Friday, October 26, 2012

"Faithful" Members Can Have Differing Views of Scriptural Passages

The following experience happened to me a couple of years ago.  I came across my notes about it and thought I would post a summary here - as an example of how differently we can view scriptural passages and still be "faithful" members of the LDS Church. 

The Gospel Doctrine teacher talked about Elisha and the prophetic mantle, but what I thought was fascinating was when he got to the story of the bears killing the 42 "children". (or "young men" - as it says in the footnotes) He said he has heard a lot of possible interpretations of that story over the years - and proceeded to list and explain briefly four different options. He then said, in summary:

"My own favorite interpretation is that Elisha must have had a terrible day and been in a really foul mood - and had to do some serious repenting after cursing them when he heard about the bears killing them after his curse."

He said this with a huge smile - showing that he was kidding a bit, but he explicitly mentioned that there is a period (the end of a sentence kind of period, not a length of time) between the cursing and the attack of the bears - and that there is NO direct statement that the two events had anything to do with each other. He said that he believes the writers (and mothers of small children) took the two separate events and put them together to create a folk tale in order to scare the children and/or young men of the area into respecting the prophet.
My point is not to endorse his view, even though I like it.  Rather it simply is to point out that we can view scriptural passages in lots of different, and even contradictory, ways and still be solidly believing, active, faithful members of the Church.

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