Steven Harper presents the proper framework.
Jeff discusses issues relating to manuscripts (age, numbers, and contrasts with classics, such as Homer’s Iliad), erring scribes, the fidelity of oral transmission of histories, source criticism, and more.
The dating of the 1 Corinthians 15: 3-7, for example, is 2 years after Jesus’ resurrection! Paul was told orally many things when he met the Apostles in Jerusalem around 30 AD. Critical, non-believing scholars agree on this early date.
“Within 3 years of Jesus’ death, the early church was circulating a creed that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead.” That’s early!
- The Church’s teachings we review in Sunday School are primarily doctrinal and devotional, not apologetic or historical in scope and intent.
- The LDS Church’s archives are open.
- Many journals, histories, and accounts have long been published. And, yes, even on the thorny topics.
- LDS and non-LDS folks have long belonged to historical societies (John Whitmer Historical Association is one example) that have openly debated and published on today’s thorny issues, including seer stones, witness testimony, Joseph’s polygamy, and similar topics.
- These topics — ones that have surprised many members today — are not new. No new facts. Critics have applied a range of interpretations for over 180 years. Today the criticisms and interpretations are circulated on the internet instead if via books and radio.
- Personal growth and education must be life long for which we alone are ultimately responsible