

    It's a big challenge, of course, because I've got this habit of interpreting scripture from my perspective according to my agenda, whereas I've got to listen to what the authors are saying from their perspective and their agenda. I am convinced, however, that when we place scripture against the backdrop of it's author's cultural and historical context, we can understand what they are trying to say to us in a way that is meaningful for our time.

    A prime example of this, for example, is to understand the role and function of the Temple in the New Testament time and culture. This is a challenge because we have little or no experience of anything similar that we can use as a comparative reference (though the Mormon Temples get quite close, ironically). It's important because it illuminates how the NT authors describe the role and function of the person of Jesus Christ – describing him as the True Temple (see Rev 21:22). Understand this, and you understand why Christians don't go about building Temples wherever they can.

  35. wyomingwilly says:

    Ga-day Martin. On page 47 of the 1997 ed. of Gospel Principles,
    Chapter 9 " Prophets of God "
    " A prophet is a man called by God to be his representative on earth.
    When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking. A
    prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity
    and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the
    word of God. " Martin, there's the reference. [ this manual also
    says that the Saints sustain the First Pres. and the 12 Apostles as
    prophets ] God Bless. ww

  36. wyomingwilly says:

    Martin, I do have more references from Mormon publications on
    this , so just let me know. The moderators can give you my
    E-mail address.


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