Wednesday, June 21, 2017

John, really?

I have long ceased to be impressed with John Dehlin, if I was ever impressed in the first place. Why so many people follow him and support him is beyond me. But, who am I to tell John or his followers what to do with their time? Moving on.

John looking like he is doing something


Yesterday, John wrote a new post on his blog discussing how certain core doctrines have been abandoned in the modern LDS Church. I will respond to each.

First, John mentions that the gift of tongues is no longer practiced in the LDS Church. It is true to say that certain aspects of the gift are not openly practiced (I would not go so far to say it is not practiced at all, beyond my observational scope), but to say it is not practiced at all is silly. Part of the gift of tongues is the ability to comprehend and speak other languages; thousands of missionaries show every day that this gift is still alive and well.

Next, John mentions that the Church does not talk about the Second Coming and the millennium and both are not emphasized as much as they were in the early days. However, this is not really as new as John makes it out to be. In the early days, Saints lived in a millenialist culture where most Christians believed the end was near. But, after that generation passed the emphasis calmed down. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, according to his son Joseph F. McConkie, often said the Second Coming would not happen in his lifetime. No one knows when the Lord's return will happen, and it is not wise to be focused solely on it when God wants us to live for the future.

The concept "Zion" means multiple things in the scriptures, but John wants to redact it simply to mean living the law of consecration here and now. Had John taken his temple covenants seriously, he would know that in some ways we still live the law of consecration (although not fully). Also, John seems to think that the Church has renounced the belief that Zion will be built on this continent (that would be news to me). Zion will be built when we are ready, sadly we are not yet. Hugh Nibley reminded us vividly of that.

John goes on to attack the Book of Mormon, stating that the early Saints thought it talked about the Indians, and the Church recently changed its stance on that. Problem is, the text does not say the book is written to Indians; that was an interpretation that Saints of the time gave of the text, a metatext as anthropologist, Daymon Smith, writes in his first volume of A Cultural History of the Book of Mormon. The cover page of the Book of Mormon makes it clear that the book is written to all people, not just the remnant of the house of Israel:

Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ. (Book of Mormon Title Page)
The topic of becoming like God has not been abandoned at all; the Church recently released an essay on the topic and the concept is also taught in the temple. So, this claim is patently false.

Dehlin concludes by saying that prophet, seers, and revealtors, do not manifest any of the gifts. How he knows that, he doesn't say. True, the church has not canonized a revelation since 1978 (Dehlin says 1918, 60 years out of date), but John is guilty of equivocation to assume that because a revelation is not canonized that revelation does not exist.

Many of these claims are made in anti-Mormon tracts that you find on street corners when you attend General Conference. With a PhD in psychology, you would think Dehlin would be better than a street preacher. But, as always, Dehlin disappoints and shows that in the third year of being an excommunicant he still has not grown up. Get over yourself John.


8 comments:

  1. Hi Tarik, I am always intrigued with your posts. Today I was not disappointed. John Dehlin, is an interesting figure. I would state that he has been the biggest anti-mormon in recent years. So you and I may have common ground. I am not impressed with your personal jabs at the man. There are several throughout the post, but one stands out. To state he didn't take his "temple covenants" seriously is a big assumption. Do you know that is absolutely true? How do you know? Generalizations do no good. One other interesting statement is you comparing John Dehlin to a lowly street preacher. That is rather ironic, considering all the LDS missionaries are lowly street preachers. Keep them coming.

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    1. Re: temple covenants: given that Dehlin has abandoned and publicly attacked the church with whom he made those covenants, it's not much of stretch to say he no longer takes them seriously, is it?

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  2. It's rather ironic that you find irony ... well, wait. The irony game is so hackneyed, I won't bother with it. If generalizations do no good, it is remarkable that you follow with a generalization (and a false one at that) about LDS missionaries. Oh, wait, was that irony? Gosh, sorry. I just meant that it is not the case that "all the LDS missionaries are lowly street preachers," and that your silly generalization is utterly irrelevant to the observation in the article (the accurate observation) that "[m]any of these claims are made in anti-Mormon tracts" handed out to those General Conference attendees who didn't dodge the nutcases fast enough. It is not the case that "[it] is a big assumption" to say that Dehlin no longer takes his temple covenants seriously, since it is probable that he is not living them or believing in their merits; the contrary point of view isn't even arguable, so it seems strange that you regard the article's reasonable observation on that subject as a stand-out example of a "personal jab" by which you're unimpressed. I mean, sure, it is a personal comment about Dehlin, but (a) it's a truthful one, and (b) it was relevant to Dehlin's sort of dopey misunderstanding of the law of consecration even though (and this was the point) he should know better. My biggest objection to Dehlin was the way he milked his excommunication for publicity value, even though he was aware that the local Church leaders were restrained by policy from contradicting his claims. I thought that was disgusting. By contrast, it seems that you applauded.

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  3. There are several modern day Nehor's and Korihor's that think they know better how to run the church and criticize the leadership for doing or not doing what they think it should be doing. A few come to mind: John Dehlin, Denver Snuffer and Jake Hilton. I'm glad we have the Book of Mormon to show us how to avoid such prideful people as we watch the same events unfold. I am also grateful we have the D&C that spends so much time warning the Saints that these types of people do and will exist in our day too and how to prevent coming under their whiles.

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  4. Nice post. Anyone who spend their life's work tearing down other people and their religion is not high on my list.

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  5. Excellent Post, and well thought out. Elder Ballard, when he came to our Stake Conference, answered the question of revelations by stating that the proclamation on the Family was revelation, which is more current than the 1978 revelation. As far as revelations happening in the church, I wrote something about that-specifically what types of revelations there were in the early church, and how that has continued in the modern church. You can find it at http://ldsprinciples.blogspot.com/2017/05/no-more-revelations-how-flow-of.html

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    1. Who was the Proclamation revealed to? When? Why has it not been presented as such to the church? Ballard is simply wrong, and he knows better.

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  6. 2nd Nephi 9:28 28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

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