Monday, June 2, 2014

How the Word of God Can Be Infallible and Simultaneously Fallible

I believe God communicates to people “in their own language” (meaning using words and concepts they can understand / with which they are familiar), “according to their understanding” (meaning he won’t tell them things they have no chance of grasping). Therefore, I believe the word of God can be different to different people at different times and still be the true word of God – but I also believe much of what people have thought of and do think of as the “pure, eternal, unchanging word of God” really is nothing more than their own best comprehension of the actual pure, eternal, unchanging word of God. In other words, the word of God is honest and infallible – but how we receive and process it, even when totally honest and sincere, is partial and “fallible” in a real sense.

I believe that applies to all of our recorded scriptures and all of the statements of church leaders at all levels, as well as to those things that are defined as personal revelation among us as lay members - to ALL of God's communication to ALL of His children.  In scriptural terms:

"We see through a glass, darkly." 

Within Mormonism, I think this is best summed up in three concepts:

1) The 13th Article of Faith (which says we need to “seek after” lots of things that we don't have currently) and Joseph Smith’s explicit statement that we will accept truth no matter its source when we find it (meaning there is truth outside of Mormonism and the LDS Church).

2) The practice of vicarious ordinances for the dead, which rests on the foundational conviction that God will save and wants to exalt ALL of His children – regardless of what they knew and did based on that knowledge in this life.

3) To become is better than merely to believe.

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