Mormons and Scripture Literalism

By Farside [1]

[Many Mormons are] reading the scriptures as if they were written by 21st Century Americans who were schooled in historiography and who placed a premium on getting their facts straight.  They were not and they did not.

The scriptures were written by people who told stories and passed on oral traditions to their children with the primary purpose of conveying important moral principles.  [For example], if you were to confront the authors of Matthew and ask them—”Did the flight into Egypt really occur?”—they would look at you quizzically and say: “Fellow, you’re missing the whole point of the story.”

The evidence that numerous stories in the Bible are not factually accurate—indeed, that they never occurred—is overwhelming.  And, at the risk of ruining Christmas for you, Christ wasn’t really born in a stable or cave—that was a myth concocted about 200-300 years after He was born.  And it is highly unlikely that Joseph and Mary made the journey to Bethlehem.  Arguably, Luke’s real purpose in telling this story was to contrast an earthly king—”In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus”—with arrival of a heavenly one.

“What is the harm in teaching scriptural literalism?”  Apart from the fact that it’s just not true, such a simplistic approach to sacred texts robs them of much of their meaning.  But, sadly, many Mormons equate literalism with truth and can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance of letting it go.  They think that if the scriptures are not factually accurate then they must have been written by fraudsters, in which event the whole house of cards begins to crumble.  This, to me, is not genuine faith.

Is it possible that some of the events that religious scholars dismiss today actually occurred?  Sure. But to refuse to entertain the idea that they did not is to cheat yourself out of much of what the scriptures have to offer.


[1] from timesandseasons

This entry was posted in bible, mormonism, Religion, transhumanism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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