Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

God Gave His Only Begotten Son

In preparing for the joys of Christmas during our brief return to the winter wonderland of Wisconsin, my wife and I read John 17 and contemplated the ministry of the Messiah and His mission to rescue mankind. As we read the Lord's great Intercessory Prayer, we marveled at how clear Christ's words were regarding unity and His relationship with the Father. To begin with, the very act of worshipful prayer tells us much of that relationship. He also refers to His premortal relationship with the Father:

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

And regarding His disciples and those who would accept Him and follow Him as Savior and Redeemer, He prayed:
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
From my LDS perspective, I often wonder how did so much misunderstanding arise in debates centuries later about these relationships and the unity of God, which here is held up as the kind of unity Christians should achieve? Not becoming one Being, but united beings, one in purpose and intent. Of course, I recognize that many fellow Christians fully accept the declarations of the creeds arising from those debates, and while we are comfortable with much stated therein, we feel that the earliest Christians understood the unity of Christ with the Father to be a unity in heart and purpose shared between two Beings, between the Father and the Son.

When we read the touching words of how God sent and gave His only begotten Son in John 3:16, in my opinion that loving, poignant sacrifice is best understood as making reference to the love a father naturally has for a son, an analogy that only makes sense to me if they are distinct beings. Yes, of course others will read this differently.

In any case, may we contemplate the teachings of the scriptures about our relationship to Christ, and His relationship to the Father, and pursue paths to help us to become more fully one in them.

104 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeff, coming from one who often chastises "LDS critics" for wanting nothing more than to argue here, your trolling never ceases to amaze. But nonetheless....

Perhaps the "misunderstanding" you speak of comes from the mouth of Jesus a few chapters earlier when he claims for Himself the very title of God "Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am."

Jeff Lindsay said...

I guess sometimes I just stumble and feel a need to remind people that we do have significant theological differences with others that from my perspective link us to early Christianity. I apologize if that makes you angry and seems like trolling. In noting this difference in beliefs, I am not saying that those who see things differently are not Christian, a courtesy that we are seldom afforded by Bible-only ministers criticizing our departure from their post-biblical Trinitarian creeds. Those who believe in Christ as their Savior are Christians in my book, regardless of which details in their theology I don't like.

Anonymous said...

No need to apologize, doesn't anger me. Just pointing out the hypocrisy. You also didn't address my point of Christ's blasphemy

Quantumleap42 said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure you really want to be in the crowd accusing Jesus of blasphemy. The original crowd who accused him of blasphemy weren't particularly good moral or theological role models.

Anonymous said...

I only used that word to prove my point. They knew exactly what Jesus was saying to the point of wanting to kill him. There was no misunderstanding

Jeff Lindsay said...

Nor should there be misunderstanding among us. In those words, Christ was revealing his premortal status as Jehovah, which we fully accept. Christ and the Father, though two Beings, are one Godhead, or one God, fully united. The Book of Mormon teaches this as well: they are one Eternal God, as Abinadi taught. (The question, of course, is how are they one. United Beings, or one immaterial Being of one metaphysical substance?)

Philippians 2 is helpful here, and reminds us that the divine status of Christ is not robbery of God or blasphemy, and indeed, reflects a mindset that we Christians should emulate:

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Here, as throughout the Bible, it should be clear that the Christ, though one with God, is subordinate to the Father (in the sense of John 14:28, for example) and, of course, is a distinct Being. Yes, I recognize others will see it differently. But the concept of three persons in one Being of one substance is not found in earliest Christianity, while the subordinate nature of Christ is repeatedly taught and the anthropomorphic God of Israel is clearly proclaimed in early Judaism and early Christianity, as is the corporeal nature of the resurrected Christ, whom Stephen saw at the right of the Father (Acts 7:55-56).

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from Mark Slick article:

The belief that God the Father is called Elohim and Jesus is called Jehovah does not agree with what the Bible says. In actuality, in Hebrew the word for "God" is the word "elohim." Likewise, the word for the name of God (elohim) is "Jehovah." In the Bible, when the word "Jehovah" appears in the Hebrew text, it is rendered as LORD (all caps) in the English text. Also, the Hebrew word "elohim" is translated as "God."

Please consider the following verses:

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10-11).

This verse is important because if you read what it is saying, it states that Jehovah (LORD also known to the Mormons as Jesus) is stating that there will be no God (elohim) formed after him. But this is a problem for the Mormons since it could not be saying that Jehovah is the only elohim. In other words, this verse is stating that the LORD (Jehovah), is elohim.

Let's look at two more verses.

"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6).

In this verse, LORD is Jehovah in the Hebrew. Jehovah is saying there is no God (elohim) besides him.

"Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Isaiah 44:8).

The context of this verse is that Jehovah (LORD) is a speaking. He states here that there is no God (elohim) besides him. He is stating that he does not even know of any other elohim (God) besides himself.

My point is that the name of God (elohim) is Jehovah (LORD), and that the LORD is stating that he alone is God. In other words, Jehovah is stating that he alone is elohim. Therefore, the Mormon idea that God the Father is called "elohim" and that the son is called "Jehovah" is erroneous.

In actuality, the name of God is Jehovah, and the Mormons are incorrect.

Remember, in Hebrew text LORD equals Jehovah. God equals elohim.

"Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him" (Deut. 4:35).
"That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else" (1 Kings 8:60).
"Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;" (Psalm 100:3).
"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God" (Zech. 13:9).

Anonymous said...

Jeff, you stated that the trinity was not taught by early Christians. Likewise, as fairmormon states: The conviction that Elohim was anciently the Almighty God and Father of us all, and Jehovah was and is Jesus the Christ, his Son is based on modern scripture.

Everything Before Us said...

anon...

It goes even further than that. Not only is the Elohim/Jehovah distinction based on modern scripture, the idea that Jesus was Jehovah was not taught by early Mormons at all. They understood that Jehovah was God the Father, not Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the Son of Jehovah.

Later, Adam became God the Father, and Jesus was Adam's Son.

In the early part of the 20th Century, Talmage was playing around with a different conception of the persons of God, and the First Presidency asked him to write a statement listing his new concept. He did so, they 1st Pres. looked it over, adding minor revisions, and the new doctrine of Jesus as Jehovah was officially minted. This was around 1916 or 1918, something like that.

As Jeff pointed out upstream, the Bible doesn't clarify whether the Father and Son are one in purpose or one in substance. Neither expressions are found in the Bible. Nor does any LDS Standard Works declare that they are one "in purpose."

Both groups have come by their doctrine in the same way: by committee. LDS say that this is a sign of apostasy when it happens in the Christian church, and they say it is a sign of revelation through Prophets when it happens in the LDS Church.

The double standard should be obvious, but it isn't unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of how you may want to define oneness, you have to start with the premise that the Father and the Son are two separate and distinct individuals. Otherwise, you're theological sights will be off and you'll miss the mark.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Jack, as EBU pointed out, the LDS themselves have redefined their own theology through the years as fairmormon conforms "LDS use of the name titles Elohim and Jehovah to designate God Our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ respectively is not meant to insist that this is how these titles were always used anciently, including in the Holy Bible. Rather, these titles are a naming convention used in the modern Church for clarity and precision. Since Christ may be spoken of as "the Father" in a great many senses, the modern Saints use these name-titles to avoid ambiguity, regardless of which 'role' of a divine Personage is being discussed.
Since this terminology was not standardized for convenience and clarity prior to the twentieth century, readers are cautioned not to expect the early writings of the Church to always reflect this practice, which arose only decades later. Likewise, attempting to read the Bible as if its writers followed the same modern practice is anachronistic, and may lead to confusion and misinterpretation.
Although Elohim is understood and used in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the name-title of God the Eternal Father and the name Jehovah is reserved for His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, [3] this has not always been the case. Nineteenth-century Mormons—including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor—generally used Jehovah as the name of God the Father. Latter-day Saints also recognize that the Hebrew word Elohim was used anciently as a generic word for "god."

Theological sights will be off? I'm afraid You're now the pot calling the kettle black

Anonymous said...

"Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor—generally used Jehovah as the name of God the Father"

Anonymous said...

"Although Elohim is understood and used in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the name-title of God the Eternal Father and the name Jehovah is reserved for His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, [3] this has not always been the case." -fairmormon
.


The LDS faith is one of constant change. Doctrine being blown to and fro. What once is true one day will be declared false the next. Teachings by prophets disavowed (Adam/God theory)

How do I rely on this? What will change next?

Everything Before Us said...

Anon1224

This is actually a sign that the LDS Church is true. The Restoration is "ongoing." It will keep changing over and over and over again, and this is a sign that God is talking to his people. Yes...it sounds like a drunk God talking, but when you have a major international corporation to manage, it helps to have a God that can't be nailed down on any one point in particular.

It's all about flexibility.

Anonymous said...

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Everything Before Us said...

The doctrine of the Trinity, in relation to John 17, is very powerful. A pathway is laid out in John 17 whereby we are individually brought into the life of God, yet still retain our identity. This differs from Eastern religion that has us being brought into the life of God by being dissolved into it, thus losing identity.

But in Christianity, we have this beautiful idea of one God that consists of three distinct persons, and the second person of that one God became something that He was not by nature, namely a human being. Through this act, now human beings can also become one with God and one with each other through their oneness with God while all along retaining their unique, God-created identities.

Only in a Trinitarian worldview does John 17 carry such a powerful implication.
In Mormonism, God isn't the source of identity. How could he be when we are said to be co-eternal with Him, as Uchtdorf so clearly stated in the most recent general conference? Our identity and our personality are simply the collateral result of processes outside of God. They are "matter unorganized." God simply organizes us. And he becomes the agent of a law, a CEO of a way of life that he didn't invent, but to which he conformed himself.

Again...who invented this way of life?

See...Mormonism is ultimately a Godless system. There is no law-giver. God is not technically a law-giver, but an officer of this law. Mormons know not who they worship, so they worship a middle-manager instead. Mormonism, rightly understood, is a bleak tyrannical system. It is a sinister path. It is a Godless path. It is an eternal multi-level marketing scheme.

There is no God in Mormonism. Just law and officers of that law.

Anonymous said...

"Since this terminology was not standardized for convenience and clarity prior to the twentieth century, readers are cautioned not to expect the early writings of the Church to always reflect this practice, which arose only decades later."

"Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor—generally used Jehovah as the name of God the Father"


Jeff, so in order to accept this incredible explanation, were the early church prophets aware and purposely using the incorrect title for God the Father (Jehovah) or were these prophets simply wrong?

Anonymous said...

"See...Mormonism is ultimately a Godless system. There is no law-giver. God is not technically a law-giver, but an officer of this law. Mormons know not who they worship, so they worship a middle-manager instead. Mormonism, rightly understood, is a bleak tyrannical system. It is a sinister path. It is a Godless path. It is an eternal multi-level marketing scheme."

Anti Mormons use Communist tacticts very well. Twist words, lie, deceive, accuse the enemy of those things which you do, agitate, isolate and attack with verbal abuses and derogatory names, repeat lies until people accept it as truth, etc.
Exactly what the Democrat Commies do.



bearyb said...

I think all of us would like to understand Who God is and what kind of Being He is. In fact the Bible itself says that "life eternal" is to know Them (John 17:3).

The fact is, the Bible makes it difficult to do because it offers various, seemingly conflicting statements about Him/Them.

For example, some excerpts from the lds.org Bible Dictionary entry on God:

"Many of the things that the scripture says were done by God were actually done by the Lord (Jesus). Thus the scripture says that “God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), but we know that it was actually the Lord (Jesus) who was the creator (John 1:3, 10), or as Paul said, God created all things by Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:9).

"The present translation of John 1:18 and 1 Jn. 4:12 is misleading, for these say that no man has ever seen God. However, the scriptures state that there have been many who have seen Him."

And then there are all the statements about Them being One, yet plenty of other evidence that They are separate Beings. How can both be true?

What tends to happen is that those who favor one view focus on the passages that support that view, and ignore all others.

You can say all the ill against modern scriptures you would like, but I value their relative clarity on these matters. They don't as yet answer all questions one might raise on the subject of the nature of God, but there's enough information that we can at least begin to understand Who He is and our correct relationship to Him.

As for the claim that we believe in a "Godless system," I suppose it depends on how you understand God, and how that differs from the way we do.

Everything Before Us said...

However, the scriptures state that there have been many who have seen Him.

Which scriptures state this? There is no scripture at all that declares that anyone has seen God the Father. There were many who saw Christ, but Christ was incarnate in the flesh, and thus was visible. But God the Father? Nope. And you can't refer to Moses, but you don't believe that Jehovah is the Father. You believe Jehovah is Christ. You have nothing but a late account of the First Vision to show that anyone has seen the Father.

And then there are all the statements about Them being One, yet plenty of other evidence that They are separate Beings. How can both be true?

This is called "Trinitarianism." Actually, though, they are separate persons, not separate beings. Theologians define these two words differently.

I don't accept the "modern scriptures." And even if I did, they are not clear at all. Abinadi's explanation of how Jesus is both the Father and the Son is one of the most confusing passages ever written. He is the Father because of the Spirit. But he is the Son because of the Flesh. That sounds like good Modalism to me, and if we aren't forced to make it fit into current Mormon theology, then we can accept it as Modalism and walk away. But it has to fit into Mormon theology, which isn't modalistic, and thus Abinadi's words are a serious problem.

By the way, D&C 132 rewrites John 17:3. It isn't "eternal life" to know God. It is "eternal lives" to know God. Notice the pluralization? Wonder what that means?

Well, in light of the Adam-God doctrine it makes perfect sense. When you become a celestial being, you fall over and over again on planets of your own making with your wife. You become an Adam who creates, inhabits, falls, and produces offspring on a planet. And you do this again and again. Eternal LIVES.

This is Mormon theology, canonized in scripture, but now covered over with a nice Christian veneer.

Bearyb, you admit to being confused by Biblical doctrines about the nature of God. This confusion is of your own making. You have the spirit of Joseph Smith controlling your life, and this spirit is one of a rejection of Christianity and a building up of something else in its place. Mormonism was from its very inception a rejection. It's first pronouncement is that everyone else is wrong. Yet, nothing was immediately put into place. That came later, through the necromancy of Joseph Smith, who communed with what he claimed to be the spirits of dead men.

Do you know what the Old Testament has to say about necromancy? There is probably a reason for this prohibition on communing with the dead. It opens the doors to deception. And now you, along with millions of others, are listening to this spirit.


bearyb said...

...the LDS themselves have redefined their own theology through the years...

The fact that this has been the case and will continue to be the case is well documented in the 9th Article of Faith

"We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

That's right it says "many great and important things" have yet to be revealed. Not trivial things. So if you think we should simply circle the wagons and "settle once and for all" the sum total of our theology in order to avoid statements like that, think again.

You may chalk it up as some sort of method of conforming to the times we live in, and there is some of that to be sure. After all, the Lord recognizes that we have to live "in the world." But as time progresses you will probably see an LDS theology that is more and more divergent from the mainstream, and we will probably argue that it will be mostly because the mainstream is moving further and further away from the pure doctrine of Christ. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" first introduced on September 23, 1995 is a very good example of this. The world has certainly shifted further away from many of the teachings contained therein.

Everything Before Us said...

I am not sure the 9th Article of Faith is permitting constant reconstruction of theology pertaining to the nature of God. That is a stretch.

LDS theology hasn't been a movement away from the mainstream. It has been a movement toward the mainstream. Remember, Brigham Young was teaching that God is Adam.

And we aren't talking about beliefs about gender and family here, so I don't know why you bring up the Proclamation. Jeff's post was about Godhead. And a few of us have clearly shown you how the LDS understanding of who God is has changed over the years. This is unfathomable, frankly, considering the Mormons are supposed to be the ones who stand as a witness to the world of this one true God. Just like the Jews. "Ye are my witnesses......"

You are the witnesses! So, is the Father Jehovah, Adam, Elohim, or something else to be revealed later at a future date?

Just be straight with me, Bearyb.

Pretend like you have a time machine. Go back to 1860. Brigham Young is teaching you that God the Father is Adam. Do you stand up and rebuke your prophet of God? Or do you take his word as revelation. He is preaching this to you in General Conference, Bearyb. And he says that your exaltation will depend upon you acceptig this doctrine.

What do you do. You are right there. This isn't the past. It is your present. Your prophet, THE prophet and president of the Church is teaching you God is Adam. What do you do?

Everything Before Us said...

See, the 9th article of faith says that you believe all that God HAS revealed. Notice the past tense. You believe all that he HAS revealed. Apparently he revealed that he is Adam. YOu believe that then?

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Re: Titles

Titles are interchangeable and flexible depending on one's purpose or role in the cosmic narrative. The Egyptians we're mad for titles -- almost to the point of using them willy-nilly. And while titles my have a bearing on one's identity as per a particular function or duty to be performed, it should go without saying that there are explicit examples of characters who bear more than one title, such as Enoch who is also known as Metatron. The Savior, who is Man of a thousand names, is, at His core, a singularity as is the Father. And they, in tandem, together with the Holy Ghost, function as One God.

Jack

Everything Before Us said...

Where does the Heavenly Mother fit into that? Does she function as One God along with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Are there actually four members of the Godhead in Mormonism? Because I was taught that one can't become a God without an eternal spouse.

Is Heavenly Mother a part of the Godhead or not?

Anonymous said...

Jack, "Titles are interchangeable and flexible"??

So calling God the Father Jehovah makes no difference?
Why then is the church so adamant that this title belongs to Jesus?

bearyb said...

Did you not read above where it said the names were "standardized for convenience and clarity?"

If you walk into an LDS chapel and mention the name Jehova, there will be no confusion about who that name refers to. That makes it more convenient when conversing about Him, don't you think?

bearyb said...

Which scriptures state this? There is no scripture at all that declares that anyone has seen God the Father.

Who was Stephen talking about then, in Acts 7?

Actually, though, they are separate persons, not separate beings. Theologians define these two words differently.

Yes, I suppose they would have to define them differently in order to create a logic that would help them explain all the instances where the Father and Son are depicted as separate and distinct enities - as, for example, at the baptism of Christ, or on the Mount of Transfiguration. Not to mention all the times Christ said He was about His Father's business, or was doing the will of "Him who sent me."

I don't accept the "modern scriptures." And even if I did, they are not clear at all. Abinadi's explanation of how Jesus is both the Father and the Son is one of the most confusing passages ever written. He is the Father because of the Spirit. But he is the Son because of the Flesh.

Consider 1 Corinthians 4:14-15.

Ether 3:14 also lends a little more understanding.

bearyb said...

While researching this topic I happened upon a speechgiven by Bruce R. McConkie in January of 1985. In it, he states:

"There is probably more ignorance and confusion as to the mystery of godliness than there is about any other doctrine. As set forth in the three creeds of Christendom—the Nicene, the Apostles’, and the Athanasian, which God himself said were an abomination in his sight—and as defined in the articles of religion of the various denominations, this doctrine is a mass of confusion and a mountain of falsity.

"Even in the Church, thanks to a lack of knowledge and to intellectuality and the worldly enticement to conform to the general beliefs of an apostate Christendom, there are those who have fallen prey to many false delusions about deity."

And later:

"The doctrine is what the doctrine is, and the concepts are what the concepts are. It is of no moment whatever that they spread confusion among uninspired worshippers at divers shrines, or among intellectuals whose interest in religion is purely academic and who rely on the power of the mind rather than the power of the Spirit for understanding.

"Gospel truths are known and understood only by the power of the Spirit. Eternal life—which is to know God—is such an infinitely great reward that men must study, ponder, and pray, with all their hearts, to gain the needed knowledge.

"The Lord gives his truths line upon line and precept upon precept to those who believe and obey. Saving truths come by revelation to prophets, not by reason to false priests or doctors of debate, dissension, and divisiveness."

He leaves the discussion of "What is meant by the numerous scriptures that say Christ is the Father as well as the Son" to the listener/reader to explore on his/her own, as a continuation of the personal pursuit to resolve the mysteries of godliness for themselves.

Like it or not, none of us will be able to fully explain to our own satisfaction or anyone else's what these mysteries mean. And yet EBU, you act as though you have it all figured out as far as the "Mormons" are concerned, when we ourselves would never make such a claim.

Having said that, Elder McConkie also says: "The saints are in a position to comprehend all mysteries, to understand all doctrine, and eventually to know all things. These high levels of intelligence are reached only through faith and obedience and righteousness. A person who relies on the intellect alone and who does not keep the commandments can never, worlds without end, comprehend the mystery of godliness."

Please pay attention to the stated conditions - being "in a position" to do something does not mean it will absolutely happen.

bearyb said...

Bearyb, you admit to being confused by Biblical doctrines about the nature of God.

This is a good example of where you extrapolate statements to incorrect conclusions. I never said I was confused by the Biblical doctrines about the nature of God, only that the Bible makes it difficult to sort out because of its many apparently conflicting statements. Once again, the widely varying beliefs about the nature of God among those relying only on the Bible for guidance should make that abundantly clear.

I have the advantage of belief in additional, clarifying scripture and ongoing guidance by others more knowledgeable than myself, as well as the assurance that through faithful obedience and sincere inquiry I can eventually know for myself. Until then, I am confident that I am at least on the right track.

bearyb said...

Do you know what the Old Testament has to say about necromancy?

I can't say that I do. Even if I were to study it, I'm sure our conclusions would be different.

But more importantly, why do YOU care what it has to say about that or anything else? Aren't you one who advocates for leaving the OT behind completely?

Anonymous said...

Just curious -- how can Jesus be God's "only begotten son"? In LDS belief, doesn't God have many sons (and daughters too)? Or is this belief among those that have been relegated to the status of "teachings of men" rather than revelation?

-- OK

bearyb said...

Pretend like you have a time machine. Go back to 1860. Brigham Young is teaching you that God the Father is Adam. Do you stand up and rebuke your prophet of God? Or do you take his word as revelation. He is preaching this to you in General Conference, Bearyb. And he says that your exaltation will depend upon you acceptig this doctrine.

(Sigh) Or, I could remember what Brigham said about not taking everything he said at face value without first finding out for ourselves if it is right (couldn't find the exact quote yet).

Or, I could remember what Joseph Smith had taught earlier (from this speech given by Truman G. Madsen):

Said the Prophet Joseph Smith after one of the most revelatory meetings in his life, “There was nothing made known to these men [the Twelve] but what will be made known to all the Saints of the last days, so soon as they are prepared to receive” (Teachings, p. 237). This is the religion of every man. Not “Take my word for my experience,” but “Duplicate it in your own life."

Anonymous said...

So, bearyb, Brigham Young said not to take everything he uttered "at face value." Apparently we are to take only some of his statements as revelation. But how are we to know which is which? It's not as if Young went out of his way to say, Well, this statement here is revelation, but this other statement I am making is just me thinking as a man.... He could have done that, but he didn't.

If the purpose of prophecy is to reveal God's truth to us, shouldn't God's prophets be a little clearer about this stuff? Shouldn't they be a little more circumspect? Shouldn't God's prophets avoid mixing divine truths with wild blasphemies and falsehoods?

To me, that doesn't seem like too much to expect of God's representative on Earth. Others, apparently, have different standards.

-- OK

Everything Before Us said...

Like it or not, none of us will be able to fully explain to our own satisfaction or anyone else's what these mysteries mean. And yet EBU, you act as though you have it all figured out as far as the "Mormons" are concerned, when we ourselves would never make such a claim.


You may not claim to have it all figured out, but you do claim to have it figured out more than the rest. In other words, you say, "We don't know everything, but we know more than you."

Aren't you one who advocates for leaving the OT behind completely?

Never said such a thing actually. I said we need to understand its proper relationship with the New.

Once again, the widely varying beliefs about the nature of God among those relying only on the Bible for guidance should make that abundantly clear.


Who are you talking about? Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Calvinists, Methodists, etc, etc, etc all agree about the nature of God. Almost the entire Christian world is in agreement on this. Who disagrees? The Christian cults: Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, etc.

You have been fed a plate of lies if you've been taught that the Christian world is in disarray when it comes to the nature of God.

1 Corinthians 4 does not call Christ the Father. It calls Paul a father.

Stephen seeing Christ on the right hand of the Father does not mean that he saw the Father. It is metaphorical language that illustrates the power, majesty, and glory of the Resurrected Son. It does not mean that Stephen looked up and saw two people sitting side-by-side on chairs.

Honestly...it's time to put off childish things. If you are going to interpret this kind of language literally, you'll need to do the same everywhere else in the Bible. The Bible says God casts his sins behind his back. Does that mean God literally has a back and he literally throws our sins behind it? Psalms 91 says that God covers us with his feathers. Does God have feathers, bearyb? The Bible says that the arm of the Lord is not shortened so that he cannot save. Does that mean God has an arm that could lengthen and shorten?

It is metaphor! To sit down at the right hand of God is metaphor. I know Mormons like to use this verse to prove that God has a body, but it does no such thing.






Anonymous said...

Bearby's explanation is the typical LDS answer that always comes off so disingenuous and "double talk" to me. They'll say things like "we have the advantage of modern prophets and modern scripture to clarify things like the nature of God" but as soon as you bring up the teachings of these very prophets, it's always "don't take their words at gave value", "those teachings are a mystery, or disavowed, nobody really knows, or we won't be pinned down"

Everything but a straight answer

Everything Before Us said...

If you walk into an LDS chapel and mention the name Jehova, there will be no confusion about who that name refers to. That makes it more convenient when conversing about Him, don't you think?

That may be the case today, but that wasn't the case in the past. After Brigham Young, church leaders received many letters asking for clarification about the identities of the Father, the Son, and Adam. The reason for this was because the members had been taught a wide array of doctrine from their leaders for a long time. These teachings didn't align.

This is just about as good an example of a state of apostasy and I could ever point out. And you say the Christian world is in confusion?

Here is an excerpt from an excellent essay by Boyd Kirkland, who researched the evolution of the Jehovah Doctrine in early Mormonism. The requests for clarification about God were so persistent that Woodruff used the General Conference pulpit to make a statement:

President Wilford Woodruff responded to these inquiries over the pulpit at general conference in April 1895 by simply telling Church members not to worry. Interestingly, he too remained noncommittal, neither condemning the Adam-God doctrine, nor endorsing the Jehovah-Christ doctrine:

Before I sit down I want to say a word to the Elders of Israel on another subject.... Cease troubling yourselves about who God is; who Adam is, who Christ is, who Jehovah is. For heaven's sake, let these things alone. Why trouble yourselves about these things?... God is God. Christ is Christ. The Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost. That should be enough for you and me to know. I say this because we are troubled every little while with inquiries from Elders anxious to know who God is, who Christ is, and who Adam is. I say to the Elders of Israel, stop this.... We have had letter after letter from Elders abroad wanting to know concerning these things. Adam is the first man. He was placed in the Garden of Eden, and is our great progenitor. God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are the same yesterday, today, and forever, that should be sufficient for us to know.


You need to do your research, bearby. The situation you enjoy post-Correlation is not at all the situation in the church in the 19th Century. Your leaders were not at all in agreement on even the most basic doctrines. And these were "prohets, seers, and revelators."

You need to spend some time really dealing with what I have been writing, instead of coming back again and again and trying to present a Mormonism that simply doesn't exist. You need to deal with the fact that the men you've chosen to follow have led people astray all throughout the history of your church.

Anonymous said...

Face value

Quantumleap42 said...

"Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Calvinists, Methodists, etc, etc, etc all agree about the nature of God. Almost the entire Christian world is in agreement on this. Who disagrees?"

God.

Everything Before Us said...

Quantumleap.

Funny. So funny. This conversation has been about the changing identity of God in Mormon theology, and you take it upon yourself, as a Mormon, to speak for this God.

Who are you speaking for exactly? Jehovah whose Son is Jesus? Adam whose Son is Jesus? or Elohim whose Son is Jesus?

Anonymous said...

What EBU said.

Quantumleap42, in your view, what exactly does God say about the nature of God (or Gods)? When I look for an answer in the words of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the later LDS prophets--an exercise that ought to provide clarity--I get pretty confused. Just what exactly is the Church's current position on this?

Can anyone here give us a simple guide, something like this:

(1) Adam-God theory? No.
(2) God was once a man? Yes.
(3) Jehovah refers to Jesus? Yes.
Etc.

-- OK

P.S. I'm aware that the First Article of Faith says "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." But by itself this doesn't really answer the questions under consideration in this thread.

Quantumleap42 said...

Yes, I thought it was funny too.

My point is that it doesn't matter how we or anyone else chooses to define God, because ultimately He is the one who does that.

I don't know if you are familiar with the Perry Scheme, but it describes how students move through different positions or degrees of understanding. Position 2 has been described as follows.

"Now the person moves to accept that there is diversity, but they still think there are TRUE authorities who are right, that the others are confused by complexities or are just frauds. They think they are with the true authorities and are right while all others are wrong."

In the Perry Scheme it is very difficult to teach and work with students who are stuck on Position 2, much like has been demonstrated here. Any attempt to explain a different viewpoint is met with derision and contempt. When students have made the transition to different positions then real discussions can take place.

I teach for a living. It's what I do. Not only do I have to understand my subject matter, but I also have to understand how students receive and incorporate new knowledge. I have to understand how students make a transition from one world view to another. From this I have learned that if there is not adequate preparation it doesn't matter what kind of explanation I give, I cannot resolve doubts, disentangle complexities, and parse paradoxes.

Can I explain the different names of God? Yes. Can I explain the Adam-God theory and how it fits into LDS theology? Yes. Can I explain how the equation of state changes inside of a neutron star, leading to neutron drip? Yes. Can I explain the difference between indirect and direct band gaps in semiconductors? Yes. Will any of that make sense to someone who doesn't have the preparation, or the desire to listen and learn? No.

Everything Before Us said...

Quantum,

Well, okay. Forget about whether or not I am prepared for the profound explanation you have. Just give me the explanation. Explain the different names of God. Explain how Adam-God fits into this.

I get so tired of this from Mormons. "We can explain everything." But that is where they stop short.

Ballard did this very thing at conference. He told the story about how a young man came to him shaken in his faith. How Ballard said, "You go read the Book of Mormon and I'll work on getting the answers." How the young man comes back and says, "I don't need those answers anymore." How he then said "Fine, but I did all this work to find these answers, and you are going to listen."

End of story. Laughter in the audience. A prophet just declared that he found the answers. But the story is over.

No answers forthcoming though for the church members from Ballard. Just a cool story that makes Ballard look like a champ.

If you have the answer, then give me the answer. Let me be the one to worry about whether or not I am prepared for it.

Get off your pedestal, and please condescend so as to teach me truth.

Anonymous said...

QL42, I'm not asking anyone to explain the "how" or "why" of all this stuff, only the "what."

I agree that you can't "explain the difference between indirect and direct band gaps in semiconductors" to those of us without preparation in physics.

But you can tell us that there are such things as "indirect and direct band gaps in semiconductors" in the first place.

I'm not asking anyone here to explain why God was once a man, or to help me understand why that makes sense, or how it fits into the rest of LDS belief. I'm merely asking whether that's an LDS belief in the first place. A simple yes or no answer will suffice.

-- OK

Everything Before Us said...

And personally, the Perry Scheme Stage 2 sounds an awful lot like Mormons. They think they are with the authorities who are right, and that everyone else is wrong.

Couldn't have described my own mindset when I was a Mormon any better than that.

So, quantum, since you have moved past Stage 2, I suppose you no longer believe in the authority of the Brethren and no longer consider Mormonism the one true Church?

Quantumleap42 said...

EBU,

Just what is the point of what you are doing here? You demand an explanation. One is offered. You argue and insist we are wrong. People get tired of arguing with you. And then you ask why Mormons never explain anything.

You have proven my point that there is very little reason to try and explain anything to you. Or to even answer simple questions, because it doesn't matter what the answer is, you will insist we are wrong and argue about it.

You say you were once a Mormon. If that is true then why do you demand that members of the Church explain basic Church doctrine to you? If you were, then you should know the answers already, or at least how to find them. The fact that you ask these questions indicate that you have no desire to know the answer, but to play word games and argue.

So what's the point?

Quantumleap42 said...

OK,

Based on the discussion above a simple yes or no answer will not suffice since. If a "yes" is given certain assumptions about what that means will be taken that are not correct. If a "no" is given, the same thing will happen.

Take for example the Perry Scheme that I mentioned above. You may ask, as EBU did, if I have progressed beyond Position 2. It's a simple yes or no question.

If that means that I act as if what I know is ultimate truth, but there is still a "provision" for change. And that I have no illusions about having "arrived" permanently on top of some heap, and that I know that I will have to retrace my journey over and over, but hope that I will do it each time more wisely. Then, yes, I have transitioned away from Position 2.

But if moving away from Position 2 means "no longer believe in the authority of the Brethren and no longer consider Mormonism the one true Church?" Then, no, I have not.

The problem is not in answering the question. The question is simple, but if incorrect assumptions are made based on the answer then it is not simple and cannot be answered.

Flying Fig said...

Quantum,
Here's what happens. Jeff posts a topic trolling non-Mormons "Christians are wrong and we Mormons got it right, God the father is Elohim and Jesus is Jehovah"

Someone like me responds "didn't the early church father's (Smith and young) call God the Father Jehovah?

A mormon respond "yes they did, it doesn't matter that they did, we won't be pinned down by what our prophets say, you'll never believe, all you want to do is argue with us.

Until the next post

bearyb said...

Stephen seeing Christ on the right hand of the Father does not mean that he saw the Father.

Well, let's look at those verses:

55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

It is metaphorical language that illustrates the power, majesty, and glory of the Resurrected Son.

To me (and I might be mistaken) it doesn't say anything at all about the glory of the Son, but of God, who was the "other entity" beside the Son. I'll grant you that it doesn't expressly say "the Father." But who else would we be talking about here?

Do you have a specially annotated Bible that flags the things that are "metaphorical," or do you consider the entire Bible to be so? Is the "glory of the Resurrected Son" metaphorical as well? Maybe even the Resurrection itself? How about Christ's baptism?

Maybe you would be more accepting of our version of things if we stated they were mostly metaphorical?

It does not mean that Stephen looked up and saw two people sitting side-by-side on chairs.

Well, no, it doesn't mean that at all. If you read it very carefully it says that at least one of them was standing, and you're correct that it didn't mention any chairs at all.

But how could the Son have been perceived to have been standing on the right hand of anything or anyone that wasn't at least seen to have had a right-hand side? I know there is symbolism with respect to the right and left hand of God, but why couldn't it also be literal?

Another condition to this whole even was that Stephen was "full of the Holy Ghost" and presumbably thereby able to see these things. Why should we expect anything different for us?

Everything Before Us said...

Quantum,

You didn't offer an explanation. You said that you have one but that I won't be prepared to hear it.

Everything Before Us said...

OH Bearyb....

The idea of Jesus being on the right side of God IS a description of Christ's majesty. It doesn't need to say, "Jesus was majestically standing on God's right side," because that would be redundant!

Jeff Lindsay said...

Fig, the scriptures sometimes use the various titles of God with specificity and other times more loosely. Both approaches are OK. God the Father can certainly designate Elohim as our Father in Heaven, but Christ can also share that title and be the Everlasting Father, etc., since He is the father of our salvation and the Creator of the earth (under direction of the Father). The Spirit of God can refer to the Holy Ghost or to Godhead collectively, etc. Yahweh as the self-existant one is a title ancient Jews gave to the Son of El, according to Margaret Barker, and early Hebrew writings reflected this, she argues, while later influences blurred the distinction. That's fine. They are one Godhead, one God, three Being but in perfect unity, and the titles can be shared among them or used with specificity in some cases. That's OK in the scriptures and in modern usage. Your argument about "contradictions" and folks being "wrong" lacks serious merit. But it is true that the names and titles can be confusing when one wishes to delineate the specific roles and Beings.

Flying Fig said...

Thank you Jeff for taking the time. Has the church always taught this? I may be missing something,(I'm not that bright), but your view sounds very similar to about as best as I can understand the trinity. "They are one Godhead, one God, three Being but in perfect unity"
Is Jesus then God as you've just said?
I'm not sure if it's because the LDS Church is intentionally moving closer to mainstream Christianity (as we've seen with LDS now placing more of Christ's atonement on the cross and not just the garden) or maybe just a clearer understanding of the doctrine.

bearyb said...

Anonymous of 10:51 AM, December 28, 2016 said...

Bearby's explanation is the typical LDS answer that always comes off so disingenuous and "double talk" to me. They'll say things like "we have the advantage of modern prophets and modern scripture to clarify things like the nature of God" but as soon as you bring up the teachings of these very prophets, it's always "don't take their words at gave value", "those teachings are a mystery, or disavowed, nobody really knows, or we won't be pinned down"

Everything but a straight answer


If you would like to know the official position of the Church on a great number of issues, lds.org (and related sites) will give you the straightest answers we can currently provide. Look it up. You might learn something.

I'll take it as a compliment that at least I'm consistent in my understanding with others of my faith.

Tell me "Anonymous," do you agree with EBU's assessment of the interpretation of Stephen's vision in Acts 7? It seems to me that any second-grader could look at that and at least figure out that there are two "persons" being spoken of. Seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it?

But no! It has to be metaphorically referring to some other interpretation (despite the many evidences in the Bible that illustrate separate entities)!

EBU complains that we are stuck in some errant "Mormon paradigm." Well, what do you call what EBU does with those verses?

On another matter, when the Bible speaks of the church's foundation of apostles and prophets, EBU says somehow it has to mean only the ancient prophets. There's no way it could mean that there should be prophets that lead and guide us in our day (despite what Amos says about it)!

And on that note, how would you understand Paul's words to the Ephesians about the organization of Christ's church? What do the words "chief corner stone" mean to you? When would the chief cornerstone be laid in a foundation? At the beginning, right? And then the rest of the foundation is laid. How then could we correctly assume that the foundational prophets spoken of by Paul refer to the ancient prophets, and not the ones who follow after Christ?

Don't EBU's interpretations bespeak of some paradigm of his own?

bearyb said...

I must apologize for the "face value" statement. I found a quote by Brigham Young along the lines of what I meant to say (though I'm still not sure it's the one I was looking for).
Still, the words "face value" were mine, not his.

Here is the quote I found:

“I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way.”

bearyb said...

Me: If you walk into an LDS chapel and mention the name Jehovah, there will be no confusion about who that name refers to. That makes it more convenient when conversing about Him, don't you think?

EBU: That may be the case today, but that wasn't the case in the past. After Brigham Young, church leaders received many letters asking for clarification about the identities of the Father, the Son, and Adam. The reason for this was because the members had been taught a wide array of doctrine from their leaders for a long time. These teachings didn't align.

This is just about as good an example of a state of apostasy [as] I could ever point out.


Apparently you agree then that doctrinal understanding in the LDS Church is only growing more uniform, not less. So where's the problem?

And since you brought it up, let's consider the concept of what we call the Great Apostasy. In Amos 8 we read:

11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:

12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it


Now if, as you say, the nature and word of God has been known for centuries - and only comparatively recent Christian "cults" are apostate - when is this famine spoken of supposed to occur? Do you really think in this day and age of increasing knowledge and almost instant worldwide transfer of information that suddenly "hearing the words of the Lord" will be snuffed out on the scale described above sometime before the Second Coming? Considering the history of the world, isn't it more likely that it has already happened and that we are now "recovering" from it?

This recovery started long before what we refer to as "The Restoration" began. It was "hearing the words of the Lord" that caused Joseph Smith to ask God what he should do.

Everything Before Us said...

Church Doctrine Growing More Uniform

Yes, the LDS church, in the mid-20th Century began an intentional and deliberate process under Apostle Harold B. Lee to synchronize church educational materials. This is known as "correlation."

So, yes...church doctrine is growing more uniform. It is inching closer and closer to basic Protestant Christianity while retaining the claims to authority found within Catholicism. This makes me and many others wonder what this Restoration was all about in the first place. Today, the "apostasy" is described primarily as being a loss of authority. However, the "apostasy" as prophesied in the BoM is never described as such at all; rather, it is prophesied to be a loss of plain and precious truths.

(By the way "plain and precious" is a 19th Century idiom found in other Christian materials prior to the publication of the BoM.)

This presents a few interesting problems for Mormons.

The apostasy is described in the BoM as a loss of important doctrine. Yet the BoM presents a rather basic Protestant doctrine. Strange, since the BoM says it will be the source of the restoration of these lost doctrines. The lost doctrines which Mormons now look to as evidence of the Restoration (eternal family, temple work) aren't in the BoM at all. They come later. Judging from the BoM, these doctrines simply were unknown to the Nephites.

The early Mormons thought they had something profoundly new: knowledge about Adam's divinity, the exalting and essential truth of "celestial" marriage (polygamy), etc. But now, most of what the early Mormons considered evidence of their Restored truth has been chopped out of the religion altogether.

By Brigham Young's standards, bearyb, you are in a state of damnable apostasy.

Everything Before Us said...

Tell me "Anonymous," do you agree with EBU's assessment of the interpretation of Stephen's vision in Acts 7? It seems to me that any second-grader could look at that and at least figure out that there are two "persons" being spoken of. Seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it?

Yes...God the Father and Jesus are two "persons." No problem there. But no one has seen the Father. Stephen saw Jesus standing (I was wrong about sitting, granted) on the Father's right side, a metaphorical description of the divinity of Christ.

But no! It has to be metaphorically referring to some other interpretation (despite the many evidences in the Bible that illustrate separate entities)!

I am not a Modalist, Bearyb. I have no problem with distinction between Father and Son. That is not the issue.

On another matter, when the Bible speaks of the church's foundation of apostles and prophets, EBU says somehow it has to mean only the ancient prophets. There's no way it could mean that there should be prophets that lead and guide us in our day (despite what Amos says about it)!

There are quite a few times in the New Testament when "prophets" refers to only Old Test. prophets. And there is at least one verse (I claim two) that make it rather clear that there aren't prophets "like unto Moses" after the Atonement of Christ.

And on that note, how would you understand Paul's words to the Ephesians about the organization of Christ's church? What do the words "chief corner stone" mean to you? When would the chief cornerstone be laid in a foundation? At the beginning, right? And then the rest of the foundation is laid. How then could we correctly assume that the foundational prophets spoken of by Paul refer to the ancient prophets, and not the ones who follow after Christ?

Because Christ was the foundation of the ancient prophets. He was before all things, remember. And if prophets comes after Christ, he is their foundation, too. But there are no more "prophets like unto Moses." The Bible only speaks of two prophets of this nature: Moses and Jesus. The Law and Grace. The message is consistent throughout.

Don't EBU's interpretations bespeak of some paradigm of his own?

There is no problem with having a paradigm. We all have one. I used to have yours, remember. It didn't hold up. It's inconsistencies were self-destructive.

Everything Before Us said...

Now if, as you say, the nature and word of God has been known for centuries - and only comparatively recent Christian "cults" are apostate - when is this famine spoken of supposed to occur? Do you really think in this day and age of increasing knowledge and almost instant worldwide transfer of information that suddenly "hearing the words of the Lord" will be snuffed out on the scale described above sometime before the Second Coming? Considering the history of the world, isn't it more likely that it has already happened and that we are now "recovering" from it?

I don't think we can determine that just because we have the Internet and vastly improved means of communication that the word of God is flourishing, and therefore apostasy had to have happened in the past. You are assigning a certain value or quality to today's communication that is ultimately relative. In 100 years our communication may have improved to the point that humans will look back at us in 2016 and think we were living in the dark ages.

The apostasy is not a "snuffing out" of the word of the Lord. It is deeper than that, and therefore the means of communication, whether primitive or advanced, have nothing to do with it.

It is simplistic to think that the apostasy has happened already and we are now recovering from it. That is the same kind of thinking that had people believing that WWI was the "war to end all wars." That is the same kind of naïve thinking that had Americans thinking it was their "manifest destiny" to conquer the continent. That is the same kind of naïve thinking that had the British Empire believe that they occupied a crowning moment in the history of humankind.

It is very common to want to think that we occupy some place of importance, that we in the age in which we live represent some crowning achievement of the human race. That is naïve, dangerously naïve, because it leaves us blind to the reality that "yes...it can happen here..."

The German people were blindsided by this same naivete. Who would've thought that in 1930, an advanced Western European nation could stoop to the atrocities that we normally only peg onto brutal 3rd World retrogrades?

So, you may comfort yourself with the belief that the "apostasy" is over and we are recovering from it. You may even comfort yourself with the belief that the "Lord's Anointed" will never again lead you astray. Don't be so foolish (and I mean that in most loving way possible). You are nothing special. We are nothing special. We are just as capable of losing all we've gained as the Romans were.


Vance said...

I see that EBU is still here, still trying to lead the humble followers of Christ astray into following his view of a God that hates, hates, hates everyone and condemns the vast majority of people to hell (everyone who never heard of Jesus).

All you have to do is ask him if, under the Law of Moses which was given by God, did the Jews receive salvation. Were the sacrifices and ceremonies actually able to cleanse sin and bring people back to "at one" with God?

EBU, in all the times I've asked him on this, hems and haws and finally concedes that no, the Law of Moses was the same as worshipping Zeus: it had no power to save. When you went to the Temple with your sacrifice, and the duly ordained priest performed the ordinance: it had no effect and your sins were not remitted, and you went to hell. That only through Jesus can you be saved, and God was lying to the Jews and to Moses that the Law of Moses could cleanse people from sin.

So in EBU's world, God is a being who lied to Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. He revealed a system that did not work to save souls. The Priesthood of Aaron and the Temple was all an elaborate trick that God played on gullible people.

And then EBU attacks the Mormon view of God as "heretical" while he himself holds that God is a liar beyond all. Somehow we are supposed to believe that God would lie to the Jews and promise them salvation through the Law of Moses, only to laugh hysterically and yank it all away when Jesus came, condemning everyone who followed Moses's divinely revealed doctrines to hell because their sins were never washed away.

EBU teaches that God would lie to the Jews (exactly why He would lie, never explained) but that it's a-ok, EBU's got it all figured out and God certainly isn't lying to him, even though God lied to Moses and every other pre-New testament prophet--and even Jesus Himself accepted that the Temple sacrifices cleansed sin, at least prior to His death.

See, EBU's core problem is that if Jesus is not Jehovah, and salvation comes only through Jesus, then what about that Old Testament Law of Moses? EBU has to claim that the Law of Moses did not work, because it worked through Jehovah, who is not Jesus, and only Jesus can save so Jehovah cannot. And that turns EBU's God into the very worst monster of all dieties ever advanced. Moloch and Baal promised salvation to their followers but had no power to deliver. EBU says Jehovah is the exact same as Baal that way: powerless and a liar. Then why isn't Jesus lying about He being the source of salvation, EBU? God lied to Moses, why isn't He lying now?

Until you figure out how to get out of your jam of God being the greatest liar of all theological time, please refrain from lecturing us on not understanding the Bible. Your understanding of the Bible needs massive help. Because God is no demon who lies about how to receive salvation and cleansing from sin.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, will you allow this blatantly of topic rant from Vance?

Everything Before Us said...

Okay. Vance has returned.

While I do not believe that denomination is what is important when it comes to the Christian life, and while I prefer to discuss doctrine rather than denominational differences, permit me to quote from the Articles of Religion of the Church of England, accepted by the Episcopal Church as an adequate expression of the Anglican faith. This way, Vance, maybe you will finally understand what I have long explained to you in the past and which you continue to skew for your own purposes:

VII. Of the Old Testament

The Old Testament is not contrary to the New, for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

Now, there is a part of Vance's message that is relevant to Jeff's topic, and that is whether or not Jesus is Jehovah. So, I will take up that topic. Vance, I do affirm that Jesus is Jehovah. I never said Jesus isn't Jehovah. But Joseph Smith taught this. Brigham Young taught this. All the leaders of the Church taught that Jehovah was not Jesus until the second decade of the 20th Century.

Jeff has offered a rather adequate explanation for this issue. I don't agree with it, but I accept it as a valid argument that takes into consideration the historical facts of early Mormonism.

Vance, a few questions: If the Law of Moses was sufficient to save souls, why was it replaced? It was working! According to you, it worked. It was effective. So what was the reason for abandoning it?

Sure, Jesus still needed to come to fulfill the demands of the law. No problem there, but tell me Vance...why aren't you living the Law of Moses today?





Everything Before Us said...

I believe that there are two Mormonisms that exist uncomfortably beside each other and someday the Church will get rid of the wrong and embrace the right. I hope anyway. The Worldwide Church of God managed to do this. Latter-day Saints can do it, too.

The right side believes as Jeff has pointed out that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God. This is so close to Trinitarianism. So close, if not already there!

The incorrect side is an offshoot of Smith's interest in the occult and in his proclivities toward adultery, and this is the side that says God the Father is a male human, albeit an advanced one, and that He has a wife.

If you really think hard about this, the two are not very compatible views. You can't really talk about both in depth at the same time, and I think the conversation here demonstrates that fact, because for all this talk about Godhead, no one except me as brought up Heavenly Mother.

The Godhead consists of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Where is the Heavenly Mother? Is she in there somewhere? And Jesus...he is a Resurrected God now, too. Does he have a wife also, as required by the eternal law? So, does the Mormon Godhead consists of two exalted men with their wives and a disembodied being who somehow gets to be God without fulfilling the commandments of receiving a mortal body and a wife?

The two systems are incompatible, yet Mormons like to have both pieces of cake at the same time. But reconcile these two concepts together. For my sake. Explain to me how Heavenly Mother fits into this. Explain to me where Jesus stands in relation to his own world that he gets to populate with the spiritual offspring that has sprung from his eternal relationship with his own eternal wife. When does that start up for him? And explain to me who this Holy Spirit is, and how does he get to be God without a body and a wife?

It doesn't work. Don't you see this? There are two systems that simply peel away from each other with just a little bit of investigation. Two systems that are locked together by mass delusion, but which cannot exist side-by-side like this. Which one are you going to accept?

The one with one triune God? Or the other one?

Vance said...

I note that EBU did not answer whether he thinks forgiveness of sins was possible through the Law of Moses. Instead, he tries to change the subject. I therefore will not address his red herrings until he answers.

But as an interesting note, I have a prized book. It very carefully and throughly demonstrates that Jesus and Jehovah are the same being, from the Bible.

It was written by a Protestant minister, towards the Jews.

Everything Before Us said...

Vance,

I just stated that I believe Jesus and Jehovah to be the same being. I just said it. Up there. Did you read it? Are you listening?


Quantumleap42 said...

EBU,

I wasn't going to respond but I was just so impressed with the type of thought you were displaying that I couldn't resist. There are many different theories of thought and how people process information and debate with others, but matching theory to actual discussions is usually quite hard. It is very rare to come across pure examples of certain varieties of thought. They are textbook examples. I am truly impressed.

When I mentioned the Perry Scheme and implied that you were taking Position 2, your response was truly exemplary. You started with, "the Perry Scheme Stage 2 sounds an awful lot like Mormons. They think they are with the authorities who are right, and that everyone else is wrong. Couldn't have described my own mindset when I was a Mormon any better than that."

What is interesting here is not only do you exhibit dualistic thought (there are authorities who are right/wrong, good/bad), but you project that way of thinking onto others. That is, other people are caught up in dualistic thought, just like you, because there can be no other way. This is the heart of dualistic thinking inherent in Position 2.

You mention that you were a Mormon and stuck with Position 2 like thinking (dualistic, everything is right/wrong, good/bad, authoritative/not authoritative, etc.), but then you had a transition. This means you transitioned away from accepting the authoritativeness of Mormon doctrine, but you ultimately ended up replacing the absolute authority of Mormonism with a the absolute authority of Protestant Christianity. How this transition happened is interesting.

In your response you say, "So, quantum, since you have moved past Stage 2, I suppose you no longer believe in the authority of the Brethren and no longer consider Mormonism the one true Church?" This a perfect example of Transition Type 1. The person going through a transition of type 1 "can make the transition by modifying dualism drastically to where one no longer trusts authority to have any answers, and they think it will be a long, long time before they will; therefore, there is really no way to be judged by them."

I don't know if this was how you transitioned away from Mormonism, but personally I found it extremely interesting that you assumed that the only valid transition was a perfect example of type 1. But there are other types of transitions away from Position 2. Such as Type 2, where the person says, "Anything goes.", "All is of equal value.", To have an opinion makes it right.". Type 3 assumes that "There must be true facts out there somewhere." Type 4, involves a lot of anger and blame. In types 1-4 the value of authorities are rejected. In types 5-7 teaching of authorities is preserved, but still questioned, to different degrees. In type 5 the authorities must have good reasons for embracing contradictions, the person just doesn't know it yet. In type 6 there are context dependent reasons for differences in authoritative positions. In type 7, the differences are there because that is the way the world works. That is, "The person sees that thinking relatively isn't just what the authorities he has been dealing with have reasoned out and want him to accept, it is the way the world works, in most cases."

Quantumleap42 said...

[cont.]
Much of the meta-discussion in comments here deals with trying to get people to take different paths through their transitions.

But after your transition where you rejected the authority of Mormon doctrine (I assume it was a Transition of Type 1, but I may be wrong, I would need more data), you returned to Position 2 with a different set of authorities, or authoritative ideas. In a comment on a different post you say, “You think we need to be open to explore the edges of understanding? But you only want to start on your own edge. You and I have different edges. Your own extends far beyond mine, as Mormonism does to Christianity. I am saying you've gone too far and in too wrong of a direction!”

This indicates a recognition of “other points of view”, but also an implicit assumption that some positions are wrong. A classic return to Position 2, but with a different set of guiding rules or principles. Those who do not take Position 2 in the Perry Scheme do not have to remind others that there are other points of view, because that is the whole point of not being in Position 2. Only those who are in Position 2 feel the need to point out that there are other points of view.

Now when you ask a question and demand an answer, such as “answer my question. Why did the SLC temple formerly have a statue of Aphrodite, who is an age-old symbol of erotic love, complete with the seashell, a common symbol of her mythical birth from the ocean, standing above the veil in the Celestial Room?” There is little point to attempting to answer that question because it was not asked to ascertain the truth, but to attempt to undermine LDS authority.

When it comes to more serious questions, such as how Mormons interact with statements from Apostles and Prophets, or how we view God, and whether it is correct to use Jehovah or Elohim etc., the same holds true. Because you start with the idea that Mormon doctrine has gone too far in the wrong direction (i.e. a firm Position 2), any questions asked are with the intent to get Mormons to transition much in the same way you did and reject the authority of LDS doctrines.

We cannot answer your questions because you do not accept our statements or explanations as authoritative. The purpose of your questions and comments is not to explore our thought but to try and point out where we are wrong. You will only accept instruction from those you consider authoritative, but a priori you have decided that we are not authoritative.

Furthermore, I know that you do not accept me as authoritative on anything, which is why I was reluctant to respond since I know that the common response for those in Position 2 when confronted with arguments from someone they do not consider to be authoritative is to “dig in”, call the other “disingenuous”, resort to mockery, argue minutia, or resort to a number of other rhetorical devices. It is very counter productive. If I wanted to attempt to get you to transition away from your Position 2 I would have to first establish my authority, and then carefully move you through a transition. But by giving such a long and complicated explanation I am sure you will perceive it as condescending and patronizing. That is the danger in responding. When I know you do not accept what I say as holding any form of authority, it will cause you to recommit to your own sources of authority, and inherently prevents learning and true discussions from taking place. But I truly was impressed with how closely your comments matched with theory that I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It’s not every day I come across gems such as this.

Everything Before Us said...

Quantum,

I respect the time you took and the knowledge you shared in responding so in-depth. Surely, though, you see in the church leadership, which makes a claim to authority, very unenlightened thinking. For instance, Ballard's now-famous "where will you go?" speech. Holland's warning to parents of the danger they place their children in if the children over-hear the parents speaking skeptically or cynically about the Restored Gospel. etc.

I could track down more examples, I am sure.

Surely, you, as intelligent as you are (and I am being very sincere) see this kind of rhetoric for what it is. And surely, you wouldn't want to accept as your authorities men who engage in such paranoid manipulative talk.

I recognize myself in a lot of what you said. I really do. I know I have some serious issues to continue to work out. But frankly, people like you, Teryl Givens, Bushman...you have a lot of your own stuff to work out, too.

I made what I consider to be a move of integrity. I, like Bushman, realized that the Church-created narrative regarding its own history is not sustainable. There is nothing left for me in an organization that has so much trouble accepting truth. If truth is what I seek, then there was no choice other than to cut myself off from an organization that has demonstrated the ability to intentionally cover-up truth.

Givens has no integrity. Bushman has no integrity in my opinion. They benefit personally from reaching a niche audience within Mormonism, but they are still too possessed by the cult programming that they can't actually make a real move toward authenticity and integrity. They may be powerful thinkers, but they are stuck giving obeisance to their feudal overlords. In return, the overlords provide something in return. There is always a pay-off.

What is your pay-off? What are you getting out of your relationship with a church that quite frankly wouldn't want you if you actually started preaching some of your most free-wheeling theories about the Restoration over the pulpit. You know...those ideas all intelligent people toss around in quiet, private moments. Start publishing books, Quantum...see what your overlords do then.

What are YOU getting out of this relationship?

Is your family all in? Is that it? You are stuck because your family isn't where you are in terms of faith? Do you like being the one in Sunday School with the unorthodox profound thought? You like that reputation you've earned? That was my pay-off for a long time. A very long time. I loved being the one on the fringes of orthodoxy. Made me feel special, enlightened. I wasn't going to get that outside of the church at all! I was a backwoods conservative luddite to the rest of the world by virtue of being a believer, but amongst believers I was the cat's meow. I needed that.

It was all a joke, because I eventually realized I was living a lie. I was lying to myself as well as to other, in a way.

What's your pay-off?

Jeff Lindsay said...

Everything, have you read the chapter on the Grand Inquisitor in Doestoevsky's Brothers Karamazov? The accusing spirit of your last comment seems to resonate a little with the attitude of the Grand Inquisitor and his accusations against Christ. More relevant is the case of Korihor in the Book of Mormon, who accuses Alma and his fellow religious leaders of the kind of sins that he had in his life He accuses them of using their religion for personal gain and glory. "There is always a pay-off.... What are YOU getting out of this relationship?" Wow, what belittling, demeaning, insulting words to throw in the face of people acting in faith.

Are you unable to imagine others sincerely believing in their faith and sincerely acting upon that belief, without being complete morons? Is their service for others, their sacrifice of time and money, their efforts to share and live their religion, all just a callous expression of selfishness, of seeking for gain and personal thrills at the expense of truth and integrity?

Givens has no integrity, you say. Apparently no faithful Mormons do. I suppose no faithful Buddhists, Catholics, or Hindus have any integrity either in your world view. Do you live in a universe where only you and the handful of people who share all your views can have integrity? Come down off that lonely throne of yours, my man.

Everything Before Us said...


I was not raised in a Mormon home where freedom of thought was valued. I was raised in a Mormon home where the ultimate guide to all of life was the church. Every moment of our existence was dominated by the Church. Every important question or decision I had to make I made only after first running my decision by the "Church" through a mental process. The Church was a third party in my marriage for the first many years. Not a good way to start a marriage, let me tell you. I went Sacrament meeting the day after my marriage, for pity's sake! No honeymoon. We woke up and went to Sacrament meeting. I didn't kiss my wife until the temple alter. Didn't even hug her either. I so pathetically chaste... Yes, as a Mormon, I was all in.

You may say, "But this isn't what you were asked to do by the church. This may have been your own mistake, or the mistake of those who raised you."

Indeed. It may have been so. But nowhere along the line did any hometeacher or Priesthood leader set me or my family aright. Instead, in our small ward in our small stake in the rural Mid-Atlantic, the EBU family was praised and lauded and exalted as a perfect example of what a faithful latter-day saint home should look like. Three sons on foreign missions. Three sons sealed in the temple. Three sons bound for church leadership positions. The Lord has a lot in store for the EBU family. I heard it from local leaders over and over again. The Stake President even smiled a big smile of delight when he interviewed me prior to my wedding and found out that I hadn't yet even kissed this woman! Not a single peep of disapproval. Nothing but gushing joy and happiness from him.

Not once did any Priesthood leader say, "Hey guys....come on. You can't maintain this vigilance. Moderation in all things, okay?"

Nope...never. And now that I, one of those famed EBU family sons, has left the church, suddenly, it was something I was doing wrong all along! I took it all too seriously. I thought about it too much. I needed answers to questions that aren't answerable yet. I was living more virtuous than I had been required to do so. On and on and on. I was the example of Mormon glory before. What am I now? Now, I am the example of how not to be a Mormon.

Ask just about any ex-Mormon, and you'll get a similar story with variance in the details. Our diligence as members is set up as an example to those around us. And then when we fall, we should've practiced a little more moderation.


Anonymous said...

EBU,

I don't know how closely my experience might echo yours, but I know what it's like to have OCD toward religion. I mean I really, truly suffered from OCD and religion was my primary target of obsession. Nowadays my anxiety manifests itself in other ways -- but that's a different story. But, when I hit the wall of depression over a dozen years ago -- which was inevitable because of the OCD -- as a coping mechanism, I shopped down my gospel knowledge to the roots. I had to regrow the entire tree of testimony, so to speak. The roots where good so I had a reliable foundation, minimal as it was. But it was almost like starting over again. And since then, I've been able to regrow my knowledge in a much more health way -- one that is truly a product of God's gentle hand rather than the incessant pounding of the old OCD. I Don't know if your experience is anything like mine, but I can tell you that God's way of dealing with His children is typically soft, unobtrusive, and full of grace.

Come back, brother.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Whoops--

I *chopped* down...

Jack

Everything Before Us said...

Jack,

God's way is soft, unobtrusive, and full of grace. But the LDS's church's way is anything but that. Therefore, I cannot see it as God's church. It manipulates and takes advantage of people like me, and then when it has so fully crushed us, it blames us for being crushed. It says we were weak.

Nope...that's not for me. If Joseph Smith were right, the church has taken the truth he has restored, and now uses it to control others. In occultic circles, people who use occult knowledge as a means of control are called "Black Mages." I once discussed this with an actual occultist (former Mormon, no less) who said that this is precisely how he now sees the church.

I find it interesting that he didn't necessarily disagree with the deep doctrines of the LDS Church. He just had a problem with the way the LDS church uses these deep doctrines to exercise control over others.

Whether esoteric Mormonism is Truth or not, I am not in a place where I am really all that concerned about it. I accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World, and because of that, my only obligation toward my fellow man is to love them. Unconditionally.

That is the Gospel as far as I am concerned, and I can't see what could possibly grow on top of that powerful and pure message that could improve it in anyway.

Everything Before Us said...

I don't think there is enough attention paid to just how much of basic occultic concepts have made their way into Mormonism. For instance, at least as far back as Plato, there were legends about the first human as an androgynous soul, possessing all aspects of both male and female identities. This soul, some occultic circles call it the Divine Ego, split into two. Thus, for each man in existence, there is his female counterpart, and vice versa.

The beliefs go that we must find our "soul mate," that other half of our original selves before we can fully unite again with the Divine. Some occultic traditions teach that the male and female, reunited, will exercise power in the universe, that there will be "eternal progression" (their exact wording), and that their word will be law.

Now, these idea were published in a book in the late 1800's, post-dating Mormonism by many years, but the book (The Light of Egypt by Thomas Burgoyne)claims to be the compilation of not new material, but of material that had been known long before it was finally set down in written form.

These concepts are age-old.

This idea of the "soul-mate" is not really talked about in Mormonism today, but the eternal marriage concept is an offshoot of it. And it was talked about in early Mormonism, without the Platonic androgyny. Joseph Smith interpreted feelings of affinity with other women as being a sign that these other women had been given to him in the pre-existence. They were his by eternal right. It didn't matter if they were already married.

Early Mormon leaders taught that it is a grave sin to live in a marriage contract that lacks harmony, and thus, all civil marriage contracts can be dissolved without any formality at all, especially if the parties involved feel that they have met their kindred spirit.

This is all documented in Todd Compton's book, In Sacred Loneliness.

The funny thing is that currently, in Australia, there is another cult leader who is essentially teaching the same thing. His teachings about soul-mates are persuading women to leave their husbands. His name is A. J. Miller, he believes himself to be the reincarnated Christ, and his soul-mate doctrines are breaking up marriages.

To be Continued....

Everything Before Us said...

Let's say that there is some truth to this idea of kindred spirits or soul-mates. Even if that is true, the LDS Church seeks to control this truth by claiming to be the only organization that can bring soul-mates together permanently through secret rituals.

Look, I served my mission in Japan where there are far fewer Priesthood holders than female members. The young sisters in Japan face the very real possibility that they are not going to be able to marry unless they leave Japan. And for many, that simply isn't possible. They will face lives devoid of love, intimacy, sexuality, child-bearing, and family simply because their church tells them that they need to be married in a temple and they shouldn't settle for anything less.

This is reality for many members outside of the United States. Heck,...it is a reality for many members even within the United States.

So, if the soul-mate doctrine is truth, the LDS Church uses it to control others. Many other people believe and teach the idea of soul-mates, but they don't teach that they alone can provide the ceremony that will eternally bind you to your soulmate. This is a very obvious example of what I am talking about.

And Jack, your condescending tone, "I know what you've gone through...come back, brother," really lacks any deep understanding of the context of some of these beliefs you were able to build back on top of your basic gospel fundamentals.

You guys simply do not understand how occultic your doctrines are. You aren't willing to do the reading, partly because McConkie warned you against investigating the occult.

Well, I looked into it. I was shocked at how occultic my Mormon beliefs were.

But, hey,...I get it. I am the wrong one here. You guys got it figured out.

Adieu.

Anonymous said...

EBU,

Didn't mean to be condescending -- sorry about that. But, please, please don't make the mistake of believing that those who adhere to orthodoxy must not be familiar with church history or the deeper things of the Kingdom. You have said nothing in your comments that is new or startling. And as one who has lived through the kind of religious tyranny you describe (in my mind) I can bear witness that as Lord's hand is typically gentle, so, too, is the outreach of His servants in the church. I've received nothing but encouragement and understanding from my priesthood leaders.

Everything Before Us said...

Jack,

I apologize about accusing you of condescension. I take that back.

bearyb said...

They will face lives devoid of love, intimacy, sexuality, child-bearing, and family simply because their church tells them that they need to be married in a temple and they shouldn't settle for anything less.

This is reality for many members outside of the United States. Heck,...it is a reality for many members even within the United States.


Wow. I've been gone too long apparently.

There was a sister in our ward, returned missionary, that had feelings for a non-member in our area. She eventually felt like she should marry him, but hesitated because he wasn't a member of the Church. She made it a subject of much prayer and fasting, and still felt like he was the one. So they got married, raised several children here, and only recently moved away to be closer to family. He still has yet to join the Church, as far as I know. He came with her often, regularly even, and supported her in all her Church callings (which were many).

This sister used her agency and brought her questions to the Lord, and had the courage to follow the feelings she got in response. Of course the Church teaches temple marriage as the ideal. All of what it teaches are "ideals." We are, however, stuck in a mortal world and sometimes adjustments need to be made. That is why it is so important to know how and when you can be led by the spirit to make the correct choices for your life.

bearyb said...

I [was] so pathetically chaste...

I have never heard those words used together before.

I actually understand what you are saying though. I was probably a lot like that myself. We were 5 boys and two girls, all boys served missions and all 7 married in the temple. One is since divorced and re-married, but all continue to be faithful in the Church.

A few years ago I read two small paperback books "Believing Christ" and "Following Christ" by Stephen E. Robinson. They seriously tempered my OCD-ness and helped me develop a more meaningful relationship with Christ and the Church. What appears to be an excerpt from one of the books can be found <a href="https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/04/believing-christ?lang=eng>here</a>.

Good stuff.

bearyb said...

It's really annoying when my embedded links don't work out :(

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/04/believing-christ?lang=eng

Everything Before Us said...

This sister used her agency and brought her questions to the Lord, and had the courage to follow the feelings she got in response. Of course the Church teaches temple marriage as the ideal. All of what it teaches are "ideals." We are, however, stuck in a mortal world and sometimes adjustments need to be made. That is why it is so important to know how and when you can be led by the spirit to make the correct choices for your life.

Reconcile this general idea with the following which will appear in the May 2017 Young Women's lesson: "...following the Prophet is always right." Bonnie Oscarson, from the Nov. 2014 Ensign.

See...bearyb. Mormonism engages in the most despicable from of doublethink. To be a Mormon, you have to hold and thoroughly believe two contradictory views on a multitude of ideas and doctrines.

The Church turn the act of seeking personal spiritual guidance into an act of defiance if the personal spiritual guidance runs contrary to the words of the Prophets. What kind of horrible struggle will a Young Woman have when she is told by the Spirit to marry a man who can't take her to the Temple after the Prophet and her favorite Primary songs have taught her she must be married in the temple all her young life?

This is PRECISELY why people leave the Church. It isn't because of religious OCD, as we have discussed a few days ago. It is because the Church is a great example of religious schizophrenia. And if you hang around with it too much, any sensitive person will become mentally ill as well. The Church is causing these problems. Not solving them.

bearyb said...

You have really topped yourself, EBU. Not only is it evident that you keep up with current Church statements and teachings, but now we find that you even read ahead!

What is it you find so difficult to let go of? It would seem that someone as apparently "anti" as you should be content to have nothing at all to do with the Church.

In a way though, I'm glad you stick around. It helps me in my journey. Your comments serve to give me specific points to study in more depth, as do Jeff's subjects. I do thank you for that.

Now, as for the quote you mention, you got the right magazine issue, but the wrong person. The quote is:

“According to the world’s standards, following the prophet may be unpopular, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable. But following the prophet is always right.”

It was said by Carol F. McConkie and was reported in the November 2014 Ensign under "Live according to the Words of the Prophets."

I happen to agree with Sis. McConkie's statement.

First, it doesn't say "The prophet is always right," but that "following" him is. Elsewhere, we are counseled that even if the prophet errs, we should still follow him because of his prophetic calling and mantle. That's what constitutes belief in a living prophet, isn't it? And that talk is full of examples of and promises linked to obedience.

Concerning the sister I mentioned above, even though she didn't explicitly follow the counsel to be married in the temple, we don't know how it will end, do we? Your question about the struggle that a YW might have is valid, and apparently this sister had such a struggle. But how can you judge her situation and decision?

Speaking of struggles, Sis McConkie said, "For me, the words of prophets taught by my Laurel teacher gave me a vision of what a covenant marriage relationship should look like. The words of the prophets gave me the faith and hope that I could prepare for and obtain a happy home. Consistently studying the teachings of the prophets, both ancient and modern, sustained me during the strenuous and often exhausting years of bearing, teaching, and nurturing seven children. The words of the prophets in the scriptures and taught from this pulpit are words of comfort, love, strength, and good cheer that embrace us all."

bearyb said...

Mormonism engages in the most despicable from of doublethink. To be a Mormon, you have to hold and thoroughly believe two contradictory views on a multitude of ideas and doctrines.

Only if you perceive them to be condtradictory views.

Where is the contradiction in the above story about the sister I wrote about? You may be thinking that there is a conradiction between the prophet's counsel to marry in the temple, and the sister's spiritual confirmation that her marriage outside the temple would be ok.

Her choice doesn't change the prophet's counsel, does it?

As yet, she is not sealed to her husband though, is she? Does that mean she will NEVER be? You can't know the end from the beginning or the middle, can you? Do you know when the beginning was, or when the end will be?

What does it say in the D&C 82:10? "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." True enough. But when is the "when" that it talks about?

You are in such a hurry to have all the answers that you don't allow for any "line upon line" conceptual development. Sometimes it is beneficial to "keep these things, and ponder them in [our] hearts."

Everything Before Us said...

You are in such a hurry to have all the answers that you don't allow for any "line upon line" conceptual development. Sometimes it is beneficial to "keep these things, and ponder them in [our] hearts."

No...sometimes bearby, you have to admit to yourself you are on the wrong line altogether, and then, at the next stop, you get off that line so you don't end up in New Mexico when you were hoping to end up in Maine.

See, this is the difference between you and me. You have already made up your mind that the line your are on is correct, and no change of scenery outside your window contrary to what you expect will convince you to get off that train. You dig into your seat even harder. You can't explain why you are seeing desert outside your window, when you were expecting to see the northwoods, but you are on the right bus, darnit! And that is that.

I started believing I was on the right line, too. But I wasn't seeing the northwoods. So, when the bus pulled over in Colorado, I got off. I'm walking to Maine now. Come to the woods with me.

bearyb said...

So, yes...church doctrine is growing more uniform. It is inching closer and closer to basic Protestant Christianity while retaining the claims to authority found within Catholicism. This makes me and many others wonder what this Restoration was all about in the first place. Today, the "apostasy" is described primarily as being a loss of authority. However, the "apostasy" as prophesied in the BoM is never described as such at all; rather, it is prophesied to be a loss of plain and precious truths.

Closer to basic Protestant Christianity? How well do our teachings of the following match the teachings of "basic Protestant Christianity?"

“The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost”

What about the teachings of the effects of and how to access Christ's Atonement?

How about the nature of God? The role of prophets? The necessity of revelation? The purpose of our mortal probation? The effects of Adam's transgression? The nature of the spirit world and the universal reality of the resurrection?

I would say that our teachings on these and many other principles found in the Book of Mormon are quite removed from those of basic Protestant Christianity, as far as I have heard them described. If I am mistaken, please enlighten me.

Granted, I haven't yet found an explicit reference to "loss of authority" as touching the apostasy in the BoM, but it could certainly be implied by the descriptions of the "great and abominable church" that was prophesied to prevail.

bearyb said...

Yes...God the Father and Jesus are two "persons." No problem there. But no one has seen the Father. Stephen saw Jesus standing (I was wrong about sitting, granted) on the Father's right side, a metaphorical description of the divinity of Christ

We are in agreement that the placement of Christ on the right side of the Father is symbolic of His stature and divinity. But there is more "common sense" evidence that Stephen did see the Father than that he didn't.

Unless there was something else stating that where Christ was standing was "on God's right side" (a neon sign, perhaps?) it would sure seem that having God the Father present at the time would be a pretty efficient and unequivocal way of conveying the message. After all, the verses make it perfectly and separately clear that Stephen first saw "the glory of God."

From where do you get your claim that no one has seen the Father?

bearyb said...

Come to the woods with me.

Boy, if that isn't metaphorical, I don't know what is.

I'm trying my best to stay out of the woods, thank you.

Everything Before Us said...

"From where do you get your claim that no one has seen the Father?"

"[He] alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see." 1 Timothy 6:16.

"No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father's side, has made Him known." John 1:18

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us." 1 John 4:12

Everything Before Us said...

How about the nature of God? The role of prophets? The necessity of revelation? The purpose of our mortal probation? The effects of Adam's transgression? The nature of the spirit world and the universal reality of the resurrection?

The necessity of revelation. Bearby, just a few posts ago, you admitted that prophets can err, and we should follow them even when they do.

Meet Tim. Tim follows Pastor Mark. Pastor Mark doesn't claim to be a prophet. Sometimes Mark makes mistakes in his counsel, sometimes he doesn't.

Meet Bearby. Bearyb follows President Monson, who does claim to be a prophet. Sometimes Thomas makes mistakes in his counsel, sometimes he doesn't.

No....Bearby, tell me...for all practical purposes, what are the differences between those two scenarios?

Here is the difference: Tim knows that if Mark makes a mistake, he is not bound by covenant to follow Mark into error; whereas, bearby, who has made covenants to follow Thomas, believes that even if Thomas is in error, he needs to follow Thomas's counsel anyway because following the Prophet is always the right thing to do.

I'm sorry, but if your goal is to convince me that I should reconsider my apostasy, this isn't going to help.


verumestamandecium said...

I say screw it. Covenant, shmovenant. If there is anything I understand, is that we are supposed to receive our own revelation about revelations. Seems a moot point now in this discussion, but, Christ told the apostles and others to pray to the father in his name for all things. And that the Spirit would teach us all things, etc. Even among the Nephites, on the mormon front, Christ told them to go and pray in their homes about what He just taught them.

3 Nephi 17
"2 I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.

3 Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again."

Moses and Paul wanted us to be prophets of our own and to receive revelation of our own (would've saved Moses about 40 years before getting to the "Promised Land").

If I want to take this a step further even Buddha, wants us all to seek "enlightenment". If we follow a man, on blind faith alone, then we are going to be...what's that word I saw in another post somewhere...sheeple. That's not what we are supposed to be. We are responsible for our own salvation. We have to act, not be acted upon.

bearyb said...

If your goal is to convince me that I should reconsider my apostasy, this isn't going to help.

You didn't answer my question. Obviously, nothing I can say will convince you one way or the other, a conclusion I reached long ago.

You stated that our doctrine was "inching closer to basic Protestant Christianity." My question was simply to have you illustrate how that was so on the points I listed.

Well?

bearyb said...

See, this is the difference between you and me. You have already made up your mind that the line your are on is correct, and no change of scenery outside your window contrary to what you expect will convince you to get off that train.

You see that as a difference between us? It seems to me that it is more of a similarity...

Everything Before Us said...

You stated that our doctrine was "inching closer to basic Protestant Christianity." My question was simply to have you illustrate how that was so on the points I listed.

Perhaps the points you listed are not the points on which LDS doctrine is inching closer? But in many other directions, Mormonism has been inching closer to Protestantism since the days of Wilford Woodruff. You don't believe anymore that the more wives you accumulate in this life, the greater will be your glory in the next. You no longer believe that your Father God is Adam. And you no longer pretend to slit your throats and disembowel yourselves in the temple. So, positive changes, in my opinion.

But Mormonism is still far more Catholic than it is Protestant. Despite all the reverence Mormons may hold for the Reformers, Calvin and Luther would want nothing to do with Mormons. If Luther were a Mormon, he'd still be tacking the 95 Theses up on that door.

bearyb said...

Anonymous said...

Just curious -- how can Jesus be God's "only begotten son"? In LDS belief, doesn't God have many sons (and daughters too)? Or is this belief among those that have been relegated to the status of "teachings of men" rather than revelation?


Often you will hear "in the flesh" after "only begotten." Sometimes it is omitted. Does that clear things up any?

bearyb said...

On prophetic "mistakes," didn't Moses make a few? Did the people then (or do you now) conclude that he must not have therefore been a prophet, and did not warrant the mantle he bore?

bearyb said...

Perhaps the points you listed are not the points on which LDS doctrine is inching closer?

Oh, well, perhaps. But they are some of what we would consider fundamental doctrinal principles. I don't know if you are secretly hoping the Church might eventually combine with some other faith on core doctrinal points such as these, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

bearyb said...

John 6:46

"Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father."

See any contradiction between the verses you cited and this one?

Everything Before Us said...

John 6:46

"Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father."

See any contradiction between the verses you cited and this one?


Jesus is referring to himself. More accurate translations say that no one has seen the Father except "...the One who is from God." In the context, Jesus is referring to himself as the bread which has come down from Heaven. Jesus is referring to himself here. He is the one which is of God.

This passage, in context, clearly isn't referring to just any godly human being. Jesus is making a direct reference to Himself here.

What is your reconciliation, though, for John 6:46 and the verses which say no one has seen God?

bearyb said...

Where does the Heavenly Mother fit into that? Does she function as One God along with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Are there actually four members of the Godhead in Mormonism? Because I was taught that one can't become a God without an eternal spouse.

Is Heavenly Mother a part of the Godhead or not?


Is the wife of the prophet a member of the First Presidency? Is the wife of an Apostle considered a member of the Quorum of the Twelve? What about the wives of stake presidents, mission presidents, bishoprics, or branch presidents? Are they considered members of those respective governing bodies? No.

But I'll be you wouldn't be able to name any one of them who would ever discount the value and blessing that their spouses have been to them in their lives. I have yet to know of any in their positions who fail to acknowledge and give full credit to their spouses for allowing and encouraging them to do what they do, and who would ever even think that they would be where they are without them. I've even heard many of them say that they married above themselves, and those sentiments are sincere.

We haven't been given much direct information about Heavenly Mother. Who knows all the ways she "fits" into God's Celestial Kingdom? I don't. But it sure makes sense that She is there.

bearyb said...

For John 6:46 I would say that the phrase "of God" means he/she who tends toward godliness, or those to whom God has chosen to reveal Himself. As a believer in Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision, and accounts of visits from other heavenly messengers, it makes more sense to me that no random person would ever see God unless there were a specific purpose for it. One thought that I've been having is that even though God may be beyond ALL description (meaning we will never be able to fully describe Him), that doesn't mean He is beyond ANY description.

From the first lines of Genesis we learn that He is in appearance like we are, for we are made in His image. Those words make much more sense to me with my point of view than they could possibly make if I thought God was everywhere and nowhere, had no body, parts or passions, etc. - the doctrine you have said was arrived at through "committee."

1 Timothy 6:16 "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see:"

Here it is talking specifically about "the light" that no man hath seen. This alone would seem to contradict your interpretation based on your previous statement that in Stephen's vision he saw "the glory of God." Well, either he did or he didn't. Also, it is evident that there must be some sort of transfiguration that must happen in order for "man" to withstand celstial glory and remain mortal.

John 1:18 "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."

As you know, we believe this verse is incomplete, and is one example of the loss of "plain and precious truths."

In Luke 10: 22 it says, "All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him."

Who will the Son reveal? If it were not possible for the Father to be revealed to anyone, why this verse?

1 John 4:12 "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."

Another verse we would see as incomplete and therefore misleading. Also, 1 Corinthians 15:5 gives us clarification on how "God dwelleth in us:"

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

Everything Before Us said...

Is the wife of the prophet a member of the First Presidency? Is the wife of an Apostle considered a member of the Quorum of the Twelve? What about the wives of stake presidents, mission presidents, bishoprics, or branch presidents? Are they considered members of those respective governing bodies? No.

Haven't you ever been through an endowment? The women are anointed to become goddesses as their husbands are anointed to become gods. Right?

So...you are saying Heavenly Mother is a goddess, but she isn't considered a member of the governing body. Nice... I'll bet the ladies at Ordain Women would just eat you alive over that one. The one promise they receive in the temple and that keeps them going - you take even that away from them.

Everything Before Us said...

He is in appearance like we are, for we are made in His image

That is an assumption on your part. The ancient world had a different idea of what an "image" was. An image did not resemble the physical appearance of the person being represented. This is easily shown by a study of ancient art.

Everything Before Us said...

No one has seen the light in which God dwells, but they have seen God? What?! That's what the scripture is about? Not seeing the light of God?

Bearby...I'm done. I'm out. You're lost.

Everything Before Us said...

In the ancient world, images tried to capture intangible qualities of a person. Portraiture as we know it, meaning the attempt to create a physical likeness of another person, did not exist. Thus, we can't assume that being "in the image of God" has something to do with physical characteristics.

1 Timothy 6:16. Don't embarrass yourself bearyb. "Whom" is not a pronoun that is used in relation to anything except a person. If this pronoun were referring to the light, it would be "which."

Come on! Bearby. Just be honest and frank here. You are fudging this stuff to make it fit!

Really. I'm done. I came back because I had to rush my previous responses, but this is so disappointing.

You are actually going to say that "light" is a "whom" in which God dwells. You can't just read the Bible for what it says. So much manhandling. The approach of yours has no integrity.

Good-bye. I feel really sorry for you. And you make me so glad I no longer have to engage in the same kind of gymnastics to make it all work.

By the way...your GAs are getting paid over $120,000 dollars, and that is only base pay. They also get a parsonage. Their salaries are almost double the median income of Salt Lake City. Lay clergy?

I couldn't operate the air conditioner in my missionary apartment in 90 degree weather. The General Authorities needed that cash we saved. I know missionaries who came home from third world countries dangerously malnourished.

You should be ashamed that you continue to support this.