Site talk:SS lessons/DC lesson 30
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re: "ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world" -- aren't there a lot of things that were ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, including baptism? I don't see any suggestion in this section that baptism for the dead was performed before Adam was baptized. I assume that "this order of things" is not referring to when baptism for the dead was introduced but rather the order of how it is to be recorded. --Matthew Faulconer 06:14, 14 Nov 2006 (UTC)
"Bombshell" interpretation of verse 12
OK, I've never really caught this before. Or, since some prophets have taught that resurrection of the dead is an ordinance, is that the ordinance that is instituted "to form a relationship" with baptism for the dead? Admittedly a more clumsy reading, but how else to make sense of this? Perhaps at some level, if these are both eternal ordinances that have existed throughout the eternities, there may never have been one before the other?--Rob Fergus 18:25, 24 Oct 2006 (UTC)
Sorry I haven't gotten back to this yet. I taught seminary all day today, and then I had to set up and attend a stake youth Halloween (nowadays "Harvest") dance. I only have a minute before getting to bed. I think we have to take the wording quite seriously here, and I think it opens quite interestingly onto a number of themes in the Book of Moses. Perhaps I'll have to take some time and work some of these out (I'm working on a paper at the moment concerning some of these themes, and I thought it would be interesting just to see what sort of a reaction came from that tiny comment). Oh, and Robert, I did get the paper, and it was quite interesting, and it certainly bears on our discussions of Jonah, both directly (what mythological themes is the author trying to drawn on, and what would the consequences be, etc.?) and indirectly (if the mythology so profoundly influences the psalms, and Jonah immitates the psalms, what have we here?). Thanks. I got the other paper today, for which Jim was so grateful, but I haven't had a moment even to glance at it. I probably won't tomorrow, but I'll get to it Friday, I'm sure (along with the three other projects I have to get to that day). --Joe Spencer 04:36, 26 Oct 2006 (UTC)
Well, I imagine everyone knows where I stand on "it's mangled" readings. But a word nonetheless. The real issue when we encounter a problem like this in the scriptures is not a question primarily of grammar, language, etc., but a question of how we thus far conceive of things and what a verse quite literally says. I have yet to find two verses in scripture that truly contradict each other (according to the strictness of the law of non-contradiction): I have yet to find any two scriptures where the one says simply X and the other says simply not X. Hence, these difficulties are the battle between our conception of the word and the word itself, not a battle between wording here and wording there, where we have the option of throwing out the one with the strange wording (or the questionable textual history, or the apparent Hellenistic influence, or the Deuteronomic theology, etc.). Rather, I think these function as a call to think and rethink.
Now, let me clarify a point there. I don't think that it is possible, upon encountering a bombshell like this, to revise radically everything I believe about baptism in the moment. Not at all. But the verse suddenly becomes like a piece of something stuck between your teeth when you are without floss or a toothpick. So then we go on, and suddenly other things start cropping up that suggest that there is something more to that verse's wording, and then other things still, and pretty soon, everything has changed. The fun of having a site like this to throw little bombshells out is see two things: whether anyone else has ever noticed the bombshell and found some interesting correspondences to it elsewhere; and whether people are generally willing to think through it or whether they would rather sweep it under the rug. I suppose the former is a good joy, and the latter is probably a bad one, but one that guides me every time I'm asked to substitute in seminary (every lesson begins with a little bombshell that we then spend the rest of class working out so as to have a much clearer, and a very different, understanding of the scriptures). Maybe it's not so bad. It's a Kierkegaardian pleasure, a moment of radical commitment, perhaps. At any rate, my "word nonetheless." --Joe Spencer 14:44, 27 Oct 2006 (UTC)
OK, I'm sold. While I want to retain the right to use the Mangled Scripture theory elsewhere in the future, if only to cover my own ignorance, this discussion has opened up a whole new way of thinking for me that reconfirms a notion I've had of priesthood ordinances as fore-ordinations to a future state. Baptism becomes a literal fore-ordination to resurrection--first instituted as a way to fore-ordain the dead to a resurrection of the just. Other ordinations that we receive, perhaps most notably in the temple, are fore-ordinations to other states of being. This takes us back to Alma 13 where we started this whole project. This is what priesthood is for, to perform these fore-ordinations in this estate, to prepare us for future estates. The gospel becomes more an ongoing series of ordinances that allow us to confirm our relationship with God (back to Robert's Amen) through these fore-ordinations, than a checklist of laws to obey.--Rob Fergus 01:32, 14 Nov 2006 (UTC)
Another middle road approach. Baptism and the ordinance of sealing are uniquely tied. President Hinckley made that point recently in his trinity article in the Ensign. He said he was "baptized in the name of these three" and "married in the name of these three." Somehow, the Trinity enters into the discussion only with those two ordinances (perhaps not really at all in any others?). This is tied, obviously to the Trinity discussions in 3 Nephi, and to the lack of trinitarian discussion in Mosiah-Helaman. There is something about the Trinity and the Abrahamic covenant, and all of this seems to be tied somehow to baptism/sealing as parallel ordinances in some way. (I might suggest that the sacrament is similarly parallel to the endowment.) What I think this means is that Rob is right to look at the possibility of patriarchal hints here, at a primacy of baptism for the dead (why is that a temple ordinance when baptism for the living is not?) over baptism for the living, etc., and that Matthew is right to be careful about the language here, and to suggest that the story is more complex. I want to take some of these questions up into Joseph's discourses over the last five years of his life, and see what that will open up in this question. I'm thinking more and more that the "without us not saved, without them not saved" business is a key to all of this. Later today, again, I hope. --Joe Spencer 17:51, 14 Nov 2006 (UTC)
Joe, you single out marriage and baptism as Trinity-focused ordinances. Are there ordinances you have in mind here that you are excluding? washing and annointings? endowment? The sacrament seems to be Trinity-focused, I wasn't clear if you're thinking of that also (in relation to baptism?). By the way, I'm very interested in working more on Trinity stuff (if I ever find time--busy, busy lately). I'm thinking more and more that the unity of the Trinity (esp. Father and Son) is key to understanding a workable theology (esp. pertaining to faith, hope, and love, as well as Priesthood...). --RobertC 21:53, 14 Nov 2006 (UTC)
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