Thursday, June 18, 2009

Priesthood Ordination before 1978

I've been blogging for more than four years now.  A regular topic in the bloggernacle has been the Church's previous denial of priesthood to blacks and the various teachings that were suggested over the years as reasons for that denial.  A particularly sensitive aspect of this discussion was brought up last week, when Clean Cut published his belief that the priesthood denial was the "result of human weakness and prejudice" and was "not God's will."

Well, I believe it was God's will.  I believe that from the days of Adam, God has always said who could and could not receive the priesthood, and this includes both the latter-day restriction and the 1978 revelation that ended it.

The following three paragraphs represent the Church's own explanation of the former priesthood restriction.  Click anywhere on the image to read the article at LDS.org.  I endorse these paragraphs without reservation and hope they will have a positive influence on future bloggernacle discussions of the subject.



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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

LDS Church in Guide to the Scriptures says "the Fall brought mortality and death to the earth"

In 2002, the LDS Church published its scriptures on CD.  One of the study aids found on that CD is Guide to the Scriptures which "defines selected doctrines."

Defining doctrine

One of the "selected doctrines" defined in Guide to the Scriptures is based on the following verse of scripture:

"And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end."  (2 Ne. 2:22)

According to Guide to the Scriptures, this verse means:

"The Fall brought mortality and death to the earth."

The LDS Bible Dictionary interprets the same verse similarly:

"Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the fall."

Some individuals feel the disclaimer in its Preface authorizes rejection of the LDS Bible Dictionary, but notice that Guide to the Scriptures contains no disclaimer.

Stephens and Meldrum

In their 2001 book, Trent D. Stephens and D. Jeffrey Meldrum set forth an interpretation of 2 Ne. 2:22 that is more compatible with their view of earth's history.  They propose that the Garden of Eden was an island of deathless life in an otherwise death-filled world:

"The prevailing conditions would have continued indefinitely, as they had for millennia.  On the other hand, Adam and Eve would have continued in a state of immortality as long as they had access to the Tree of Life." (Trent D. Stephens and D. Jeffrey Meldrum, Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001, p.135.)

According to this interpretation, the Fall brought mortality and death to Adam and Eve, but those conditions were not new outside the Garden of Eden.


The Stephens and Meldrum theory contradicts the Church's interpretation of 2 Ne. 2:22, which is that "the Fall brought mortality and death to the earth"—not just to Adam and Eve, and not just to the Garden of Eden, but "to the earth."

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