In other words, the summary immediately conditions a person’s mind to receive the scriptural text in only one way

In other words, the summary immediately conditions a person’s mind to receive the scriptural text in only one way

In this case, the statement “Use of wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks proscribed” is an interpretation (and is false.) Only hot drinks are proscribed, all the other items mentioned are given legitimate uses.

But, as people first read the verse summary, when they get to the actual words of the revelation, they substitute the verse summary’s interpretation for what the scripture actually says

In conditioning, there is a presupposition that is accepted. The presupposition is that since the church publishes the scriptures and authorized the text of the chapter headings and verse summaries, the chapter heading and verse summary interpretations must be correct. In other words, the presupposition is that the headings and summaries give the correct interpretation of the scripture that follows and can be entirely trusted.

The danger in relying upon the chapter headings and verse summaries for interpretation is that they are often found in conflict with the scriptures themselves, or that they are too narrow in the broad scope of the scriptures, and thus a person who relies upon them will either entirely miss the true meaning of the scriptures or they will only get a part of the meaning and not the bigger picture or other meanings.

Another problem is that the headings are often completely substituted. I have seen people just skip over chapters entirely and just read the headings, thinking that they are still “feasting upon the word of Christ.” The tendency, therefore, of the headings and summaries is to produce scriptural midgets and not giants. This tends to make a people think they know a lot, when really they know little to nothing.

Another danger to an individual’s correct understanding of the scriptures is the footnotes. Like the chapter headings and verse summaries, footnotes condition the individual reading them. For example, look at the following scripture and footnotes:

24 And there stood a one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and b we will make an earth whereon these 3: 24)

People can check their brains in at the door and absorb the headings’ interpretations without going through the mental exercises and processes to really figure things out

The footnote for “24a” tells a person to look up Jesus Christ, Firstborn in the Topical Guide. The implication is that the “one” referred to in this scripture is Jesus Christ. As the LDS reader presupposes that the footnote interpretations are correct, that is the end of discussion. So, when someone brings up that Michael is a Hebrew name which means “ONE LIKE GOD,” they are already conditioned into believing that this scripture is referring to Jesus, due to the interpretative footnote.

Not only can Topical Guide (TG) footnotes interpret scripture, but also the alternate translations from the Greek (GR) and Hebrew (HEB), as well as the explanations of idioms and difficult constructions (IE) and clarifications of archaic English expressions (OR). Due to space limitations, not all of the alternate translations can be listed, so the one or two that are given tend towards a limited interpretation. Either a person needs to learn Greek and Hebrew and read the texts himself, or he needs to consult the multiple translations into English that have been done by using Biblegateway or some other resource. Only in this way do the scriptures open themselves up to understanding. For idioms, difficult constructions and clarifications of archaic English expressions, instead of getting a one or two word “sound bite,” which is all that can be given in a footnote, one should consult with either the Oxford English Dictionary or another resource that specializes in all the shades of meaning that archaic expressions can have. This leaves the reader with the opportunity and responsibility to determine what the scripture means, guided by the scriptural text itself, the various translations, the English language tools, and the all important gift of the Holy Ghost.

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