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The Apocrypha


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#1 LDSChristian

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:45 PM

Why do many members of the church not read the Apocrypha? I understand what D&C 91 says about it but it also says to let the Spirit guide you if you read it so you may know what's true and what isn't. Who's read any of the Apocrypha?

#2 Dravin

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:53 PM

The reason I don't read the apocrypha is because I feel my scripture study time is better spent in the Standard Works. In my experience those who spend time in the apocrypha have made it a hobby of sorts. If I was going to go that direction I'd in all honesty probably study Church History or Ancient Cultures (though there are certainly those who do all three).

Edited by Dravin, 07 March 2011 - 01:55 PM.

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#3 JudoMinja

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:15 PM

I had never even heard of the Apocrypha until looking at your post here. So, I did a quick online search and found some sites which seem to speak highly of it and others which seem to discredit it. Since I couldn't be sure which was the most reliable, I looked up an LDS source- Background for the Testaments - Ensign Dec. 1982

I guess, part of an answer to your question is that many members have probably never even heard of the Apocrypha- like myself. If I had heard about it, and known the background behind it I probably would have read some. As I plan on doing now. :)

#4 rameumptom

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:20 PM

Given that the Apocrypha is not considered scripture and is ancillary to our faith, it is not an imperative for most members to read/study it. It would be more important for them to study the scriptures. As it is, most members have never read the Old Testament, and even few have read the Book of Mormon more than once or twice in their lifetimes. That is a more important thing for them to spend time on, IMO. For me, I've read the Apocrypha several times, and have occasionally referenced it in my writings (including my blog).
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#5 slamjet

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:24 PM

I'm still wrapping my head around scriptures on faith, hope, charity and repentance. Apocrypha is not in the cards.
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#6 MarginOfError

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:36 PM

Why do members of the Church not read History of the Church? Why don't more members read The Once and Future King? Why don't more members read the newspaper?

There are a lot of things worth reading in the world, and different people will prioritize what they want to read in different ways.

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#7 Wingnut

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:05 PM

I had never even heard of the Apocrypha until looking at your post here.


I think you're probably not alone, and that in and of itself may be part answer to the OP's question.
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#8 LDSChristian

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 06:08 PM

2 Maccabees 12:43 And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection: 44 For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. 45 And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin. Although this doesn't speak of baptism for the dead, it does note that the dead must also be delivered from their sins similar to our belief in the baptism for the dead so their sins can be washed away. The apocrypha isn't regarded as being the same level as the scriptures but they're not to be taken lightly either.

#9 stormwitch

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:32 PM

I think it is very difficult to discern which texts of the apocrypha are true scriptures. In the German Bible "Einheitsübersetzung" some apocryphic books from the time of the Old Testament are included, the so called deutero canonical books (Tobit, Judit, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Baruch, Book of Wisdom, and Sirach, and also extra parts in the books of Daniel and Ester ). These books have been part of the Septuaginta which was considered as Holy Scripture by the greek speaking jews who lived in the diaspora in Egypt. Aramaic speaking jews never accepted the greek canon and rejected these deutero canonical books. These books do not sound any different from the books you know in the Old Testament, and they seem to me of worth to be read some times, as there ARE good thoughts in them. The apocrypha to the New Testament are of a total different matter. Many of them come from different groups of the early Christianty, written at a time when most apostles had died. Even at the time of the apostles there seems to have been a growing division in the Church.. on the one side the jewish christs among James and the "greek" church around Paul. Sects were trying to prove their right oft existence and sometimes tried to discredit other groups. A gnostic branch (in Egypt) was very strong until decreed to be heretic. Here it becomes REALLY difficult to discern between Scripture, well meant and educatual writings and made up stuff. The Gospel of Thomas or of Peter are often mentioned, but there are many other books. I have read some of them and sometimes found parts where I had the feeling that the Spirit was confirming the truth of them, but there were many more parts where I didn't get this feeling. One thing is certain: reading the standard works is what we need, but if we want to broaden our horizon, its worth having a look at the apocrypha. There might be a sentence that gives you a new point of view to a gospel question you had for a long time. AND: whoever was in seminary or institute program probably has read all standard works.. don't be so pessimistic! ;-)

Edited by stormwitch, 07 March 2011 - 07:34 PM.

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#10 LDSChristian

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:53 PM

I think it is very difficult to discern which texts of the apocrypha are true scriptures. In the German Bible "Einheitsübersetzung" some apocryphic books from the time of the Old Testament are included, the so called deutero canonical books (Tobit, Judit, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Baruch, Book of Wisdom, and Sirach, and also extra parts in the books of Daniel and Ester ). These books have been part of the Septuaginta which was considered as Holy Scripture by the greek speaking jews who lived in the diaspora in Egypt. Aramaic speaking jews never accepted the greek canon and rejected these deutero canonical books. These books do not sound any different from the books you know in the Old Testament, and they seem to me of worth to be read some times, as there ARE good thoughts in them.

The apocrypha to the New Testament are of a total different matter. Many of them come from different groups of the early Christianty, written at a time when most apostles had died. Even at the time of the apostles there seems to have been a growing division in the Church.. on the one side the jewish christs among James and the "greek" church around Paul. Sects were trying to prove their right oft existence and sometimes tried to discredit other groups. A gnostic branch (in Egypt) was very strong until decreed to be heretic. Here it becomes REALLY difficult to discern between Scripture, well meant and educatual writings and made up stuff. The Gospel of Thomas or of Peter are often mentioned, but there are many other books. I have read some of them and sometimes found parts where I had the feeling that the Spirit was confirming the truth of them, but there were many more parts where I didn't get this feeling.
One thing is certain: reading the standard works is what we need, but if we want to broaden our horizon, its worth having a look at the apocrypha. There might be a sentence that gives you a new point of view to a gospel question you had for a long time.
AND: whoever was in seminary or institute program probably has read all standard works.. don't be so pessimistic! ;-)


Agreed. The Apocrypha is still historically important. Not just that but many scholars have said Joseph Smith made up the word "Nephi" while Nephi is in the Apocrypha. What's interesting is the nature of Nephi in the Book of Mormon and what the name is said to mean in 2 Maccabees. Nephi, according to 2 Maccabees, means a cleansing. Nephi as well as the others came from Jerusalem where most of the people were rebelling against the teachings of the prophets. The tribe Nephi, Lehi and their family was part of seemed to be part of the rebelling ones so I guess you could say Nephi was the one "cleansing" the name of the tribe of Manasseh.

#11 volgadon

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:05 PM

Why do members of the Church not read History of the Church? Why don't more members read The Once and Future King? Why don't more members read the newspaper?


Done, done, and done.

=)

#12 slamjet

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:14 PM

Done, done, and done.

=)


Whatever, goody-two-shoes :P
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#13 LDSChristian

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:21 PM

I had never even heard of the Apocrypha until looking at your post here. So, I did a quick online search and found some sites which seem to speak highly of it and others which seem to discredit it. Since I couldn't be sure which was the most reliable, I looked up an LDS source- Background for the Testaments - Ensign Dec. 1982

I guess, part of an answer to your question is that many members have probably never even heard of the Apocrypha- like myself. If I had heard about it, and known the background behind it I probably would have read some. As I plan on doing now. :)


It's spoken of in both a positive and negative way because it holds some truths but also some fabrications by man. However, if we read with the Spirit then we would know what's not true. Joseph Smith himself said the Apocrypha is mostly correct so I don't see why members don't read it.

#14 classylady

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:24 PM

For me, I guess I just haven't let it be a priority. I've had some curiosity about the Apocrypha, and have thumbed through it, but that's about it. I had a hard enough time with just reading the Old Testament from start to finish. I did it, but I can't say I understood it all. My reading focuses on the Book of Mormon. I'll read the other Standard Works too, but I always go back to the Book of Mormon. I don't consider myself a scriptorian. I read to help sustain my testimony. And I know that when I read the Book of Mormon my testimony is reaffirmed, over and over.

#15 volgadon

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:07 PM

LDSC, why leave out the pseudepigraphia, the midrashim, and others?

#16 rameumptom

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:37 AM

This is nothing like baptism for the dead. Rather, Catholics use this as a point for why they pray and light candles for their dead and dearly departed. Those who die who are godly, are believed to have earned extra brownie points in heaven, and can use those to bless others who have died. So that is why many Catholics pray to saints, hoping they will use their extra blessings to help save their deceased. Praying for the dead is very common in many cultures and religions. It is no where near the same as baptism for the dead, as I just showed.
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#17 pam

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:41 AM

Joseph Smith himself said the Apocrypha is mostly correct so I don't see why members don't read it.


Probably because we are counseled so often by our leaders to read and to study the standard works. Most of us will never quite understand everything that is in them. I've never heard them say..study and read the Apocrypha. Our classes in gospel doctrine are based on the 4 Standard Works.

#18 Jenamarie

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:00 AM

This is nothing like baptism for the dead. Rather, Catholics use this as a point for why they pray and light candles for their dead and dearly departed. Those who die who are godly, are believed to have earned extra brownie points in heaven, and can use those to bless others who have died. So that is why many Catholics pray to saints, hoping they will use their extra blessings to help save their deceased.Praying for the dead is very common in many cultures and religions. It is no where near the same as baptism for the dead, as I just showed.


Perhaps I'm just not understanding your explaination, but the bolded is not how I've had praying to saints explained to me by my Catholic friends. My dear friend explained to me that they're not praying TO the Saints, like the Saints have any way of blessing them, but rather they're asking the Saints to pray FOR them, just as many here sometimes ask for prayers from the other members of the forum for themselves or their families or friends who are struggling. All blessings come from the Lord.
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#19 JudoMinja

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:25 AM

It's spoken of in both a positive and negative way because it holds some truths but also some fabrications by man. However, if we read with the Spirit then we would know what's not true. Joseph Smith himself said the Apocrypha is mostly correct so I don't see why members don't read it.


Well, part ofthe reason most members don't read it could be they've never heard of it- like myself. But, one should also think about the fact that not all members even LIKE to read. The Apocrypha would be considered an "extra" since it is not scriptural. Joseph Smith said that it had many good things in it and as long as one read with the Spirit they would be able to discern what was and was not true, but it is still not scripture. It's extra.

There are plenty of members who struggle with getting through and understanding just the Standard Works. This is what we are expected to read from every day, as this is scripture. Yet, many members do not even read this every day.

The Apocrypha is an older text, written in a way that requires much thought and study to fully understand- much like Shakespeare. How many people actually read and understand Shakespeare? Those who know they struggle with understanding the Bible probably wouldn't want to spend any time reading the Apocrypha because they wouldn't want to chance being misled by the falsehoods that ARE in it.

#20 rameumptom

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:12 AM

Perhaps I'm just not understanding your explaination, but the bolded is not how I've had praying to saints explained to me by my Catholic friends. My dear friend explained to me that they're not praying TO the Saints, like the Saints have any way of blessing them, but rather they're asking the Saints to pray FOR them, just as many here sometimes ask for prayers from the other members of the forum for themselves or their families or friends who are struggling. All blessings come from the Lord.



Yes, that is also how some Catholics view it. However, it depends upon the country you are in. Here in the USA, they do believe the saint prays in behalf of the individual - but it still comes down to the saint/virgin having earned extra blessings that he/she can take from that reservoir of goodness and impart it to others.

Roman Catholicism here in the USA is very different than it is in Latin America in many ways. There are fewer icons of Saints and the Virgin used here in the USA than south of the border. In many locations, the saint/virgin will have a huge celebration/parade/etc for that saint's specific day. Celebrations for some can last a few days, with the statue of the saint/virgin carried throughout the town at the head of the parade.

Afterward, throngs will fill the cathedral and often spend hours praying to their saint/virgin while holding candles. Some are very dedicated, wherein I've watched the candles melt hot wax onto their hands, and they do not
flinch. As they leave, they place their candles, still burning, in a side room. There will often be thousands or tens of thousands of candles burning in the room, making it so warm that the candles bend over and twist in the heat.

These people actually pray to the saint so they can receive blessings from their reservoir of good deeds.

So, in essence, you are correct from a USA view of the process, but it also plays this other way as well.
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