Archives for the month of: June, 2017
Lecture on Faith 1

“Lecture First”, 1835

This is intended for those who, whether they have read the Lectures on Faith or not, need an explanation of why the Lectures are worth studying.

I first opened them as a teenager, and found the language a little hard to grasp. They seemed to ramble on in spirals and circles, like a dumb person trying to sound smart. I had no way to contextualize them, and gained nothing from them.

I read them again on my mission, this time knowing  that they were the curriculum for the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in the early 1830s. I saw this time that there were nuggets (such as the oft-quoted statement from Lecture 6 about religions that do not require the sacrifice of all things), but if there was any unified argument made by the Lectures as a whole it escaped me.

Now, in my third decade of studying them, I can say that they make a very cohesive and powerful argument,  and that the various topics they address are all essential to that argument.  Read the rest of this entry »

Among those who are aware of their existence, the Lectures on Faith are a source of controversy. Their canonization and decanonization, force us to contemplate the fallibility of Church leaders, and to question whether we are collectively gaining or losing light.

Their decanonization is often defended by an appeal to the infallibility of Church authorities, such as “If the brethren removed them, then there was a reason,” and “their removal can’t have been in error, because we have modern prophets and apostles.” This, of course, requires overlooking the Lectures’ initial authorship and canonization, the work of leaders who were the wellspring of any authority held by those who championed decanonization. One could just as easily say “If the brethren canonized them, then there was a reason,” and “their canonization as scripture can’t have been in error, because we have modern prophets and apostles.”  So this isn’t to be settled by an appeal to authority.

Read the rest of this entry »