Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Distinquishing Questions from Doubts

On June 13, 2015, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, along with Brother Richard Turley, spoke to members in Boise, Idaho. Some excellent points were touched upon in this hour long meeting, but one particular comment by Elder Oaks provides important insight regarding the difference between questions and doubts. This distinction is important and timely considering that these two issues have been so frequently conflated in recent times by former Latter-day Saints as well as by a minority of Latter-day Saints engaged in online polemics.
"Another claim we sometimes hear is that “the leaders won’t answer our doubts.” Here we need to define the difference between doubts and questions. Questions, whenever asked with a sincere desire [to] increase ones understanding and faith are to be encouraged. Such questions, questions we call them, are asked with the real intent of better understanding and more fully obeying the will of the Lord. Questions are very different from doubts."1

Monday, June 29, 2015

Divine Council and Babel

Genesis 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 
Regarding the phrase, "let us go down," in verse 7, Richard Briggs notes that, "theologians have long pondered the plural voice here, so obviously reminiscent of Genesis 1:26..." He writes, "Most OT scholars find the plural "Let us..." language of Gen. 1 and 11 to refer to YHWH's addressing his divine council...." and comments that, "...it may be helpful to read v. 6 as YHWH's "report" to the divine council, in between visits."1

1 Richard S. Briggs, "The Book of Genesis," in A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch: Interpreting the Torah as Christian Scripture, ed. Richard S. Briggs and Joel N. Lohr (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), 39-40