Judgemental

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I like to be generous in what I believe other people can become, but I don’t let that affect much what I think of them now.

I like to be generous in what I believe other people are capable o

Infallibility

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The prophet Wilford Woodruff taught,

I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so he will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.

This doctrine says that the prophet will always lead the church correctly. A different, and equally accepted, doctrine maintains that prophets are just people that can make mistakes. I recently heard a story retold about the fallibility of divine revelation:

Simonds Ryder was converted to the Church in 1831. Later he received a letter signed by the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, informing him that it was the Lord’s will, made manifest by the Spirit, that he preach the gospel. Both in the letter he received and in the official commission to preach, his name was spelled Rider instead of Ryder. Simonds Ryder “thought if the ‘Spirit’ through which he had been called to preach could err in the matter of spelling his name, it might have erred in calling him to the ministry as well; or, in other words, he was led to doubt if he were called at all by the Spirit of God, because of the error in spelling his name!” (History of the Church, 1:261). Simonds Ryder later apostatized from the Church.

For many believers there is tension between God’s perfection and the apparent mistakes in some of his earthly messages. Ironically, only someone who achieved complete confidence in a prophet could be surprised by as small an error as a spelling mistake. After a short digression, I’ll explain my way of reconciling these two doctrines. Continue reading

Personal Joseph

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When someone tells you about a dream they remember, sometimes you can surprise them by offering an interpretation. Dreams that involve strong imagery and emotions frequently mean something to the dreamer.

My opinion is that it doesn’t matter much what the person saw or heard during their dream. All of the dream’s surroundings were invented by the brain on the spur of the moment and are more or less random. The emotions of the dreamer, on the other hand, are the important content. The brain doesn’t just manufacture emotions. The dream is based on the real-life emotions of the dreamer, and all the images were created around those. Continue reading