I am just another member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints airing my personal opinions.
This "hands-on" is in the form of what we call a personal testimony.

My personal ideas and interpretations.

I hope it's useful. If not, I hope you'll forgive me for wasting your time.

Above all, don't take my word for the things I write. Look the scriptures up yourself. Your opinion of them is far more important to you than mine.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sort of Uniquely Mormon -- Lectures on Faith

I've been re-reading the work called Lectures on Faith (, because I think I want to use it in the novel I'm currently writing: 
and I don't want to get my references too much confused.

It occurs to me that the contents of the Lectures is very much available elsewhere in scripture and in the Church's current teaching materials.

Much of the work is simply listing other scriptures, with commentary tying the lists together and pointing out what seems to me to be obvious.

Well, it seems obvious to me now, after a lifetime of study. :-/

There are a few points where the wording reflects the multiple authorship.

The explanation of the Godhead as three independent "personages" as we call them now, is introduced with the word "personage" used in a different sense, I think, from the sense we now use in the Church. In that sense, the text describes the Godhead as consisting of two personages. And, yet, later on in the same lecture, it says, "... these three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" (Quoting from memory, look it up for yourself.)

The same lecture also seems to make a difference between the Father and the Son in its description of the Son as a personage of tabernacle. But the Son is the express image of the Father, and scripture given later describes both as beings of flesh and bone (see D&C 130: 22).

So some cry, "Confusion!"

The Lecture in which this apparent confusion is found never says the Father is without a body. It only emphasizes that the Son is a being of tabernacle. And then it says that the Son is essentially just like the Father. Where is the argument?

This same lecture talks about the "mind of God" and calls it the Holy Spirit. I think this is a specific use of the term "spirit", and should not be confused with the third member of the Godhead, even though the third member of the Godhead is essentially the spiritual embodiment of the mind of God.

I do believe the understanding of the Godhead did evolve, especially among those who helped Joseph Smith prepare and teach these lectures. That Joseph Smith did not micro-manage these lectures seems to me more an indication of what he understood to be the management style of God than a fault in his own comprehension of things. 

If your purpose is to find fault with a work, that is easy. Even the Bible is easy to find fault with. If that is what you want to do.

Finding fault does not lead to faith. (This seems very ironic, here.)

If you have a scales, and find fault with it, you will likely refuse to use it.

If you prefer, you can see the problems with a particular scales and still use it to weigh things to a certain degree of accuracy.

If, say, you have a scales that gives eccentric readings in the range from 50 Kg. to 60 Kg., you can still use it below 50 and above 60, and with some clever usage (using extra, known weights, say) you can even weigh things between 50 and 60 Kg.

Why bother if you have another scales that gives more consistent readings?

Consistency is not always a virtue.

(Yes, I am saying that there are a lot of intellectual devices applied to evaluating religion that simply do not evaluate religion well, even though they seem to sometimes produce consistent results. Your mileage will vary, eventually.)

I've attempted to talk about faith here:
But maybe I ended up talking around it, instead.

Faith is belief that motivates.

If you don't have faith in the scientific method, you generally will not be able to obtain meaningful results with it.

If you don't have some degree of faith in your school, you will find it much harder to get good grades there, and, more importantly, much harder to get the sort of education the school advertises, or attempts to present.

If you don't have faith in the company you work for, you are far more likely to call in sick, to ignore the established procedures, to fail to do the required work, and so forth.

If you refuse to have faith in your country, why would you pay taxes? Why would you bother defending your country? Especially, why would you bother trying to find candidates worth voting for?

Faith is constructive.

Refusing to exercise faith is destructive.

(In which case, sure, if you can't exercise faith in something, maybe you should move on to something you are willing to exercise faith in. I'm not saying, here's the door, goodbye. I'm saying, please do something that helps you instead of something that doesn't.)

Faith is a belief that motivates. That is the first message of the Lectures on Faith.

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I have no problem with differences of opinion, but seriously abusive comments will get removed when I have time.