Saturday, May 30, 2009

The earth was completely covered with water

For the benefit of my friends at BCC, what follows is not my own interpretation of anything. It is, rather, what the Church currently teaches about the worldwide Flood, as loaded to your screen just now from the Church's own web site.



Blogger R. Gary said...

The BCC exaggeration about Noah's delivery of the animals and plants to all corners of the earth is only for emphasis.

Peleg's great grandfather was born two years after the flood and it was in the days of Peleg that the earth was divided. Before that all the land of earth was in one place, so the whole delivery story is pure hyperbole.

5/30/2009 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

R. Gary,

The same scriptures you cite here use the phrase "the four corners of the earth", multiple times. Sould we then conclude that the church officially teaches that the earth is flat? Should we accuse those who don't believe in a four-cornered earth of undermining the church?

At any rate, my hope for you today is for a peaceful and inspiring Sabbath.

Mark Brown

5/31/2009 06:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Readers might be interested in FAIR's treatment of the question of a global or limited flood.


Mark Brown

5/31/2009 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Clean Cut said...

R. Gary, I just wanted to state the obvious here. "Guide to the Scriptures" is not the same thing as "the scriptures". It's not a part of the cannon/standard works and therefore we're not bound to it. I think it is generally quite helpful, but I'm not beyond rejecting an idea that is espoused there. I wouldn't be surprised if it were written by Bruce R. McConkie. And we all know that there is a big difference between official Mormon doctrine and Elder McConkie's book "Mormon Doctrine", however unfortunate the title.

5/31/2009 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Mark Brown, Your comment tells me you don't understand my post. I cite no scripture here.

This post merely opens a window that looks in on LDS.org and let's you see what the LDS Church itself says about the Flood.

Notice that all of the links in that window are live and you can actually navigate anywhere you want at LDS.org inside that window. For example, click on 'Ark' (the first See also item). Here the LDS Church teaches that Noah preserved "life" during the Flood, not just his family and a few animals, but "life."

Yes, Mark, I suspect some readers will be interested to find out whether FAIR thinks the LDS Church is wrong about this.

And good Sabbath to you as well, Mark

5/31/2009 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Clean Cut,  It is extremely doubtful that the Church commissioned Bruce R. McConkie to write Guide to the Scriptures before he died in 1985 and then sat on it for 17 years before publishing it in 2002. Yes, it is obvious the Guide itself is not scripture and you are not "bound to it." But it is equally obvious that the Church currently teaches "the earth was completely covered with water."

5/31/2009 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have no solid basis for claiming that the division in the days of Peleg was a splitting of the earth into continents. The scripture can be read equally literally as pertaining to dividing the earth into nations, or families, or territories or cultures or tribes or legal entitles or languages or anything else that divides the earth in a political or metaphysical sense. Although some prominent men in the past have assumed this was a continental division, it is not taught by living prophets because there is no justification for it.

You turn your private interpretation of scripture into an ideology rather than a religion, and it leads you from one bizarre mistake to another, shutting you out from the further light and knowledge that Joseph Smith said we must be prepared to accept from any source ... including science.


5/31/2009 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Ardis:  You stopped by and you even left a comment.  Welcome!

What follows is a sampling of sources that show the Church currently teaches a physical, not a political, division of the earth.

1.  The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, Course Manual (Religion 211–212) is published by and currently used by the Church. A discussion about Revelation 16:20 warns LDS college students: "The notion prevails quite generally that the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg was a division politically among the people, [but] the earth itself was divided." (pp.464-465.)

2.  Old Testament Student Manual Genesis — 2 Samuel (Religion 301) is published by and currently used by the Church. A discussion about Gen. 10:25 warns LDS college students: "The dividing of the earth was not an act of division by the inhabitants of the earth by tribes and peoples." (p.58.)

3.  Old Testament Student Manual 1 Kings — Malachi (Religion 302) is published by and currently used by the Church. A discussion about Isaiah 40:4 teaches LDS college students that: "before the Second Coming of the Lord,... the lands [will be] joined as they were before the days of Peleg." (p.181.)

4.  Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (Religion 324 and 325) is published by and currently used by the Church. A discussion about D&C 133:23-24 warns LDS college students: "Many scholars have passed this reference off as meaning some sort of cultural or political division, but modern prophets have taught that this statement should be taken literally." (p.340.)

5.  The Church's official — not canonized, but official — Guide to the Scriptures was published in 2002 by the living prophets and has this to say about the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg:

"Division of the earth: Let the waters be gathered together unto one place, Gen. 1:9. In the days of Peleg was the earth divided, Gen. 10:25. After the waters had receded, it became a choice land, Ether 13:2. The earth shall be like it was before it was divided, D&C 133:24." (Guide to the Scriptures, Earth.)

Does it really matter who originally said it? The Church teaches it today.

5/31/2009 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Lincoln Cannon said...

Assuming the Church teaches that the Earth was completely covered with water a few thousand years ago (an assumption that is controversial, as implied by your bother with the subject), the Church is probably incorrect. So far as I'm concerned, that's okay. The Church is not infallible, and I have no duty to agree with every idea any set of Church representatives advocates.

5/31/2009 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I never thought of how the land would all come together in one "Pangeaic"
state...but after seeing the scriptures that say such,it makes me wonder how it would happen...

I have also heard of parts taken off of the earth being restored to their places on the earth.

Again, just one of those things that causes me to ponder.

6/02/2009 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous CE said...

R. Gary,

Your interpretation of Peleg's "division" poses a problem for Book of Mormon historicity. The Book of Mormon describes the Jaredites traveling to the promised land via a long boat journey. But a literal acceptance of Old Testament geneologies and chronology would seem to place Peleg sometime after the Tower of Babel (try comparing the lineage of Shem, which includes Peleg, to the lineage of Ham, which includes Nimrod, who was involved at Babel).

To be clear, I don't accept a literal reading of Old Testament geneologies and chronology -- especially since we're dealing with a translation of a translation of translation of a redacted compliation of a text written by authors who lived centuries after the described events.

But you seem to accept such a literal reading -- any thoughts on how your interpretation of Peleg fits in with the story of the Jaredites?

6/18/2009 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

CE:  When I was a very young man, the Church published this fascinating article. It answers your question.

6/18/2009 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous CE said...

R. Gary,

The article you linked to talks about asserts that the continents used to be all together -- a fact that few would dispute, scientist and biblical literalist alike.

But the author does not address whether Peleg supposedly lived before or after the Tower of Babel incident -- he merely states that Peleg and the Tower were "closely grouped together and seemed to be in the same general time period." So that doesn't answer my question.

I still think that a literal reading of the genealogies and chronology of Genesis places Peleg after the Tower of Babel. Iif that's when the continents first split up, then that conflicts with the Jaredite story, doesn't it? I don't accept such a literal reading, but you do, so I'm curious how you reconcile this. Is there any reason why you would insist on an imaginative reading of the verse about Peleg, but decline to insist on a literal reading of the chronology around it?

On a side note, it's interesting that the author of the article you linked to would not affirm your interpretation of Peleg's division -- instead, he acknowledges that biblical scholars have different opinions of what "division" refers to, and he does not conclude that the division certainly refers to a geographical separation of the continents. He does cite D&C 133 to support the fact that the continents were once together (a fact that no one is disputing here), but that Section does not address when or how this happened.

6/18/2009 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

CE: I agree with you that the continents were once together (a fact that is not being disputed).  That presupposes that the earth was at some time in the past geographically "divided."  Scripture tells us this happened in the days of Peleg.  Dating this event is difficult because the exact dates of events in early Old Testament and Book of Mormon history are difficult to pin down.  For example, at the bottom of every page in the Book of Mormon, except the Book of Ether, there a date printed in square brackets.  The Book of Ether, of course, is our record of the Jaredites, but the Church doesn't claim to know those dates.  It seems you and I do not, and apparently will not, agree.  And that's okay.  Thanks for stopping by.

6/18/2009 08:29:00 PM  

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