Genesis 6:9: “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.”
I had never noticed the part that says “of his time” in the NIV Bible. Some of the other translations have the following
KJV: “perfect in his generations”
MEV” “blameless among his contemporaries”
I wonder if this is the first time that God had to put a disclaimer about his prophet, saying that he was “righteous/prefect” in his time, but maybe not so much today? God, the first apologist! Noah got drunk, and fell asleep naked on his bed. He then cursed his youngest son’s posterity for seeing him naked. This curse was used by Christians to justify slavery .Probably not a good example for our current prophet to follow, but in Noah’s time, it was OK! 
Where else can we apply this? Could we say that Brigham Young was a ” righteous man, blameless among the people of his time”, yet in our time he would be a racist dictator? Even the Church essay on Race and the Priesthood seems to imply that BY was a product of his time.
Apologists use this all the time in justifying past Prophets perceived shortcomings by saying that we can’t judge them by our modern standards. Joseph Smith marring 14 year old girls? Perfect in His generation?
Is this a legitimate argument? Can we not judge people/prophets/leaders by modern standards? While there could be some justification of removing Christopher Columbus from our public view, it becomes more problematic when prophets that talk with God need to be excused, especially when that make mistakes in doctrine (blood atonement anyone?) And we seem to only excuse dead prophets, never living ones. Brigham Young? Throw him under the bus. Pres Monson and his I’m a Mormon campaign? Victory for Satan.
What do you think history will say about our current Prophet, Pres Nelson? Will he be perfect for his generations? When we go back to using Mormon in 40 years, will they say Nelson was influenced by his current times?
 See Stephen R. Haynes, Noah’s Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).
 For an excellent essay on why it was such a bid deal for Ham to have seen his father naked, and what that means in the larger context, see this web page.
When Joseph Smith managed his Red Brick store in Nauvoo, some customers were irate that he wouldn’t extend extra credit to them. You know, “If you were a TRUE Prophet, you would know I can be trusted”.
Catholics, when a new Pope is in the works, are asked “What do you hope he changes?” We do the same for a new Prophet President. We expect his Keys to extend to everyday secular matters. If his advice proves unsound, conservatives are puzzled; if the advice proves sound, liberals are apathetic.
I find it impossible to believe that Presidents Hinkley and Monson were tools of Satan in using the Mormon name. The overbearing emphasis on the name change is far from perfect—in this time or any other.
I’m not sure Noah is the best example to use for your analogy about prophets. In fact, I think he is probably one of the worse examples. Look, prophets are mortal–all of them! Having said that, Noah is a particular case that is unique but for one other prophet (Enoch).
“Noah as one of the great heroes of biblical antiquity receives fairly frequent mention in Palestinian Jewish literature of the so-called intertestamental period, and when his name appears one will almost certainly find either righteousness or righteous in the same context.” Later, “A prominent theme in the scriptural flood narratives is that Noah, at a time of unprecedented evil (Gen 6:5-7[J], 11-12 [P], enjoyed the Lord’s favor . . . [6:8], was perfect in his generations . . .[6:9 (P)], and was the only one considered righteous in that period . . . [8:9 (P)]; . . .. Noah is the first biblical character to be called righteous, and only with Enoch does he share the trait of ‘walking with God’ . . . [6:9]” I’ve omitted the Hebrew.
James C. VanderKam, “The Righteous of Noah”, pp. 13-32, Nickelsburg, George, W.E. and Collins, John J., Eds., Ideal Figures in Ancient Judaism, Septuagint and Cognate Studies 12, (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980), p. 13.
Seeing how Noah is placed in the scriptures, basically a second Adam. In fact, “Noah was privileged in a way that Adam was not. For he was righteous and blameless amid generations of wickedness (Gen 6:8-9), thus righteous by choice, where Adam was crated blameless but sinned. That Noah ‘found favor in the eyes of God’ (Gen 6:8-9) was a recognition of his virtue, rewarded by his surviving the flood. He was also the first human partner to a divine covenant with the people of Israel. In this way, Noah was not only the father of mankind and the ancestor of the Semite genealogy, but also the prototype of the patriarchs and people of Israel.”
Devorah Dimant, “Noah in Early Jewish Literature”, pp. 123-150, Stone, Michael E. &Bergren, Theodore A., Eds., Biblical Figures Outside the Bible (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity International Press, 1998), pp. 123-124.
I’m not going to defend Noah on the drunkenness issue (although the sources I cite below don’t view it as a problem). However, I call your attention to the following:
Robert Alter doesn’t see any criticism against Noah at all in this story.
“20-27. Like the story of the Nephilim, this episode alludes cryptically to narrative material that may have been familiar to the ancient audience but must have seemed to the monotheistic writer dangerous to spell out. The big difference is that, for the first time in Genesis, the horizon of the story is the national history of Israel: Ham, the perpetrator of the act of violation, is mysteriously displaced in the curse by his son Canaan, and thus the whole story is made to justify the–merely hoped-for–subject status of the Canaanites in relation to the descendants of Shem, the Israelites. (Ham also now figures as the youngest sone, not the middle one.) No one has ever figured out exactly what it is that Ham does to Noah. Some, as early as the classical midrash, have glimpsed here a Zeus-Chronos story in which the son castrates the father or, alternatively, penetrates him sexually. The latter possibility is reinforced by the fact that “to see the nakedness of” frequently means ‘to copulate with,’ and it is noteworthy that the Hebrews associate the Canaanites with lasciviousness (see, for example, the rape of Dinah, Genesis 34). Lot’s daughters, of course, take advantage of his drunkenness to have sex with him. But it is entirely possible that the mere seeing of a father’s nakedness was thought of as a terrible taboo, so that Ham’s failure to avert his eyes would itself have earned him the curse.”
Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary, (New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2019), p. 34.
Hamilton doesn’t either.
“20-21. Perhaps in the process of his viticulture, Noah imbibes too much and becomes intoxicated. The vintner becomes the inebriated. Commentators are prone to point out here an alleged contradiction, a different Noah in 9:18-29 from the Noah of 6:2-9:17. The obedient, righteous Noah now finds himself drunk and naked. But is this really a different Noah?
Genesis does not stop to moralize on Noah’s behavior. It is neither condemned nor approved. To be sure, wine was not forbidden in Israel. It was used to cheer the hear (Judg. 9:13; Ps. 104:15), as a sedative (Prov. 31:6).” Hamilton goes on to point out that winebibbing was condemned and that it was often associated with harlotry and cultic prostitution.
Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, NICOT, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990), pp. 321-322.
Carr has a unique claim about Noah’s experience. In essence, he says that Noah’s drunkenness came from inexperience.
“Noah’s own first encounter with such wine, however, is hardly a comforting experience. With no experience at all to go on, he becomes so drunk that he passes out naked in his tent, leaving himself vulnerable to shaming by his son (9:21b). The narrative does not include any divine or other judgment of him for this unknowing act. Nevertheless, on balance, the Noah story only implicitly anticipates the comfort of wine (5:29, 9:20), while more concretely illustrating its potential pitfalls (9:21-23), especially a risk of nakedness from drunkenness that is noted in some other biblical texts (Hab. 2:15; Lam 4:21).” Carr’s later analysis provides an excellent way to potentially see why this story is here. “In this way the story of Noah and his sons in Gen 9:22-23 chronicles a bread in a father-son relationship that corresponds to similarly tragic developments in the male-female relationship in the garden of Ede story (Gen 3) and the brother-brother relationship in the Cain and Able story (Gen 4:1-16). As such, these three central non-Priestly stories depict complex dynamics surrounding the three axial relationships of the nuclear family–husband-wife, sibling-sibling, and parent-sibling. Moreover, these three stories are bound together by a common focus on “the ground” as an initial orientation point for the figures in the stories (Gen 2:7; 4:2, 10-14; 9:20a) and a ‘curse’ as the result of a breakdown in their relationship (3:17-19; 4:10; 9:25).”
David M. Carr, Genesis 1-11, IECOT, (Stuttgart, Germany: 2021), pp. 283-285.
We’re all still waiting for John Day’s ICC volume in Genesis 1-11 (probably a few years away), but he takes a similar view to Carr, after referring to this story as, “truly one of the strange stories of the Bible.”
“Many readers are understandably surprised by J’s depiction of the drunkenness and nakedness of Noah, someone who has previously been so completely righteous that only he and his family among human beings are allowed to survive the flood. In response, it may be argued that if Noah is being depicted as the discoverer of wine, it is entirely natural that he should have to learn from experience that excessive consumption of wine can lead to drunkenness. This is consistent with the fact that the narrative in Gen. 9:20-27 makes no explicit criticism of Noah.”
I would also point out that in Day’s article, he specifically references the use of this incident toward black slaves, both in Islam and America. He refers to this as a “misinterpretation”.
John Day, “Noah’s Drunkenness, the Curse of Canaan, Ham’s Crime, and the Blessing of Shem and Japheth (Genesis 9.18-27)”, pp. 137-153, From Creation to Babel: Studies in Genesis 1-11, (London, England: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 137-149. *A second volume of essays is due at the end of the year.
Wenham is a bit more ambivalent, verging on the critical (to provide balance). I’ll just provide the citation, but he shows sources of commentary going back and forth on the issue. He does point out that Westermann (a source I don’t have) aligns with the non-critical commentators I’ve listed above).
Gordon J. Wenham: Genesis 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 1. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987), pp. 198-199.
I would point out that the Book of Jubilees takes an even stronger tack. It turns Noah into a priest who practices Mosaic sacrifices and that Noah’s consumption of the wine was part of a sacred ritual, therefore providing more justification of the curse against Canaan. There are also reports that Canaan also found some of the writings of the Watchers (the evil angels who were a major cause of the Flood) and this also justified the curse. If something like this happened, it could be a story like Alter refers to that the ancient audience was more familiar with.
I do think it’s fair to judge historical figures against their contemporaries rather than modern standards. The problem is BY still looks terrible by the standards of his day. He may have been a man of his time, but “his time” also included plenty of staunch abolitionists, literal armies of union soldiers fighting to free slaves, and, um…*checks notes* black people.
And I don’t care how racist the culture around you is. Massacring whole Native tribes with an extermination order is pure evil. We don’t talk about this enough.
Today’s first presidency (while thankfully not holding a candle to Brigham Young) won’t look great in hindsight either because they persist in their discrimination against women and LGBTQ+ people in spite of almost the whole society around them having figured out that’s not ok.
I see the problem of how the framing of these events and stories keep shifting.
For those of us 45+ years old, we were instructed that the gospel is the same in all dispensations and time periods. That the prophets were set apart from the foundation of the world and are near perfect. The church is perfect but the members are not.
Now the LDS church wants to frame it to the new generation, that they were products of their time. Give Bro Joseph a pass ?
Well all of us are products of our time and place.
Growing up in poverty makes someone more of product of their place. Poverty and crime combined together leave people with two choices: either take part in criminal activities or try to find legal but quite limited sources of income – when there are any available at all. Hence, criminals are a product of their nations/neighborhoods.
Growing up in communism. Communism led to mass murder on an epic scale. Even those fortunate enough to survive were subjected to severe repression, including violations of freedom, of speech, freedom of religion, loss of property rights, and the criminalization of ordinary economic activity. No previous tyranny sought such complete control over nearly every aspect of people’s lives. Leaders and citizens were products of this system. Should they be given a pass for harms occurred to other innocent ?
Child abuse. Research suggests that child abuse is known to repeat itself from generation to generation. This cycle of abuse can occur when children were victims of abuse and/or neglect or witnessed violence between their parents or caregivers. Should they get a pass ?
That gives everyone a pass for their shortcomings. We all make mistakes but some mistakes are greater than others. At what point do we break out of the system and allow our conscious to state that this system harms other people. Are we willing to suffer the consequences for going against the societal/group norm and stand up to speak up ?
When Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer and early Q15 stood up to JS for his polygamy, they were excommunicated .
When Sam Young tried to suggest problems of the bishop interview system he was excommunicated.
This goes on and on within the past and present LDS church. So many harms are happening to other members due to practicing Mormon Social norms and not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The church’s only interest is to protect its self. It will change the narrative at any cost, including to harm its own members who speak the truth. The church needs to cease leadership worship ! Stop publishing Q15 biographies in Deseret Book. Stop publishing new mission presidents in the Church news. Stop having leadership sit on the stand in church. Cycle the leadership in and out of callings. Have Bishops serve a maximum of 3 years and SP 5 years to stop the professional clergy (although non-paid monetarily, but paid with high egos) that has been created within the system.
In 20 years the few ultra conservative younger members will take the reins of leadership and continue, as has happened for 200+ years any narrative that keeps members in the boat and blind to the entire true story of Mormonism. They will still shift the stories and the narratives. It may be more liberal than today’s leadership, but they will still be 25 years behind the rest of society. With $150B+ you can hire some good story tellers. Look at all the partial truths Holland, Oaks and Nelson have said this calendar year alone !
They are not doing the best they can, when thousands of members alone each year are harmed by this system and they refuse to change “their system”.
What @Kirkstall said.
Agree it’s not fair to judge people by modern standards, but there were plenty of abolitionists during BY’s times, most people weren’t polygamists or telling women God would destroy them if they didn’t let them marry other women during JS’s time, and there are a lot of people who think LGBTQ folks and women should be treated equally now. So even judging against contemporaries I am not sure our leadership fared super well and the “don’t judge by modern standards” is a red herring.
Noah is only a fable, not a real person.
Can we hereafter prohibit the phrase “ongoing restoration”?
Perhaps asking us to use the world as judgement standard is wrong. What would God ask of these men? Knowing now that the Mormon church has access to $100+ billion dollars, but doesn’t use that to wage a serious war on poverty or homelessness, I can no longer see the men running this corporation as prophets. I judge them now (and imagine future generations will concur) as misguided lovers of money more than lovers of God
You can’t tell me that Joseph Smith was a product of his time. Plural marriage was not widely practiced or accepted. Marrying 14-year-olds was rare and largely seem as too young. Few people claimed revelations as extraordinary as his (people claiming to be prophets were extremely few). No one claimed that Native Americans were historically Christians. I knew of no other people attempting to establish a sociopolitical religious movement on the US frontier with cryptic political independence ambitions.
Faith has a point that if we are going to refuse to judge people poorly just because at the time they lived a particular sin was common, then we have to reframe from judging people who are put in bad situations that make their sinning more likely. Those born in poverty are more likely to rob others or sell drugs or go into prostitution, so let’s overlook those sins because they were born into poverty. Sort of like, well, there were other racists around when Brigham Young was a racist so he was still righteous. Well, there are still racist around today, so we all get excused. My parents were abusive, so I didn’t know any better and had no choice but to abuse my kids. Except, I knew how much harm abuse does, so I was extra careful not to let my kids be abused. I think a sin is a sin, even if it is common at that time or place where a person was born. Yes, we can go easier on them because of time and place, but it still doesn’t excuse sin.
And Noah stood out because he was more righteous than those around him, not because God picked him even though he was average in his sinfulness for his time. So, even if Noah wasn’t perfect, he still stood out as more righteous. I don’t need prophets to be perfect, but I do need someone I am going to look up to as a prophet to be more righteous than average, to be willing to correct a mistake when they make them, apologize for a mistake and make restitution, and be striving for righteousness. I don’t see that in Joseph Smith or Brigham Young and I certainly don’t see it in “we do not apologize “ Pres Oaks. I don’t need perfection in a prophet, but I do need humility and better than average righteousness.
A few initial thoughts came to my mind.
When we read about scriptural prophets, we are reading what third parties wrote/recorded. So even if you accept scriptural prophets as true historical figures, there’s a strong chance the stories or reported words were curated by the author to serve some other purpose. For me, that makes it less of an exercise in analyzing real actions, events, etc., to judge them personally, but more about discovering a principle, moral to a story, pattern/motif to generally learn from.
However, modern prophets and apostles speak for themselves, and everything can be recorded and studied. More importantly, they CLAIM to be speaking Truth, to be special witnesses, to be judges of others on behalf of God, to be worthy of being obeyed/followed. So the standard is much higher and more easily scrutinized. I feel like I have more information and license to make a judgment against them or their teachings.
To be clear, I wouldn’t want to be one of them. I feel sorry for their families too.
Modern apostles can’t be recorded and studied. They tell people not to record them.
The story of the founding fathers appearance at the Manti Temple is well worth reviewing in this context.
Most modern revisitings of the story miss the point. A number of them had not had their work done because on review those who were considering it felt their sins were too excessive.
They were reproved for that judgment.
The story isn’t about how “cool” or “neat” the restored gospel is.
It isn’t about validating the temple.
It is all about unrighteous judgment and the degree of charity owed those in the past.
Admittedly, that isn’t much of a triumphant narrative. But it is an important one and one we probably need more of.
Truthfully, a lot of that comes to me because I have acquaintances from professional contacts who have a broad range of who they condemn as unenlightened and obviously on the wrong side of history —including each other.
But I think we often have too much certainty and not enough charity.
A prophetic mantle places the bearer thereof outside of time – thus, the “product of his time” rationalization doesn’t really hold water. The title today as utilized by LDS Inc. seems more like an honorific, like “Queen of England.”
“Marrying 14-year-olds was rare and largely seem as too young.”
True, that said, Governor Ford (IL gov at the time) married his wife when she was 14.
I have modern-era dislike for great age gaps between spouses. But as I have developed my (entirely non-Mormon) family history, I have found in my genealogy:
1) Upstate NY marriage in 1837 between 32 year-old man and 17 year-old woman;
2) Upstate NY marriage in 1893 between 28 year-old man and 16 year-old woman;
3) Upstate NY marriage in 1850 between 33 year-old man and 17 year-old woman;
4) Scotland marriage in 1856 between 32 year-old man and 17 year-old woman;
5) Upstate NY marriage between 62 year-old man and 25 year-old woman.
All direct line of ancestry. One of the marriages, the man and woman were poor, but four of the marriages were between financially well-off people. I do not think this was very uncommon in that day and age. All monogamous. The one that really sticks out is the 62-year old man.
Nothing as extreme as a 14 year-old girl marrying, fortunately. But my grandmother was born when her mother was only 17.
Times change, fortunately. I have four children, three of them married. They married at ages 22, 23, and 23. For our generation, that is marrying early.
So, for me, what bothers me most about Joseph Smith’s marriages are:
(1) Polygamy itself.
(2) The secrecy of it all.
(3) The young age of 14.
But large gaps in ages were common for the time.
My great great grandfather & his brother returned home to Tennessee following the Civil War and at 24 and 26 married twin sisters who were 13!!!! Both marriages lasted over 70 years & resulted in over 20 children including my grandfather’s mom. Different times.
I don’t have any reason to doubt that technology was a regular part of life in Noah’s day. In fact, the Bible describes people before the Flood making musical. Today the world is living as it was in the days of Noah. As in Noah’s time ours is a world that loves sex and it is used to sell everything .
I spent a lot of time gathering 28 “Biblical Tests for True and False Prophets,” on the assumption that a good way to decide whether Joseph Smith was a prophet is whether he met that non-subjective standard. This, it turns out, is something that anyone could have done this and no one had. It is posted at FAIR.
Another part of the my study involved searching the arguments given by Biblical people to justify rejectiving Biblical prophets. It turns out that all of these 70 or arguments boil down to them saying “It’s not what I want” and/or “It’s not what I think,” where the observer’s personal values become the measure of all things. There is characteristically no self-critical checking one’s own eye for beams before judging, but rather, an uncritical assumption that whatever the critic presently thinks and wants is both appropriate and sufficient for deciding any particular Bible prophet’s claims. So in practice there is a huge difference in outcomes in asking, “Is he what I think he should be?” and “Is he what I want him to be?” compared to “Does he measure up to what the Bible gives as 28 tests, neatly gathered in both pro and con forms?”
While I had been puzzled as to why so few people had bothered to gather and apply the many Bible tests, it has become apparent that the reason people prefer to rely on their own personal subjectivity is that by using subjective preferences, it is far easier to control the answer.
Even when there is interest in some conversation, it may not be for serious inquiry, but “What will this babbler say?” (Acts 17:18), or “seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.” (Luke 11:54). Those situations describe a different approach and receptiveness than “May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore, what these things mean?” (Acts 17:19-20)
An account in 1 Kings 22:8 reports on one who said, “There is yet one man, Micaiah… by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” Other accounts show that it is common to focus on whether a prophet or followers behave according to common cultural ideals and mores: “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19) or “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day” (John 9:16).
Some let personal vested interests dominate: “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him, and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 11:47-48) Financial and professional concerns can take priority: “And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas…saying these men being Jews do exceedingly trouble our city.” (Acts 16:19-22) or the story of the silversmiths opposed to Paul in (Acts 19:24-29).
In other cases, personal sacrifice seems too much. Recall the “certain ruler” who asked Jesus, “What lack I yet?” He was very sorrowful in hearing an answer that called for him to give up something he desired (see Luke 18:18-25). In this case, it was personal wealth, but in other cases the sacrifice can be social position, sexual or other behavior, social status, or political power.
Some propose standards of measure that are actually irrelevant or at best, secondary to the main question as to what to make of Jesus: “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:54-58), or “Can anything good come from Nazareth,” Some turn to an arbitrary expectation for perfect outcomes in all situations, relative to their personal ideals: “Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that [Lazarus] should not have died?” (John 11:37; contrast Isaiah 55:8-11, “my thoughts are higher than your thoughts…”), or, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (Mark 14:5). Some fall for misinformation—“Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” (Matthew 28:12-14). Some build their criticism on narrowly focused misinterpretation: “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and build it in three days.” (Matthew 26:61). Some base their complaints on variance from their traditional thinking and display a mental inertia—”No man having drunk old wine straightway desireth the new: for he saith, the old is better,” (Luke 5:39), or “We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is…” (John 9:29). Some focus on the most sensational aspects of a message for which they can make charges of blasphemy, which provides a powerful sense of self-justification and self-righteousness—“…because thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33). Some simply declare incredulity—“And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not” (Luke 24:11) or “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). And many make appeals to authorities—“Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?” (John 7:47) In this case, an appeal to authority circumvents direct consideration of the fruit that should be considered personally. And there is the issue of why some disbelieved, or publically seemed to. In some cases, “many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42-43). On obstacle to enjoying the fruit of the tree of life is that doing so involves dealing with the pointing and mocking from the Great and Spacious Pride of the World. (1 Nephi 8:27).
Faith’s comment is absolutely spot on and wins the conversation.
It seems to me that Kevin Christensen has carefully culled passages to erect scriptural straw men, and then used those straw men to condemn anyone (me included) who doesn’t accept his 28 tests.
I have only three tests for a prophet.:
1-Doe’s their teaching bear good fruit?
2-Do the prophet’s advocate for and actively protect the most vulnerable among us?
3-When they fail to live up to numbers 1 and or 2, (as they will regularly do) do they repent by expressing sorrow for their teachings and actions, ask for forgiveness from those they have harmed, and actively work to repair their errors?
I don’t expect anything from a prophet that the church and those in my life don’t expect from me, and what I likewise expect from everyone with whom I have a consensual relationship.
I don’t understand at all what Kevin is saying. Are each of these quoted passages one of the tests and how is each a test?
Kevin, the reason your argument doesn’t work for me is that it assumes the Bible is a monolithic source of absolute truth. Not even Joseph Smith viewed it that way.
I don’t actually care what the Bible says about tests of a true prophet. It’s a mishmash of various ancient religions and cultures, many of which were undeniably ignorant and inhumane. There are nuggets of beauty and wisdom in there, of course, but using The Bible as a measuring stick to determine which entrepreneurial visionary is God’s Special Chosen One is a fallacious undertaking and will only reinforce one’s own biases in the end.
What time was Noah’s?
When the whole earth was covered in water?
When was that?
Similar: “…for a Nephite”.
The story teller tells us Noah was esteemed by his peers. He was building a boat. An unwieldy boat. He was gathering numerous animal pairs. In a field.
The narrative I remember from primary is that Noah was laughed at. Until the rains came.
I can be like Noah.
Today: Donald Trump is blameless among the people of his times.
Not all the people.
Story tellers of our time invented the term “doom scrolling”.
Story tellers in our culture: We are a peculiar people. We are admired. We stand out.
I think it comes naturally for all of us, as humans, to recognize the fact that Prophets are human. Fallible. Just like us. We do expect, however, that they are paying the price to be close to God and be lead by the spirit in guiding the things that they are responsible for. Most of us do that too – as parents, as spouses, as partners, etc. I know God is just as interested in guiding me to lead and bless my family, as He is in leading and guiding RMN in guiding the church. Where it all completely falls apart for me is that when I make a mistake in my duties as Husband, Father etc – I go before God and the people I have wronged and ask forgiveness and try and get it right next time. Like most of you do, too. I would never claim to be mistake-free in my responsibilities, even though I am trying to be lead by the spirit 24/7. I would never continuously beat the drum of “Follow me. I always speak the truth.” Yet, that is what we continuously hear about our Prophet and the Q15. Do you see the disconnect? They claim to be fallible. Yet they always speak the truth? Peace comes from following them always? If the Q15 admitted they are following the same pattern we all follow in blessing and helping our families (which are of UTMOST importance to God), I think we could all get behind them in the struggle. I don’t know if it is pride or the desire to protect the institution above all other things…. but there is a real disconnect there.
I think part of the problem is most members don’t get past a Primary “Follow the Prophet” version of the OT. Than song, notwithstanding jaunty tune, is fraught with erroneous or misleading statements. Adam didn’t serve the Lord, but flagrantly disobeyed him and tried to blame Eve. Abraham was a terriblefather. Moses was not allowed into the promised land due to his lack of faith. Jonah actually learned NOTHING on his journey and serves as an example of what not to do.
Each of these OT prophets made hurr errors both by ancient and today’s standards, yet even with their gross inadequacies, they were instruments in the Lord’s hands.
So what I think is needed is some self compassion. We are, and individuals and as a society, getting some things terribly wrong. But that’s OK. As long as we try to do the right think, we can be cleansed from the blood and sins of our particular generation.
Kevin Christensen’s tests of a true prophet seem to work well when tested for Muhammad. And Muhammad supposedly revealed Allah’s words in Surah 5:72 – “They do blaspheme who say: ‘Allah is Christ the son of Mary.’ But said Christ: ‘O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode.” So we have prophets saying that we have to believe Jesus is the Son of God and prophets saying that it is blasphemy to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Go figure.
I think the main reason there are no formal apologies from the church is because it would open itself up to more law suits regarding actual harm and damage, Gotta protect God’s money.
Wait a minute… Masses of humanity drown with a flood, Noah spends years building a boat he can use only once after wrecking it on a mountain top, after spending months cooped up with a bunch of stinky critters…. and we are criticizing Noah’s drunkiness and cursing after all of that? Heck, I’d have taken a drink after that experience and cursed the whole darn system. Then knocked off several of the animals and thrown a barbecue.
Hope y’all forgive me and blame it on my cultural background. Rednecks gonna do what rednecks do.
This post and subsequent discussion reminds me of something Mason included (briefly) in Planted. I forget exactly how he said it (and my copy is at the library), but he talked about making a distinction between “condemning historical people” and “declaring historical ideas as wrong/immoral.” In my view, Mason then spent the rest of the chapter focused on not condemning historical people.
I guess it just seems to me that whenever we try to talk about the Church’s historical issues, we end up focusing way too much effort on defending whomever introduced/perpetuated the issue. Why do we have such a hard time simply declaring that slavery is wrong, that racism is wrong, that polygamy (without the full buy in and consent of the women involved?) is wrong, and so on? I guess because we, in the words of I think Pres. McKay speaking about Elder McConkie and his publication of Mormon Doctrine, “don’t want to diminish the influence of past prophets and apostles on the membership,” but maybe we need to do better at learning how to separate truth and error from the prophets who sometimes teach both truth and error.