FAIR Study Aids/Seminary/Old Testament/Week 2



A FairMormon Analysis of: Seminary: Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual

Day 1: Abraham 3

From the manual section: "Suggestions for Teaching"
"Abraham 3:22–28 (Scripture Mastery, Abraham 3:22–23 ). Knowing who we are and why we are here can give us greater strength to meet challenges and find joy in life."


Commentary
The 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males corrected a previous tendency to use this passage as a justification for a racially based priesthood ban.

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Common criticisms related to this lesson topic
Critics have attempted to raise doubts about Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Abraham based on partial recovery of the Egyptian papyri collection and analysis of documents formerly associated with their translation.

Response
Faithful Mormon scholars have offered several ways to account for the failure to match the translation to the surviving papyri and demonstrated a different purpose for associated documents. Impressive parallels have been found in ancient traditions about Abraham.
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Day 2: Moses 1

From the manual section: "Suggestions for Teaching"
"It is comforting to know that God’s work and glory is to help us become like Him."


Commentary
The idea that we are to "become like Him" is a concept that is often misrepresented by our critics. It is claimed that the doctrine of human deification is unbiblical, false, and arrogant, with the suggestion that Latter-day Saints believe that they will somehow 'supplant God'. This, of course, is entirely incorrect.

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Day 3: Genesis 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abraham 4–5

From the manual section: "Suggestions for Teaching"
"The purpose of the scriptural accounts of the Creation is not to answer such questions as how the earth was created, how long ago the Creation occurred, or how long the process of creation took. Their purpose is to answer the more important questions of why the earth was created and who created it."


Commentary
Sometimes Latter-day Saints are criticized for rejecting a tradition, but post-biblical, belief that God created the universe out of nothing. Passages in Genesis and elsewhere support the LDS view.

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Common criticisms related to this lesson topic
Critics insist that LDS doctrine requires belief in an earth created in only 7,000 years and a rejection of evolution. They then use scientific evidence to raise doubts.

Response
The Church has no official position on the age of the earth and official statements on evolution allow members considerable room to come to their own conclusions. Church leaders have been of more than one view about these matters.
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Day 4: Genesis 3; Moses 4


Common criticisms related to this lesson topic
Was there physical death for other creatures before Adam and Eve's fall?

Response
The Church has no official position on whether creatures outside the Garden of Eden were subject to physical death prior to Adam and Eve's fall. Church leaders have been of more than one view on the matter.
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Common criticisms related to this lesson topic
Church leaders do not all agree on many questions.

Response
Church leaders have been of different view on matters that are peripheral to our salvation, such as the age of the earth, whether there was physical death before the Fall of Adam, or what to make of some of Brigham Young's teachings about Adam.

  • The Lord allows his prophets and his children to have and express their own views on issues not directly related to the gospel and salvation. "A prophet is only a prophet," taught Joseph Smith, "when he is acting as such." Prophets are not inerrant, and we weaken our ability to follow and sustain them if we act as if they are. Only Jesus was perfect.


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Further reading

None