Among the most important and difficult wrestles in a faith transition are the struggles to move into new, better nuanced, and richer understandings of previously held concepts, as well as learning to gain greater and greater trust in our own spiritual experiences as the essential authoritative force in our lives. As Latter-day Saints in transition, two of the key areas we must wrestle with if we are to continue to find Mormonism to be a healthy home are the nature and scope of prophets and scripture. In our younger years (and to a strong degree it is still an attitude quite present in Mormon culture and Sunday instruction) we likely, and without too much personal investigation, granted great authority to prophets and scripture as reliable guides to the mind and will of God. As we’ve gotten older, we have had to face challenges to this assumption. To at least some degree, we’ve come to recognize incompatibilities among prophetic teachings and scriptural texts, and/or we’ve come to hold views that feel “right” to us (even to have been confirmed in our hearts by the Holy Ghost) that are not in alignment with current prophetic statements or scriptural interpretations. And because of this, we feel great strain upon our souls. How do we honor prophets and scripture while recognizing that their teachings are sometimes quite wrong about God’s will, or even harmful to those who either from their own over-beliefs in their infallibility or the words and attitudes of others with such over-beliefs are made to feel worthless (“worth less”) to God or unwanted as members of the community? Can we still “rely” on prophets and scriptures to teach us essential truths about God, ourselves, and the keys to the greatest possible happiness?
In this episode, three incredible thinkers and spiritual adventurers—Boyd Petersen, Fiona Givens, and Terryl Givens—join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a spirited discussion of these issues. They share their own stories in coming to trust that it is “faithful” to deconstruct unhealthy cultural assumptions and pressures regarding prophetic utterances and scriptural texts. How do they, if they do, still view prophets and scripture as “special” in some ways, even if this doesn’t mean granting them authority above their own sense of what life and Spirit are teaching them? How are they able to communicate the perspectives they have gained about these things in Sunday or other interactions with fellow Latter-day Saints?
Please listen and share your own thoughts in the comments section below!