Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Where are all the missing scriptures?

Posted by robf on November 20, 2011

How much scripture are we still missing or not recognizing? If we take Nephi seriously, perhaps quite a bit!

Latter-day Saints are quick to quote Nephi in defending the logic behind recognizing extra-biblical scripture such as the Book of Mormon. We are even at times uncharitable, labeling as fools (2 Nephi 29:4) those who accept the Bible but reject additional scripture. But if we continue reading that passage, Nephi seems to set us up to fall into our own foolish trap.

Nephi quotes the Lord as saying that he has created all men and that he brings forth his word unto “all the nations of the earth” (2 Nephi 29:8). The Lord says that “I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them” (2 Nephi 29:11). The Lord speaks “unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it” (2 Nephi 29:12).

So…where are all these missing scriptures?

Are they missing, or are we just unwilling to recognize the traditions and sacred writings of other cultures as scripture?

To make matters even worse, the Lord says that when “two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also” (2 Nephi 29:8). He even goes so far as to say that just as Israel shall be gathered together, the word of the Lord given to all nations shall be “gathered in one” as well (2 Nepi 29:14).

What would it mean to gather all these scriptures in one, or for their words to “run together”? Perhaps we see a hint of that in the Pearl of Great Price, which boldly incorporates images from ancient Egyptian religious texts. Joseph Smith seemed to envision all truth, including religious traditions from all people, being rolled together into one great whole. We have access to a lot more religious texts and traditions than Joseph Smith had in his day. How are we doing at recognizing them as scripture or profiting from letting them run together?

What do the Lord’s words in 2 Nephi 29 commit us to, as far as accepting and incorporating the religious traditions of “all nations” into the fullness of the restored gospel? How much are we missing by not recognizing or accepting truths revealed by the Lord to thousands of cultures over the many thousands of years that his children have been on the earth?

63 Responses to “Where are all the missing scriptures?”

  1. BrianJ said

    “Nephi seems to set us up to fall into our own foolish trap.”

    Well put.

    I think one of the challenges to this project of gathering and accepting more scripture is that our canon is already quite large. How much larger could it get before it was just too much to make any sense of? For example, suppose we studied the OT only every 10 years because we had a lot of other canon to study. Already we barely even touch much of the NT (e.g., Romans get only 1 week of study every four years), so how could we fit any of the Apocrypha into our schedule? And I don’t mean to make this only about group study, because the same problems obviously exist for personal study.

    One solution is to rely on devoted scholars to mine the texts for us and then study on their distilled and summarized reports. This has clear problems in the LDS context.

    • Tim Lorenz said

      You make a good point about relying on shcolarly acceptance rather than divine authorization. The canon of scripture we as LDS members accept, is that which was received by God’s prophets, or authorized by His legal servants as doctrine. The stream of comments appear to want to accept the doctrines of men because they provide good philosophy. We must be very careful to follow what is given us by revelation – THAT is what is symbolized by, and ties us to, the Rock and our foundation of truth. We must not let
      “itchy ears” lead us beyond authorized and divine doctrine.
      The second point made by further comments, is that we are not fully living what we have been given. When I was first baptized, I wanted all the knowledge NOW, but have come to realize that that would have been damning – because I wasn’t ready to fully comply with those truths (line upon line). Too much knowledge condemns us, unless our faith, commitment and obedience are equal to the doctrine. God is patient and compassionate to let us sip from the fountain of truth, rather than allowing us to condemn ourselves by desiring to drink from His fire hose of truth.

      • Well written, Tim. I totally agree with your stance, and I admire your understanding of this well-responded-to question.

      • William Bello said

        Thank you for that, very well said. Its like we are babies and we are feed milk and as we grow in doctrine we will one day be feed meat.

  2. Amira said

    I agree that it would be difficult to make our canon that large. But I’d love to give members from a non-Christian or non-Jewish background the option of studying in Gospel Doctrine the sacred writings of their own traditions instead of the Old Testament. I love the OT, but when I read it with members who have absolutely no background in Judeo-Christian tradition, I can’t figure out why we’re not reading, for example, the Qur’an or one of the literary epics of Central Asia. The curriculum department is really good at finding ways to teach the topics it wants to in any resource.

    • Sander said

      I think that the problem with the Qurán is that it denies Jezus Christ as the Son of God. It refers to Him as the son of Mary in the same way that Satan refered to Moses in the Pearl of Great Price as the son of man.

      • Jeff said

        The idea isn’t to admit other works as found today, but something like Joseph’s retranslation of the Bible could be applied to something like the Quran to restore its correct doctrine. The First Presidency has explicitly recognized Muhammad as one called to “enlighten whole nations”.

  3. robf said

    I’ve long dreamed of an LDS version, complete with cross-referenced footnotes, of the Upanishads :-)

  4. Rameumptom said

    Given the hundreds of non-Biblical documents in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other collections, we could have a mammoth collection. That said, why couldn’t we consider doing what the Lord told Joseph Smith regarding the Apocrypha (probably with the idea of not overloading the canon with tons of books), that to study them with the Spirit is a useful thing. Otherwise, it is not necessary.

    We gain the key concepts of the gospel from what we have. We do not canonize the General Conference talks or the Journal of Discourses, etc., for this same reason. Better to give a standard, and then allow the members to study others as they see a need to do so.

    That said, we could do better at promoting an understanding of the scriptures we actually have.

    • Daryl W. Bailey said

      Amen. I think there would be at least two results, One: we would here the same message we have already heard, THe Book of _________ “Another testiment to Jesus Christ”, if they were taught the gospel what gospel would they have been taught? Second; We are having trouble living and digesting what we have, we will be held accountable for what we know vs what we live.( ever wonder why you can not remember the pre-mortal life, a sure knowledge) As much as I would like to learn more I am not sure if I am ready for more D & C 132:1-4, carefull what you ask for unless you are ready to live it. As stated there are many books of many cultures we can learn eternal truths from if we have the time to seek them out. I am no scholar but one of my favorites is “Book of The HOPI” by Frank Waters, the first few chapters you feel like you are going thru the temple. Knowledge is out there if we but look.

  5. joespencer said

    I’m in the thick of preparing to teach “Living Religions” this upcoming semester. Given my scriptural focus generally, you can guess I’ll be teaching the scriptures of the various traditions. I wonder if there isn’t a way of generally getting Latter-day Saints more familiar with these other textual traditions to see what they might say in response to them….

    • What a cool class to be teaching! I love learning our (LDS) scriptures and truth burns in me when I learn of them. For me also, the more I learn about other cultures’ beliefs, the more I believe mine. I just want to scream on the rooftops “hey guys! You want your answers? I know where you can find them!”. It’s like a lot of them, as I said in my earlier reply, have partial truths which are good, but we have completeness as much as God has given us to date, and it is simple and sweet.

  6. robf said

    Agree canonization might be unweildy, but would like to see more discussion and recognition of other traditions. I would really like to see work on our canon from the perspective of other traditions. What would a Hindu reading of the Book of Mormon look like? Or a Mormon reading of the the Qur’an, Popol Vuh, Navajo traditions, etc?. Beyond canonization, how else can we make these words “run together”?

    While Hugh Nibley was accused of parallelomania, I like his framework of seeing truth in all traditions. As Rameumptom said, we have to sift all sacred traditions (including our own!) with the Spirit. But are we reading other traditions as sacred? How are we doing with the Egyptian stuff we already have canonized? Or the multiple textual traditions within the Old Testament or Book of Mormon? How many cultures are represented in our canon right now? Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Babylonian, Assyrian, Sumerian, Middle Age European, 19th Century American, Preclassic Mesoamerican? How much do we know and appreciate these in our current scriptures?

  7. larryco_ said

    I believe that the largest set of missing scriptures that no one talks about are the brass plates. “When my father saw all these things he was filled with the Spirit, and began to prophesy…that these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples…(and they) should never perish, neither should they be dimmed any more by time” (1 NE 5:18-19). The brass plates, while containing some overlapping books, are clearly different from the bible, the contrast being mentioned in 1 NE. 13:23. The coming forth of the brass plates would be earthshaking!

  8. Mary said

    Maybe we need to understand and master the scriptures we already have. I am reminded of needing to be able to eat baby food before you eat adult food. More importantly, we need to live the teachings of our scriptures every day before we go for more quantity. Why get something more when you cannot or will not use what you have?

  9. kathi said

    As soon as the Prophet tells us that all the scriptural texts are here for us to study from the North, South, East, and West and which ones they are then I will. Until then I will continue studying what the Lord and Prophets have said to study for my Spiritual benefit. In the meantime I will continue to study other religious texts for my own education and enjoyment.

  10. wshant said

    Let’s not leave out the English traditions. I think the Once and Future King and other Arthurian traditions are a must for Sunday School. And let’s not forget the Druids. I believe there are books and commentaries that would help us better understand how ritual human sacrafice and cannibalism fits into the gospel scheme. And since the Mayans were clearly Nephites, perhaps we can take one out of every ten years or so to study how their religious traditions “run together” with ours. I for one think it would benefit every latter-day saint to participate in the Mayan ritual ceremony of ingesting a local halucinogenic herb (such as mushrooms or peyote), entering into our animal form (mine is the jaguar) and seeing the world from a different perspective. And for heaven’s sake, let’s finally put a stop the incessant practice that we seem to be addicted to of calling everyone else fools, especially in General Conference talks.

  11. As for me, I study what our culture was given and what our prophets guide us to ponder. However, in my studies in school and on my own on the subject of other peoples’ “mythologies”, I’ve learned there are many parallels. The war in heaven, the creation, Adam and Eve, the Tree of Life, the flood motif, the virgin birth, and the millennium. These stories are told everywhere all over the earth, and before communication between our civilizations became common. Ancient writings. They only parted ways because of the ideas of man and geography. For instance, the area of the Nile River vs the Euphrates (sp?). The Nile is a powerful but gentle and predictable river. It floods each spring and recedes, leaving the land feritle. The ancient gods of that area were powerful but benevolent. They loved their “children” the mortals. On the other hand, the Euphrates is a wild and crooked river through jagged mountains. It’s unpredictable and can wipe out a village in an in only a few minutes with it’s erratic flooding. The Gods developed in that area were powerful, malevolent, unpredictable and thought nothing of squashing the people below their feet for their amusement and to get back at another God. Mortal life was cheap to them. But regardless, like I said, the “base” stories are there. There is a ribbon of truth to other religions.
    We are instructed as LDS “… If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or
    praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” However, our own scriptures first. We can judge others’ by comparing them to our own, making sure there are no contradictions.

  12. oregonrain said

    When the Prophet tells us they are scriptures that is how we will know. Until then we have plenty to keep us busy.
    Don’t judge and you won’t fall into a trap.

  13. Jennifer Spencer said

    “For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it” (2 Ne. 29:8, 11–12; see also 1 Ne. 13:38–39).

    Furthermore, the Book of Mormon teaches that all of these groups will have the writings of the others (see 2 Ne. 29:13).

    We conclude from this that the Lord will eventually cause the inspired teachings He has given to His children in various nations to be brought forth for the benefit of all people. This will include accounts of the visit of the resurrected Lord to what we call the lost tribes of Israel and His revelations to all the seed of Abraham. The finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls shows one way this can occur.

    When new writings come forth—and according to prophecy they will—we hope they will not be treated with the rejection some applied to the Book of Mormon because they already had a Bible (see 2 Ne. 29:3–10). As the Lord said through a prophet in that book, “And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man” (2 Ne. 29:9).

    Truly, the gospel is for all men everywhere—every nation, every people. All are invited. THIS IS FROM A CONFERENCE TALK BY ELDER DALLIN OAKS IN THE MAY 2006 ENSIGN

  14. Linda said

    We receive as we are ready, “Be still, and know that I AM God”

  15. Bill Johnson said

    We would need a prophet with the ability to translate to ensure that those other scriptures are correct. But it seems that the current prophets have lost the ability to translate.

  16. The comments are very interesting. Since the canon of scripture that is accepted by the Church has been revealed through the prophets, it is the responsibility of the Prophet and the Twelve to choose which of these other “scriptures” to include in the canon of scriptures we use in the Church. In other words, it is not our opinions that will cause other writings to become widely used in the Church, but the will of the Lord, as revealed through His prophets in our day, that may cause them to become part of our scriptures. If we are eager to include more scriptures, please remember that there is a sealed portion of the Golden Plates that has not yet been translated, but it will be translated and made known unto the Church, when we are ready for it. Until the prophet is directed to do that, and to consider these other writings, including the Apocrypha (see D&C 91), we should concentrate our energies on reading, understanding, and living the words revealed through true prophets, as recorded in the four standard works accepted by the Church as our canon of scripture.

  17. Michael said

    The author seems to assume that all writings, from every religious tradition, of every nation, are all scripture. I don’t think that is necessarily true. Since those people don’t currently have the fullness of the gospel, it follows that they all apostatized from it at some point in the past, and the first thing that apostates try to do is to destroy the scriptures, which were undoubtedly hidden up, just as the gold plates were, and are most likely waiting to come forth at some point in the future, when we are ready to receive more. At that point, we can expect the prophet to tell us what is scripture and what is not. I don’t think that we need the prophet to tell us that a book that denies that Jesus is the Son of God, like the Quran, is not scripture.

    I don’t think that our prophets have lost the ability to translate. When the Lord feels that we are ready for new truth, He will help them with the translation of those new records, just as He did with Joseph Smith.

  18. Adam said

    I would caution against recognizing any scripture that has not been revealed to be scripture by the Lord as such. Remember, Joseph Smith approached the Lord about the Apocrypha and the Lord answered that although it contained some truths and was overall good it also contained things that were not in harmony in the gospel. Therefore, the Lord did not have it canonized as scripture and advised that any study of it should be done prayerfully so the reader may know what is truth and what isn’t (see D&C 91).
    I would also just state that in the Lord’s time any scripture that needs to be revealed will be revealed through His chosen servants. I would trust in the brethren on this matter and would caution against the speculation of what else could be scripture (eg the Quran, the Hindu texts, etc.).
    Finally, we are blessed as latter-day saints to receive scripture every 6 months. Nephi’s promise is being fulfilled in our time and the witness of several nations is coming together through the witness of several General Authorities.

  19. RULDSIM said

    “…If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
    We are so blessed that there is much written in the world that is wonderful and uplifting. I have to believe that it’s a “good, better, best” sort of thing when we decide what we want to read and study.

  20. David Schory said

    Where are all of the missing follow up actions?

    Mark Twain once said, “I would rather see a sermon any day than hear one!” I don’t think the problem is having more scriptures. I think we have plenty of scriptures! The problem is acting on what we already know as church members. How many scriptures do we need to tell us to do our home teaching and yet as a church we average about 20% every month if that. How many scriptures do we need to tell us to get food storage together, pay an honest tithing, support the missionary work, get our temple and genealogy work done, support our church leaders, etc. My opinion is that what we need is more actions and less scriptures. Actions speak louder than words! We have about 15 million church members and I would say 2/3rds of them are less active. We are missing the boat! How many scriptures do we need in how many languages to tell us what to do as church members?

  21. BrianJ said

    I thought about directing this comment as a reply to a specific person, but since so many have made similar statements I’ll just address to every reader:

    Why is there so much resistance to the idea of looking for more scripture? Quotes from the comments:

    “As soon as the Prophet tells us that all the scriptural texts are here for us….”

    “When the Prophet tells us they are scriptures that is how we will know.”

    “We would need a prophet…to ensure that those other scriptures are correct.”

    “Until the prophet is directed to do that….”

    “At that point, we can expect the prophet to tell us what is scripture and what is not.”

    “I would caution against recognizing any scripture that has not been revealed to be scripture by the Lord as such.”

    What happened to personal revelation? When did the principle behind Moroni’s promise become restricted to only the Book of Mormon? Why lump all saints into a collective “we”? I didn’t see anyone here proposing to decide for the Church as a whole, and yet so many comments are hard set on restricting the individual to only that which has been canonized. I don’t see any justification for it.

    • I appreciate your comments. As Elder Oaks pointed out a while back, the personal line and the Priesthood line will NEVER contradict each other. If you feel you have “personal revelation” that is either more or less than what the Lord has revealed to His Prophet, through the Priesthood line, pertaining to what really IS scripture, then I would ask you to pray that such revelation be confirmed by the Holy Spirit to be real. Our personal opinions can be mistaken as “inspiration”. Again, we must be careful, as there were many people in the early days of the Church who supposed that THEY had received “revelations”, but such things had NOT been made known to the living oracle on the Earth, even the Prophet Joseph, so those members had a choice to either repent and follow the revelations of the Lord through the Prophet, or apostatize. Sadly, many did leave the Church, and even started churches of their own. With so many comments advising that we “follow the Prophet”, it would seem that such a course is advisable. “Freedom” does not mean that we are “free” to accept good writings as scripture. As the scriptures testify, “the truth shall make you free.” The Apocrypha had much truth in it, but also had interpolations of man, so the Lord Himself declined to have Joseph translate it. Other writings seem to also fall into that category, of “good”, but “not needful” of being made official scripture. As D&C 91 advises: “Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;
      And whoso is enlightened by the aSpirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.” I, for one, accept this revelation as evidence that the choice of what is truly scripture is up to our Lord and Master, not up to us. Please, I have no hard feelings, and I’m not judging you. I am simply suggesting that we accept and live what we have, and let the Lord direct the Priesthood line, as we seek to receive the Spirit through our personal line, which will always follow and be corroborated by the revelation through the Priesthood line.

      • BrianJ said

        “I am simply suggesting that we accept and live what we have…”

        I reject the notion of the collective “we,” at least as you are using it here.

        Regarding D&C 91, I think you focus only on the “don’t bother translating it part” and essentially ignore the “go ahead and read it if you want and the Spirit will guide you” part.

        “I, for one, accept this revelation as evidence that the choice of what is truly scripture is up to our Lord and Master, not up to us.” No one here is arguing otherwise. Here’s the basic argument: Find a book, ask the Lord if it’s “good”, then continue seeking the Lord’s help in gaining whatever good there is from it. Nothing about usurping authority or going rogue.

        “If you feel you have “personal revelation” that is either more or less than what the Lord has revealed to His Prophet, through the Priesthood line, pertaining to what really IS scripture, then I would ask you to pray that such revelation be confirmed by the Holy Spirit to be real.” I do not believe that the Prophet will first receive any and all revelation that is pertinent to me.

      • The subject is not “any and all revelation that is pertinent to [you]“. The subject is scripture that is approved by the Lord through His prophet. I, like you, do not believe that everything pertaining to me comes through the Priesthood line, and I have received personal revelation that is based on things that only the Lord and me know about in my life. So, there is a place for personal revelation. We can get “good” out of reading anything, and should receive personal revelation about its truthfulness. I am sorry if you think I am saying that the only way you can be directed is through the prophet. He receives GENERAL revelation for the entire Church, and what is considered “required reading” by the Lord. We are to study out of the best books, and glean what we can that is good from them. The part I object to in this whole subject is the inference that the Church is wrong to not embrace other works from other religions, carte blanche. The truth in them is truth, but there is much that is not of God, and that is why the Lord does not approve them through the Prophet. Even the Old Testament book The Song of Solomon has been said, by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that it should not have been included in the Holy Bible.

        To those who discern truth and cleave to it, while rejecting wording that is outside the bounds of the Lord, I say “more power to you”. For me, though, reading the Ensign and the scriptures fills me up spiritually. For others with more time to read, there are good things out there, as well as canonized scripture. Thanks for reading my opinions and views.

      • robf said

        Brent, I appreciate your defense of the Church, but I think you have misread something if you think I or anyone else here is saying that “the Church” (do you mean leadership? members? what?) “is wrong” in any way, or that we should “embrace other works from other religions, carte blanche”. Of course we need revelation to help us know what is true in those other works–both individually and as a church. But that raises a lot of questions, which is the point here. What questions do these passages in 2 Nephi 28 raise? As our scriptures and prophets remind us, it is usually by asking questions that we get revelation–not by assuming we already have all that the Lord would want to give us.

  22. Jennifer Spencer said

    “For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it” (2 Ne. 29:8, 11–12; see also 1 Ne. 13:38–39).

    Furthermore, the Book of Mormon teaches that all of these groups will have the writings of the others (see 2 Ne. 29:13).

    We conclude from this that the Lord will eventually cause the inspired teachings He has given to His children in various nations to be brought forth for the benefit of all people. This will include accounts of the visit of the resurrected Lord to what we call the lost tribes of Israel and His revelations to all the seed of Abraham. The finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls shows one way this can occur.

    When new writings come forth—and according to prophecy they will—we hope they will not be treated with the rejection some applied to the Book of Mormon because they already had a Bible (see 2 Ne. 29:3–10). As the Lord said through a prophet in that book, “And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man” (2 Ne. 29:9).

    Truly, the gospel is for all men everywhere—every nation, every people. All are invited.
    This is from a sermon by Elder D. H. Oaks April 2006. We are to expect more sacred words.

  23. joespencer said

    A goodly number of the comments here have, I think, missed the point of the original post. Here are the questions and suggestions it does actually raise. with a few inserted notes and provocations:

    What would it mean to gather all these scriptures [Mormon and not, perhaps even "true" and not] in one, or for their words to “run together”? Perhaps we see a hint of that in the Pearl of Great Price, which boldly incorporates images from ancient Egyptian religious texts. [This example drawn from the PoGP seems to me quite significant.] Joseph Smith seemed to envision all truth, including religious traditions from all people, being rolled together into one great whole. We have access to a lot more religious texts and traditions than Joseph Smith had in his day. How are we doing at recognizing them as scripture or profiting from letting them run together? [Would it help here to distinguish between scripture---all these are scripture---and canon---none of these is, for the Latter-day Saint, canon?]

    What do the Lord’s words in 2 Nephi 29 commit us to, as far as accepting and incorporating the religious traditions of “all nations” into the fullness of the restored gospel? [I think we should be careful to take this as a serious question and not as a leading one: What do those words commit us to?] How much are we missing by not recognizing or accepting truths revealed by the Lord to thousands of cultures over the many thousands of years that his children have been on the earth? [It's hard to deny that there are truths in other scriptural traditions, particularly given the fact that prophets have said so.]

    The point here, I take it, is not to say anything like “How can we find exciting new material to flesh out the Sunday School curriculum?” or “How can we dilute the content of Mormon scripture by interpreting it through the lens of other religious traditions?” or “How can we find something more palatable to our tastes than what we have in the current canon?” The point, I believe, is rather to echo Brigham Young’s statement:

    “Mormonism,” so-called, embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to “Mormonism.” The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this Church. As for their morality, many of them are, morally, just as good as we are. All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this Church and Kingdom. “Mormonism” includes all truth. There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel. It is life, eternal life; it is bliss; it is the fulness of all things in the gods and in the eternities of the gods.

    How might we, as faithful Mormons with full commitment to what has been revealed to us, creatively read, appropriate, and otherwise make sense of non-Mormon scripture? That, I take it, is the question here.

  24. Susan Nielson said

    We do know of specific scriptures that are missing; the books of Lehi, Zenock, and Zenos.
    The sealed portion of the BOM.
    It will be an exciting day indeed when we receive those things.

    But, as for other writings, however worthy of study or rich in truth, I cannot consider them scripture, lost or otherwise without a word from our prophet.

    That being said, I’m going right to amazon to look for the book of the Hopi

    • GaryH said

      I’d also be excited to read those books, but you might be prepared to accept that they don’t say much you haven’t already heard. Nephi quotes extensively from Zenos. Alma quotes from Zenock and Zenos AND references them in Alma 33, but you could surmise that he quotes or paraphrases them at other times without referencing them. And many prophets use the same language and ideas as their predecessors, even continents apart.

      As for other writings, if the prophet were to come out tomorrow and say “the Druze Epistles of Wisdom are inspired, and after prayerful consideration we have decided to accept them as part of the LDS canon”, we might have cause to be excited. We might be offended or challenged or confused by the content of said writings, and we might misinterpret them as we do with our current canon, but either way we would be happy to read them with a fresh perspective based on acceptance of the prophet’s word that they were true. But that wouldn’t make them any more true than they were yesterday. The words would not have changed, only our willingness to accept them. Of course we don’t really know what’s true or not, so we have to read everything with a pinch of salt. But it’s possible that some of it is potential future “canon” scripture, and we might benefit from reading it with the view that it could hold valuable truth.

  25. rodney dotson : Wow, that was enlightening & exhaustive; I didn’t think it was ever going to end (not that I wanted it to) but I did see all of ‘my original’ thoughts & ideas appear one by one leaving me now quite speechless ! However, there is one common reason for there being a great deal of basic ‘truths’ being found in all worlds religions that wasn’t mentioned…… & that is for the first couple of millennial periods (post Adam) there was only ONE spiritual plan (path) returning (up) to Father {other paths (detours) cul’-de-sacing in desires:greed,sex, power,etc.always exist}.It wasn’t until Satan united their efforts to ‘physically’ build a way to Father that He confounded their languages; driving them to distant areas of the world – with their basic ‘truths’ & without direct revelation (the light of the gospel went west with the bro. of Jared) leaving the forming world religions to start from this ‘dark-age’-like environment. Satan filled the void – since true revelation stopped coming down from above he brought his “revelation” from the ground up, in the form of mushrooms (hallucinogens), since they were with out the priesthood keys of discernment it was easy for Satan (he who can appear as “an angel of light”) to deceive even the very elect – mingling their “basic truths”with what ever “turned them on” hence we have an “apocrypha”-like “doctrines” such as reincarnation & other exciting twist of the different world religions (Asian).Satan purposely brought in many God/mother/Son scenarios in each of the various philosophies (Greek,Roman,etc.) that of course would predate Christ – to dilute (confuse the vary “elect”) as without the true gospel the average man wouldn’t know that the Christ birth scenario was known in every age of the Earth (even pre-Earth) to his people & of course Satan. Hence, allowing Satan to make the virgin birth to sound like a myth,like Santa Claus….. I think the most amusing (in a most ghastly way) interpretation of scripture of the beautiful phrase “give your heart to God” mentioned many times in the Nephite scripture & Satan’s little twist on it when it was ‘acted out’ in Mayan “scripture” where it is given “while it’s still beating” to their “God” .I would call that a more literal translation than the Nephite version the Mayan “scripture”even uses in their sacrament instead of wine or water to represent the blood , guess what they use ? & it’s still warm ! It’s amazing what a little natural herb (peyote) can do with interpretations . Like one of the quotes of above said …”entering in our animal form (his i believe was the jaguar) & seeing the would from it’s eyes……I guess humans (their hearts & blood) would take on a different perspective ………If there is anything virtuous,lovely,etc……I’ll continue seeking after ONLY these things !!!!

  26. kirkcaudle said

    Wow, I haven’t had time to read this thread until now. I think Rob brings up some excellent textual questions in this post. I had no idea that this subject would produce such a backlash. I will post some random thoughts/responses to the thread.

    #3, The Hindu scriptures/sacred writings are a perfect example of what Brian references (#1). The Hindus have so many scared scriptures (Upanishads, Vedas, etc.) that most Hindus that I speak with only read what speaks most to them personally (although that might not be such a bad thing).

    #4, I totally agree. However, how many LDS members really study the Apocrypha with the spirit searching for truth? Additionally, how many LDS members read it at all?

    #6, First off, I think we need to stop reading the sacred texts of other tradition through “Mormon eyes” and let them speak to us on their own terms. We should not seek truth in other texts as much as we should be looking to receive truth from other texts. I see no need to start Mormonizing everything in order to make sense of it.

    #17, “Since those people [non-LDS] don’t currently have the fullness of the gospel, it follows that they all apostatized from it at some point in the past, and the first thing that apostates try to do is to destroy the scriptures.” To apostatize from something is an act of rebellion. Apostasy is malicious. I think that it is unfair to call others that follow books other than our own (Standard Works) as actively attempting to destroy the true gospel. Although I don’t think that the Koran is the fullness of the gospel, I definitely don’t think that its existence is a satanic attack on The Book of Mormon. In fact, I think that the Koran makes for better people in this world and in the next world.

    #20, “My opinion is that what we need is more actions and less scriptures. Actions speak louder than words” I would never wish for less scripture. Nothing brings one to Christ faster than the scriptures. The scriptures are the life blood of the gospel because they contain the immortal words and testimonies of prophets.

    #21, Amen Brian.

    Although it may appear blasphemous to some, one of the strangest events of my life came while reading the Bhagavada Gita. While reading the BhG I felt the spirit. Not just any spirit, but the same spirit that I have felt while reading the Book of Mormon. Now I am not saying that I put the two books on the same level. However, I am saying that, at least in that moment, the Lord spoke to me through a scared text other than my own. When you have a spiritual experience with a text you are forever connected with that text. Therefore, if ones does not want to be spiritually connected with books outside of one’s own religious tradition then I would suggest never reading them (or at least not sincerely studying them).

  27. robf said

    Thanks for all of the comments–I stepped away for a day and found a lot more than I expected when I came back this morning! There appear to be many new readers and comment contributors here, which is great.

    Just a couple quick comments. First, I sadly had to go back and delete a comment from one contributor because it appeared heavily laced with sarcasm (I apologize if I misread that, but that is how it looked), which is not appreciated here. Feast Upon the Word is for asking and pondering questions about the LDS scriptures. It is not like other LDS themed blogs where we police each other’s orthodoxy. Assume that every poster here is a faithful and active Latter-day Saint who is following Nephi’s invitation to feast upon the words of Christ. That’s what this blog is about. Thank you for reading with that in mind.

    Secondly, since this is blog is about feasting on the word, my original questions in this post can be taken in many directions, which is fine, but as we explore these questions, let us please try to stay as close to the scriptures as we can. If you have other scriptures or teachings of modern prophets that can contribute to the discussion, great. Please share. We are all more interested in feasting on the word than in reading opinions or arguments.

    Thirdly, and finally for now–this blog, unlike many that we may read out there, is not about steadying the ark. None of the bloggers here is interested in telling the Brethren how they should be leading the Church. We may question the way we teach the scriptures in our classes, or how we understand scriptures, but these questions are for us to consider so that we can better appreciate, live, and benefit from the revelations we have been given–not to cause division or score points. Nobody here likes that, and so please refrain from that style of discourse here, where we are all just seeking greater light and knowledge by closely reading and pondering the scriptures.

    Feast Upon the Word is a special place. In my experience, it is a unique place in the Bloggernacle. If you are new, welcome. Enjoy the feasting!

    • Rob, I appreciate your response to my posts. I am sorry to have made you think that I “misread” anything. Questions are fine, if they lead us to seek further light. But, my point is simply that when we, as a people, do not live by the light already given, yet, we should focus on living the four standard works, and then, when we are ready, the Lord will give us more. To individually seek to assert that one is “ready” for more light and knowledge is fine, and the Spirit CAN reveal truth that is present in these other works, but my main thesis is that there will be no more scripture added until the Church, as a whole, is prepared to receive it. It would “damn” the people, for instance, to be given the rest of the Book of Mormon, the sealed portion, which contains a history from the days of creation down to the time of the Book of Mormon, because we are not quite appreciating the feast we have in the Book of Mormon. With the October Ensign being totally devoted to it, and the 2012 curriculum being the Book of Mormon, I hope everyone feasts upon those words, because “the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).

    • wshant said

      Sorry. I think the sarcasm was mine. :) It is my form of humor in trying to point out what appears to me to be obvious. Anyway, I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed here. Guess I’ll take my humor elsewhere. Great discussion though!

  28. David Schory said

    I guess I am missing the point of this whole blog. The Saducees and Pharisees were scriptorians to the max at the time of Christ. They knew the scriptures backwards and forwards. Yet they missed the Mark and failed to live the gospel as it was intended to be lived. They failed to serve their fellow man and they failed to recognize and receive the Savior into their lives. Satan and his legions know the scriptures and they know Christ. Yet they choose to go against God and the Gospel.

    Although more scriptures may be beneficial and useful to our spiritual growth and development and understanding, all we really need on earth is a living prophet which we have already. He is God’s spokeperson here on earth. But do we do what he asks us to do as a church? NO! Many members are less active! Many do the bare minimums possible. I would say 2/3rds of the church is less active. Many do not pay a full tithing or have a temple recommend~ Something is wrong with this picture~ Only 50,000 full time missionaries currently serving missions out of a church of 15 million????? Something is wrong with this picture~

    My concern is that actions speak louder than words. If I spend all of my time searching out the scriptures and fail to develop Charity then I have missed the point. If I read all of the good and inspired books on earth and fail to do my home teaching, genealogy, temple work, missionary work, fellowshipping, activation, serve my fellow man, then am I not as tinkling Brass as Paul speaks of?

    Gandhi once said LET ME BE THE CHANGE THAT I EXPECT TO SEE IN THE WORLD! I applaud everyone who reads the scriptures and seeks out truth~ But to me there are much bigger problems to tackle in the church and those have to do with turning our Faith into our Works! I don’t mean to offend anyone here. I just think the focus and the question needs to be what am I doing to strengthen my brethren and sisters in my ward?

    Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? Am I a modern day Saducee or Pharisee? What I admire most about Gandhi, Mohammad, Jesus Christ, Buddah, Joseph Smith, was that they were also men of action! Mother Theresea was another great example of actions! I guess what I am advocating is a balance in life. Dave Ramsey the great financial genius once said that financial management was 20% book knowledge and 80% behavioral change. I guess I would like to see that in the church as well. In my opinion we do a lot of talking, teaching, and preaching. But after all is said and done, more is often said than done~

    If I have offended it was not my intent~ I would just like to see more positive actions in the church and church members. 2/3rds of the church members being less active is not great~ Home teaching in the church at maybe 20% is not great~ Full time tithe payers at about 10% is not great~ Temple recommend holders in the church at about 10% is not great~

    Again I think we need to ask ourselves am I part of the solution or part of the problem?

    • kirkcaudle said

      I find the two main people that you chose to mention in your commentary against the scriptures very interesting. First, Dave Ramsey, who is a Christian that uses the scriptures to make more money through financial counseling (and preaches a form of “the gospel of prosperity, imo”). Second, Gandhi who loved the scriptures and lived a more or less an ascetic life. Two totally different approaches.

    • BrianJ said

      David Schory: I welcome your participation on this blog, but I find your comments here completely unhelpful. First, you say that you miss “the point of this whole blog.” I doubt that you’ve taken the time to review the whole blog and thus are making extremely premature judgments. Second, your comment implies that those participating on this scripture study blog are somehow guilty of Phariseeism—of neglecting charity or failing to act upon the word. Since you have no basis to make such judgments, you are out of line. Further, you miss the mark if you think that this blog has not been “part of the solution” for many of those who participate.

  29. robf said

    David, yes maybe you have missed the point of this blog. This post for sure wasn’t an invitation for you to tell us how you think Church members are falling down on the job. There are plenty of other blogs to express those kinds of opinions. Feast Upon the Word is where we come to carefully read and ask questions of the scriptures–to feast upon the word as we have been invited to do in order to better know and live as the Lord would have us do.

  30. kirkcaudle said

    #28, David said, “Although more scriptures may be beneficial and useful to our spiritual growth and development and understanding, all we really need on earth is a living prophet which we have already. He is God’s spokeperson here on earth. But do we do what he asks us to do as a church? NO!”

    So you agree with those that say, “A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and [we don't need] more Bible” (2 Ne 29:3). In fact, we don’t even need a Bible at all, because we have a prophet. Scripture is nice, but by no means necessary for salvation. The good works we do within the church is ultimately what saves us. Anyone that devotes too much time to scripture study is Pharisaic.

    Am I reading this right?

  31. joespencer said

    David,

    Since your comment reflects many others on this post, I want to respond to it at some length. Let me first say: you haven’t offended, but I think you have confused. Let me see if I can make sense of why that is….

    “I guess I am missing the point of this whole blog. The Saducees and Pharisees were scriptorians to the max at the time of Christ. They knew the scriptures backwards and forwards.”

    Actually, they didn’t, at least according to the New Testament. Christ is presented there as criticizing them precisely for misunderstanding the scriptures. They had memorized a lot of oral tradition that had been passed down to them, and that gave them confidence among a largely illiterate people, but they didn’t know the scriptures backwards and forwards. Jesus is quite as scriptural as His opponents in the New Testament, indeed, more scriptural. The problem, arguably, is that they weren’t scriptural enough.

    “Yet they missed the Mark and failed to live the gospel as it was intended to be lived. They failed to serve their fellow man and they failed to recognize and receive the Savior into their lives. Satan and his legions know the scriptures and they know Christ. Yet they choose to go against God and the Gospel.”

    And that is manifested here on this blog?

    “Although more scriptures may be beneficial and useful to our spiritual growth and development and understanding, all we really need on earth is a living prophet which we have already.”

    Right, and what does the living prophet tell us to do? Study scripture, among other things. I have heard more talks from prophets and apostles telling us to turn to the scriptures than I have heard on tithing or missionary work or having a current temple recommend. And more or less every talk I hear gestures toward scripture at several points. So I’m not sure what it means to say “all we really need on earth is a living prophet” when living prophets themselves suggest that there is more to the story than that.

    “He is God’s spokeperson here on earth. But do we do what he asks us to do as a church? NO! Many members are less active! Many do the bare minimums possible. I would say 2/3rds of the church is less active. Many do not pay a full tithing or have a temple recommend~ Something is wrong with this picture~ Only 50,000 full time missionaries currently serving missions out of a church of 15 million????? Something is wrong with this picture~”

    I couldn’t agree more on this, but I think it’s crucial to ask why this is the case. We have a living prophet, and we’re not following him, it seems. Perhaps something more is needed? My experience is that scripture converts people, especially when scripture is read consistently, closely, and inventively. The point here isn’t to replace living prophets with dead ones, but to follow the living prophet into the writings of the dead prophets, and to allow those dead prophets to teach us how to hear and follow the living one.

    “My concern is that actions speak louder than words. If I spend all of my time searching out the scriptures and fail to develop Charity then I have missed the point.”

    I really don’t think this happens very often. And my experience has taught me that those who “develop Charity” without reading scripture do not develop something that looks much like what scripture identifies as charity. Over and over again I have tried to tell myself that so-and-so may not seem to care much about scripture, but at least s/he is an example of charity—the first to volunteer to help someone move, the kind of person who will take a look at your broken-down car for free, the kind of person who gives out pass-along cards at the grocery store, etc. But in every case, as I get to know that person better, I’ve been more concerned than relieved about the way they live the gospel. The scriptures give us to know what needs to be done, and how it is to be done, so I don’t see how we can act without the scriptures—except according to a zeal without knowledge.

    “If I read all of the good and inspired books on earth and fail to do my home teaching, genealogy, temple work, missionary work, fellowshipping, activation, serve my fellow man, then am I not as tinkling Brass as Paul speaks of?”

    Certainly, but my experience is that there are few—very few—who fall into the category you’re describing.

    “Gandhi once said LET ME BE THE CHANGE THAT I EXPECT TO SEE IN THE WORLD! I applaud everyone who reads the scriptures and seeks out truth~”

    Do you? I don’t hear a whole lot of applause here….

    “But to me there are much bigger problems to tackle in the church and those have to do with turning our Faith into our Works!”

    I wonder what you mean by “turning our Faith into Works.” The scriptures have taught me to be quite careful with those words….

    “I don’t mean to offend anyone here. I just think the focus and the question needs to be what am I doing to strengthen my brethren and sisters in my ward?”

    And anyone who reads the scriptures carefully and consistently will be forced to ask that question constantly! And I couldn’t be more convinced that the thing I should be doing to strengthen my brethren and sisters in my ward is, precisely, to speak with them about scripture! I can’t see the force of what you’re saying here, because it seems to divorce the answer from the question.

    “Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? Am I a modern day Saducee or Pharisee? What I admire most about Gandhi, Mohammad, Jesus Christ, Buddah, Joseph Smith, was that they were also men of action! Mother Theresea was another great example of actions!”

    Gandhi was a man of action… who produced a beautiful translation of the Bhagavad Gita into the vernacular and provided commentary. Mohammad was a man of action… who gave us five hundred pages of scripture. Jesus Christ was a man of action… who, when He came to the Nephites, spent the vast majority of His time explaining Isaiah, Micah, and Malachi. The Buddha was a man of action… who inspired one of the largest scriptural traditions in history. Joseph Smith was a man of action… who not only spent countless hours translating and working on scriptural texts but whose words themselves were woven of biblical language. No one here is denying action, only affirming scripture. It’s your comment that asserts a radical division between scripture study and productive action.

    “I guess what I am advocating is a balance in life. Dave Ramsey the great financial genius once said that financial management was 20% book knowledge and 80% behavioral change. I guess I would like to see that in the church as well. In my opinion we do a lot of talking, teaching, and preaching. But after all is said and done, more is often said than done~”

    More is often said than done, but those saying more than doing are not those buried in scripture. What experience has taught you otherwise? We talk and teach and preach a lot, but those who limit themselves to that are, in my experience, repeating what they’ve heard, limiting themselves to a handful of well-worn texts they don’t understand, focusing on only about five volumes of “gospel scholarship,” drawing only on what they learned during the two years of diligent study they’ve ever put in (their mission experience), etc.

    “If I have offended it was not my intent~ I would just like to see more positive actions in the church and church members. 2/3rds of the church members being less active is not great~ Home teaching in the church at maybe 20% is not great~ Full time tithe payers at about 10% is not great~ Temple recommend holders in the church at about 10% is not great~

    “Again I think we need to ask ourselves am I part of the solution or part of the problem?”

    Again, agreed. But it seems to me that you’ve missed the best resource for a solution by criticizing those calling for serious work in the Church. Why aren’t the scriptures a real resource for helping people to see how they’re “part of the problem”?

    Hence, you’ve not offended but confused us, it seems to me. I can’t make sense of your position.

  32. Missing scriptures? They’re all around us. They are the sacred records of ancient civilizations, unearthed by archeologists and salvaged by scholars from obscurity. The Joseph Smith papyri are an excellent example. That’s why he included them in our canon. We just can’t make any sense of them because we don’t understand their message. They are written with an eye to cosmology . . . the story of the ancient heavens. And because most Mormons don’t recognize cosmology as a valid part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they ignore it.

    It’s the same story written in our modern revelation, the Pearl Of Great Price – stars, planets, etc. But that fabulous book is our least read and understood. It’s the same story written in our temple sybolism and endowment rituals. But we don’t understand them either. It’s the common denominator of all ancient belief systems, restored by our prophets in these latter days. But we fail to see what is “plain and precious,” right before our eyes. That’s why whole books of our existing scripture, including some revealed through Joseph Smith, are still “sealed books” for us. Latter-day Saints have many scriptural “blind spots” that prevent them from understanding the very gospel they embrace. Try reading “Why Cosmology?” on my blog. Perhaps that will help.

    As for those church members who will not look beyond a church manual or current conference talks, they get just what they’re looking for. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. As for me and my house, we will drink deeply of the fountain of knowledge God has pointed us toward with the restoration of the gospel, beginning with the magnificent revelations to Joseph Smith as well as his successors, right up to the present.

  33. BrianJ said

    As a founding member of this blog I think I have the experience to note something interesting about this discussion. We don’t usually get a lot of discussion here, yet this post has brought probably the highest number of commenters of any post we’ve ever had—not the greatest number of comments, mind you, but the number of people making the comments (commenters). And certainly many of these are names I’ve never seen here before.

    So, that’s the observation. Now, what is the reason for that? What is it about Rob’s questions that is drawing out so many new commenters?

  34. robf said

    …and maybe it was a brilliant question :-)

  35. We have the “canon” to read and live by. It sets up for us the basic building blocks of the gospel. If the Prophet and Apostles were to “canonize” every scripture that was out there, then no one would learn the basics. You have to have the meat and potatoes before you can have the cake and ice cream. The other writings are out there, but it is for the individual, whether they be members of the church or not, to be able to have open minds as well as the spirit as they read, to be able to discern truth from fiction.

  36. Matthew said

    Rob thanks for the great post. I was never sure what to make of 2 Ne 29:8 (“two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also”). I saw two possible interpretations:
    1) the nations haven’t “run together” yet
    2) this prophecy is left unfulfilled either temporarily or permanently for whatever reason (which there is plenty of precedence for this type of thing in the scriptures)

    I find the possibility you suggest intriguing that maybe their “testimony” isn’t some new thing yet to be revealed, but rather the religious traditions they already have given us. The negative of that interpretation is obvious in that, at least for many of us, it really sounds like Nephi is talking about a testimony of Christ similar to what we get in the Book of Mormon. I need to read back through that chapter more carefully than I have time for now to see how much that is justified.

    I think it is interesting to think through the example of the Pearl of Great Price (Anthony #32) in this context. Is it a key to unlocking this problem? An Egyptian scholar will look at the same pictures and come up with a very different interpretation than what we received from Joseph Smith. If I have to choose between them I’ll choose Joseph Smith’s but, other experiences have lead me to believe that such “choices” are usually the result of the wrong question. Is there some way to believe that both are correct according to different standards? This hurts my mind to think about. If Joseph Smith had translated the Upanishads (i haven’t read it), would we have a translation that referred to Jesus Christ and was more like the Book of Mormon? These difficulties almost make me want to say “forget it, I’ve got so many problems just to think about in my quad, I can’t be troubled by this topic: a quad, a quad. I have got a quad.”

    PS two counter-balancing principles for commenting on Feast that I believe will help us avoid much rancor. 1) apply charity when reading others thoughts 2) don’t respond to baiting.

  37. joespencer said

    Two references that Matthew’s comment bring out of me:

    First, it would be worth reading or re-reading Richard Bushman’s essay, “The Book of Mormon in Early Mormon History.” He gives a brief reading of these texts from 2 Nephi 29 in a way not entirely unlike what Rob has been suggesting.

    Second, Matthew’s question whether Joseph’s translation of the Upanishads would mention Christ makes me think we should all go read or re-read Grant Hardy’s discussion of the Book of Ether in Understanding the Book of Mormon. He suggests there that Moroni Christianizes what was otherwise a not-at-all Christian record.

  38. David Schory said

    Obviously I have stepped on a few toes on this blog and that was not my intent.
    For that I apologize! And I guess I am on the wrong blog~ So strike two
    on me~ And I thought we believed in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and
    freedom of expression. Everywhere I guess except on this blog!
    Strike three on me~! I served my country over in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea,
    and Germany and I thought I had a right to say my viewpoint as well as a
    veteran in the military on this blog. Wrong again~

    My whole point is that we can have all of the scriptures in the world and
    yet if we don’t live them and apply them then they have not benefitted us
    at all. Except to condemn us if we don’t live their teachings~

    We can feast on the word and yet if we don’t apply the teachings then they
    have not helped us at all except maybe to condemn us later on for having
    not applied them.

    I believe we have many in the church who read the scriptures in various
    degrees of feasting. Some abstain, some nibble, some take a few bites,
    and some enjoy the whole meal.

    When I read the scriptures I see the Savior and the Apostles and Prophets out
    and about helping others. I don’t see where they were reading scriptures all
    day long. I do see many in our church who come to church and have the
    scriptures with them and yet I don’t see many wards with 100% home teaching,
    100% visting teaching, or a lot of young people going on missions.

    I see the scriptures as a tool, as a resource, as a textbook. I see the
    church meetings as the school that we go to every week. And I see the rest
    of the week as the learning laboratory where you actually apply what you
    learned in the school and what you read in the textbook.

    Yes I am more interested in seeing actions than just reading about them. I
    think the Savior will judge us by our actions, thoughts, and deeds. I believe
    there will be a lot of surprised latter day saints who will find that even
    though they read their scriptures – they failed to apply them.

    So I will excuse myself from this blog and go find that blog where I belong
    and can express my thoughts, ideas, and opinions without ridicule and
    feeling censored. I wish you all the best~

    • BrianJ said

      You absolutely have the right to free speech and to express your viewpoint on this blog. Likewise, we have the right to express our viewpoint that we think you are wrong.

      My reply to your second comment (#28) was intentionally terse. But since we never censored you (e.g., deleted or blocked your comments), you shouldn’t feel censored. You could feel rebuked, but not censored.

      I also thought Joe took made a great effort to respond specifically to each one of your points, which shows respect, not ridicule. He could have simply dismissed you, or talked past you, but he didn’t. And he didn’t even say that he disagreed with you; instead, he went out of his way to say he was “confused” instead of saying that “you are wrong.”

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