Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Major Kudos

Major kudos to both SmallAxe and aquinas for blogging (much better than I could) about topics I most certainly had in mind when I wrote my last post. Dave has already spotlighted both of these posts at the Bloggernacle Times, and I'll simply pass on the recommendations.

In Joseph Smith’s Revelations on Preexistence and Spirits, aquinas lays out an important foundation about the doctrine of spirits which I would argue the modern Church membership has largely forgotten, or in some cases unwittingly rejected. (More on how and why will be forthcoming in a series of posts--so stay tuned to the Pierian Spring.)

SmallAxe, in Imposed Openness, shares great insight into "how the LDS Church can have a theological approach that welcomes 'a variety of viewpoints', yet have manuals and a membership that is inclined to suppress diversity and openness in most discussions of most topics." (Well said, Dave. And great post SmallAxe!)

I also cannot agree any more than I already do with SmallAxe's later comment (#50), quoted below. I give it a word for word "ditto":
[For what it's worth], I agree that [Sunday School] is not the forum to deride the manual; nor is it the personal soapbox of the instructor. I do think, however, that one can tactfully present alternative views in [Sunday School], even those that disagree with the manual. The text for SS is the scriptures and if a passage of scripture could be or has been understood three different ways, I see no harm in presenting each of them as well as the arguments for and against each reading. In personally teaching SS this way, a number of students have expressed how “nourished” they felt because they realized that it is okay to believe in either of these readings and still be faithful members of the church.

I would argue that any approach that latches on to one reading, dismissing other legitimate readings, actually does more harm than good, even if it follows the reading provided in the manual. Creating the appearance that LDSs must believe a certain way in issues that do not require such uniformity of belief does damage equal to not nourishing our students with the good word of God. To follow the Packer analogy above, it would be like forcing people to have a diet constituted of bread and bread only; and man cannot, of course, live by bread alone.

1 comment:

Peace of mind... Heart and Soul... said...

In the few moments I have to respond. I am greatly intrigued by these view points of discussion. Although I must agree and say that it seems that most all church books are surpressing and firmly outlined, as far as I can see it teaching what the book offers does not limit, at all, the spirit of discussion and learning. I think this post could be so easily defined and clarified if we draw up the good ol' "Triangle" we learned at teaching meetings or as missionaries. The spirit A: MUST BE PRESENT otherwise there really is no other point of discussion other then to boast of personal knowledge and spirituality or to just "give a different view of things". which doesn't make sense to me. It seems that doing that would be doing the same as proposing opposite rules or ammendments to Gods commandments. The only instance we ever need to "give different views" is if the group does not fully understand the teaaching or spirit. B: The teachings must be guided from the spirit and not solely used as "a reason to be and teach differently" and C: God must approve (Which is why the manuals are there in the first place. God has given us (through his prophet) a guideline to return to as a spiritual discussion guide... The Manuals)
I am not opposed to these things posted on the blog, but simply coutious in the way of thinking. I know it is merely words portraying thoughts and feelings but to me, we can never be too coutious about our own selves and our own knowledge. I'm sure we are not the first to discuss such matters. anywhoo.. The point I solely wanted to make was that regardless of method or reason, the spirit is key in all things. If one is guided to teach one particular way, let him do so. If one is guided, in anyway to say, speak or do anything other then what the manual says, as long as it is clear and lacking in pride, by all means say what the Lord is giving you to say. :)