Thread: Purgatory: Mormon Meets Christian: The Reckoning Board: Limbo / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
Lest anyone think that this topic can't be discussed on these boards...

Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, says (from www.mormon.org):

quote:
"We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ."
He goes on to say that Mormons "accept Jesus Christ as our Leader, our King, our Savior" and as "the dominant figure in the history of the world, the only perfect Man who ever walked the earth, the living Son of the living God." He even adds that Jesus is "our Savior and our Redeemer through whose atoning sacrifice has come the opportunity of eternal life."

Not only that, but Mormons also "pray and worship in the name of Jesus Christ." According to their doctrine, "The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement."


If this is not enough for a religion to be considered Christian, what specifics does the title require?

[ 10. August 2007, 00:04: Message edited by: Duo Seraphim ]
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
Not having `another testament'? Or believing that we (well men) become gods on other planets (or whatever it is)? But for me, it is mainly the other testament thing. Why is it necessary? It adds things which `mainstream' Christians do not have. Did God really desert us/leave us in error for N years?

CArys
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Is a different interpretation of the new testament than the one intended by Christ not a new testament in itself? Why does it have to be a new book that claims to be a new testament and not include all interpretations that differ from the original intent also?

[ 26. November 2006, 13:54: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]
 
Posted by Jon J (# 11091) on :
 
It does of course depend on what is taken to be the essentials of Christianity. Personally, I would regard Mormons as Christian. I don't take the additional Testament as an insurmountable obstacle to this. Although they don't have another testament, other denominations clearly build on the New Testament doctrinally.

Their view of Jesus' divinity is different from other Christian denominations, so for Christians who hold that the deity of Jesus is essential to Christianity, then they would be seen as nonChristians, however as a nonChristian looking in, I would regard them as part of the doctrinely divergent faith of Christianity.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Well, the problem with the Book of Mormon (their new New Testament) is that the stories about its origin (which is quite recent) are in large part known to be untrue, which brings into significant contention any truth claims about the material therein, some of which is, well, pretty different from creedal Christianity.

The most troubling part that is clearly contrary to Christ's teaching is that there are different categories of salvation, and that a woman cannot achieve the high level salvation on her own, but must be recognized after death by her husband as his "true wife", in order for this to happen. A good woman who is not married or whose husband does not call her goes to the steerage class heaven if she is very good. There she can spend eternity as a servant of those who are exalted.

I think universal availability of salvation is a central Christian tenet, and a religion that does not teach that is (definitionally) not Christian in the strictest sense.

But all that said, while the technical question of whether Mormonism is a Christian religion is an interesting one to me intellectually, I do feel like there's more to following Jesus Christ than creedal adherance. To the extent that Mormons are feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etcetera, then they are participating in the central ministry that Jesus set forth for those whom he will recognize on the last day, and I'm not going to stand here and say that they aren't Christian, if they think they are. I feel confident that many of us will be explaining bizarre beliefs on the Last Day, and I'd rather not add to my list of sins that I spent a lot of time arguing about whether X or Y group are Christian.

[ 26. November 2006, 14:25: Message edited by: Laura ]
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jon J:
Their view of Jesus' divinity is different from other Christian denominations, so for Christians who hold that the deity of Jesus is essential to Christianity, then they would be seen as nonChristians, however as a nonChristian looking in, I would regard them as part of the doctrinely divergent faith of Christianity.

That seems reasonable. They are an off-shoot of Christianity, but one that has, IMO, gone so far as to require a separate name. I think that there are examples of similar things happening in other religions. Does not the Bah'ai faith have its roots in Islam?

Carys
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
That seems reasonable. They are an off-shoot of Christianity

Not Christianity in general. Protestantism in particular. Like the JW.
 
Posted by PeteCanada (# 10422) on :
 
I think that the aliens on other planets thing mentioned above is from the Church of Scientology. One of my nieces converted to Mormonism a few decades back, but I think she lapsed. We don't discuss religion.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PeteCanada:
I think that the aliens on other planets thing mentioned above is from the Church of Scientology.

No, it isn't. The Mormons believe that sould before being brought into being live on the planet Kolob, location uncertain. To be fair, most Mormons I know are a bit embarassed about that part, in the same way we ignore the ethnic cleansing in chunks of the old Testament.

[ 26. November 2006, 16:29: Message edited by: Laura ]
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
Well, most politely, they might be classed as a derivative religion, the category into which an OCA diocesan newspaper article placed them many years back, along with JWs. Less tactfully, they are heretics. They aren't simply schismatics. They don't teach the Faith set forth by the oecumenical councils of the undivided Christian Church. They aren't simply in a state of impaired communion with other parts of the Church Catholic, but completely outside the Una Sancta. They share some of the Church's scriptural canon and have various Christian beliefs. Christians share a major scriptural heritage with Jews, as well as many beliefs associated with Judaism, but Christians are not Jewish in any meaningful sense of the term. Although this analogy is imperfect, it seems to me that Mormons are in much the same situation vis a vis historical Christianity.
 
Posted by anteater (# 11435) on :
 
I have two questions of any Mormons on board:
1. Has the Mormon church recognised the ecumenical creeds?
2. Do they as a regular practice take communion in other Christian churches, where this is permitted?
 
Posted by Call me Numpty (# 3012) on :
 
Professor posted:
quote:
According to their doctrine, "The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement."
A testament is not a book: it is an agreement between God and humanity. It is not possible fot the New Testament (Covenant) to be superceded. Any suggestion that the Book of Mormon is - or is even a written record of - another Testament is an absolute nonsense.
 
Posted by Jon J (# 11091) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
Professor posted:
quote:
According to their doctrine, "The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement."
A testament is not a book: it is an agreement between God and humanity. It is not possible for the New Testament (Covenant) to be superceded. Any suggestion that the Book of Mormon is - or is even a written record of - another Testament is an absolute nonsense.
Interestingly, that is what many Jews say about their Covenant and the claims of Christianity.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Doesn't their covenant prophesy a new covenant though?
 
Posted by MouseThief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Jeremiah 31:31-33
"The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.

It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.

"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people."


 
Posted by benjdm (# 11779) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
Did God really desert us/leave us in error for N years?

Well, yes, for ~90,000 years at the least. Homo sapiens was around for a long time before any part of the bible was written.
 
Posted by mirrizin (# 11014) on :
 
quote:
Well, yes, for ~90,000 years at the least. Homo sapiens was around for a long time before any part of the bible was written.
[TANGENT]

So it took man ~90,000 years, roughly, to develop what is currently, for a good number of people, the means of accessing and understanding God. To me, that doesn't necessarily mean that God wasn't there...

[/TANGENT]

Re: The Church of Latter Day Saints: I agree with most that their theology, as it diverges from traditional Christianity, is weird.

On the other hand, there are lots of other Christians who I believe to be weird, and yet I don't go so far as to say they aren't Christians. Just that I find some of their fundamentals a tad difficult to swallow.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
If this is not enough for a religion to be considered Christian, what specifics does the title require?

Belief in God as revealed in the Hebew scriptures and most especially in the life and work of Jesus Christ.

Mormon teaching about God is very different from th teaching of the Christian churches. Their idea of God is more a sort of super-powerful alien, a being located in the universe, a physical being with a body. Literally the father of the human species, our ancestor in the normal biological way. Each inhabited world has its own god. If you do well enough you can get promoted to be the god of your own world, and your descendents will get to inhabit it.

Theologically Islam and Christianity and Judaism are all much, much closer to each other than Mormonism is to Christianity.

[ 26. November 2006, 23:39: Message edited by: ken ]
 
Posted by benjdm (# 11779) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mirrizin:
[TANGENT]

So it took man ~90,000 years, roughly, to develop what is currently, for a good number of people, the means of accessing and understanding God. To me, that doesn't necessarily mean that God wasn't there...

[/TANGENT]

It would also mean that the period of time between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon did not mean 'God deserted people or left them in error.' It would be as much a reason to reject the Old and New Testaments as the Book of Mormon.

[ 26. November 2006, 23:55: Message edited by: benjdm ]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
But all that said, while the technical question of whether Mormonism is a Christian religion is an interesting one to me intellectually, I do feel like there's more to following Jesus Christ than creedal adherance. To the extent that Mormons are feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etcetera, then they are participating in the central ministry that Jesus set forth for those whom he will recognize on the last day, and I'm not going to stand here and say that they aren't Christian, if they think they are. I feel confident that many of us will be explaining bizarre beliefs on the Last Day, and I'd rather not add to my list of sins that I spent a lot of time arguing about whether X or Y group are Christian.

I'm kind of on board with this to a point. Mormons sure act like Christians are supposed to act in a whole lot of ways, and "by their fruits, ye shall know them."

But Mormon doctrines are just a bunch of stuff some guy made up. I think Christianity is fundamentally true, expressive of Truth about the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and the relationship between God and humanity, and Mormonism's unique doctrines are obviously false. They're not just weird, they're wrong. And when things that are wrong and untrue are preached as Truth, they have the potential to be very dangerous. There's the secondary status for women, which Laura pointed out, and there's the racism (read more about that here). And they're busy trying to tell everyone in the Americas and Polynesia who is descended from the original peoples that they are a lost tribe of Israel (here is an article about this by a biologist who left the LDS because the DNA evidence just doesn't support this claim). In this last piece, the willful disregard of the truth on the part of some Mormon scientists and scholars is chilling:

quote:
Members who criticize the Church or its teachings at BYU face being sacked and excommunicated. Scholars paying too close attention to the details of Church history have been severely repressed in recent years. The same censorship of scientists has occurred before in BYU’s history and it will happen again. In the heartland of Mormonism the consequences of this action can be devastating for an individual, who could find themselves unemployed and an outcast in his family and community. Many scientists have learned that the best way to deal with these difficult issues is to not deal with them. Some keep Church and science safely locked in separate mental compartments and never attempt to resolve any conflicts. They reason that they have the eternities to resolve these conflicts.
Now, this is not to say that such things can't and don't happen within Christianity. And it will be very interesting to see if Mormonism eventually develops a metaphorical interpretation of its problematic "historical" texts. But even if it were to do so, I don't think the outlandish tales in the Book of Mormon are going to be able to express even the kind of truth that great literature expresses, never mind rival the truth claims of Christianity.

[Grammar be good.]

[ 27. November 2006, 00:09: Message edited by: RuthW ]
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
Where or where is you-know-who? This seems to be a thread crafted just for her, or has she been beaten into silent submission on every other Mormon thread, where she has unfailingly expressed her opinions? A mormon thread without her input just wouldn't be any fun.

Greta
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
In fact, I initially thought that this might be a thread about an encounter between her and one of those missionary boys.

Greta
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
I'm not comfortable with prodding certain shipmates to come and argue with us? It's not always fun to be the token.

[ 27. November 2006, 01:25: Message edited by: Gwai ]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
I was coming back to amend what I said, but Ruth beat me to it -- I want to emphasize that what I say about not making that distinction applies to individual believers -- I won't say that this or that Mormon isn't a Christian. Mormonism in general though, as you rightly point out, must be dinstinguished from that, and teachings do matter.
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
Ship of Fools, the magazine of Christian comfort?

Greta
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CorgiGreta:
Ship of Fools, the magazine of Christian comfort?

How so?
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
It's a holiday weekend, lots of Stateside shipmates are travelling and/or busy. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't know much about LDS theology and would therefore like to see this thread produce a serious discussion.
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
....which is why I am hoping to hear from that certain somebody, who has always been deadly serious in her critiques of the LDS. In fact, she convinced me that it is NOT, by any prevailing standad, a Christian church.

Greta

[ 27. November 2006, 02:04: Message edited by: CorgiGreta ]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
So PM her already, instead of littering this thread with asides.
 
Posted by mirrizin (# 11014) on :
 
IMO, it's difficult. I've seen this exact conversation get ugly fast on other boards. People get surprisingly irritated when you tell them that their faith is a lie. Similarly, people get surprisingly irritated when you expect them to show respect to faiths that they find, at best, silly.

Still, those boards weren't the ship and I'd be interested in such a discussion, if it's possible without leading to rhetorical lynch mobs and countering accusations of closedmindedness.
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
But for me, it is mainly the other testament thing. Why is it necessary?

Why was a New Testament needed at all? If it was prophesied, how are we to be sure that it was completed by the end of Revelation? Surely the writings of C.S. Lewis seem to be a "new testament" of Christian theology at times, as do others. If you believe the fullness of Jesus wasn't completely represented by the New Testament of the Bible, why wouldn't a true Christian want to find the complete representation of their leader?

quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
I think universal availability of salvation is a central Christian tenet, and a religion that does not teach that is (definitionally) not Christian in the strictest sense.

Surely this would exclude thousands of Presbyterians and Penecostals, and other Calvinist-theologies?

quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
The Mormons believe that sould before being brought into being live on the planet Kolob, location uncertain. To be fair, most Mormons I know are a bit embarassed about that part, in the same way we ignore the ethnic cleansing in chunks of the old Testament.

Do you have any (credible) link to support this? I've heard of it many times but usually from Christian apologists. I own the Book of Mormon but I'm not familiar with any passage that talks about extra-planetary theology, though I admittedly do not know the text that well.

quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
I have two questions of any Mormons on board:
1. Has the Mormon church recognised the ecumenical creeds?
2. Do they as a regular practice take communion in other Christian churches, where this is permitted?

I hope you get an answer from a Mormon, but in the meantime, suppose the answers were No and Yes in that order. Do those answers define the right to the title of Christian? I know of many Christians who don't even know what the ecumenical creeds are -- are they Christian?

quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Belief in God as revealed in the Hebew scriptures and most especially in the life and work of Jesus Christ.

What if they fully agree with this? Then does it become "No you don't nuh uh you don't believe that so you can't be a Christian" ?

quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Mormon teaching about God is very different from th teaching of the Christian churches. Their idea of God is more a sort of super-powerful alien, a being located in the universe, a physical being with a body. Literally the father of the human species, our ancestor in the normal biological way. Each inhabited world has its own god. If you do well enough you can get promoted to be the god of your own world, and your descendents will get to inhabit it.

Again, do you have any sources? I've definitely heard this but I don't think I've seen anything official.


Ruth, thanks for the links. I'm looking through them and may respond more later.
 
Posted by MouseThief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
I think universal availability of salvation is a central Christian tenet, and a religion that does not teach that is (definitionally) not Christian in the strictest sense.

Surely this would exclude thousands of Presbyterians and Penecostals, and other Calvinist-theologies?
You say that like it's a bad thing.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:

quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
The Mormons believe that sould before being brought into being live on the planet Kolob, location uncertain. To be fair, most Mormons I know are a bit embarassed about that part, in the same way we ignore the ethnic cleansing in chunks of the old Testament.

Do you have any (credible) link to support this? I've heard of it many times but usually from Christian apologists. I own the Book of Mormon but I'm not familiar with any passage that talks about extra-planetary theology, though I admittedly do not know the text that well.

At Pearl of Great Price 3:2-3, the business about Kolob is set forth. The stuff about spirit children is very complicated, and I'll be back tomorrow with more specific Mormon teachings that are inconsistent with creedal Christianity.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
But for me, it is mainly the other testament thing. Why is it necessary?

Why was a New Testament needed at all? If it was prophesied, how are we to be sure that it was completed by the end of Revelation? Surely the writings of C.S. Lewis seem to be a "new testament" of Christian theology at times, as do others.
No one puts Lewis on a par with the Bible (or at least if they do they're individual loonies with no following), and Lewis made no claim of special revelation. He's an apologist for a quite traditional and orthodox Christianity. The scriptures unique to Mormonism are in their relationship to the New Testament more aptly compared to the writings of Swedenborg and to the Koran than to Lewis's work, though of course in both cases there are significant differences.

quote:
If you believe the fullness of Jesus wasn't completely represented by the New Testament of the Bible, why wouldn't a true Christian want to find the complete representation of their leader?
Sure, but what leads someone to think the fullness of Jesus isn't represented in the New Testament? More to the point, though, why would this happen? Did the early apostles and disciples really mess up so badly? Was there something defective about the revelation of God in Christ?

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
I think universal availability of salvation is a central Christian tenet, and a religion that does not teach that is (definitionally) not Christian in the strictest sense.

Surely this would exclude thousands of Presbyterians and Penecostals, and other Calvinist-theologies?
Not Pentecostals -- I believe they're Arminians, and in any case they're not Calvinists. The Holy Spirit can move anyone open to its workings, and that choice is available to us all.

Don't know what to say about Calvinism. Clearly it's a major strand of Protestant thinking, but I think Calvin's doctrine of election, as far as I understand it, is very wrong.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
The Mormons believe that sould before being brought into being live on the planet Kolob, location uncertain. To be fair, most Mormons I know are a bit embarassed about that part, in the same way we ignore the ethnic cleansing in chunks of the old Testament.

Do you have any (credible) link to support this? I've heard of it many times but usually from Christian apologists. I own the Book of Mormon but I'm not familiar with any passage that talks about extra-planetary theology, though I admittedly do not know the text that well.
Wikipedia says Kolob is in the Book of Abraham (part of the collection that is titled The Pearl of Great Price. Here's what one Mormon website says. You can read the Book of Abraham at Wikisource -- God tells Abraham all sorts of weird stuff he didn't tell him in the Bible.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
I have two questions of any Mormons on board:
1. Has the Mormon church recognised the ecumenical creeds?
2. Do they as a regular practice take communion in other Christian churches, where this is permitted?

I hope you get an answer from a Mormon, but in the meantime, suppose the answers were No and Yes in that order. Do those answers define the right to the title of Christian? I know of many Christians who don't even know what the ecumenical creeds are -- are they Christian?
The thing is, though, that if you gave these Christians in non-credal churches copies of the creeds, I bet most of them would have no trouble with what's in them ("the communion of saints" might need some explaining, and they'd need to know what small-c "catholic" means). The objection is to having a creed in the first place, not to what the creeds actually say.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Belief in God as revealed in the Hebew scriptures and most especially in the life and work of Jesus Christ.

What if they fully agree with this? Then does it become "No you don't nuh uh you don't believe that so you can't be a Christian" ?
They don't, though, at least, they don't believe that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures contain the full revelation, and Christians believe that the revelation of God in Jesus Christ was full and complete.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Mormon teaching about God is very different from th teaching of the Christian churches. Their idea of God is more a sort of super-powerful alien, a being located in the universe, a physical being with a body. Literally the father of the human species, our ancestor in the normal biological way. Each inhabited world has its own god. If you do well enough you can get promoted to be the god of your own world, and your descendents will get to inhabit it.

Again, do you have any sources? I've definitely heard this but I don't think I've seen anything official.
Start here, and follow the links.

[bad code]

[ 27. November 2006, 04:17: Message edited by: RuthW ]
 
Posted by Call me Numpty (# 3012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by benjdm:
quote:
Originally posted by mirrizin:
[TANGENT]

So it took man ~90,000 years, roughly, to develop what is currently, for a good number of people, the means of accessing and understanding God. To me, that doesn't necessarily mean that God wasn't there...

[/TANGENT]

It would also mean that the period of time between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon did not mean 'God deserted people or left them in error.' It would be as much a reason to reject the Old and New Testaments as the Book of Mormon.
As I said, to talk of a period of time between the inaugeration of the New Covenant through the death-resurrection-ascension of Christ as recorded in teh Scriptures of that Covenant (NT) and the publication of a book that claims to supercede or add to what Christ established, is to misunderstand the nature of a Testament. The New Testament (the agreement between God and humanity through Christ) is the testment that applies today and for all time. Nothing can supercede it.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Interesting.

"We are Christians" can be said by any group can't it?

How many of us say
" Our Church is the only true way to worship God."
...with our actions if not with our words?

LDS groups seem to have absolutely no contact with other groups of Christians in the UK.

But then ...um...what about other exclusive groups?
 
Posted by mirrizin (# 11014) on :
 
From the last site Laura linked:

quote:
In LDS belief, Joseph Smith is the prophet through whom God restored the Church of Christ and named it the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (See Restoration of the Gospel home page). He stated that "the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."1 Members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ gratefully rejoice in Christ's atonement, confidently anticipate his glorious return, expect to be brought before him when he judges the entire human race, and hope to dwell with him for all eternity. Surely all who profess such beliefs can lay claim to being called Christians.
Granted, this is from an LDS site that, naturally, has a vested interest in defending LDS from teh attack of being "non-Christian."

Still, I think there is some credence to the argument that if we can agree on fundamentals (salvation through the grace of God via Jesus Christ), then isn't the rest of the stuff about the afterlife and specific practice just a matter of detail?

I suppose it's a question of how much similar liturgy/theology is required to make a church "Christian."
 
Posted by humblebum (# 4358) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ethne Alba:
LDS groups seem to have absolutely no contact with other groups of Christians in the UK.

That's not quite true Ethne - they're not quite as exclusive as other New Religious Movements like the JWs. You will occasionally find groups of Mormons turning up at maintstream church services. I assume its part of the current drive within the LDS church to be recognised as being Christian.

On the other hand, the following excerpt from the canonical "Pearl of Great Price" might make ecumenical involvement pretty awkward:

quote:
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join... I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith—History of the Church Chapter 1:18-19)
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
I own the Book of Mormon but I'm not familiar with any passage that talks about extra-planetary theology, though I admittedly do not know the text that well.

The tricky thing with Mormon theology is that it's not confined to the Book of Mormon. Technically, the LDS church recognises the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, "Doctrine and Covenants", and "Pearl of Great Price" to be canonical. They also have a strong concept of ongoing revelation, so I believe the definitive word on doctrine comes from the current leadership of the church, rather than any written word.

My understanding is that the Book of Mormon, whilst being rather wacky and implausible, presents theological views which are not particularly far removed from the theology of the Old and New Testaments. It was only later, as Joseph Smith's own views developed, that he started getting wackier theology "revealed" to him.

On the positive side, it does seem that today's LDS church seems to be moving away from lots of its more off-the-wall ideas, and seems to be using the Bible and the Book Of Mormon for its theological focus and distinctive identity. This leaves them looking much less theologically unorthodox than they used to.

Nevertheless, I still find Ken's argument to be convincing - if the Mormon worldview is still further removed from historical Christian theology than, say, Islam, it does seem rather misleading to label them as being part of the same religion.

quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
I have two questions of any Mormons on board:
1. Has the Mormon church recognised the ecumenical creeds?
2. Do they as a regular practice take communion in other Christian churches, where this is permitted?

I'm not a Mormon but...

1. No. The Mormon church regards the ecumenical creeds to be in divergence from orthodox Christianity.

2. Don't know.
 
Posted by Trudy Scrumptious (# 5647) on :
 
Having been on the receiving end of "Your church isn't Christian because it doesn't agree with x or y theological point" has given me a lot more awareness of how hurtful it is to be called "not Christian" when you self-identify as Christian. Yes, there are significant things within Mormon theology that differ from "traditional" or "mainstream" Christianity, but I'm not sure they differ much more than most Christian groups differ from each other.

There is so little agreement within Christianity on what constitutes "essential" doctrine. Sometimes it seems the only thing you can definitely attach to the name "Christian" that all "Christians" would agree on is the centrality of Jesus Christ within the church's teaching. And the Mormon statement quoted above, as well as what I know of Mormon theology, certainly does assign that kind of centrality to Jesus.

Personally, I don't want to be the cop of the word "Christian" and make judgements about who gets to use it. If someone calls themselves a Christian, I don't see that I have the right to say, "No you're not." I'm not sure anyone has the right to do that.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Humblebum...thanks for the correction.
Hopefully we'll be visited soon then?

Interesting chats with Mormons recently have led me to belive that they would not and could not take communion with me or in the church I attend.
(But then other groups of christians wouldn't either so that's no indicator of anything [Biased]

Once had a very good series of chats with Mormons and it kinda ended up with us agreeing that we had to disagree.
And because we had got to know each other it was really sad.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Allow me to offer a different perspective... In Greece, the vast majority of the people are Orthodox. Many of the non-Orthodox live together in specific places, e.g. there are many Muslims in Thrace, some Catholics in the Cyclades etc... Through the Ship I have seen that most of you consider denominations like Pentecostals mainstream. Well, if a Greek was to tell me that he belongs to a Pentecostal Church, I would consider him a member of a sect (well, not as dreadful as what most of you mean when you say "sect", but you get my point...). Would I question his Christianity? No, but still... Now, I might think of them as heretical wackos, but I don't even envisage not calling them Christians. I wouldn't place the Mormons or the JW too far from them. To me, they are another Protestant denomination...

But, and this is interesting, you who accept Protestantism as mainstream, and for whom Orthodoxy is off the radars, you have problems calling the Mormons Christians!

Sure, adding books written 2 centuries ago to the canon seems weird, but being in a religion that was started a few centuries ago seems equally weird to me! (OK, I agree that "Mormon" sounds funnier than e.g. "Evangelical", but still...)
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mirrizin:
From the last site Laura linked:

You mean Ruth; I didn't link to anything. I did cite, though. [Smile]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:

If this is not enough for a religion to be considered Christian, what specifics does the title require?

In this case, a correct Christology, IMO.
 
Posted by mirrizin (# 11014) on :
 
Ach. My bad. You know the site I mean, though... [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
In this case, a correct Christology, IMO.

A correct Christology, huh? Do you mean like the first and the second ecumenical council? The framework of which is opposed by mainstream Western Christianity? The irony!
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Explain, please. I meant in particular the Chalcedonian Definition (yes, I know that potentially excludes the Copts as well and to be honest I'm not sure what I think about that - I like to think it's a misunderstanding/ mistranslation of the term 'monophysite', as opposed to the rather weird Mormon view of Christ)
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
there are many Muslims in Thrace, some Catholics in the Cyclades etc...

The majority(?) of the Jews are sadly gone. May their memory be ever-lasting. [Votive]

[ 27. November 2006, 15:25: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]
 
Posted by Amazing Grace (# 95) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Allow me to offer a different perspective... In Greece, the vast majority of the people are Orthodox. Many of the non-Orthodox live together in specific places, e.g. there are many Muslims in Thrace, some Catholics in the Cyclades etc... Through the Ship I have seen that most of you consider denominations like Pentecostals mainstream. Well, if a Greek was to tell me that he belongs to a Pentecostal Church, I would consider him a member of a sect (well, not as dreadful as what most of you mean when you say "sect", but you get my point...). Would I question his Christianity? No, but still... Now, I might think of them as heretical wackos, but I don't even envisage not calling them Christians. I wouldn't place the Mormons or the JW too far from them. To me, they are another Protestant denomination...

But, and this is interesting, you who accept Protestantism as mainstream, and for whom Orthodoxy is off the radars, you have problems calling the Mormons Christians!

Didn't you mean to say "some of you" here?? [Biased]

I would also like to point out that there is a wide variety of experience in Protestant churches, and a wide variety of "pentecostal" within Protestantism. ("Charismatic" is a word that gets used some, but it's not limited to Protestants.) Some are more mainstream, at least in the US, and some are just wacky. Pentecostal and Baptist churches in the US don't have the same kind of heirarchy and organization that someone who grew up in Orthodox-land might expect [Biased] . It's pretty much a free-for-all with the naming - a lot of them don't even consider themselves part of "denominations". (And do you and I mean slightly different things when we say "mainstream" in English?)

If you meant "some Protestants", "some Pentecostals", etc., no problem ... I just wanted to point out that there isn't a monolith of opinion [Biased] .

Charlotte
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Dear Charlotte

Many thanks for the explanation! You see, I firmly believe that we have no other way than learn about each other and co-operate and live in harmony and tolerance... So, I am grateful for the information and I regret the fact that I am isolated from Christians other than Orthodox, the Ship being a notable window for me to the post-Reformation Christianity!

Dear Matt

The main issue behind the first and the second (note I said nothing about the fourth!) council was NOT whether Christ was man or God-man, but whether the Angel of the Lord who was revealed (theophany-theosis) in the Old Testament and said that His Name is YAHWE, is created or uncreated! This understanding, that the Saints of the Old Testament have seen the Word before the Incarnation, and that He revealed to them God in His wholeness, is, imho, missing from modern Western Christianity (probably because it's missing from Augustine)...
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Uncreated, surely?
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Yes, that was the reply of the Orthodox, but BOTH the Orthodox and the heretics accepted as a truth beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Word was seen by the Prophets BEFORE the Incarnation, that the Incarnation did not change the revelation that was already whole in the Prophets!

This is where, as far as I can tell, Western Christianity differs from both the Orthodox and the heretics of the first few councils... You don't have as a tenet of your religion the fact that the Triad was worshiped before the Incarnation, and that the revelation of God takes place only through the Word in what the Orthodox called theosis or theopoiesis, and what the bible describes as glorification!
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Andreas, I agree that the fullness of the triune Godhead was manifest in the OT theophanies, but I'm not convinced that the Jews understood the Trinitarian aspect of the manifestations. I was also not aware that it was a particular issue at Nicaea and Constantinople?
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
This was the framework for both Nicea and Constantinople! The heretics and the Orthodox agreed that the Word before the Incarnation has revealed Himself directly to the Prophets... the one called the Angel of the Lord, the Lord of Glory, YAHWE... (by the way, we still have YAHWE as the name of Christ in all the Orthodox icons)

The Arians posed the question whether that Angel was created by God or not, and the Eunomians posed the question whether... anyways.

They both created a list of all the characteristics the scriptures apply to God, and those applied to the Angel... if the Orthodox were right, then the two lists should be identical. If even one characteristic was not on both lists, then the heretics were right.

But, Augustine in his de trinitate he was not aware of this theology (which, by the way was the theology of Ambrose*!)... and he said that the entire trinity revealed itself to the prophets through created beings that stopped existing after the revelation was over...

*Not only Ambrose... Even before that, Justin the Martyr tries to persuade the Jews that Christ is divine using the Old Testament!
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Is there any hope, dear brother andreas, that you will not turn this into a thread about Orthodoxy? Is there a wisp of a chance that we will avoid cries of ITTTWAM? (I thought this thread was about Mormonism)
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
I replied to a question. Do you think that it is fair to exclude Mormons from Christianity because their Christology does not adhere to the ecumenical councils, while the one who does the excluding, his own denomination does not adhere to the same councils?
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
OK, I stop talking [Razz]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
But, Augustine in his de trinitate he was not aware of this theology (which, by the way was the theology of Ambrose*!)... and he said that the entire trinity revealed itself to the prophets through created beings that stopped existing after the revelation was over..

Bollocks, Anderas. Just bollocks.
 
Posted by anteater (# 11435) on :
 
From Professor Kirke:
quote:
I hope you get an answer from a Mormon, but in the meantime, suppose the answers were No and Yes in that order. Do those answers define the right to the title of Christian? I know of many Christians who don't even know what the ecumenical creeds are -- are they Christian?

The questions referred to were:
1. Has the Mormon church recognised the ecumenical creeds?
2. Do they as a regular practice take communion in other Christian churches, where this is permitted?

Like most people in this discussion, I am focusing mainly on whether the LDS as a religious organisation comes within the definition of a christian church, rather than whether individual LDS's can have a true relationship with God. I did assume that any LDS who came onto this board is likely to be able to give an answer.

It's clear that this is a question of definition. So as far as this board goes, we need a working definition of a christian denomination. And the one posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras seemed good to me, since these creeds are as close as you will get to "what all christians everywhere believe".

So if their answer is no, then I would not recognise the LDS as a christian sect. Which does not decide the status of individual Mormons.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
if a Greek was to tell me that he belongs to a Pentecostal Church, I would consider him a member of a sect (well, not as dreadful as what most of you mean when you say "sect", but you get my point...). Would I question his Christianity? No, but still... Now, I might think of them as heretical wackos, but I don't even envisage not calling them Christians. I wouldn't place the Mormons or the JW too far from them. To me, they are another Protestant denomination...

That is because you are very ignornt of Protestantism. Your posts on these boards show that you do not know very much anything about it at all. You assume that all Protestants sahre the heresies of an imaginary ancient theologian called Augustine whose name happens to sound a little like that of the perfectly Orthodox saint Augustine of Hippo about whom you seem to know nothing other than what you read in the Greek equivalent of Chick tracts.

quote:

But, and this is interesting, you who accept Protestantism as mainstream, and for whom Orthodoxy is off the radars, you have problems calling the Mormons Christians!

Because Mormon teaching really is nothing like Christian teaching at all. It is more like paganism in many ways. They are in effect polytheists.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Because Mormon teaching really is nothing like Christian teaching at all. It is more like paganism in many ways. They are in effect polytheists.

And much of Western Christianity is unitarian. So what? Why all this hardheartedness against the Mormons?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mirrizin:
I suppose it's a question of how much similar liturgy/theology is required to make a church "Christian."

The Mormons are confusing because some of their rituals and worship practices still closely resemble those of the Protestant churches they arose in.

But that is really just superficial.

Its a matter of logical priority. God has to be at the centre of the teachings of the Church, just as God is logically prior to and cause of the created universe. God as revealed to us primarily in Jesus Christ. Other things are dependent on that, follow from that. Stuff like liturgy is in a sense an outer shell.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Uh....hi. Sorry -- I've been dealing with assorted family-related crises, and just saw this thread. I thought seriously about not participating, but, as Greta said, that wouldn't be any fun.

For general questions about Mormonism, this is an excellent site. Sandra Tanner is a direct descendent of Brigham Young; she and her late husband Jerrold have offered this ministry in the face of everything from shunning to multiple death threats, and there's no hint of hatred in her.

As for what is Christian and what isn't: Christians disagree on a great deal (understatement of the century), but I would submit that there are certain basic beliefs that we share. These include:


There's more, but that should be a start. (I've got a killer week here on several fronts, so if I don't respond quickly, I hope you'll understand.)

Ross
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Oops -- missed the edit window. The quote is from utlm.org's section on "Salvation."

Ross
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Sure, but what leads someone to think the fullness of Jesus isn't represented in the New Testament? More to the point, though, why would this happen? Did the early apostles and disciples really mess up so badly? Was there something defective about the revelation of God in Christ?

Snip...

They don't, though, at least, they don't believe that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures contain the full revelation, and Christians believe that the revelation of God in Jesus Christ was full and complete.

Ruth---I'm having trouble with this view, because:

First--the account we have of God's revelation in Christ (i.e., the Bible) is open to interpretation. Unless you are fundamentalist (which I know you aren't) it seems to me that "Did the early apostles and disciples mess up so badly?" is not really a relevant question.

To my way of thinking, the revelation cannot be considered "complete" because it is not clear to everyone. When every knee bows, and every tongue confesses, THEN the revelation will be complete...

Second--I believe (and I have a lot of company) that God continues to reveal God's will to us through the work of the Holy Spirit in the world (i.e.,ongoing revelation).

Does believing that mean I'm not Christian?
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Why all this hardheartedness against the Mormons?

Just to be clear, I don't see any hard-heartedness toward Mormons at all. I see reasonable debate as to the reasons why Mormons are not Christians. If you'd like to debate whether or not Orthodox are in fact the only Christians, you are welcome to start a new thread (or several, as the case may be).

Digory Kirke, Shipmate (as in, I'm not acting in any kind of official capacity here)
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
If you'd like to debate whether or not Orthodox are in fact the only Christians, you are welcome to start a new thread

What was that for? I already said that I think that Mormons are Christians and that in my mind there is no doubt about that. You say you don't see any hardheartedness against them, well, I saw some. Perhaps I was mistaken, but it is also probable that you were mistaken when you saw none. I don't like talking about Mormons as if they were some sort of an exotic exhibit, not being willing to accept their Christianity...
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
And much of Western Christianity is unitarian.

Er, no it isn't. Hardly any is. A tiny fraction.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Urgh..... I don't want Laura or a host rightly yell at me again... Start a new thread [Razz]

Unitarian not as "universal salvation", but as opposed to "trinitarian". By the way, I have checked about that with a few converts from Western denominations like Anglicanism to Orthodoxy... They said that this was the case with the vast majority of Western Christians...

[ 27. November 2006, 18:24: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
Ross, thanks for joining in.

quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
[Christians generally agree about:]

One God, who created the universe, and all that is in it, from nothing. (Mormons believe in many gods, and they use the word "created" to mean "organized from existing materials")

Jesus Christ as a co-equal Person of the Trinity, uncreated, "of one substance, power, and eternity" ( as the Articles of Religion, cited for convenience, put it). Mormons believe that Jesus was God's son in a literal sense, and that the Devil is his flesh-and-blood brother.

Let me come back to these points.

quote:
One heaven for everyone who believes/is among the elect/pick the doctrine of your choice. Mormons believe in three "heavens," but the one where most of us would end up is not very nice, and only Mormon men and the wives they acknowledge end up in First Class.
I'd think this is a graceful version of Christian soteriology. Any of us can convert to Mormonism and thus end up in "First Class" heaven. That those of us who don't are still afforded any kind of heaven at all, rather than a fiery Hell, is a gracious understanding of life after death. It's not much different from a doctrine of Purgatory, come to think of it. This is not the strongest argument for Mormon != Christian.

quote:

The equality of all people in Jesus Christ: no male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free. There is no equality in Mormonism, even after you're dead. It's all based on what you did in this life; women are second-class citizens for eternity. Until the late 1970s, blacks were completely shunned as having sided with the Devil in the war in Heaven before their births.

And until some point, blacks were enslaved and then segregated and shunned for the Curse of Ham, Noah's son. Women aren't to speak in church at all, and they are certainly not to disagree with their husbands. That equality is better espoused by mainstream Christianity than Mormonism is, again, not the strongest argument.

quote:
Christians believe that the Bible contains "all things necessary to salvation." Mormons have additional books that they consider scriptural, including the Book of Mormon.
This is questionable. The Book of Mormon is definitely more sacred than any extra-biblical book from a mainline tradition, but I wouldn't say that all Christians view the Bible as the only necessary text. Council So-and-So and Catechism Section Such-and-Such are probably quoted as much, if not more, than the Bible here in Purgatory (though perhaps only because of Kerygmania).

quote:
Salvation means different things to Christians and Mormons. Christians believe that Christ washed away our sins. We have different ideas on exactly how that works, but we are, I think, in essential agreement.
This is probably the weakest of the arguments you've presented. Christian sects differ most widely on issues of salvation, in my opinion.

HOWEVER, I do think that the differences in belief about the nature of God, the nature of Jesus, and belief in canonical extra-biblical texts can make a decent case for differentiating between LDS and traditional Christianity. After all, their creed's 13th article of faith apparently states that they believe in Mulder and Scully. If that's not proof of their evil-ness...

quote:
I've got a killer week here on several fronts, so if I don't respond quickly, I hope you'll understand.)

Ross

Completely understandable. I'm sure others will step in to argue the points in your stead until you return.

-PK
 
Posted by Bonaventura (# 1066) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
Yes, there are significant things within Mormon theology that differ from "traditional" or "mainstream" Christianity, but I'm not sure they differ much more than most Christian groups differ from each other.

In general there are greater similarities between the Christian, Islamic and Jewish doctrine of God than with mormonism. That is beacause all the Abrahmic faiths view God as the uncreated source of everything, while God for the mormons was once "like us" and that we ourselves can transmute into being God by nature and create our own universes.

Best,
 
Posted by SteveTom (# 23) on :
 
My personal definition of "Christian" includes anyone one considers themself a follower of Jesus. Under this definition Mormons obviously qualify, as do Protestants, Copts, Arians, etc.

If you want a stricter definition, there is acceptance of the seven ecumenical councils accepted by RC and Orthodox, but that criterion would exclude the majority of Protestants, historically speaking - which will be no loss to some I imagine but more of a problem for others.

Carys suggested
quote:
Not having 'another testament'?
which seems doubtful to me. Surely all Christians have another testament. The post-apostolic church deemed it appropriate to extend the canon to include apostolic and sub-apostolic writings. Protestants have further revised the canon. The immutability of scripture seems to me a doctrine impossible for any Christian.

As for new covenants, there are not one but a number in the Hebrew scriptures, another in the NT. Again, immutability on this point would not seem to be an obvious essential for Christianity.

As for doing good, this to my mind is a far more important distinction between Christian and non-Christian, but also quite a different one. Defining "Christian" as "morally good" would of course rule out a significant number of Christian leaders, and rule in plenty of Muslims, Hindus, atheists. Making it less than useful.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
quote:
38"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
39"Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40for whoever is not against us is for us.

I conclude that we should not try to stop anyone from saying they are Christians if they mean it sincerely.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
I conclude that we should not try to stop anyone from saying they are Christians if they mean it sincerely.

I think to say any given individual is not a Christian is a dodgy business, I agree. Looking at Mormonism's sacred works and accepted beliefs to say Mormonism is not, strictly speaking, Christian is a different matter, and I think acceptable to judge on the merits.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Urgh..... I don't want Laura or a host rightly yell at me again... Start a new thread [Razz]

I wasn't yelling, and certainly not as a Host. I'm just a thread participant here, and I was only expressing hope that this thread not end up as a debate on what is or is not Orthodox, rather than what is or is not Christian. To the extent what you were saying is relevant to that, I don't have a problem with it.
 
Posted by sharkshooter (# 1589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
...Looking at Mormonism's sacred works and accepted beliefs to say Mormonism is not, strictly speaking, Christian is a different matter, and I think acceptable to judge on the merits.

In fact I think we are required to...

quote:
I John 4: 1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
There are at least as many false prophets in the world now as when John wrote these words.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Laura, peace.

sharkshooter, this does not give an answer to who is a Christian and who is not... For example, I think that in Orthodoxy the authentic gospel lies (under dusted papyri, mind you [Razz] ), but this does not mean that I deny other denominations' Christianity... To put it differently, remember all these harsh words said between the first Reformers and the Roman Church? Well, I don't think that they are deprived of their Christianity simply because the one accused the other of being a false teacher!
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
I don't think you're disagreeing with Laura, sharkshooter. As I understand it, she's saying it is appropriate to question and examine Mormonism (and other beliefs) but that she wouldn't want to deny them the title of Christianity. Similarly, that's how I understand your bible verse. We were being instructed to examine statements and question them. For myself, I am definitely not persuaded by Mormonism.
Also, I'm curious how you interpret my bible verse.
 
Posted by sharkshooter (# 1589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
I don't think you're disagreeing with Laura, sharkshooter. ...

I wasn't meaning to disagree on the issue, just take it a step further.

I could have been more clear. Sorry.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Just as a matter of interest, are non-Mormons welcome at Mormon services (or do they call them meetings)?

Ian J.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Non-mormons and certain Mormons who haven't got special standing are not permitted at certain temple rites. I think the regular weekly services are open to all, tho'.
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
Non-mormons are welcome to the weekly services at their church buildings, though they look at you funny and sic their elders (young men*, in the LDS tradition) on you immediately after the service concludes.

The temple is off-limits to any non-Mormon at all times once it has been consecrated. Pre-consecration is the only time a non-Mormon is allowed in a Mormon Temple, which is why I dragged my wife along to the Manhattan temple a few years ago before it had been consecrated.

*Did I just make Sine want to become a Mormon?
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
Polite and tolerant as it may appear to be at first blush, I do not think that it is helpful to define as Christian any faith community that self-identifies as such since this approach could ultimately strip the word of any meaning. You can call a dog a cat, but if it doesn't purr like a cat or hiss like a cat or meow like a cat, it's not a cat.

At the very least, to be considered Christian a church should fairly closely adhere to the core beliefs that have been and continue to embraced by the vast majority of Christians.

Greta
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
So if Mormons grow until they represent a majority of those who call themselves Christians does that mean that the rest of us will then cede the name to them? Logically we should if it's really majority rule.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Gwai, excellent point! Not to mention the situation when the Reformation started... Were the Reformers of the same faith with the majority of Christians before them?
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
being in a religion that was started a few centuries ago seems equally weird to me!

AS it would to me. But then, I'm an Anglican so I don't actually know of any religions started a few centuries ago. I know of a couple of variations in Christianity (we call them denominations) that diverged from the main stream. But no new religions (in Engish as she is spoke, religion denominates a wholly new and separate thing -- Islam or Shinto. Subdivisions of Christianity don't qualify.) And nothing "started" as the word is used in normal English today.

Were you going to start that new thread so we can tangent together?

John
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
I think to say any given individual is not a Christian is a dodgy business, I agree.

Which is why I've tried to be careful to say that Mormon teaching is not Christian, but the teaching of the mainstream Protestant churches is Christian.

God is gracious. I imagine that many people have encountered God in Jesus Christ through Mormonism. I imagine many people have through Islam. That's not at all the same thing as saying that the teachings of those religions are Christian.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
Having been on the receiving end of "Your church isn't Christian because it doesn't agree with x or y theological point" has given me a lot more awareness of how hurtful it is to be called "not Christian" when you self-identify as Christian. Yes, there are significant things within Mormon theology that differ from "traditional" or "mainstream" Christianity, but I'm not sure they differ much more than most Christian groups differ from each other.

I was thinking about this last night as I went to sleep. Yes there are significant differences between and amongst denominations within `mainstream' Christianity, but on the whole there is a lot of overlap. A central bit on which will all agree and then various different bits of overlap within and amongst groups with not that much which is specific to one group and one group only. So Anglicans overlap with the RCs on some stuff but with the Presbyterians on other stuff and the Methodists on other stuff (and with all of them on other stuff). Whereas, whilst there is some overlap between Mormonism and `mainstream' Christianity, there's an awful lot that they believe that no mainstream Christian group does.

An example of the ways things overlap within the mainstream tradition: One thing which Methodism holds which is strange within Protestantism is the doctrine of Christian Perfection, but whilst this is strange for Protestantism (and maybe even for `Western' Christianity) it has close links to Orthodox ideas about Theosis (Wesley was a Greek scholar who read the Early Church Fathers).

quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
I conclude that we should not try to stop anyone from saying they are Christians if they mean it sincerely.

I think to say any given individual is not a Christian is a dodgy business, I agree. Looking at Mormonism's sacred works and accepted beliefs to say Mormonism is not, strictly speaking, Christian is a different matter, and I think acceptable to judge on the merits.
I think this is a key point in discussions of this nature. I am exceedingly reluctant to judge whether a specific person is or is not a Christian. Who am I to do so? How can I know? If they are trying to follow Jesus then fine. But when it comes to Churches/Groups etc, then it is a different matter. Assent to creeds is key for me, and if a non-credal tradition than at least not being anti-credal. So I'm much more comfortable including the Quakers than the Unitarians because whilst the Quakers don't have a creed they do not disbelief in the Trinity. One also has to be open to the possibility one might be wrong and be prepared to discuss things even when we disagree about the definition of Christian.

Carys
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Were the Reformers of the same faith with the majority of Christians before them?

Yes.

quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Urgh..... I don't want Laura or a host rightly yell at me again... Start a new thread

Have done.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
Were you going to start that new thread so we can tangent together?

What new thread? I forgot. I started one, and ken started one... Is there another issue still open? By all means, feel free to start one.
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
I did not intend to suggest that he concept of a Christian church is simply than a matter of current majority vote. The core beliefs of churhes that are considered Christian have been with us for nearly two thousand years. There is historical continuity, whose origins go back to the early church. Mormon departures from these core beliefs are a relative novelty.

Greta
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
CorgiGreta, but I am not an Orthodox Christian! [Biased] . In fact, as a protestant I am in no place to object to people who break with the establishment. In other words, while I agree that some Mormon teaching seem quite dodgy to me, I disagree that we can mark the denomination off on the grounds of a break in continuity.

Carys and ken, okay I can make peace with that. I am still not okay with dismissing churches as UnChristian but I am much much more okay about that than individuals so I will happily let that one rest.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
And until some point, blacks were enslaved and then segregated and shunned for the Curse of Ham, Noah's son. Women aren't to speak in church at all, and they are certainly not to disagree with their husbands. That equality is better espoused by mainstream Christianity than Mormonism is, again, not the strongest argument.

I don't have time to take on all of your points right now (sorry!), but I'll try to hit the high points.

Even enslaved blacks had the hope of Heaven. Even abused women had the faith that, in the final day, they would stand before God and hear, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." That's simply not the case with Mormonism, particularly since its caste system extends even to Heaven.

One may believe in Purgatory or not; there is no Biblical support whatever for different levels of Heaven. (Smith seems to have based this one on a misunderstanding of classical views of the cosmos.)

quote:
This is questionable. The Book of Mormon is definitely more sacred than any extra-biblical book from a mainline tradition, but I wouldn't say that all Christians view the Bible as the only necessary text. Council So-and-So and Catechism Section Such-and-Such are probably quoted as much, if not more, than the Bible here in Purgatory (though perhaps only because of Kerygmania).
Well, "Scripture, Tradition, Reason" is my faith tradition, but I don't know of any Christian denomination that would deny the primacy of the Bible. I revere the Book of Common Prayer; others value catechisms and councils -- but we all know that, without that biblical foundation, the rest of it would be pointless.

There are other problems with Smith's oeuvre, which can be addressed further if there's interest.

quote:
This is probably the weakest of the arguments you've presented. Christian sects differ most widely on issues of salvation, in my opinion.
And I could have done better on that argument. This
quote:
LDS: Believe Christ's death brought release from grave and universal resurrection. Salvation by grace is universal resurrection. Beyond this, man must earn his place in heaven. Saved by grace after all we can do. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23; Mormon Doctrine pp. 669-671)
BIBLE: Salvation is not limited to universal resurrection but gift of God to those who believe. (Rom. 1:16; Heb. 9:28; Eph. 2:8-9)

states it more clearly.

Mormons have different meanings for words like "redeemed" (according to utlm.org, "From mortal death only. Not same as Eternal Life. (Doctrine of Salvation, Vol. 2, pp. 10-15)"), "eternal life" ("Exaltation in Celestial Kingdom; godhood and ability to bear children in heaven. Must have a temple recommend and be sealed in Mormon temple. (D&C 131:1-4; 132:19-25, 30, 55)"), and "Kingdom of God" ("Means Celestial Kingdom. Only those in the Celestial Kingdom are in God's presence. Those in the Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdoms are not in the presence of the Father. (D&C 76:50-88; 131:1-4; 132:16-17)")
quote:
HOWEVER, I do think that the differences in belief about the nature of God, the nature of Jesus, and belief in canonical extra-biblical texts can make a decent case for differentiating between LDS and traditional Christianity. After all, their creed's 13th article of faith apparently states that they believe in Mulder and Scully. If that's not proof of their evil-ness...
I was going to say, "Nobody has ever said that they're 'evil,'" and then I clicked on the link:
quote:
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
It's a lovely sentiment, but it's one in which they easily fall just as short as do Christians. And while they "do good," they have been notorious for doing it only to their fellow Mormons for all but the very recent past, when they've extended some well-publicized charity to non-Mormons in extremis. As with grace, they believe that you have to earn the right to be treated with honesty, virtue and charity.

If "by their fruits you shall know them," you need to look at Mormon officialdom's penchant for excommunicating over relatively minor disagreements with policy (ERA supporter Sonia Johnson, Mormon historian Samuel Taylor, whose "Nightfall at Nauvoo" was overwhelmingly positive but, fatally, told some uncomfortable truths about Smith), and some Mormon history. (Beyond the Mountain Meadows Massacre and polygamy, check out Orrin Porter Rockwell, hitman to the prophets.)

Ross
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
In fact, as a protestant I am in no place to object to people who break with the establishment.

Ahh -- I take issue with this. The protestant reformation was nothing like as big a break with RCC tradition and doctrine as the Mormon religion. The reformers (to the extent one can generalize) were concerned with specific ways in which they perceived that the Church had grown distant from scripture and from what Jesus and the Early Church had set forth (the sale of indulgences, for example). They were also occupied with political matters such as the extent to which the Church's involvement in assorted Earthly matters was corrupting it. They were not claiming that there was a new Gospel or dramatically changing any central understanding of the Triune God.

None of this means that Protestants are so far from the original Church that we are not in a position to make truth claims as against groups like the LDS. I accept virtually all teachings of the RCC except that I reject the pope's authority to make infallible pronouncements, and I disagree with the requirement for priestly celibacy and the rejection of women's calls to ordained ministry (and probably several other things as well). But that makes me essentially a next-door neighbor to the RCC. The Mormons live in the next town over theologically.
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
I'd be willing to grant that Mormonism is clearly a religion that stands outside of the bounds of Christianity on the basis that they believe that God was a human who became our God, that we (men) will govern our own planets as gods someday, with our wives beside us to populate our new world, and that they have added to the canon in a significant manner (not just including or excluding different books but actually writing new books and canonizing them).

The third is demonstrable, but as far as I know, the first two are not. Can somebody point out where those two beliefs are claimed by the current Church of LDS? I'd prefer it if the source was not an "ex-Mormon" or otherwise negatively biased, and if the connection was direct and not implied. Otherwise, I find it hard to stand behind those claims/reasonings.
 
Posted by MouseThief (# 953) on :
 
Kirke people have already referred you to quotes from D&C and Pearl. What more do you want?

A former co=worker of mine, a Mormon and not an ex-Mormon, affirmed that their hymnal has a hymn that starts, "If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye...". All about the wonders of the planet where God was a little boy. Google that line.

[ 28. November 2006, 04:24: Message edited by: MouseThief ]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Sure, but what leads someone to think the fullness of Jesus isn't represented in the New Testament? More to the point, though, why would this happen? Did the early apostles and disciples really mess up so badly? Was there something defective about the revelation of God in Christ?

Snip...

They don't, though, at least, they don't believe that the Hebrew and Christian scriptures contain the full revelation, and Christians believe that the revelation of God in Jesus Christ was full and complete.

Ruth---I'm having trouble with this view, because:

First--the account we have of God's revelation in Christ (i.e., the Bible) is open to interpretation. Unless you are fundamentalist (which I know you aren't) it seems to me that "Did the early apostles and disciples mess up so badly?" is not really a relevant question.

Yes, it is. Yes, the Bible is open to interpretation. But even a text as flexible, various and multivalent as the Bible will only support so and so many interpretations. Some things it just does not support, among them the notions that we have a pre-mortal existence, that women get to go to the highest heaven only if their husbands want them to, and that God was once a man -- all things the writers of the New Testament should have mentioned, if they're true.

More generally, the question of whether we can trust the testimony of the Bible is relevant because it's the closest thing we have to the testimony of the people who witnessed the key events upon which Christianity turns. If they messed up really, really bad, I will be pissed -- I could be sleeping in and going out to brunch on Sunday mornings.

quote:
To my way of thinking, the revelation cannot be considered "complete" because it is not clear to everyone. When every knee bows, and every tongue confesses, THEN the revelation will be complete...
Perhaps "sufficient" would be a better word for the revelation as we have it in the Bible. But the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, however inadequately it has been understood by Christians throughout the ages, is, I think, a complete revelation of God. If it isn't, then Jesus wasn't fully God.

quote:
Second--I believe (and I have a lot of company) that God continues to reveal God's will to us through the work of the Holy Spirit in the world (i.e.,ongoing revelation).
Sure, me too. I don't think that negates my point about the complete revelation of God in Christ.
 
Posted by SteveTom (# 23) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CorgiGreta:
Polite and tolerant as it may appear to be at first blush, I do not think that it is helpful to define as Christian any faith community that self-identifies as such since this approach could ultimately strip the word of any meaning. You can call a dog a cat, but if it doesn't purr like a cat or hiss like a cat or meow like a cat, it's not a cat.

It's got nothing to do with being polite and tolerant, its about trying to get a definition of "Christian" that works, and many suggested on this thread, including your own, do not work because in trying to exclude Mormonism they exclude far more besides.

A cat without a voicebox is still a cat because it is not defined by the noises it makes but by its parentage and genetic make-up.

quote:
At the very least, to be considered Christian a church should fairly closely adhere to the core beliefs that have been and continue to embraced by the vast majority of Christians.
This seems as imprecise as the cats & dogs thing to me. The majority of Christians embrace e.g. the real presence, baptism (of infants), the importance of images, the primacy of the Pope, the filioque - which are rejected by a sizeable minority of those who are normally called Christians.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
I have two questions of any Mormons on board:
1. Has the Mormon church recognised the ecumenical creeds?
2. Do they as a regular practice take communion in other Christian churches, where this is permitted?

I hope you get an answer from a Mormon, but in the meantime, suppose the answers were No and Yes in that order. Do those answers define the right to the title of Christian? I know of many Christians who don't even know what the ecumenical creeds are -- are they Christian?

I grew up in a little, non-denom church where the closest thing we had to a creed was John 3:16. Many churches don't use creeds.

Also, how does point #2 relate to whether or not Mormons are Christians? I'm no fan of closed communion--but some Christian churches allow only their own members to receive communion, and don't allow them to receive it elsewhere.
 
Posted by CrookedCucumber (# 10792) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Theologically Islam and Christianity and Judaism are all much, much closer to each other than Mormonism is to Christianity.

Do you have a measure for `closeness' of religious doctrines? Presumably even to develop such a measure you have to decide on what the central points of doctrine are, and in doing that you've already prejudged the issue.

For example, the (admittedly few) Mormons I know all accept, as a central point of doctrine, the divine status of Jesus Christ, and the necessity of his death for human salvation. This is a point of doctrine shared by (at least these) Moslems, and just about every Christian I know; and most emphatically not shared by Jews and Moslems.

In short, you can only say that Mormons are `not Christian' by defining what it means to be `Christian' in such a way as to exclude Mormons. This seems, to me, to be a pointless exercise.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CrookedCucumber:
Presumably even to develop such a measure you have to decide on what the central points of doctrine are

As I said before I think you have to allow more importance to what is logically first - God. And come out in ever-increasing circles.

So the existence of God is at the centre of things. Then the nature of God, then the incarnation and Christology, then ideas of the Church and salvation and so on, with things like the language of liturgy relatively peripheral and who does the flower arrangments right at the outside.

The disagreement between Christian churches and the LDS is right at the centre of that logical structure. Its over the existence of God. They use the word "god" for a being who, if he existed, would not be God in the sense that Christians, Muslims and Jews use the word. Just as someone might use the word "god" for Odin or Jupiter. A local demiurge rather than the eternal omniscient and omnipotent God who is the first cause of all created things.

That short-circuits the rest of the argument.
 
Posted by sharkshooter (# 1589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
...Mormons have different meanings for words ...

This is one of the reasons it is difficult to discuss the sameness or difference. We may use the same words, but we mean different things by it.

It gets rather confusing.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
But I rather get the feeling that those you agree are Christians don't always mean the same thing when they speak either. Heck, just pick a fundangelical and a liberal from this very board and watch them talk past each other.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
I agree with Gwai. After all, some say that the Monophysite controversy was only a matter of words... Others say that the RCC-Orthodoxy controversies are also a matter of words...
 
Posted by MouseThief (# 953) on :
 
They are matters of words. And what the words stand for. That's true of all controversies that don't involve real estate.
 
Posted by GoodCatholicLad (# 9231) on :
 
For what it's worth, this is what I have heard about the LDS from
ex mormons and from the web. The founder Smith believed that
Christianity after Jesus had become corrupted, the RCC really messed it up, it was NOT what Jesus intended. They used that old fav " the scarlet whore of Babylon" or the other variations.

The Reformation muddied the water and made it worse, the Protestant churches were " the bastard children of the scarlet whore of Babylon" so you guys don't come off any better! So from their point of view Christianity simply didn't exist until Smith came along in the mid 19th century and had the truth revealed to him by the tablets. When he received the tablets or the golden plates Christianity, TRUE Christianity had been restored to how God wanted it in the first place.

It's interesting how that mirrors the founding of Islam. To create a new faith system a founder or founders have to "throw everything off the table" and start new. Everything before was wrong and we now have the truth, but past truths and tradtions need to be eliminated.

One other point, the LDS doesn't practice charity. Many churches,
Catholic, Protestant have charities, World Lutheran Federations and Catholic Charities come to mind. They operate many relief agencies, they don't ask if you are Lutheran or RC they just give.
In San Francisco the Franciscans operate a dining hall and feed thousands of people a month hot meals, the brothers don't ask if you are a believer or RC, they just feed, it's their charism.
From what I have seen and read Mormons help their own, that's not charity.

Another interesting tidbit, their temples which operate as their cathedrals don't allow any old slob in them, you have to have a certain pass that is based on what you give to the church, your social standing. Last time I checked anyone who ever you are can walk into St. Paul's in London.
So much for the idea that king or pauper, all are equal in the house of the Lord.

One last thing, my neice who was 19, met this boy and started dating, before long he had her baptized and she was attending services which are an eight hour commitment on Sundays. When the novelty wore off she started to backslide in her attendance. Services started at 10 am. If my neice wasn't there by 10:30 the phone started to ring, "sister Jill where are you? we miss you please pick up" Well by 11:30 the doorbell was ringing, "sister Jill we have come to pick you up we hope all is well". After several weeks of this my brother was getting annoyed. My brother thought when she joined it was just another denomination like
Church of Christ or Baptist until he started reading about their beliefs, he put a stop to it and by that time my neice was dating someone else and she didn't like the commitment anyways.

Time magazine a while back said that the LDS was worth over 400 billion dollars in CASH. They do pay income tax, Uncle Sam doesn't consider them a non profit tax exempt church. Anyone who can come up with a religion where there isn't any paid clergy or staff and the vast majority of the monies goes into the coffers at headquarters is pure freaking genius. The LDS fascinates me.
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
A Mormon contacted me, wishing to remain anonymous and to stay away from this thread (they compared their participation here to "skinny-dipping with sharks"). They gave me permission to share this with you all, so I am.

I have taken the liberty of bolding what I think are the most relevant excerpts:

quote:
For a general overview about Mormon beliefs pertaining to the nature of God and our relationship to Him, here is a link to a sermon given by Boyd K. Packer, who Mormons believe is one of the modern-day apostles, and can therefore be accepted as an authority on interpreting Mormon doctrine. This talk was given in October 1984 at the Mormon church's semi-annual general conference (when church leaders address the church membership as a whole). It addresses the issue of "Mormons as polytheists".

Other References

On God once being a man:

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.”

(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, pp. 345–46.)


On men and women becoming gods someday:

"And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have call power, and the angels are subject unto them."

(Doctrine & Covenants 132:19-20)

The sermon by Packer is rather enlightening, as it helps to connect the ideas that God was once a man and that men will all become Gods (these two are really the same issue). The synopsis of his argument is that since even small children understand that baby chicks become chickens, and baby puppies become dogs, that if we are the children of God, of course we will become gods. That's the "pattern of our parentage," as he says. Thus, God the Father will always be our father, and there is only one God who is our father, but we are all his children, and one day we will all grow to become full grown children of God, and thus, gods in our own right.

I think that at best this serves to put Mormonism at odds with almost all other self-proclaimed Christian organizations. Whether or not that makes them not Christian is probably still debatable, but using "Christian" to describe them probably alters the meaning of the concept/word.

Lastly, I spoke with a conservative evangelical yesterday about whether Mormons are Christians, and her answers interested me. When I asked her the question directly, she responded, "What's written in a book or online about Mormonism, no one really believes. Everyone's theology is different and in their own heart. Do i think some people who call themselves Mormons will go to heaven? Yeah. Do I think some won't? Yes.
A better question then, for me, is 'Will most Mormons go to heaven?'"

Her answer to her own question was, "It's really hard, I guess I feel like it's safer to say no they won't go to heaven, their theology is out of line with the Bible in major ways. But because I believe that part of the central part of their faith is accurate (belief in Jesus for salvation, etc.), I feel unable to answer."

It interested me mostly because her understanding of the meaning of "Christian" was "going to heaven" and I think that's different from most understandings of "Christian" here on this board.

[ 29. November 2006, 13:58: Message edited by: Professor Kirke ]
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
The position of the Church of England is that it recognises other churches which subscribe to the Nicene Creed as Christian. Cantuar locuta est... hang on that can't be right. Anyway, it strikes me as being a reasonably good rule of thumb.

I think Terry Eagleton is on the money about Mormonism, personally. It is a religious manifestation of American exceptionalism which can't quite come to terms with the fact that the most important events in salvation history took place in Judea and Samaria and Old Europe and Egypt and Babylon and not in the US, as they should have done.

[ 29. November 2006, 14:14: Message edited by: Callan ]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Prof. Kirke:

I'm awfully sorry that that shipmate felt unable to post something that uncontroversial here (that is, merely material confirming several key ways in which Mormon doctrine diverges from orthodox Christianity).

Again: I just don't get it. Mormonism is clearly different in key ways and Mormon teaching is that they've got it right and we've got it wrong, so why all the secrecy about that? It makes no sense, unless part of Mormon evangelism is to avoid bringing up these things in order to draw in converts from other Christian traditions, pretending that Mormonism is more "christian" in the orthodox sense that it is. But that seems dishonest. (Not saying that your correspondent is dishonest, I'm talking about the Mormons who come to my door and won't address those theological points).

I feel that people and faiths should be who they are, with feeling. If you're a Mormon, embrace the bizarro stuff with gusto and don't be shy about it. I'm not shy (if asked) about saying I believe mainline Christian stuff that my agnostic friends think is insane and regard me with gentle pity about.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
It is a religious manifestation of American exceptionalism which can't quite come to terms with the fact that the most important events in salvation history took place in Judea and Samaria and Old Europe and Egypt and Babylon and not in the US, as they should have done.

Oh?

cue organ prelude
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
on England's pleasant pastures seen....?


Probably not! [Devil]
 
Posted by Mr Clingford (# 7961) on :
 
But in our delusion, Laura, I don't think we invented a new religion/sect/whatever with a spanking 3rd Testament!
 
Posted by SteveTom (# 23) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
...one day we will all grow to become full grown children of God, and thus, gods in our own right.

I think that at best this serves to put Mormonism at odds with almost all other self-proclaimed Christian organizations.

It doesn't sound much different to theosis to me.

Unless you're including in that the doctrine that God was originally a human being, which simply does my head in. Where? When? Where did that man come from? Was he created by a God who was also previously a man? Is it turtles all the way down?
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SteveTom:
It doesn't sound much different to theosis to me.

Unless you're including in that the doctrine that God was originally a human being, which simply does my head in. Where? When? Where did that man come from? Was he created by a God who was also previously a man? Is it turtles all the way down?

I think it is. [Big Grin] And that's why it's different from theosis.
 
Posted by SteveTom (# 23) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
Oh?

cue organ prelude
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
on England's pleasant pastures seen....?


Probably not! [Devil]

Ha! Touché. It seems Blake genuinely believed that.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
on England's pleasant pastures seen....?


... is a rhetorical question with the expected answer "no".
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Duh, ken. But that doesn't mean that there aren't English exceptionalists -- as Steve T points out, Blake reportedly believed it. But I never meant a sort of bon mot to derail the thread. A thousand apologies. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SteveTom:
It doesn't sound much different to theosis to me.

After all, we do believe that Melchisedeck was without a father and without a mother and without a genealogy.... even though he was born the same way we are... because we affirm his theosis...

However, I do think that yes, the Mormon story probably is quite different from Orthodox theosis.

And the man walking in the garden was not God??? You mean the bible is not to be taken literally??? [Biased]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
andreas, that is a logically fallacious argument. Just because there are mythological and metaphorical elements in Judaism's ancient writings does not mean that we must accept as equally valid any representation of theological truth offered by anyone.

The most you can say is that having fantastic claims in scripture does not, in itself, render a religion clearly untrue. Nothing more. To say more, one needs to particularly consider each individual case.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
I don't disagree with what you just posted Laura. I did not claim that Mormonism is theologically true. I did however pointed out that they are not alone in making claims starting from literal readings of the bibles. There are some fundamentalist churches that do make claims (although different and less exotic ones, but false nevertheless) starting from literal readings of the bible.
 
Posted by chicklegirl (# 11741) on :
 
(Sigh) I'd better out myself, here. I was the one that sent Kirke the links. Diggory, sorry if it seemed as though I was trying to make you an errand boy; that was not my intent.

The reference about skinny-dipping with sharks was a joke, but apparently my delivery was too deadpan. [Disappointed] I'll have to work on that. My PMing Diggory in no way reflects an unwillingness to embrace my beliefs or stand up for them. As I commented on the Styx, it's rather entertaining to read what people think about my religion, and when they think I'm weird, I don't take it personally. After all, I think some of your beliefs are pretty weird, too, but I still enjoy the friendships I'm building here. I really like being a part of this community because I find that being friends with people who have different beliefs helps me to be more open-minded and compassionate. That, and the Knockout Quiz is a blast!

It is a joy to say that I believe I'm a Christian--despite popular opinion to the contrary--and I don't find my beliefs about the nature of God and being his child as described above to be at odds with my faith in Jesus Christ. I'm very comfortable in my religious skin; my faith, however much it embraces weird and "out there" theology, is my most prized possession. After having a large, hairy shirtless man brandish a shotgun at me while I was knocking on doors as a missionary in California, any ill-will on the Ship pales by comparison.

What I prefer to avoid (and hence my PM to Kirke instead of a post here) is engaging in a protracted and pointless defense of my beliefs. Purg is the place to argue, and any post here is an invitation to argument. The reason I've stayed silent is that I don't want to argue. I sent the links to Diggory because I trust his objectivity and I could tell that he was motivated by a genuine desire for accurate information rather than a drive to spar. I sent them, even knowing that they would probably put the nail in the coffin lid with regard to whether Diggory thinks Mormons are Christian. I wanted to be forthcoming, so that he could honestly make up his mind. Posting those beliefs here would have been different, because I think most of the rest here have already made up their minds, one way or the other. And while I do enjoy a healthy debate when I believe it serves a higher purpose, that does not apply here. No death or disaster will be averted if folks on the Ship change their minds about Mormons being Christian (at least, until you start feeding us to lions in the Circus). [Snigger]

After observing Purg for a while, it is my firm conviction that with rare exceptions, no one ever convinces anyone else here to change their POV, regardless of the topic. I don't have the conceit to think that I'm special enough to succeed where others have failed.

Trust me, if I was looking to convert anyone, I would have picked an easier crowd (maybe a coven of witches?) [Two face]

Apologies for the lengthy post; I'm aspiring to be more pithy but have far to go yet. Whatever you say about my church, I won't take it personally, so please carry on while I stay on the sidelines munching my popcorn and enjoying the show.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
chicklegirl [Overused]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Chicklegirl:

Thanks very much for the outing -- I pretty much knew it was you anyway, because of the tone of what Prof K posted -- reasonable and kind.

I think you should take from what myself and many have written that I wouldn't say you yourself are or are not Christian -- that's way above my pay grade, that sort of determination. IMV, the New Testament tells us whose job that is and what happens to those of us who go in for that sort of thing. [Help]

But anyway, I don't think this thread is about defending your beliefs. I think people are trying to figure out what Mormons believe, in order to compare/contrast these with orthodox Christian beliefs as expressed in assorted creeds and church councils. So it isn't about you personally. It's a, what.... educational opportunity? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by SteveTom (# 23) on :
 
Chicklegirl, without wanting to draw you into debate, I'd be grateful if you can fill us in a bit more about what you and your church believe.

In particular:
quote:
the doctrine that God was originally a human being, which simply does my head in. Where? When? Where did that man come from? Was he created by a God who was also previously a man?

 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
I have a few questions that I think have not been directly answered in this thread. Does the CoJCotLDS consider other churches to be Christian?
If considered non-Christian, what is the nature of the apostasy or heresy? If Christian, are they nontheless defective or misguided in some matters of faith, and if so, what is the nature of these deficiencies?

Greta
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
...Again: I just don't get it. Mormonism is clearly different in key ways and Mormon teaching is that they've got it right and we've got it wrong, so why all the secrecy about that? It makes no sense, unless part of Mormon evangelism is to avoid bringing up these things in order to draw in converts from other Christian traditions, pretending that Mormonism is more "christian" in the orthodox sense that it is. But that seems dishonest. ...

It is dishonest, but it is what the missionaries are taught to do, on the basis of "milk before meat:" babies are given easily digested milk for a long time before they can handle meat, and potential converts are in the same situation. They tend to wait until you're safely in the fold to share some of the more outre beliefs.

I really believe the Mormon-vs-Christian question can be reduced to the very basic question of God versus gods:

If you believe that God is One, eternal, uncreated, maker of the Universe and all that is in it from nothingness and not a box mix, and that the One God is known to us in three Persons, also uncreated and eternal, you may be a Christian.

If you believe that the god of this world is just the local franchisee, and that he was once a man, and that Adam is now a god, and that other men are now gods "in embryo," you may be a good person, and you may well be Heaven-bound, but you are not a Christian by any understanding or definition common in the world for most of the last 2000 years. And those understandings and definitions ought to count for something.

Professor Kirke: I assume I'm one of the "sharks" you mention, and I'm also someone who has tried to support my statements with links. The problem with your objections to sites run by ex-Mormons is that you're throwing out the original documents along with the people who've posted them.

You may dismiss Sandra Tanner and utlm.org, but the site has a wealth of carefully researched and really invaluable source material. (In fact, I know Mormons who use it on occasion because of that.) If something's true, and presented in its original context, it ought to be admissable as evidence on a discussion board.

Greta: See this page for the Mormon view of Christian churches. Smith and his successors taught a "universal apostasy." From utlm.org:
quote:
...In the B. of M., an angel told Nephi, "Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil" (I Nephi 14:10). Therefore, members of all other churches must belong to the church of the devil! LDS Apostle Orson Pratt clearly taught that idea when he wrote:

But who in this generation have authority to baptize? None but those who have received authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives baptism or the Lord's Supper from their hands will highly offend God; for He looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people. Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the 'whore of Babylon' whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornication and wickedness. And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent of the unholy and impious act (The Seer, p. 255).

Joseph Smith also said, "Will everyone be damned, but Mormons? Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent, and work righteousness" (T. of P.J.S., p. 119). ...

There, it seems to me, you have it: ecumenism is right out for the Mormons, because the rest of us are apostates and not Christian at all.

Ross
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Professor Kirke: I assume I'm one of the "sharks" you mention,

No, I don't think the comment was directed personally at anyone. Don't be so paranoid. It was a joke about how intimidating the 'angry majority' can seem. At least, that's why I included it in my repost of Chicklegirl's PM.

quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
I'm awfully sorry that that shipmate felt unable to post something that uncontroversial here

For what it's worth, I completely understood the desire to stay out of this thread. I won't speak for Chicklegirl, but as I see it, I don't think I'd want to feel like my identity was completely wrapped up in my being part of a particular minority viewpoint. I'd imagine that at some point you start getting a little tired of defending it.

quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
I'm also someone who has tried to support my statements with links. The problem with your objections to sites run by ex-Mormons is that you're throwing out the original documents along with the people who've posted them.

You may dismiss Sandra Tanner and utlm.org, but the site has a wealth of carefully researched and really invaluable source material. (In fact, I know Mormons who use it on occasion because of that.) If something's true, and presented in its original context, it ought to be admissable as evidence on a discussion board.

Of course it's admissable. And yes, for now I am throwing out the original documents with the people presenting them because I don't really trust the people presenting them.

I'm not extremely familiar with the Mormon texts, so I'd rather not try to base my opinions on them on someone who does know the text very well but has an obvious agenda. It's not that I think those sites are useless--it's just not where I want to start as I try to understand their religion.

quote:
quote:
Joseph Smith also said, "Will everyone be damned, but Mormons? Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent, and work righteousness" (T. of P.J.S., p. 119). ...
There, it seems to me, you have it: ecumenism is right out for the Mormons, because the rest of us are apostates and not Christian at all.
I don't hear how this is any different from "Will everyone be damned, but Christians? Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent"...

It raises an interesting question though. If you believe you are the only Christian sect of all which is saved, does it make you cease to be Christian?

[Edited to tone it down and say what I actually mean.]

[ 29. November 2006, 23:22: Message edited by: Professor Kirke ]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
And yes, for now I am throwing out the original documents with the people presenting them because I don't really trust the people presenting them.

With respect, this really doesn't make any sense, Prof Kirke. Seriously. As a scholar, I have to rely on original documents wherever they come from. Are you suggesting that quotes from Mormon scriptures are being somehow cooked up? Or is it not possible to you that Mormons might not themselves link to such documents such that it may be impossible to find such things on an Official Mormon site?

It's like early church documents that are not part of the canon. Certain Baptist sites won't provide links to them because they don't regard non-canonical books as reliable, but that doesn't mean you can't rely on them to support a viewpoint Baptists would oppose.

I genuinely don't understand your position. It's as if you are saying you will only accept offially approved Mormon-sponsored history here. That's no way to understand anything, any more than only reading negative sites would be a way to understand something.


[Confused]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
JAC: If the Tanners had altered the documents, trust me, you'd hear the screaming from here to Kingdom Come.

The real problem, from the Mormon point of view, is that things like Brigham Young's view of blacks -- "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110) from utlm.org's section on "Racism." -- is a terrible embarrassment.

If your point of view is simply, "Anyone who claims to be a Christian IS a Christian in my book," then that's one thing; there's probably no real point in talking about it. If you really do want to discuss it, then it seems to me that it's necessary to admit legitimate Mormon documents, no matter who happens to be making them available.

Ross
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
I think the issue is that there are a lot of living Mormon's around and Professor Kirke would rather start with a friendly understanding of their religious beliefs than one that might be taken out of context etcetera.

[ 30. November 2006, 03:17: Message edited by: Gwai ]
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
I think the issue is that there are a lot of living Mormon's around and Professor Kirke would rather start with a friendly understanding of their religious beliefs than one that might be taken out of context etcetera.

Sorry, that still doesn't make any sense. The original documents are the original documents. It doesn't matter who posted them or why, unless you somehow think they've been cooked up. I see no evidence that any of the linked originals have been cooked up.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Chicklegirl:

quote:
No death or disaster will be averted if folks on the Ship change their minds about Mormons being Christian (at least, until you start feeding us to lions in the Circus).
Exactly. There is an odd school of thought in Christianity which seems to think we can only be nice to people if they believe all the same things as us and therefore we will pretend that everyone believes the same things as us. I belong to the school which says that you can be perfectly nice to people who believe different things to you but that we ought to be honest about what people do believe.

Incidentally, quite apart from the myth of our Lord's visit to Glastonbury, King Alfred claimed descent from a close relation of Christ which means our own dear Queen is a blood relative of Jesus (and a direct descendant of Wotan, as it happens) and then there is the once fashionable phenomenon of British Israelitism which maintained that we Brits are the ten lost tribes of Israel. All of which stems from the fact that for most of the Biblical period Britain was as unknown as America.
 
Posted by SteveTom (# 23) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
And yes, for now I am throwing out the original documents with the people presenting them because I don't really trust the people presenting them.

With respect, this really doesn't make any sense, Prof Kirke. Seriously. As a scholar, I have to rely on original documents wherever they come from.
When Laura says "With respect..." my blood runs cold.

Isn't the point, Laura - with respect - that when say Richard Dawkins wants to discredit Christianity it's very easy to cherry pick bizarre and unpleasant verses form the Bible to prove that "Christianity says" that homosexuals should be executed and that God is a paranoid manipulative male psychopath.
And that if you want to know what a religion (Christianity, Islam, Mormonism) is, reading its texts is not enough, you need to hear from believers what they actually believe.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
I cannot see how one can honestly not consider both the documents and Mormon practice. Neither is relevant with the other. My fairly considerable (family-related) experience with Mormonism suggests that Mormon practice falls into three broad categories: what one might call mainstream, which is not incompatible with how most churchgoers operate, with perhaps a greater degree of involvement in weekday activities (Relief Society etc); more intense, such as is practised by those who have served as missionaries; and the inner circle, who are involved in temple stuff.

The first category is what most of us have met and dealt with-- to them the LDS scriptures are (perhaps slightly quirky) add-ons to the NT and OT. The other two categories have a closer relationship to LDS-specific scriptures and that is where we need to take the LDS texts as serious interpretive documents. The Tanners, like them or not, provide us with many of the less accessible texts and their context. LDS activists are unhappy with this, as they use denial as a helpful mechanism to bridge LDS authorities' claims to literal and absolute authority, over against some seriously problematic texts.

Mainstream Xians are used to a (technical use of this word) critical reading of the OT and NT, and many find it useful. LDS are less accustomed to the linguistic and textual analysis, and are finding that it presents a real challenge to the documents' credibility. And if the documents' creds don't hold up, then... house of cards and all that...
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SteveTom:
When Laura says "With respect..." my blood runs cold.

Isn't the point, Laura - with respect - that when say Richard Dawkins wants to discredit Christianity it's very easy to cherry pick bizarre and unpleasant verses form the Bible to prove that "Christianity says" that homosexuals should be executed and that God is a paranoid manipulative male psychopath.
And that if you want to know what a religion (Christianity, Islam, Mormonism) is, reading its texts is not enough, you need to hear from believers what they actually believe.

Well, of course. But one mustn't say "I refuse to consider the thoughtful opposition" either, even just to look at documents they use in support of their arguments". I'm talking of a holistic scholarly approach.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
But if PK gets most of his information from Rossweisse who has, I gather, already made up her mind, he will definitely have a biased view not a holistic view.

ETA: nothing personal intended towards Rossweisse at all. I only mean that people tend to support their own opinion.

[ 30. November 2006, 14:49: Message edited by: Gwai ]
 
Posted by MouseThief (# 953) on :
 
But the question wasn't about PK getting his information from Rossweisse. It was about source documents posted on the web.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
from someone who's already made up their mind and pointed out by Rossweisse.
 
Posted by MouseThief (# 953) on :
 
Okay, so if Rossweisse hands me a book of Mormon, that's somehow tainted evidence for what the Mormons believe? Too much.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
from someone who's already made up their mind and pointed out by Rossweisse.

By people who have made it their life's study to gather this information and make it available. And, yes, pointed out by me. What is wrong with that?

Yes, I have "made up my mind" that the Mormon religion is not Christian. I have done so based on a lot of reading and research. Utlm.org is one of the best sites out there, in my opinion.

If you're interested in the authentic history of the Mormon movement -- beyond martyrologies and one-sided accounts -- you're going to have to look beyond authorized Mormon sources. I recommend Nightfall at Nauvoo, a sympathetic but honest account of Smith's time in Missouri and Illinois, by Samuel W. Taylor.

Taylor was a Mormon in good standing when he wrote his history, but he was excommunicated after some in the hierarchy took exception to it. After you read it, you might find yourself wondering why.

Ross
 
Posted by mirrizin (# 11014) on :
 
Lots of churches have had nasty things said about them and reacted badly. To me, that says less about the LDS and more about institutions in general.

Though the book sounds like interesting reading. I'll keep an eye open for it.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Checking Amazon.com, it appears to be out of print, but available used from various vendors.

By the way, a couple of people have mentioned the "British Israelite" business. Smith was a subscriber to the idea that the Anglo-Saxons were the true Jews (along with the American Indians, the latter an idea that was floating around almost as early as Columbus), and that has been reflected in Mormonism ever since:
quote:
One aspect of the blessing is the designation of the person’s lineage. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, under EPHRAIM, states:

For Latter-day Saints, identification of a person's lineage in latter-day Covenant Israel is made under the hands of inspired Patriarchs through patriarchal blessings that declare lineage. Elder John A. Widtsoe, an Apostle, declared, "In giving a blessing the patriarch may declare our lineage—that is, that we are of Israel, therefore of the family of Abraham, and of a specific tribe of Jacob. In the great majority of cases, Latter-day Saints are of the tribe of Ephraim, the tribe to which has been committed the leadership of the Latter-day work. Whether this lineage is of blood or adoption it does not matter" (p. 73; cf. Abr. 2:10).

The patriarchal blessings of most Latter-day Saints indicate that they are literal, blood descendants of Abraham and of Israel. Those who are not literal descendants are adopted into the family of Abraham when they receive baptism and confirmation (see Law of Adoption). They are then entitled to all the rights and privileges of heirs (TPJS, pp. 149-50). This doctrine of adoption was understood by ancient prophets and apostles (e.g., Rom. 11; 1 Ne. 10:14; Jacob 5; cf. D&C 84:33-34). ...

(Full citation here.)

Ross
 
Posted by anteater (# 11435) on :
 
Are we allowed to target a question at ChickleGirl? I don't want to be agressive, but it really interests me and it is this:

Do you, and Mormons you know, want to be identified as basically of the same religion as Anglicans, Orthodox, URC, etc? I'm a "sort of" Anglican, and am quite happy to identify, in discussion with RCC or Orthodox. Currently, I have to say, not with LDS. But this is partly a reaction to the feeling that you wouldn't want to identify with us. Not as people, I can imagine you can separate your thoughts about a person and their church affiliation. I'm specifically asking if you view our Churches as essentially the ame religion as your own.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chicklegirl:
I'm very comfortable in my religious skin; my faith, however much it embraces weird and "out there" theology, is my most prized possession. After having a large, hairy shirtless man brandish a shotgun at me while I was knocking on doors as a missionary in California, any ill-will on the Ship pales by comparison....

I do hope it wasn't you I was rude to. Two Sisters from the LDS Church came to my door back in the late 90s, back when I was going through my very staunch bible-banging phase. I dumped a bunch of Mormon questions on them that were put as to be off-putting and they both ran away from me. I need to find a way to be kind yet to adhere to the verse that states "do not let anybody in your house who preaches a false doctrine" (at work, please forgive me at the moment for not remember where the said verse is).

I am so glad chicklegirl that you have not been scared away and choose to participate. It means a lot to me. [Smile] My chiropractor is Mormon and we are forever trying to convert each other to each other's faith...

Me being single and 39, I think if I were a Mormon, I would not be...fruitful. I think I am past my prime for them! Hehe. Sorry, lame joke...back to work now...

(hash out calls...argh)
 
Posted by chicklegirl (# 11741) on :
 
As a student of history, I agree with Laura and Rossweisse on the importance of amassing as much relevant documentation as possible, from all sides of an issue. That said, a smart researcher will take into account not only the reliability of a given document based on the biases of the author, but also its weight in terms of significance. This is especially true when reading religious texts, whether they be scripture or commentary by religious leaders.

In the context of studying Mormon doctrine this holds true. In determining what Mormons affirm as their doctrine, the greatest weight must be given to our cannonized scripture (the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price). Secondary in authority are addresses given by our prophets, apostles and seventy during general conference, when Mormon leaders address the general church membership to provide clarity and direction on specific points of doctrine. As these conferences have been held twice yearly for over a century, there's a large library of material to draw from for explanation about Mormon doctrine, much of it available on lds.org. Any other source including, but not limited to, Journal of Discourses, Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, or other books containing unofficial writing by those same leaders is not cannonized and therefore cannot be relied upon as an authoritative source for official Mormon doctrine. Many Mormons do believe the things contained in Journal of Discourses and other historical or unofficial sources, and those writings certainly have their value, but they haven't been recognized by the Mormon church as scripture or doctrinally definitive. So, just because something is a "document", doesn't justify its validity or veracity (after all, the National Enquirer is a document). [Eek!]

A few of you had questions, and I'll do my best to answer them.

quote:
Originally posted by SteveTom:
I'd be grateful if you can fill us in a bit more about what you and your church believe.

In particular:
quote:
the doctrine that God was originally a human being, which simply does my head in. Where? When? Where did that man come from? Was he created by a God who was also previously a man?

This is a good question, and honestly, I don't know the answer. I'm quite curious about it myself, but my personal study has yielded little that I feel I can accept as authoritative. I do know that Mormon scripture has nothing overt to say--only the inference about God's origin in that we, as his children, can become like him (see the scripture reference I provided for Professor Kirke, from Doctrine & Covenants 132). Joseph Smith and Lorenzo Snow, who was a prophet in the late 1800s, both commented on God once being a man (see the quote from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith in my previous post). The idea is accepted as doctrine by Mormons, and has been mentioned in general conference talks, but there is little elaboration in the official doctrinal sources.

quote:
Originally posted by CorgiGreta:
Does the CoJCotLDS consider other churches to be Christian? If considered non-Christian, what is the nature of the apostasy or heresy? If Christian, are they nontheless defective or misguided in some matters of faith, and if so, what is the nature of these deficiencies?

Yes, Mormons believe that other churches who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ are Christian. We do not recognize the priesthood authority of those churches to perform the ordinances we believe are necessary for salvation, such as baptism. We believe that at the time that the last of Jesus' apostles died, the power of the priesthood (the authority to perform ordinances and act in the name of God) was taken from the earth, but was then restored to Joseph Smith by Peter, James and John, and John the Baptist in the spring of 1829. This link provides some basic information about that.

In Doctrine & Covenants 1:30, Mormons believe that God says we are "the only true and living church upon the face of the earth." This is strong language, but rather than a mean-spirited attempt to say "we're better than you because our priesthood/baptism/doctrine is better than yours" (although I've definitely met some of my fellow Mormons who act that way) we believe it's simply a direct statement from God that Mormons doctrine is more complete because we believe in a living prophet and apostles who provide current and continuing revelation, that we have other doctrines unique from the rest of Christianity, and that we believe our priesthood came directly from apostles who had the authority given to them by Christ. [Please note that this is not a personal attack; just a statement about doctrine.] We do absolutely believe that there are many good people outside our faith, both Christian and otherwise, and we believe in being "in the world but not of the world". Sadly, I think too many Mormons focus on being "not of the world" and forget the part about being in the world, and thus tend to be cloistered and judgemental of those outside their faith. (And yes, that last part is just my personal opinion, not Mormon doctrine.) [Big Grin]

quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
Do you, and Mormons you know, want to be identified as basically of the same religion as Anglicans, Orthodox, URC, etc?

I can only answer for myself on this one, although I do know other Mormons who feel much the same as I do. Yes, I want to be identified as Christian, a believer in and (trying to be) a follower of Christ. I believe, as James said, that "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." I do have some ideas different from the rest of you about what that means and I'm not ashamed to be Mormon and embrace the differences that entails (weirdness and all!)

Oh, and Duchess, honey--don't sweat it. I'm sure you were a source of character-building experience (like my shirtless hairy gun-totin' dude). Clearly, you have repented. Just remember the phrase: "Thank you for your time, but I'm not interested." [Biased]

Hope this information is useful.
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
Chicklegirl,

Are you saying that according to the LDS view, my church (the ECUSA/TEC) may be Christian, but that I am be denied salvation until I am baptised by member of the Mormon priesthood? This makes no sense to me. If you accept the notion that the Episcopal Church "follows the teachings of Jesus Christ" (a very slippery criterion), how can you simultaneously believe that its members are all Hell-bound?

Will the CoJCofLDS permit me to drop by one of the temples for a quick no-questions-asked baptism without my leaving the Episcopal Church and my conversion to Mormonism?

Greta

[ 30. November 2006, 20:59: Message edited by: CorgiGreta ]
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
Sorry, just catching up after a busy horrible day.

Of course, Laura, Ross and Mouse--if I really want to get an idea of what Mormons believe, I could locate a copy of each of their actual documents and read them for myself. I agree that this would be the most holistic, scholarly approach to the matter in general.

Instead, I'm here talking with people about whether Mormonism is a Christian religion (a better question than "are Mormons Christians" probably). I don't think that anyone should start their exploration of a religious belief system (or anything, for that matter) with a long list of negative horribles compiled by an angry dissenter with an axe to grind.

The original texts are the original texts, but if you're going to have someone point out which passages of the text are relevant to the discussion, I'd like to start out by hearing the defense make their presentation and then later consider the prosecution's charge, in light of the foundational understanding I've come to.

Sites like the one Ruth linked to earlier in the thread are much more helpful in forming an initial understanding because of how they try to remain somewhat neutral.

This is especially true when trying to understand a specific charge brought against a religion. If you heard that John Smith allegedly stole $10,000, it will probably be best for your investigation to avoid the neighbor's house who has a giant "I Hate John Smith" banner hung on his house and who maintains johnsmithisadumbliar.com in their spare time. Their testimony isn't invalidated on account of their emotion but the evidence it produces is weaker, in my opinion.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chicklegirl:
...just because something is a "document", doesn't justify its validity or veracity (after all, the National Enquirer is a document).

Chicklegirl, I hope you're not really comparing the words of Mormon apostles like Bruce McConkie -- author of the standard reference Mormon Doctrine, and widely cited by Mormon apologists -- to the contents of a notorious tabloid!

quote:
the doctrine that God was originally a human being, which simply does my head in. Where? When? Where did that man come from? Was he created by a God who was also previously a man?
quote:
This is a good question, and honestly, I don't know the answer. I'm quite curious about it myself, but my personal study has yielded little that I feel I can accept as authoritative. I do know that Mormon scripture has nothing overt to say...
The Adam-God Doctrine came from Brigham Young, as even McConkie, who long denied it, finally admitted. The notion that God was once a man apparently originated with Smith.

quote:
Yes, Mormons believe that other churches who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ are Christian. ...
In Doctrine & Covenants 1:30, Mormons believe that God says we are "the only true and living church upon the face of the earth." This is strong language, but rather than a mean-spirited attempt to say "we're better than you because our priesthood/baptism/doctrine is better than yours"...

Pearl of Great Price says differently, as does the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
quote:
...The Mormon church definitely teaches that all other churches are in a state of apostasy. More than fifty pages of the introduction to the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are devoted to proving that all churches except the Mormon church are in apostasy. The following, for example, is found on page XL: "Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Mormons claim that in 1820 God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ visited Joseph Smith and told him that he "must join none" of the churches, "for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an
abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof'" (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:18-19). ... (utlm.org)

Chicklegirl, I believe you're sincere -- not just friendshipping us -- and a good person. I've enjoyed your posts on other boards, and I appreciate the difficulty of your position here, having to defend your religion singlehandedly! But I think your ideas do not entirely mesh with those of the hierarchy of that religion. "Complete apostasy" means that the Christian churches are not really Christian churches, in the opinion of every Mormon official from Smith on down.

quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:
...Instead, I'm here talking with people about whether Mormonism is a Christian religion (a better question than "are Mormons Christians" probably). I don't think that anyone should start their exploration of a religious belief system (or anything, for that matter) with a long list of negative horribles compiled by an angry dissenter with an axe to grind. ...

I'm sorry, PK, but I don't think you're really interested in a discussion. If all you want is the official Mormon point of view, I'm sure there are plenty of eager young missionaries ready to come out to your house and provide it.

If you genuinely want to investigate the background of the issue and the reasons that many educated, reasonable and theologically liberal people might deny Mormonism a place in Christianity, you can't do it without reading things that the missionaries won't provide. I think it's intellectually dishonest of you to pose the question and then object to the evidence presented you.

You asked for "credible links." Well, you've got them: links that quote the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and other acknowledged Mormon sources. If you find excuses for dismissing them, it seems to me, it's because you're looking for excuses to dismiss them. Please pardon me if I've mistaken you in this.

Ross
 
Posted by chicklegirl (# 11741) on :
 
Since I'm seeing the sign for "exchange of useful information" in my rearview mirror, I'm catching the next exit.

Have a nice weekend, all! [Cool]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Is it no longer "useful information" when the actual words of the "prophets, seers and revelators" are cited and linked to, Chicklegirl? It seems to me that this has been an unusually polite, respectful, and useful exchange. I am truly sorry that you have chosen to withdraw.

Ross
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
This discussion Is interesting to me but when it's one against so many--I probably wouldn't stay either.
 
Posted by GoodCatholicLad (# 9231) on :
 
I find this whole discussion fascinating. When I brought up a Mormon funeral ceremony I attended in Ecc'les, I was admonished that it was verboten to even consider the idea that the LDS wasn't xtian. The PC police were ready to kick my backside!

What I wonder is how does the church introduce their beliefs and concepts to the seeker? Even the most unchurched have a basic idea of xtianity just by being a citizen of a western country. Talking about many gods and universes and having the opportunity to become a god is not one of them! I would imagine it would sound pretty radical to a seeker even if that person's knowledge of xtianity only went as far as few sunday school visits when they were 10.

Only in America could someone come up with a religion that says play your cards right and you too can become a god!
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
If we had more than one Mormon responding, things would be better. Maybe someday we will have more and things will be more fair and equitable in exchanges.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
We're allowed to say that Mormons aren't Christian--see what many people have said here! Just not in the wrong places.
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
What GCL just said! Look, I want to repeat the distinction between judging a person who happens to subscribe to the Morman religion and making a judgement on that religion as a whole. The LDS/Mormon Church is not part of the Christian Church Catholic by any stretch of anyone else's collective Christian reckoning. The magisterial authority of the RCC, Orthodox, Anglican Communion, Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and every Trinitarian protestant body cannot recognise the LDS as a body within the Una Sancta. They don't teach by any stretch of the imagination what the Church teaches about the nature of Creation, God, Redemption. This is not to deny the personal virtues of individual Mormons, or anything that is true in their faith, but they are to the Church Catholic in the same position as members of heretical derivatives such as Islam.
 
Posted by Comper's Child (# 10580) on :
 
Amen, Alleluia!
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by GoodCatholicLad:
...What I wonder is how does the church introduce their beliefs and concepts to the seeker?

Again, it's the "milk before meat" approach. They only share the less controversial elements. And if you tell the missionaries at your door, "Thank you, but I'm a Christian," the instant response is always (in my experience), "We're Christians, too -- just like you!"

Despite this being a culture built on a Christian foundation, an awful lot of people don't really know very much about what their churches believe and teach. That gives them an insufficient basis for fairly evaluating Mormonism's claims.

When I emerged from my personal season of being proselytized, I realized that I knew more about Mormonism than I did of Christianity in general and Anglicanism in particular. That inspired me to read and study, and to accept my faith anew from an informed perspective.

Ross
 
Posted by SemiFae (# 11972) on :
 
Of the adults I knew in my teens the one who was most Christian in her lifestyle and attitude to others was a mormon. She continues to be an inspiration to me though I have not seen her for many years.

I grew up understanding 'Christian' to mean one who believed in Christ and by that definition recognised Mormons as Christians.
 
Posted by G. Ratte' (# 9006) on :
 
Eh. IMO, Joseph Smith was just a scam artist; and his whole schtick was an excuse to be a horny old goat. Sadly, it worked.

OOH! JOSEPH SMITH EXPOSE! SHOCKING!
 
Posted by CrookedCucumber (# 10792) on :
 
I am extremely confused (again; sigh).

How is it logically possible to uphold the prerogative of an individual Mormon (or any other kind of believer) to use the word `Christian' to describe himself, while denying that the religion he follows is entitled to that same designation?

It is logical -- perfectly logical -- to say: `I believe that your actions are compatible with a Christian life, but your creeds are not Christian'. And maybe that is what people who express the sentiment above really mean.

But if you believe that assent to some credal proposition is essential to the definition of `Christian', then you just can't use the word `Christian' to describe either an individual or a Church that rejects that proposition. This isn't a matter of doctrine, simply a matter of logic.

Or is it being proposed that individual Mormons hold beliefs that are different from the Mormon Church as a whole?

I just can't get my head around it.

If you hold that individual Mormons are entitled to describe themselves as Christians (as I, for one, certainly do), then I just don't see how you can deny that label to the Mormon Church in general. It's just illogical.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CrookedCucumber:
I am extremely confused (again; sigh).

How is it logically possible to uphold the prerogative of an individual Mormon (or any other kind of believer) to use the word `Christian' to describe himself, while denying that the religion he follows is entitled to that same designation?

Because Christian has a range of meanings and can be either a noun or an adjective. In some other languages these have different forms. The noun Christian (in Welsh Cristion) at its root means `follower of Christ' and I am not prepare to make a call on that about other people and do not want to get into `salvation by creed'. The adjective Christian (in Welsh Cristnogol) means (amongst other things) `of or pertaining to Christianity'. Now, I think that there are certain doctrines which are central to Christianity and are needed to make proper sense of who Christ is and what he has done for us. Therefore I retain Christian/Cristnogol when talking about groups/organisations to those who uphold the traditional creeds. Mormonism does not (and has various additional things to be believed) and therefore I think it misleading to call it Christian. It has its roots in Christianity but has gone further than that.

Carys
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CrookedCucumber:
Or is it being proposed that individual Mormons hold beliefs that are different from the Mormon Church as a whole?

That is certainly the case. The LDS have been around for long enough that there are now large numbers of ex-Mormons, almost-but-not-quite-Mormons, people brought up as Mormons but who no longer practice, cultural Mormons who don't neccessarily believe and so on. Just like any other religion. There are even non-realist liberal Mormons whose beliefs are pretty much the same as some non-realist liberal Christians.
 
Posted by CrookedCucumber (# 10792) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
The noun Christian (in Welsh Cristion) at its root means `follower of Christ' and I am not prepare to make a call on that about other people and do not want to get into `salvation by creed'.

[...]

Now, I think that there are certain doctrines which are central to Christianity and are needed to make proper sense of who Christ is and what he has done for us. Therefore I retain Christian/Cristnogol when talking about groups/organisations to those who uphold the traditional creeds.

Sure, one can avoid the logical problem by assuming that Christian(-ity) means one thing when describing individuals, and another thing when describing movements or churches.

But since movements are made of individuals, I don't see why it is appropriate to make this distinction. If all the members of a movement are to be described as `Christians' (or followers of Jesus Christ), why can the movement itself not be so described?

I suppose it is (just about) logically possible for a movement to be made up exclusively of Christians and not, in itself, be Christian. If, for example, everybody in my local karate club were (coincidentally) a Christian, that would not make the karate club itself a Christian body (I guess). But a church (any church) defines itself by the views of its members, doesn't it? So I don't think that analogy works.

I say this with a certain amount of hesitation, but it seems to me that a bit of linguistic flummery is involved in this discussion, in order not to give offence. Of course, that's a laudable goal, but I wonder if it just muddies the waters?

As I said, I can't in all honesty describe Mormons as Christians while at the same time describing Mormonism as non-Christian. If I accept individual Mormons as Christians, as I do, then I feel I am compelled to accept Mormonism as a denomination (albeit a rather unconvential one) of Christianity. The only logical alternative is to deby `Christian' status both to individual Mormons and to the Mormon Church, and I'm just not in any kind of position to do that. It isn't my job.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SemiFae:
[snip]

I grew up understanding 'Christian' to mean one who believed in Christ and by that definition recognised Mormons as Christians.

You cannot simply invent definitions. Just about anyone with a basic education believes in the historical person of Jesus, but that does not make them Christian.

K.
 
Posted by CrookedCucumber (# 10792) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by SemiFae:
[snip]
I grew up understanding 'Christian' to mean one who believed in Christ and by that definition recognised Mormons as Christians.

You cannot simply invent definitions. Just about anyone with a basic education believes in the historical person of Jesus, but that does not make them Christian.

All definitions are `invented'. The meaning of the word `Christian' is not emblazoned on a mountainside in holy fire -- somebody invented it.

Where there is a really broad consensus about what something means, you'd be a bit silly to hold to a different meaning in the face of that consensus.

I dispute that the word `Christian' is in that linguistic category. That fact disputes like this freqently break out here is evidence of that.
 
Posted by CorgiGreta (# 443) on :
 
There may not be a precise definition of a word, particularly at the edges, but if something is so far from the basic definition of the word, the call is easy. I consider this to be the case with Mormonism.

While I cannot give a precise definition of "Anglican", if I were to come across a self-described Anglican church that rejects the creeds, the the sacraments, the three-fold order, and the historic episcopate, I would not consider it to be Anglican.

Also, roots prove nothing. The Unitarians have Christian roots.

Greta
 
Posted by Professor Kirke (# 9037) on :
 
There's talk of Mormon theology on another thread, so I'm *bump*ing this one for people to visit if they'd like to add to the understanding/discussion of Mormon vs. Christian etc.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CrookedCucumber:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by SemiFae:
[snip]
I grew up understanding 'Christian' to mean one who believed in Christ and by that definition recognised Mormons as Christians.

You cannot simply invent definitions. Just about anyone with a basic education believes in the historical person of Jesus, but that does not make them Christian.

All definitions are `invented'. The meaning of the word `Christian' is not emblazoned on a mountainside in holy fire -- somebody invented it.

Where there is a really broad consensus about what something means, you'd be a bit silly to hold to a different meaning in the face of that consensus.

I dispute that the word `Christian' is in that linguistic category. That fact disputes like this freqently break out here is evidence of that.

Too late to go looking it up, and I'm too tired, after reading all four pages of this thread!

But, wasn't "christian" a derogatory title assigned (by orthodox Jews) to the heretical Jews of the early church? Wasn't Antioch the place where the term was first coined? And weren't the first "gentile" converts to "christianity" supposed to submit to circumcision, and follow all the Jewish eating restrictions, holy days, etc? But it was Paul who pushed for the relenquishing of strictly Jewish practices in the cases of gentile's converting to "christianity." Therefore, right from the getgo, you had at least TWO types of "christians": the Jewish heretics, and the gentile converts from Grecco-Roman paganism.

The term "christian" did not mean the same thing for all members in the primitive church. They associated together as if members of a single religious body (believers in Christ as their God and Savior): yet they did not practice all the same religious rituals/laws.

After 2,000 years, Christianity is a fragmented, diverse body of believers in Jesus Christ as God and Savior. All other sectarian tenets are of no consequence in defining who is a Christian: only an individual claim to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, God and Savior, should be the deciding factor: even practice cannot decide that, for there are good and bad Christians. There are simply too many differences in tenets and doctrines to make a hard demarkation: "On this side, Christians, and on this side, professors only but not real Christians."

And even if theoretically you could draw such a demarkation, who in this world has the authority to do it? And who is going to recognize (agree) on the authority to draw such a hard line definition of who is and who is not a Christian?
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
I noticed, reading through the above, that several of yous wanted Mormons to chime in. I am a Mormon, though classify myself as a practicing (for the sake of family unity) "cultural" Mormon. I am very well versed in church history and doctrine, if I do claim so myself.

So, if anyone has questions they would like a Mormon to respond to, ask away. (I do not have an agenda for or against the church, so I should be as close to an "informed, impartial insider" as you are likely to find.)
 
Posted by 206 (# 206) on :
 
quote:
I should be as close to an "informed, impartial insider" as you are likely to find.
I have several Mormon work acquaintances/friends who are kind caring individuals: 'good people'. I'd even say they're better than average in that regard. Based on the little I know Mormonism seems to be a bit heavy-handed theologically: my impression is you must assent to several rather esoteric doctrines to be in good standing.

Assuming that's not inaccurate (correct me as needed) is there much dissent in the rank and file? Or do these good people just consider it part of the baggage likely to be connected to any denomination or sect?

Is significant reform necessary? Brewing?

[tyop]

[ 04. May 2007, 11:35: Message edited by: 206 ]
 
Posted by mirrizin (# 11014) on :
 
quote:
Originally Posted by MerlinTheMad:
But, wasn't "christian" a derogatory title assigned (by orthodox Jews) to the heretical Jews of the early church?

Yes, not only this, but I think I've heard the same said of the titles "Jew," "Mormon," and I know for a fact that it was the origin of the term "Methodist." All of these were labels generated externally by outsiders.

I think this is why some LDS folk of my acquaintance insist on being referred to as the "Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints" rather than to as "Mormon Church."

ETA:

quote:
Originally Posted by 206:
Is significant reform necessary? Brewing?

I know that the LDS church has changed a lot of their beliefs over the past century to become more mainstream, softening up on some of their more strict beliefs regarding patriarchy, race, polygamy, and other things. So in one sense, reform has been happening.

Of course, one must distinguish between the mainstream church of latter day saints and the fundamentalist church of latter day saints in this regard.

[ 04. May 2007, 13:59: Message edited by: mirrizin ]
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
A little historical background: The depiction of Mormons as outside the Christian faith did not come from Christians as much as from Mormons. The LDS began as a refutation of Protestant Christianity, and continues to be a reaction/rebuke to what Jo. Smith considered to be errors in orthodox Christianity. The early Mormon writings are ripe with some of the most scathing denunciations of Christians, as well as ritualistic mocking of Christian clergy.

That being said, the LDS is evolving. Trying to nail down their theology is extraordinarily difficult because, despite the existance of an autocratic patriarchial "prophet", there is no clear consensus on "who speaks for the church." There is tremendous diversity in their theology as understood by the laity, academics, their sacred writings, and their prophet's pronouncements. Some are, from an orthodox Chrisitan pov, quite disturbing, others not so far afield. The newly established dialogue between the LDS and evangelical Christians, and the LDS desire to be perceived as Christian may be considered either alarming/disturbing, or encouraging/hopeful, depending on your pov and speculation re: the motives behind it.

One thing I would like to see within LDS in order to continue the evolution/dialogue is a move away from a pattern of historical revisionism and secrecy, including full financial disclosure.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by 206:
quote:
I should be as close to an "informed, impartial insider" as you are likely to find.
I have several Mormon work acquaintances/friends who are kind caring individuals: 'good people'. I'd even say they're better than average in that regard. Based on the little I know Mormonism seems to be a bit heavy-handed theologically: my impression is you must assent to several rather esoteric doctrines to be in good standing.

Assuming that's not inaccurate (correct me as needed) is there much dissent in the rank and file? Or do these good people just consider it part of the baggage likely to be connected to any denomination or sect?

Is significant reform necessary? Brewing?

[tyop]

I don't sense discontent from where I live. The discontented ones go away. Most only have a few parting comments to offer: few are militant enough to fight the church.

Reform is ongoing. If you compare the religon of today with Brigham Young's church, it is very different. Most of the controversial doctrines of then are no longer practiced or taught, or even referred to anymore. Only the well-read even know of them (except polygamy, of course, which itself is not understood as it was practiced).

The theology isn't any more heavy-handed than basic Christian theology. The Mormon "slant" on theology is different is significant ways; but those differences are mostly exaggerated beyond their final implications. I.e. people make too much of them: Mormons like to place their theology into "revealed" religion; outsiders look upon Mormon theology as so wildly divergent that we can't properly be called Christians. Both views are extreme and mistaken on that basis. Imho, Mormon theology is no more profound, revealed or correct, than any other theology. And also no less logical or less grounded in what seems reasonable/believable to the faithful.
 
Posted by Custard. (# 5402) on :
 
I should probably say that although I still think Mormons are a wacko sect from a historical point of view, their anthropology makes a lot more sense having read the last few books in Orson Scott Card's Ender saga.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
A little historical background: The depiction of Mormons as outside the Christian faith did not come from Christians as much as from Mormons. The LDS began as a refutation of Protestant Christianity, and continues to be a reaction/rebuke to what Jo. Smith considered to be errors in orthodox Christianity. The early Mormon writings are ripe with some of the most scathing denunciations of Christians, as well as ritualistic mocking of Christian clergy.

I think there is enough name-calling to go around in that period of the 19th century. It is true JS tried to push the "Reset" button on Christianity, but that certainly wasn't unique to his movement in the 19th century in the US. That's why we have so many different types of Baptists in the US--some consisting of only a few small congregations. The attempt to "restore" the early church in the present day was endemic to the spiritual milieu of the time.

I think most Mormons consider themselves orthodox Christians--in the sense they would define those terms. Most Southern Baptists, most Seventh-Day Adventists, and most (fill-in-the-blank) members would also consider themselves to be orthodox and Christian--even if they would not describe each other as being so. In all the polemical writings of the time which I have seen, people were indeed scathing in their denunciations of whatever did not fit their version of Christianity.

Still, I don't know of any other group which had an "Extermination Order" from a state government directed at them.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
As a former cultist I know right well that Christ + is always Christ -
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
A little historical background: The depiction of Mormons as outside the Christian faith did not come from Christians as much as from Mormons.

This needs qualifying: Mormons always preached the stance that they were enemies to nobody, and that they allowed all others to worship as they pleased and expected the same from them. They have never associated as part of the Christian body of extant religious sects, being a revealed (refreshened) fullness of original Christianity. It wasn't so much being "outside", as being the full Monty compared to the rest of Christianity. At no point, did Mormon teachers ever label any other religious sects as "not Christian" because of perceived shortcomings.

quote:
The LDS began as a refutation of Protestant Christianity, and continues to be a reaction/rebuke to what Jo. Smith considered to be errors in orthodox Christianity.
Again, that is an outsider perception of Mormon attitudes. And it doesn't help matters, when some Mormons (especially the early ones) get uppity and superior; a very common human failing in us all.

The reality, the official doctrine, is, that all people are children of God and have equal consideration and love from him: God plays no favorites and will grant ample opportunity to hear and accept the truth. (Thus, the Mormon doctrine of salvation for the dead in the temples; for those who died without getting a decent shot at converting in mortality.)

Joseph Smith did not so much refute existing Christianity, as remold it. He didn't go about attacking sectarians. He quoted Christ as saying their creeds were an abomination; and none of them were the "true" church. But Joseph Smith didn't typically use language like that himself.

quote:
The early Mormon writings are ripe with some of the most scathing denunciations of Christians, as well as ritualistic mocking of Christian clergy.
"Ripe" isn't the word I would use. Such language exists in the documents. But mainly, Joseph Smith's preaching was refutational, vis-a-vis his detractors' attacks upon him.

It is interesting, and ironic, that Joseph Smith backed up all his doctrines from the Bible, and almost never resorted to the Book of Mormon. Even when preaching to a Mormon congregation, he did not use the Book of Mormon or any of his "translations." He used the Bible, and preferred a German one above all others.

quote:
That being said, the LDS is evolving. Trying to nail down their theology is extraordinarily difficult because, despite the existance of an autocratic patriarchial "prophet", there is no clear consensus on "who speaks for the church."
Not exactly correct: the current "prophet" IS the "mouthpiece for the Lord." And his words trump any and all previous writings. That is the living doctrine of Mormonism.

The current "prophet", Gordon B. Hinckley, has been the most ecumenical of all the prophets of the LDS church. He is by far the most public and accessible to the media. And his statements have done much to distance us from our rather oddball origins and past.

quote:
There is tremendous diversity in their theology as understood by the laity, academics, their sacred writings, and their prophet's pronouncements. Some are, from an orthodox Chrisitan pov, quite disturbing, others not so far afield. The newly established dialogue between the LDS and evangelical Christians, and the LDS desire to be perceived as Christian may be considered either alarming/disturbing, or encouraging/hopeful, depending on your pov and speculation re: the motives behind it.
Here's my pov: Hinckley sees the "writing on the wall" and is making policy to meet the changes that the church must go through to survive the coming (growing) storm of contention, vis-a-vis the physical evidence that attacks (successfully, in my estimation) the church's early and present claims to exclusivity: priesthood authority, unique revelation from God, unique doctrines revealed by God (e.g. the Book of Mormon first and foremost). So many statements by earlier leaders (and echoed by many contemporaries), to the effect that if the Book of Mormon isn't literally true, then Joseph Smith lied, and this work is a fraud: and, if we don't have literal claim to the priesthood, then this church has no reason to exist, etc: such statements are too dogmatic and irreversible if adhered to.

Hinckley, I think, has been preparing the religion for a lot of waffling and back-peddling. Buying time. For instance, when challenged to comment on the well-worn Mormon couplet -- "As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become" -- Hinckley said that he didn't know much about that, not did he know of anyone who did know much about that. He's said words to that effect more than once: and this about a statement of Joseph Smith's (albeit, not a canonized one, but nevertheless widely taught as doctrine), which is one of the points of contention most often raised by secularists (on this thread too). Hinckley's position evidently is: that is not doctrine, and it should be dropped: which flies in the face of countless uses of the couplet in earlier sermons by many, many leaders of this church.

Another contention is Joseph Smith's so-called "first vision". We know that there are nine extant versions of it, that the official one is actually one of the later versions. Hinckley has defended the first vision as literally true: and said, "If it is not, then this work is a fraud." The first vision is very easy to defend, on the basis of a metaphysical experience. The Book of Mormon, on the other hand, is not easy to defend. And Smith's later statements on Godhood can be dismissed as "not the whole story", without them being the be-all and end-all of defining who and what "God" is. That's why, imho, Hinckley does not teach that God was once a man.

(Btw, that doctrine raises way too many questions, far more than it purports to answer. Joseph Smith didn't live long enough after making that doctrine public, to mess up his theology even further: but there is evidence that he was leaning toward even more oddball doctrines, like reincarnation: of which, quite possibly, Brigham Young's "Adam-God theory" evolved from.)

quote:
One thing I would like to see within LDS in order to continue the evolution/dialogue is a move away from a pattern of historical revisionism and secrecy, including full financial disclosure.
Amen. Full financial disclosure is a beef of mine. I see no reason to be secretive about how the money is spent.

Historical revisionism is perhaps best said as "faith promoting history." It isn't so much a revisionism, as an incomplete telling of the history. The "nasty bits" are left out.

But detractors/critics of the religion do that too. E.g. a recent DVD put out by a cooperative sectarian organization affects to teach Mormons how we are mistaken about a great many things: in order to help us and save us from hell. In said-DVD, the church's current showcase movie "Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration" is criticized as a fiction with no more basis in fact than the rest of what comes out of Hollywood. Then they proceed to tell the "real character" of Joseph Smith: but it is composed of nothing but his financial failures (frauds, they say) and his adulteries (polygamy). This is manifestly unfair: to concentrate on his perceived faults only, call that his "true character", and ignore all his other character traits which are frankly quite admirable and Christlike. This is fudging history from the other end.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
Oops, that "t" is in a very bad spot: It should have said:

For instance, when challenged to comment on the well-worn Mormon couplet -- "As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become" -- Hinckley said that he didn't know much about that, nor did he know of anyone who did know much about that.
 
Posted by 206 (# 206) on :
 
What do you suppose the motivation is for secrecy about finances?

quote:
This is manifestly unfair: to concentrate on his perceived faults only, call that his "true character", and ignore all his other character traits which are frankly quite admirable and Christlike. This is fudging history from the other end.
He must have been hugely charismatic.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
Merlin-

Thank you for your helpful insights. A few comments:

quote:
Joseph Smith did not so much refute existing Christianity, as remold it. He didn't go about attacking sectarians. He quoted Christ as saying their creeds were an abomination; and none of them were the "true" church. But Joseph Smith didn't typically use language like that himself.
There is NO verse in the OT or NT that says "your creeds are an abomination to me". Smith may claim he got it from Jesus, or Moroni, but it's certainly not in the Bible. And sorry, that statement alone IMHO qualifies as both a refutation and attack. Not that we (orthodox Christians) didn't give as good as we got, and more.


<i>The current "prophet", Gordon B. Hinckley, has been the most ecumenical of all the prophets of the LDS church. He is by far the most public and accessible to the media. And his statements have done much to distance us from our rather oddball origins and past.</i>

Oh, absolutely agree. The paranoids among us see sinister motives behind this, the optimists see this as a possible bridge to future reconciliation.
<i>

Historical revisionism is perhaps best said as "faith promoting history." It isn't so much a revisionism, as an incomplete telling of the history. The "nasty bits" are left out.

But detractors/critics of the religion do that too.</i>

Oh, absolutely agree. But then, secrecy and revisionism leaves one vulnerable to all sorts of conspiracy theory attacks by the whackos-- and there are definitely some whacko zealots in the anti-Mormon crowd. Look at Da Vinci Code-- Brown wouldn't have been able to get away with all those wild-eyed accusations re: Masons if they weren't so secretive.

IMHO, coming clean about the history, "nasty bits and all" will cut the wind out of the nastier anti-LDS sails and allow for a more honest and fruitful dialogue between the LDS and more reasonable orthodox Christians.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
Oh, I messed up the html. I get mixed up moving from one forum to another. Let me try that last bit again to avoid confusion:

quote:
The current "prophet", Gordon B. Hinckley, has been the most ecumenical of all the prophets of the LDS church. He is by far the most public and accessible to the media. And his statements have done much to distance us from our rather oddball origins and past.</i>
Oh, absolutely agree. The paranoids among us see sinister motives behind this, the optimists see this as a possible bridge to future reconciliation.


quote:
Historical revisionism is perhaps best said as "faith promoting history." It isn't so much a revisionism, as an incomplete telling of the history. The "nasty bits" are left out.

But detractors/critics of the religion do that too.

Oh, absolutely agree. But then, secrecy and revisionism leaves one vulnerable to all sorts of conspiracy theory attacks by the whackos-- and there are definitely some whacko zealots in the anti-Mormon crowd. Look at Da Vinci Code-- Brown wouldn't have been able to get away with all those wild-eyed accusations re: Masons if they weren't so secretive.

IMHO, coming clean about the history, "nasty bits and all" will cut the wind out of the nastier anti-LDS sails and allow for a more honest and fruitful dialogue between the LDS and more reasonable orthodox Christians.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by 206:
What do you suppose the motivation is for secrecy about finances?

quote:
This is manifestly unfair: to concentrate on his perceived faults only, call that his "true character", and ignore all his other character traits which are frankly quite admirable and Christlike. This is fudging history from the other end.
He must have been hugely charismatic.
I think that the church leaders fear that criticism will result if they publish a complete financial disclosure. Over the years, I have heard (rumors) that the church owns stock in beer companies, tobacco companies, etc. They are currently buying up whole blocks of downtown Salt Lake city, so they can renovate and control the atmosphere of the area around the church offices and Temple square. This has already received criticism. I know a lady who no longer associates as a member of the church over that one: she sees it as being blatantly commercial, and not in keeping with her image of what the church should be like.

Joseph Smith was absolutely one of the most charismatic people in history. His enemies on numerous occasions came upon him with full intent to kill him, only to be charmed into roughing him up a bit (if even that) and then letting him go. He had a capacity to sweet talk people into being his friends, when he was in their company. The mob that finally killed him evidently knew that letting Joe talk was not going to happen: they stormed the jail in a furious shooting mob and he died in a hail of bullets.

Brigham Young described his almost-worship of Joseph Smith this way: "I feel like shouting halleuja! every time I think that I ever knew the prophet Joseph Smith."

[ 05. May 2007, 00:12: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:

IMHO, coming clean about the history, "nasty bits and all" will cut the wind out of the nastier anti-LDS sails and allow for a more honest and fruitful dialogue between the LDS and more reasonable orthodox Christians.

In the long run. But the church will definitely lose most of the wind in its sails, if it finally admits that the foundation upon which its exclusivity claims are based is sandy. This includes such nasty bits as Joseph Smith's polyandry with other LDS mens' wives (my personal straw that broke the back of my faith in the man as a genuine prophet); the behavior of B. Young et al in Utah territory, especially surrounding Mountain Meadows Massacre and the fallout later on; the absolute statements declaring "the practice" of polygamy as essential, without which the church would cease to be valid or even exist; the same kind of statements regarding priesthood authority: which becomes problematic, because the stories upon which such exclusive authority are founded can positively be shown to have evolved as Smith's views on priesthood evolved; the method by which Smith "translated" the Book of Mormon (face in his hat, seer stone inside it) is so out of step with the church's portrayal as to make its version make believe; and the Book of Mormon itself is under attack which will destroy it as a genuinely revealed scripture, a al the biblical kind (it is so evidently a product of the mid 19th century in America, that only those who have pulled away from the church can see this clearly; members are in a state of sustained, massive cognitive dissonance: and little wonder: if the Book of Mormon falls, so does Joseph Smith, once and for all, as a translator and prophet).

So it isn't easy for the church to reverse gears and start supporting ALL of the history. It is too volatile: the church's white-washed ("faith promoting") historical construct will be burned to ashes in such an admission of the fullest evidence.
 
Posted by GoodCatholicLad (# 9231) on :
 
I came across this site that said the LDS is spending one billion dollars on two shopping malls in Salt Lake City but they only did 60 million is humanitarian aid. There is something not kosher about making everyone tithe at the first of the year their estimated gross earnings yet give no accounting on how it's spent but if people are that stupid....

My parish gives an annual report every February and the diocese sends one to every household on where the monies are being spent.

The LDS owns Benefical Financial Group and the Marriot Hotels, two companies that's common knowledge around by me. I heard from someone they also own the Alberston's supermarket chain that I am not sure of. I do know they own alot of tv and radio stations. Uncle Sam does not give them tax exempt status anymore because of the billions they have in for profit businesses. Mormon culture just fascinates me.

[ 05. May 2007, 00:45: Message edited by: GoodCatholicLad ]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
... Joseph Smith did not so much refute existing Christianity, as remold it. He didn't go about attacking sectarians. He quoted Christ as saying their creeds were an abomination; and none of them were the "true" church. But Joseph Smith didn't typically use language like that himself. ...

I have to disagree. He didn't "refute" it, but he did deny it. In Smith's version, Jesus lied to his disciples: the Holy Spirit departed, and his Church did not endure. The god of this world had to use Smith to "restore" the Church -- after centuries of leaving souls outside the fold.

Smith's version of Christianity is also far removed from either the authentic Early Church, or the Church as it evolved. Smith's ideas reflect an uneducated reading of the Bible combined with a heavy dose of sensationalism of the "British Israelite" variety. And the original Temple ceremony, which he flat out stole from the Masons and then embellished, severely trashes Christianity and Christian ministers.

Ross

PS GoodCatholicLad, I believe that the Marriott family still owns the business -- but they do tithe to the Mormon organization.

[ 05. May 2007, 03:49: Message edited by: Rossweisse ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
... Joseph Smith did not so much refute existing Christianity, as remold it. He didn't go about attacking sectarians. He quoted Christ as saying their creeds were an abomination; and none of them were the "true" church. But Joseph Smith didn't typically use language like that himself. ...

I have to disagree. He didn't "refute" it, but he did deny it. In Smith's version, Jesus lied to his disciples: the Holy Spirit departed, and his Church did not endure. The god of this world had to use Smith to "restore" the Church -- after centuries of leaving souls outside the fold.
That's in line with one interpretation of the NT passages which predict "ravening wolves" entering the flock, and a "falling away first" before the "times of refreshing" shall come from the Lord. And the bit about "an angel in the midst of heaven" having the everlasting gospel to preach to the world: i.e. a "great apostasy" can be supported by the scriptures. As I said, Joseph Smith's doctrine comes straight from the Bible. He didn't make anything up: he just spun a new concoction on the old scripture.

quote:
Smith's version of Christianity is also far removed from either the authentic Early Church, or the Church as it evolved.
I don't see enough knowledge remaining of the primitive church to make such a dogmatic claim as yours. Otherwise, we would have far less argument on what exactly the first Christians were doing.

quote:
Smith's ideas reflect an uneducated reading of the Bible combined with a heavy dose of sensationalism of the "British Israelite" variety.
Not uneducated in the American sense of the word. His gramatical education was weak, but there was nothing lacking in the ingenuity of his thinking: and he was a fast learner. His religious bent drew from his culture. As you say, the "Israelite" theories regarding origin of the Amerindians were widely popular at the time. Furthermore, his religious perspective partook of folk magic and superstitions common all around him. Any "sensationalism" he employed was expected: it was what people were looking for.

quote:
And the original Temple ceremony, which he flat out stole from the Masons and then embellished, severely trashes Christianity and Christian ministers.
I don't know if the sectarian "preacher dude" in the temple endowment "play" was part of Smith's original temple ceremony or not: personally, I have felt like attributing it to Brigham Young. (The preacher was my favorite character! And his concept of God made more sense to me than the Mormon "God was once a man" concept: I reckon it was all taken out, not to prove that we don't view our fellow Christians in such a disparaging light anymore, but rather, because the doctrine was making more and more sense to Mormon temple-goers.) The Masonic character was directly drawn by Smith from his Lodge experiences, no doubt about it. But I have seen it change in my lifetime: the penalties are gone since c. 1990. Recently, another change has allowed the garment to be worn during the "washing and anointing", and there is no physical touching of skin.

Ross
[/QB][/QUOTE]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
That's in line with one interpretation of the NT passages which predict "ravening wolves" entering the flock, and a "falling away first" before the "times of refreshing" shall come from the Lord. And the bit about "an angel in the midst of heaven" having the everlasting gospel to preach to the world: i.e. a "great apostasy" can be supported by the scriptures. As I said, Joseph Smith's doctrine comes straight from the Bible. He didn't make anything up: he just spun a new concoction on the old scripture.

Nope, no "great apostasy" can be supported if you read the New Testament as a whole instead of selectively choosing verses that support that view. This is an area in which Jesus seems to have been pretty unambiguous.

And if Smith's doctrine "comes straight from the Bible," why did he feel the need to rewrite Scripture? Why did he ignore all the "I and my Father are one" business and the whole of John to warp it into a polytheism that is completely at odds with the New Testament? If it "comes straight from the Bible," why is it so very flexible and hard to pin down?

quote:
I don't see enough knowledge remaining of the primitive church to make such a dogmatic claim as yours. Otherwise, we would have far less argument on what exactly the first Christians were doing.
Scholarship has advanced considerably since Smith's day, and we know quite a bit about it.

quote:
Not uneducated in the American sense of the word. His gramatical education was weak, but there was nothing lacking in the ingenuity of his thinking: and he was a fast learner....
I didn't say he was stupid -- he was quite intelligent -- I said he was uneducated, and he was. He was also a borrower of great talent.

In addition to stealing the Indians-were-Hebrews theory (already discredited in his lifetime), Smith also bought into the idea that some of the so-called "ten lost tribes" went to Britain, where they became the ancestors of right-thinking Anglo-Saxons like himself: Thus the business about assigning membership in the 12 tribes to Mormons.

quote:
I don't know if the sectarian "preacher dude" in the temple endowment "play" was part of Smith's original temple ceremony or not: personally, I have felt like attributing it to Brigham Young....
There are some interesting notes on the temple ceremony here.

The Temple endowment ceremony seems to have been unaltered from the time Smith came up with it (with a lot of help from the Masons) to the late 20th century. That means that Young gets a pass on this one.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Nope, no "great apostasy" can be supported if you read the New Testament as a whole instead of selectively choosing verses that support that view. This is an area in which Jesus seems to have been pretty unambiguous.

Really, unambiguous? Is that why there are so many sects of Christianity?

The Mormon view is as wholistic as any of the best. It is just different. Brilliantly different. But not immune to attack. No religious dogma is that. It comes down to your view and another view.

There isn't anything unambiguous about Christianity. In fact, its ambiguity is what bothered me for decades. Once J. Smith's role as "prophet of the restoration" was skuttled for me, so went Christianity. I could only make a serious effort to believe Christianity as the literally "true faith" so long as Smith's version of it was "revealed" again by God. Without that, there is nothing in 2,000 years of ambiguity to convince me that the religion is anything but a very successful, evolved one, made up by the hopes, beliefs, faith and manipulations of men.

quote:
And if Smith's doctrine "comes straight from the Bible," why did he feel the need to rewrite Scripture? Why did he ignore all the "I and my Father are one" business and the whole of John to warp it into a polytheism that is completely at odds with the New Testament? If it "comes straight from the Bible," why is it so very flexible and hard to pin down?
His theology is harder to pin down, because it altered over a 15 year period. In 1829, as the Book of Mormon was nearing publication, Smith's theology was clearly Trinity based: the theology on the Godhead in the Book of Mormon is almost exactly like mainstream Christianity's. But by 1835, you have a Father who is spirit and not flesh; you have the Son who is flesh: and the Holy Spirit is their combined influence: Smith's Godhead is still only two persons. By 1843, he is preaching three; Father and Son as spearate beings with bodies of flesh and bones "as tangible as man's", and the Spirit is without a fleshy tabernacle. In the following spring, Smith taught the "Man is as God once was" doctrine publically, and the rest is messy history.

The Book of Mormon, btw, is a targum of the Bible: there are enormous sections and quotations in the BofM that are straight out of an 18th century KJV Bible, including the errors.

quote:
Scholarship has advanced considerably since Smith's day, and we know quite a bit about it [primitive christianity].
Not nearly enough, still, though. One thing we do know, is that the writings of the NT came along for the first time long after the events they speak to. Had Smith attempted to start up a "restored" church today, he would have focused on different things, and probably would have failed to pull it off. Mormonism was indeed a case of time and place being right.

quote:
I didn't say he was stupid -- he was quite intelligent -- I said he was uneducated, and he was.
He admitted that about himself. In fact, used his lack of formal education to enhance the miraculous nature of his revelations: sort of like, "How could I, a simple uneducated boy, have come up with this?"

quote:
He was also a borrower of great talent.

In addition to stealing the Indians-were-Hebrews theory (already discredited in his lifetime),...

But hardly known to be discredited by the main mass of people.

quote:
...Smith also bought into the idea that some of the so-called "ten lost tribes" went to Britain, where they became the ancestors of right-thinking Anglo-Saxons like himself: Thus the business about assigning membership in the 12 tribes to Mormons.
Ephraim, mainly.

quote:
I don't know if the sectarian "preacher dude" in the temple endowment "play" was part of Smith's original temple ceremony or not: personally, I have felt like attributing it to Brigham Young....
quote:
There are some interesting notes on the temple ceremony here.

The Temple endowment ceremony seems to have been unaltered from the time Smith came up with it (with a lot of help from the Masons) to the late 20th century. That means that Young gets a pass on this one.

Ross

Not quite. B. Young inserted a lot of Adam-God content into the endowment, which did not survive his death. There was a sword brandished as part of the ceremony until c. 1941, iirc: read that in either Bagley's, or Brook's, book on the MMM.

Btw, the Masonic content wasn't wool that Smith pulled over anyone's eyes. He was quite open about it. The explanation was, that bits and pieces of the truth had survived down the ages, but "we" have all the revealed, restored version of the truth.
 
Posted by Zappa (# 8433) on :
 
One small offering to enhance debate
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
One small offering to enhance debate

Wow! Thanks for that link. I am going to be busy for a while.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Really, unambiguous? Is that why there are so many sects of Christianity? ...there is nothing in 2,000 years of ambiguity to convince me that the religion is anything but a very successful, evolved one, made up by the hopes, beliefs, faith and manipulations of men. ...

It seems to me that perhaps you've spent too much time immersed in the manipulations and inventions of Smith and his successors.

Yes, Christians have many and grave differences, but that to me is part of the proof that it's not a purely man-made religion. It seems to me that religions that excommunicate for disagreeing with the religion's hierarchy over matters of politics (Sonia Johnson) or historic fact (Samuel W. Taylor) are far less likely to be divinely inspired.

That doesn't excuse the arguments between denominations, but I truly do believe that Jesus meant what he said about the Church and the Holy Spirit. My God is not a liar.

I believe that all Christians have the fundamentals of faith in common, as defined early on by the Church in the Creeds: ONE God, the Creator (not mere organizer) of all that is; that God is known to us in three Persons -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- that God was born as a human being in order to save us; that Jesus rose from the dead; that we are baptized into Christ's Body; and that we will live with God in heaven for eternity.

There's disagreement on details, to be sure -- but nothing like the fundamental and deep chasm of disagreement between Christianity and Mormonism.

quote:
His theology is harder to pin down, because it altered over a 15 year period. In 1829, as the Book of Mormon was nearing publication, Smith's theology was clearly Trinity based: the theology on the Godhead in the Book of Mormon is almost exactly like mainstream Christianity's. ...
The Book of Mormon, btw, is a targum of the Bible: there are enormous sections and quotations in the BofM that are straight out of an 18th century KJV Bible, including the errors.

Congratulations on being the first Mormon with whom I've discussed any of this who's noticed that Smith moved from standard Trinitarianism to polytheism. The chunks of Bible are no mystery; they were, of course, a straight steal from the KJV. The errors ought to be a tipoff as to the source.

quote:
He admitted that about himself. In fact, used his lack of formal education to enhance the miraculous nature of his revelations: sort of like, "How could I, a simple uneducated boy, have come up with this?"
Besides plagiarism and a vivid, self-aggrandizing imagination? [Biased]

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad: Really, unambiguous? Is that why there are so many sects of Christianity? ...there is nothing in 2,000 years of ambiguity to convince me that the religion is anything but a very successful, evolved one, made up by the hopes, beliefs, faith and manipulations of men. ...

quote:
It seems to me that perhaps you've spent too much time immersed in the manipulations and inventions of Smith and his successors.
It's a real eye-opener. You should try it sometime!

quote:
Yes, Christians have many and grave differences, but that to me is part of the proof that it's not a purely man-made religion. It seems to me that religions that excommunicate for disagreeing with the religion's hierarchy over matters of politics (Sonia Johnson) or historic fact (Samuel W. Taylor) are far less likely to be divinely inspired.
Well, I am certain that you can find numerous examples of unjust excommunications (membership revoking, whatever you want to call it) in any sect.

quote:
That doesn't excuse the arguments between denominations, but I truly do believe that Jesus meant what he said about the Church and the Holy Spirit. My God is not a liar.
Neither is mine. "S/He" is capable of lying, but chooses not to.

quote:
I believe that all Christians have the fundamentals of faith in common, as defined early on by the Church in the Creeds: ONE God, the Creator (not mere organizer) of all that is;...
I go along with that absolutely. That's where J. Smith's "God" is completely inadequate: it raises more questions that it answers. How many "turtles" are piled on top of each other before you get to THE "Turtle" who created Existence? Smith never went that far, and neither has Mormonism since him. I, on the other hand, have taken the tentative steps to go there on my own.

quote:
...that God is known to us in three Persons -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- that God was born as a human being in order to save us; that Jesus rose from the dead; that we are baptized into Christ's Body; and that we will live with God in heaven for eternity.
Yep. Straight-up Book of Mormon theology. If only Smith had stayed with that.

quote:
There's disagreement on details, to be sure -- but nothing like the fundamental and deep chasm of disagreement between Christianity and Mormonism.
You know that they say, hell is in the details.

There is only a fundamental chasym between you and Mormons because you are too dogmatic, both of you.

quote:
His theology is harder to pin down, because it altered over a 15 year period. In 1829, as the Book of Mormon was nearing publication, Smith's theology was clearly Trinity based: the theology on the Godhead in the Book of Mormon is almost exactly like mainstream Christianity's. ...
The Book of Mormon, btw, is a targum of the Bible: there are enormous sections and quotations in the BofM that are straight out of an 18th century KJV Bible, including the errors.

quote:
Congratulations on being the first Mormon with whom I've discussed any of this who's noticed that Smith moved from standard Trinitarianism to polytheism. The chunks of Bible are no mystery; they were, of course, a straight steal from the KJV. The errors ought to be a tipoff as to the source.
Hooray, we agree. I like agreement. But this conversation will end soon if we agree on everything.

quote:
He admitted that about himself. In fact, used his lack of formal education to enhance the miraculous nature of his revelations: sort of like, "How could I, a simple uneducated boy, have come up with this?"
quote:
Besides plagiarism and a vivid, self-aggrandizing imagination? [Biased]

Ross

Plagerism is such a loaded word in religion. Don't you think it odd that later sects can all be accused of the very same thing? The fault of Smith, is that he pulled off a big religious movement successfully, and there's nothing like success to arouse jealousy.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
It's a real eye-opener. You should try it sometime!

I did once. I prefer the study of Christianity.

quote:
Well, I am certain that you can find numerous examples of unjust excommunications (membership revoking, whatever you want to call it) in any sect.
Nope, sorry, wrong. Try again. Certainly some of that goes on in certain Christian denominations (not "sects"), but in very few of them, and certainly not the way it does in Mormonism -- where rebaptism is required afterward.

quote:
Yep. Straight-up Book of Mormon theology. If only Smith had stayed with that.
Nope. Straight-up Christian theology, which Smith used in the BoM. If he'd stuck with that, who would have needed him?

quote:
...There is only a fundamental chasym between you and Mormons because you are too dogmatic, both of you.
Nope. Wrong again. Please don't put words on my keyboard.

quote:
Plagerism is such a loaded word in religion. Don't you think it odd that later sects can all be accused of the very same thing?...
What "later sects" are you speaking of? The many Mormon breakaway groups? No, because plagiarism consists of taking the words of another and claiming credit for it. Smith plagiarized the Old Testament, extensively. Who else did and claimed it was a new gospel?

Ross
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Um, I really like the jealousy thing. I just don't know what to say but [Killing me]

Merlin, my friend. I'm going to bed happy now. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:

Plagiarism is such a loaded word in religion. Don't you think it odd that later sects can all be accused of the very same thing?...

quote:
What "later sects" are you speaking of? The many Mormon breakaway groups? No, because plagiarism consists of taking the words of another and claiming credit for it. Smith plagiarized the Old Testament, extensively. Who else did and claimed it was a new gospel?

Ross

Smith, if guilty of plagiarism, reinvents the meaning of the word and it applies to every sect (denomination, whatever) that arose out of the RCC, and each other.

I wonder if you even comprehended the Book of Mormon, or ever read it carefully all the way through even once?

The book is not a plagiarism, because each and every targum is given biblical credit. Isaiah is still Isaiah. Malachi is Malachi. The Savior's words are ditto his words, repeated for Nephite benefit, not quite word for word out of Matthew. Similar language with Paul's by Mormon can be apologized for as Smith's own religious exposure coming out as the translator. The Books of Abraham and Moses purport to be more complete versions of the biblical writings. Nothing in any of this is plagiarism masquerading as something new: but rather, the old being restored. That's quite a different thing. You can call it fraud, but plagiarism in isn't.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Um, I really like the jealousy thing. I just don't know what to say but [Killing me]

Merlin, my friend. I'm going to bed happy now. [Big Grin]

So YOU aren't jealous of all that successful growth and money and savvyness? That pride of elitism? Good for you then! Neither am I. But others are, deny it though they will.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Pride of elitism? What the hell?

I'm in a struggling refugee church with no money, no facilities, and no power. Ain't much elitism here.

And frankly, if I was going to be jealous of anyone, it would probably be Bill Gates. Or anyone else who got their money and power in a, err... less hypocritical way.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Yes, Merlin, I've read the BoM all the way through -- twice, despite its undeniably soporific qualities -- once as a teenager and once as an adult. Alas, it is an obvious ripoff, if you prefer that term to "plagiarized."

However, there's plenty of evidence of plagiarism in Smith's "other gospel." This article has a section called "Plagiarism from John?" and this one has more details. These should provide you with a good starting point.

Ross
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Pride of elitism? What the hell? ...

Oh, Merlin, if only you knew LC, and what she and her husband go through in their ministry....! [Killing me]

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Yes, Merlin, I've read the BoM all the way through -- twice, despite its undeniably soporific qualities -- once as a teenager and once as an adult. Alas, it is an obvious ripoff, if you prefer that term to "plagiarized."

However, there's plenty of evidence of plagiarism in Smith's "other gospel." This article has a section called "Plagiarism from John?" and this one has more details. These should provide you with a good starting point.

Ross

"Ripoff", hmmn, that works better. Not really, we're mincing words.

Any religion that departs on its own is a ripoff of earlier religious grounding. At least, the enemies of it will say so. The members of the Branch Davidians would hardly have called themselves members of a ripoff, though. And look what it got 'em.

The links are not a "start" to anything. I am way beyond that point. I've heard all of this a hundred times by now.

As I said, Smith's religion posited a "refreshing from the Lord", a "restitution of all things" through him as prophet. That meant that any similarity in language usage with the Bible was merely his personality showing through; not an evidence of plagiarism. If Smith had used totally unique lingo, separated from biblical usages, he would have been attacked as a fraud on that point too, so he couldn't win with everybody. You pick your battleground, I reckon.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Pride of elitism? What the hell? ...

Oh, Merlin, if only you knew LC, and what she and her husband go through in their ministry....! [Killing me]

Ross

That's irony you're reacting to there. I deplore religious elitism: a failing way too many of my coreligionists suffer from.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
...Any religion that departs on its own is a ripoff of earlier religious grounding. At least, the enemies of it will say so. The members of the Branch Davidians would hardly have called themselves members of a ripoff, though. And look what it got 'em.

No, "ripoff" is the wrong word in this context.

quote:
The links are not a "start" to anything. I am way beyond that point. I've heard all of this a hundred times by now. ...
And you're not listening. That's okay. I was just trying to answer what I thought were legitimate points in a genuine discussion, not windups. My mistake. Ciao.

Ross
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
Re OP, Christ said he had other sheep besides the fold he organised. We've been disagreeing about who's in that fold ever since, but what we can't disagree on is that he says he has other sheep and he didn't specify who these were. They could be those calling themselves Christian or calling themselves something else entirely - we can't rule out anyone as not one of his if not specifically against him, and even then I can't see how we could actually be sure.

In my bookmark system I've got them under Anglicans...


That said. I've been trying to find the reference someone made to women being second class citizens for all eternity - was this stated as being Mormon teaching or not Mormon?

And, someone said the Hebrew connection was discredited. Does this mean this writing found in the US is something other than what is claimed? First Tongue: An Ancient Global Language


Myrrh
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
...I've been trying to find the reference someone made to women being second class citizens for all eternity - was this stated as being Mormon teaching or not Mormon?

It's Mormon -- it's definitely not Christian. Here's a link to an explanation of the doctrines. A woman must be "sealed" to a husband, and that husband must lift her veil for her to get to the best heaven; otherwise, she'll be a servant to some other Mormon for all eternity.

The husbands get a lot of different wives, with whom they are to produce "spirit children." Needless to say, this is also not Christian.

quote:
And, someone said the Hebrew connection was discredited. Does this mean this writing found in the US is something other than what is claimed? First Tongue: An Ancient Global Language

I'd look for another source than Brigham Young University for alleged connections to "proto-Canaanite" languages in the Americas. If this were legitimate, scholars would be exploring it. They're not.

Ross
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
Thanks, I thought it was presented as Mormon teaching - and I didn't think it was.

I've now found a reference that says "It is to be noted that the highest blessings therein [the temple] available are only conferred upon a man and woman jointly. Neither can receive them alone. In the Church of Christ woman is not an adjunct to but an equal partner with man [Widtsoe, p. 373]."

Which appears to me to be saying that if a man didn't call his wife he wouldn't be resurrected either. (Roles of LDS Women)


Re the Hebrew, some years ago I showed this to 'ivory tower Jews' on another forum in the hope that they would either debunk it or agree with it - I didn't get a response.

Maybe they're still thinking about it.


Myrrh
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
I don't think the American petroglyphs look anything like Hebrew of any era, and not much like the other symbols presented. The "ivory tower" crowd may have thought you were winding them up.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
I don't think the American petroglyphs look anything like Hebrew of any era, and not much like the other symbols presented. The "ivory tower" crowd may have thought you were winding them up.

Maybe they did think that, but I only use 'Hebrew' loosely, as a connection of language and place, they're supposed to be some kind of proto-Canaanite. 'Pre-Babel' perhaps since they've also been found in various parts of the world.

I've just remembered why I asked. I wondered if there was any connection between this and the Hopi tradition that they came to the Americas around 23 thousand years ago from the West arriving in what's now South America before moving up to where they are now. Just for interest.

Myrrh
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
Thanks, I thought it was presented as Mormon teaching - and I didn't think it was.

I've now found a reference that says "It is to be noted that the highest blessings therein [the temple] available are only conferred upon a man and woman jointly. Neither can receive them alone. In the Church of Christ woman is not an adjunct to but an equal partner with man [Widtsoe, p. 373]."

Which appears to me to be saying that if a man didn't call his wife he wouldn't be resurrected either. (Roles of LDS Women)
...

Myrrh

Bullseye. A man cannot have children; that's only for women. A man gets what we call the priesthood, I guess to sort of balance the scales a bit? Speculation. The fact is, in the early church, B. Young would send his wives out to give priesthood blessings to heal the sick. Women in the early church used priesthood as a right they had through their husband's priesthood. It isn't done that way now, one of the regrettable changes in the church, imho.

The doctrine of exaltation, however, is essentially the same. A man or woman cannot become a god or goddess without being married, period. That makes men and women totally equal partners in getting as high as we can go.

Also, if you know the history, and read D&C 132 in that light, you can see real evidence that Joseph Smith was "tempting" Emma with polyandry: sort of offering the goose what was good for the gander. But Emma didn't bite. Over half of Joseph Smith's first dozen wives were already married, most to other LDS men. And there was sexual relations involved, not just some spiritual wifery. D&C 132 offers (implies) that women and men in heaven will have husbands and wives.

I cannot begin to figure what was going on in Joseph Smith's imagination; the implications of such a system, carried out on earth!? Inconceivable. It was a good thing (or not, according to your perspective on Mormonism) that he died when he did, or else his evolving religion would have self-destructed with all the weird additions/alterations he was putting into it.
 
Posted by GoodCatholicLad (# 9231) on :
 
I am surprised no one has mentioned planet Kolob, that's where God lives and the planets Olibish and Enish-go-on-dosh.

And what about the 'liahona" (sounds like a town in Hawai'i), it is an ancient GPS device used by the kolobians to navigate themselves when they came to earth. it was given to Lehi's father of Nephi by the Heavenly Father. Today it is stored in a mountain vault near Salt Lake City.

Mary lives on Kolob with Moses in a city named Kli-tin-ur-gash

[ 08. May 2007, 17:38: Message edited by: GoodCatholicLad ]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
...'Pre-Babel' perhaps since they've also been found in various parts of the world.

I don't think "pre-Babel" is a useful term in archeological or linguistic terms. If you want to discuss different families of languages, that might be an interesting thread.

quote:
...I wondered if there was any connection between this and the Hopi tradition that they came to the Americas around 23 thousand years ago from the West arriving in what's now South America before moving up to where they are now.... [/QB]
The DNA and linguistic evidence would both seem to suggest otherwise. The American Indians' ancestors came from Asia.

Ross
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
...A man cannot have children; that's only for women. A man gets what we call the priesthood, I guess to sort of balance the scales a bit? ...

Straight from the missionaries' memorized lessons: "Sure, you can't have the priesthood and do any of the important stuff in church -- but YOU can have CHILDREN!" Spoken by someone who was never pregnant.

quote:
The doctrine of exaltation, however, is essentially the same. A man or woman cannot become a god or goddess without being married, period. That makes men and women totally equal partners in getting as high as we can go.
Nope, because a man can have many wives (and concubines), and the most his actual wife could hope for would to be the first among equals.

Only the man get to lift the veil on the wife and say whether she gets to join him in godhood. Otherwise, it's servanthood for her. She doesn't get the same power over him. There is no equality at all in Smith's system.

Ross
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
I've had that bit confirmed by Mormons. An unmarried woman, or a married woman not recognized and called by her husband after death will not achieve exaltation. She will, if worthy enough, be saved, but that's a steerage class heaven where you can spend eternity as the servant of Mormons who are exalted. A married man can be exalted if the conditions are met, and his exaltation does not depend upon his wife calling him after death.
 
Posted by JonahMan (# 12126) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Bullseye. A man cannot have children; that's only for women.

Well I'm a man and I've had children - short people running around making a lot of noise, right? I haven't given birth to them, but I've definitely got them, and I remember being involved in their creation.

Jonah
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
The DNA and linguistic evidence would both seem to suggest otherwise. The American Indians' ancestors came from Asia.

Ross

Well, the Hopi have been telling their story for rather a long time and this is about their gradual journey up from the South, a journey given them, as they describe it, as a sacred quest.

By Asia I think you're referring to the influx via the North, the Hopis remember the Navajo entering this way and say they taught them how to make pots for cooking. I'll stick with their story.

In one of today's papers I read they've now established the Australian Aborigines have also come from the same small tribe out of Africa which appears to connect us all. They did a more extensive study than previously and decided the cause of the confusion was these had no extra imput from other interminglings during the intervening centuries from their first settlement until now.

Myrrh
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
One of the more recent – and scary – trends of the Mormons is to try to ally themselves with Christianity. This was not the case when the Mormon religion was devised. Joseph Smith rejected uttlerly the central tenets of Christianity and referred to Christians as a creation of Satan. As with other wacky aspects of Mormanism, the Mormons have adjusted their facade to appear less grusome and ridiculous than it really is.

K.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
There's a lot of PR involved, and it's all very carefully calculated.

The missionaries don't talk about the more outre doctrines, focussing on the conventional pro-family stuff instead. It's called "milk before meat," but they do it because if you start talking about Kolob, the real role of women, or Jesus's exact relationship to Satan, you're likely to lose some prospects.

Ross
 
Posted by merechristian (# 6722) on :
 
Living in Las Vegas, NV, I come in contact with a lot of LDS and missionaries, etc and once they asked me, while next to me in traffic, if I would be interested in talking to them and I said, "No thanks, I'm a Christian." Offended, they yelled back as I drove off, "We're the Church of JESUS CHRIST!!! of Latter Day Saints!"

I would think the biggest distinguishing factor between Christians and the LDS the issue of grace versus works salvation. In LDS theology, as you guys have been discussing, you have to do lots of works to get that exalted status, pay your tithes, do volunteer work, get married, have babies, etc. Otherwise you're stuck in lower heaven with the rest of us who don't directly hate God (those that do, go to the outer darkness). Christians rely on Christ wholly and solely for their salvation, and though good works are an indication of a change in heart, they are not prereq's to get into true heaven.

There are other major theological differences too, but as for distinguishing whether someone is Christian or not, I would look to this one point.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
You're on to it – they reject Christ's salvation. Spencer Kimball of the LDS writes that "one of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation." He adds that “there is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God,”

One sure-fire to be damned is to reject polygamy. according to Brigham Young: "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned."

They're bonkers, that's all there is to it. For all the railing that some Christians do against Islam, the Mormons pose a far greater danger.

K.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by merechristian:
...I said, "No thanks, I'm a Christian." Offended, they yelled back as I drove off, "We're the Church of JESUS CHRIST!!! of Latter Day Saints!"

That's some of the PR, and it works surprisingly well on those who don't investigate further. Of course, names don't mean anything in and of themselves. You can call yourself Elizabeth Windsor, but that doesn't mean the Queen's corgis will come when you whistle for them.

quote:
...the biggest distinguishing factor between Christians and the LDS the issue of grace versus works salvation. In LDS theology...you have to do lots of works to get that exalted status, pay your tithes, do volunteer work, get married, have babies, etc. Otherwise you're stuck in lower heaven with the rest of us who don't directly hate God (those that do, go to the outer darkness). Christians rely on Christ wholly and solely for their salvation, and though good works are an indication of a change in heart, they are not prereq's to get into true heaven. ...
Yes, the Mormon line is "We are saved after all we can do." Grace does not enter into it; as I understand it, it's a pure transaction, like buying or selling a house or a car.

Incidentally, I was told in high school that I would spend eternity in said Outer Darkness; at the behest of the missionaries, I read the Book of Mormon, went to meetings, prayed the Prayer of Moroni -- and got what they considered the "wrong" answer. They told me I had rejected the Truth, so outer darkness (do eternal flames enter into it too? it seems to me that they did) was my reward.

Ah, well....

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
...There is no equality at all in Smith's system.

Ross

The current "system" isn't Smith's, it is a successor. Smith's system was more weird. D&C 132 indicates polyandry creeping into it. given how late in the game 132 is, it seems an effort to give Emma what Joseph was taking for himself: she didn't bite.

So Smith's evolving view of the highest heaven seems to have been quite different: polygamy all around!

Btw, a man who doesn't have a wife (wives) to go through the veil with, is a servant too. You seem to not get that point of distinction: there are no unmarried gods, period. Singles are servants, male and female.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
I've had that bit confirmed by Mormons. An unmarried woman, or a married woman not recognized and called by her husband after death will not achieve exaltation. She will, if worthy enough, be saved, but that's a steerage class heaven where you can spend eternity as the servant of Mormons who are exalted. A married man can be exalted if the conditions are met, and his exaltation does not depend upon his wife calling him after death.

Mistaken. Perhaps originally that dogmatic, but no longer. The doctrine practiced by Mormonism today is, that no single man or woman will be a god (goddess): only marrieds. And if a woman is rejected by a man, his salvation is in jeopardy if that rejection is unjustified. If they simply do not want each other, it is popularly believed that the woman will have another husband. No worthy woman will remain single in heaven. And no unworthy man will have even one wife.

[ 09. May 2007, 18:13: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by GoodCatholicLad (# 9231) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
They're bonkers, that's all there is to it. For all the railing that some Christians do against Islam, the Mormons pose a far greater danger.

K.

Oh come now! They are allowed to be bonkers. How can anyone compare what SOME elements in Islam do to Mormons? I don't see Mormons hijacking planes and all the other calamity that I won't give a laudry list of since we all know it by now. Do I think their beliefs are a bit daffy? Sure yet if it works for them. It's "a free country" and they can believe what they want. I don't see them doing anyone harm, they seem to live clean and sober lives. Ooh whats the "greater danger" we will all be forced to eat more casseroles? I would say I am one of the more right of center (on some subjects) shipmates but even I think that's a little out there.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
One of the more recent – and scary – trends of the Mormons is to try to ally themselves with Christianity. This was not the case when the Mormon religion was devised. Joseph Smith rejected uttlerly the central tenets of Christianity and referred to Christians as a creation of Satan. As with other wacky aspects of Mormanism, the Mormons have adjusted their facade to appear less grusome and ridiculous than it really is.

K.

Scary, ridiculous, grusome, facade, satanic. that's quite a collection of deragotory terms you've used in one brief paragraph. I would like you to substantiate even ONE of them by reasonable sources. Something that simply sets Mormonism apart from Christianity in a uniquely aberrant way. As in, showing why they are scary; why they are grusome; how are they "satanic?" Not just throwing cheap epithets out there, but backing them up with some substance. For the good of humanity, of course. It is your duty, damit! your duty!

[ 09. May 2007, 19:33: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
There's a lot of PR involved, and it's all very carefully calculated.

The missionaries don't talk about the more outre doctrines, focussing on the conventional pro-family stuff instead. It's called "milk before meat," but they do it because if you start talking about Kolob, the real role of women, or Jesus's exact relationship to Satan, you're likely to lose some prospects.

Ross

Actually, it's tithing and no alcohol/tobacco/caffine, which puts most people off. The stuff which makes most people have to contemplate real life changes to the ways they have been living. In other words, personal, permanent, sacrifices.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by merechristian:
Living in Las Vegas, NV, I come in contact with a lot of LDS and missionaries, etc and once they asked me, while next to me in traffic, if I would be interested in talking to them and I said, "No thanks, I'm a Christian." Offended, they yelled back as I drove off, "We're the Church of JESUS CHRIST!!! of Latter Day Saints!"

I would think the biggest distinguishing factor between Christians and the LDS the issue of grace versus works salvation. In LDS theology, as you guys have been discussing, you have to do lots of works to get that exalted status, pay your tithes, do volunteer work, get married, have babies, etc. Otherwise you're stuck in lower heaven with the rest of us who don't directly hate God (those that do, go to the outer darkness). Christians rely on Christ wholly and solely for their salvation, and though good works are an indication of a change in heart, they are not prereq's to get into true heaven.

There are other major theological differences too, but as for distinguishing whether someone is Christian or not, I would look to this one point.

I can address that one point. (I don't think it's the biggie, but it is near the top of the list of differences.)

Mormons share in common with other Christians, who believe works are an indicator of your change of heart: your "rebirth" in Christ. It isn't Mormon doctrine to check off the boxes and present your list of accomplishments to God and then enter into your level of glory. We do not accept "cheap grace." The kind where you say "I have received Jesus Christ into my life and am saved!" A person can get to the closest relationship with God and still fall away. That's the Mormon view. You are not done until you are "safely dead." Complacency is the antithesis of Mormon theology.

A holistic reading of the Bible will confirm that works are important. You can't get into heaven through doing them. But to claim that you believe, and then do not work as well as you can to make the world better as a Christian, is an empty belief.

Btw, Mormon "heaven" is far more generous than most Christians are taught to expect. As you mention, "outer darkness" (perdition) is where only those go who utterly reject God, after having first known him (as the Holy Ghost). All other sins are forgiven through the atonement of Christ. Unrepentant murderers, whoremongers, liars, etc., go to the lowest level of heaven (the telestial), which still beats the socks off the best this world has ever been: and will be ministered to by the Holy Ghost. Those who professed to believe in Christ, but were not valiant in their faith (see above) are terrestrial material; they will enjoy the presence of the Son and Holy Spirit: also terrestrials are the heathen races who did not accept Christ, and the "honorable men of the earth" who also did not accept Christ. Only those innocents who died before reaching the age of accountability (c. 8) and those baptized, who kept their covenants, enter into the celestial kingdom, and enjoy the full presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The upper level of the celestial kingdom is where God's exalted children "go." Those who married for eternity become gods and goddesses, sharing in the full creative powers of the Father.

It is really quite a nice little theology, very Christian (that is to say, charitable to all), and there isn't a scrap of the "satanic" about it.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
You're on to it – they reject Christ's salvation. Spencer Kimball of the LDS writes that "one of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation." He adds that “there is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God,”

One sure-fire to be damned is to reject polygamy. according to Brigham Young: "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned."

They're bonkers, that's all there is to it. For all the railing that some Christians do against Islam, the Mormons pose a far greater danger.

K.

You've got a couple of misconceptions there about the nomenclature within Mormon doctrine.

Saved by grace in Mormonism means having your repented-of sins forgiven by Christ's atonement, so that you won't have to suffer to pay for them yourself. Those sins not repented of must be paid for by YOU, before you get your eternal reward. Then, and only then, does the atonement of Christ come into effect and change you eternally. Also part of salvation is resurrection (literal and physical) for everyone who ever lived. That comes as part of Christ's atonement for the world.

Confessing Joseph Smith was a prophet is simply the Mormon way of insisting that the truth of their restored gospel comes through Joseph Smith, "the prophet of the restoration". Without admitting this salient fact, nobody in this dispensation can be saved, because they have not admitted the truth. So, before your ultimate salvation, you must admit that, and all other truth. You didn't come right out and say it, but I will deflect any subsequent claims that the LDS people believe that they are saved THROUGH Joseph Smith. Even Joseph Smith isn't saved without Jesus Christ: nobody is.


"Damned" to Mormons simply means, to cease progression. It doesn't mean hellfire like it does to most Christians. So, damned if you don't accept B. Young's polygamy meant to him, that you won't advance throughout eternity in the highest level of the celestial kingdom: not that you are going to the nether world of fire and screaming with the devil and his angels. Anyone who does not become exalted -- become a god or goddess -- is damned (ceases to progress), even though they live with Father for eternity: they are angels to the exalted gods and goddesses of God's children.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
....Yes, the Mormon line is "We are saved after all we can do." Grace does not enter into it; as I understand it, it's a pure transaction, like buying or selling a house or a car.

You don't understand it. The doctrine is: unrepented sins must still be paid for, by YOU. But once paid for, you still don't get anything -- no resurrection, no place in any level of heaven -- without the grace of Christ. That atonement saved the whole world. Without it, nothing would have survived the Fall. Mormons absolutely believe in Grace. Just not "cheap grace."

quote:
Incidentally, I was told in high school that I would spend eternity in said Outer Darkness; at the behest of the missionaries, I read the Book of Mormon, went to meetings, prayed the Prayer of Moroni -- and got what they considered the "wrong" answer. They told me I had rejected the Truth, so outer darkness (do eternal flames enter into it too? it seems to me that they did) was my reward.

Ah, well....

Ross

You were told wrong, then. Not the first or last time well meaning asses misrepresented the doctrine of their religion.

The doctrine of outer darkness (perdition) requires that you enter into your full covenants (temple stuff), know the Father and Son because of the unmistakable witness of the Holy Ghost, then SIN against the Holy Ghost by denying God. You have to have "your calling and election made sure", first, then toss all that aside. I don't know a single person who qualifies for that level of damnation.

And yes, perdition is, to Mormons, the closest thing to Christian hell. It is the only fate that is not a kingdom of glory at all: and seems to reside outside of creation.
 
Posted by Alogon (# 5513) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jon J:
quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
Any suggestion that the Book of Mormon is - or is even a written record of - another Testament is an absolute nonsense.

Interestingly, that is what many Jews say about their Covenant and the claims of Christianity.
And, with TEC, I acknowledge that the Jews are right about that. Their testament is still in force, for them, or for those of them who hold to it. It was never meant to be a religion aimed at or available to everyone. However, Christianity is. "Preach the Gospel to all nations." There's no room, therefore, for a superstructure, at least a universal one. A supposed superstructure is most plausible by retreating from universality back into elitism, which is what this system does: it makes a distinct appeal to caucasian American men-- so conveniently, given the circumstances of its origin. The passage of time and its own success has since occasioned equally convenient prophetic backpedaling in this regard.

I, too, do admire some of the practical results. A young faculty family moving across the driveway from me one summer ca. 1982, into a small two-room duplex flat intended for married students, until they could find larger quarters, were effective exponents. This Mormon family had at least five children, making for a very cramped situation. I'd expect most children suddenly in these conditions to get in one another's way and bicker frequently, but I never saw the slightest sign of it. They were always polite and co-operative together.

My understanding is that LDS doctrine is not trinitarian, at least in acknowledging the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Their baptisms are not valid even in form, let alone their eucharistic rites. Re Mitt Romney, I can't bring myself to vote for high public office someone so credulous, and I'd be particularly afraid that the American exceptionalism that this faith breeds is liable to cloud his judgment.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alogon:
.... A supposed superstructure is most plausible by retreating from universality back into elitism, which is what this system does: it makes a distinct appeal to caucasian American men-- so conveniently, given the circumstances of its origin....

Mormonism is an appeal to caucasian American males? Is that why more Mormons in the world live outside the USA? The church is growing there much faster than it is in the USA.

quote:
The passage of time and its own success has since occasioned equally convenient prophetic backpedaling in this regard.
I don't understand this statement. Are you referring to earlier, "original" statements about Blacks? If so, we need to remember that all religions evolve. The earlier leaders of the LDS religion are not equal in prophetic value to the living ones. That IS Mormon doctrine and always has been.

quote:
....
My understanding is that LDS doctrine is not trinitarian, at least in acknowledging the personhood of the Holy Spirit.

Not Trinitarian in the conventional sense. But Mormons believe in a Godhead of three Persons. The Holy Ghost is a distinct person.

Joseph Smith's original theology was very Trinitarian: the Book of Mormon teaches such a concept of God. Later, he evolved with his Godhead into the current God as a glorified man of physical body. The Holy ghost remains a Personage of Spirit only.

quote:
Their baptisms are not valid even in form, let alone their eucharistic rites.
I don't see why the form should be an oddity. Sacrament taking is similar to other Christian usages. So is the baptism by immersion.

The main reason why other Christians would not accept Mormon baptisms and sacraments as "valid" would probably stem from Mormons originally declaring that EVERY extant church teaches abominable creeds and has no authority, i.e. only Mormon baptism and all priesthood ordinances are valid before God, not any others. So the response has been: "We allow that there is an acceptable variation in valid ordinaces and sacraments, but the Mormons do not qualify as valid."

quote:
Re Mitt Romney, I can't bring myself to vote for high public office someone so credulous, and I'd be particularly afraid that the American exceptionalism that this faith breeds is liable to cloud his judgment.
Mitt's crudulity is no zanier than any other truly believing religious person's. Come now, if you really look at what people profess to believe, it all looks and sounds like so much imaginative wishful thinking.

As for his judgment being clouded by religion, that is going to be a concern with any devoutly religious candidate, as it always has been. But it has rarely if ever shown itself to be a big problem.
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
quote:

As for his judgment being clouded by religion, that is going to be a concern with any devoutly religious candidate, as it always has been. But it has rarely if ever shown itself to be a big problem. [/QB]

One might suspect that it is indeed a very real problem in respect to the current occupant of the Oval Office, among his other abiding afflictions.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Actually, it's tithing and no alcohol/tobacco/caffine, which puts most people off. The stuff which makes most people have to contemplate real life changes to the ways they have been living. In other words, personal, permanent, sacrifices.

Alcohol was good enough for Jesus, whose public ministry very conspicuously opened and closed with wine (and, for that matter, for Smith, who ran the only tavern in Nauvoo in his parlor), and it's good enough for me. These things are purely matters of personal choice and discipline.

No, I'm talking about the important stuff. For anyone who actually knows anything about Christianity, basic Mormon doctrine is likely to be pretty horrifying.

quote:
You don't understand it. ...Mormons absolutely believe in Grace. Just not "cheap grace."
And you don't understand the concept of grace, at least not as Christians do. You can't buy your way into heaven; you certainly cannot buy your way into godhood. Grace is a pure gift, given out the incomprehensible Love of God.

How many gods do you reckon there are in total, anyway? Has anyone ever offered an estimate?

quote:
I don't understand this statement. Are you referring to earlier, "original" statements about Blacks? If so, we need to remember that all religions evolve. The earlier leaders of the LDS religion are not equal in prophetic value to the living ones. That IS Mormon doctrine and always has been.
They don't evolve THAT much: The founders of Mormonism would disagree. Here's just one salient item:
quote:
After the Mormons moved west, Brigham Young, the second president of the church, became very adamant in his disapproval of blacks. Preaching in 1859, at the October Conference of the LDS Church, President Brigham Young declared:

Cain slew his brother . . . and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. . . . How long is that race [blacks] to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).

On another occasion Brigham Young declared:

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).

As to Mormon baptisms: they're not generally accepted by those who understand Mormon theology because Mormons are not Christian, but polytheists.

Ross
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
Mitt's crudulity is no zanier than any other truly believing religious person's. Come now, if you really look at what people profess to believe, it all looks and sounds like so much imaginative wishful thinking.

As for his judgment being clouded by religion, that is going to be a concern with any devoutly religious candidate, as it always has been. But it has rarely if ever shown itself to be a big problem.

True enough. But there is a distinction between believing in something which can not be proven to be true, and believing in something which has been proven to be false. I would say most world religions fall into the first category, whereas the Mormon faith (e.g. reliance on B of M as an ancient, revealed document) comes quite close to falling into the 2nd.


quote:
One might suspect that it is indeed a very real problem in respect to the current occupant of the Oval Office, among his other abiding afflictions.
No argument there-- but that alone is reason to be concerned!
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
My point exactly (RE: Bushie).
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
Exactly. We've just survived (sorta) 7 years of a president who is apparently able to handle the significant amount of cognitive dissonance/ lack of faith integration required to call oneself "Christian" and then act in a manner completely inconsistent with key Christian principles. Do we really wanna sign on for another 4 years with someone who has shown a similar tolerance for cognitive dissonance and disassociation, simply by virtue of having pursued a higher education w/o "connecting the dots" to the obvious conclusions re: BofM, etc.?
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
...there is a distinction between believing in something which can not be proven to be true, and believing in something which has been proven to be false. I would say most world religions fall into the first category, whereas the Mormon faith (e.g. reliance on B of M as an ancient, revealed document) comes quite close to falling into the 2nd. ...

There is absolutely nothing in the Book of Mormon which is demonstrably true, and quite a lot which is demonstrably false, from archeology to animals.

The Smithsonian Institution even has a form letter with attachments that it sends to those who ask about Mormonism and archeology. (So does the Oriental Institute of Chicago.) You can find the basic facts here.

As for Hopi legends, the cover letter from the Smithsonian has this to say:
quote:
The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia. Archeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World--probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age--in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Ross
 
Posted by PostDenominational Catholic (# 12426) on :
 
Those of you who've been following developments in America might have heard about what Al Sharpton said about Mitt Romney.

And an opinion poll there suggests that there is a statistical tie between those who think Mormons are Christian and those who don't. Either Hinckley's propaganda is working or...
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
There is absolutely nothing in the Book of Mormon which is demonstrably true, and quite a lot which is demonstrably false, from archeology to animals.
You got that that was my point, right?
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
You got that that was my point, right?

Yup -- just saying "ahhhh-men," and providing corroborative detail.

(What DID Al Sharpton say about Mitt "I Changed My Mind" Romney?)

Ross

[ 11. May 2007, 01:47: Message edited by: Rossweisse ]
 
Posted by 206 (# 206) on :
 
quote:
(What DID Al Sharpton say about Mitt "I Changed My Mind" Romney?)

This:

quote:
Sharpton, a Christian, made his comment during a debate Monday with Christopher Hitchens, an atheist author.

''As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation,'' Sharpton said Monday.

At a campaign stop later in the week, Romney responded sharply. ''It shows that bigotry still exists in some corners. I thought it was a most unfortunate comment to make.''


 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Thanks, 206!
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
MerlintheMad:
You don't understand it. ...Mormons absolutely believe in Grace. Just not "cheap grace."

quote:
And you don't understand the concept of grace, at least not as Christians do. You can't buy your way into heaven; you certainly cannot buy your way into godhood. Grace is a pure gift, given out the incomprehensible Love of God.
And you make this sound as if all "Christians" have arrived finally at a consensus on what "Grace" is or means. That is not accurate.

Mormon definition of grace is simply that, Christ's atonement (suffering) paid for all sin, transgression, and fallen nature of the world. The world will resume its paradisical glory. But individuals who refuse to repent cannot be forgiven until the effects of their unrepentance are paid for. After that, then the grace of Christ redeems them from the Fall. Mormons do not "buy" their way anywhere. You are mistaken.

quote:
How many gods do you reckon there are in total, anyway? Has anyone ever offered an estimate?
Rhetorical questions are only amusing, not productive. As God is infinite and his worlds are infinite, and numbered only to him, it is pointless to assume we comprehend numbers of anything that God does. The Bible claims we are children of God, he is called Father: we are joint heirs with Christ. Taken holistically, the Bible supports the doctrine that we are supposed to become like our Father. He is God, and we are supposed to become gods and goddesses.

quote:
I don't understand this statement. Are you referring to earlier, "original" statements about Blacks? If so, we need to remember that all religions evolve. The earlier leaders of the LDS religion are not equal in prophetic value to the living ones. That IS Mormon doctrine and always has been.
quote:
They don't evolve THAT much: The founders of Mormonism would disagree. Here's just one salient item:
[QUOTE]After the Mormons moved west, Brigham Young, the second president of the church, became very adamant in his disapproval of blacks. Preaching in 1859, at the October Conference of the LDS Church, President Brigham Young declared:....

I don't get you. You said "they [doctrines?] don't evolve that much." Then you lay out some of B. Young's most often quoted attitudes toward Blacks. Yet the Mormon religion since 1978 has utterly and forever rejected Young's theology on Blacks. If that isn't doctrinal "evolution", at least it is admitting that Young was prejudiced toward Blacks, and mistaken, along with all others who tried to teach that Blacks are an eternally cursed race. There was always the variant teaching, that they would receive all equal priesthood privileges "in the due time of the Lord." B Young, et al, taught that it would never be while this world stands. But others said we don't know that: for instance, my family taught that, while at the same time, in 1978, a guy I "home taught", was adamant that the correct belief is that Blacks would NEVER hold priesthood, period. So both views were growing side by side in the church; until in 1978, the better one won out.

quote:
As to Mormon baptisms: they're not generally accepted by those who understand Mormon theology because Mormons are not Christian, but polytheists.

Ross

That's circular reasoning. "Your baptisms are not acceptable, even though you invoke Father, Son and Holy Ghost while doing them. Because we say you are polytheists we don't believe you when you say you are Christians, so your baptisms are not recognized."

It is possible to be misunderstood. How many Prots accept RCC baptism? The RCC claims to accept many but not all Prot baptisms. So, no consensus here either. But you all can claim that Mormons are right out? Because we have a theology which rubs you the wrong way? Sort of a double standard, don't you think? You can disagree with each other, but, like the Arab pithy saying -- "the enemy of my enemy is still me friend" -- you unite against a religion which proselytizes amongst your flock. That's the real reason, not the theology. If the Mormon church ceased to grow, ceased to send out missionaries, then you wouldn't feel so adamant about trying to discredit it.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
....But there is a distinction between believing in something which can not be proven to be true, and believing in something which has been proven to be false. I would say most world religions fall into the first category, whereas the Mormon faith (e.g. reliance on B of M as an ancient, revealed document) comes quite close to falling into the 2nd.

I noticed that you (wisely) qualified that statement. Because there is plenty of false conjecture about the historicity of the biblical account: yet virtually all of Christianity is founded on the belief that the Bible is the revealed word of God, essentially perfect and without error in what it says. Much back-pedaling on that has been done by an increasing majority. Nowadays, it is popular to refer to the Bible as not literal history; and most of the OT as alegory and metaphor and not literal in any of it's more fantastic claims. Such a view less than 200 years ago would have met with resounding rejection. Today, Bible lieralists are an endangered species fighting for survival.

The Book of Mormon is not a literal history either. It will be possible to defend it in the light of Joseph Smith's own ignorance. Yes, Moses, Abraham, and the first prophet Adam, were all ignorant bronze-age barbarians compared to modern knowledge. So we allow them to be held up to a charitable light of ignorance. Smith's theology was based on ignorance too. The Book of Mormon, therefore, can teach truths without being literally grounded in historicity, just as the OT tales are not founded on literal historicity, but rather, were products of the time in which they were first written down (c. 7th century BCE).


quote:
One might suspect that it is indeed a very real problem in respect to the current occupant of the Oval Office, among his other abiding afflictions. No argument there-- but that alone is reason to be concerned!
I don't see why. Mitt seems like a very progressive sort of Mormon. If he were not, I doubt that is political career would have gotten this far. Fundie Mormons have inexhaustible ways and opportunities of giving themselves away. Mitt's religion seems, to me, very much compartmentalized away from his politics. That doesn't mean I will vote for him, however....
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
And you make this sound as if all "Christians" have arrived finally at a consensus on what "Grace" is or means. That is not accurate. ... Mormons do not "buy" their way anywhere. You are mistaken.

Ah, isn't it interesting how two people can look at the same evidence and come to two completely different understandings? No, not all Christians agree on every detail of how grace operates -- but any Christian's understanding is different from that of Mormonism. Our grace is a pure gift. Yours is, from everything I've read or heard, a retail operation.

You may not care for the sound of that, and I can't blame you;it's not conducive to good PR. Still, I think it's the most accurate way of putting things.

That's because your deal is that if you do X and Y and Z, you'll be put into Steerage Class Heaven -- which is really closer to most people's idea of something distinctly hellish, even if the missionaries prefer to represent it as something else. If you do A and B and C, you'll get into Economy Class Heaven, which is okay, although the meals are minimal and there's not enough legroom. And if you do A and B and C AND put a cherry on top AND give lots of money to the Mormon organization, you can go to First Class Heaven.

That's not a Christian concept. I think all genuine Christian denominations agree on this one: There's just one Heaven for everyone, period.
quote:
...Taken holistically, the Bible supports the doctrine that we are supposed to become like our Father. He is God, and we are supposed to become gods and goddesses.
No, if you really read the Bible, you'll find that is not a Christian (or Hebrew) concept: there is ONE God, period, for the entire Creation -- and God is certainly not our father in a sexual sense, as Mormonism would have him. One of my problems with Mormonism is the ways in which it limits its god to being nothing but a human being with a few superpowers and an exceptionally strong sex drive, even by Smith's impressive standards.
quote:
I don't get you. You said "they [doctrines?] don't evolve that much." Then you lay out some of B. Young's most often quoted attitudes toward Blacks. Yet the Mormon religion since 1978 has utterly and forever rejected Young's theology on Blacks. If that isn't doctrinal "evolution"...
Young said that would never change. Period. Yet they, 180 degrees, after everyone from the Federal government to the Boy Scouts came down on the men in SLC like a ton of bricks for an incredible and embarrassing level of institutional racism. The change was very convenient. However, by your own standards, Brigham Young was either a prophet who spoke your god's truth -- or he was a fraud and a liar:
quote:
Cain slew his brother . . . and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. . . . How long is that race [blacks] to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).
Which is it?
quote:
...Because we say you are polytheists we don't believe you when you say you are Christians, so your baptisms are not recognized."

It is possible to be misunderstood. How many Prots accept RCC baptism? The RCC claims to accept many but not all Prot baptisms. So, no consensus here either. But you all can claim that Mormons are right out? Because we have a theology which rubs you the wrong way? Sort of a double standard, don't you think? ...

Sorry, you're mistaken. Mormons ARE polytheists, by your own admission. Christians are not, and you do not appear to understand the difference. Your "trinity" -- the three identical albino fellows from the old Temple movie -- are simply not the same as the Three Persons of the Trinity, One God.

There are a few Protestant denominations which insist on baptism by immersion and don't accept infant baptisms, or baptism by pouring. The Roman Catholic Church, as far as I know, accepts all Christian baptisms.

That's because one is not baptized into a particular denomination, but into the Body of Christ. Furthermore, it's one baptism to a customer.

That's another area in which Mormonism differs from Christianity: there's a difference between not accepting another Christian body's order of baptism, and the Mormon system of having to get redone every time you annoy the hierarchy and then come back.

Ross
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
Merlin--

quote:
Mitt's religion seems, to me, very much compartmentalized away from his politics.
Yes, that was precisely my point-- and the source of my concern. I think we have seen with the "current occupant" of the WH the same ability to "compartmentalize" faith, to ignore extreme cognitive dissonance, to simply choose not to struggle with the complexities. While we don't want a theocracy, there is also something equally disturbing about this strange ability to diassociate and compartmentalize that verges on sociopathology (speaking of the current occupant here, not Mitt). I really know very little about Mitt other than his religion, but I worry if that may be an indicator of that same disturbing ability to compartmentalize and disassociate. I want a leader who is more fully integrated, and able to think thru moral complexities.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Mr. Romney, who used to be on the more libertarian side of the Republican equation (social liberal/fiscal conservative), recently did an abrupt about-face and fell into line with the anti-libertarian political preferences of the geritocracy in Salt Lake City.

Either the libertarianism was a pose then, necessary to get elected in Massachusetts, or the extreme social conservatism is a pose now, to get the support of Mr. Bush's base. In either case, it's a pretty major switcheroo.

Ross
 
Posted by The Undiscovered Country (# 4811) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:

Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, says (from www.mormon.org):

quote:
"We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ."
He goes on to say that Mormons "accept Jesus Christ as our Leader, our King, our Savior" and as "the dominant figure in the history of the world, the only perfect Man who ever walked the earth, the living Son of the living God." He even adds that Jesus is "our Savior and our Redeemer through whose atoning sacrifice has come the opportunity of eternal life."

Not only that, but Mormons also "pray and worship in the name of Jesus Christ." According to their doctrine, "The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement."


If this is not enough for a religion to be considered Christian, what specifics does the title require?

One key issue missing from the above is whether Jesus is God-and not just one of multiple gods for multiple worlds but the very same one and only God as God the Father
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
....No, not all Christians agree on every detail of how grace operates -- but any Christian's understanding is different from that of Mormonism. Our grace is a pure gift. Yours is, from everything I've read or heard, a retail operation.

You may not care for the sound of that, and I can't blame you;it's not conducive to good PR. Still, I think it's the most accurate way of putting things.

You may have noticed already, that I am interested in accuracy, and could not care much less than I do now, whether Mormonism endures or not. So "PR" hasn't anything to do with my motives for engaging in this conversation/debate.

"Your grace is more of a retail operation", needs defining. It doesn't work as a glib stand-alone.

quote:
That's because your deal is that if you do X and Y and Z, you'll be put into Steerage Class Heaven -- which is really closer to most people's idea of something distinctly hellish, even if the missionaries prefer to represent it as something else.
HOW, is living with the Father "hellish"??? Keeping company with the Saints, Angels, all who have been redeemed as fully as God can effect it? The ONLY difference between this imaginary "steerage class" (of male and female singles) and fully realized exaltation (the marrieds), is in their godlike powers (specifically of procreation), not the living standards or the relationships to each other as people.

quote:
If you do A and B and C, you'll get into Economy Class Heaven, which is okay, although the meals are minimal and there's not enough legroom. And if you do A and B and C AND put a cherry on top AND give lots of money to the Mormon organization, you can go to First Class Heaven.
Ah, tithing bites the big one, yet again. Yeah, if you don't get into the temple, you are not going to get married "for eternity." Oh well, that's about it. As for the rest, I misunderstood you at first in my reply above. But even X, Y, and Z are not good things you obey if you are calling the telestial kingdom of heaven "steerage class." X, Y, and Z are bad things, and not even omissions: you have to be a liar, whoremonger, murderer, etc., in order to qualify for that! How is that anywhere near the "hellish" that you seem fixated on? "Perdition" is the only aspect of immortality which is hellish, and in Mormon theology, it is worse even than fire and brimstone.

quote:
That's not a Christian concept. I think all genuine Christian denominations agree on this one: There's just one Heaven for everyone, period.
Paul evidently saw things differently, as he spoke of levels of heaven. Not in enough detail to form a doctrinal consensus, however: thus, Joseph Smith's essential calling to "restore" the missing bits (if he had to say so himself).

I doubt very much, that ALL Christians see heaven the same way, or getting there the same way. Such has certainly not been my experience in talking with many different Christians.

quote:
...Taken holistically, the Bible supports the doctrine that we are supposed to become like our Father. He is God, and we are supposed to become gods and goddesses.
quote:
No, if you really read the Bible,...
I'd like to know what I have been doing all these years, if it isn't really reading "the" Bible: actually, I have three: the NIV, the NAB (Catholic study version) and of course the KJV.

quote:
...you'll find that is not a Christian (or Hebrew) concept: there is ONE God, period, for the entire Creation...
Of course, that's true. And Joseph Smith was talking about something else: implied if not specifically ironed out (he died, you recall, soon after making his last or latest statements on the Godhead). There can, of course, be only ONE God of all creation.

...
quote:
-- and God is certainly not our father in a sexual sense, as Mormonism would have him.
Yes, and no. B. Young, iirc, is the one who said (words to the effect), "God the Father is the only God with which we have to do." Meaning, that there are other gods, but our Father is the only God we will ever have dealings with or concern about.

Not a satisfying statement, for yours truly: at an early age I had difficulty with it. Because it just turns away from any and all questioning: "Who (or WHAT) is the God that our Heavenly Father worships!?"

quote:
One of my problems with Mormonism is the ways in which it limits its god to being nothing but a human being with a few superpowers and an exceptionally strong sex drive, even by Smith's impressive standards.
I am with you on this, completely. The "god" who appeared to Joseph Smith could not possibly be THE God of all Creation. A manifestation of that ONE God, yes, but not, as he appeared, THE God. That opens up the question in two likely directions: if Joseph Smith did have a genuine, metaphysical experience (i.e. indeed saw and heard personages of glorious aspect), then the visitants are either genuine manifestations of God, and therefore speaking as if God is appearing as a man (or men, more than one manifestation at a time): or: the manifestation was that of advanced human beings having us on, and opening up the accusation of manipulation. It is, of course, possible, that such beings are not manipulative: but rather, glorified and exalted by their level of attainment, and have come into "God's" presence in a literal, reunion-like sense, and are helping us to also advance to be like them. If either of these latter two possibilities are the facts, then we are mistaken to disallow the Existence of advanced human beings calling themselves gods: and teaching that we are, like them, going to attain the same level of Existence if we advance.

quote:
...However, by your own standards, Brigham Young was either a prophet who spoke your god's truth -- or he was a fraud and a liar:
You are aware of Joseph Smith's definition (caveat) of a prophet? That a man speaks as a prophet only when God inspires him, and only as a man when not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. You can't hold Mormonism up to a different standard, not even if it holds itself up to a different standard. From your end, you must judge the religion on an equal standard with all others. So your picking on B. Young and saying the church is somehow wrong to have turned away from his manmade doctrines, is not being fair.

quote:
...Sort of a double standard, don't you think? ...
quote:
Sorry, you're mistaken. Mormons ARE polytheists, by your own admission.
As I explained above, it is possible to talk of other "gods" and still believe in the ONE God of all Creation. Joseph Smith's incomplete theology leaves Mormons wondering about who or what THE God of all Creation is; just like everybody else. You will not find any practicing, knowledgable Mormon, who says that they worship more than one God. It goes like this: the Father is who we pray to, in the name of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is how we communicate with each other. We pray ONLY to the Father, period. Even Christ prays to the same Father. It's just a different slant on things, not some radically different theology.

quote:
Christians are not, and you do not appear to understand the difference. Your "trinity" -- the three identical albino fellows from the old Temple movie -- are simply not the same as the Three Persons of the Trinity, One God.
You have made for yourself very hard conclusions, without getting all your facts straight. There are in fact only two "albino" dudes in the temple films. The HG remains invisible and is nowhere mentioned.

The Father, and Jehovah. Jehovah does all the manipulating of the matter in the Creation, along with Adam ("Michael"), who represents us. Mormons enjoy the affectation, that each of us who lives here had something to do with the creation process. But that's just speculation.

We do have a problem in a holistic comparison of the NT texts: Jesus praying to himself: a voice throwing itself to sound like two different people at his baptism; Stephen announcing at his martyrdom that he saw TWO beings, Jesus on the righthand of God, etc. It isn't nearly as clearcut as you want it to be.

quote:
There are a few Protestant denominations which insist on baptism by immersion and don't accept infant baptisms, or baptism by pouring. The Roman Catholic Church, as far as I know, accepts all Christian baptisms.

That's because one is not baptized into a particular denomination, but into the Body of Christ. Furthermore, it's one baptism to a customer.

That's another area in which Mormonism differs from Christianity: there's a difference between not accepting another Christian body's order of baptism, and the Mormon system of having to get redone every time you annoy the hierarchy and then come back.

Ross

Rebaptisms (recommitments) are common in Christian history. Only early Mormonism practiced rebaptism. Excommunication requires a reentry through baptism. I fail to see how this feature could disqualify a person from being Christian.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Pastorgirl: ....Mitt's religion seems, to me, very much compartmentalized away from his politics.[/b]
Yes, that was precisely my point-- and the source of my concern. I think we have seen with the "current occupant" of the WH the same ability to "compartmentalize" faith, to ignore extreme cognitive dissonance, to simply choose not to struggle with the complexities. While we don't want a theocracy, there is also something equally disturbing about this strange ability to diassociate and compartmentalize that verges on sociopathology (speaking of the current occupant here, not Mitt). I really know very little about Mitt other than his religion, but I worry if that may be an indicator of that same disturbing ability to compartmentalize and disassociate. I want a leader who is more fully integrated, and able to think thru moral complexities. [/QUOTE]

Some Christian more like Al Sharpton?

Look the only "solution" for your concerns, is to forbid any blatantly religious person from running for the presidency. There is no way in America that we can legally do that.

[ 12. May 2007, 19:48: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Undiscovered Country:
quote:
Originally posted by Professor Kirke:

Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, says (from www.mormon.org):

quote:
"We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ."
He goes on to say that Mormons "accept Jesus Christ as our Leader, our King, our Savior" and as "the dominant figure in the history of the world, the only perfect Man who ever walked the earth, the living Son of the living God." He even adds that Jesus is "our Savior and our Redeemer through whose atoning sacrifice has come the opportunity of eternal life."

Not only that, but Mormons also "pray and worship in the name of Jesus Christ." According to their doctrine, "The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement."


If this is not enough for a religion to be considered Christian, what specifics does the title require?

One key issue missing from the above is whether Jesus is God-and not just one of multiple gods for multiple worlds but the very same one and only God as God the Father
Joseph Smith's theology evolved into complexity. If you take only the Book of Mormon, his earliest and largest religious writing, the Godhead is clearly Trinitarian, with Jesus as God made flesh, taking on himself a tabernacle of clay and becoming a man. Later, this simple, fundamental theology gets changed. The evidence is, Joseph Smith didn't know anymore about it than the best minds of the last 2,000 years.

As I tried to explain to Rossweisse, Mormons only pray to the Father, but in the name of Jesus Christ. Through working out the atonement, Jesus Christ sat down on the right hand of his Father. Stephen saw this as he died. The Father's voice was heard at Jesus' baptism. Jesus did not pray to himself. Mormonism reconciles all these NT "mysteries". And in the process, opens up (because of Joseph Smith's evolving, incomplete theology), the accusation that the God Mormons pray to is just one of many such gods. It can't be true. Because B. Young's theology insisted that the only God we deal with, ever, is our Heavenly Father.

He said other things as well, which can be held up in contradiction: so it boils down to "which B. Young do you believe?" The one who said rare things, or the one who verified the doctrine with many things that he said?

The point I want to make is: Mormons worship one God only. Jesus Christ is God of the visible world, including the universe, because he created it under his Father's direction. He is the "Word" in John. But Christ worships the same God we all do. Only when Christ is present do we worship him as our God: because he literally is the God of our salvation, having become the Father of salvation, and thus the Father and the Son.

But Joseph Smith said, "As man is God once was." And, "The Father has a body as tangible as man's, the Son also." And, "God was once a man as we are, but has attained his glory and sits enthroned in yonder heavens." This presents a dichotomy: how can the Being that appeared to Joseph Smith be THE One God of all Creation, and yet have once been a mortal? Not possible. Mormons don't examine it, they just accept what they don't know on faith.

Speaking for myself: I accept that the metaphysical Beings that interrelated with Joseph Smith are exalted (advanced) human beings: OR, they are manifestations directly sent by THE God of all Creation. Either way, it is their God, the ONE, that we all worship. If Mormons worship an intermediary God the Father, how is that significantly different than Christians worshipping a manifestation of God, an Intermediary, called Jesus Christ?
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Ah, tithing bites the big one, yet again. Yeah, if you don't get into the temple, you are not going to get married "for eternity." Oh well, that's about it. ...

You misunderstand. I'm fine with tithing -- I tithe, although it doesn't all go to my church, and none of it goes to any organization that refuses to open up the books -- but I do object to putting a price tag on sacraments. Having to show the local Mormon honcho your tax returns to prove that you're giving what he thinks you should in order to be "sealed," or to do the various little jobs that your god expects human beings to do for him -- baptisms for the dead, and so on -- reminds me of having to exchange secular money for sacred money at the real Temple, in Jerusalem. We all know what Jesus thought of that.
quote:
Paul evidently saw things differently, as he spoke of levels of heaven. Not in enough detail to form a doctrinal consensus, however: thus, Joseph Smith's essential calling to "restore" the missing bits (if he had to say so himself).
The Bible is pretty clear on people who add things to Scripture. Besides, Smith didn't understand that Paul was simply talking about a classical conception of heaven. It's not a theological thing at all.

Of course Christians have different ideas about heaven, but the idea of different classes for different people is a non-starter.
quote:
I'd like to know what I have been doing all these years, if it isn't really reading "the" Bible: actually, I have three: the NIV, the NAB (Catholic study version) and of course the KJV.
That's nice, but if you imagine you can read it "holistically," then I have to question your conclusions. The Bible is made up of many books, written from many points of view.
quote:
...There can, of course, be only ONE God of all creation.
Then why all the business about men becoming gods? Talk about hubris!
quote:
You are aware of Joseph Smith's definition (caveat) of a prophet? That a man speaks as a prophet only when God inspires him, and only as a man when not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. You can't hold Mormonism up to a different standard, not even if it holds itself up to a different standard. From your end, you must judge the religion on an equal standard with all others. So your picking on B. Young and saying the church is somehow wrong to have turned away from his manmade doctrines, is not being fair.
Excuse me? Smith claimed to be "prophet, seer, and revelator," and so did Young, and so have all the men who succeeded them. Young wasn't giving an opinion on trouser styles in that one; he was clearly speaking in his supposedly divinely authorized role as God's spokesman. When he said "This shall always be so," he meant it.

And why would I judge a religion that I find clearly founded in fraud "on an equal standard"? Do you judge, say, Scientology as you would any other religion?
quote:
You will not find any practicing, knowledgable Mormon, who says that they worship more than one God. It goes like this: the Father is who we pray to, in the name of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is how we communicate with each other. We pray ONLY to the Father, period. Even Christ prays to the same Father. It's just a different slant on things, not some radically different theology.
No, that's sophistry. Mormons still believe in many gods, even if they technically only pray to one. They're still polytheists -- and polytheists are not, by definition, Christian.
quote:
Rebaptisms (recommitments) are common in Christian history. Only early Mormonism practiced rebaptism. Excommunication requires a reentry through baptism. I fail to see how this feature could disqualify a person from being Christian.
Renewals of vows are very different. You only get "done" once. I didn't say it was a "disqualification;" I said it was yet another area in which Mormonism differs from Christianity.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
You misunderstand. I'm fine with tithing -- I tithe, although it doesn't all go to my church, and none of it goes to any organization that refuses to open up the books -- but I do object to putting a price tag on sacraments. Having to show the local Mormon honcho your tax returns to prove that you're giving what he thinks you should in order to be "sealed,"...

? I have never heard of anyone having to disclose their tithing "worthiness" beyond their word.

quote:
...or to do the various little jobs that your god expects human beings to do for him -- baptisms for the dead, and so on -- reminds me of having to exchange secular money for sacred money at the real Temple, in Jerusalem. We all know what Jesus thought of that.
There are no "quotas" in Mormonism. Nobody is keeping a record of how many baptisms for dead people you do, or how many times you go to the temple at all. Oh, I have been subjected to reporting: the church is big on reporting statistics. Not so much now as formerly. Nobody I know likes it: reporting is a drag. It has nothing at all to do with your standing before God.

quote:
Paul evidently saw things differently, as he spoke of levels of heaven. Not in enough detail to form a doctrinal consensus, however: thus, Joseph Smith's essential calling to "restore" the missing bits (if he had to say so himself).
quote:
The Bible is pretty clear on people who add things to Scripture. Besides, Smith didn't understand that Paul was simply talking about a classical conception of heaven. It's not a theological thing at all.
Right. Another of many interpretations.

And how do you get around the way your bible was put together? What about all the other "gospels" left out? The missing bits referred to within the Bible itself? The controversy over Revelations: it only squeaked by and got canonized.

quote:
Of course Christians have different ideas about heaven, but the idea of different classes for different people is a non-starter.
"Not everyone who says before me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter into heaven. But only he who shall do the will of my Father in heaven."

So it is a warning, that your ideas are judged by no man, but only God.

Mormons don't do the "different classes of heaven for different classes of people", thing. Mormon theology admits that people are different in their abilities and desires. Some are more righteous and some are wicked. They can't all wind up in the exact same place, subject to some divine "flattening" into cookie-cutter people. There is no evidence for this view of eternity.

quote:
I'd like to know what I have been doing all these years, if it isn't really reading "the" Bible: actually, I have three: the NIV, the NAB (Catholic study version) and of course the KJV.
quote:
That's nice, but if you imagine you can read it "holistically," then I have to question your conclusions. The Bible is made up of many books, written from many points of view.
But claimed to all be "authored" by God through the Spirit's revelation. How can any one anecdotal or peripheral part of the Bible be relegated to lesser status? No one has the authority to do that, or else everyone does.

quote:
...There can, of course, be only ONE God of all creation.
quote:
Then why all the business about men becoming gods? Talk about hubris!
Talk about scriptural! "Children?" "Joint heirs with Christ?" "When he appears we shall be like him?"

"Gods" doesn't mean becoming GOD.

quote:
You are aware of Joseph Smith's definition (caveat) of a prophet? That a man speaks as a prophet only when God inspires him, and only as a man when not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. You can't hold Mormonism up to a different standard, not even if it holds itself up to a different standard. From your end, you must judge the religion on an equal standard with all others. So your picking on B. Young and saying the church is somehow wrong to have turned away from his manmade doctrines, is not being fair.
quote:
Excuse me? Smith claimed to be "prophet, seer, and revelator," and so did Young, and so have all the men who succeeded them.
Not 24/7. That's the "out", you see. Not everything that proceeds from prophets is prophetic. It saves a lot of trouble as it causes more trouble. I didn't make the definition.

quote:
Young wasn't giving an opinion on trouser styles in that one; he was clearly speaking in his supposedly divinely authorized role as God's spokesman. When he said "This shall always be so," he meant it.
He meant it. And he wasn't perfect, and he was mistaken about a great many things. What does that say about the rest of the "lesser" human race?

quote:
And why would I judge a religion that I find clearly founded in fraud "on an equal standard"? Do you judge, say, Scientology as you would any other religion?
Absolutely.

quote:
You will not find any practicing, knowledgable Mormon, who says that they worship more than one God. It goes like this: the Father is who we pray to, in the name of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is how we communicate with each other. We pray ONLY to the Father, period. Even Christ prays to the same Father. It's just a different slant on things, not some radically different theology.
quote:
No, that's sophistry. Mormons still believe in many gods, even if they technically only pray to one. They're still polytheists -- and polytheists are not, by definition, Christian.
Your words can damn you. In the Mormon definition of the word: you have stopped trying to understand.

Polytheists PRAY TO and VENERATE GODS. We do not.

quote:
Rebaptisms (recommitments) are common in Christian history. Only early Mormonism practiced rebaptism. Excommunication requires a reentry through baptism. I fail to see how this feature could disqualify a person from being Christian.
quote:
Renewals of vows are very different. You only get "done" once. I didn't say it was a "disqualification;" I said it was yet another area in which Mormonism differs from Christianity.

Ross

So we can point to a legion of differences in the sects and denominations of Christianity. At what point do we decide, "oops, you're no longer Christian?" Recommitments or rebaptism (readmission) into the church after excommunication: what difference is there? If it isn't an issue defining what is "Christian", then it isn't needing addressing on this topic, is it?
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
? I have never heard of anyone having to disclose their tithing "worthiness" beyond their word.

Really? I have -- obviously, or I wouldn't have mentioned it -- and on a number of occasions. I've also heard complaints about "quotas" (as you put it). Perhaps things are different in your neck of the woods.
quote:
Right. Another of many interpretations.

And how do you get around the way your bible was put together? What about all the other "gospels" left out? The missing bits referred to within the Bible itself? The controversy over Revelations: it only squeaked by and got canonized.

It's "Revelation," singular, and "was added to the canon." (Oddly enough, I just preached on this very subject this morning.)

Let's see. "Interpretations" properly use tradition and scholarly understanding as well as the texts themselves. If you ignore what we now know about, say, Paul's world, and instead go with some notion not findable anywhere else in the Bible, you're cutting yourself off from both important information and a better understanding.

The Bible was assembled by the votes of church councils that believed themselves guided by the Holy Spirit. They actually did pretty well; nonsense like The Da Vinci Code aside, the "other gospels" didn't belong in the canon, because they were (a) written much later than the canonical gospels, and (b) often written to advance specific points of view in a way that the accepted gospels do not.

The "missing bits" -- well, if we don't have them from the ancient manuscripts, we don't have them. That doesn't mean you get to make something up and insert it.

The Revelation of John is in fact problematic -- especially if you don't read it in the context of the very specific late 1st Century persecutions it addresses. That's an area where a lack of scholarship will really get you into trouble. But there's a lot of value in it -- poetry and symbolism, words of consolation -- when you do know the background.
quote:
So it is a warning, that your ideas are judged by no man, but only God. ...

Mormons don't do the "different classes of heaven for different classes of people", thing. Mormon theology admits that people are different in their abilities and desires. Some are more righteous and some are wicked. They can't all wind up in the exact same place, subject to some divine "flattening" into cookie-cutter people. There is no evidence for this view of eternity.

Thanks for the warning, but I'll trust God instead of you. And there is every evidence for "this view of eternity."

People who think they deserve better than other people often dislike the idea of grace. It's that whole Prodigal Son thing, isn't it? I've been good, and he's been bad, and what do you MEAN he's going to Heaven? It's not fair!

But we cannot fathom God (see Job), and we don't get to dictate, either. I think C.S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, has a nice handle on this issue.
quote:
But claimed to all be "authored" by God through the Spirit's revelation. How can any one anecdotal or peripheral part of the Bible be relegated to lesser status? No one has the authority to do that, or else everyone does.
I don't take a fundamentalist view. My faith sits on the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. I think scholarship has much to offer us, particularly in understanding the many contradictory things contained in the Bible. I'm happy to discuss it, but that may be a subject for another thread.
quote:
... Talk about scriptural! "Children?" "Joint heirs with Christ?" "When he appears we shall be like him?"
Children, not equals. Made in God's spiritual image, but not identical. Joint heirs with Christ in God's kingdom -- not setting up as godlets in our own. (This whole Mormon thing about becoming gods is really just the ultimate male fantasy.)
quote:
Not 24/7. That's the "out", you see. Not everything that proceeds from prophets is prophetic. It saves a lot of trouble as it causes more trouble. I didn't make the definition.
That's why I mentioned the fashion advice; I don't think Young was speaking for eternity when he condemned "the new 'fornication'" trousers.

But when Young (whom I believe, based on my reading, to have been a very bad man indeed) talks about the curse of Ham and how the Negro race will never get the priesthood blessings until all white men have it, he is very clearly speaking in his self-appointed role as prophet. There's really no way around it, unless you just dismiss everything the modern Mormon organization finds inconvenient.
quote:
Your words can damn you. In the Mormon definition of the word: you have stopped trying to understand.
Oh, my -- two threats in a single post! (Do they have flashlights in the Outer Darkness? May I take a book?)
quote:
Polytheists PRAY TO and VENERATE GODS. We do not.
Sorry, but you don't understand how it works. Polytheists simply BELIEVE IN multiple gods -- which Mormons, as you admit, do. They don't have to pray to them to be polytheists.

In the ancient world, every little hill and hamlet had its own gods. Families had household gods.

Eventually, broader cults grew up, but the local gods remained. The polite (not to mention sensible) traveler always enquired as to the names and natures of the local deities, and sacrificed accordingly while in the neighborhood. That doesn't mean they worshipped those deities regularly, but they did believe in them.

Mormons believe in other deities. Christians don't. I think that's pretty simple.

Ross

[ 13. May 2007, 18:53: Message edited by: Rossweisse ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
....Perhaps things are different in your neck of the woods.

Perhaps. Right under the noses of church headquarters. I have heard stories (they are rather common), of bishops asking unauthorized questions during temple recommend interviews. It happens that those who take it upon themselves to defend the church can exceed their authority rather easily. Invariably this causes offense.

quote:
Right. Another of many interpretations.

And how do you get around the way your bible was put together? What about all the other "gospels" left out? The missing bits referred to within the Bible itself? The controversy over Revelations: it only squeaked by and got canonized.

quote:
It's "Revelation," singular, and "was added to the canon." (Oddly enough, I just preached on this very subject this morning.)
Oops, my bad. Slip of the fingers.

quote:
....

The "missing bits" -- well, if we don't have them from the ancient manuscripts, we don't have them. That doesn't mean you get to make something up and insert it.

Unless your claim that God is revealing "the plain and precious truths" that have been "removed" (lost) to you, is legitimate. That's the thing about religious creation: it is so open to free claim and expression. And all you have to substantiate is believability. If your religion holds together, it will gain a following.

quote:
So it is a warning, that your ideas are judged by no man, but only God. ...

Mormons don't do the "different classes of heaven for different classes of people", thing. Mormon theology admits that people are different in their abilities and desires. Some are more righteous and some are wicked. They can't all wind up in the exact same place, subject to some divine "flattening" into cookie-cutter people. There is no evidence for this view of eternity.

quote:
Thanks for the warning, but I'll trust God instead of you. And there is every evidence for "this view of eternity."

People who think they deserve better than other people often dislike the idea of grace. It's that whole Prodigal Son thing, isn't it? I've been good, and he's been bad, and what do you MEAN he's going to Heaven? It's not fair!

So the message of the Prodigal son is that both go to heaven: even the upset, jealous, faithful son: but, there is no mention that they are equal. On the contrary, the faithful son inherits ALL his father's property. The prodigal is merely accepted back again, all forgiven. But his station is not the same as his brother's. That's what it says.

quote:
But we cannot fathom God (see Job), and we don't get to dictate, either. I think C.S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, has a nice handle on this issue.
I haven't read it.

quote:
... Talk about scriptural! "Children?" "Joint heirs with Christ?" "When he appears we shall be like him?"
quote:
Children, not equals. Made in God's spiritual image, but not identical. Joint heirs with Christ in God's kingdom -- not setting up as godlets in our own. (This whole Mormon thing about becoming gods is really just the ultimate male fantasy.)
Leaving out all the women, don't you think? Polygamy has NO part in modern, mainstream Mormonism; and I don't know anybody who wants it back.

Nowhere did anyone even hint, that our exaltation makes us "equals" with God. What a concept! Where did you get that? It can't be a telling point, that God remains different from us, even though we are called "children." And, finally, "setting up" in our own kingdoms (mansions?) does not imply that we get independent of God; all that we ever do or are is just part of his eternally increasing glory.

quote:
But when Young (whom I believe, based on my reading, to have been a very bad man indeed)....
Very human, I'd put it. Not an icon of perfection, no sir. But he was great in the ways that leaders need to be. Greater than you or me, that's for sure.

quote:
...talks about the curse of Ham and how the Negro race will never get the priesthood blessings until all white men have it, he is very clearly speaking in his self-appointed role as prophet. There's really no way around it, unless you just dismiss everything the modern Mormon organization finds inconvenient.
Well, that's what dogmatic, organized religions do best, isn't it? They control the doctrine. And superceding anything Young, et al. from the past has said, the modern prophets SPEAK (not spoke once upon a time) for God. And their pronouncements trump anything said in earlier times. Funny, how you can't seem to wrap your mind around that important fact.

quote:
Your words can damn you. In the Mormon definition of the word: you have stopped trying to understand.
quote:
Oh, my -- two threats in a single post! (Do they have flashlights in the Outer Darkness? May I take a book?)
When did I say you were heading for "outer darkness?" And "damned" doesn't imply divine wrath.

quote:
Polytheists PRAY TO and VENERATE GODS. We do not.
quote:
Sorry, but you don't understand how it works. Polytheists simply BELIEVE IN multiple gods -- which Mormons, as you admit, do. They don't have to pray to them to be polytheists.
Okay, granted that your definition may have more traditional clout than the Mormon one. Words can have nuances, most do. Your insistence on Mormons being polytheists is unfair on two counts: we believe in the Godhead of three Gods one in purpose: that's a slant that is just as valid as the more venerable three Gods, but one God, Trinity. Second, these "gods" you insist on us believing in, they are US! Children of the Father whose destiny is to be like him. There isn't anything remotely paganistic about it. And nobody who becomes a god or goddess is going to be equal with their Father, ever, not in eternity, worlds without end.

quote:
In the ancient world, every little hill and hamlet had its own gods. Families had household gods.
You think this compares to Mormon beliefs??

quote:
Mormons believe in other deities. Christians don't. I think that's pretty simple.

Ross

Which "other deities"? I don't know of them.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Okay, granted that your definition may have more traditional clout than the Mormon one. Words can have nuances, most do. Your insistence on Mormons being polytheists is unfair on two counts: we believe in the Godhead of three Gods one in purpose: that's a slant that is just as valid as the more venerable three Gods, but one God, Trinity.

It might or might not be "just as valid", in the sense that being Hindu (and venerating multiple gods) is "just as valid". Her point is that it is polytheism, which it is. There's a big difference between the view that God's essence was present in Jesus Christ, and that God's spirit acting in the world is another aspect of God. To teach that there are three Gods is different, whether their purpose is one or many.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Second, these "gods" you insist on us believing in, they are US! Children of the Father whose destiny is to be like him. There isn't anything remotely paganistic about it. And nobody who becomes a god or goddess is going to be equal with their Father, ever, not in eternity, worlds without end.

Um, that's a big "wow" on the polytheism scale, fyi. If the exalted are gods, then you've got a lot more than three, but untold millions.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Which "other deities"? I don't know of them.

Your famous "plurality of gods." So what if you don't actually pray to them? You believe in them. That makes you polytheists. Very simple.

There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that there is more than one heaven for different people, and nothing in Christian tradition. The Prodigal Son isn't talking about heaven; I was giving that as an example of how self-righteous people can be when someone is treated well.

(The Great Divorce is a lovely little book -- short, and filled with lots to think about.)

If you're going to make stuff up and stick it into Scripture, with no documentary support whatever, you've got to expect that it's going to be rejected by most people.

Polygamy is still a part of Mormon doctrine; it's just not practiced at the moment. Men are still "sealed" to multiple women in Temple ceremonies. And here's a great quote from Brigham Young. (Note what he says about his sermon content.)
quote:
President Brigham Young also said, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter polygamy" (J. of D., Vol. XI, p. 269). Later Young also said, "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call it scripture" (J. of D., Vol. XIII, p. 95).
There's more interesting information here.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
.... Her point is that it is polytheism, which it is. There's a big difference between the view that God's essence was present in Jesus Christ, and that God's spirit acting in the world is another aspect of God. To teach that there are three Gods is different, whether their purpose is one or many.

If that is polytheism, then the standard Christian apologetic response to my counter accusation is, "it's a mystery!" To whit: Jesus' baptism; his prayer in Gethsemene; St Stephen's vision of Jesus AND the Father. Question: is God a trickster? If not, then how to explain the Father manifesting separately from the Son, Jesus praying to himself, and Stephen seeing TWO Gods?

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
....Um, that's a big "wow" on the polytheism scale, fyi. If the exalted are gods, then you've got a lot more than three, but untold millions.

Yes, countless gods and goddesses. Shouldn't that signify that our perspective on this is slightly different than someone's who claims that we are polytheists? There is a definite distinction between assuming the existence of multiple deities with powers and jobs, and the destiny of the human race to attain to godlike powers. Mormons do not worship or venerate or acknowledge "gods" in any sort of pantheon: there is God, the Creator of the worlds, whom we worship, and then there is everyone else.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Which "other deities"? I don't know of them.

quote:
Your famous "plurality of gods." So what if you don't actually pray to them? You believe in them. That makes you polytheists. Very simple.
They don't have names. They don't occupy any pantheon. They don't have jobs. If they exist in Mormon theology, we have no information whatsoever to ID them.

The trouble you are having here is, Mormons take the meaning of the NT references to "children of God," joint heirs", etc., literally. And you apply some mystical, amorphous meaning. Mormons are not polytheists, they are more like biblical literalists, like Joseph Smith himself was.

You are confusing "gods" with godlike. In the sense that when we become gods in the hereafter, we share in and learn creation. But none of us become THE God of all creation that everyone acknowledges and worships.

quote:
There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that there is more than one heaven for different people, and nothing in Christian tradition.
Just Paul's phraseology: "caught up to the third heaven."

quote:
The Prodigal Son isn't talking about heaven; I was giving that as an example of how self-righteous people can be when someone is treated well.
The father is a type of God; the two sons types of his children. The relationship is definitely analogous of heavenly reward. Showing that God's love and judgment can be illustrated by earthly types.

quote:
Polygamy is still a part of Mormon doctrine; it's just not practiced at the moment. Men are still "sealed" to multiple women in Temple ceremonies.
So are women nowadays. We have a sort of "let God sort it out" attitude anymore. Trying to explain why some people could get sealed to subsequent spouses and not others produced too many problems.

quote:
And here's a great quote from Brigham Young. (Note what he says about his sermon content.)
quote:
President Brigham Young also said, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter polygamy" (J. of D., Vol. XI, p. 269). Later Young also said, "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call it scripture" (J. of D., Vol. XIII, p. 95).
There's more interesting information here.

Ross

Yes. And I have told you what the FINAL word today is regarding any pronouncements of earlier prophets of the church: God's word to the current prophet trumps anything said in the past. And if you care to call that bogus, on the grounds that God does not contradict God, then the Bible is crammed with examples of "Do today, don't do tomorrow" type stuff. The key word is, "Obedience." Unquestioning obedience of God's prophet is a sign of discipleship. If Mormons obey B. Young and not G B. Hinckley, the scripture says that this generation is no better than the ancient Jews, who claimed descent from Abraham and slew Jesus.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
[QUOTE]And I have told you what the FINAL word today is regarding any pronouncements of earlier prophets of the church: God's word to the current prophet trumps anything said in the past.

How convenient!

K.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
I'm not "confusing" anything, Merlin. Believing in multiple gods makes you polytheists. Here's a definition for you: Pol´y`the`ist: n. 1. One who believes in, or maintains the doctrine of, a plurality of gods.

It doesn't get much clearer than that.

I've explained Paul's statement about "heavens" already. If this were something to build upon theologically as such a major doctrine, you can be sure it would be dealt with elsewhere in the NT -- but it's not. It's just another case of someone picking up on a phrase out of context and spinning a theology on it. In this case, it's a theology that's directly opposed to 2,000 years of Christian teaching.
quote:
And I have told you what the FINAL word today is regarding any pronouncements of earlier prophets of the church...the Bible is crammed with examples of "Do today, don't do tomorrow" type stuff. The key word is, "Obedience." Unquestioning obedience of God's prophet is a sign of discipleship. If Mormons obey B. Young and not G B. Hinckley, the scripture says that this generation is no better than the ancient Jews, who claimed descent from Abraham and slew Jesus.
As Komensky said...

As for your take on the Bible: I've already explained that I'm not a fundamentalist, and that sort of argument doesn't impress me.

Yes, the Bible's full of contradictions. If you're interested in scholarship on the subject, I can recommend a standard textbook: Bernhard Anderson's Understanding the Old Testament. Otherwise, this is probably not the right thread for discussing Biblical criticism.

Finally, the Jews did not slay Jesus. That would be the Romans -- you know, the guys with all the power and weapons and authority.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
[QUOTE]And I have told you what the FINAL word today is regarding any pronouncements of earlier prophets of the church: God's word to the current prophet trumps anything said in the past.

How convenient!

K.

Yes, I agree. But how is that any different from the RCC's pope, or any other dogmatic org which makes pronouncements on what is "truth"?
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
...I've explained Paul's statement about "heavens" already. If this were something to build upon theologically as such a major doctrine, you can be sure it would be dealt with elsewhere in the NT -- but it's not. It's just another case of someone picking up on a phrase out of context and spinning a theology on it. In this case, it's a theology that's directly opposed to 2,000 years of Christian teaching.

Who said defining heaven was a major doctrine? It is a minor one, imho. The only major doctrines of Christianity are a fundamental acceptance of Christ as Savior and redeemer: without whom we would never live after death in the presence of God. And our inability to comprehend the mind and full purposes of God. And the requirement that we forgive one another, always, in our hearts and not just with our mouths. There are a few others, I suppose: but these form the basis of Christianity. Mormons believe all that and live by it, btw, just in case you had not noticed or you'd forgotten somehow.

And as has been correctly observed many times, majority and venerability of a belief does not automatically prove it to be correct. If that were the case, then the earth would still be flat, wouldn't it?

Your reasoning about pantheism is perfectly correct, definitionally: yet misses the point entirely: which is, that Mormons do not have a pantheon, and their view of the Christian Godhead is not different enough to rub them off the roster of Christians.

....

quote:
As for your take on the Bible: I've already explained that I'm not a fundamentalist, and that sort of argument doesn't impress me.
It might impress fundamentalists, who might wonder how any non literalist can call themselves "Christian".

I only made the comparison with biblical prophecy to point out that current religious orgs have the perfect right to change their doctrine if they find it out of step with current needs of society. That is why so many denominations and sects have come along, after all. But that doesn't mean that the mass of them can't be called "Christian" altogether.
....

quote:
Finally, the Jews did not slay Jesus. That would be the Romans -- you know, the guys with all the power and weapons and authority.

Ross

So the Romans were the physical means, so what? It was Jewish law Jesus was found guilty of breaking; they had him killed.

Don't pick on technicalities. It only muddies what is being discussed and leads us off-topic. (I am adequately aware of my shortcomings in how I write: if you need to point out where I err, it would be more polite and less show-offy, if you PM'd me.)

[ 14. May 2007, 19:27: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
....Your reasoning about pantheism is perfectly correct, definitionally: yet misses the point entirely: which is, that Mormons do not have a pantheon, and their view of the Christian Godhead is not different enough to rub them off the roster of Christians.


Sorry, I meant "polytheism", of course, I don't know how that happened. Anyway, proper polytheism requires a structure of deities. Mormons don't have any such beliefs.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Who said defining heaven was a major doctrine? It is a minor one, imho....

I think it's pretty major to consign people into different heavens; our universal equality in Jesus Christ is certainly a defining doctrine of Christianity.

My point still stands.
quote:
The only major doctrines of Christianity....
I think you should consider doing more reading about Christianity from Christian viewpoints, and less as filtered through the Mormon propaganda machine.

You're also forgetting one of the foundations of Judaism and Christianity, the Sh'ma: Sh'ma, Yisroel, Adonoi elohenu, Adonoi echod. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One." Polytheism absolutely does not fit with that.
quote:
And as has been correctly observed many times, majority and venerability of a belief does not automatically prove it to be correct. ...
True -- except that tradition and long usage of doctrines and belief do give them an authority that no religion-come-lately can imitate or manufacture on demand. All the doctrines of ancient Christianity can be supported by Scripture; they've been put to the test. You don't appear to understand the process.
quote:
Mormons do not have a pantheon, and their view of the Christian Godhead is not different enough to rub them off the roster of Christians.
I never said you had a "pantheon," and I'm sorry, but just insisting doesn't make it so. I've given you plenty of reasons, with plenty of support, to demonstrate why Mormons aren't Christian.
quote:
It might impress fundamentalists, who might wonder how any non literalist can call themselves "Christian".
I don't think I know any quite so ignorant or intolerant.
quote:
So the Romans were the physical means, so what? It was Jewish law Jesus was found guilty of breaking; they had him killed. ...
Jesus was found guilty, under Roman law, of insurrection; the Romans found him sufficiently threatening to listen to the Temple authorities -- not "the Jews." (Perhaps we could just blame the "Mobbers" for this, as for so much else. Handy, aren't they?)
quote:
(...if you need to point out where I err, it would be more polite and less show-offy, if you PM'd me.)
I'm unaware that I was being "show-offy;" that was not my intent. However, I'm sure you can understand that I prefer to have everything out in the open.

Ross

[ 14. May 2007, 23:57: Message edited by: Rossweisse ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Who said defining heaven was a major doctrine? It is a minor one, imho....

quote:
I think it's pretty major to consign people into different heavens; our universal equality in Jesus Christ is certainly a defining doctrine of Christianity.

My point still stands.

As does mine: that equality, cookie-cutter salvation, is refuted by the Bible when you don't toss out the passages which clearly support the idea that "cheap grace" is not how we are saved: our works DO matter. But bottom line, what is in our hearts is how God judges us. So amount or type of works, as we look upon the "outer man", do not matter at all. You will not find a holistic comparison of the teachings regarding our state in heaven (few though they be), supporting any notion of the human race's manifest differences (speaking of individuals individually) being subsumed in some all-suppressing or all-advancing "cloning" system. You may retain such a simplistic (dreadful) perspective of heavenly "reward", but others will disagree strongly: and Mormons will head that list, but be far from alone.

quote:
The only major doctrines of Christianity....
quote:
I think you should consider doing more reading about Christianity from Christian viewpoints, and less as filtered through the Mormon propaganda machine.
I read the Christ's words, first and foremost. He said that was the whole law (in a nutshell, I always mentally add). You should live that FIRST, and not leave the "others" undone. So, they are all important, but not equally so. And without the first and great commandement firmly lodged forever in your heart, all the rest is crap and gets you nothing. That's why I say those are the only major doctrines of Christianity. Just quoting Jesus' own words to that effect.

quote:
You're also forgetting one of the foundations of Judaism and Christianity, the Sh'ma: Sh'ma, Yisroel, Adonoi elohenu, Adonoi echod. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One." Polytheism absolutely does not fit with that.
Of course not. And the commandment says, "you shall have no OTHER gods BEFORE me." Mormon doctrine does not.

quote:
And as has been correctly observed many times, majority and venerability of a belief does not automatically prove it to be correct. ...
quote:
True -- except that tradition and long usage of doctrines and belief do give them an authority that no religion-come-lately can imitate or manufacture on demand. All the doctrines of ancient Christianity can be supported by Scripture; they've been put to the test. You don't appear to understand the process.
I seem to recall that a few days back, I noted the only significant difference between the process of Mormon evolution and Christianity outside of Mormonism, is the difference of c. 1800 years!

I am sure that you are arguing from the very same perspective as a devout pagan in the first through fourth centuries CE, against Christianity. They even accepted Judaism because it was a bonafide (that is to say, old) religion. That new-fangled abomination, Christiantiy, was not valid and was in fact "illegal" for hundreds of years.

quote:
Mormons do not have a pantheon, and their view of the Christian Godhead is not different enough to rub them off the roster of Christians.
quote:
I never said you had a "pantheon," and I'm sorry, but just insisting doesn't make it so. I've given you plenty of reasons, with plenty of support, to demonstrate why Mormons aren't Christian.
What exactly? Outside of the "polytheism" that is? I have refuted clearly that Mormons are NOT polytheists. You don't agree. Oh well. Move on to something else then, to demonstrate your "plenty of support" denying Christianity to Mormons.

quote:
It might impress fundamentalists, who might wonder how any non literalist can call themselves "Christian".
quote:
I don't think I know any quite so ignorant or intolerant.
Neither do I. That's the mystery behind your insistence that Mormons can't possibly be Christians: but instead are just trying to get people to think that they are, for some hidden agenda reasons of their own.

quote:
So the Romans were the physical means, so what? It was Jewish law Jesus was found guilty of breaking; they had him killed. ...
quote:
Jesus was found guilty, under Roman law, of insurrection; the Romans found him sufficiently threatening to listen to the Temple authorities -- not "the Jews." (Perhaps we could just blame the "Mobbers" for this, as for so much else. Handy, aren't they?)
(The Mobbers, as I pointed out, were legitimate militia officers and units, under the governor no less: talk about parallels!)

Roman law only kicked in when the "Jews" insisted that Jesus had called himself the legit king. The religious aspect was that such a claim to the Jews meant that he was their Messiah: which delicate feature, the Romans could not have cared less about. Without that, the "Jews" would not have had a case against Jesus worthy of death.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
No, Merlin, the Mormons are polytheists according to every definition but your own -- and you really don't get to overrule the rest of the world, except in your own minds. You haven't really refuted anything. (Insisting is not the same as refuting.)

As noted many times before, polytheism is just one of the many reasons that Mormons cannot legitimately be counted as Christians. Others have joined me in pointing out the business about buying your way into First-Class Heaven, men becoming gods (pure blasphemy for real Christians), God the Father having sex with the Virgin Mary (ditto), Jesus and Satan as physical brothers (ditto), adding to scripture, and all the rest of the stuff that Smith and Young and their aged successors invented.

There is nothing "cheap" about grace; you just don't get it. And if there's a pagan involved in this discussion, it's sure not me.

Ross
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse on the other Mormon thread that has also become a Rossweisse v. Merlin slanging match:
Perhaps this attempt at discussion has run its course.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad a few minutes later on the same thread, but several hours before both participants came back with renewed vigour:
If you sincerely believe that my method and intent is to make people agree with me "because I Say So", then I agree, we have nothing further to discuss at this point.

Quite.

Why doesn't one or t'other of you just issue a hell-call and have done with it? Then maybe someone could start a thread on Mormons in Purgatory where people might actually discuss Mormonism purgatorially.

[ 16. May 2007, 05:03: Message edited by: doctor-frog ]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Well, that's what I was trying do, O amphibious one.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
No, Merlin, the Mormons are polytheists according to every definition but your own -- and you really don't get to overrule the rest of the world, except in your own minds. You haven't really refuted anything. (Insisting is not the same as refuting.)

HOW, polytheists? I questioned how the Father can literally BE the Son at one and the same time, and still have a separate identity at Jesus' baptism; how Jesus can pray to himself; how Stephen can see TWO separate Gods. And you come back with, nothing at all. Mormons have very sound reasons for accepting the doctrine that Father and Son are in fact two, separate Beings.

quote:
...Others have joined me in pointing out the business about buying your way into First-Class Heaven,
And I pointed out that your perspective on the doctrine is totally off. Mormons don't "buy" anything, period. Works are only an outward evidence of what is inside. "I will show you my faith BY my works".

quote:
...men becoming gods (pure blasphemy for real Christians),...
Your concept of "gods" differs from Mormons, therein lies the trouble. You read "gods" to mean some rival to THE God of all creation. God the Father is the ONLY God we have anything to do with. That agrees with the Bible God claiming to know of no other Gods; and having no other gods before him. It just doesn't satisfy your dogmatic, narrow definitions.

quote:
..and Mormons God the Father having sex with the Virgin Mary (ditto),...
I don't know of any authority in the church, during my lifetime, actively teaching this in writing or over the pulpit. I have heard speakers quote the earlier "authorities" on this doctrine; which is decidedly B. Young in origin, quoting or referring to what "brother Joseph" taught. It is an outgrowth of his Adam God theory, which is not doctrine if anything B. Young ever said can be said to not be doctrine: that is it. You can bet your bottom dollar, that Hinckley will not say anything supporting a literal, dogmatic doctrine that the Father "came down" on Mary in a physically sexual way. But even if he did: that is not in any way a refutation of the NT claim that Jesus' Father is the same God of creation that all Christians believe in: "over-shadowed by the Spirit" is certainly euphemistic language and can mean any number of literal things. It doesn't disqualify someone from being Christian.

quote:
...Jesus and Satan as physical brothers (ditto),...
Not physical brothers, since Lucifer/Satan never got a physical body. If God the Father is literally a Father, and not a figure of speach, then all other Beings in heaven above and earth beneath, have to be his children. We are called children of God and heirs with Christ. I don't see the problem with this interpretation: why it should disqualify a person from being a believer in Christ.

How does this cause any problem with believing that Christ is the Savior of the world? You can find all manner of slanting the story this way or that in the retelling. As long as the relationship between good and evil remains clearly the same; as long as Satan is the adversary, and Christ the Son of God, I cannot see how this is any significant objection to a person being "allowed" (by you) to be a legitimate Christian.

quote:
... adding to scripture, and all the rest of the stuff that Smith and Young and their aged successors invented.
Scripture got added to until Constantine insisted on a "canon". You trust the actions of such a man? Yep, I guess that you do.

The OT was never a finished work until c. 7th century BCE, then it got written down in its more or less present form for the first time, and added to by 2nd Isaiah, et al, to explain the diaspora and failure of the line of David. The NT was not even conceived as such till late in the 1st century CE. So what's your ligitimate complaint about Mormons having additional scripture? How does THAT of itself run counter to their claim to be Christian?

"All the other stuff invented" is a lazy toss-off of all Mormonism.

I know "Christians" who claim that Catholics are not Christians too! How, I have to wonder, can a branch from the original tree be something the tree never was.

quote:
There is nothing "cheap" about grace; you just don't get it. And if there's a pagan involved in this discussion, it's sure not me.
You know what I mean by "cheap grace." But I will repeat it anyway: a belief that claiming "I am saved through the grace of Jesus Christ: he is my (personal) Savior", and then continuing to behave any old wicked way, and it won't matter because Jesus has saved, is "cheap grace". You don't have to do anything except run your mouth, and everything is taken care of by Jesus. It is a bastardization of the passages in the NT addressing that we are only saved by faith and not works.

I never said you ARE a pagan. I said you are arguing against Mormonism from exactly the same position a pagan would have argued against primitive Christianity.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse on the other Mormon thread that has also become a Rossweisse v. Merlin slanging match:
Perhaps this attempt at discussion has run its course.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad a few minutes later on the same thread, but several hours before both participants came back with renewed vigour:
If you sincerely believe that my method and intent is to make people agree with me "because I Say So", then I agree, we have nothing further to discuss at this point.

Quite.

Why doesn't one or t'other of you just issue a hell-call and have done with it? Then maybe someone could start a thread on Mormons in Purgatory where people might actually discuss Mormonism purgatorially.

"Slanging match?" Is that how you see this? We haven't said anything personally attacking, or name calling, i.e. anything childish/hellish.

We evidently agreed to stop discussing the MMM, that's all. As for the "Mormons aint Christians, no way" subject; that is still open, see just above.

How is this discussion "hell-bound"? I think it is very Purg oriented.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Well, that's what I was trying do, O amphibious one.

You want to take this discussion to "Hell?" If so, I am disappointed. "Hell" is for dim bulbs who love to show off how mouthy they can be, attacking the messenger rather than the message: a clear indicator that they can't argue the content of any discussion to the final draw, but must resort to childish personal attacks. I won't, as I have said already, go "there."
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
"Slanging match?" Is that how you see this?

Yeh, 'tis, I'm afraid. The language isn't hellish, but what could have been a / two lively conversation(s) have degraded into what seems like a whole lotta tit-for-tat petty bickering and small-point scoring at one anothers' expense -- commonly known as a pissing match -- and on both threads the two of you have now taken up at least a page (50 posts) worth of pretty much not letting anyone else get a word in edge-wise.

And the insults aren't hellish -- but they're edging to the ruder and ruder.

The other thread may yet be turning a corner, and I hope it is. But, whatever, I'd love to see a discussion with a few substantial paragraphs instead of a lot of one-liner 'you said this and I said that' sorts of things. I just read it and glaze over -- and that's sad, because Mormon theology is a pet topic of mine.

[ 16. May 2007, 18:09: Message edited by: doctor-frog ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
....Mormon theology is a pet topic of mine.

Well then, you shoulda chimed in sooner! I don't think you have any trouble "getting a word in edgewise" with me at least.

And Mormon theology is a little closer to the bone than a "pet" topic of mine, and always will be I suspect....
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
HOW, polytheists? ...

You believe in "a plurality of gods." That is the very DEFINITION of a polytheist -- literally. (I posted the dictionary link with an earlier response.)

And you just don't understand the whole Christian concept of grace. I'm sorry for that.

No, Merlin, I don't think you're a liar. I do think that we've taken the discussion about as far as we're going to, since everything I know about Mormonism screams that it's non-Christian, and you want to be counted as a Christian. We've also pretty well done the MMM as well as we're going to.

On the other hand, I don't know what Doctor Frog's problem is, except perhaps a desire to stir things up. You and I have not been Hellish in our discussion.

(And what it is it with this guy and his obsession with urine, anyway? Why are so many Y-chromosome types obsessed with bodily functions?)

I've enjoyed much of our discussion, and it didn't deserve to interrupted by the medical amphibion and his sixth-grade-boy sniggering over piddle.

Ross
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
And Mormon theology is a little closer to the bone than a "pet" topic of mine, and always will be I suspect....

[Hot and Hormonal] I didn't mean to sound so patronising.

What I meant was that I've done a fair amount of proper study into Mormon doctrine, for personal interest and for academic purposes, and it is a topic that I've found myself passionately interested in at various stages in my life (albeit whilst never actually convinced of any of it; I've never been tempted to be anything other than an Anglican.)

And -- to boot -- unlike many Trinitarians who've had bad experiences (or closed minds), I actually bear the Mormons (if not exactly the LDS power-structure) a fair amount of good will and am largely inclined to enter conversations such as these either sympathetically or neutral-mindedly (to whatever extent that's possible for a very passionate Trinitarian believer!)

errm. "Pet topic" for shorthand. (Of course! [Biased] )

quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
You believe in "a plurality of gods." That is the very DEFINITION of a polytheist -- literally.

Yeh, Merlin, I've got to agree with Ross on this one. If everybody can become a god somewhere in the multiverse, it's essentially polytheism, notwithstanding the caveat that we must treat the God of this section of the multiverse as The One God.

I've heard Mormonism described as 'serial monotheism' before. It's not un-apt.

quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
... since everything I know about Mormonism screams that it's non-Christian, and you want to be counted as a Christian.

which goes back to my point about the analogous relationship of Judaism/Christianity and Christianity/Mormonism (or, better stated, the several Restoration Churches): with the best will in the world, I think they're two very different religions, albeit with the one rooted in the other.

For much the same reason that Christians can't claim to be Jews (despite claiming to be the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy), the Restoration Gospel (whilst presenting itself as a fulfillment of the New Testament) is, in many of its very essentials, not the same.

I don't view the LDS claims to be Christian as disingenuous, but I do view them as flawed in the same way that the early Church's (honest and genuine) attempts to be a part of the Jewish community was. In the end, the latter didn't work, and everybody was better off recognising that things had moved on. I'm quite sure much the same it true for the LDS in its relationship to the orthodox Churches.

Put another way, with a metaphor borrowed from scientific taxonomy, you could say that Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Mormonism are all part of the same genus of religious families, but not quite the same species.

quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:

On the other hand, I don't know what Doctor Frog's problem is, except perhaps a desire to stir things up. You and I have not been Hellish in our discussion.

No, Ross. I only wanted to get in on the conversation, which was getting difficult to do given the way y'all were going. The only thing I wanted to stir up was an end to those very long posts containing line after line after line of one-liner tit-for-tat responses.

Hellish might have been too strong. (I was a bit cross when I wrote it.) Hoggish would have been a far more appropriate word.

(And thanks, Merlin, for engaging with my complaint.)
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
HOW, polytheists? ...

quote:
You believe in "a plurality of gods." That is the very DEFINITION of a polytheist -- literally. (I posted the dictionary link with an earlier response.)
A dictionary link is allowed to trunkate the rest of my comment on the impossibility of Jesus and the Father NOT being two separate people?

Don't weasle out, Ross. If this is the ONLY reason why you define Mormons as Polytheists, then you have a lot of other Christians who wonder the same kinds of things as Mormons do.

The Mormon "sin", here, evidently, is in making a dogmatic statement of doctrine that flies in the illogical face of traditional "mystery-making" religion. You take reason and logic and stuff them into a box of cognitive dissonance, and decide this is one of the several/many areas where "God" remains inscrutible. Again, the only Mormon "sin" is in deciding that "God" isn't quite that mysterious: he is Father and Son, but literally that relationship, then ONE in purpose. That isn't enough to make Mormons not Christians. If you insist on this, then some of the oldest Christian denominations are also going to fail to be Christians in your estimation. And, what must they think of you? Henry VIII's break with Rome allows you to be a legitimate Christian, when many denominations never acknowledged the supremacy of Rome to begin with? I think your criteria of judging people Christian or non Christian is simplistic, dogmatic and bordering on bigotry.

quote:
And you just don't understand the whole Christian concept of grace. I'm sorry for that.
Really? I think my understanding of grace is pretty broad. Are you suggesting that my defintion of "cheap grace" is non existent? There are variations on the take of "cheap grace", but they all share a common repugnance for mortal human works.

You have not supported your claim that Mormons "buy" their way into heaven. They emphatically deny that accusation; yet you are allowed to be an authority on what Mormons are allowed to claim as their own beliefs?

quote:
No, Merlin, I don't think you're a liar.
Then don't refute my promise that I do not bully, and that I hate bullies, by saying I "tried" to bully you.

quote:
I do think that we've taken the discussion about as far as we're going to,...
Only if you back away from the questions I have given you.

quote:
... since everything I know about Mormonism screams that it's non-Christian, and you want to be counted as a Christian.
Who said I want to be counted as a Christian?

I am defending the Mormon right to be acknowledged as a Christian church. And all you come up with is unsupported claims about their doctrine. The only reason why Mormons can't be "Christians" to you, is because of the construct in your mind about what they ARE: which, as I have provided amply (again in this post on reraising the "polytheistic" question), are mistaken on several particulars. You might be mistaken about a great many things, but seem very certain that you have it all figured out.

quote:
We've also pretty well done the MMM as well as we're going to.
Yes. We don't see eye to eye on the evidence, ALL of it, that's for sure.

quote:
On the other hand, I don't know what Doctor Frog's problem is, except perhaps a desire to stir things up.
Maybe. But Frog seems to enjoy discussing Mormon stuff, simply because it's interesting: so Frog claimed, and I take Frog's word for it.

quote:
You and I have not been Hellish in our discussion.
Agreed. I haven't felt anywhere near hellish during this entire, protracted exchange.

quote:
(And what it is it with this guy and his obsession with urine, anyway? Why are so many Y-chromosome types obsessed with bodily functions?)
It's the same thing with handguns: some people think that every man who owns guns sees them as an extension of his penis. Some people project their views onto others.

quote:
I've enjoyed much of our discussion, and it didn't deserve to interrupted by the medical amphibion and his sixth-grade-boy sniggering over piddle.

Ross

I've got time for everyone, so far.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
well said, Dr. Frog.


Merlin writes:

quote:
A dictionary link is allowed to trunkate the rest of my comment on the impossibility of Jesus and the Father NOT being two separate people?
This doesn't seem to follow. You seem to be confusing definition with argument here. I would agree with Dr. Frog that by any logical understanding of the term "polytheist" Mormons apply. You seem to be arguing (at least here) that you shouldn't be called "polytheists" because trinitarian monotheism can't be explained logically. That may be true (and Mormons certainly aren't the first to point it out) but it still doesn't change the meaning of the word "polytheist". You seem to be arguing that even though the LDS is polytheistic they shouldn't be called polytheists because they have a really good reason, or because their pov makes more sense than the trinitarian pov.

Doesn't follow.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
(And what it is it with this guy and his obsession with urine, anyway? Why are so many Y-chromosome types obsessed with bodily functions?)
It's the same thing with handguns: some people think that every man who owns guns sees them as an extension of his penis. Some people project their views onto others.
y'know, I don't actually remember *saying* that I'm male. I am, as it happens, but why jump to that conclusion?

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
I've enjoyed much of our discussion, and it didn't deserve to interrupted by the medical amphibion and his sixth-grade-boy sniggering over piddle.
I've got time for everyone, so far.
Again, thank you, Merlin, for taking my moan seriously. I find interesting the fact that Ross regards my comments on a public-access board as an 'interruption' (and a little-barb -worthy one at that). The idea that she has the right to dominate the conversation to the point that other people's opinions constitute an intrusion does rather illustrate my point that the two threads in question have been hogged and need to get back on track. I'll leave the barbs to others, but I'm not going to be bullied out by that breed of small condescension. And that's my spleen now vented as much as I'm going to vent.

Which brings me to ...

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
I am defending the Mormon right to be acknowledged as a Christian church.

... and what about the analogy I drew on this and, in more detail, on the other thread (at least I think it was the other one!)? The Jewish/Xian = Xian/Restoration analogy. ('Restoration', rather than 'Mormon', since I'd expect the RLDS/CoC would have a thing or two to say here, as well.)

Perhaps stated another way: very often I've encountered Mormons who've been dead keen to insist that 'We're Christians, too' or, at least, to defend, as you say, the right of the LDS to be recognised as Christian. I question why that's a sensible tactic in the first place. Why would you *want* to be recognised as such -- rather than what you claim to be, anyway: namely, the fulfilment and perfection of what we orthodox (IMO) types teach only in part?

Seems to me it's far more to do with the agression of certain Christians in using the old 'you know they're not really Christian' as a means of denigration -- i.e., it's defensive.

For myself -- FWIW -- I'm not arguing what I argue in a negative way; I'm just honestly recognising that there are important differences, theologically and sociologically -- they really *are* different communities, Christians and Mormons -- and, frankly, if I were a Mormon, I'd celebrate that fact and make capital on it.

It was St. Paul who first insisted (in Scripture) that Gentiles needn't be held to the Jewish Law -- faced St. Peter down and everything. And, actually, it's right there that we see the core of Christianity's very-soon-to-follow separation from the institutional body of Judaism. And it was the right thing -- and the honest thing. And both bodies were better off for it (albeit, in the end, it was the Church who benefited far more, given the historical persecutions of the Jews).

I don't see how we would have got where we are today by claiming 'Really! Honest! We ARE Jews, really!' But what we do claim is that in our community God fulfilled a promise he made to the Jews.

By the same token, isn't it more sensible for the Mormons to say, 'Actually, no we're not them. But we're now mainstream -- and what's more we're the ones fulfilling a promise he made to them.'

Just makes more sense to me. Whaddaya think, Merlin?
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:


What I meant was that I've done a fair amount of proper study into Mormon doctrine, for personal interest and for academic purposes, and it is a topic that I've found myself passionately interested in at various stages in my life (albeit whilst never actually convinced of any of it; I've never been tempted to be anything other than an Anglican.)

The closest I come to this interest of yours, is for Islam. Over the years, I have been a keen listener whenever the subject or content of the religion comes up. I have written a small amount on it. And I find it perpetually fascinating; especially in the modern world. Yet I don't believe a shred of it is anymore inspired than the next manmade religion.

....
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
You believe in "a plurality of gods." That is the very DEFINITION of a polytheist -- literally.

quote:
Yeh, Merlin, I've got to agree with Ross on this one. If everybody can become a god somewhere in the multiverse, it's essentially polytheism, notwithstanding the caveat that we must treat the God of this section of the multiverse as The One God.
Here's the problem: Jesus and his Father are TWO separate, distinct persons: the NT proves this circumstantially at least three times: at Christ's baptism, when he prays in Gethsemene, and at the martyrdom of Stephen. That's THREE witnesses that Father and Son are TWO separate beings. We are joint heirs with Christ, "we shall see him as he is because we shall be like him": we are called "the sons of God". What could be more clear than this? Mormons do not believe in a ploytheism of shared gods. We call ourselves children of God and we become like Christ, the only begotten Son of the same Father. You're letting a dictionary tell you what Mormons believe!

quote:
I've heard Mormonism described as 'serial monotheism' before. It's not un-apt.
I've never heard it put that way before. But I can accept it. You see, the trouble is, Joseph Smith's theology is incomplete. Mormons are stuck making sense out of a premise which implicitly assumes one of two things about the Being who appeared to him as "God." Never mind, the "two personages" aspect for a moment. That is immaterial to the concept. If the Being who appeared to Joseph Smith is a physical, tangible-bodied humanoid, then either he is an advanced human being, or he is a manifestation of THE One God of all creation. If the former, then he is either speaking FOR God, as God (like angels do in the first person, e.g. the messenger in Revelation); or he is a shyster pulling a fast one on the human race.

You see, that question can't be answered: Mormons believe in Joseph Smith's (and B. Young's) God on faith. But that is no different than Christians everywhere accepting Paul's Jesus Christ on faith. The Mormon "God", therefore, is not THE One God of all creation, if he is a human being speaking FOR God, or assuming that I.D. without authority. But he could be THE One God if he chooses to manifest that way. Evidently, this has been done before: e.g. the three (at least) NT circumstances where both Beings manifest together as separate. So when B. Young says, "God the Father is the only God with which we have to do." And Joseph Smith says "God was once a man as we are now, but has attained his exaltation and sits enthroned in yonder heavens", he is not addressing THE One God of all creation: but merely "the only God with which we have to do." I.e. a messsenger/manipulator, or, the real, full deal appearing as a man.

There is no polytheism allowed with this: because there is no other being who can be called GOD except THE God of all creation. Joseph Smith didn't get that far. And could have been mistaken about the "God was once a man" doctrine. The church sure doesn't teach THAT one anymore (cf Hinckley's statements on at least two occasions, when asked about "As man is God once was", saying, "I don't know much about that. I don't know anyone who does know much about that").

quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
... since everything I know about Mormonism screams that it's non-Christian, and you want to be counted as a Christian.

quote:
which goes back to my point about the analogous relationship of Judaism/Christianity and Christianity/Mormonism (or, better stated, the several Restoration Churches): ...
More clearly identified with the apostate sects of early Christianity: they are not part of THE "restored church", because they have split with it.

quote:
...with the best will in the world, I think they're two very different religions, albeit with the one rooted in the other. For much the same reason that Christians can't claim to be Jews (despite claiming to be the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy), the Restoration Gospel (whilst presenting itself as a fulfillment of the New Testament) is, in many of its very essentials, not the same.
Which, to a Mormon, would make him, if pushed to the logical conclusion that it must be one or the other, claim that all other denominations are not Christian, because they haven't recognized the revealed, latter-day Christ.

But just because the Jews did not accept their Messiah did not mean that they ceased to be Jews: anymore than Mormons consider non Mormon Christians to be not Christians because they have not been converted to Mormonism yet. Yet the unconverted Jews soon enough cut off all Jewish contact with the "Christian" Jews: considering them apostate. The early Christian Jews considered themselves still Jewish.

Perhaps the day will come, when Mormons will consider themselves not Christian, if it means being "like" all the others who call themselves Christian. Some, I suppose, already make that break in their own minds. Most do not.

It is still early yet. We can't tell for sure where the metamorphosis is taking all of this. But I reckon that Mormonism is destined to change into mainstream Christianity. The days of its exclusivity claims are swiftly drawing to a close.

quote:
I don't view the LDS claims to be Christian as disingenuous, but I do view them as flawed in the same way that the early Church's (honest and genuine) attempts to be a part of the Jewish community was. In the end, the latter didn't work, and everybody was better off recognising that things had moved on. I'm quite sure much the same it true for the LDS in its relationship to the orthodox Churches.
As I said, I think, rather, that the Mormons are going to "mainstream" all the way. Their claims to absolute, unique priesthood authority will go down with the Book of Mormon; down with Joseph Smith's evolving Godhead; down with the evolving story of how the priesthood got here. Yes, these things are not new: but the Internet (information highway) is new. And Book of Mormon claims are not supportable. That book, once discredited down to a product of Joseph Smith's fecund and religious imagination, and no historical narrative, will undo all the dogmatic claims which are built on the church's claims for that book: and what it means about Joseph Smith being a prophet. If there is no prophet, then there is no priesthood. No temple ordinances. No church: as Jeffery R. Holland has recently said: "without the priesthood we are no church and the whole structure should be confined to hell with its founder" (words to that effect): words which will bite the church in the kiester.

quote:
Put another way, with a metaphor borrowed from scientific taxonomy, you could say that Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Mormonism are all part of the same genus of religious families, but not quite the same species.
I am partial to the phrase "Judeo-Christianity", to cover all the religions which have sprung out of Judaism.

....
quote:
...Hellish might have been too strong. (I was a bit cross when I wrote it.) Hoggish would have been a far more appropriate word.

(And thanks, Merlin, for engaging with my complaint.)

Carry on.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Rosswiesse:
And what it is it with this guy and his obsession with urine, anyway? Why are so many Y-chromosome types obsessed with bodily functions?)

It's the same thing with handguns: some people think that every man who owns guns sees them as an extension of his penis. Some people project their views onto others.
y'know, I don't actually remember *saying* that I'm male. I am, as it happens, but why jump to that conclusion?
I did, didn't I! Could have been burned on that one. But actually, I was subliminally sure, because you sound "male", just like Ross sounds "female." You never can tell, though, with this medium.

....
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
I am defending the Mormon right to be acknowledged as a Christian church.

quote:
... and what about the analogy I drew on this and, in more detail, on the other thread (at least I think it was the other one!)? The Jewish/Xian = Xian/Restoration analogy. ('Restoration', rather than 'Mormon', since I'd expect the RLDS/CoC would have a thing or two to say here, as well.)
That's just it: is the CoC (former RLDS) "now" considered Christian? If so, why? Have they dumped the Book of Mormon? (I honestly don't know.)

If Grant Palmer ("An Insider's View of Mormon Origins") has his way, the LDS church will become mainstream Christianity. He still associates as a "Mormon", albeit, one out of favor for that book. Nobody could legitimately claim he is not a Christian.

quote:
.... Why would you *want* to be recognised as such -- rather than what you claim to be, anyway: namely, the fulfilment and perfection of what we orthodox (IMO) types teach only in part?
I suspect it is a result of subliminal suggestions all around "us", that the church's claims are somewhat bogus if taken as dogmatic, literal, exclusive truth. If they are to be "downgraded" to metaphysical myths, then we can join the main mass of other Christians. Sort of like trying to play both sides of the fence till the final decision is reached, then leap to the side which "wins."

And, practically explained, Mormons are outnumbered, and not living in exclusive Mormon communities. They have Christian neighbors. They want their neighbors to see them as neighbors and not aliens. So, Mormons point out all the ways that we agree on Christians principles, and downplay the differences in doctrine.

quote:
Seems to me it's far more to do with the agression of certain Christians in using the old 'you know they're not really Christian' as a means of denigration -- i.e., it's defensive.
It is that too. Nobody likes to be told that their claims are wrong.

....

....

....

quote:
By the same token, isn't it more sensible for the Mormons to say, 'Actually, no we're not them. But we're now mainstream -- and what's more we're the ones fulfilling a promise he made to them.'
Mormons don't get to be identified as "mainstream" anything, by those most critical. On this thread (or that other one, not sure which), comments to the effect that Mormons are more dangerous than Islamists have illustrated the mindset that Mormons are up to something behind all that "we're the same as you" stuff.

This has nothing to do with "you're not Christians." It has to do with raking up old history and saying that nothing has changed with the church's agenda.

And, if the church ever does get big enough to "threaten" to become one of the largest denominations of "Christianity" (which I greatly doubt), you will see Mormons revert to their more fundamentalist attitude as they held in the early days. The only reason why Mormons don't pursue that line now is because they are greatly outnumbered. Hey, the early Christians did the same thing. Once they became "top religion", their entire self-image changed. They became "the church militant".
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
well said, Dr. Frog.


Merlin writes:

quote:
A dictionary link is allowed to trunkate the rest of my comment on the impossibility of Jesus and the Father NOT being two separate people?
This doesn't seem to follow. You seem to be confusing definition with argument here. I would agree with Dr. Frog that by any logical understanding of the term "polytheist" Mormons apply. You seem to be arguing (at least here) that you shouldn't be called "polytheists" because trinitarian monotheism can't be explained logically. That may be true (and Mormons certainly aren't the first to point it out) but it still doesn't change the meaning of the word "polytheist". You seem to be arguing that even though the LDS is polytheistic they shouldn't be called polytheists because they have a really good reason, or because their pov makes more sense than the trinitarian pov.

Doesn't follow.

Read my explanation of "the problem" to Doc Frog just above. If the NT is pointing out that Father and Son are TWO separate Beings, then that doesn't suddenly make Christians polytheists either. Because there can be only THE One God of all creation. The only Cause which was itself never caused. Mormons worship this same Singular God.

By saying that, I am not suggesting that most Mormons have even thought it out this far. But the doctrine of "worship only GOD" -- ten commandments style -- is implicit in Mormonism. there is no room for any other "gods."

[ 17. May 2007, 17:33: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
Oh, such a lot of stuff to answer! May not get to it all. Short on time. [Smile]

but some thoughts ...

1. Are you suggesting that the doctrine of eternal progression (a la L. Snow's 'as man once was') is no longer taught? It's certainly the general line I got from the missionaries who spent rather a lot of time with me back in 2000 or so. Got a copy of McConkie, Mormon Doctrine? What do you make of p. 577? Still legit or no? (Yes, I know McConkie is dated, but he was a powerhouse.)

I'm not suggesting polytheism in the classic pantheon-of-gods sense. I recognise that you worship The One God of (This) Creation. But if the doctrine of eternal progression still holds, then it's polytheism in the sense that there is a multiverse populated with several such The One Gods of (This) Creation in each consituent universe.

2. CofC/RLDS: have not renounced BoM or their edition of the D&C. But they're playing them down and, in any case, were always a little closer in teaching to orthodox Xity because they didn't have the later revelations of Prophets Young and Snow and others.

Their pedegree, however, is impressive -- not least because the Smith line stayed with them and not the Utah Mormons and indeed were hereditary prophets till recently. The LDS may say they split with THE Church -- but then they could make the same argument with real credibility.

They are, however, making a concerted effort to 'go mainstream' in a way that the LDS is not. The BoM and D&C are going to wane in importance, and if they're eventually dropped I wouldn't be surprised. But it hasn't happened yet. And for that reason I'd still count them in the Restoration side of the Jew/Xian = Xian/Rest. analogy I drew.

3. As for the LDS itself -- it is, as you say, quite early. These things work themselves out in decades and centuries, rather than days. But I'd predict that much will happen to the LDS as it did to Christians. They'll gradually become more accepted and mainstream, and their positions will soften accordingly. (One day, e.g., they'll have to have a proper debate and/or revelation on women's priesthood and homosexual monogamy, for example. And they'll have to debate some of the stuff of dodgy historicity, just as Darwinism served as a wake-up call for mainstream Christianity. This will affect their view on scripture.) But I don't see them losing their really distinctive stuff any time soon -- certainly not the BoM and D&C and PGP -- and, in some way, would be disappointed if they did. For that reason, I don't think they'll ever be Christians in a classic sense. But, as I've said, I'm not sure why they need to be -- and maybe one day they'll view it that way too.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
I would be the first to admit I don't fully understand LDS Christology. My point was simply that you can't argue that "we're not polytheists" by pointing out the deficiencies in trinitarian monostheism. Either Mormons are polytheists or they're not. And yes, it all depends on your definition of "polytheism" and how you understand both LDS Christology and progressive succession. But inconsistencies w/in trinitarianism does not change whether or not Mormonism fits or doesn't fit whatever definition we arrive at.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Doctor Frog, no problem -- but the expression "pissing contest" makes me [Roll Eyes] . And we weren't being "hoggish;" very few others were stepping in.

Merlin, Christians believe that there is just ONE God. Mormons believe that there are many of them -- that, in fact, every man is potentially a "god in embryo." That's polytheism. There is just no other word for it. It's a question of belief, not necessarily practice.

I've given lots of other ways in which Mormonism just diverges too drastically from authentic Christianity: the "other scriptures," the different heavens, a god who relies on human beings to do the work of salvation ("baptism for the dead"), "living prophets," and so on. There's the doctrine of Blood Atonement, which I would say is the exact opposite of Christian belief. We're just too far apart, as far as Islam is from Judaism.

I've got a crushing load at work at the moment, but I'll try to keep up with the discussion if you still think we have things we can discuss.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
Oh, such a lot of stuff to answer! May not get to it all. Short on time. [Smile]

but some thoughts ...

1. Are you suggesting that the doctrine of eternal progression (a la L. Snow's 'as man once was') is no longer taught? It's certainly the general line I got from the missionaries who spent rather a lot of time with me back in 2000 or so. Got a copy of McConkie, Mormon Doctrine? What do you make of p. 577? Still legit or no? (Yes, I know McConkie is dated, but he was a powerhouse.)

I go by what I heard "the prophet" say. There has been no official renouncement of L. Snow's popular couplet, and, I am sure missionaries teach it (even though it was never accepted as doctrine to begin with). It is VERY popular with Mormons. But, Hinckley's refusal to discuss it, and his denial that he knows much about it, is evidence to me that at the highest levels of authority, it is not considered doctrine. There are quite a number of "Mormonisms" that are popular beliefs and are not doctrines.

quote:
I'm not suggesting polytheism in the classic pantheon-of-gods sense. I recognise that you worship The One God of (This) Creation. But if the doctrine of eternal progression still holds, then it's polytheism in the sense that there is a multiverse populated with several such The One Gods of (This) Creation in each consituent universe.
But there has to be an Original Cause of the multiverse. THAT is THE One God of all creation that all the "gods" of the multiverse worship. It is a case of semantics. And semantics should not be the basis of "Christian or not?"

....

quote:
3. As for the LDS itself ....I don't think they'll ever be Christians in a classic sense. But, as I've said, I'm not sure why they need to be -- and maybe one day they'll view it that way too.
Well, I won't argue that Mormons are Christians "in the classic sense" either. But some, e.g. Ross, won't allow that they are "Christian" in any sense whatsoever. Pagans, a cult, with a secret agenda to be feared, yeah, all of that certainly: but "Christians?" No way hosea. "All that 'we're just Christians like you' stuff is a palpabale act." That attitude just pegs my BS meter.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Merlin, Christians believe that there is just ONE God. Mormons believe that there are many of them -- that, in fact, every man is potentially a "god in embryo." That's polytheism. There is just no other word for it. It's a question of belief, not necessarily practice.

It is a very different polytheism than the kind which prohibits someone from being Christian. A polytheist in the pagan sense would stick Jesus somewhere amongst a pantheon of gods and godlets. Whereas, Mormon doctrine says Jesus Christ is the WORD which created the entire universe. Christ is the Creator, but worships the Father, as do we all. As I explained, it is possible to see Joseph Smith's First Vision (the official, "finalized" version) as a manifestation of THE One God of all creation. Smith's theology is incomplete; speculation is required to make it all fit together (it is no better than Trinitarian efforts). But a belief in Christ as the Word is absolutely Christian. Your dogmatic insistence upon a dictionary as reason enough to cut Mormons "out" as being Christians, just makes no sense to me.

quote:
I've given lots of other ways in which Mormonism just diverges too drastically from authentic Christianity:...
"Authentic" Christianity. That word, if you look it up in any dictionary, requires one type, not a multiplicity. Something "authentic" is the original, or the one existing. Christianity has many divergent varieties: I guess that Mormonism falls into that category of "other Christiantiy", and not the "authentic" kind.

quote:
... the "other scriptures," the different heavens, a god who relies on human beings to do the work of salvation...
What about that 1WW damaged statue of Christ in the church yard, who was left with his hands blown off: and the inscription added, "He has no hands but ours?" What about the doctrine of "a God without body parts or passions?" How "God" gets his work done in the physical world is by our physical hands that he created.

Different heavens is arguable from the Bible. While it remains arguable, you can't cut out believers in Christ on that basis.

"Other scriptures" that dovetail with the Bible, and "clear up" those doctrines peculiar to Mormonism. They do not in any way reduce Christ to some godlet in a polytheism, but rather, "flesh out" the Mormon belief in him as the Word of all creation.

quote:
("baptism for the dead"), "living prophets," and so on. There's the doctrine of Blood Atonement, which I would say is the exact opposite of Christian belief. We're just too far apart, as far as Islam is from Judaism.
Islam is a composite of Judaism, Christianity and Arabic folk religion.

There is no "blood atonement" doctrine in LDS beliefs or practice. (You're relying on B. Young again, and on his most radical statements.)

Baptism for the dead is mentioned in the NT (of course, you say Paul was mentioning a pagan practice, but there is no certainty of this). "Living prophets" is a term for continuing revelation: Mormons are far from alone in their belief that God continues to give revelations to Christians.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
I would be the first to admit I don't fully understand LDS Christology. My point was simply that you can't argue that "we're not polytheists" by pointing out the deficiencies in trinitarian monostheism. Either Mormons are polytheists or they're not. And yes, it all depends on your definition of "polytheism" and how you understand both LDS Christology and progressive succession. But inconsistencies w/in trinitarianism does not change whether or not Mormonism fits or doesn't fit whatever definition we arrive at.

That's okay, then. But there is poytheism, and then there is the blatantly paganism kind.

Mormons say Christ created all the universe as the Word. That his Father is his God, as he is ours. Implicit behind all of this is THE One God of all creation: of the "multiverse" if you will. If Mormons declare that there is ONE God only that they worship and serve, that makes them Christians, when it is the biblical One God and no other, of the Ten Commandments, that they worship.

Mormons do not reduce Christ to a prophet-only status, like Islam does. They do not elevate any of these assumed "gods", that are children of the Father, to worshipful status. Therefore, the meaning of "gods" to Mormons is different than in paganism. You cannot define the word for Mormons, when they tell you that you are mistaken: if they say you are mistaken, you have to take the originators of the belief system at their word. They are the experts, not outsiders who dogmatically point to a dictionary and say, "But you can't be Christians because you are polytheists."
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
Several points to raise.

I think a question that's going begging, Merlin, is your use of the word *universe* to describe what Jesus is the Word / Logos of, and where the boundaries of that end (or fail to end).

Put another way: it's my understanding that classic Mormon cosmology describes a multiverse, more or less, rather than a universe -- and what i want to know is whether you're saying Jesus is the Logos of the multiverse as well -- or just the part of it (viz., our universe) that his heavenly Father runs. That makes a huge difference, and it's my understanding that Mormon cosmology implies the latter far more commonly.

It's not a foregone conclusion, actually, that there *has* to be an original cause (as you suggest). (Well, it is a foregone conclusion in orthodox Christianity; but that's by no means an assumption that every philosophy makes.) That said, am I correct in understanding you to suggest that God the Father (and the 'personage' that appeared to JS Jr.) is THE original cause? Similarly, how do you reckon we relate to Jesus His Son -- because it's my understanding that, though he was the first-born and the Logos charged with enacting creation, he is not fundamentally different from us in the end, but rather merely the first born of Heavenly-Father's pre-mortal Spirit-Children -- a status which we all claim equally, ontologically speaking, barring the 'first born' bit.

(Also, as a separate note, where do you personally stand on the hypothetical arguments for a Heavenly Mother in the Mormon Cosmos?)

I don't believe it's just a 'question of semantics', though, whatever the case. In orthodox Christianity, salvation is essentially (and ultimately) an adoption into the triune dynamic of the Godhead itself. There is no question of 'gods' worshipping The One God. There is merely God's final, eternal gift to creatures of perfect freedom in and amongst the perfectly free will of The One God. Rather than inheriting a kingdom of our own, we become, through Christ and Spirit, a *very integral part* of God's triune dynamic (which is far, far better, IMO).

And there is also, of course the fundamental distinction between the divine-humanity of Jesus (who became man without yet circumscribing the God that he ever was) and the creaturely-ex-nihilo-humanity which was never pre-mortal (or pre-anything), but which is given God's glory all the same because of Christ's work as the Logos (in the classic hellenistic sense of 'ordering principle') of all that was made -- and the Spirit's dynamic enactment of that Logos.

I will grant you that baptism of the dead is mentioned in the NT -- and that I'm not sure what to make of it -- though I suspect, from the way it's written, there's a significant lost context to it that wouldn't have been lost to the original recipients but is to us.

As for the question of Mormon's belief in continuing revelation, I think the primary issue is that orthodox Christianity considers Christ of the NT (being tri-une with the Father and Spirit) to be the fullness and plenitude of God's self-revelation. All other 'further revelation' is derivitive of that, or clarifies, or meets the need of a new age, but doesn't and cannot fundamentally change or supercede what was given. Whilst I'm sure there is such a notion of revelation in Mormonism, there is nonetheless also a *further* notion that additional revelation of salvific import and additional revelation of who God actually is can be revealed. Even with the most charitable reading (which as I've said, I'm inclined to give the LDS), it's still essentially heresy. It's that distinction that differentiates the Pope speaking ex cathedra (which I also don't buy into, but I don't consider heretical) and the Prophet speaking ex officio.


As a separate, but not unrelated note, how typical would you say your theology is overall for Mormons? You strike me as giving it all a relatively liberal interpretation based on a considerable amount of thoughtful research. But you don't strike me as typical in your opinions and beliefs -- at least, not from the encounters I've had.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
Oh, yeh. Just thought of one other thing I meant to add! As for the doctrine of the Trinity itself, of course Mormons are far from the only people to claim a more unitarian vision of the Heavenly Father (setting aside the question of polytheism for a sec). The earliest, of course, is Arianism -- which bears historic similarities to Mormon Doctrine, and which at one stage nearly triumphed as the orthodox doctrine of the ancient Church. (Is this not part of why Mormonism regards Nicaea as the greatest single moment of apostasy?)

I will also grant you unconditionally that the Arian case can be (and has been) argued from scripture with great success, notwithstanding my greater persuasion by the other side of that debate.

**BUT** most of those unitarian / Arian / etc. religions, I'd have thought, would be regarded as Christian in the sense that they are rooted in Christ -- but equally apostate from the orthodox viewpoint. What I want to know is that, other than the fact that you yourself are a Mormon, why should Mormonism be singled out as different? Or should it?

Again, I'm happy if they become more mainstream. But I'm not convinced they're Christian as we use the term, nor are even best off being so. Trying to convince us is inevitably taking the disadvantaged position; tactically it's far better to say you're something new and better.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Well, I won't argue that Mormons are Christians "in the classic sense" either. But some, e.g. Ross, won't allow that they are "Christian" in any sense whatsoever. Pagans, a cult, with a secret agenda to be feared, yeah, all of that certainly: but "Christians?" No way hosea. "All that 'we're just Christians like you' stuff is a palpabale act." That attitude just pegs my BS meter.

Merlin, once again you're putting words on my keyboard, and I really do not appreciate it.

I have never called Mormons pagans. I have been very careful not to call Mormonism a cult in this discussion. I'm pretty sure you're the first one to bring up any possibility of "a secret agenda to be feared."

As you know perfectly well, Mormons are not "just Christians like (us)." Please save the missionaries' memorized script for people who haven't done the reading. Even if it were to be granted that Mormons are Christians at all -- rather than simply influenced by Christianity -- they're not Christians in any accepted or conventional sense of the word as it has been understood in the past 2,000 years. You've admitted as much. The "BS meter" is being "pegged" by you at this point.

No, it is not possible to be even a little bit polytheist and be a Christian -- and Mormons are a whole lot polytheist. You have utterly failed to demonstrate your claim that "Mormons are not polytheists." I'm sorry the dictionary's definition offends you, but it would be blatant Humpty Dumptyism to let you unilaterally redefine the word.

I don't think Mormonism has "a secret agenda." I believe the organization is perfectly open about wanting to be taken as the One True Religion, even though its doctrines are so far removed from those of Christianity as to be almost unrecognizable in any Christian context.

We're just going around and around on your other points, and the facts have not changed just because you keep complaining about them. Nor will they. "Other scriptures" are still clearly condemned in the NT. So are new prophets. Inventing major theologies like multiple heavens and baptism for the dead out of one unclear reference found in one place is still not legit. And Christians, no matter what their differences in other areas, still don't believe Smith's ultimate male fantasy, that men can ever become gods with their own planets and unlimited power and harems full of women with whom to have nonstop sex resulting in herds of "spirit children."

Mormonism should have the courage to admit that it's a new religion, and simply go on from there.

Ross

[ 19. May 2007, 19:51: Message edited by: Rossweisse ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
Several points to raise.

I think a question that's going begging, Merlin, is your use of the word *universe* to describe what Jesus is the Word / Logos of, and where the boundaries of that end (or fail to end).

Put another way: it's my understanding that classic Mormon cosmology describes a multiverse, more or less, rather than a universe -- and what i want to know is whether you're saying Jesus is the Logos of the multiverse as well -- or just the part of it (viz., our universe) that his heavenly Father runs. That makes a huge difference, and it's my understanding that Mormon cosmology implies the latter far more commonly.

As I said, Joseph Smith's theology is incomplete. Therefore, over the years many theologians in the church have tried to speculate everything into some sort of sense.

I believe you are correct in what most speculation assumes: that Jesus Christ atones for EVERYTHING that the Father has made (or, overseen the making of, to be more specific). But it is all speculation: there is no doctrine superceding Smith's, or adding more "light" to it. We have even less in scripture than theologians have made use of: which includes all of Joseph Smith's words, either as written, or as remembered by others.

I don't see that it makes much difference in the long run. Because Existence can still only be assumed to be the work of THE One God of all creation, whoever, or whatever that is.

If the Father is a manifestation of THE One God, then that means that Joseph Smith's teachings about God (the Father) once being a mortal man cannot be true. But if the Father is a glorified (once upon a time) mortal man, then all of this universe may be his possession; and his Son atoned for all of it, and possibly for the rest of the Father's multiverse. Nobody knows these kinds details; not least, Joseph Smith himself.

quote:
It's not a foregone conclusion, actually, that there *has* to be an original cause (as you suggest). (Well, it is a foregone conclusion in orthodox Christianity; but that's by no means an assumption that every philosophy makes.) That said, am I correct in understanding you to suggest that God the Father (and the 'personage' that appeared to JS Jr.) is THE original cause?
No. Unless Joseph Smith was wrong in saying that the Father was once a mortal man and has progressed to godhood: if Joseph Smith was mistaken, then the Being that appeared to Joseph Smith could be an anthropomorphic manifestation of THE One God. But if Smith was right, then the "Father" could only be a glorified man who was once mortal: and it would be logical to assume that he worships THE One God of all creation, as revealed to him by yet another "Father" of his spirit. Mormon theology then becomes serial polytheism, keeping in mind, that these "gods" are not THE One God of all creation that everything ultimately worships alone.

quote:
Similarly, how do you reckon we relate to Jesus His Son -- because it's my understanding that, though he was the first-born and the Logos charged with enacting creation, he is not fundamentally different from us in the end, but rather merely the first born of Heavenly-Father's pre-mortal Spirit-Children -- a status which we all claim equally, ontologically speaking, barring the 'first born' bit.
But being the first born Son, Jesus Christ is charged with working out the atonement, without which, all creation would be wasted, being incapable of attaining immortality and exaltation. So Jesus Christ is very different from any other spirit child of our Father. He is the only one capable of living a sinless mortal life, and of knowing the mind of the Father as if they are one and the same person. I don't see anything in scripture which suggests that anyone else but Christ will ever attain to that level of exaltation.

quote:

(Also, as a separate note, where do you personally stand on the hypothetical arguments for a Heavenly Mother in the Mormon Cosmos?)

Pure speculation. I don't ascribe to the Mormon theology anymore than I do another theology. To me, all theological speculation is simply that.

Now, I do have hope that individually we get a reunion with "God." By whatever means and in whatever form, it is a unique and personal experience. But that revelation isn't for anyone else: i.e. it is not supposed to form the basis for yet another dogmatic religion of the masses.

quote:
....Rather than inheriting a kingdom of our own, we become, through Christ and Spirit, a *very integral part* of God's triune dynamic (which is far, far better, IMO).
That seems reasonable. Sort of like my current pet imagined destiny of everyone: to remain a unique experience of living in space and time, that "God" takes like a part of a collection that never ends. No two of us are ever exactly alike, so the "collection" of mortal experiences in space time is composed of invaluable parts: each possessing a soul that unites as immortal spirit: spirit, in that condition, possessing all the sensibility we do here, but far more besides, as glorified, heaven-dwelling souls must be able to do.

I don't need to imagine my own world, with me as some "god" of its creation. But, I wouldn't say that Mormons are not Christians because they look forward to such a destiny. Whatever floats yer boat: it's all mortal speculation anyway.

quote:
And there is also, of course the fundamental distinction between the divine-humanity of Jesus (who became man without yet circumscribing the God that he ever was) and the creaturely-ex-nihilo-humanity which was never pre-mortal (or pre-anything), but which is given God's glory all the same because of Christ's work as the Logos (in the classic hellenistic sense of 'ordering principle') of all that was made -- and the Spirit's dynamic enactment of that Logos.
You lost me there, dude.

quote:
I will grant you that baptism of the dead is mentioned in the NT -- and that I'm not sure what to make of it -- though I suspect, from the way it's written, there's a significant lost context to it that wouldn't have been lost to the original recipients but is to us.
And which Joseph Smith claimed to have had revealled to him as part of temple works.

quote:
As for the question of Mormon's belief in continuing revelation, I think the primary issue is that orthodox Christianity considers Christ of the NT (being tri-une with the Father and Spirit) to be the fullness and plenitude of God's self-revelation. All other 'further revelation' is derivitive of that, or clarifies, or meets the need of a new age, but doesn't and cannot fundamentally change or supercede what was given.
And Mormons would agree: claiming only that that which was lost in the great apostasy was simply restored as Christ at first taught it.

quote:
Whilst I'm sure there is such a notion of revelation in Mormonism, there is nonetheless also a *further* notion that additional revelation of salvific import and additional revelation of who God actually is can be revealed.
Joseph Smith said, somewhere, that he had only given half of what he knew to the Saints: and the rest would have to wait, or else knowledge of it would drive most of them from the church. Implying, that there is a lot more of the gospel missing than even Mormons can appreciate.

quote:
Even with the most charitable reading (which as I've said, I'm inclined to give the LDS), it's still essentially heresy. It's that distinction that differentiates the Pope speaking ex cathedra (which I also don't buy into, but I don't consider heretical) and the Prophet speaking ex officio.
Yes, "heretics", but not NOT Christians.


quote:
As a separate, but not unrelated note, how typical would you say your theology is overall for Mormons? You strike me as giving it all a relatively liberal interpretation based on a considerable amount of thoughtful research. But you don't strike me as typical in your opinions and beliefs -- at least, not from the encounters I've had.
Not typical of Mormon "orthodoxy" whatsoever. I've probably answered that already. I don't consider any of this "true" in an exclusive way, or true at all, for that matter. I like to quote the emperor in Star Wars: "We will discover that we have all been mistaken about a great many things."
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
Oh, yeh. Just thought of one other thing I meant to add! As for the doctrine of the Trinity itself, of course Mormons are far from the only people to claim a more unitarian vision of the Heavenly Father (setting aside the question of polytheism for a sec). The earliest, of course, is Arianism -- which bears historic similarities to Mormon Doctrine, and which at one stage nearly triumphed as the orthodox doctrine of the ancient Church. (Is this not part of why Mormonism regards Nicaea as the greatest single moment of apostasy?)

I don't think Joseph Smith knew much if anything about the council of Nicaea. He was well-read up on his Bible. And he was intimately familiar with the main sects of his place and time. It was their obvious divisions which Smith's religion-making addressed. As he progressed in knowledge of other religious teachings, he inculcated much of that into Mormonism: hence, his changing Godhead doctrines.

quote:
.... **BUT** most of those unitarian / Arian / etc. religions, I'd have thought, would be regarded as Christian in the sense that they are rooted in Christ -- but equally apostate from the orthodox viewpoint. What I want to know is that, other than the fact that you yourself are a Mormon, why should Mormonism be singled out as different? Or should it?
Of course it is different. Because Mormonism claims to be "revealed" as the opening event in "the dispensation of the fulness of times", i.e. the "end times" preceding the millennium.

One of the defining *conceits* of Mormonism is that it claims to possess the key to knowledge of all things past, present and to come. That means that any similarities with previous bits and pieces of other denominational or sectarian (even non Christian, e.g. Free Masonry) practice, is coincidental with earlier "dispensations of the gospel" wherein these doctrines and ordinances were once upon a time revealed: but later corrupted and or lost. "Well, God revealed that through prophets thousands of years ago, but since then it was lost/corrupted." That covers ALL possible explanations of any similarities.

quote:
Again, I'm happy if they become more mainstream. But I'm not convinced they're Christian as we use the term, nor are even best off being so. Trying to convince us is inevitably taking the disadvantaged position; tactically it's far better to say you're something new and better.
The "new and better" is of course, what has kept the church growing all these years. Losing that would cause the LDS church to sink into the mainstream and disappear, just as the former RLDS (now CoC) is swiftly doing.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Well, I won't argue that Mormons are Christians "in the classic sense" either. But some, e.g. Ross, won't allow that they are "Christian" in any sense whatsoever. Pagans, a cult, with a secret agenda to be feared, yeah, all of that certainly: but "Christians?" No way hosea. "All that 'we're just Christians like you' stuff is a palpabale act." That attitude just pegs my BS meter.

quote:
Merlin, once again you're putting words on my keyboard, and I really do not appreciate it.
You said on the 14th instant:
quote:
"That's one reason it's so useful to know something about their history and doctrines, which make it very clear that Mormonism is not Christian, "mainstream" or otherwise. Modern Mormonism is very adept at public relations and making the organization seem to be something it's not. But you don't have to go very far beneath the surface to recognize the truth."
quote:
Rosswiesse: I have never called Mormons pagans. I have been very careful not to call Mormonism a cult in this discussion. I'm pretty sure you're the first one to bring up any possibility of "a secret agenda to be feared."
Okay, so I am assuming some things that Mormons ARE to you. If they are not Christians, mainstream or otherwise, then what exactly is left for them to BE?

You implied that they are hiding something; appearing to be other than they are. That sounds very cultish and having a secret agenda, to me.

quote:
....
....

I don't think Mormonism has "a secret agenda." I believe the organization is perfectly open about wanting to be taken as the One True Religion, even though its doctrines are so far removed from those of Christianity as to be almost unrecognizable in any Christian context.

Here's where you trip: what's "beneath the surface" then? If it's all out in the open?

And their doctrines are very biblically based and referenced. Joseph Smith taught from the Bible almost exclusively, disdaining to use his own scriptures that the modern church uses so much.

quote:
"Other scriptures" are still clearly condemned in the NT. So are new prophets.
Only according to the interpretation that you prefer, on both counts.

quote:
Inventing major theologies like multiple heavens and baptism for the dead out of one unclear reference found in one place is still not legit.
No by itself; but when the claim is that God revealed the fullness of the original doctrine, then it becomes biblically sound, because it is in the Bible. However, the temple stuff, except baptism for the dead, is all nonbiblical. The reason Mormons accept it is because the Bible is demonstrably not a complete God-given work, but assembled by uninspired men.

quote:
And Christians, no matter what their differences in other areas, still don't believe Smith's ultimate male fantasy, that men can ever become gods with their own planets and unlimited power and harems full of women with whom to have nonstop sex resulting in herds of "spirit children."
Don't speak for everyone. The church does attract c. 1/4 million converts a year with that appeal. Obviously, your view of Mormon "heaven" does not jive with the presentation the church teaches, or very few women would buy into it. You keep talking about men in heaven, as if it were some Islamic paradise with 70 female creatures provided by God for each man.

quote:
Mormonism should have the courage to admit that it's a new religion, and simply go on from there.

Ross

It seems to me, that it takes more balls to claim to be a revealed and restored religion, with all the missing bits of the original that Jesus Christ started up during his ministry.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Okay, so I am assuming some things that Mormons ARE to you. If they are not Christians, mainstream or otherwise, then what exactly is left for them to BE?

Another religion in the Abrahamic tradition, a daughter religion of Christianity but distinct from it. Like Muslims or Rastas.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Or (you're going to hate this, but...) technically Mormonism is a Christian heresy. Sorry, Merlin.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Or (you're going to hate this, but...) technically Mormonism is a Christian heresy. Sorry, Merlin.

I don't hate that conclusion. It's closer to the truth than what "ken" offered. Mormonism is CENTERED in Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer. But the outcome of that redemption, for Mormons, is what offends orthodox Christianity -- what Mormons refer to as "apostate Christianity". So either "side" can properly define what they think of each other, and still be considered as "Christians."
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Um, no. A heresy is by definition not the thing it comes out of/claims to be. It is a spin-off with significant changes--changes that are so significant that they invalidate the previous identity. Otherwise it would be a "sect" or a "branch" or even "that slightly odd group of folks down at St. Whatsits." A heresy has crossed the line. Sorry.

If it makes you feel any better, the traditional Mormon position (that all non-Mormon churches have fallen away from the truth of Christianity, which only exists in the Mormon system) defines US as heretics, every one of us. Which is a bit quixotic, given the dates involved, but there you go.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Um, no. A heresy is by definition not the thing it comes out of/claims to be. It is a spin-off with significant changes--changes that are so significant that they invalidate the previous identity. Otherwise it would be a "sect" or a "branch" or even "that slightly odd group of folks down at St. Whatsits." A heresy has crossed the line. Sorry.

And who gets to define someone else's religion as a heresy? I guess we all have that right, but who has the authority? The Prots are ALL heretics by RCC medieval standards. But the RCC has backed off of that. Of course, Vatican Two was not accepted by all RCC, e.g. Mel Gibson, so we have yet another schism in the bosom of Mother Church. Seems that no matter how hard some indivuduals try to be agreeable, the whole religion just gets more fragmented.

So I return to my fundamental beef with Rosswiesse's, et al., attitide. Some people just can't let a perceived religious group call themselves what they want to. "Words have meaning." Yes, and usually a long list of different meanings in the dictionary, for this very reason.

When you get to ONE definition of what exactly defines a "Christian", get back to me on this, please......

quote:
If it makes you feel any better, the traditional Mormon position (that all non-Mormon churches have fallen away from the truth of Christianity, which only exists in the Mormon system) defines US as heretics, every one of us.
More accurately, as "apostates", which doesn't have quite the same negative tone to it. Heretics deliberately rebel against the doctrines; apostates just ignorantly become such. Perhaps I am making too fine a distinction, and the terms are more synonomous.

quote:
Which is a bit quixotic, given the dates involved, but there you go.
The dates involved have nothing to do with anything: because Joseph Smith insisted that he was receiving revelations on restoring the "original" Christianity. God is not limited to when or to whom he speaks, you would agree?
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Okay, so I am assuming some things that Mormons ARE to you. If they are not Christians, mainstream or otherwise, then what exactly is left for them to BE?

You implied that they are hiding something; appearing to be other than they are. That sounds very cultish and having a secret agenda, to me.

You said that I stated the things that you now admit you're just assuming. That is simply dishonest of you.

As LC said, Mormonism could be called a "daughter" religion (or, given the abysmal status of women in Mormonism, a "son" religion) to Christianity, but it is not itself Christian. I've gone into the details repeatedly, as you know. If you're unclear on something I've said, please feel free to go back and reread those posts.

Mormonism sells itself on the basis of being clean-cut, wholesome, family-oriented. There are no ambiguities, no gray areas. It's all strictly monochrome.

And wow, now you can be with your family for all eternity! -- although I'm not sure you can really square that with the business about men becoming gods with their own planets, etc., to say nothing of the doctrine of different heavens for different people.

After all, how are you going to be together for all eternity if Uncle Fred is now off being the God Fred with his own turf, or if your gay cousin Bill is sentenced to Steerage Class Heaven because of his sexuality, and the rest of you are stuck in Economy Class Heaven because you didn't give enough money? The logic of this escapes me.

But most converts are responding to pressure from family and friends (and neighbors engaging in "friendshipping") to join, and they don't seem to examine Mormonism's premises too carefully.

Mormons admit that they're hiding a lot of the basic doctrines, just because those doctrines are so outre and unChristian. The catch phrase there is "milk before meat." In my own experience, the missionaries wanted to get me safely baptized before telling me any of the really funky stuff.

Again in my own experience, if you start asking questions about the difficult doctrines, they put you off. If you persist, they call in more experienced or higher-ranking missionaries. They really don't want to talk about, say, Kolob. I wonder why?
quote:
Here's where you trip: what's "beneath the surface" then? If it's all out in the open?
But it's not. Unlike ANY Christian denomination with which I'm acquainted, Mormonism keeps its ceremonies secret. Mormons, especially those with high ranks in the organization, get terribly upset when any details of those secrets are revealed.

But, as I say, the basic agenda is quite open: Mormonism wants to be the only religion on offer. Period.

Smith was a convicted con man. As others have noted, Mormonism is the only demonstrably false religion in the world, because the Book of Mormon is demonstrably fiction. Rewriting the Bible, adding "scriptures," borrowing Bible bits and spinning new, unfounded doctrines out of them is not a legitimate practice for anyone who wants to be accepted as "mainstream" or Christian.

The appeal of Mormonism is that it offers a clear road map for people who don't like uncertainties: Do this and this and this, and get there. Do this work for your local stake. Perform these Temple ordinances. Give this percentage of your money. Mormonism even dictates that families should spend Monday evenings at home together, perhaps because every other night of the week is taken up by other mandated activities.

The bottom line is that Mormonism is about power, control, and money. It's about telling people how to run their lives, about operating a wealthy organization that controls everything from the news media in its local market to businesses around the world -- and never, ever opening the books to reveal the extent of its power. (I can't remember if you answered my question about The Mormon Corporate Empire.)

It seems to me that the claim to be Christian is primarily a marketing tool in order to achieve those ends. This isn't to say that some individual Mormons may not be very close to Christian, but the organization and its doctrines are not.

quote:
...The dates involved have nothing to do with anything: because Joseph Smith insisted that he was receiving revelations on restoring the "original" Christianity. God is not limited to when or to whom he speaks, you would agree?...
Oh, I don't know. When I asked the missionaries, back in high school, what would happen if God spoke to another teenage boy today and gave him new revelations, they said it could never happen, that God ONLY speaks through the "twelve apostles" and "first presidency" of Mormonism.

That sounds to me as though Mormonism limits God in "when or to whom" God speaks, you would agree?

And since Smith's supposed revelations have nothing to do with what is known of original Christianity, I question that it was God dealing with him in the first place.

Occam's Razor works very well in this case.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
....

You implied that they are hiding something; appearing to be other than they are. That sounds very cultish and having a secret agenda, to me.

quote:
You said that I stated the things that you now admit you're just assuming. That is simply dishonest of you.
I do need to be more careful with you. I was speaking in general terms: terms which I assumed that you fit.

quote:
As LC said, Mormonism could be called a "daughter" religion (or, given the abysmal status of women in Mormonism, a "son" religion)....
HaHa.

quote:
.... to Christianity, but it is not itself Christian. I've gone into the details repeatedly, as you know. If you're unclear on something I've said, please feel free to go back and reread those posts.
And I repeat for you what I offered to LC: when you find THE definition of what a "Christian" is, that defines the lot, please get back to me. So far, you've only offered your definition. One which I am sure leaves out a great many doctrines that predate your denomination by centuries.

quote:
Mormonism sells itself on the basis of being clean-cut, wholesome, family-oriented. There are no ambiguities, no gray areas. It's all strictly monochrome.
I can tell, that it left a fine impression on you.

quote:
And wow, now you can be with your family for all eternity! -- although I'm not sure you can really square that with the business about men becoming gods with their own planets, etc., to say nothing of the doctrine of different heavens for different people.
That is explainable as only the difficulty of our finite minds trying to comprehend eternity.

The trouble with "eternal families" that I personally have is, that to get "forever families", Mormons insist that the human family must go through receiving all of the "saving ordinances" performed in Mormon temples. Yet, I understand that MANY people, Christian or otherwise, expect to be themselves in eternity, and associating together with loved ones AS families. So, why would an Italian, for instance, be interested in "buying into" Mormonism's "families are forever", when they already believe that God gives eternity to us for free? This is not RCC doctrine, of course: it is stuff that Italians have believed utterly separated from the church for thousands of years.

quote:
After all, how are you going to be together for all eternity if Uncle Fred is now off being the God Fred with his own turf, or if your gay cousin Bill is sentenced to Steerage Class Heaven because of his sexuality, and the rest of you are stuck in Economy Class Heaven because you didn't give enough money? The logic of this escapes me.
You missed the part, how denizens of any higher kingdom can visit with those of a lower kingdom. So, "reunions" will require that the upper snobs of higher heaven, condescend to a lower place for the duration of said-reunion. I am sure that that will tickle the lower orders no end, to receive constant reminders of just how much higher up their more righteous and talented brothers and sisters, et al, are. It all makes sense, but I don't like the implications any better than you do.

quote:
But most converts are responding to pressure from family and friends (and neighbors engaging in "friendshipping") to join, and they don't seem to examine Mormonism's premises too carefully.
You are making assumptions here. I am sure that the investigators of Mormonism are as varied in their circumstances as human beings are varied in every other aspect of life.

quote:
Mormons admit that they're hiding a lot of the basic doctrines, just because those doctrines are so outre and unChristian.
Balony. Mormons don't "hide" unchristian doctrines. Most Mormons are not even aware of their earlier church history: how the doctrines that you object to have changed or been dumped.

I keep saying this, but you are really not clear on a lot of points about the current LDS church: your exposure to B. Young, et al the early "brethren", is coloring your vision here.

The modern church has nothing whatsoever to do with unchristian "outre" doctrines. Name one, please?

quote:
The catch phrase there is "milk before meat." In my own experience, the missionaries wanted to get me safely baptized before telling me any of the really funky stuff.
What really funky stuff? The temple ordinances? They are being watered down all the time. The penalties are gone, seventeen years ago. The initiatories are no longer a source of possible embarrassment (or legal suit). "Milk before meat" is a catch phrase alright. But it hardly applies to anything in the church as it is these days. What exactly did the missionaries leave out for you?

quote:
Again in my own experience, if you start asking questions about the difficult doctrines, they put you off. If you persist, they call in more experienced or higher-ranking missionaries. They really don't want to talk about, say, Kolob. I wonder why?
Kolob is the name of the planet "nearest" to the dwelling place of God (not THE dwelling planet, as everyone so far here has assumed). You keep bringing it up, as if there is more to follow. There isn't. Kolob is it. So what? The OT is crammed with many more weird names and primitive science than is in the PofGP. It isn't one of Joseph Smith's more impressive efforts, imho. I do enjoy the lyric quality of Enoch's conversation with God, however: that is my favorite passage of scripture. I wonder where Joseph Smith got it from?

The effort of the missionaries to not discuss the "difficult questions" relates exclusively to the early church history stuff: which is embarrassing, because it doesn't fit into the modern church well at all. They aren't hiding, or keeping back any "meaty" doctrines that converts will get laid on them later. If a convert doesn't learn some things, it is because they don't read far enough. Nothing is being kept from anyone.

In any case, only c. 25% of converts stick with the church for more than a year. So the church has a problem with retention, once the euphoria of something new wears off.

quote:
Here's where you trip: what's "beneath the surface" then? If it's all out in the open?
quote:
But it's not. Unlike ANY Christian denomination with which I'm acquainted, Mormonism keeps its ceremonies secret.
Then it isn't something you can get to by studying it below the surface. Oh wait, the Internet lets you examine the entire temple ceremony stuff in complete detail. And it is a complete "so what?" There's nothing there to hide. Mormons say it is "sacred." That's fine then. Masons don't go around blabbing up their ceremonies in public either, yet they are not secret anymore.

quote:
Mormons, especially those with high ranks in the organization, get terribly upset when any details of those secrets are revealed.
I guess they'll just have to learn to live with disappointment then.

quote:
But, as I say, the basic agenda is quite open: Mormonism wants to be the only religion on offer. Period.
Balony. It wants to be "top religion." Not the only one. Didn't you get the part about the millennium having tons of other religious people on earth besides Mormons? It's just that the "united order" will be the world gov, with Christ ruling from the returned city of Enoch (new Jerusalem) with all the exalted Mormons, as co-rulers of the planet.

quote:
Smith was a convicted con man.
Go ahead, milk his one conviction (before Mormonism even existed) for all its worth, which aint much. He was "convicted" for disorderly conduct and being a "rowdy person", all based on his claims as a "glass looker" helping people find buried treasure: his so-called crimes were misdemeanors which cost him no prison time (or any fines either, iirc: just warnings). So he was young and had his foolish moments too. Embarrassing for Mormons, that one, but hardly enough to continue to call him a conman.

I think he actually believed he had "the gift." I give him that much. But that's because my working hypothesis of Joseph Smith's personality makes him believe the things he says as he says them. Later, he modifies the story as needed. He wasn't a malice-aforethought liar. But he wasn't particularly honest in what he said. He believed in what he said, however. YMMV, of course.

quote:
As others have noted, Mormonism is the only demonstrably false religion in the world, because the Book of Mormon is demonstrably fiction.
Oho, that's a good one. The ONLY demonstrably false religion? Where, pray tell, is ONE piece of incontrovertible evidence proving Christianity? Outside the Bible? Nothing, not after 2,000 plus years. It's as if the religion grew up in a vacuum, then burst upon the Roman world already made.

Btw, there is plenty about the BofM that is RL based. The entire opening setting, the journey down the Arabian penninsula, as very authentic in details. The history in America can be twisted to fit this location or that, quite convincingly. The trouble, is that nadda has been discovered to positively locate any of it. And we both know why.

But the Bible is also a lousy history book. None of the OT is literally true. So what, if it is located where history really did happen? The devil is in the details. And the most uncompromising scholarship exposes just how concocted the OT history is. This is so true, that many scholars even doubt that such a person as Abraham ever lived.

quote:
Rewriting the Bible, adding "scriptures," borrowing Bible bits and spinning new, unfounded doctrines out of them is not a legitimate practice for anyone who wants to be accepted as "mainstream" or Christian.
I disagree. Doctrines added, that do not cause a departure from Jesus Christ as "the chief cornerstone" and center of religion, cannot negate a religious community's claim to be Christian. B. Young's "men on the moon" comments do not impinge on his beliefs in Christ as his Savior. His Adam God theory also do not change his many statements on Salvation which are Christian.

quote:
The appeal of Mormonism is that it offers a clear road map for people who don't like uncertainties: Do this and this and this, and get there. Do this work for your local stake. Perform these Temple ordinances. Give this percentage of your money. Mormonism even dictates that families should spend Monday evenings at home together, perhaps because every other night of the week is taken up by other mandated activities.
This statement is quite correct altogether. However, it does not contain anything which is unchristian. Individuals can be "worse than infidels" if they allow church work to ruin their families. But that is actually against church doctrine. It is ironic that "families can be together forever" seems to many Mormons to apply to the next life and not this one.

quote:
The bottom line is that Mormonism is about power, control, and money. It's about telling people how to run their lives, about operating a wealthy organization that controls everything from the news media in its local market to businesses around the world -- and never, ever opening the books to reveal the extent of its power. (I can't remember if you answered my question about The Mormon Corporate Empire.)
I did. I haven't read it. Doubt that I would learn anything shocking if I ever do. And little in the way of new things I haven't run into before.

Your description fits the RCC pretty closely too. And many other Christian denominations are very controlling, as much as they can get away with. It is the nature of dogmatic religion: to exercise control over the oracular sacraments, and thus over the lives of its people.

quote:
It seems to me that the claim to be Christian is primarily a marketing tool in order to achieve those ends.
Maybe. But the members are sincere when they say "we are Christians."

quote:
This isn't to say that some individual Mormons may not be very close to Christian, but the organization and its doctrines are not.
How charitable of you. "Some" may "be very close to Christian." I think you need to interpret your NT a little closer to the original words of Jesus: "If they are not against us, then they are for us."

quote:
...The dates involved have nothing to do with anything: because Joseph Smith insisted that he was receiving revelations on restoring the "original" Christianity. God is not limited to when or to whom he speaks, you would agree?...
quote:
Oh, I don't know. When I asked the missionaries, back in high school, what would happen if God spoke to another teenage boy today and gave him new revelations, they said it could never happen, that God ONLY speaks through the "twelve apostles" and "first presidency" of Mormonism.

That sounds to me as though Mormonism limits God in "when or to whom" God speaks, you would agree?

No. That means that some Mormons would limit God. Just as the Jews of Jesus day did, in not accepting that their Messiah could be him.

I don't believe that God speaks to any exclusive religion, and never has. But I don't know many Mormons who hold that sort of ecumenical perspective.

quote:
And since Smith's supposed revelations have nothing to do with what is known of original Christianity, I question that it was God dealing with him in the first place.

Occam's Razor works very well in this case.

Ross

True. And I suspect that further research and discovered evidence will further unravel his claims to divine revelation. It should be interesting.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Or (you're going to hate this, but...) technically Mormonism is a Christian heresy. Sorry, Merlin.

I don't hate that conclusion. It's closer to the truth than what "ken" offered. Mormonism is CENTERED in Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer.
So are Rastafarianism and at least some sorts of Islam. And Muslim doctrine of God is closer to Christian than Mormon is.
 
Posted by GoodCatholicLad (# 9231) on :
 
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
"In any case, only c. 25% of converts stick with the church for more than a year. So the church has a problem with retention, once the euphoria of something new wears off".


If many of the converts fall away are they then taken off the roll books? So does that mean the numbers the church says are really then exagerrated?

Also I find the mention of gods and a religion calling itself christian as ridiculous. There are no gods, big, less, important, minor or any ofher kind.

I think that you can get a traddie Latin muttering rosary 3x a day, Mary statue in every room Roman Catholic and a dour calvinist thumping Ian Paisley type to agree on one thing and that would be mormonism ain't "in the club".

I think the mormon apologist can produce so many pages defending mormonism is Christian to the point the servers for Ship of Fools crashes and you still won't convince anyone it seems. But we all agree, at least I do, that mormons can be very nice folk nevertheless.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:

And who gets to define someone else's religion as a heresy? I guess we all have that right, but who has the authority? The Prots are ALL heretics by RCC medieval standards. But the RCC has backed off of that. Of course, Vatican Two was not accepted by all RCC, e.g. Mel Gibson, so we have yet another schism in the bosom of Mother Church. Seems that no matter how hard some indivuduals try to be agreeable, the whole religion just gets more fragmented.

So I return to my fundamental beef with Rosswiesse's, et al., attitide. Some people just can't let a perceived religious group call themselves what they want to. "Words have meaning." Yes, and usually a long list of different meanings in the dictionary, for this very reason.


If I'm understanding you correctly, you seem to be arguing in a circular fashion.

As the previous poster mentioned, both Mormons and Christians have explicitly defined the "other" as "heretics", either now or in the past. "Heresy" is by definition a relative term-- heretical <i>in relation to what?</i>. Hence you are quite right that Protestantism is heretical in relation to Medieval Catholicism, etc. etc.

But that's fine. You're also quite right to suggest that we should let the adherents of a particular group define their own terms and doctrines, rather than dictating to someone what they believe (and yes, I know Christians have a bad habit of doing exactly that to Mormons).

But that means we also have to let groups self-identify. We have to let groups define "Mormon" and "Presbyterian" and "Catholic". And we also have to let groups define "Christian." Will there be differences of opinion on that definition? You betcha. But that doesn't mean there's anything wrong or even intolerant in saying "this is what I believe the core, essential, defining distinctive of Christianity is" even if that means some groups who call themselves "Christian" are left out. And those "others" will often define "Christians" in ways that leave out the first group. Oh, well. Get over it.


quote:
When you get to ONE definition of what exactly defines a "Christian", get back to me on this, please......
To two great ecumenical creeds, Nicene and Apostles, have worked pretty well for nearly two millenia.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
When you get to ONE definition of what exactly defines a "Christian", get back to me on this, please......

actually, i have one. the nicene creed. that was sort of the point of inventing it. [Biased] the reality is: every denomination generally (and historically) recognised as Christian since 325/381 AD had that little statement of belief in common. even those, such as Baptists, who object to creeds on principle nonetheless accept every article of the nicene creed and regard the points they're making as normative to the Christian faith.

Merlin, I'm afraid it really is that simple. The traditional line is that if you can sign up to the theology of the Nicene Creed, you are a Christian, and part of the same basic religion.

If you cannot, whatever you call yourself, you are not part of that same religion. Christ-centred though you may be, you adhere to a fundamentally different belief-structure -- not least, because the Nicene Creed is about identifying what little we can say about the very core nature (ousia) of the Godhead itself. Thus, change it up, and what you've got yourself is a whole 'nother God by a whole 'nother conception.


----------------
as for Mel Gibson -- a point you mentioned somewhere above -- he may think Vat II was a bad idea, but as long as he's in communion with Rome, he comes under its authority, and voluntarily so. There is no contientious opt-out clause for him, nor should there be. (Just as you come under the authority of the Mormon Church, regardless of what you may think about this or that practise or doctrine.) The question of what he accepts or does not within his own head is of no real consequence; being in communion with Rome is de facto acceptance. that's just how it works. the kind of schism you're talking about is illustrated far better by the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht who broke with Rome after Vat I and administer a parallel structure.

[ 21. May 2007, 05:50: Message edited by: doctor-frog ]
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
I find it curious that the Mormons even want to be considered Christians. They didn't used to. Merlin, why did the Mormons change thier tune and later want to be considered as 'Christian'? I assume the answer is similar to changes in polygamy policy. One day it is a requirement (Brigham Young: "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned." ) then later it is strictly forbidden. I'm sure that it is just a remarkable coincidence that this change came about after the US government insisted that the Mormons drop polygamy if they wanted Utah to join the United States.

K.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
Doctor Frog wrote:

quote:
Merlin, I'm afraid it really is that simple. The traditional line is that if you can sign up to the theology of the Nicene Creed, you are a Christian, and part of the same basic religion.

Every translation of the Nicene Creed that I've found refers to Mary as "the virgin Mary." Which I take to mean that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Christ.

If a professed Christian believes that the virgin birth is likely mythological, but that the death and resurrection of Jesus actually took place, and for the reasons that it is traditionally claimed that they took place, would you say that that person is not a Christian?

[ 21. May 2007, 16:49: Message edited by: Stetson ]
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
re: the creed, i think there's interpretive flexibility in several articles. The Ascension is a perfect example. Was it literally an ascension or something mythological, or a mythologising of something that actually happened?

my personal take on the virginity is that 'God can raise up from these stones sons to Abraham'. it's not nearly as important to me as the Godhead that the creed describes (nor was the virginity article the primary purpose of the creed; the creed was a response to the controversy over the nature of the Godhead).

there seems to be a sizeable chunk of liberal theologians who would agree that it's mythological, and the Church(es) as a whole aren't throwing them out (though there are conservative theologians who might do). I've never seen such a conception adopted as doctrine by an entire denomination -- and, ultimately, that would be the stage at which other denominations would have to respond. goes back to what I said about Mel Gibson.

Consensus / Conventional Wisdom seems to place the mythological view on the fringes (but not way out on the fringes), but not generally an unchurchable offense. In my experience, people who don't buy into it literally do recognise that it's a genuine witness to some important aspect of truth (not least in that it hearkens back to Isaiah and shores up Christ's position as Messiah).

PS -- I come down on the literalist side, though I am a liberal.

[ 21. May 2007, 17:32: Message edited by: doctor-frog ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by GoodCatholicLad:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
"In any case, only c. 25% of converts stick with the church for more than a year. So the church has a problem with retention, once the euphoria of something new wears off".

quote:
If many of the converts fall away are they then taken off the roll books? So does that mean the numbers the church says are really then exagerrated?
Not usually taken off, no. The numbers are in line with how other churches count their numbers: total "enrolled" membership, with no consideration to activity level. Most "less active" Mormons never bother the church to get their names removed from the rolls. The relatively few who insist have to make a fair fuss of it in order to get removed. Typically, if you are invisible you are not a problem. But if you make noise you can get yourself removed.

quote:
Also I find the mention of gods and a religion calling itself christian as ridiculous. There are no gods, big, less, important, minor or any ofher kind.
"Ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil"

"Now I know the Lord is greater than all gods"

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords"

"I have said to you, Ye are gods and all of you are children of the most High"

"Among the gods there is none like unto thee oh Lord"

"Give thanks unto the God of gods, for his mercy endureth forever"

"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods?"

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

quote:
I think that you can get a traddie Latin muttering rosary 3x a day, Mary statue in every room Roman Catholic and a dour calvinist thumping Ian Paisley type to agree on one thing and that would be mormonism ain't "in the club".
Ah, "The enemy of my enemy is still my friend" sorta thing.

quote:
I think the mormon apologist can produce so many pages defending mormonism is Christian to the point the servers for Ship of Fools crashes and you still won't convince anyone it seems. But we all agree, at least I do, that mormons can be very nice folk nevertheless.
I know pagans who are very nice folk too. They behave more Christlike than some of the Christian assholes I know.

Not the point. If someone says "I am a Christian. I follow Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and my God, the source of my salvation:" then you are being arrogant to assume that s/he is wrong. You have nothing, no authority, to base your assumed denial on, other than your own interpretation of the Bible. And your interpretation is no more authorized than anyone else's. The days of dogmatic Christian hegemony died with the Prot Reformation. Unless, Mormonism (or something like it) can recreate it through a "new" "revealed" religion, as it claims.

The only other possibility is that the RCC remains the only true faith of Christians, as per having authority and all. The rest of yous are simply so many apostates from that true faith.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
You have nothing, no authority, to base your assumed denial on, other than your own interpretation of the Bible.

again, there's the Nicene Creed.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:

The only other possibility is that the RCC remains the only true faith of Christians, as per having authority and all. The rest of yous are simply so many apostates from that true faith.

Oh, nonsense, Merlin. [Smile]
At the very least, you'd have to reckon with the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox for having equal claim to that particular honour.

But it just ain't so -- not least because the RCC accept as valid *any* baptism given in *any* Church according to the Triune formula, as referenced and intended by the Creed.

They'll re-baptise a Mormon convert as not having had sufficient baptism (and, of course, the reverse applies) -- but they won't re-baptise, e.g., a Baptist or a Pentecostal.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
....

If I'm understanding you correctly, you seem to be arguing in a circular fashion.

Kinda inescapable. Because I keep coming back to the stand, that a Christian is anyone who claims that they believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and God of their salvation. All the rest is just so much dogmatic difference between sects and denominations.

quote:
When you get to ONE definition of what exactly defines a "Christian", get back to me on this, please......
quote:
To two great ecumenical creeds, Nicene and Apostles, have worked pretty well for nearly two millenia.
The devil is in the details. When you start nitpicking at what various sects and denominations accept out of the two creeds, lines of differences get drawn. At what point does the difference between one or the other rub them out of "the club?"
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
At what point does the difference between one or the other rub them out of "the club?"

Well, I'd start with the affirmation or denial of the tri-unity of the Godhead and work my way back from there.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
When you get to ONE definition of what exactly defines a "Christian", get back to me on this, please......

quote:
actually, i have one. the nicene creed. that was sort of the point of inventing it. [Biased] the reality is: every denomination generally (and historically) recognised as Christian since 325/381 AD had that little statement of belief in common. even those, such as Baptists, who object to creeds on principle nonetheless accept every article of the nicene creed and regard the points they're making as normative to the Christian faith.
You know what? Mormonism can be fit into the Nicene creed too! I knew I was saving this little exercise from the past for something:

I am glad that "truth3" posted the creed. I pasted it here and will show that *Mormonism* agrees with it exactly as it reads. (Agreement in how it is interpretated TODAY is definitely another matter.)

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

(There is no problem with this: God the Father is a title, ergo Jesus Christ has a Father who is known by that title. God the Father directed Christ in creating the universe we see - and all that we do not see.)

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God begotten, not made, of one being with the Father.

("Of one being with the Father" means what you want it to, or what God intended it to mean if these words were inspired: One flesh shared by a dual God? Not possible. Two Spirit-Gods sharing the same single entity, ergo One God somehow? Ditto. That kind of interpretation is what makes atheists announce that the God defined by Christendom is an impossible being and therefore cannot exist. *Mormons* know that Christ is the literal offspring of God the Father: and that he was never made, nor can be - but in addition to that, neither are we made, nor can be, since we have always existed. We are "creations" of God the Father's only in the sense that we are spiritual offspring of his. Christ, being a God before he was even clothed in flesh - unlike ALL of the rest of us - was always from the beginning One with his Father: One in understanding, One in purpose, One in creative powers, One in perfection.)

Through him all things were made.

(Perfectly explained in the beginning of the gospel of John. We believe this literally. But to teach the reality that God delegates his powers to the Son, and even to prophets and to us, in no way contradicts the doctrine that all things that were made were made by him: because the director is responsible for the final work, and the workers cannot of themselves do anything without his direction and approval.)

For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became fully human.

(Absolutely true in every word. If *Mormons* add the detail that God the Father is the literal Father of Jesus' physical body, that doesn't make the Holy Ghost any less the power by which Jesus came to be mortal through a mortal virgin. Sexual intercourse as we understand it is not necessary, for nature to be followed in ever particular: Mary, transported by the Spirit into a state of being that could withstand God's presence, emerged from that intercourse with the Father pregnant with our Lord. That is all that matters. We believe in the literal birth of our Savior Jesus Christ by Mary the virgin woman of God's choice.)

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

(All of this is believed by *Mormons* and there is no contradiction here. It should be added that to be seated on the right-hand of oneself is a physical impossibility.

(A question: Do Christians, since the creed of Nicea was formulated, understand the Godhead as those who made it did? By that, I mean to propose that apostacy has moved a long way since the creed, and it is just possible that the interpretations of men have muddied the waters of doctrine not just a little bit.)

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who in unity with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

(Yes. This is true doctrine. The Holy Ghost gives us eternal life through our receiving from him the testimony of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost speaks the mind and will of God the Father and his holy Son.)

We believe in one Christian and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

(True, in the actual sense that there IS only ONE religion of the Holy Spirit. Those who hear the voice of the Spirit live in unity of the faith. One day, all will see eye to eye, and religion as it is today in the world will be a thing of our chaotic past. *Mormons*, and all others who profess to belong to the "true church" of Christ, need to remember this: there are only TWO churches in the world: Satan's and God's. The question is not WHICH CHURCH you were born into, or join yourselves to in order to do the good work of helping to save souls: the question has always been: which direction are you going? We should never accuse each other of being on our way to outer darkness, hell, or damnation: only God can tell us individually if we are turning away from him. If we are not, and our desires of our hearts are toward him alone who is the giver of light and life, then he will be merciful to all those who seek him and will show each of us the way in his own timing of things. I repeat, there are only TWO CHURCHES: the church of Christ and the church of the devil. Which one do you adhere to? The answer to that is no one elses business but your own.)

We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

(That is the summation of the gospel of Christ: the world will end, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. All who have died will be resurrected to glory. But note that the Bible does in fact teach that there are degrees of glory. I will not list the references here at this time, and in fact have already done so recently on this board.)

Bear in mind, that I wrote that c. five years ago. When I was still a believer in the Mormon variety of Christianity.


quote:
Merlin, I'm afraid it really is that simple. The traditional line is that if you can sign up to the theology of the Nicene Creed, you are a Christian, and part of the same basic religion.

If you cannot, whatever you call yourself, you are not part of that same religion. Christ-centred though you may be, you adhere to a fundamentally different belief-structure -- not least, because the Nicene Creed is about identifying what little we can say about the very core nature (ousia) of the Godhead itself. Thus, change it up, and what you've got yourself is a whole 'nother God by a whole 'nother conception.

....

What little the Nicene creed has to say says nothing about the other objections Rosswiesse, et al, put on "outing" Mormons. Their interpretations/objections go much further to find reasons to "out" them.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
I find it curious that the Mormons even want to be considered Christians. They didn't used to. Merlin, why did the Mormons change thier tune and later want to be considered as 'Christian'? I assume the answer is similar to changes in polygamy policy. One day it is a requirement (Brigham Young: "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned." ) then later it is strictly forbidden. I'm sure that it is just a remarkable coincidence that this change came about after the US government insisted that the Mormons drop polygamy if they wanted Utah to join the United States.

K.

I don't understand why you think that Mormons only "recently" wanted to be recognized as Christians? They have always seen themselves as the "restored church" of Jesus Christ.

The polygamy trouble got solved by government fiat and Mormon compliance. That in no way effected the religion as a Christian faith. The majority of Mormons up to 1890 wanted to dump polygamy and never liked it to begin with. So, Woodruff's "Manifesto" dumping "the practice" came as welcome news, and the mainstream church has never looked back since.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
(Agreement in how it is interpretated TODAY is definitely another matter.)

errrm. no.

You cannot twist the Creed to mean anything you want to from it. Well, actually you can; but what you cannot do is twist trinitarianism out of it.

in the first place, the creed was explicitly devised to affirm trinitarianism *as opposed* to Arianism which, in many particulars of how Christ's relationship to the Father is explained, Mormonism closely resembles.

your explanation appears to be based on the english translation rather than the Greek -- do correct me if I'm wrong about that. This is most obvious in the explanation of the phrase 'of one being with the Father'.

The word in Greek is 'homo-ousios'. This literally means 'of the self-same core nature and core being'. As opposed explicitly to 'homoi-ousios' ('of like being'), another possibility being floated at the time, and (of course) completely separate beings. This is a fundamental statement of ontology and epistemology, and cannot literally be interpreted in another way. If the explanation were based on ancient Greek, it would have had to reckon with this fact, and did not. It simply refuted the English in an interpretation of English that is not allowable in the Greek original. What it describes is 'homoi-ousios', which was precisely what the Church Fathers meant to rule out.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
(edit of the above failed. so continuing ...)

which is to say: if the orthodox Churches are, as the LDS claims, apostate, then they went apostate before the Nicene Creed was formulated, and the Nicene Creed -- by definition -- is a prime example of the apostasy.

it is not possible for you to interpret the very carefully chosen words in a Mormon way, and that was precisely the aim of its authors.

You may well continue to argue for the Christian nature of the LDS. But the Creed will not and cannot support you.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
I don't understand why you think that Mormons only "recently" wanted to be recognized as Christians? They have always seen themselves as the "restored church" of Jesus Christ.
Yes. But, more accurately, the apparent desire to be associated with traditional or what we would call "orthodox" Christianity appears to be a new movement, I assume instituted by Hinkley. Jo. Smith certainly did not want to be associated with mainstream Christianity.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
(Agreement in how it is interpretated TODAY is definitely another matter.)

errrm. no.

You cannot twist the Creed to mean anything you want to from it. Well, actually you can; but what you cannot do is twist trinitarianism out of it.

in the first place, the creed was explicitly devised to affirm trinitarianism *as opposed* to Arianism which, in many particulars of how Christ's relationship to the Father is explained, Mormonism closely resembles.

your explanation appears to be based on the english translation rather than the Greek -- do correct me if I'm wrong about that. This is most obvious in the explanation of the phrase 'of one being with the Father'.

The word in Greek is 'homo-ousios'. This literally means 'of the self-same core nature and core being'. As opposed explicitly to 'homoi-ousios' ('of like being'), another possibility being floated at the time, and (of course) completely separate beings. This is a fundamental statement of ontology and epistemology, and cannot literally be interpreted in another way. If the explanation were based on ancient Greek, it would have had to reckon with this fact, and did not. It simply refuted the English in an interpretation of English that is not allowable in the Greek original. What it describes is 'homoi-ousios', which was precisely what the Church Fathers meant to rule out.

Well, this just gets more hillarious! Now, we all have to learn Greek in order to confirm our doctrine. Sounds more and more like Islam, where you can't get to read the Quran unless you learn to read Arabic, because no translation is considered genuine enough.

And your points only underscore the continuing 2,000 year old problem of defining others' doctrine for them. That is something that shouldn't have started in the first place, and should stop.

So Mormons are Arian Christians then? Or was that sect "demoted" to non Christian status?
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
(edit of the above failed. so continuing ...)

which is to say: if the orthodox Churches are, as the LDS claims, apostate, then they went apostate before the Nicene Creed was formulated, and the Nicene Creed -- by definition -- is a prime example of the apostasy.

it is not possible for you to interpret the very carefully chosen words in a Mormon way, and that was precisely the aim of its authors.

You may well continue to argue for the Christian nature of the LDS. But the Creed will not and cannot support you.

I just demonstrated (again, after five years) that the Mormons can be supported by the Creed. By interpretation, and most of it doesn't even require any twisting or turning to get it all to fit. The ONE bug in the ointment is the Trinity stuff. And if Joseph Smith had just shut up with the Book of Mormon, we wouldn't even be having this debate: because the BofM God is Trinitarian.

If Mormons think of the Nicene Creed as a demonstration of how apostate Christianity had become, then they are just being dogmatic and difficult. Read it as it stands, and I for one have little or not trouble with it at all. And I didn't even five years ago when I was a sincere believer.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
quote:
I don't understand why you think that Mormons only "recently" wanted to be recognized as Christians? They have always seen themselves as the "restored church" of Jesus Christ.
Yes. But, more accurately, the apparent desire to be associated with traditional or what we would call "orthodox" Christianity appears to be a new movement, I assume instituted by Hinkley. Jo. Smith certainly did not want to be associated with mainstream Christianity.
You're right there. But the modern church isn't pursuing the same agenda as the early one. That one was exclusive, both in outlook and community.

Hinckley has said that we are Christians but worship a different (concept of) Christ than most of the rest of Christianity does. (Somebody earlier posted that quote verbatim.) He's trying to play both sides of the fence: keep the LDS church's claims to unique priesthood authority and revelation, and still be recognized as a Christian religion by the rest of the world. I don't think it's going to work out in the long run.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
And if Joseph Smith had just shut up with the Book of Mormon, we wouldn't even be having this debate: because the BofM God is Trinitarian.
That's (IMHO) an understatement! Yes, I think you're quite right-- if it had all stopped at B of M, the LDS would be much like Church of Christ or other restoration movements-- maybe considered a tad legalistic or extremist or exclusive, but still very much considered w/in "mainstream" of Protestant Christianity.

As a sorta aside, it seems to me (and I'd appreciate your perspective) from my limited reading that things really started to go south both theologically and systemically with the King Follett address, which seems to come at the time when there were beginning to be schisms and division, in large part due to revelations of Smith's (until then mostly secret) polygamous marriages. (fwiw, I'm not as concerned about the polygamy as the way he committed polygamy, which seem at least from a 21st c. perspective to be abusive). I"m trying to make up my mind if King Follett and what followed was an attempt to reign in and isolate discontented followers, or was just a symptom of a charismatic leader beginning to spin out of control (as has happened so many times in the past).
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
When you start nitpicking at what various sects and denominations accept out of the two creeds, lines of differences get drawn. At what point does the difference between one or the other rub them out of "the club?"

If you are an Anglican like me, just about everyone counts as in. Though not, I am afraid, the Muslims. Or the Mormons.

If you are Orthodox apparently its you your priest and just possibly your priest's maiden aunt - provided she lives a perfectly holy life, ritually curses St Augustine five times a day, and only speaks Greek. And even then you have your doubts about the priest.

The reasons for saying Mormon teaching is not Christian teaching (which is not at all the same thing as saying that individual Mormons are or are not Christians) are various. To me the big one is the doctrine of who God is.

Its fuundamental to orthodox Christianity that the God of this world, who we can know in Jesus Christ and who we address as "Father"; is the same God as the eternal creator of the entire universe (and all other universes, if there are any), not located inside the universe in any one place or time any more than an artist is located inside a picture they paint, or an author inside a novel they write.

The same belief is taught by many other religions, including Islam and Judaism and Zoroastrianism and (I think) the Sikhs.

But there have been plenty of religions that did not teach that. For example the idea that the God of this world is not the eternal God of the whole universe but a sort of assistant god, or an understudy, or a created being, or a rebel against God, was taught by lots of Gnostic religions in the past, and by Manicheism (which started as a Zoroastrian heresy, not a Christian one but sort of got improted into Christianity and perhaps gave rise to Catharism). It is maybe also taught by the modern-day Druze and various midlle-eastern sects that look very much like Muslims to our eyes but have fundamentally different ideas of God.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Well, this just gets more hillarious! Now, we all have to learn Greek in order to confirm our doctrine. Sounds more and more like Islam, where you can't get to read the Quran unless you learn to read Arabic, because no translation is considered genuine enough.

no, that's not what i'm saying at all, and i suspect you know that.

but it *is* important to know, when dealing with original documents in other languages, how to remain as faithful to the original as possible -- and to rule out cavalier (and, in this case, impossible) translations.

For example: the preposition 'in' in Spanish means both 'in' and 'on' -- and it's not trivial, when translating into English, to know whether something is 'in the beach' or 'on the beach' if the phrase used is 'in la playa'.

Another example: two words in Greek translate as 'love' in English: 'agape' and 'eros'. 'Agape' (faithful love and altruistic love or some equivalent) is what's used in scripture to describe divine love, but 'eros' would be used to describe erotic and romantic love. Thus, you can't say from scripture that God looks and human beings and starts feeling frisky. (Mormon doctrine about Christ's conception notwithstanding.) It's just not the word that's used.

Back to 'homo-ousios', then. I'm not demanding that you have a working knowledge of Greek, but I'm not being petty, either. You simply cannot re-imagine 'of one being with the father' to mean Arianism or something like it, because that's simply not what 'homo-ousios' with the Father means, nor can even possibly mean.

Now, I've granted that you can make a fine case for Arianism from scripture (albeit a wrong one IMO). But, if the Nicene Creed is the test of ecclesiality -- which it is in orthodox circles -- then you cannot argue Arianism from that. Sorry. That's just not how it works, and it would be intellectually dishonest for me to let that one slide.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:

And your points only underscore the continuing 2,000 year old problem of defining others' doctrine for them. That is something that shouldn't have started in the first place, and should stop.

I'm not defining your doctrine for you. I'm defining mine. The fact that you don't happen to share it is entirely down to you! [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:

So Mormons are Arian Christians then? Or was that sect "demoted" to non Christian status?

Well, actually, they were exiled from the Roman empire and/or exterminated.

But, yes, they were excluded from the Church -- and arguably demoted from Christianity as it is commonly understood.

The term Arian Christian is, however, an acceptable one, for want of a better one. But it should not be interpreted to mean that they're essentially of the same faith -- precisely because their conception of God's very being was different. It all hinged on that.

I didn't say that Mormons were Arian Christians. (To be honest, I expect that they'd argue you were heretical. They had more in common with us than Mormonism does.) I think I said (without looking back at my previous post) that the conception of the Godhead is fairly close or bears similarities to Arianism in important particulars.

I'd still argue that you're a distinct religion, rooted in Christianity, but sufficiently different (more than sufficiently different) to be something new and something other. And, again, I think that if I believed what Mormons believed, I'd rejoice in that fact and not want to be lumped in with trinitarians.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
I just demonstrated (again, after five years) that the Mormons can be supported by the Creed.

no. you didn't. you did the exact opposite, precisely because you've haven't properly translated the central plank of the Creed.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
The ONE bug in the ointment is the Trinity stuff. And if Joseph Smith had just shut up with the Book of Mormon, we wouldn't even be having this debate: because the BofM God is Trinitarian.

that's a pretty big bug in a very small tub of ointment. it's sort of like saying godzilla was a slightly-larger-than-average lizard.

the trinity was the whole point of the creed, from conception, to language, to promulgation, to political consequences. ditch that, and none of the rest of it matters.

what I *will* give you willingly (unless Ross can point out otherwise) is that as far as I know, the BoM is indeed trinitarian -- as indeed are the CoC/RLDS explicitly.

But, as you yourself say, JS did not 'shut up', nor did later members of the First Presidency and Council of Twelve Apostles -- and the LDS are not trinitarian and do not claim to be. you can't claim it's all o.k. on the 'would coulda shoulda' principle. what happened, happened.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
just realised -- catching myself before I'm caught out -- I twice cited 'in' as the spanish for in/on. Of course, it's 'en'. [Hot and Hormonal] Same point applies, though.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
Ken wrote:

quote:
Its fuundamental to orthodox Christianity that the God of this world, who we can know in Jesus Christ and who we address as "Father"; is the same God as the eternal creator of the entire universe (and all other universes, if there are any), not located inside the universe in any one place or time any more than an artist is located inside a picture they paint, or an author inside a novel they write.
I would agree that that has been the standard consensus among theologians. However, thinking back to my Catholic upbringing, I'm having a hard time recalling if it was ever explicitly stated that God was not part of the physical universe. Probably it was, but it certainly wasn't something that was drummed into our heads in every homliy and religion class.

What I'm getting at here is that I could easily imagine an uneducated member of a mainstream church believing in the popular artistic representation of God living up in the sky somewhere, simply because he's seen it in a hundred times and no one has ever told him otherwise.

So: a guy believes that Jesus was the Son Of God, and died for to redeem us. He also attends church every week, and volunteers at a home for disabled children every Tuesday night. However, he also happens to think that heaven might be located somewhere in the deepest folds of the NGC 4414 galaxy. Is he in or out of "the club"?

[ 22. May 2007, 15:05: Message edited by: Stetson ]
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
strictly speaking, i think both conceptions are not quite right. the God who created us all ex-nihilo -- from nothing -- is not constrained by space and time (nor the absense of it, if such a thing exists). He is distinct and Other from the Universe by his very nature, but it wouldn't be appropriate to say he exists exclusively 'outside' it or exclusively 'inside' it. his relationship to us is not constrained by spatio-temporal ideas.

thus, the Trinity exist towards the universe in a general fashion that was differentiated as Jesus Christ in a specific place/time in history, but without him ceasing to be God that he ever was.

but i don't think an uneducated idea of the old man with a beard 'up there in heaven' is a hanging offence, no. this person also believes in the God who created 'all things, seen and unseen' -- i.e., ex nihilo. the implications take care of themselves, whether that particular believer thinks it out or not.

[ 22. May 2007, 16:07: Message edited by: doctor-frog ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
....

As a sorta aside, it seems to me (and I'd appreciate your perspective) from my limited reading that things really started to go south both theologically and systemically with the King Follett address, which seems to come at the time when there were beginning to be schisms and division, in large part due to revelations of Smith's (until then mostly secret) polygamous marriages. (fwiw, I'm not as concerned about the polygamy as the way he committed polygamy, which seem at least from a 21st c. perspective to be abusive). I"m trying to make up my mind if King Follett and what followed was an attempt to reign in and isolate discontented followers, or was just a symptom of a charismatic leader beginning to spin out of control (as has happened so many times in the past).

In D&C 130:22 (April 2, 1843), Joseph Smith gives the very same description of the Godhead as he did five days later in the King Follett funeral address. And in that address added the couplet about God once being a man and us becoming as God. A little over one year later, Smith was dead.

During that year, his polygamous activites came to a head, his wife Emma threatened divorce if he didn't desist, he made public statements denying any other marriages whatsoever: and during that time initiated more LDS couples into the "practice." All without Emma's knowledge. Joseph Smith's Godhead and polygamy grew together. His first attempts at polygamy are arguably as early as 1832. Fanny Alger (1833) is the first provable "plural wife." Emma made Joseph get rid of her at once when she found out. At the same time, his Godhead doctrine changed from Trinitarian, to duality with the Father as Spirit and the Son as flesh (the Holy Ghost being their combined influence), and finally into the Godhead of modern Mormonism. It seems evident to me, given that there is a letter of Eliza R. Snow to her brother Lorenzo, to the effect that Joseph Smith believed in reincarnation, that had Smith lived on, his religion would have unravelled as he inculcated more and more "revelations": from his exposure to more and more religious notions that he learned about, he could not possibly have assimilated them and had the entire mass hold together. His death was timely. Mormonism would have perished under the weight of its own "revelations" if Smith had lived much longer. Imho, of course.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
....
Its fuundamental to orthodox Christianity that the God of this world, who we can know in Jesus Christ and who we address as "Father"; is the same God as the eternal creator of the entire universe (and all other universes, if there are any), not located inside the universe in any one place or time any more than an artist is located inside a picture they paint, or an author inside a novel they write....

Fascinating. I have come up with analogies almost exactly like these, on my own, to try and illustrate my concept of THE One God of all creation: THAT which transcends the universe: "I AM therefore, I think up all of this"; the only CAUSE which was never itself caused. God manifested as human is NOT God, but a manifestation within creation of the Originator of all Existence. In that sense, we all are manifestations of God too, because we are creations of God's (even though the process is demonstrably through what is referred to as biological evolution).

I've already shown, how Joseph Smith's theology raises questions it does not begin to answer; how it is incomplete. Implicit behind Smith's eternal progression of Father to Son, Gods, is THE One Cause of all creation. No other explanation makes any theological sense. Perhaps Mormonism will be pinned down someday to admit that. Then will you be satisfied that (at least) the beef over the Godhead is no longer a significant issue to prevent the Mormon church org from being defined as a Christian one?
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
.....

Now, I've granted that you can make a fine case for Arianism from scripture (albeit a wrong one IMO). But, if the Nicene Creed is the test of ecclesiality -- which it is in orthodox circles -- then you cannot argue Arianism from that. Sorry. That's just not how it works, and it would be intellectually dishonest for me to let that one slide.

I'm with you on this. You said the Nicene Creed was created to deal with Arianism (among other troubles of the day); so it would be deliberate trouble-making to argue it from the Creed. Sort of like the polygs (FLDS) do, when they quote from our own scriptures to prove that the mainstream church's prohibition of polygamy is bogus.

....

quote:

....The term Arian Christian is, however, an acceptable one, for want of a better one. But it should not be interpreted to mean that they're essentially of the same faith -- precisely because their conception of God's very being was different. It all hinged on that.

I didn't say that Mormons were Arian Christians. (To be honest, I expect that they'd argue you were heretical. They had more in common with us than Mormonism does.) I think I said (without looking back at my previous post) that the conception of the Godhead is fairly close or bears similarities to Arianism in important particulars.

I'd still argue that you're a distinct religion, rooted in Christianity, but sufficiently different (more than sufficiently different) to be something new and something other. And, again, I think that if I believed what Mormons believed, I'd rejoice in that fact and not want to be lumped in with trinitarians.

How about, "Mormon Christian", then? Most LDS would probably accept that for now and change the subject.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
....But, as you yourself say, JS did not 'shut up', nor did later members of the First Presidency and Council of Twelve Apostles -- and the LDS are not trinitarian and do not claim to be. you can't claim it's all o.k. on the 'would coulda shoulda' principle. what happened, happened.

Nevertheless, a non Trinitarian Godhead isn't enough of a difference to cut an entire religious group out, that says that they are Christians. The Person they worship is the same Word of the Bible. They so-claim. You have to come up with a definition for them: and it isn't going to happen if all you say is "No, you're NOT Christian."
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
actually, i have one. the nicene creed. that was sort of the point of inventing it. [Biased] the reality is: every denomination generally (and historically) recognised as Christian since 325/381 AD had that little statement of belief in common. even those, such as Baptists, who object to creeds on principle nonetheless accept every article of the nicene creed and regard the points they're making as normative to the Christian faith.

Merlin, I'm afraid it really is that simple. The traditional line is that if you can sign up to the theology of the Nicene Creed, you are a Christian, and part of the same basic religion.

If you cannot, whatever you call yourself, you are not part of that same religion. Christ-centred though you may be, you adhere to a fundamentally different belief-structure -- not least, because the Nicene Creed is about identifying what little we can say about the very core nature (ousia) of the Godhead itself. Thus, change it up, and what you've got yourself is a whole 'nother God by a whole 'nother conception.

That's how the Orthodox Church see the additional of the filoque, describing a different God.

Myrrh
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
strictly speaking, i think both conceptions are not quite right. the God who created us all ex-nihilo -- from nothing -- is not constrained by space and time (nor the absense of it, if such a thing exists). He is distinct and Other from the Universe by his very nature, but it wouldn't be appropriate to say he exists exclusively 'outside' it or exclusively 'inside' it. his relationship to us is not constrained by spatio-temporal ideas.

thus, the Trinity exist towards the universe in a general fashion that was differentiated as Jesus Christ in a specific place/time in history, but without him ceasing to be God that he ever was.

but i don't think an uneducated idea of the old man with a beard 'up there in heaven' is a hanging offence, no. this person also believes in the God who created 'all things, seen and unseen' -- i.e., ex nihilo. the implications take care of themselves, whether that particular believer thinks it out or not.

And the implications of Mormon Godhead theology "take care of themselves" as well. Arguing that Mormons believe in an endless string of uncaused gods within an eternal multiverse just begs the question of ultimate Origin. It has to work out as you say above: that God is not constrained by any of our notions and limited perceptions. We should always be trying for the concept of God that cannot be exceeded by anything greater in our imaginations: that is as close to understanding what God IS as we are ever going to get, short of a God-induced epiphany.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
That's how the Orthodox Church see the additional of the filoque, describing a different God.
I do not know of a single Orthodox ("big O") Christian who would agree with that statement.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
actually, i have one. the nicene creed. that was sort of the point of inventing it. [Biased] the reality is: every denomination generally (and historically) recognised as Christian since 325/381 AD had that little statement of belief in common. even those, such as Baptists, who object to creeds on principle nonetheless accept every article of the nicene creed and regard the points they're making as normative to the Christian faith.

Merlin, I'm afraid it really is that simple. The traditional line is that if you can sign up to the theology of the Nicene Creed, you are a Christian, and part of the same basic religion.

If you cannot, whatever you call yourself, you are not part of that same religion. Christ-centred though you may be, you adhere to a fundamentally different belief-structure -- not least, because the Nicene Creed is about identifying what little we can say about the very core nature (ousia) of the Godhead itself. Thus, change it up, and what you've got yourself is a whole 'nother God by a whole 'nother conception.

That's how the Orthodox Church see the additional of the filoque, describing a different God.

Myrrh

If Eastern Orthodox and RCC differ on the Holy Spirit (one-third of the Godhead, ferpetesakes!), or in other words, on how the HS originates, then how can anyone complain about the Mormon differences in "their" Godhead? The central issue is accepting Christ as Savior, Lord and Redeemer, without whom we would all be doomed to eternal death. All other differences in understanding the mystery simply have relevance to an individual or they do not: we believe what we will and can about WHAT God IS. But the central tenet of Christian faith accepts Jesus Christ as God made flesh to save us from sin and death: Mormons believe in that at least as much as any other Christians.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
quote:
That's how the Orthodox Church see the additional of the filoque, describing a different God.
I do not know of a single Orthodox ("big O") Christian who would agree with that statement.
? Sorry, but we've had rather a lot of centuries arguing exactly that, as Doctor-frog explained it:

"because the Nicene Creed is about identifying what little we can say about the very core nature (ousia) of the Godhead itself. Thus, change it up, and what you've got yourself is a whole 'nother God by a whole 'nother conception"


Myrrh
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Thus, change it up, and what you've got yourself is a whole 'nother God by a whole 'nother conception"

Though Doctor Frog did seem to indicate earlier on this thread that some things about the creed are more indispensable than others.

re: the Virgin Birth...

quote:
there seems to be a sizeable chunk of liberal theologians who would agree that it's mythological, and the Church(es) as a whole aren't throwing them out (though there are conservative theologians who might do). I've never seen such a conception adopted as doctrine by an entire denomination -- and, ultimately, that would be the stage at which other denominations would have to respond. goes back to what I said about Mel Gibson.

Consensus / Conventional Wisdom seems to place the mythological view on the fringes (but not way out on the fringes), but not generally an unchurchable offense. In my experience, people who don't buy into it literally do recognise that it's a genuine witness to some important aspect of truth (not least in that it hearkens back to Isaiah and shores up Christ's position as Messiah).

Nerlin/Frog exchange:

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
At what point does the difference between one or the other rub them out of "the club?"

----

Well, I'd start with the affirmation or denial of the tri-unity of the Godhead and work my way back from there.

So: the Creed is the final word, but we all acknowledge that mainstream denominations just sort of wink at accredited theologians saying the Virgin Birth is maybe a myth.

I think it would be more accurate for the "Nicene party" to say that what's really important to them is the Trinity, not the Creed. Because from what I've seen on this thread(and from mainstream Christians in general), there seems to be a general tolerance for a certain amount of hemming and hawing about just how important every single item on the Creed really is.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
Sorry, but we've had rather a lot of centuries arguing exactly that
Of course we have been arguing over it for centuries, and of course it was the reason for the Great Schism. But I do not know of a single person, theologian, or leader on either side of the schism who would suggest that the two different versions of the Nicene Creed represent "two different Gods". There is nothing in the desert Fathers or the writings of the patriarchs that suggests that.
 
Posted by merechristian (# 6722) on :
 
Whether mormons are christians are not is such an interesting topic, especially given the exponential growth of the LDS church. Looking through all the postings between Merlin and the rest, it's of note to notice that things that Christians sopmetimes take for granted when talking to each other..what grace is, what exactly is the trinity, the Nicene Creed, the nature of Jesus, heaven, etc become really important. Really, there are so many things that Mormons have redefined that for the rest of us, we can hardly see the Christianity in it. It flies under the banner of Christianity by using the name of Christ but changes so many of the basic things found in the Bible and then through many revisions of original doctrines expounded by Joseph Smith&etc tries to say that they mean the same thing.

When I say that I believe in grace, I mean I believe in the grace, I'm not talking about some universal salvation for all who would not directly blaspheme God. I'm talking about completely unmerited grace that saves those whom the Father calls absoloutely and completely. That's not cheap grace.

When I say Jesus, I'm talking about the Son, God incarnate, who was with God in the Beginnning. Not the first-born spirit child of the lord of this planet and his wife.

When I say God, the Father, I'm not talking an exalted man with a physical body. I'm talking about the Creator of the Universe, the only God there is.

God did not have sex with Mary (Christ's mother). Mary was not one of God's or the "Heavenly Father's" wives,

The Bible does not say much about heaven, but Jesus does say that man with neither be married nor given in marriage.


Oh, and the native americans are not descendants of people who came to America from ancient Israel.

Paul gave a warning to those who would preach a different gospel than the one given in the Bible, it's in Galations 1:6-9

quote:
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Who called Joseph Smith to create the "restored church" with lost doctrine? Dudes, it was none other than an angel, an angel named Moroni.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
quote:
Sorry, but we've had rather a lot of centuries arguing exactly that
Of course we have been arguing over it for centuries, and of course it was the reason for the Great Schism. But I do not know of a single person, theologian, or leader on either side of the schism who would suggest that the two different versions of the Nicene Creed represent "two different Gods". There is nothing in the desert Fathers or the writings of the patriarchs that suggests that.
That's precisely what the argument is about, that for example, it creates the Holy Spirit as subordinate, thus making it a different God.
Myrrh
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
That's precisely what the argument is about, that for example, it creates the Holy Spirit as subordinate, thus making it a different God.
You are correct that the argument is about the relation of the three members of the Trinity. However, again, I know of NO (big O) Orthodox theologian, priest, or patriarch who has EVER suggested that the filloque "makes it a different God." YOU may think it does, but I would challenge you to find even one Orthodox patriarch who agrees with you.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
[QUOTE]That's how the Orthodox Church see the additional of the filoque, describing a different God.

yeh, i was sort of hoping no one would open that particular can of worms! [Biased] There's no question that the filioque -- the question of the Holy
Spirit's procession from the Father, or from the Father and the Son -- is an historic problem of huge significance. I have seen Orthodox theologians argue both ways.

However, I'd say there are ample ambiguities in the situation, and markedly different ones from the problems with Mormonism.

In the first instance, the biggest problem the Orthodox have with it is that it was a later and unauthorised (or at least non-universal) addition to the Creedal text of 381 -- as you say, because they think it unbalances the Godhead -- and because it was done unilaterally. (For the record, I'm with the Orthodox on this one. I think the procession makes more sense if it's from the Father only.)

In the second, the Western Church added it -- however wrongly in Orthodox eyes -- for the explicit purpose of fighting Arianism, which was gaining popularity amongst the Visigoths. The very pointed idea was to shore up the divinity of Christ and his co-equality and co-eternity with the Father. I don't know that it was well thought-out, but the intention was little-o orthodox. Most Western theologians argue that the procession is from the Father through the Son, rather than from the Father and the Son. This makes a difference, although the Orthodox still object, and IMO rightly.

In the third -- and of crucial, crucial importance -- the filioque is not binding upon the RCC or later Western Church(es), whereas the Creed of 381 is. Eastern Catholic Churches (i.e. Eastern Rite Churches in full communion with Rome and under its authority) do not recite the filioque, and cannot be made to do canonically. They regard the filioque as a term that must be interpreted in a way harmonious with eastern tradition (as indeed it can be, e.g., by St. Thomas Aquinas, the most authoritative of RCC theologians since the patristic period; he argued that the eternal causality of the Spirit is entirely down to the Father, not the Father and the Son, which is an orthodox and Orthodox interpretation).

In the fourth, the separation of Western and Eastern Churches took place over 4 centuries between c 800 and c 1200, with brief intervals of full communion afterwards. The excommunications of 1054 have been retracted, as well. There was no one moment when heresy was declared and acted on, and the split was caused by a multitude of factors, not just the one. The filioque has always had the character of an internal scuffle between siblings -- notwithstanding how deeply important it is. And the Orthodox and RCC, even in the deepest moments of condemnation, have never failed to recognise one another's importance and heritage from the earliest Church.

Make of all that jumble what you will; we ain't gonna solve the Filioque on the Ship of Fools. But, unlike Arianism, the filioque has always been a far messier, less clear-cut issue.



quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
just begs the question of ultimate Origin.

100% true. But I am not necessarily given to understand that the Father 'personage' who appeared to J.Smith is the same as the Ultimate Cause. Are you saying categorically otherwise, and are you saying so from LDS teaching?

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
We should always be trying for the concept of God that cannot be exceeded by anything greater in our imaginations: that is as close to understanding what God IS as we are ever going to get, short of a God-induced epiphany.

But that's actually the whole point of the doctrine of the Trinity: Christ, in his very self, was that epiphany. ("How can you say show us the Father. Do you not know that he who has seen me has seen the Father?") By becoming incarnate, God himself revealed himself in his totality. Our failure to understand all that in its implications is not to say that it wasn't revealed -- and indeed greater than anything that could possibly exceed our imaginations.

The Mormon Christ is far less than this. That's why I don't worship him as a Mormon. (or one big reason why.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
But the central tenet of Christian faith accepts Jesus Christ as God made flesh to save us from sin and death: Mormons believe in that at least as much as any other Christians.

But they also say he's the literal son of the Father. Can't be both -- God made flesh, or something divnised but from God made flesh. Which is it?

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
How about, "Mormon Christian", then? Most LDS would probably accept that for now and change the subject.

I could probably buy that one, provided it was consistently used and it was clear enough that a distinction was being made between Trinitarian and other followers of Christ. Just as you have to make a distinction between orthodoxy and Jehovah's Witnesses, Arian Christians, Gnostic Christians, etc.

What I also think was stated well was this bit (on the first page of this thread!) by Laura (edited, because I'm entering into questions she said she wouldn't):

quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
To the extent that Mormons are feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etcetera, then they are participating in the central ministry that Jesus set forth for those whom he will recognize on the last day... I feel confident that many of us will be explaining bizarre beliefs on the Last Day ...

This, for me, is not a question of salvation -- but of identity. As I said earlier -- I'm not defining your belief, but mine. However wishy-washy Anglicans are, there are certain non-negotiables that deliniate what we believe, and Mormonism just happens to fall outside of those. I find it more sensible to call you a separate religion with your own valuable contributions to make to the world of religious thought -- and, actually, more respectful, because it doesn't put Mormons in the position of playing catch-up, always explaining to us why we should include them.

But, yes, I also recognise that you want to be followers of Christ, and I believe that you are.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
afterthought: it should be said, for the record, that the Abrahamic religions *all* worship the same God in the sense that they all regard one another as genuine worshippers of YHWH. Where they come apart as viewing one another as mutually incompatibe is in their outworking of what constitutes his very being. In this respect, I don't view the Mormons as any different.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
[QUOTE]That's how the Orthodox Church see the additional of the filoque, describing a different God.

yeh, i was sort of hoping no one would open that particular can of worms! [Biased]
[Smile]

Haven't thought about it for a while until I noticed Merlin had included it in his review of the Creed.


quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
We should always be trying for the concept of God that cannot be exceeded by anything greater in our imaginations: that is as close to understanding what God IS as we are ever going to get, short of a God-induced epiphany.

But that's actually the whole point of the doctrine of the Trinity: Christ, in his very self, was that epiphany. ("How can you say show us the Father. Do you not know that he who has seen me has seen the Father?") By becoming incarnate, God himself revealed himself in his totality. Our failure to understand all that in its implications is not to say that it wasn't revealed -- and indeed greater than anything that could possibly exceed our imaginations.
This is my primary objection to the addition, it makes it so boring..

quote:
You ask what is the procession of the Holy Spirit? Do you tell me first what is the unbegottenness of the Father, and I will then explain to you the physiology of the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both of us be stricken with madness for prying into the mystery of God.

— Saint Gregory the Theologian

[Eek!]


Myrrh
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
That's precisely what the argument is about, that for example, it creates the Holy Spirit as subordinate, thus making it a different God.

Even if this were true it woudl be different human ideas about God, not a different God. We cannot remake God by talking about god.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
And again, I know of NO Orthodox Christian who believes that due to the filloque Western Christians are worshipping a different God. And vice versa.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
That's precisely what the argument is about, that for example, it creates the Holy Spirit as subordinate, thus making it a different God.

Even if this were true it woudl be different human ideas about God, not a different God. We cannot remake God by talking about god.
But... [Smile]

To some extent that's so, but the point of the 'formula' is not a description of God, who is indescribable, but of Christ's relationship, (it was formulated out of the Christological arguments) and that relationship is changed by the addition.

It's been a while since I've thought about any of this, but what does the trinitiarian baptism mean if the Holy Spirit is no longer a distinct person but changed into an attribute as the "love between the father and son"?

But also, the way we view God is important as different perspectives bring changes which affect our relationship, to God and to each other. If someone's view of God is one that has damned me already and I believe him I'll be living in a particular relationship with God. If I don't know of any other God except this one he says is God then, being me, I could end up hating this God and maybe him too... Is it semantics or a bit pc to object to particular views of God being described as different Gods?


Myrrh
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
The Orthodox however do have a description of God, and this really is how we understand God which is why no philosophical description are taken seriously, from the words of John Damascene:

God then, is Infinite and Incomprehensible, and all that is comprehensible about Him is His Infinity and His Incomprehensibility.


And of course, that can be infinitely small etc.
Myrrh
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
.... Originally posted by MerlintheMad: just begs the question of ultimate Origin.

quote:
100% true. But I am not necessarily given to understand that the Father 'personage' who appeared to J.Smith is the same as the Ultimate Cause. Are you saying categorically otherwise, and are you saying so from LDS teaching?
The church is still relatively new. It adheres dogmatically to exactly what Joseph Smith said last, as much as possible. And that, as I have pointed out already, is an incomplete theology. Had he stuck with the Book of Mormon theology, Mormons would be called "Christians" today. But he didn't. His incomplete theology implies THE One God of all creation cannot possibly BE the God(s) that appeared to him in the First Vision (the final version). Because he later stated in the King Follett sermon that "God the Father was once a mortal man and has attained his glory and sits enthroned in yonder heavens." That makes the Personage(s) that appeared to him glorious (once mortal) men, not the Ultimate Cause of Existence. However, if the last words of Joseph Smith in the King Follett address are discarded utterly as uninspired (in spite of his impassioned insistence that he is speaking in the name of the Lord), then the First Vision can be seen as a manifestation of Father and Son: yet One God, since both manifestations proceed from THE One God of all Creation. The trouble is, Mormon theology depends on Smith's Follett sermon, even though it is not "canonized" as scripture. An odd position. One that will not endure, trust that.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
We should always be trying for the concept of God that cannot be exceeded by anything greater in our imaginations: that is as close to understanding what God IS as we are ever going to get, short of a God-induced epiphany.

quote:
But that's actually the whole point of the doctrine of the Trinity: Christ, in his very self, was that epiphany. ("How can you say show us the Father. Do you not know that he who has seen me has seen the Father?") By becoming incarnate, God himself revealed himself in his totality. Our failure to understand all that in its implications is not to say that it wasn't revealed -- and indeed greater than anything that could possibly exceed our imaginations.
I can't accept an anthropomorphic manifestation as being God in totality. The manifestation of the Son is mortal, then glorious after the resurrection; and is still a finite, corporeal Being: this cannot be God in totality. But that's just arguing theological points like how many angels can dance on a pinhead.

quote:
The Mormon Christ is far less than this. That's why I don't worship him as a Mormon. (or one big reason why.
I don't see the "Mormon Christ" being in any way less than God as flesh, then back to heaven after the resurrection. The Word created all the universe(s). How is that manifestation of the One God less? Mormons call Jesus the first-born Son of the Father; there is an assumed, homely relationship with him as "my elder Brother", because we also are called children of the Father (that's biblical). But it in no way puts any of us on a level with Christ as the Word of Creation. We are all lesser manifestations of the same One God of all creation: Christ is simply the First and the Last and Greatest. (This is me talking, not spouting Mormon dogma.)

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
But the central tenet of Christian faith accepts Jesus Christ as God made flesh to save us from sin and death: Mormons believe in that at least as much as any other Christians.

quote:
But they also say he's the literal son of the Father. Can't be both -- God made flesh, or something divnised but from God made flesh. Which is it?
Can be either or, and still be "God of creation", the Word. Is there a problem with saying "literal Son of God?" I don't see it. If some Mormons assume carnal sex, they are not all Mormons: that concept is repugnant to many, and it isn't taught as doctrine, but only speculation based on the earlier words of Smith and Young.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
How about, "Mormon Christian", then? Most LDS would probably accept that for now and change the subject.

quote:
I could probably buy that one, provided it was consistently used and it was clear enough that a distinction was being made between Trinitarian and other followers of Christ. Just as you have to make a distinction between orthodoxy and Jehovah's Witnesses, Arian Christians, Gnostic Christians, etc.

What I also think was stated well was this bit (on the first page of this thread!) by Laura (edited, because I'm entering into questions she said she wouldn't):

quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
To the extent that Mormons are feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etcetera, then they are participating in the central ministry that Jesus set forth for those whom he will recognize on the last day... I feel confident that many of us will be explaining bizarre beliefs on the Last Day ...

This, for me, is not a question of salvation -- but of identity. As I said earlier -- I'm not defining your belief, but mine. However wishy-washy Anglicans are, there are certain non-negotiables that deliniate what we believe, and Mormonism just happens to fall outside of those. I find it more sensible to call you a separate religion with your own valuable contributions to make to the world of religious thought -- and, actually, more respectful, because it doesn't put Mormons in the position of playing catch-up, always explaining to us why we should include them.

But, yes, I also recognise that you want to be followers of Christ, and I believe that you are.

Okay. Mormon Christians, then, between us at least.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Okay. Mormon Christians, then,*snip*

Sure, so long as we also have Muslim Christians and Hindu Christians and Wiccan Christians, etc. This is one of the strangest threads I've ever read on this board.

Mormans reject almost all of the central tenets of the Judeo-Christian texts and traditions. As the Psalmist says “All your words are true: all your righteous laws are eternal.” This is rejected by Mormons, to the extent they believe that Joseph Smith's laws are the ones that are true and eternal.

They follow Christ in a similar way that Muslims do – they think he's splendid chap and all, but not God. They reject the salvation of Christ. According to Spencer Kimball (a member of the LDS church) in Miracle of Forgiveness , "One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation". Furthermore, according to the Mormon 'Doctrines of Salvation', “There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God”; it's hard to imagine this as anything less than a rejection of Christ's own teaching and further explanations in the Epistles.

As for baptism, where to start with the LDS? Their very own Orson Pratt goes so far as to say that if someone is baptised in the Roman Catholic Church or any Protestant demonination that they "will be sent down to hell with [the priest who baptised them], unless they repent of the unholy and impious act.”

The test for a prophet was made clear in Deuteronomy (21-22): "You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him". Indeed. None of Smith's wackier claims (and that's up against some stiff competetion) have held water and they not even considered by scholars outside the 'church' of the LDS. Unlike Christianity, Judaism and Islam, there is no real historicity of Mormanism, beyong the studies Joseph Smith (and perhaps his problems with the law).

I could go on and on, and no doubt many other have done and will do so; the Mormons are not Christians in any meaningful way because they utterly reject Christ for who he claimed to be. Indirectly calling Christ a liar is all the evidence needed as to how the LDS follow Him.

They have repeatedly taught segregation and explicit racism and, like so many other of their loopy ideas, only altered them in face of political pressure. The notion, exaplined by Merlin above, that the Mormons get to reformulate their central beliefs every now and then speaks volumes about the religion as whole.

From a personal perspective I find the Mormon church much worse than any of that. But nevermind. The real 'history' of the Momons is tied up in American exceptionalism – hence the need for racism and transference of the idea of Holy Land from the Middle East to the USA.


K.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
Sure, so long as we also have Muslim Christians and Hindu Christians and Wiccan Christians, etc.

I don't think that's *quite* fair.

Mormon belief is no further out from orthodox Christianity than is, say, Gnostic Christian belief. From that perspective -- and from the perspective that, however differently they understand Jesus, they do actually mean to follow him as the divine revelation to humanity -- then if Merlin wants to adopt the term Mormon Christian with the same caveats that I'd flag up about Gnostic Christianity, then I can live with that. Merlin has argued that if groups like Arians and Gnostics can lay claim to the term, so can Merlin -- and I kind of see his point, provided there's crystal-clarity and transparency about it. (Nobody ever seems to suggest that Gnostics aren't a Christ-based religion and aren't sociologically Christian, albeit not Christian in the orthodox theological sense).

I agree wholeheartedly that there's a fundamentally different religious structure going on in Mormonism, as there was in Gnostic Christiantity. So I wouldn't want the phrase in any way to imply 'Oh, we're pretty much all the same', because we're not. (And I still think Mormons are or would be far better off making the kind of claims about themselves in relation to us that we, in the early centuries, made about ourselves in relation to Judaism.)

BUT ... whereas a phrase like Muslim Christian would be pretty much a nonsense out of the starting gate, that point clearly isn't nearly so obvious when it comes to Mormons (or Gnostics, for that matter, or Arians or what-have-you). Otherwise we wouldn't have a thread 7 pages long with 50 posts each debating it.

(And Merlin ... you're not to start thinking I'm going soft, understand?! [Big Grin] )
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
what does the trinitiarian baptism mean if the Holy Spirit is no longer a distinct person but changed into an attribute as the "love between the father and son"?

It'd be a problem. Fortunately, it's not. Western theology of the filioque, when spelt out, never actually reduces the Holy Spirit to that. As I said earlier, the fundamental binding pronouncement is the Creed as written in 381, and that proclaims the HS a person in his (her?) own right.

Of course, the filioque runs that risk, and dangerously so, and the Orthodox are quite right to point it out. I find it gratifying that Anglican Churches, one by one, are starting to drop it from their Prayer Book revisions.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
The Word created all the universe(s). How is that manifestation of the One God less?

Because he's the first-born of the One God, and not actually the One God, eternal Son of the eternal Father, begotten but not made, co-existing and co-eternal with the Father and Spirit. By definition, however more exalted he is than us in the Mormon cosmos, it's less than what you get in the Trinitarian cosmos.


quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Is there a problem with saying "literal Son of God?" I don't see it. If some Mormons assume carnal sex, they are not all Mormons: that concept is repugnant to many, and it isn't taught as doctrine, but only speculation based on the earlier words of Smith and Young.

My problem isn't the carnal sex (although I don't believe that, either), nor with the word 'literal' as such, but the fact that he is essentially a creation of the Father in the Mormon conception. If he's co-eternal, and co-existing in perichoretic unity with Father and Spirit, then where you see him, you see the innermost being of God. Remove him and make him a creation, and you cannot see that, any more than you can see my core being by looking at my children.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
what does the trinitiarian baptism mean if the Holy Spirit is no longer a distinct person but changed into an attribute as the "love between the father and son"?

It'd be a problem. Fortunately, it's not. Western theology of the filioque, when spelt out, never actually reduces the Holy Spirit to that. As I said earlier, the fundamental binding pronouncement is the Creed as written in 381, and that proclaims the HS a person in his (her?) own right.

Of course, the filioque runs that risk, and dangerously so, and the Orthodox are quite right to point it out. I find it gratifying that Anglican Churches, one by one, are starting to drop it from their Prayer Book revisions.


Not sure who you encompass by "Western theology" since I didn't think the RC were arguing any less about it. The Eastern Catholics under Rome have all decided to drop it, I think, in the process of regaining their liturgy and the Melkites who were particularly affected by acquired Latinisations have made it policy to get rid of whatever is incompatible. When the Uniates were first put under RC rule and the filioque introduced the typical response of the Ukrainians, excuse the transliteration, was to say 'istina' which means "truly" instead of 'i sinna', "and the son".


..perhaps I've missed it here, but what do the Mormons think, others think - male, female or neuter?


Myrrh

[ 23. May 2007, 12:42: Message edited by: Myrrh ]
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
As I understand it Mormons are essentially Pelagian in their outlook on sin and redemption. Perhaps you should sign up, Myrrh.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
As I understand it Mormons are essentially Pelagian in their outlook on sin and redemption. Perhaps you should sign up, Myrrh.

Another who thinks I should move.. [Smile] No ta, Pelagius is Orthodox, it's not I who should go..

Myrrh
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
Not sure who you encompass by "Western theology" since I didn't think the RC were arguing any less about it.

I didn't say they were arguing any less about it. I said -- or meant to say -- that when you get underneath the language, you won't generally find that solid western theologians are describing the HS as some kind of impersonal 'bond of love' between the Father and the Son; but a proper person. I know the language runs that risk, which is one reason among several that I think it should be dropped. But, when you get right down to it, that's not what we're saying.


quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:

The Eastern Catholics under Rome have all decided to drop it . . .

precisely part of my longer explanation above. these are all people who are under Rome's authority (in some cases from the beginning, i.e., not all Eastern-Rite Churches were at one point Orthodox). Rome does not demand the filioque from all who are under its authority -- and when the Pope celebrates according to the Eastern Rite, he does not use the filioque -- all of which demonstrates that the filioque is not as canonically or morally binding upon Western (or Western-governed) Churches as the universal text of 381.

Naturally, Churches no longer under Rome's purview are free to drop the filioque as and when they please. Most haven't, I suspect, more as a matter of neglect than as a matter of positive thology. Others (including several Anglican provinces, with more on the way) have done so as both a theologically approrpiate gesture, and a sign of ecumenical outreach.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
From a personal perspective I find the Mormon church much worse than any of that. But nevermind. The real 'history' of the Momons is tied up in American exceptionalism – hence the need for racism and transference of the idea of Holy Land from the Middle East to the USA.

Hmm, where have I heard something like that before? Oh yeah...

quote:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

quote:
I will not cease from Mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant Land.

I'm not sure how tongue-in-cheek this post should be considered. Does anyone know how literally that "Jesus went to England" legend was actually believed?

[ 23. May 2007, 15:12: Message edited by: Stetson ]
 
Posted by A Feminine Force (# 7812) on :
 
Wow. I just had time to read through this entire thread. Thanks everyone for the carefully reasoned and passionate support of the definition of "Christian".

Upon reflection, I am very happy to be a Baptist in a free-standing church that doesn't attempt to draw a circle around the definition, or its membership.

I don't think being "Christian" hasd anything to do with a creed or an intellectual artifact like "belief". It's a way of being not a way of thinking. By that definition, there are plenty who think they're Christians, who are not, and plenty who think they aren't who, in fact, are.

What makes a Christian? IMHO: obedience to the Great Commandment. That is all. So there are probably plenty of Mormons who fall into that category, and plenty who fall outside it. Ditto for every other denomination. One could cast an even wider net than this, but I would not for fear of offending.

LAFF
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
From a personal perspective I find the Mormon church much worse than any of that. But nevermind. The real 'history' of the Momons is tied up in American exceptionalism – hence the need for racism and transference of the idea of Holy Land from the Middle East to the USA.

Hmm, where have I heard something like that before? Oh yeah...

quote:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

quote:
I will not cease from Mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant Land.

I'm not sure how tongue-in-cheek this post should be considered. Does anyone know how literally that "Jesus went to England" legend was actually believed?

The difference is that Blake was bonkers and I doubt that anyone would elevate him to the status of prophet. That is just how far stretched this whole thing is.

K.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
The difference is that Blake was bonkers and I doubt that anyone would elevate him to the status of prophet.

That, and the fact that it was an ironic indictment of English society. 'Did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's moutains green?' The correct answer, according to Blake, was 'no'.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
The difference is that Blake was bonkers and I doubt that anyone would elevate him to the status of prophet.

That, and the fact that it was an ironic indictment of English society. 'Did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's moutains green?' The correct answer, according to Blake, was 'no'.
Then maybe he was bonkers, tradition about Christ coming to Britain with Joseph or Arimathea has even be noted by Augustine of Canterbury in a letter to Gregory I:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Epistolae ad Gregorium Papam Augustine writes to Pope Gregory I;

In the western confines of Britain, there is a certain royal island of large extent, surrounded by water, abounding in all the beauties of nature and necessities of life. In it, the first neophites of Catholic law, God beforehand acquainting them, found a church constructed by no human art, but by the hands of Christ Himself, for the salvation of His people.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More on the Orthodox teaching that St Joseph of Arimathea was Apostle to Britain on Augustine: The most controversial saint


Myrrh
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
The difference is that Blake was bonkers and I doubt that anyone would elevate him to the status of prophet.

That, and the fact that it was an ironic indictment of English society. 'Did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's moutains green?' The correct answer, according to Blake, was 'no'.
Then maybe he was bonkers, tradition about Christ coming to Britain with Joseph or Arimathea has even be noted by Augustine of Canterbury in a letter to Gregory I:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Epistolae ad Gregorium Papam Augustine writes to Pope Gregory I;

In the western confines of Britain, there is a certain royal island of large extent, surrounded by water, abounding in all the beauties of nature and necessities of life. In it, the first neophites of Catholic law, God beforehand acquainting them, found a church constructed by no human art, but by the hands of Christ Himself, for the salvation of His people.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More on the Orthodox teaching that St Joseph of Arimathea was Apostle to Britain on Augustine: The most controversial saint


Myrrh

Oh for goodness sake. Do you really read this to mean that Christ was laying Bricks in England? This thread just more and more weird!

K.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
'Did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's moutains green?' The correct answer, according to Blake, was 'no'.
So I am incorrect in my understanding that Blake based the motif of the poem on a once-current bit of English folk history?

quote:
Christ in Britain?
The next stage in the development of the legend was the idea that Joseph of Arimathea was Christ's great-uncle, which would explain why he had been willing to provide his tomb. This may have led to the notion that, as a child, Christ himself had accompanied Joseph to Britain on one of his tin trading expeditions. In the 19th century, the people of Priddy, a tin mining village just north of Glastonbury, had a saying, "As sure as our Lord was in Priddy."

There is also the story of Victorian metalworkers who cast the pipes for church organs. As they poured the molten metal, they would say for luck, "Joseph was in the tin trade." Asked to explain the custom, one foreman explained, "We workers in metal are a very old fraternity, and like other handicrafts we have our traditions amongst us. One of these... is that Joseph of Arimathea, the rich man of the Gospels, made his money in the tin trade with Cornwall. We have also a story that he made voyages to Cornwall in his own ships, and that on one occasion he brought with him the Child Christ and His Mother and landed them at St Michael's Mount."


http://tinyurl.com/2alsod
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Oh for goodness sake. Do you really read this to mean that Christ was laying Bricks in England? This thread just more and more weird!

Well, my point was not that the story was or wasn't true. Just that it might have been something that people did believe.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
Not sure who you encompass by "Western theology" since I didn't think the RC were arguing any less about it.

I didn't say they were arguing any less about it. I said -- or meant to say -- that when you get underneath the language, you won't generally find that solid western theologians are describing the HS as some kind of impersonal 'bond of love' between the Father and the Son; but a proper person. I know the language runs that risk, which is one reason among several that I think it should be dropped. But, when you get right down to it, that's not what we're saying."
I'm really not following you here. I meant that the filioque has been used in the West to mean the Holy Spirit is an 'attribute', not that it was impersonal. If this Western theology is Anselm then he expounds Augustine and the Holy Spirit is love, a characteristic/atrribute personified of the love between the Father and Son. Which as it's described makes the Holy Spirit a creation of the Father and Son.

The Filioque Clause in the Teaching of Anselm of Canterbury — Part 1

Sorry, I don't have time to do a search, can you point me to Anglican teaching after the split with Rome?


Myrrh
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:


Myrrh Oh for goodness sake. Do you really read this to mean that Christ was laying Bricks in England? This thread just more and more weird!

K.

Dear Komensky, this is in the history of the Church in Britain, and the church built was wattle and daub, so no bricks.

Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in the Prologue and the of the 70's list as apostle to Britain and is noted as having died there. He baptised Linus (son of Caractacus) who was the first bishop of Rome. The Church in Britain had close contacts with Rome through marriage of his two sisters and together with Paul, who was connected by marriage to one of the husbands, the British Church was and is still very well known to have been involved in setting up the Gentile Church there, the offspring of these marriages were all martyred. I explored some of the evidence for this not being a weird myth in the thread I posted.


Myrrh
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
I'm really not following you here. I meant that the filioque has been used in the West to mean the Holy Spirit is an 'attribute', not that it was impersonal.

an attribute is, by definition, impersonal and derivative. it's been my understanding that this is precisely the Orthodox objection -- that the filioque risks demoting or doing away altogether with the full personhood (hypostasis) status of the HS in the Trinity.

Aquinas trumps Anselm and just pips Augustine at the post in terms of the official RCC stances on who speaks most authoritatively. Aquinas is clear that procession of the HS is not caused by any eternal causality from Christ, but from the Father alone. That, and the status of the Eastern Catholics in Rome, is good enough for me.

I don't have to hand any good Anglican resource on the filioque -- but I can tell you that the dropping of it is a modern development and a result of modern liturgical revision. I expect our thoughts prior were much like Rome's -- although I also expect there wasn't an over-stressful amount of thought given to it.

Shouldn't this be on a thread of its own at this stage, rather than hijacking the Mormon one? (May I suggest, if you want to continue, starting a new one in Purg? Although it might get shifted over to DH ... . Like I said at the outset, we ain't-a gonna solve the filioque on the Ship of Fools!) [Smile]

-------

as for Jerusalem -- has no one read the second verse? Whatever mythology may exist around Christ's journeys, the second verse is the answer to the first, and it clearly implies that his coming to England hasn't happened yet and Jerusalem ain't here!
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
I'm really not following you here. I meant that the filioque has been used in the West to mean the Holy Spirit is an 'attribute', not that it was impersonal.

an attribute is, by definition, impersonal and derivative. it's been my understanding that this is precisely the Orthodox objection -- that the filioque risks demoting or doing away altogether with the full personhood (hypostasis) status of the HS in the Trinity.
Well yes it does and at the same time by still saying it is a person personifies that attribute, raising the other objection that it becomes a creation, etc.


quote:
Shouldn't this be on a thread of its own at this stage, rather than hijacking the Mormon one? (May I suggest, if you want to continue, starting a new one in Purg? Although it might get shifted over to DH ... . Like I said at the outset, we ain't-a gonna solve the filioque on the Ship of Fools!) [Smile]


I don't particularly want to discuss the filioque only that it was mentioned here. I am interested to know how the Mormons understand this before we drop it.

Thanks for the information.

Myrrh
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Komensky:

quote:
The difference is that Blake was bonkers and I doubt that anyone would elevate him to the status of prophet. That is just how far stretched this whole thing is.
I think the point of a great deal of Blake's poetry is that he thinks that the streets of Clerkenwell are every bit as sacred as the via dolorosa. Hence Jerusalem. I wouldn't assume that he took it literally.

That said, he was a tiny bit bonkers. But you say it like it is a bad thing.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Originally posted by Komensky:

quote:
The difference is that Blake was bonkers and I doubt that anyone would elevate him to the status of prophet. That is just how far stretched this whole thing is.
I think the point of a great deal of Blake's poetry is that he thinks that the streets of Clerkenwell are every bit as sacred as the via dolorosa. Hence Jerusalem. I wouldn't assume that he took it literally.

That said, he was a tiny bit bonkers. But you say it like it is a bad thing.

Just to clarify, my original question was how literally the legend was believed by the general public, not whether Blake himself believed it. I used the poem simply as a recognizable reference for the legend.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
In the twelfth century, quite a bit as Glastonbury Abbey did rather well out of it. By the eighteenth century, probably not a whole lot. There is no evidence of a Glastonbury legend prior to the ninth century so you are looking at a comparatively short window of opportunity - around four hundred years between the 'discovery' of the graves of Arthur and Guinevere and Henry VIII's judicial murder of the Abbot and the monks in the 1530s.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
There is no evidence of a Glastonbury legend prior to the ninth century so you are looking at a comparatively short window of opportunity - around four hundred years between the 'discovery' of the graves of Arthur and Guinevere and Henry VIII's judicial murder of the Abbot and the monks in the 1530s.

Augustine of Canterbury was aware of it, writing to Gregory 1. So it was known among the 'English' he went to.

Myrrh
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Reference, please?
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Reference, please?

It's in the Augustine thread. A letter written by Augustine to Gregory after his arrival.

Also you'll find in the correspondence between them Gregory, who was well on his to establishing papacy in his neck of the woods sending Augustine into Gaul and Britain for that express purpose, telling Augustine that he had burned various documents he found in the library at Rome because the contained 'the heresies' of the British Church. He told Augustine to not count the bishops of the British Church as Christians at all. (Meanwhile in dealings with the other patriarchates he was objecting to the title "universal bishop" and attempting to claim that he was one of the three petrine successions as if "one chair" when he got a letter from Alexandria announcing new patriarch as successor of Peter.)

Anyway, Gregory must have been shocked, I think, to learn that the British Church had this tradition, that Christ Himself had established the Church there, and busied himself with destroying whatever evidence relating to it he found in Rome.

Myrrh
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
None of which features heavily in my recollection of Bede.

If there are actual epistles by Gregory I can look them up, either on the web or in libraries. If it is just a matter of asserting stuff that you are pretty sure you remember reading somewhere then I am not inclined to take it terribly seriously.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
None of which features heavily in my recollection of Bede.

If there are actual epistles by Gregory I can look them up, either on the web or in libraries. If it is just a matter of asserting stuff that you are pretty sure you remember reading somewhere then I am not inclined to take it terribly seriously.

Callan I gave a specific reference to that quote, and yes, go to CCEL which is where I went originally to read this stuff for myself. I don't remember which letters they were in, happy hunting.

Myrrh
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
And we covered Bede. His interest was in establishing a history of the Church for the English, as a unifying story. Politics driven.

Myrrh
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Since the scope of this thread became that broad, I don;'t think you will mind me making a short comment on this:

quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
Aquinas trumps Anselm and just pips Augustine at the post in terms of the official RCC stances on who speaks most authoritatively. Aquinas is clear that procession of the HS is not caused by any eternal causality from Christ, but from the Father alone.

When the council of Ferrara-Florence between Orthodox and Catholics took place, the issue of the filioque and what it meant was discussed extensively and there are written accounts of what transpired at the meetings. So, we do know what the Catholic view was at the time... And the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father alone as a cause, while being sent from the Father and the Son in creation, was the Orthodox position that was opposed by the Catholics.... Anyway. Besides, that was not the only time in church history the Catholics and the Orthodox discussed on the issue of filioque...
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
Sure, so long as we also have Muslim Christians and Hindu Christians and Wiccan Christians, etc.

I don't think that's *quite* fair.

Mormon belief is no further out from orthodox Christianity than is, say, Gnostic Christian belief. From that perspective -- and from the perspective that, however differently they understand Jesus, they do actually mean to follow him as the divine revelation to humanity -- then if Merlin wants to adopt the term Mormon Christian with the same caveats that I'd flag up about Gnostic Christianity, then I can live with that. Merlin has argued that if groups like Arians and Gnostics can lay claim to the term, so can Merlin -- and I kind of see his point, provided there's crystal-clarity and transparency about it. (Nobody ever seems to suggest that Gnostics aren't a Christ-based religion and aren't sociologically Christian, albeit not Christian in the orthodox theological sense).

I agree wholeheartedly that there's a fundamentally different religious structure going on in Mormonism, as there was in Gnostic Christiantity. So I wouldn't want the phrase in any way to imply 'Oh, we're pretty much all the same', because we're not. (And I still think Mormons are or would be far better off making the kind of claims about themselves in relation to us that we, in the early centuries, made about ourselves in relation to Judaism.)

BUT ... whereas a phrase like Muslim Christian would be pretty much a nonsense out of the starting gate, that point clearly isn't nearly so obvious when it comes to Mormons (or Gnostics, for that matter, or Arians or what-have-you). Otherwise we wouldn't have a thread 7 pages long with 50 posts each debating it.

(And Merlin ... you're not to start thinking I'm going soft, understand?! [Big Grin] )

I won't bother to rehash all the (now redundant, here) points Komensky brings up. It's all discussed and answered by me in the string of posts preceding his post just ahead of this one by Doc Frog.

I agree, Doc, that "Mormon Christian" must only mean what it implies: a Christian who is a Mormon. And a Christian must be one who professes absolute belief in Jesus Christ as Lord, Redeemer and the God of salvation; and, the only begotten Son of the Father. (In this sense, Mormons are very close to all other Christians; its in the details that follow, that the "devil" comes into it all.)

And, Komensky's assertion that anything can be a "whatsit" Christian, is just absurd: a Muslim, for instance only accepts Jesus as a prophet, not as "the Christ", and certainly no "son of God", because Allah has no children, period.)
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by doctor-frog:
....Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
The Word created all the universe(s). How is that manifestation of the One God less?

quote:
Because he's the first-born of the One God, and not actually the One God, eternal Son of the eternal Father, begotten but not made, co-existing and co-eternal with the Father and Spirit. By definition, however more exalted he is than us in the Mormon cosmos, it's less than what you get in the Trinitarian cosmos.
But it doesn't make Jesus Christ LESS, just different. If you worship THE One God of all creation, like Jesus of the Bible does, you are just following his example. Since Jesus is THE ONLY Word, ever, in all the eternal existence of the universe, Mormon worship cannot be less, just different than "orthodoxy." I agree, that to claim "we are just the same" isn't true: Hinckley makes that clear when he says he is a Christian, but not like the common understanding of that term.

quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Is there a problem with saying "literal Son of God?" I don't see it. If some Mormons assume carnal sex, they are not all Mormons: that concept is repugnant to many, and it isn't taught as doctrine, but only speculation based on the earlier words of Smith and Young.

quote:
My problem isn't the carnal sex (although I don't believe that, either), nor with the word 'literal' as such, but the fact that he is essentially a creation of the Father in the Mormon conception. If he's co-eternal, and co-existing in perichoretic unity with Father and Spirit, then where you see him, you see the innermost being of God. Remove him and make him a creation, and you cannot see that, any more than you can see my core being by looking at my children.
But, ALL of creation is a "collection" of manifestations of THE One God of all creation. If God "the Father" manifests as Jesus in mortal flesh, and Jesus is called the only begotten Son of God, then Jesus is God manifesting anthropomorphically, no matter how you look at it or define it with words. The Mormon view says "Jesus Christ is the literal Son of the Father, and a separate Being from the Father." This is demonstable in the NT on several occasions (including Jesus praying, clearly NOT to himself). Mormon theology tries to answer all the scripture: to deduce as much as we can from the scripture and thus eliminate needless mystery. Joseph Smith took this too far, claiming that the Father was once a man: but as I have said, that is NOT church doctrine, and Hinckley himself has refused to comment on it, claiming to not know much about that, and further saying that he does not know anyone who does know much about that.

So the Mormon Godhead is three separate manifestions of THE One God of all creation. It could as easily have been One, or One hundred: but all proceeding from the very same One God. But we have three: the Father, who IS THE One God of all creation; the Son, a manifestation exactly like us, in the sense of having been mortal and human; and, the Holy Spirit, which seems to be the link between the Father and Son with mortal humanity: i.e. communicating constantly with us via our own spirits. Mormons call this communication "the light of Christ, which is in every man."
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by A Feminine Force:
Wow. I just had time to read through this entire thread. Thanks everyone for the carefully reasoned and passionate support of the definition of "Christian".

Upon reflection, I am very happy to be a Baptist in a free-standing church that doesn't attempt to draw a circle around the definition, or its membership.

I don't think being "Christian" hasd anything to do with a creed or an intellectual artifact like "belief". It's a way of being not a way of thinking. By that definition, there are plenty who think they're Christians, who are not, and plenty who think they aren't who, in fact, are.

What makes a Christian? IMHO: obedience to the Great Commandment. That is all. So there are probably plenty of Mormons who fall into that category, and plenty who fall outside it. Ditto for every other denomination. One could cast an even wider net than this, but I would not for fear of offending.

LAFF

This is the most sensible thing I have read in many days. It closely echos my personal religious perspective. Religion is only effectively good when it furthers the development of what we call a "Christlike" character. Some people don't even need a religion to be like that. Others need a close religious net around them to keep from slipping off the rails and into the abyss.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
....
quote:
Shouldn't this be on a thread of its own at this stage, rather than hijacking the Mormon one? (May I suggest, if you want to continue, starting a new one in Purg? Although it might get shifted over to DH ... . Like I said at the outset, we ain't-a gonna solve the filioque on the Ship of Fools!) [Smile]


I don't particularly want to discuss the filioque only that it was mentioned here. I am interested to know how the Mormons understand this before we drop it.

Thanks for the information.

Myrrh

In 1835, Joseph Smith produced "The Lectures on Faith." Lecture No. Five, iirc, defines his then-current doctrine on the Godhead. In it, the Father is a Spirit, the Son is a separate Being of Flesh and Spirit; and the Holy Ghost "proceeds" as their combined influence. So, at least in 1835, Mormon theology came the closest to being like the RCC addition to the Creed "and the Son." (filioque)

Today, the doctrine is, that the Holy Ghost is his own person. The Mormon Godhead is three distinct Persons, and only the HG is a Spirit, lacking a physical body: so that he can communicate directly with us, Spirit to spirit. There is speculation (some would say it is hard doctrine) that the HG will get his own body once his "job" is done, i.e. once the earth is changed into the celestical kingdom for those who will live here.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
From Camille Paglia's latest Salon column...

quote:
With his quick humor and easy grace, Mitt Romney emerged in my view as the clear winner of the first Republican debate. Will his Mormonism be the sticking point? A recent caller to Sean Hannity's radio show, hosted that day by WABC's always lively Mark Simone, shockingly denied that Mormons are Christians. The implication was that evangelical Protestantism is absolute truth -- which would also put Roman Catholicism beyond the pale.
So Camille Paglia was "shocked" that someone would deny that Mormons are Christians? Hmm. Guess she hasn't read this thread, or ventured into a Christian bookstore lately.

Also interesting that Paglia thinks drumming out Mormons would logically entail drumming out Catholics as well.

http://tinyurl.com/383qc8
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
Good luck to him. Mormons have just as much right as anybody to the highest office in the land. I think a good deal more highly of McCain; but if Romney wins the nomination, I'll say 'Good. It's about time.'

'Course, I'll actually be voting for whoever wins the Democratic nomination ... but that has far more to do with my religion than Mitt Romney's ... [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
I do need to be more careful with you. ...

There's progress.

quote:
And I repeat for you what I offered to LC: when you find THE definition of what a "Christian" is, that defines the lot, please get back to me. So far, you've only offered your definition. One which I am sure leaves out a great many doctrines that predate your denomination by centuries.
I've given you that definition, repeatedly. Rather than do it yet again, I'll add my voice to the others here who have suggested that you can find it in the Creeds -- and not as reinterpreted by Mormons, but as understood for centuries by Christians.

My denomination is a branch of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, so no, you're wrong on that one too.
quote:
That is explainable as only the difficulty of our finite minds trying to comprehend eternity.
And that, to me, is one of the fundamental problems with Mormonism: it applies a strictly limited, human viewpoint to matters that are, in their very essence, incomprehensible to humans. Smith's mind was too pedestrian, his appetites too much in control, and his imagination too limited for him to really think this one through.

I don't know what heaven will be like. I'm very certain, however -- based on scripture, tradition and reason -- that it will not contain class divisions, sexual activity, promotions to godhood, or other male-fantasy fodder.
quote:
...The modern church has nothing whatsoever to do with unchristian "outre" doctrines. Name one, please?
Here are five of my favorites, chosen at random:
1) Polytheism
2) Men becoming gods (with harems)
3) A god who relies on human beings to do "baptisms for the dead"
4) Multiple classes of heaven
5) Wives not rising until their husbands choose to raise their veils and say their secret names

None of these are remotely Christian, as the terms has been understood for nearly two millennia.

No, I'm afraid the term "Mormon Christian" is a nonstarter.
quote:
Oho, that's a good one. The ONLY demonstrably false religion? Where, pray tell, is ONE piece of incontrovertible evidence proving Christianity? Outside the Bible? Nothing, not after 2,000 plus years. It's as if the religion grew up in a vacuum, then burst upon the Roman world already made. ...
You missed the key word there: Mormonism is demonstrably false. I didn't say that any religion is demonstrably true. There's a big difference.

Lots of things in the Bible do have archeological, historical and linguistic evidence to back them up: we know the plants and animals that were there. We've found the sites of cities. We've found mentions of the House of David.

Getting to the NT, archeological excavations have shown that features mentioned in the Gospel of John were exactly as indicated -- and that Gospel is the only evidence for them.

The physical evidence doesn't prove the truth of accounts in the Bible, but it does provide support for them. The Book of Mormon, however, has absolutely nothing in it that's demonstrably true (anything from the pre-migratory stuff Smith could have found in the Bible or popular histories of the time): no archeology, no animals, no linguistics, no DNA, no nothing.

Not, of course, that a single distinctively Mormon doctrine can be found it either, other than the business about Jesus filling up the idle hours by bopping over to the New World....
quote:
...I think you need to interpret your NT a little closer to the original words of Jesus: "If they are not against us, then they are for us."
And you need to read your Smith, Young, Smith, McConkie, et al, a little more closely: Mormonism is unalterably opposed to Christianity and Christians. "Abominations," aren't we? Mormonism is indeed against us.
quote:
...I don't believe that God speaks to any exclusive religion, and never has. But I don't know many Mormons who hold that sort of ecumenical perspective.
We've found two more points of commonality, then!
quote:
"Ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil"

"Now I know the Lord is greater than all gods"

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords"

"I have said to you, Ye are gods and all of you are children of the most High" ...

I haven't seen anyone address this yet. This is pretty basic Old Testament studies stuff: the early people who became the Jews were surrounded by people who worshipped other gods. They accepted that those other gods existed; they just believed that they were inferior to Yahweh.

Complete adherence to the sole worship of Yahweh was a relatively late development; read all those prophets on the dangers of hanging out with foreigners, who brought their household gods with them. Yahweh got fed up with them on a regular basis.

The acceptance of monotheism took a long time to take completely even among the Israelites; it was a pagan, polytheistic world except for this tiny group of religious oddballs.

Since we (well, most of us) no longer believe in a "plurality of gods," aka polytheism, we take these passages symbolically. They certainly don't represent a mature Jewish theology or any kind of Christian theology.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Orignally posted by MerlintheMad: And I repeat for you what I offered to LC: when you find THE definition of what a "Christian" is, that defines the lot, please get back to me. So far, you've only offered your definition. One which I am sure leaves out a great many doctrines that predate your denomination by centuries.

quote:
I've given you that definition, repeatedly. Rather than do it yet again, I'll add my voice to the others here who have suggested that you can find it in the Creeds -- and not as reinterpreted by Mormons, but as understood for centuries by Christians.

My denomination is a branch of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, so no, you're wrong on that one too.

This isn't very useful. As a couple of new threads in Purg on this very subject illustrate, the divisions within Christianity make it unlikely that your limited definition of "Christian" will be mirrored by a consensus. What is understood for centuries isn't uniting Christianity, which seems to continue to fragment as always since the first schism, and Prot reformation.

....
quote:
I don't know what heaven will be like. I'm very certain, however -- based on scripture, tradition and reason -- that it will not contain class divisions, sexual activity, promotions to godhood, or other male-fantasy fodder.
You keep leaving the women out. It isn't a "male fantasy". Read D&C 132: polyandry is alluded to there, and never addressed by the church leaders (denied, even, because its implications are too controversial). Modern doctrine makes men and women EQUALS in heaven in every respect.

quote:
Here are five of my favorites, chosen at random:
1) Polytheism
2) Men becoming gods (with harems)
3) A god who relies on human beings to do "baptisms for the dead"
4) Multiple classes of heaven
5) Wives not rising until their husbands choose to raise their veils and say their secret names

None of these are remotely Christian, as the terms has been understood for nearly two millennia.

Polytheism is not "outre", it is the most common theology of human history.

Mormons are not polytheists, because implicit in their theology is THE One God of all creation. If you want to put "us" on the same level with God, because the scriptures refer to us as "gods", then you are twisting Mormon doctrine to suit your definition of poytheism. The doctrine does not say we become "Gods" like THE One God of all creation; only that we become joint heirs with Christ and like him in relation to the Father. That isn't enough weirdness to disqualify an entire religion, which worships Christ as the God of Salvation, from being Christian.

"Harems" is unjustified. You are putting Mormon heaven on the same level as Islamic heaven, which is unfair and inaccurate. Mormon men and women are EQUALS in heaven.

Baptisms for the dead is the Mormon explanation for God's equal love for all people. Mormons are the antithesis of Calvinism's selected saved and created damned: baptisms of family members through genealogical research is a charitable work of "saving the dead." But just as in Christianity generally, it is not the priest who blesses the host, but rather God who answers the priest's prayer by blessing it, so too, in Mormon ordinances the doctrine says it is God alone who saves people. Mormons only perform the ordinances, God does the actual salvation.

Again, multiple classes of heaven is NT based; your interpretation is not the only one that many other Christians believe. And, Mormon heaven is far more charitable than the rigid, auster "heaven" of standard Christianity. It is hardly "unChristian!"

You do not understand the temple endowment. There are TWO kinds of veil: the ones worn by women as part of their temple clothing, and the "veil of the temple" which participants pass through into the "celestial kingdom." When a man and woman are married in the temple, the ONLY time the wife is admitted into the celestial kingdom through the "veil of the temple" by her husband is if she has just received her own endowment on that occasion. If she is already an endowed member of the church when they get married, the husband does not learn her "new name", does not stand in the place of the "Lord" to receive her through the "veil of the temple", and in any case, never touches her veil that is part of her temple clothing. (I could be mistaken about already endowed women, who later get married, not being admitted by their husbands through the "veil of the temple": but I don't think I am mistaken.) In any case, how is any of this "non Christian"? None of it has anything to do with denying the efficacy of the atonement of Christ: in fact, it all centers upon and depends upon it.

quote:
No, I'm afraid the term "Mormon Christian" is a nonstarter.
Why? Because of the above reasons? Then your requirements are impossible to meet. (It's a good thing for us all, that you are not God then! "For with God, all things are possible.")

quote:
....Where, pray tell, is ONE piece of incontrovertible evidence proving Christianity? Outside the Bible? Nothing, not after 2,000 plus years. It's as if the religion grew up in a vacuum, then burst upon the Roman world already made. ...
quote:
You missed the key word there: Mormonism is demonstrably false. I didn't say that any religion is demonstrably true. There's a big difference.
A "big difference?" If Christianity is not demonstrably true, how then, can Mormonism be proven to be demonstrably false? Compared to what?

quote:
Lots of things in the Bible do have archeological, historical and linguistic evidence to back them up: we know the plants and animals that were there. We've found the sites of cities. We've found mentions of the House of David.

Getting to the NT, archeological excavations have shown that features mentioned in the Gospel of John were exactly as indicated -- and that Gospel is the only evidence for them.

The physical evidence doesn't prove the truth of accounts in the Bible, but it does provide support for them. The Book of Mormon, however, has absolutely nothing in it that's demonstrably true (anything from the pre-migratory stuff Smith could have found in the Bible or popular histories of the time): no archeology, no animals, no linguistics, no DNA, no nothing.

Quite true. And the DNA problem alone will prove the Book of Mormon to be no more than Joseph Smith's targumic treatment of the Bible, and popular views of his time and place. But these are not based on "absolutely nothing". The civilizations are there; they date to the correct time frame the Book of Mormon talks about. Hard core believers are still holding out for the miraculous archeological discovery of the specific Book of Mormon people. As you may know, FARMS (the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) can put ingenious spin on the Book of Mormon claims and the archeological findings to make them "fit" together plausibly. But, there is that DNA hurdle; about as high as Everest, imho. Even the Lord himself, in several places in the D&C, speaks literally of the "Lamanite" inhabitants of North America. So, unless the DNA evidence is changed by some miraculous discovery, this will undo the book as having any chance at historicity predating the 19th century (i.e. J. Smith's imagination).

Is it any different with the creation of the OT? I don't think so. For centuries the stories and the Law were passed down to the Hebrew masses by oral tradition. Archeological evidence provides no indication of literacy among them till c. the late 8th century BCE. The "world" of the OT perfectly fits the Levantine world of the 7th century BCE, specifically the reign of king Josiah. So the evidence is that our OT is a Jewish targum of already ancient legendary and mythic tradition. Given time, the Book of Mormon could become just as indistinguishable from literal history as the OT stories are (without archeological examination to ferret out the truth from the religious spin).

The NT is a different case altogether. It does "live" in a known world and has clearly defined geo-political boundaries. The problem isn't the evidence of the historicity of the NT world: it is in the utter lack of a single shred of proven outside evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was anything more than a religious reformer who got killed. The religion grew up, as religions do, surrounding his memory and reputation. He gets zero mention outside the NT, period. There is no more evidence outside of the NT, for Jesus "Christ", than there is for "Zarahemla, Nephites and Lamanites" outside of the Book of Mormon.

quote:
Not, of course, that a single distinctively Mormon doctrine can be found [in] it either, other than the business about Jesus filling up the idle hours by bopping over to the New World....
In the NT or the Book of Mormon? You are unclear to me here.

I'll assume you meant the Book of Mormon. And you are right: there's nothing "distinctively Mormon" about it, which is superbly ironic! It is a targum of the Bible: the stories are biblical, only augmented to be even more amazing and impressive. The heros are biblical in how they behave and speak; but are more clearly delineated (Mormon, the captain, is the only character in all "scripture" who gets a characterization). If you took out all the direct quotes of the Bible, and the clearly borrowed passages, the Book of Mormon would be reduced to less than half size.

quote:
...I think you need to interpret your NT a little closer to the original words of Jesus: "If they are not against us, then they are for us."
quote:
And you need to read your Smith, Young, Smith, McConkie, et al, a little more closely: Mormonism is unalterably opposed to Christianity and Christians. "Abominations," aren't we? Mormonism is indeed against us.
Nonsense. Nobody in Mormonism is opposed to Christianity outside of Mormonism. Opposed means that you have some antipathy, even antagonism. Mormon doctrine accepts all of God's children as equally loved. (I modify what I said about the Book of Mormon not containing any Mormon doctrines: there is one: the universal love of God for all people without any condtions whatsoever. That's a Mormon fundamental.) Joseph Smith's "quoting" the Lord as saying that all "their creeds are an abomination" refers to their creeds, not the people. And which creeds? Only those which separate them and make enemies of each other; which was the direct evil occurring in Joseph Smith's immediate world, as the sectarians of his day were fighting each other over doctrinal differences and condemning each other to hell. That was what was (and is) abominable.

....

quote:
"Ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil"

"Now I know the Lord is greater than all gods"

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords"

"I have said to you, Ye are gods and all of you are children of the most High" ...

quote:
I haven't seen anyone address this yet. This is pretty basic Old Testament studies stuff: the early people who became the Jews were surrounded by people who worshipped other gods. They accepted that those other gods existed; they just believed that they were inferior to Yahweh.The acceptance of monotheism took a long time to take completely even among the Israelites; it was a pagan, polytheistic world except for this tiny group of religious oddballs.

Since we (well, most of us) no longer believe in a "plurality of gods," aka polytheism, we take these passages symbolically. They certainly don't represent a mature Jewish theology or any kind of Christian theology.

Oh, symbolism to the rescue, again.

Yet you assign a godhood literalness where Mormons do not. When they talk about becoming "gods", as I have said, it is in conjunction with Christ, as joint heirs of all the Father has. I.e. this universe. Nowhere does the doctrine hint that the "children" of the Father are going to become one like THE One God of all creation. Like the Father that appeared to Joseph Smith? That is not taught even by G. B. Hinckley. In fact, he refuses to be drawn on the subject, claiming to "not know much about that, or know anyone who knows much about that."

You left out the NT quotation by Jesus, of the Davidic Psalm "I said ye are gods". So your entire position that these OT references are outdated (incorrect) doctrines, fails.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
You missed the key word there: Mormonism is demonstrably false. I didn't say that any religion is demonstrably true. There's a big difference.

Precisely.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
quote:
You missed the key word there: Mormonism is demonstrably false. I didn't say that any religion is demonstrably true. There's a big difference.

Precisely.
(That has to be the first time on the Ship, that my post has exactly the same time as someone else's. And on a thread which hadn't been posted to in two days before Ross's post. Weird.)

Anyway, not "precisely." Because it isn't a "big" difference, when Christianity has nadda outside evidence that Jesus Christ even lived, much less was the "Christ." It's as demonstrable as the existence of Joseph Smith, if we had no physical evidence of his having lived, outside of Mormon references to him.

A religion cannot be demonstrably false, if the comparison is to a religion which is not demonstrably true.
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
quote:
You missed the key word there: Mormonism is demonstrably false. I didn't say that any religion is demonstrably true. There's a big difference.

Precisely.
(That has to be the first time on the Ship, that my post has exactly the same time as someone else's. And on a thread which hadn't been posted to in two days before Ross's post. Weird.)

Anyway, not "precisely." Because it isn't a "big" difference, when Christianity has nadda outside evidence that Jesus Christ even lived, much less was the "Christ." It's as demonstrable as the existence of Joseph Smith, if we had no physical evidence of his having lived, outside of Mormon references to him.

A religion cannot be demonstrably false, if the comparison is to a religion which is not demonstrably true.

I can prove that 2=2 does not equal 16 (at least in base 10).

I cannot prove that a+b=16. I don't know the values of a and b. We can assume, but not prove.

I cannot prove that 8+b=16. We can figure that b=8 (again assuming base 10), but I would need much more information to prove that.

The Mormon church says some things are true. Those things can be disproved.

The Roman Catholic Church says that some things are true. We can make assumptions about what kind of proof we would need, but we don't have enough information to prove it. Does that mean the Roman Catholic church is based on falsehoods. Maybe. Possibly.

But one cannot compare proving 2+2=16 and 8+b=16, or a+b=16, and say that they are all the same.

Different levels of proof are needed due to what is being asserted.

Just because what one religion says can be proved to be untrue does not mean ALL religions are untrue.

Or that all religions need to be held to the same standard, because they all don't claim the same things.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
Good analogy, pasta.

what that means is that in a religion is demonstrably false you have to deny your own reason, you have to set aside your own intellect and suffer cognitive dissonance in the cause of "faith-affirming history." Merlin, your own story resonates with the difficulty you had with that aspect of the LDS.

In a religion that can not be proven true, but is not demonstrably false, there are areas that need to be taken on faith, but one does not need to set aside reason to do so. One does not have to suffer cognitive dissonance.

IMHO, this is a very important distinction. When you have to live your life by setting aside reason, walling off certain areas where you "just don't think about it", you end up internally biforcated, in ways that have negative results both spiritually and psychologically.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
This isn't very useful....What is understood for centuries isn't uniting Christianity, which seems to continue to fragment as always since the first schism, and Prot reformation.

The most exclusionary of Orthodox, the most convinced-of-papal-infallibility Roman Catholics, the most liberal of Anglicans and the most hard-shelled of Baptists have far more in common with each other than with Mormons when it comes to beliefs.

I've given you the basic definition of Christianity, repeatedly, as have others. You may not find it "useful," but that is not really our problem.
quote:
Modern [Mormon]doctrine makes men and women EQUALS in heaven in every respect.
No, it doesn't. We've been over this one repeatedly, too.
quote:
Polytheism is not "outre", it is the most common theology of human history. ...
Please stop taking my words out of context.

Polytheism IS outre in terms of Christianity. And Mormonism IS polytheistic, because you believe in "a plurality of gods." Don't tell me what's "implicit" in Mormon theology; polytheism is explicit therein. I'm not the one doing the "twisting" here.
quote:
"Harems" is unjustified. You are putting Mormon heaven on the same level as Islamic heaven, which is unfair and inaccurate. Mormon men and women are EQUALS in heaven.
No, they're not. That's revisionism on your part.

And you're being unfair to Islam; Muslims would be horrified at the blasphemy of pretending that men can become gods.

I'm not going to go over the other points of unChristian Mormon theology again. Some future Mormon prophet du jour can claim a revelation that they must paint themselves blue and stand on their heads if they like; that is not my concern. My objections will arise if they claim that it is an authentic and necessary expression of Christianity and "NT based."
quote:
Why? Because of the above reasons? Then your requirements are impossible to meet. (It's a good thing for us all, that you are not God then! "For with God, all things are possible.")
Several of us have repeatedly explained why "Mormon Christian" is an oxymoron. It has to do with theology, tradition, scripture and history. Your answers to this and to my other points are complete non sequiturs; frankly, I'm getting tired of going over the same ground over and over and over.
quote:
Is it any different with the creation of the OT? I don't think so. For centuries the stories and the Law were passed down to the Hebrew masses by oral tradition. ...
Once again: the archeological evidence is there. The linguistic evidence is there. The DNA evidence is there. As for the NT, we sure start hearing about Christians very early on. I don't know of any reputable historian who would deny that Jesus existed.
quote:
Nonsense. Nobody in Mormonism is opposed to Christianity outside of Mormonism. Opposed means that you have some antipathy, even antagonism. Mormon doctrine accepts all of God's children as equally loved. ...
I think not.
quote:
... In the History of the Church (vol.7, p.287), Brigham Young even claimed that "Every spirit that confesses that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, that he lived and died a Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of anti-Christ."
Read all about it here. Christians would seem to be "of anti-Christ," according to Mr. Young.
quote:
Oh, symbolism to the rescue, again.

Yet you assign a godhood literalness where Mormons do not....

You left out the NT quotation by Jesus, of the Davidic Psalm "I said ye are gods". So your entire position that these OT references are outdated (incorrect) doctrines, fails.

Okay, you reject basic OT scholarship where it suits you. Noted. But Jesus, a Jew, should be allowed to quote the Psalmist. Nu?

And every Mormon I've ever encountered except you has absolutely, positively, insistently, bought into the "godhood literalness" bit. Sorry, but I think you're putting your own reading -- not the official SLC version -- into things again.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
Good analogy, pasta.

what that means is that in a religion is demonstrably false you have to deny your own reason, you have to set aside your own intellect and suffer cognitive dissonance in the cause of "faith-affirming history." Merlin, your own story resonates with the difficulty you had with that aspect of the LDS.

In a religion that can not be proven true, but is not demonstrably false, there are areas that need to be taken on faith, but one does not need to set aside reason to do so. One does not have to suffer cognitive dissonance.

IMHO, this is a very important distinction. When you have to live your life by setting aside reason, walling off certain areas where you "just don't think about it", you end up internally biforcated, in ways that have negative results both spiritually and psychologically.

I just don't see general Christendom as significantly different from Mormonism in the "just don't think about it" way. Christians, in order to accept their religion as historically true, must resort to cognitive dissonance too. Because of the utter lack of outside evidence. It seems incredible that a religion of this magnitude cannot be supported by a single scrap of physical evidence outside its own scripture and traditional history.

Mormonism's "sin" is in selective history. The official history only takes you just so far, in just so many directions; then no further. It isn't so much fabrication as denial of the rest as having any validity. So what the church says isn't false, but it is spun to provide a perceived need for "flavor." People today are not as they were in the 19th century during the rise of Mormonism. What then would not bat an eye would go down very poorly with people now: e.g. the large amount of superstitition believed in by Joseph Smith, et al.

The DNA evidence, or rather the lack of it, that undermines the Book of Mormon's claims to be history, is, imho, the only question that is serious enough to completely undo what it purports to be. Because the "language" of it, the way it was "translated", etc., can all be explained sufficiently to allow belief in it. But the DNA issue is insurmountable. Without any "Lamanites": with God himself referring to "Lamanites" as literally the American Indians, we have a problem: a claim which is so far utterly false. If a miraculous "discovery" of Hebrew DNA were made, this would be the escape for believers who also think. Without such a body of indigenous peoples, possessing Hebrew DNA, we are left to spin and spin and spin. "The Nephites and Lamanites were so few that their DNA got erased by the native population through intermarriage." (Never mind, that the Book of Mormon makes such a claim problematic at best, by necessitating the making of many assumptions, and reading them into the text -- between the lines as it were.) I have already heard FARMS, et al., throw that one out there.

But Christianity relies on just as many unprovables that are as equally unlikely as Hebrew Lamanites. Roman records do not support any census taking as the gospel says, or a slaughter of "the innocents". And various geopolitical statements are just not correct. The gospels do not agree on important things. Jesus' own prophecy of his time in the grave does not agree with the stated facts. In short, the religion is chock-full of inconsistencies and contradictory statements.

Christians who deny that Mormons are Christians, because their religion is "demonstrably false", are basing their accusations on the lack of evidence, not on evidence already "found" which disproves Mormonism. A lack of Hebrew DNA does not disprove anything: it just says, "we haven't found any Hebrew Lamanites, yet."
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
I just don't see general Christendom as significantly different from Mormonism in the "just don't think about it" way. Christians, in order to accept their religion as historically true, must resort to cognitive dissonance too. Because of the utter lack of outside evidence. It seems incredible that a religion of this magnitude cannot be supported by a single scrap of physical evidence outside its own scripture and traditional history.
You still don't seem to be getting the point. There is a HUGE difference in accepting a belief that is unproveable and/or difficult to grasp (e.g. the Trinity) and accepting a belief that is able to be disproved. One retrains reason but requires a further "leap of faith". The other requires an outright rejection of reason that leads to the kind of biforcation I'm concerned about.

Again, pasta's analogy is apt. To say 8 + a = 20 is unproveable without knowing the value of "a". But it doesn't require one to set aside reason. It is intellectually viable, if unproveable. It's certainly possible. This is akin to Christian truth claims which are unproveable but are intellectually viable.

But to say that 2 + 2 = 20 (at least in base 10) is not viable intellectually. It requires one to put aside everything they know about mathematics and the way the empirical world works. That's crazy-making. And IMHO, that's true of some Mormon truth claims.


quote:
Mormonism's "sin" is in selective history. The official history only takes you just so far, in just so many directions; then no further. It isn't so much fabrication as denial of the rest as having any validity.
Yes, that's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. And that sort of denial of reality is crazy-making.

Look, some of Christianity's history is 10x as horrific as anything Mormons ever did, even including the not-to-be-spoken of MMM. But at least we have the intellectual cojones to acknowledge it.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
....
And you're being unfair to Islam; Muslims would be horrified at the blasphemy of pretending that men can become gods.

And you bring up a comparison I did not make. I was talking TO the comparison of multiple wives/women for the men. Islam says they are possessions of men. Mormons say men and women require each other to get to the highest heaven. That is very different, yet you compare Mormon polygamy to "harems." A deliberate analogy that you find disparaging. Muslims would be offended at your attitude, comparing them to Mormons.

....

quote:
Why? Because of the above reasons? Then your requirements are impossible to meet. (It's a good thing for us all, that you are not God then! "For with God, all things are possible.")
quote:
Several of us have repeatedly explained why "Mormon Christian" is an oxymoron.
And all of you can be collectively bigotted and mistaken.

A Christian is one who professes a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and God, without whom we would all perish forever, etc. Mormons ARE just that sort of Christian. All of your objections based on their refusal to accept YOUR orthodoxy, mean nothing. Mormons are not YOUR BRAND of Christian; but they ARE Christian, "Mormon Christians."

quote:
It has to do with theology, tradition, scripture and history. Your answers to this and to my other points are complete non sequiturs; frankly, I'm getting tired of going over the same ground over and over and over.
You are weary of trying to defend your narrow, bigotted point of view of an entire religious people: who, despite their manifest weaknesses (pride being at the forefront), behave in a Christian manner and profess Christ as the Author of their Salvation. The most you can do is select old quotations from their early leaders to slang them with. When such quotations are not even accepted by Mormons as scripture. You anticipate that such quotations prove something false about the religion: when all they do is prove what fallible human beings the founders of Mormonism were. Sort of like Peter and Paul, if you are going to be fair about this.

quote:
....Once again: the archeological evidence is there. The linguistic evidence is there. The DNA evidence is there. As for the NT, we sure start hearing about Christians very early on. I don't know of any reputable historian who would deny that Jesus existed.
Reputable in this case being at least someone not antagonistic to religion? I am sure that there are plenty of non religious historians of prodigious talent, who scoff at the very idea of Jesus Christ being a real person as the religion understands him. Or even existing at all.


quote:
... In the History of the Church (vol.7, p.287), Brigham Young even claimed that "Every spirit that confesses that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, that he lived and died a Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of anti-Christ."

quote:
Read all about it here. Christians would seem to be "of anti-Christ," according to Mr. Young.
You continue to respond with non scriptural commentary from the early leaders of the church. There is plenty that they said, in the majority, which is considered scriptural. The church has been making selections of their doctrinal teachings. And this sort of polemic you have quoted has nothing to do with the church today. We don't need such polarized defensive tactics as B. Young, et al., felt compelled to resort to in their climate of anti Mormonism.

You really should cease with the old quotes. They don't address the modern church's teachings, as they are heading, very well at all.

quote:
Oh, symbolism to the rescue, again.

Yet you assign a godhood literalness where Mormons do not....

You left out the NT quotation by Jesus, of the Davidic Psalm "I said ye are gods". So your entire position that these OT references are outdated (incorrect) doctrines, fails.

quote:
Okay, you reject basic OT scholarship where it suits you. Noted.
Noted? Care to be specific? I am not leaving out anything that I am aware of.

quote:
But Jesus, a Jew, should be allowed to quote the Psalmist. Nu?
Side-stepping the fact that HE quoted the bit about us being children of god, and called "gods." Why do you not address that point?

quote:
And every Mormon I've ever encountered except you has absolutely, positively, insistently, bought into the "godhood literalness" bit. Sorry, but I think you're putting your own reading -- not the official SLC version -- into things again.

Ross

I am not putting my own reading on anything. I have quoted the scripture, to show that the Mormon view of us destined to become "gods" is biblical. You don't like their spin on "your" scriptures. But you can't accept that it is possible to believe in Jesus Christ in more ways than plain old orthodoxy.
 
Posted by Pastorgirl (# 12294) on :
 
quote:
And all of you can be collectively bigotted and mistaken.
True. But it's at least a tad ironic for Mormons to call mainline Christians bigotted for not wanting to afix the "Christian" label to Mormonism, when the LDS got it's start by labeling mainline Christianity an "abomination."
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
And you bring up a comparison I did not make. I was talking TO the comparison of multiple wives/women for the men. Islam says they are possessions of men. ...

So does Mormonism. Women are absolutely subservient to their husbands, and the Mormon theology of polytheism makes that very clear. I'm sorry you don't care for the word "harem," but I fail to see how it's inaccurate.
quote:
And all of you can be collectively bigotted and mistaken. ... All of your objections based on their refusal to accept YOUR orthodoxy, mean nothing.
And all of your objections to my refusal to accept Mormons as Christians, because I adhere to the term as it has been understood for nearly 2,000 years, mean nothing as well.

No doubt we can be "bigoted [only one 't' there, hon, and my eye keeps tripping over the repeated error] and mistaken," but at least our religion preaches love and forgiveness, and repentance when we err. There's no "blood atonement," all who accept God's grace end up in just one heaven, and all of us acknowledge just one God.
quote:
You are weary of trying to defend your narrow, bigotted point of view ... The most you can do is select old quotations from their early leaders to slang them with. ...You anticipate that such quotations prove something false about the religion: when all they do is prove what fallible human beings the founders of Mormonism were. Sort of like Peter and Paul, if you are going to be fair about this.
It's curious that you're so anxious to distance Mormonism from its founders. I'm afraid it can't be done. And your comparison of Smith and Young to Peter and Paul is as offensive as it is inaccurate.

I think we can be fairly certain that neither Peter nor Paul ever employed sociopathic hitmen and ordered the murders of their enemies; their preaching was quite the opposite. Neither Peter nor Paul ever forced women into concubinage for themselves and their cronies. Neither Peter nor Paul ever pretended that God spoke only to them and them alone. And so on.

Please rethink your statement.
quote:
....I am sure that there are plenty of non religious historians of prodigious talent, who scoff at the very idea of Jesus Christ being a real person as the religion understands him. Or even existing at all.

Give us some citations, then. There are indeed many "non religious historians of prodigious talent," but I'd wager that there are very few reputable specialists in that period who would agree with you.
quote:
...You really should cease with the old quotes. They don't address the modern church's teachings, as they are heading, very well at all.
Isn't that fascinating? What does it tell us about Mormonism's claims? Why do you think the organization would want to shove its real past under the rug?
quote:
...Why do you not address that point?
Okay: You've taken it completely out of context -- as Smith took various obscurities out of context and built outre theologies on them -- in order to support a very dubious point.

Jesus is arguing with the Temple authorities, who find his claim to be the Holy One blasphemous. Jesus therefore cites the Psalmist, speaking of those who have received the Word of God as "gods" simply in terms of the knowledge they've been given. So if they don't have a problem with that, why should they have a problem with Jesus referring to himself as the Son of God? That's all he's doing there.

Context is, as always, (almost) everything.
quote:
...But you can't accept that it is possible to believe in Jesus Christ in more ways than plain old orthodoxy.
Not and call yourself Christian, I'm afraid.

Ross
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
I just don't see general Christendom as significantly different from Mormonism in the "just don't think about it" way. Christians, in order to accept their religion as historically true, must resort to cognitive dissonance too. Because of the utter lack of outside evidence. It seems incredible that a religion of this magnitude cannot be supported by a single scrap of physical evidence outside its own scripture and traditional history.

Any religion is going to have cognitive dissonance.

My point is that each religion, sect, denomination, etc, has it's own claims. Each of those claims have to be proved or disproved on it's merits, or lack thereof.

One cannot, say, prove that St. Serepham of Serov did not exist or was totally bonkers, and then say ALL of Christianity is therefore false. That's just weird.

There are things in Mormonism that have been proved to be false. Instead of either 1) abandoning those beliefs as being untrue or 2) seeing them as allegories, the Mormon church still claims them as truth straight from God.

You seem to not want to do either, but still claim that they are "true".

That sets a cognitive dissonance that I can not live with, and neither can some others.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pastorgirl:
quote:
And all of you can be collectively bigotted and mistaken.
True. But it's at least a tad ironic for Mormons to call mainline Christians bigotted for not wanting to afix the "Christian" label to Mormonism, when the LDS got it's start by labeling mainline Christianity an "abomination."
Did you notice my exegisis on that up there a ways? "All their creeds are an abomination", does not mean that the churches-entire are, and certainly not the people in them. The creeds Joseph Smith's messenger were addressing are the kinds which twist scripture and doctrine to push people out, to divide religion against itself: like the sectarian preachers were doing in the 1820's in Joseph Smith's neighborhood.

When have the leaders of the LDS church (the modern church of the 20th century up till now) referred to Christians, or their churches, as "abominations?"

[ 28. May 2007, 02:17: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
More revisionism, Merlin...

If modern Mormons don't consider Christians and our churches "abominations," why do the missionaries make such a point of that particularly ugly bit of Smith's supposed vision?

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
And you bring up a comparison I did not make. I was talking TO the comparison of multiple wives/women for the men. Islam says they are possessions of men. ...

quote:
So does Mormonism. Women are absolutely subservient to their husbands, and the Mormon theology of polytheism makes that very clear. I'm sorry you don't care for the word "harem," but I fail to see how it's inaccurate.
Bull pucky, Ross. I begin to think you learned your attitudes and understanding of Mormonism from some whacko sectarian breakoff.

"Absolutely subservient" is simply not true, in any degree or nuance. It is OT lingo which makes the woman a helpmeet for the MAN, after all. That isn't a Mormon inovation. Judaic culture was masculine. This continues to be fought by women sufferage today, a battle almost completely won. Mormon women are right there. If men possess them, then they also possess the men. Get with the modern program.

quote:
And all of you can be collectively bigotted and mistaken. ... All of your objections based on their refusal to accept YOUR orthodoxy, mean nothing.
quote:
And all of your objections to my refusal to accept Mormons as Christians, because I adhere to the term as it has been understood for nearly 2,000 years, mean nothing as well.
You've never admitted that you accept the denominations which predate Constantine's theft, as Christians either. The African sects, the Arabic sects, et al. Are Maronites Christians to you? They've never accepted the Roman pontiff as their spiritual leader. Coptics?

These and others predate your Nicene Creed definition of "Christian." They all believe in Christ and the Bible, and most or all of them have scriptures that you do not.

quote:
No doubt we can be "bigoted [only one 't' there, hon, and my eye keeps tripping over the repeated error]...
Thanks for the tip; single and doubled consonants have always been my mainest bane.

quote:
... and mistaken," but at least our religion preaches love and forgiveness, and repentance when we err. There's no "blood atonement," all who accept God's grace end up in just one heaven, and all of us acknowledge just one God.
There is no "blood atonement" in our religion either. Stop quoting a dead man who's words are not all scripture. B. Young's statements are not followed by the church today; and besides, that spin on his doctrine was denied as early as Joseph Fielding Smith's rebuttals against the RLDS while his father was still president of the church.

On "one" heaven:(1 Cor. 15:39,42)

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

It is in the Bible. Paul is not talking about paganism, because he specifically applies this doctrine to the resurrection of the dead.

And surely you don't actually believe that Mormons practice a religion of no forgiveness and love: No repentance?? The first four principles of the gospel are, faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We are told to teach nothing except faith and repentance, and "of tenets though shalt not speak."


quote:
You are weary of trying to defend your narrow, bigotted point of view ... The most you can do is select old quotations from their early leaders to slang them with. ...You anticipate that such quotations prove something false about the religion: when all they do is prove what fallible human beings the founders of Mormonism were. Sort of like Peter and Paul, if you are going to be fair about this.
quote:
It's curious that you're so anxious to distance Mormonism from its founders. I'm afraid it can't be done. And your comparison of Smith and Young to Peter and Paul is as offensive as it is inaccurate. I think we can be fairly certain that neither Peter nor Paul ever employed sociopathic hitmen and ordered the murders of their enemies; their preaching was quite the opposite. Neither Peter nor Paul ever forced women into concubinage for themselves and their cronies. Neither Peter nor Paul ever pretended that God spoke only to them and them alone. And so on.

Please rethink your statement.



Oh really. So, Peter wasn't carrying out "blood atonement" on Ananias and Sapphira? Paul and Peter didn't fight like cats and dogs over the gentile converts not having to become Jews?

As plurality of wives was a "secret" practice among the spiritual "elite", it is likely that nothing of the sort would appear in the limited NT writings. A lot of hints from appocryphal writings hint at various esoteric early Christian practices, which seem similar to Mormon doctrines.

And Joseph Smith had this to say about Priesthood holders and revelation:

"...one great privilege of of the Priesthood is to obtain revelations of the mind and will of God." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 111)

So your assertion, that Smith and Young claimed that God spoke only to them, is false. The apostles are ordained "prophets, seers and revelators."

quote:
....I am sure that there are plenty of non religious historians of prodigious talent, who scoff at the very idea of Jesus Christ being a real person as the religion understands him. Or even existing at all.

quote:
Give us some citations, then. There are indeed many "non religious historians of prodigious talent," but I'd wager that there are very few reputable specialists in that period who would agree with you.
http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm
Here's a page taken at random. Are you saying that NONE of this old Webpage's sources is a reputable religious and historical scholar?

quote:
...You really should cease with the old quotes. They don't address the modern church's teachings, as they are heading, very well at all.
quote:
Isn't that fascinating? What does it tell us about Mormonism's claims? Why do you think the organization would want to shove its real past under the rug?
Oh, for the same reasons the NT writer makes out Ananias' and Sapphira's (obviously well-known) murder to be an act of God, rather than a "hit".

For the same reasons that any religion winds up telling its own history in preference an outsider doing the job.

And this has nothing to do with the issue at all: you seem to think that your own denomination's outrages can mean nothing, yet Mormon history condemns it.

quote:
...Why do you not address that point?
quote:
Okay: You've taken it completely out of context -- as Smith took various obscurities out of context and built outre theologies on them -- in order to support a very dubious point.

Jesus is arguing with the Temple authorities, who find his claim to be the Holy One blasphemous. Jesus therefore cites the Psalmist, speaking of those who have received the Word of God as "gods" simply in terms of the knowledge they've been given. So if they don't have a problem with that, why should they have a problem with Jesus referring to himself as the Son of God? That's all he's doing there....

And that's ALL?! Here is this Rabbi claiming to be the "Son" of Jehovah. An impossibility if there is no justification in citing the Pslamist for a legit claim. Why bring up a bogus meaning of the scripture if it doesn't prove Jesus' point?

quote:
...But you can't accept that it is possible to believe in Jesus Christ in more ways than plain old orthodoxy.
quote:
Not and call yourself Christian, I'm afraid.

Ross

And I repeat, what about all the venerable Christian denominations and sects which predate the Nicene Creed? There are beaucoup Prots who still think the RCC are not legit Christians. How, I wonder, do they justify their "branch" of Christianity being healthy, if it came from a corrupt "tree?"
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
I have a question or rather several related questions, Merlin.

Do women have any standing in making decisions in the CoJCotLDS at any level from their ward on up? Do they ever preach? Are they ever put into any position in teaching or committee work over adult men ie those who have reached the level of priest or above? Are decisions congregational in any way and do women vote? From the outside it looks like men are in charge all the church decisions and women are in charge of having the babies. But you seem to indicate that the LDS have moved along with society somewhat.

I promise not to jump up and down on you for (to me) an unsatisfactory answer that isn't your responsibility. [Biased]

Btw if you don't get to this until later Monday, I'll be away from computers for a few days, so don't think I'm ignoring you. Vacation! [Cool]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
I have a question or rather several related questions, Merlin.

Do women have any standing in making decisions in the CoJCotLDS at any level from their ward on up? Do they ever preach? Are they ever put into any position in teaching or committee work over adult men ie those who have reached the level of priest or above? Are decisions congregational in any way and do women vote? From the outside it looks like men are in charge all the church decisions and women are in charge of having the babies. But you seem to indicate that the LDS have moved along with society somewhat.

I promise not to jump up and down on you for (to me) an unsatisfactory answer that isn't your responsibility. [Biased]

Btw if you don't get to this until later Monday, I'll be away from computers for a few days, so don't think I'm ignoring you. Vacation! [Cool]

I'm "here", for the moment. I will reply before heading off to beddyby.

Women preach all the time at all levels of our church meetings. I would say that they get equal time before our congregations, except in stake and general conferences, where they seem to be about one-third of the assigned speakers. That's because there are more male leadership positions than female ones.

Women do not "hold" the priesthood. Men do, if they are worthy. (Oh that word.) This means, they are living their religion's commandments. Also, Joseph Smith clearly said that the priesthood was not some title to become overbearing or a dictator. No work in the gospel is ever accomplished by having that sort of attitude.

Women do not hold positions of leadership over men at any level in the church. But, this is church structure, hierarchy, and has nothing to do with the status of women in Mormon society. Mormon women have all the rights and privileges as individuals that men do. And, they can "vote" to sustain or not sustain any leader who is being passed on in congregation. In the early days, this was a dynamic privilege of all members. But the modern church rarely sees a dissenting "vote" when someone is being presented for a sustaining by the congregation.

In this male priesthood leadership structure, the Mormon church is hardly unique, as Judeo-Christianity is still largely a male dominated leadership/clergy religion. Of course, this has been changing for a number of years now. And, I suspect that Mormons will be the last to change (if they ever do at all) on the issue of a female "clergy."

But it is interesting to note, that Mormon women had "the vote" in and out of church long before women in the USA got "the vote" through sufferage.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Thanks for the reply. Don't take the following spleen personally. It's for any churches that claim equality for women but only by their own restrictive definitions.

LDS seem to be a little less restrictive of women than some. But not much.

quote:
Women do not hold positions of leadership over men at any level in the church. But, this is church structure, hierarchy, and has nothing to do with the status of women in Mormon society. Mormon women have all the rights and privileges as individuals that men do.
Yeah, yeah, women are totally equal to men except in all the ways they aren't. "Yes, sweetheart, you are equal; there is just a bunch of stuff you don't have a hope in hell of ever doing. But see, I can't be an astronaut because of my color blindness (and lack of math, science, and flight training). And I can't be a mother, either. Does that make me not equal? Of course not. So don't worry your pretty little head about it." A familiar tune among Western religions when they are embarrassingly behind the curve in egalitarianism. Well, at least your women don't have to keep silence in assembly. That's to their credit.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Merlin, I really can't understand why you keep going on about Peter supposedly "carrying out blood atonement" on Ananias and Sapphira. We've had this discussion like, three times before? He never laid a hand on them. Nobody ELSE ever laid a hand on them. The most he did was to pronounce God's judgement on them VERBALLY, which (if he had done it in error, or out of pride, or for some other stupid reason) would have had zip-all effect. As we see daily in the streets when one motorist yells at another, and yet nobody gets fried.

What is going on with your reasoning here?
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Thanks for the reply. Don't take the following spleen personally. It's for any churches that claim equality for women but only by their own restrictive definitions.

LDS seem to be a little less restrictive of women than some. But not much.

....

Well, at least your women don't have to keep silence in assembly. That's to their credit.

I hear and agree. Mormonism is founded on an "inherited" tradtion of Judeo-Christian attitude, illustrated by Paul's injunction that women should cover their heads and remain silent in church, etc.

This tradition manifests in many denominations more or less. The cutting-edge of change allows women to be exactly alike with men in EVERYTHING except gender differences. Men do not have children, that's about it for acceptable differences. Mentally, spiritually, physically, there is no reason why women should not occupy pastoral roles alongside men in any religion. The only reason why this is not so, is because we are still seeing the vestiges (alive and well) of ancient Judeo-Christian male dominence.

We can debate how and why this overarching tradition got started in the first place, and why it is almost a universal phenomenon. But my take on it is, that the ancient world was simply too dangerous for women to compete in physically; it WAS a physical world of many dangers. Bearing children was sufficiently dangerous to equal ALL the other dangers men put up with personally in order to provide for and protect their women and children. Women, being protected, naturally gave up the decisive roles in meeting the dangers. Men, compelled to make those decisions, wound up defacto the leaders and decision makers and kept at it as civilization evolved. Without blatant, more or less constant dangers -- that only men can meet in all practicality -- women and men become equal in most things. Yet the traditional dependence on men is seen hanging on in the religious traditions, which more or less (dogmatically) pronounce men superior to women in the male God's eyes (Eve was weak first, and corrupted Adam, after all, and not the other way around): i.e. it is God's will, that women submit to men in everything. Of course, the enlightenment says that men and women are equal in God's eyes: that men should never rule rough-shod over their wives, but love them as they love their own bodies, as Christ loves the church.

But there is no hint (in "holy writ") that women are to become AS men in everything. Nevertheless, this is the trend today. I say, fine and dandy. Until the world gets too dangerous for women again, and men have to stand in for the really dangerous, physically inconceivable stuff that they can do and most women can't. Hopefully, that will never happen again.

I like the world getting better, more paradisical: that kind of world has no place even for the dangers of child birth. One day, men and women will really be alike, in everything except the gorgeous differences in gender that we both admire in each other.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Merlin, I really can't understand why you keep going on about Peter supposedly "carrying out blood atonement" on Ananias and Sapphira. We've had this discussion like, three times before? He never laid a hand on them. Nobody ELSE ever laid a hand on them. The most he did was to pronounce God's judgement on them VERBALLY, which (if he had done it in error, or out of pride, or for some other stupid reason) would have had zip-all effect. As we see daily in the streets when one motorist yells at another, and yet nobody gets fried.

What is going on with your reasoning here?

I am simply making a facile comparison to the accusation Mormons get of concocting their own history.

Do you really believe that God zapped the pair of them, because of something Peter said? If so, then there is no reason to accuse the Mormons of being weird, because they claim all sorts of miraculous manifestations of God's power within the church.

I don't believe Ananias and Sapphira were struck down by God's power. They were most likely rubbed out by some fanatical religious perp; and the deed was covered up by a glossing over in the written account. Just like Ross accuses the Mormons in Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's church of carrying out their "blood atonement" orders, their assassinations, etc., the early Christian church had its perps.

I think that Ross has it wrong, in making much of extremely rare occurrances in early Mormon history: and I feel like reminding her of this unfairness, by resorting to a 2,000 year old example of essentially the very same attitude in the primitive Christian church, that she deplores in the Mormon church. Fair is fair. That's my motivation.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
perp

y'know, there really are too many CSI and Law & Order series these days! [Biased]
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
I am simply making a facile comparison to the accusation Mormons get of concocting their own history.

Do you really believe that God zapped the pair of them, because of something Peter said? If so, then there is no reason to accuse the Mormons of being weird, because they claim all sorts of miraculous manifestations of God's power within the church.

I don't believe Ananias and Sapphira were struck down by God's power. They were most likely rubbed out by some fanatical religious perp; and the deed was covered up by a glossing over in the written account. Just like Ross accuses the Mormons in Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's church of carrying out their "blood atonement" orders, their assassinations, etc., the early Christian church had its perps.

I think that Ross has it wrong, in making much of extremely rare occurrances in early Mormon history: and I feel like reminding her of this unfairness, by resorting to a 2,000 year old example of essentially the very same attitude in the primitive Christian church, that she deplores in the Mormon church. Fair is fair. That's my motivation.

Hello, hello, hello, what have we here?

1. I don't see why making a "facile" (your own word!) comparison is somehow an example of "fair is fair." If "That's my motivation," well... never mind. This is Purg.
2. I'm NOT ROSSWEISSE. My name is Lamb Chopped. It should be easy to remember, it's on everything I post. Why can't you answer ME, instead of taking shots at her? I was the one who posted what you answered.
3. I really don't care whether you think it happened the way the book of Acts reported. I DO think that you're pulling your assumptions about what happened out of totally thin air. If you want to do so, that's your privilege. But I can't see why an ungrounded attack on something you IMAGINE might have happened, without any evidence that your belief is in fact correct, is somehow evening the playing field.
4. Merlin my dear, if there wasn't a hell thread with your name on it already, there would be now. Not for your attacks on the Bible/Christianity/ subject of your choice, but for the grand offense you give to rhetoric. I shall now retire to hell.

[ 28. May 2007, 17:32: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
....Hello, hello, hello, what have we here?

1. I don't see why making a "facile" (your own word!) comparison is somehow an example of "fair is fair." If "That's my motivation," well... never mind. This is Purg.
2. I'm NOT ROSSWEISSE. My name is Lamb Chopped. It should be easy to remember, it's on everything I post. Why can't you answer ME, instead of taking shots at her? I was the one who posted what you answered.
3. I really don't care whether you think it happened the way the book of Acts reported. I DO think that you're pulling your assumptions about what happened out of totally thin air. If you want to do so, that's your privilege. But I can't see why an ungrounded attack on something you IMAGINE might have happened, without any evidence that your belief is in fact correct, is somehow evening the playing field.
4. Merlin my dear, if there wasn't a hell thread with your name on it already, there would be now. Not for your attacks on the Bible/Christianity/ subject of your choice, but for the grand offense you give to rhetoric. I shall now retire to hell.

1. Facile, as in easy and convenient, not superficial.

2. Not Ross!, well dog my cats, I was throwing the comparison at her without any consideration of previous reference to it with you. What exactly do you find repugnant about my comparison anyway?

3. My assumption isn't pulled out of totally thin air, when Ross, et al, say that Mormon perps are serial killers, hitmen, etc. for "the prophet". Because I read Acts and see a double murder, a man and his wife, killed for a minor infraction involving money promised to a religious sect of Judaism. It smacks EXACTLY of the scenario where B. Young makes some alleged pronouncement against an apostate trying to leave the territory, and said-apostate then disappears "mysteriously." The official Mormon history denies that anything criminal happened, and has an official version, which may (or likely will not) invlove claims of God's intervention in the affair. The point is, if Mormonism has its dark moments and characters, so too does early Christianity. That is, if both religions are founded and run by fallible men.

The evidence after 2,000 years is totally lacking. The Mormon history is fresh, almost living, memory. So Mormons get this unfair comparison to a cleaned-up Christianity: and the comparison to an ancient reality, which can only be gleaned from a cleaned-up scriptural history, is not made by anyone (so far here) but me.

4. I detest rhetoric, so couldn't care less. Logic, now, and reason and evidence, I do care a great deal about those.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Yo, Merlin, mon ami. There's a reply for you on your hell thread.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Bull pucky, Ross. ...Get with the modern program.

Sorry, Merle. Blaming the OT won't cut it for appalling theology like (for example) the whole veil-lifting thing.

McDonald's may try to present itself as a company that's concerned about its customers' health, but they're still making their money by selling grotesquely unhealthy stuff. Modern Mormonism may now let women do a few things besides have babies and make Jell-O salads, but the men are still absolutely in charge. That's the fact.
quote:
You've never admitted that you accept the denominations which predate Constantine's theft, as Christians either. The African sects, the Arabic sects, et al. Are Maronites Christians to you? They've never accepted the Roman pontiff as their spiritual leader. Coptics?...
I beg your pardon? "Never admitted" it? You've never mentioned it. Frankly, this one's over the edge in terms of your assumptions: Of course they're Christians. (If I'm not mistaken, they're now affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church for administrative purposes, but not bound by all the RCC's doctrines.) I'm not sure why you'd even ask. (And I don't accept the Roman pontiff as anything other than primus inter pares, either.)

A few Protestant denominations may claim that Roman Catholics aren't Christian; they're wrong.

How much do you know about Christianity?
quote:
There is no "blood atonement" in our religion either....

Sure there is. I trust you would consider 1984 "modern." Additionally, more recently, Mr. Hofmann senior -- a good non-fundamentalist Mormon with a Temple recommend -- reportedly told his boy the bomber that he needed to suffer blood atonement for his sins. (Mr. Hofmann junior declined.)
quote:
It is in the Bible. Paul is not talking about paganism, because he specifically applies this doctrine to the resurrection of the dead.
Nope. I'm afraid not. He's not talking about "paganism," but of a Classical world view. We went through this already.
quote:
Oh really. So, Peter wasn't carrying out "blood atonement" on Ananias and Sapphira? Paul and Peter didn't fight like cats and dogs over the gentile converts not having to become Jews?

Nope, as LC has demonstrated. We went through that already, too.

And Peter and Paul didn't send out assassins to murder one another. Yes, they argued -- but no blood was shed, and Peter came around to Paul's point of view. Again, how much do you know about Christianity?
quote:
As plurality of wives was a "secret" practice among the spiritual "elite", it is likely that nothing of the sort would appear in the limited NT writings. A lot of hints from appocryphal writings hint at various esoteric early Christian practices, which seem similar to Mormon doctrines.

What ARE you talking about? Polygamy was long gone from Judaism (along with polytheism, as it happens) by Roman times. There were no "secret" practices of the sort; that one would have been considered an abomination.

Where are you getting this information? Please give your sources. (Let me guess....one of Smith or Young's or Smith's lechery-fueled "revelations"?) Remember, "A bishop should be the husband of one wife," as in "only one wife," as in "monogamy."

And do you really think that if some 12-year-old "priesthood holder" had challenged Smith or Young with a "revelation," that he would have been taken seriously? Do you think that anyone who challenged a "prophet" would be taken seriously? Nahh, their "revelations" are just in regard to telling their wives and children what to do.
quote:
http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm
Here's a page taken at random. Are you saying that NONE of this old Webpage's sources is a reputable religious and historical scholar?

Oh, I read it on the Internet, so it must be true!

Who's Jim Walker? What are his credentials? He seems to be an atheist who has sorted through some things to pick and choose squiblets that seem to support his thesis, but they really don't.

No, we don't know who wrote the Gospels, and some of the epistles attributed to Paul are almost certainly by other hands. That doesn't mean Jesus never lived. Mr. Walker hasn't found any reputable scholars who say that. Elaine Pagels and John Shelby Spong question a lot of things (frequently while on a hunt for headlines and book sales), but not the existence of Jesus.
quote:
...For the same reasons that any religion winds up telling its own history in preference an outsider doing the job.

And this has nothing to do with the issue at all: you seem to think that your own denomination's outrages can mean nothing, yet Mormon history condemns it.

I don't know of any Christian denominations that have been allowed to "tell their own history" without input -- sometimes vitriolic -- from their critics. I don't know of any Christian denomination that frantically tries to control history and reinvent itself on a regular basis.

Christians aren't perfect. Human beings do bad things, and sometimes they claim they're doing them in the name of God. However, if you'll tell me which of my "own denomination's outrages" you have in mind, perhaps I can address them.
quote:
And that's ALL?! Here is this Rabbi claiming to be the "Son" of Jehovah. An impossibility if there is no justification in citing the Pslamist for a legit claim. Why bring up a bogus meaning of the scripture if it doesn't prove Jesus' point? ...
First of all, there's no such critter as "Jehovah." That name is a corruption of YHWH ("Yahweh"). I'm not sure what else you're trying to say here.
quote:
...How, I wonder, do they justify their "branch" of Christianity being healthy, if it came from a corrupt "tree?"
It's too bad that all Christians can't agree on all things. On the other hand, we know that all Mormons haven't agreed on all things, given all the breakaway Mormon sects that have proliferated in the relatively short time since Smith announced himself as a prophet.

And then how can you justify Mormonism given the corruption of its "tree's" roots? You hate it when I bring up history (and for good reason), but you know them by their roots as well as their fruits -- and Mormonism's roots are pretty corrupt.

And now I have to leave this discussion for a while -- I have a serious family crisis going on, and I don't have the time or energy for debate just now. (See the prayer thread if you're interested.) See you later.

Ross
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
...Judeo-Christian attitude, illustrated by Paul's injunction that women should cover their heads and remain silent in church, etc. ...

One Last Post: Actually, that bit about being silent appears in different places in different early manuscripts. Additionally, it's spang in the middle of a section in which Paul is strongly praising women who very clearly do NOT remain silent in church.

The conclusion, as you will have recognized, is that it is almost certainly an interpolation by a later editor.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Bull pucky, Ross. ...Get with the modern program.

quote:
Sorry, Merle. Blaming the OT won't cut it for appalling theology like (for example) the whole veil-lifting thing.
OT, includes the Ten Commandments, you know, part of THAT Law that Jesus said he had come to "fulfil" but not do away with. Something that "gentile" Christians gloss over for over 2,000 years now. Looks to me, like Judeo-Christianity should be insisting that wives not following their husbands is rank rebellion and apostasy.

quote:
....Modern Mormonism may now let women do a few things besides have babies and make Jell-O salads, but the men are still absolutely in charge. That's the fact.
A few things. Right. Like voting before American women could. Like owning property outright as the head of any household. Like having exactly the same rights as individuals in society as men. The ONLY thing they can't do is hold priesthood leadership positions within the church org. Non Mormons in the same community have exactly the same rights as Mormons. The only difference is that they are not part of the org. Family life and community status have nothing directly to do with the church org: it holds no POWER over anyone.

quote:
You've never admitted that you accept the denominations which predate Constantine's theft, as Christians either. The African sects, the Arabic sects, et al. Are Maronites Christians to you? They've never accepted the Roman pontiff as their spiritual leader. Coptics?...
quote:
I beg your pardon? "Never admitted" it? You've never mentioned it. Frankly, this one's over the edge in terms of your assumptions: Of course they're Christians. (If I'm not mistaken, they're now affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church for administrative purposes, but not bound by all the RCC's doctrines.) I'm not sure why you'd even ask. (And I don't accept the Roman pontiff as anything other than primus inter pares, either.)
Sorry. I got too oblique it seems. When you make such dogmatic claims prohibiting Mormons from being recognized as ANY sort of Christian, I make references to the earlier denominations of Christianity which have never been part of the RCC. I never heard you say that they are not Christians, which seems like a double standard to me. And you are saying that they ARE Christians. I want to know why. Since their doctrines and scriptures and org do not descend from nor partake of the Roman persuasion (from which your denomination derives as part of Protestantism.

And no, afaik, most or all of these eastern Christian denominations do not acknowledge any authority of the Roman pontiff over their affairs.

quote:
A few Protestant denominations may claim that Roman Catholics aren't Christian; they're wrong.
I agree. Logically that is impossible, for an offshoot to claim that the "tree" isn't authentic. But that's the whole original schtick with Protestant sects: they originally broke away because the RCC was the antiChrist. When did this change? And if so, why do the Prots continue to remain aloof? If the RCC has gained favor, then why remain apart at all?

quote:
How much do you know about Christianity?
Some. A lot of people I know say I know a lot. I don't think I know that much.

quote:
There is no "blood atonement" in our religion either....

quote:
Sure there is. I trust you would consider 1984 "modern." Additionally, more recently, Mr. Hofmann senior -- a good non-fundamentalist Mormon with a Temple recommend -- reportedly told his boy the bomber that he needed to suffer blood atonement for his sins. (Mr. Hofmann junior declined.)
For heavensakes. Any MEMBER can say or believe whatever s/he chooses. That doesn't make it doctrine. And the Laffertys are FLDS types, not LDS.

I have in front of me a little book called "Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage." It is authored by "Elder Joseph F. Smith Jr" (better known as Joseph Fielding Smith), son of then-president of the LDS church, Joseph F. Smith, and future president of the LDS church. The publishing date is 1905. The booklet is a reprint of a newspaper exchange between Smith and a Mr. R. C. Evans, then-second counselor in the presidency of the RLDS church. Evans accused the LDS church of having practiced (and still believing in) Blood Atonement: "This doctrine was introduced by Brigham Young", and that it meant "death to anyone who left the Church .... that the apostate whose throat was cut from ear to ear .... saved his soul."

To which Smith replied: "Why you made this statement you best know; but were you not aware that it was but the repetition of the ravings of enemies of the Church, without one grain of truth? Did you not know that not a single individual was ever 'blood atoned', as you are pleased to call it, for apostasy or any other cause? Were you not aware, in repeating this false charge, that it was made by the most bitter enemies of the Church before the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith? Do you know anyone whose blood was ever shed by the command of the Church, or members thereof, to 'save his soul?'"...."The Latter-day Saints believe in the efficacy of the blood of Christ. They believe that through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel they obtain a remission of sins; but this could not be if Christ had not died for them. If you did believe in blood atonement, I might ask you why the blood of Christ was shed? and in whose stead was it shed? I might ask you to explain the words of Paul: 'Without shedding of blood is no remission."...."Are you aware that there are certain sins that man may commit for which the atoning blood of Christ does not avail? Do you not know, too, that this doctrine is taught in the Book of Mormon? And is not this further reason why you should discard the Book as well as the name? Is it not safe for us to rely upon the scriptures for the solution of problems of this kind?"

Smith then quotes from 2 Nephi 9:35, Alma 1:13,14, and Alma 42:19. Then from the Bible: Genesis 9:12,13; Luke 11:50 Hebrews 9:22; and Hebrews 10:26-29; 1 John 3:15 and 5:16. Then from the Doctrine and Covenants, 87:7; 101:80; 42:18,19,79. He shows that capital punishment is the law of the State of Utah for murder: "this law, which is now the law of the State, granted unto the condemned murderer the privilege of choosing for himself whether he die by hanging, or whether he be shot, and thus have his blood shed in harmony with the law of God; and thus atone, so far as it is in his power to atone, for the death of his victim. Almost without exception the condemned party chooses the latter death. This is by the authority of the law of the land, not that of the Church. This law was placed on the statutes through the efforts of the 'Mormon' legislators, and grants to the accused the right of jury trial. It is from this that the vile charge, which you are pleased to repeat, has been maliciously misconstrued by the enemies of the Church, who prefer to believe a lie. When men accuse the Church of practicing 'blood atonement' on those who deny the faith, or, for that matter, on any living creature, they know that they bear false witness, and they shall stand condemned before the judgment seat of God."

A rebuttal by Evans followed, in which he quoted copiously from B. Young, et al, on "blood atonement". In Smith's rebuttals to those quotations, he showed how Evans had taken them out of context, and disproved all his accusations and "evidence". Smith reiterated exactly what "blood atonement" is in church doctrine:

"Unadulterated if you please, laying aside pernicious insinuations and lying charges that have so often been made. It is simply this: Through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. This salvation is two-fold: General, -- that which comes to all men irrespective of a belief in Christ -- and Individual, -- that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. But man can commit certain grievous sins -- according to his light and knowledge -- that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone -- so far as in his power lies -- for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under circumstances will not avail."

quote:
It is in the Bible. Paul is not talking about paganism, because he specifically applies this doctrine to the resurrection of the dead.
quote:
Nope. I'm afraid not. He's not talking about "paganism," but of a Classical world view. We went through this already.
And just what in heck is "a Classical world view", if not PAGAN? If Paul sums up with "so also is the resurrection of the dead", etc. He is NOT talking about an incorrect "classical world view."

quote:
Oh really. So, Peter wasn't carrying out "blood atonement" on Ananias and Sapphira? Paul and Peter didn't fight like cats and dogs over the gentile converts not having to become Jews?

quote:
Nope, as LC has demonstrated. We went through that already, too.
To what purpose? So that you can side-step the evidence that early Christianity is a lot like your denigrating view of Mormonism? I give biblical quotations of its doctrines, of its history; show that they are very alike, and you only say, "we went through that already."

quote:
And Peter and Paul didn't send out assassins to murder one another. Yes, they argued -- but no blood was shed, and Peter came around to Paul's point of view. Again, how much do you know about Christianity?
Enough to know that Mormonism a lot more LIKE than different from "it." Mormonism resembles early Christianity in ways that "orthodoxy" has drifted far from. The Ananias and Sapphira deaths sure look like what you accuse Smith and Young of doing. But in fact, Utah was never a "field of blood" as Mr Evans (and you) accuse the church of perpetrating (I am associating you with the links you've provided before). I cannot come up with a single example in Mormon history to compare to the face to face deaths of Ananias and his wife. Can you? Oh yeah, the links to spurious rumors, STILL continued today by people who believe the enemies of the church over its own peoples' testimonies.

Look, there were enemies, apostates and non Mormons, living in Utah territory the entire time that Mormons "in good standing" were. They did not disappear mysteriously; they were not "blood atoned" or assassinated. You are duped by lies to keep making the same unfounded accusations.

quote:
As plurality of wives was a "secret" practice among the spiritual "elite", it is likely that nothing of the sort would appear in the limited NT writings. A lot of hints from appocryphal writings hint at various esoteric early Christian practices, which seem similar to Mormon doctrines.


quote:
What ARE you talking about? Polygamy was long gone from Judaism (along with polytheism, as it happens) by Roman times. There were no "secret" practices of the sort; that one would have been considered an abomination.
Similar rites to those of the Mormon temple, prayer circles, etc., are shown in the various apocryphal writings of the early Christian period. Polygamy would not have been admitted openly. I am not saying that it was a legit Christian doctrine; but I feel safe in claiming (without going to look this up) that some sectaries practiced it, and a lot of other "non Christian" stuff besides. If the Cathars of Southern France went for that sort stuff, you can bet that earlier Christians did at least as much.

quote:
Where are you getting this information? Please give your sources. (Let me guess....one of Smith or Young's or Smith's lechery-fueled "revelations"?) Remember, "A bishop should be the husband of one wife," as in "only one wife," as in "monogamy."
True, and openly Smith denied anything like plurality of wives. To the end, he lied and claimed that he has always taught that a man should have only one wife.

After I get off here, I will go look for some sources for early Christianity's "oddball" practices.

quote:
And do you really think that if some 12-year-old "priesthood holder" had challenged Smith or Young with a "revelation," that he would have been taken seriously? Do you think that anyone who challenged a "prophet" would be taken seriously? Nahh, their "revelations" are just in regard to telling their wives and children what to do.
Do you think that Stephen had authority to tell Peter what to do? Was Stephen any less gifted with revelation?

quote:
http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm
Here's a page taken at random. Are you saying that NONE of this old Webpage's sources is a reputable religious and historical scholar?

quote:
Oh, I read it on the Internet, so it must be true!

Who's Jim Walker? What are his credentials? He seems to be an atheist who has sorted through some things to pick and choose squiblets that seem to support his thesis, but they really don't.

I wasn't referring to the author of the Webpage; but to his source material. Entire books authored by others. I asked if there are not any reputable scholars in that rather lengthy list of books.

quote:
No, we don't know who wrote the Gospels, and some of the epistles attributed to Paul are almost certainly by other hands. That doesn't mean Jesus never lived.
You're starting to preach to the choir now. I am NOT one of those who says Jesus never lived at all. I believe that the later religious claims surrounding the growth of the religion are fabricated and exaggerated. But Jesus lived. Exactly what he was is and will always remain arguable. But other scholars can give reasons why they even doubt his existence at all.

quote:
Mr. Walker hasn't found any reputable scholars who say that. Elaine Pagels and John Shelby Spong question a lot of things (frequently while on a hunt for headlines and book sales), but not the existence of Jesus.
Fair enough. I am not interested enough in providing a reputable scholar, even one, to show that there are "plenty" of them who doubt Jesus' very existence. We can drop this.

quote:
...For the same reasons that any religion winds up telling its own history in preference an outsider doing the job.

And this has nothing to do with the issue at all: you seem to think that your own denomination's outrages can mean nothing, yet Mormon history condemns it.

quote:
I don't know of any Christian denominations that have been allowed to "tell their own history" without input -- sometimes vitriolic -- from their critics. I don't know of any Christian denomination that frantically tries to control history and reinvent itself on a regular basis.
Just the lot, imho. But you and I are contributing, in some small way, to the "writing" of Mormon history. The critics have been breathing down Mormonism's neck from the getgo. The first anti-Mormon book, complete with affidavits of witnesses, was published two years after the LDS church was legally organized. There hasn't been a letup since. That doesn't stop any religion from continuing to issue its own "faith promoting" version of history. Christianity at large does this constantly.

Look at any Muslim flack over the crusades: if it means admitting that "we" were wrong, and had no justification in responding to their jihad through crusade, i.e. admitting that "Christianity" is wrong, ergo, Islam is right, then watch and see how Christian historians will fight to keep from admitting that. It's because such an admission isn't justified by the whole historical picture. Extremists on both sides will paint the other religion black, through a slanted version of history. It's just part of being a human religious bigot.

quote:
Christians aren't perfect. Human beings do bad things, and sometimes they claim they're doing them in the name of God. However, if you'll tell me which of my "own denomination's outrages" you have in mind, perhaps I can address them.
I am reading at this time, a book on the period 1389 to 1699: the crux of which is all about the rise of Protestantism in England. The entire "mess" is so steeped in politics and intrigue and factionalism as to render religion, "English style", thoroughly unreliable, if one is seeking genuine oracles. I don't care. People do the best they can with what they are given. Mormons are no different: no better (despite their fundamentalist claims otherwise), and certainly no worse. That is the only point I was making to you, by referring to what your religious history is like.

quote:
And that's ALL?! Here is this Rabbi claiming to be the "Son" of Jehovah. An impossibility if there is no justification in citing the Psalmist for a legit claim. Why bring up a bogus meaning of the scripture if it doesn't prove Jesus' point? ...
quote:
First of all, there's no such critter as "Jehovah." That name is a corruption of YHWH ("Yahweh"). I'm not sure what else you're trying to say here.
Why did I know that if I let "Jehovah" stand, that that's all you would notice? I was tempted to go with YHWH, but live and learn.

You don't get it? Jesus quotes David, his progenitor, saying we are gods and children of the Most High: in order to justify his use of "Son of God". If the Psalm was incorrect doctrine, then Jesus would not have resorted to it as a direct justification of his assumed title.

quote:
...How, I wonder, do they justify their "branch" of Christianity being healthy, if it came from a corrupt "tree?"
quote:
It's too bad that all Christians can't agree on all things. On the other hand, we know that all Mormons haven't agreed on all things, given all the breakaway Mormon sects that have proliferated in the relatively short time since Smith announced himself as a prophet.
You really think that primitive Christianity had not broken up into literally hundreds if not thousands of sects after nearly 200 years?

quote:
And then how can you justify Mormonism given the corruption of its "tree's" roots? You hate it when I bring up history (and for good reason), but you know them by their roots as well as their fruits -- and Mormonism's roots are pretty corrupt.
I don't hate it when you bring up history. I take exception to your bringing up what I know to be enemy-originated "history."

I don't justify anything. To me, ALL religions are exactly alike together: corrupt, fallible, manmade, and wonderful. Why do so many people (I was there, once) think that their "brand" is the ONE that God loves most?

quote:
And now I have to leave this discussion for a while -- I have a serious family crisis going on, and I don't have the time or energy for debate just now. (See the prayer thread if you're interested.) See you later.

Ross

I know about family crises. And I am interested. I will head on over to the prayer thread at once.
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
OT, includes the Ten Commandments, you know, part of THAT Law that Jesus said he had come to "fulfil" but not do away with. Something that "gentile" Christians gloss over for over 2,000 years now. Looks to me, like Judeo-Christianity should be insisting that wives not following their husbands is rank rebellion and apostasy.

Where in the 10 commandments is wives following their husbands? Do not commit adultery is in there, but that's the only one concerning marriage. (Well, maybe Do not covet...)

quote:
Sorry. I got too oblique it seems. When you make such dogmatic claims prohibiting Mormons from being recognized as ANY sort of Christian, I make references to the earlier denominations of Christianity which have never been part of the RCC. I never heard you say that they are not Christians, which seems like a double standard to me. And you are saying that they ARE Christians. I want to know why. Since their doctrines and scriptures and org do not descend from nor partake of the Roman persuasion (from which your denomination derives as part of Protestantism.

And no, afaik, most or all of these eastern Christian denominations do not acknowledge any authority of the Roman pontiff over their affairs.



Why are you deciding that the RCC is the original "Christian Church"? The Eastern Orthodox have a legitimate claim to be the original, as much as Western thought doesn't like the idea, historically they have as good of a claim as the RCC, if not better...


quote:
quote:
As plurality of wives was a "secret" practice among the spiritual "elite", it is likely that nothing of the sort would appear in the limited NT writings. A lot of hints from appocryphal writings hint at various esoteric early Christian practices, which seem similar to Mormon doctrines.


quote:
What ARE you talking about? Polygamy was long gone from Judaism (along with polytheism, as it happens) by Roman times. There were no "secret" practices of the sort; that one would have been considered an abomination.
Similar rites to those of the Mormon temple, prayer circles, etc., are shown in the various apocryphal writings of the early Christian period. Polygamy would not have been admitted openly. I am not saying that it was a legit Christian doctrine; but I feel safe in claiming (without going to look this up) that some sectaries practiced it, and a lot of other "non Christian" stuff besides. If the Cathars of Southern France went for that sort stuff, you can bet that earlier Christians did at least as much.


Huh? What writings? Can you back this up, because this is the first I have heard of it. And I don't consider the Cathars of France as Early Christians. Early Christians are the one before the split between East and West in my opinion.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Where in the 10 commandments is wives following their husbands? Do not commit adultery is in there, but that's the only one concerning marriage. (Well, maybe Do not covet...)

The NT teachings of Paul about female subservience are not spun out of thin air. They are founded on the existing culture, which was predominantly Jewish. Any reading of the OT shows women taking the secondary role to men, starting with Mother Eve.

quote:

Why are you deciding that the RCC is the original "Christian Church"? The Eastern Orthodox have a legitimate claim to be the original, as much as Western thought doesn't like the idea, historically they have as good of a claim as the RCC, if not better...

I'm not deciding anything. The RCC claims to be the original back to Peter. Other denominations take exception, of course. But Ross's denomination, and all Protestants, derive from the RCC. Therefore, they cannot be correct in their definition of who or what is "Christian", if the RCC is wrong: it was the RCC which gave us the Nicean Creed, etc.

I read somewhere, that the English church actually can show an apostolic succession independent of the Roman one, ergo, they do have a "legit" claim to independence which they have argued from since Henry VIII.

quote:
Similar rites to those of the Mormon temple, prayer circles, etc., are shown in the various apocryphal writings of the early Christian period. Polygamy would not have been admitted openly. I am not saying that it was a legit Christian doctrine; but I feel safe in claiming (without going to look this up) that some sectaries practiced it, and a lot of other "non Christian" stuff besides. If the Cathars of Southern France went for that sort stuff, you can bet that earlier Christians did at least as much.


quote:
Huh? What writings? Can you back this up, because this is the first I have heard of it.
The Mormon temple endowment includes a "play" enacting the creation of the world, the planning before the world came to be, the relationship of the first man to God, the classic battle between good and evil in the beginning. The early prayer circle is replicated in the Mormon temple. Some of the sources showing this stuff existed at the time of early Christianity, and before are given and expounded upon in the works of Hugh Nibley: especially the FARMS collection of his works, in the two volumes entitled "Mormonism and Early Christianity", and, "Temple and Cosmos." Nibley covers the connections to and origins of such things as: the temple drama, the creation motif, the combat, the archaic background, work for the dead, the ancient significance of the veil, the early Christian prayer circle, and temple vestments, etc.

quote:
And I don't consider the Cathars of France as Early Christians. Early Christians are the one before the split between East and West in my opinion.
I referenced the Cathars simply to show that "oddball" doctrines are capable of arising at any time, based on perceived legitimacy from the writings/traditions of early Christianity.
 
Posted by doctor-frog (# 2860) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
I'm not deciding anything. The RCC claims to be the original back to Peter. Other denominations take exception, of course. But Ross's denomination, and all Protestants, derive from the RCC. Therefore, they cannot be correct in their definition of who or what is "Christian", if the RCC is wrong: it was the RCC which gave us the Nicean Creed, etc.

not quite so.

for the sake of factual accuracy, the RCC and the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox (Copts, Armenians, etc.) are all unequivocally spawned from the ancient unified Church that gave us Nicaea, and each of them have an equally valid claim to being the 'original' Church. They all claim, with exactly the same pedigree, to 'go back to Peter' (and every one of the other apostles), but Rome claims more overall authority for the Petrine See than the others will allow for (hence, the disputes and eventual splits).

Ross's denomination (and mine) is arguably not Protestant in the continental (and usual North American) sense. Although that particular discussion is one for the DH boards.

Our apostolic succession, which is of questionable pedigree in Rome's eyes, but which does indeed go 'back to Peter' et al., goes through the RCC primarily, though there may be several Eastern and Old Catholic strands that have come in over the years.
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Where in the 10 commandments is wives following their husbands? Do not commit adultery is in there, but that's the only one concerning marriage. (Well, maybe Do not covet...)

The NT teachings of Paul about female subservience are not spun out of thin air. They are founded on the existing culture, which was predominantly Jewish. Any reading of the OT shows women taking the secondary role to men, starting with Mother Eve.


You said that the secondary role of women were in the OT including the 10 Commandments. I was asking where in the 10 Commandments you were reading that. Paul did not write the 10 Commandments, but was interpreting the OT for the Early Christians. And he didn't mention the 10 Commandments at all, as far as I know...

quote:
I'm not deciding anything. The RCC claims to be the original back to Peter. Other denominations take exception, of course. But Ross's denomination, and all Protestants, derive from the RCC. Therefore, they cannot be correct in their definition of who or what is "Christian", if the RCC is wrong: it was the RCC which gave us the Nicean Creed, etc.

I read somewhere, that the English church actually can show an apostolic succession independent of the Roman one, ergo, they do have a "legit" claim to independence which they have argued from since Henry VIII.



The RCC did not "give" us the Nicene Creed. The Early Church, before the split between East and West, did. The Ecumenical council of the church wrote the creed in order to define what was Christian and what was not.

quote:
The Mormon temple endowment includes a "play" enacting the creation of the world, the planning before the world came to be, the relationship of the first man to God, the classic battle between good and evil in the beginning. The early prayer circle is replicated in the Mormon temple. Some of the sources showing this stuff existed at the time of early Christianity, and before are given and expounded upon in the works of Hugh Nibley: especially the FARMS collection of his works, in the two volumes entitled "Mormonism and Early Christianity", and, "Temple and Cosmos." Nibley covers the connections to and origins of such things as: the temple drama, the creation motif, the combat, the archaic background, work for the dead, the ancient significance of the veil, the early Christian prayer circle, and temple vestments, etc.


Considering how many sects claim that they know what happened in the Christian church at its founding, I would need someone other than a Mormon theologian to back up that claim. Just like I would need someone other than a Baptist theologian to back up that they come directly from the Early Christian church...

quote:
I referenced the Cathars simply to show that "oddball" doctrines are capable of arising at any time, based on perceived legitimacy from the writings/traditions of early Christianity.
Yep. And I'm afraid that you will have to prove, just like any other sect, that you haven't made stuff up either.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Where in the 10 commandments is wives following their husbands? Do not commit adultery is in there, but that's the only one concerning marriage. (Well, maybe Do not covet...)

The NT teachings of Paul about female subservience are not spun out of thin air. They are founded on the existing culture, which was predominantly Jewish. Any reading of the OT shows women taking the secondary role to men, starting with Mother Eve.


You said that the secondary role of women were in the OT including the 10 Commandments. I was asking where in the 10 Commandments you were reading that. Paul did not write the 10 Commandments, but was interpreting the OT for the Early Christians. And he didn't mention the 10 Commandments at all, as far as I know...

My reference to the 10 Commandments was to show that the "Law" was still in force: Christ did not dump it, he fulfilled it. Therefore, the cultural subservience of women was not changing. I didn't mean to claim that there is something mentioned about THAT in the 10 Commandments.

quote:
I'm not deciding anything. The RCC claims to be the original back to Peter. Other denominations take exception, of course. But Ross's denomination, and all Protestants, derive from the RCC. Therefore, they cannot be correct in their definition of who or what is "Christian", if the RCC is wrong: it was the RCC which gave us the Nicean Creed, etc.

I read somewhere, that the English church actually can show an apostolic succession independent of the Roman one, ergo, they do have a "legit" claim to independence which they have argued from since Henry VIII.



quote:
The RCC did not "give" us the Nicene Creed. The Early Church, before the split between East and West, did. The Ecumenical council of the church wrote the creed in order to define what was Christian and what was not.
Of course this is true, and I have been corrected by Doc Frog. The RCC, et al the other denominations, gave us the Creed; since, as you say, there had not been a split yet with the other patriarchies. It doesn't change what I meant to say, however: that early Christianity split along doctrinal differences, and that means that since then they have upheld different reasons for remaining separated. Which has included mutual excommunications and claims that the "other" is "antiChrist", etc. AntiChrist cannot be Christian.

I am aware, that the Anglican church considered itself "Catholic" in every particular, except following the Roman pope. But its subsequent behavior was clearly Protestant, and the 17th century saw Protestant influences to the CofE which changed its original character as "the Catholic Church in England." Papists completely lost control of the CofE in the process, and have remained ever since, RCC. I think the distinction between the Anglicans and other Protestants is a very fine line that probably only they recognize.

quote:
The Mormon temple endowment includes a "play" enacting the creation of the world, the planning before the world came to be, the relationship of the first man to God, the classic battle between good and evil in the beginning. The early prayer circle is replicated in the Mormon temple. Some of the sources showing this stuff existed at the time of early Christianity, and before are given and expounded upon in the works of Hugh Nibley: especially the FARMS collection of his works, in the two volumes entitled "Mormonism and Early Christianity", and, "Temple and Cosmos." Nibley covers the connections to and origins of such things as: the temple drama, the creation motif, the combat, the archaic background, work for the dead, the ancient significance of the veil, the early Christian prayer circle, and temple vestments, etc.


quote:
Considering how many sects claim that they know what happened in the Christian church at its founding, I would need someone other than a Mormon theologian to back up that claim. Just like I would need someone other than a Baptist theologian to back up that they come directly from the Early Christian church...
Well, Nibley's particular talent was researching the original documents mainly through the previous copious studies of the eminent doctors of theology in the 19th century: dudes that I have never personally read, but Nibley's quoting of them and referencing their work clearly shows that he is not simply some "Mormon theologian." You would need to check out those books yourself, in order to be able to tell if you can agree on Nibley's use of the original sources and the non Mormon scholars that he cites. He is, of course, a Mormon apologist. But I accept that most of his work doesn't need any apologetics itself: he was an honest man pursuing the truth.

quote:
I referenced the Cathars simply to show that "oddball" doctrines are capable of arising at any time, based on perceived legitimacy from the writings/traditions of early Christianity.
quote:
Yep. And I'm afraid that you will have to prove, just like any other sect, that you haven't made stuff up either.
You know, that was Hugh Nibley's life-long work: to prove exactly that.

[ 29. May 2007, 22:28: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Looks to me, like Judeo-Christianity should be insisting that wives not following their husbands is rank rebellion and apostasy.

Nope. You're mistaken: it's not in the Big 10.
quote:
A few things. Right. Like voting before American women could. ...
As ordered by their husbands.
quote:
Sorry. I got too oblique it seems. When you make such dogmatic claims prohibiting Mormons from being recognized as ANY sort of Christian, I make references to the earlier denominations of Christianity which have never been part of the RCC. I never heard you say that they are not Christians, which seems like a double standard to me. And you are saying that they ARE Christians. I want to know why. ...
What does the RCC have to do with anything? I'm not a Roman Catholic, and Orthodoxy is really the "original." Besides, they all subscribe to the Creeds. No double standard here.
quote:
...But that's the whole original schtick with Protestant sects: they originally broke away because the RCC was the antiChrist....
Nope. Please read some Church history.
quote:
Some. A lot of people I know say I know a lot. I don't think I know that much.
Nor do I think you know very much about it, I'm afraid.
quote:
...It is from this that the vile charge, which you are pleased to repeat, has been maliciously misconstrued by the enemies of the Church, who prefer to believe a lie. ...
You're entitled to your opinion, but it doesn't stand up to the facts of history or the present day -- as I've already demonstrated. And Christians, of course, do not believe that there's ANYTHING that can place us "beyond the atoning blood of Christ."
quote:
And just what in heck is "a Classical world view", if not PAGAN? If Paul sums up with "so also is the resurrection of the dead", etc. He is NOT talking about an incorrect "classical world view."

I suggest you look it up: it's a view of how the universe is structured, not of gods. And Paul is using it as an example, not as a theology.
quote:
To what purpose? So that you can side-step the evidence that early Christianity is a lot like your denigrating view of Mormonism?
I'm sorry, but your statement makes no sense.
quote:
Enough to know that Mormonism a lot more LIKE than different from "it." Mormonism resembles early Christianity in ways that "orthodoxy" has drifted far from.

No, that's the Mormon organization attempting to rewrite history in order to mislead people. Mormonism is nothing like early Christianity -- or late Christianity, for that matter. We never did have murderers acting under orders from "prophets" (and Christians don't believe in "latter-day prophets"), either.
quote:
Similar rites to those of the Mormon temple, prayer circles, etc., are shown in the various apocryphal writings of the early Christian period. Polygamy would not have been admitted openly.
Polygamy was never practiced in orthodox Christian circles. That's just absurd. So is the rest of this fiction about "temple rites;" Masonry hadn't been invented then. You really need to show a legitimate, non-Mormon source for these outlandish statements -- but I very much doubt you'll find one.
quote:
...We can drop this.
Thank you.
quote:
You don't get it?...
No -- you don't. Please reread my post.
quote:
I don't hate it when you bring up history. I take exception to your bringing up what I know to be enemy-originated "history." ...Why do so many people (I was there, once) think that their "brand" is the ONE that God loves most?
You have not been able to disprove a single point that I have made about Mormon history; your best response is to tell me to "get with the modern program." People who publish the truth are not "enemies" of God.

And I've never claimed that God "loves (Christianity) most," although my testimony to you is that Jesus Christ is Lord, and the Book of Mormon is the work of a corrupt and foolish man. My theme throughout this discussion has simply been that Mormonism is not Christian. Period.

Ross
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
The NT teachings of Paul about female subservience are not spun out of thin air.

As already demonstrated, they are almost certainly interpolations into the original Pauline texts, or by later pseudo-Pauline authors. You want authentic Paul? Galatians 3:28 says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
quote:
...Some of the sources showing this stuff existed at the time of early Christianity, and before are given and expounded upon in the works of Hugh Nibley...
I'm afraid that Hugh Nibley is a notorious liar. Here's just one citation; search the site for more evidence of Nibley's attempts to rewrite history.

Ross
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
Merlin, I'm not quite sure why you keep bringing up the Anglican church...

I'm a member of the TEC. A part of the Anglican communion that may (or may not) be thrown out in the next, er, year? (It all depends upon one's point of view)

I am not claiming and have never claimed to belong to the "correct" Christian church. I do believe that I belong to the sect that meets my spiritual needs. (My mother often comments that no other church would have me. [Biased] ) I believe that there are many many sects that are well and truly Christian. They just aren't for me.

I believe that the sect I currently belong to is doing the best that it can to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures. I don't believe that we do things exactly the way that the Early Christians did. And I'm not sure that would be the best way today.

What is good for one may not be good for all.

From what I can find on Nibley from what I would take as unbiased sources (of which I have found very few), it seems that he reads into "source" material what he wants to see. And when someone starts quoting the Gnostics as true Christians, I get very concerned.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I would also have some serious concerns about anyone who claims to research the early church through the studies of 19th century scholars. I mean, really. It's not that hard to learn Greek and Latin. I did it! Go to the original sources.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Oh, and since we're hauling out denomination references, I'm not C of E either. I'm Lutheran.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Merlin, I'm not quite sure why you keep bringing up the Anglican church

Because I know Ross is Anglican, and I am just trying to *slap* some sense into her (futile though it has been), by making comparisons between her persuasion and Mormonism. They are not that different: both dogmatic, with hardline views on what is and isn't bonafide Christianity. Members and leaders of both view the other askance.

....
quote:
I don't believe that we do things exactly the way that the Early Christians did. And I'm not sure that would be the best way today.

What is good for one may not be good for all.

This is a good attitude. I agree completely. One's choice of religious association is made according to personal needs. If it isn't, then we are bowing to family or social pressure, which is never a good thing.

quote:
From what I can find on Nibley from what I would take as unbiased sources (of which I have found very few), it seems that he reads into "source" material what he wants to see. And when someone starts quoting the Gnostics as true Christians, I get very concerned.
That's just it: Nibley was interested in reading anything he could get his teeth into. There is evidence in the Gnostic writings; and he pulled it out. Anyone looking for evidence is already looking to make a case. If the sources can make it, then good enough. Another will look at the very same material and come up with their case too. Thus, Ross sees that Nibley is a "notorious liar." (And Christ was a madman, in league with Satan, or was Beelzebub himself. Joseph Smith was a simple con artist; wave your hand, and it all goes away. End of discussion.)
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Um, Rossweisse is in the United States. Therefore NOT Anglican, if I understand correctly.

Now, if we can drag your attention away from Ross for just a moment...

"Anyone looking for evidence is already seeking to make a case."

If you mean by that,

"Anyone looking for evidence has already made up his mind, and is only looking for ways to shore up that preconceived notion,"

then I'm wasting my time here. (Y'all in the peanut gallery: I KNOW. I've just got a little free time on my hands, K?) [Razz]
 
Posted by chicklegirl (# 11741) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Um, Rossweisse is in the United States. Therefore NOT Anglican, if I understand correctly.

I’ve been sitting on my hands for the last few minutes in a futile attempt to stifle the urge to type something semi-snarky. But the small irony here is too delicious to pass by unremarked.

According to Ross’s profile, she is a “hardcore Anglican”.

So unless being Anglican is another one of those situations (like claiming to be Christian) in which one is not allowed to self-identify unless one lives in the “correct” country or believes in the “correct” Jesus, you may have to admit that Merlin is actually… correct. At least, about which church Ross belongs to...
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
(Says Lamb Chopped, mildly):

I've no problem with admitting I was wrong. Or that Merlin was right, for that matter. As I mentioned, I'm a Lutheran, and I don't know the ins and outs of the Anglican communion. So I'll chalk that up as something else learned today.
 
Posted by chicklegirl (# 11741) on :
 
LC, you are truly lamb-like in your mildness. And I didn't mean that in a personal way; I just found it all rather amusing.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
<anglican tangent>
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Merlin, I'm not quite sure why you keep bringing up the Anglican church

... They are not that different: both dogmatic, with hardline views on what is and isn't bonafide Christianity. Members and leaders of both view the other askance.
Based on what I have read on the Ship, the few Anglicans who have expressed hardline views on what is/isn't Christianity are mostly Anglicans in a particular diocese in a particular country. (That should be enough hints.) So I don't think that's a fair observation the Anglican church or its members as a whole (although this thread might lead one to think otherwise). OliviaG (not Anglican, as if it needed to be said)
</anglicans>
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Thanks. I've always wondered, in fact, what the differences were between Anglicans, Episcopalians, etc. etc. If it's anything like as complicated as the Lutheran situation, it'll take practically being born into it to comprehend!
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Thanks. I've always wondered, in fact, what the differences were between Anglicans, Episcopalians, etc. etc. If it's anything like as complicated as the Lutheran situation, it'll take practically being born into it to comprehend!

The same is oh-so-true of Mormonism as well. That is perhaps the foundation of my annoyance with Ross's, et al. attitude toward Mormons, vis-a-vis "they are not Christians." She bases her decision on a brief brush with Mormon missionaries (and demonstrably ignorant ones at that), and a couple of prejudiced readings of the Book of Mormon ("soporific", I believe she called it: while accurate in a way, it is obvious she was not reading to learn about the book, but to confirm a judgment she already had about it), and continued "study" into why the religion is not going to pass muster as "Christian." She thinks of herself as expert enough in Mormonism to make these judgments from the outside.

In my life-long experience, I have not met even ONE person who studied the Mormon church who knew what they were talking about when they make critical observations about it. Because they are always judging what they see from the perspective of an outsider, with preconceptions and prejudices. It is inescapable.

Now that I am no longer "in" the church, that is to say, a believing member, I can view its doctrines, scripture, dogmatic claims to exclusive priesthood authority and revelation, and history, with complete neutrality. I take ALL religions as pieces of the same puzzle: none of them holding a candle over another. And that makes my view more trustworthy from the getgo than that of any apologist or critic of the church. I am very well informed about the church: both as a life-long member of it, and a student of it. But I have no axe to grind, and no motivation to justify the unjustifiable.

I will be the last person to say anything about living as a CofE member, or any other Christian denomination: because, in spite of any study I do, I have never lived within the culture and society of said-denomination. It takes that kind of intimacy, in order to be able to judge the attributes of religion.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Me: In my life-long experience, I have not met even ONE person who studied the Mormon church who knew what they were talking about when they make critical observations about it.
I mean, of course, no non Mormon who studies the church.

"Insiders" who are critical, as yours truly, can and do make accurate observations about the church. In the case of [url= http://www.signaturebooks.com/excerpts/insider's2.htm]Grant H. Palmer[/url] , you have a church educator who published his views on the origins of Mormonism in the most pragmatic and lucid manner. I can't think of a single item of origin history that he covered that I disagree with.

[ 30. May 2007, 21:09: Message edited by: MerlintheMad ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
That link is bad: because, apparently, you cannot link from the Ship to URL's with apostrophes in them!? So, copy and paste the URL, apostrophe and all, and you should be able to get to the page about Palmer and his book on "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins."
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Ugh! Merlin, you're not making sense again. You HAVE passed judgement on Anglicans, you've made dogmatic (and wrong) statements about any number of Christian groups, and you've blithely ignored any number of uncomfortable questions. Such as mine, about why a supposedly notable scholar doesn't bother to access original sources in their original languages, and instead prefers to use bits and pieces filtered through 19th century theologians. Any grad student in my denom would fail for such a lazy practice. Surely you're not telling me LDS standards are lower?

And to repeat again: I AM NOT ROSS. SHE IS NOT HERE. I AM.

Like, can we talk?
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Ugh! Merlin, you're not making sense again. You HAVE passed judgement on Anglicans, you've made dogmatic (and wrong) statements about any number of Christian groups, and you've blithely ignored any number of uncomfortable questions. Such as mine, about why a supposedly notable scholar doesn't bother to access original sources in their original languages, and instead prefers to use bits and pieces filtered through 19th century theologians. Any grad student in my denom would fail for such a lazy practice. Surely you're not telling me LDS standards are lower?

And to repeat again: I AM NOT ROSS. SHE IS NOT HERE. I AM.

Like, can we talk?

What judgment have I passed on Anglicans? I have said that their history isn't anything superior to Mormonism's, in terms of "sanctity" or for making a claim of legitimacy from. Both are palpably manmade institutions out to protect themselves from detractors.

What wrong statements (judgments) of other Christian groups? The most you can call me on is being too simplistic in my phraseology: e.g. saying the RCC gave us the Nicaean Creed (true enough, but not the whole truth: sufficient, I thought, for making the point, but obviously not, to judge by the reaction).

Nibley, as I said, knew the languages. His writing was for the common church audience. His peer reviewed stuff is different than the Mormon consumption stuff. You make it sound like Nibley was some quack masquerading as a bonafide scholar. That isn't true. He had a specific audience and wrote for it. And his purpose was to show from the ancient writers and archeology, that Mormon origins extend to the other "dispensations" that God has revealed his gospel to men: i.e. Mormonism is the revealed religion it claims to be. He demonstrated that; by going into the ancient evidence and finding the bits and pieces which survive that are the same or very similar to Mormon doctrines and ordinances.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I'm giving up. Round and round in circles we go.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
Two of the big anti-Mormon themes here are the Mormon's denial of their nasty violent history and the subjugation of women which makes them non-Christian, these views coming from Christians with some of the bloodiest history of Christian persecution against those holding different doctrines and the still in its infancy women priesthood after 1900 years or so denying their capacity for this role because subservient to the male.

Do the posters here holding these particular anti-"Mormon are Christians" views also admit they are thus not Christians from their origins?

Myrrh
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
Two of the big anti-Mormon themes here are the Mormon's denial of their nasty violent history and the subjugation of women which makes them non-Christian, these views coming from Christians with some of the bloodiest history of Christian persecution against those holding different doctrines and the still in its infancy women priesthood after 1900 years or so denying their capacity for this role because subservient to the male.

Do the posters here holding these particular anti-"Mormon are Christians" views also admit they are thus not Christians from their origins?

Myrrh

Personally?

I don't care if they do odd things in their temple.

I don't care if woman aren't "equal" as I understand equality.

Yes, Christian history is violent in the extreme. We haven't always been what we should be, and I doubt we are what we should be now.

BUT...

When you add a whole book to the Bible, when I hold that the Bible to contain everything that is needed for salvation, and you don't seem to worship the same Triune God, then I think that you are a whole other religion entirely.

And, FYI, that also means that when the Eastern Orthodox church claim that the western Church isn't Christian, I can see their point. They don't hold that we exactly worship the same God due to the change in the Creed. Not that I agree with that POV, but it is legitimate.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Personally?

I don't care if they do odd things in their temple.

I don't care if woman aren't "equal" as I understand equality.

Yes, Christian history is violent in the extreme. We haven't always been what we should be, and I doubt we are what we should be now.

BUT...

When you add a whole book to the Bible, when I hold that the Bible to contain everything that is needed for salvation, and you don't seem to worship the same Triune God, then I think that you are a whole other religion entirely.

And, FYI, that also means that when the Eastern Orthodox church claim that the western Church isn't Christian, I can see their point. They don't hold that we exactly worship the same God due to the change in the Creed. Not that I agree with that POV, but it is legitimate.

Well sure, but in that case are you saying it's perfectly legitimate for the Orthodox to say that everyone not Orthodox is not a Christian which is the OP here.

So which Bible? For example most Protestant Christians have a Bible minus books that are still included in the RCC and Orthodox books, and didn't Luther want to get rid of James because of the "faith without works is dead"?

Seems to me you're adding another definition of what it is to be Christian that the Mormons need to prove that can't be said of you.

Myrrh
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Myrrh:
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Personally?

I don't care if they do odd things in their temple.

I don't care if woman aren't "equal" as I understand equality.

Yes, Christian history is violent in the extreme. We haven't always been what we should be, and I doubt we are what we should be now.

BUT...

When you add a whole book to the Bible, when I hold that the Bible to contain everything that is needed for salvation, and you don't seem to worship the same Triune God, then I think that you are a whole other religion entirely.

And, FYI, that also means that when the Eastern Orthodox church claim that the western Church isn't Christian, I can see their point. They don't hold that we exactly worship the same God due to the change in the Creed. Not that I agree with that POV, but it is legitimate.

Well sure, but in that case are you saying it's perfectly legitimate for the Orthodox to say that everyone not Orthodox is not a Christian which is the OP here.


I would not have a problem with the Mormons saying that I am not a proper Christian. But that is not what is being said there. What they are claiming is that they are the same as us. Which just isn't the case as far as I can see.

quote:
So which Bible? For example most Protestant Christians have a Bible minus books that are still included in the RCC and Orthodox books, and didn't Luther want to get rid of James because of the "faith without works is dead"?

Seems to me you're adding another definition of what it is to be Christian that the Mormons need to prove that can't be said of you.

Myrrh

Admittedly, there are many "Bibles" in existance. I tend to believe in the NT (as there isn't much arguement there), and the OT as complied by the Jewish authorities.

If the BOM was accepted by the Jews as a legitamte scripture, then it wouldn't be a problem. But it's not.

And I'm not sure what added definition of Christianity that you are saying that I'm adding. That's my standard for ANY sect or church.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
....BUT...

When you add a whole book to the Bible, when I hold that the Bible to contain everything that is needed for salvation, and you don't seem to worship the same Triune God, then I think that you are a whole other religion entirely.

When people justify their prejudice by saying such things as, "Words have meanings; you're not allowed to change the meanings of words to suit yourself," then they are simply showing that they are prejudiced. The reason why many words in the dictionary have multiple meanings and applications, is precisely because words change in how they are used.

"Christian" can only mean someone who believes in Jesus Christ. "Believes" means different levels of assumed belief: a Muslim believes Jesus of Nazareth lived and was a great prophet, second only to Muhammed: they even believe in the miraculous virgin birth! But, they are NOT "Christians", because they deny that Jesus of Nazareth was "the Christ": and they absolutely refuse to allow the "Son of God" appelation which Jesus Christ applied repeatedly to himself. Muslims claim that all such "Christian" stuff was added on by Jesus's later followers, i.e. they claim the NT is corrupt. They also claim a more truthful, albeit later, understanding of Jesus of Nazareth based on said-later sources.

Mormonism can be judged by a similar yardstick. All of its added scipture is blatantly biblical targumizing, with claims of modern-day revelations of previous doctrines and ordinances. In short, Mormons claim to have access to "the full monty" direct from God. In this respect, they are exactly like Muslims with their later "authority" to know the historical Jesus of Nazareth.

The significant difference is, Mormons accept that Jesus IS the Christ. They claim fresh revelation from Christ directly to a prophet. They claim exactly what Christendom as a whole claims: that without the atoning blood of Christ, all creation would be lost forever: but with the atoning blood of Christ, God saves his people. This is the core belief that defines a Christian.

So your (repeated) claim, that Mormonism is "...whole other religion entirely" is utterly bogus. It can't be entirely non, or un, or anti Christian, because it follows the Bible (a Prot one anyway), professes Christ as Savior, and targumizes the daylights out of the Bible. "Different", yes, but still Christian.

quote:
And, FYI, that also means that when the Eastern Orthodox church claim that the western Church isn't Christian, I can see their point. They don't hold that we exactly worship the same God due to the change in the Creed. Not that I agree with that POV, but it is legitimate.
"Legitimate" division. Gotta love that one. That will get us far. How about, there is no such thing legitimate about any outsider judging the beliefs and faith of another religion? Mind your own business. And as long as another religion isn't miding yours, then everyone can travel together comfortably enough on the same Ship.
 
Posted by PataLeBon (# 5452) on :
 
Merlin, you can say you are a Christian all you want.

It doesn't bother me.

But, if you want my opinion, then Mormons, in general, aren't.

I'm sorry that annoys you.

It annoys me that there are people that I truly believe are Christians, who think that I am some kind of witch.

But I don't rant and rail over it. That's they way humans are and will always be until Kingdom Come. It's not worth my time and effort. God will either help them to the truth, or me. Or both.

Apparently you believe that it is, and I wish you luck.

[ 31. May 2007, 14:59: Message edited by: PataLeBon ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PataLeBon:
Merlin, you can say you are a Christian all you want.

It doesn't bother me.

But, if you want my opinion, then Mormons, in general, aren't.

I'm sorry that annoys you.

It doesn't. You admit that you have an opinion which differs from mine. But you are not arguing to change my mind. Perhaps Ross and I are like incompatable agents in the same test tube: both too dogmatic by nature (and education?). I don't get "vibes" from you that I feel need addressing/correcting.

quote:
It annoys me that there are people that I truly believe are Christians, who think that I am some kind of witch.
I would enjoy knowing more about that [Eek!]

quote:
But I don't rant and rail over it. That's they way humans are and will always be until Kingdom Come.
I do know THAT much at least.

quote:
It's not worth my time and effort. God will either help them to the truth, or me. Or both.
I have plenty of time on my hands. I am currently a "shiftless bum." [Big Grin] But I see the fascination of constant gab with faceless denizens of cyberspace wearing off, slowly, finally.....

quote:
Apparently you believe that it is, and I wish you luck.
Thank you. Same to you.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Because I know Ross is Anglican, and I am just trying to *slap* some sense into her (futile though it has been), by making comparisons between her persuasion and Mormonism. They are not that different: both dogmatic, with hardline views on what is and isn't bonafide Christianity. Members and leaders of both view the other askance.

Gee, that's offensive, Merlin. Do you always *slap* women around?

I'm afraid you don't know anything about Christian Church historythat hasn't been filtered through Mormon authorities, and you certainly don't know squat about Anglicanism. I can't recall ever reading anything more ridiculous about the Church, and I've been reading the RC converts on the Ship for several years now.

....
quote:
That's just it: Nibley was interested in reading anything he could get his teeth into. ... Thus, Ross sees that Nibley is a "notorious liar." (And Christ was a madman, in league with Satan, or was Beelzebub himself. Joseph Smith was a simple con artist; wave your hand, and it all goes away. End of discussion.)
Nope. Nibley was just an apologist -- period. His whole professional purpose was to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon, and the rest of Smith's inventions, were true.

So you find some scratchings on rocks out in your part of the country -- like the ones Myrrh was so excited about -- and, gee, they look a little bit like some scratchings on rocks in the Middle East, and -- hey! that's proof that the Book of Mormon is really true! Ta-da!

Except, as you've already admitted, most of the BofM is pure fiction. Nibley lied for Mormonism and for his own personal profit. He pushed coincidence just as far as it would go, to the point where even the most devout Mormon should have said, "Hey....that doesn't make sense."
quote:
That is perhaps the foundation of my annoyance with Ross's, et al. attitude toward Mormons, vis-a-vis "they are not Christians." She bases her decision on a brief brush with Mormon missionaries (and demonstrably ignorant ones at that), and a couple of prejudiced readings of the Book of Mormon ("soporific", I believe she called it: while accurate in a way, it is obvious she was not reading to learn about the book, but to confirm a judgment she already had about it), and continued "study" into why the religion is not going to pass muster as "Christian." She thinks of herself as expert enough in Mormonism to make these judgments from the outside.
Boy, Merlin, you're on a roll, aren't you. When you're wrong, you're REALLY wrong....and personally insulting. The insults are getting pretty tiresome.

No, it wasn't a "brief brush" with "ignorant" Mormon missionaries. It was a prolonged encounter with Mormonism that involved going to meetings, reading all the slick brochures, reading the BofM and praying "the prayer of Moroni" (of which you have my testimony), and dealing with several levels of "elders" and their supervisors.

I read the Book of Mormon with an open mind, but I'm afraid that it makes the most turgid of the Russian novelists in a bad translation look scintillating. I read it again in my 30s, to make sure I hadn't missed anything. Well, I HAD missed a few of Smith's thefts from the Bible -- but it was still intensely soporific.

I have made a deep study of Mormonism, from its scriptures to its history to its theology to its missionaries' habit of preying on vulnerable adolescents.

You yourself have admitted that I know a lot about it. You just don't like my conclusions. Kindly have the decency to admit that, and stop the personal insults.
quote:
When people justify their prejudice by saying such things as, "Words have meanings; you're not allowed to change the meanings of words to suit yourself," then they are simply showing that they are prejudiced. The reason why many words in the dictionary have multiple meanings and applications, is precisely because words change in how they are used.
[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]

No, when I say "Words have meanings," I'm speaking a simple truth. You can't just change those meanings to suit your purposes, or those of a particular religion. You can't just unilaterally redefine Christianity because the Mormon organization decided it could suck in more people (and more money) by claiming to be Christians.

Learn to read for comprehension, Merlin, lose the anti-intellectualism, and please stop lying about me.
quote:
Originally posted by Myrhh:
Two of the big anti-Mormon themes here are the Mormon's denial of their nasty violent history and the subjugation of women which makes them non-Christian, these views coming from Christians with some of the bloodiest history of Christian persecution against those holding different doctrines and the still in its infancy women priesthood after 1900 years or so denying their capacity for this role because subservient to the male.

Do the posters here holding these particular anti-"Mormon are Christians" views also admit they are thus not Christians from their origins?

Myrrh, thanks for coming out of the closet here.

The biggest problem with Mormonism's view of women is that it isn't content to see women as somehow second-class souls just on Earth; that view extends to the afterlife. I don't know of any other religion with a pretense to being Christian that does that. Do you even understand why it's so appalling a concept?

Yes, Christians have behaved abominably toward one another, and toward outsiders. But in its relatively short history, Mormonism has been absolutely horrific. Too bad they can't be honest about it.

Ross
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
Because I know Ross is Anglican, and I am just trying to *slap* some sense into her (futile though it has been), by making comparisons between her persuasion and Mormonism. They are not that different: both dogmatic, with hardline views on what is and isn't bonafide Christianity. Members and leaders of both view the other askance.

quote:
Gee, that's offensive, Merlin. Do you always *slap* women around?
Only virtually [Biased]

quote:
I'm afraid you don't know anything about Christian Church history that hasn't been filtered through Mormon authorities, and you certainly don't know squat about Anglicanism.
Oh, I think you are quite mistaken. But the same can be said of you. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say, "you don't know squat about Mormonism". You just have some weird (skewed) ideas about it.

quote:
I can't recall ever reading anything more ridiculous about the Church, and I've been reading the RC converts on the Ship for several years now.
"The church", being yours? And what exactly did I say that is ridiculous? I haven't said much about it, other than to make the obvious comparison about respective church history, yours and ours: how the pots and kettles should really be getting along, since neither has a leg to stand on.

....
quote:
That's just it: Nibley was interested in reading anything he could get his teeth into. ... Thus, Ross sees that Nibley is a "notorious liar." (And Christ was a madman, in league with Satan, or was Beelzebub himself. Joseph Smith was a simple con artist; wave your hand, and it all goes away. End of discussion.)
quote:
Nope. Nibley was just an apologist -- period. His whole professional purpose was to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon, and the rest of Smith's inventions, were true.
True! No denying that. However, that fact doesn't reduce his scholarship methods to nothing. He was very thorough, and honest! He had a preconceived testimony of the truth, and went about finding proof that it was genuine. He liked to encourage people to use their minds and not just their feelings. He expected the truth to have physical evidence. And he found plenty of it to satisfy himself and millions of others. Call it self-delusion or whatever: but Nibley's methods of research utilized non Mormon sources, turning it to Mormon advantage. He gets attacked personally (e.g. "liar") without any foundation or proof: and personal attacks are a sure sign that the "enemy" has been routed and resorts to guerrilla warfare, the only tactic remaining to them.

quote:
So you find some scratchings on rocks out in your part of the country -- like the ones Myrrh was so excited about -- and, gee, they look a little bit like some scratchings on rocks in the Middle East, and -- hey! that's proof that the Book of Mormon is really true! Ta-da!
"Scratchings on rocks, etc.", that doesn't signify anything specific to me.

Nibley was into examining the Old World stuff; especially the early Christian period and ancient evidence. I think he would have been the first to admit that the Kinderhook plates were a problem for Joseph Smith.

quote:
Except, as you've already admitted, most of the BofM is pure fiction. Nibley lied for Mormonism and for his own personal profit. He pushed coincidence just as far as it would go, to the point where even the most devout Mormon should have said, "Hey....that doesn't make sense."
My reasons for believing (accepting) the Book of Mormon as mostly fiction, do not disprove Nibley's facile collection of evidence and conclusions. That's the great secret of pushing physical evidence to prove your point: you can do that far more easily than you can prove a negative: i.e. disprove the use of the evidence to make a bogus conclusion. When you go that route, all you do is wind up lumping ALL religions into the same Ship: they all use physical evidence that can be taken wrong. I have been reading fundie evidence that the Bible is literally true history for most of my life. And it squares with Nibley's approach to a tee.

quote:
That is perhaps the foundation of my annoyance with Ross's, et al. attitude toward Mormons, vis-a-vis "they are not Christians." She bases her decision on a brief brush with Mormon missionaries (and demonstrably ignorant ones at that), and a couple of prejudiced readings of the Book of Mormon ("soporific", I believe she called it: while accurate in a way, it is obvious she was not reading to learn about the book, but to confirm a judgment she already had about it), and continued "study" into why the religion is not going to pass muster as "Christian." She thinks of herself as expert enough in Mormonism to make these judgments from the outside.
quote:
Boy, Merlin, you're on a roll, aren't you. When you're wrong, you're REALLY wrong....and personally insulting. The insults are getting pretty tiresome.
I haven't said anything that can be taken as insulting, unless I have touched on a nerve somewhere. That's for you to know and me to find out.

quote:
No, it wasn't a "brief brush" with "ignorant" Mormon missionaries. It was a prolonged encounter with Mormonism that involved going to meetings, reading all the slick brochures, reading the BofM and praying "the prayer of Moroni" (of which you have my testimony), and dealing with several levels of "elders" and their supervisors.

I read the Book of Mormon with an open mind, but I'm afraid that it makes the most turgid of the Russian novelists in a bad translation look scintillating. I read it again in my 30s, to make sure I hadn't missed anything. Well, I HAD missed a few of Smith's thefts from the Bible -- but it was still intensely soporific.

I have made a deep study of Mormonism, from its scriptures to its history to its theology to its missionaries' habit of preying on vulnerable adolescents.

You yourself have admitted that I know a lot about it. You just don't like my conclusions. Kindly have the decency to admit that, and stop the personal insults.

Again, not one personal insult have I made. I can be as mistaken in my ignorance of your life as you are "obviously" about mine. That's the trouble here.

Okay, so you've studied, to your satisfaction, and drawn "expert" conclusions about Mormonism. I have pointed out several, glaring mistaken notions that you have about it. Because in your reading, you have not been "equipped" to tell the difference between anti Mormon and pro Mormon, or even neutral, sources. You have imbibed the sewer with the elixir, and what a mixture that must turn into! I, on the other hand, CAN tell the difference between anti and pro and neutral.

And I suspect the same would be true if I made a study of Anglicanism. All I can tell from the outside, is that the Anglican church bears much the same human stamp as my own. But life within it is impossible to judge. And it is that life within which you lack utterly, so cannot judge reliably what sources are bogus and which genuinely approaching the truth about Mormonism.

quote:
When people justify their prejudice by saying such things as, "Words have meanings; you're not allowed to change the meanings of words to suit yourself," then they are simply showing that they are prejudiced. The reason why many words in the dictionary have multiple meanings and applications, is precisely because words change in how they are used.
[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]

quote:
No, when I say "Words have meanings," I'm speaking a simple truth. You can't just change those meanings to suit your purposes, or those of a particular religion. You can't just unilaterally redefine Christianity because the Mormon organization decided it could suck in more people (and more money) by claiming to be Christians.
Wrong on every point here (amazing): You have not shown that a "polytheistic" understanding of biblical passages (of which we have a fair amount) disqualifies a person from being Christian: "Orthodox Christian", certainly: but where have I EVER said Mormonism is to be defined as "Orthodox Christian?" I have put forward "Mormon Christian", or, "Christian Mormon", but that's not good enough for you. Leave "Christian" in any shape or form out of it, and that will satisfy you. And the church, from the getgo, was a Christian religion: Joseph Smith added the suffix "of [the] Latter-day Saints", to distinguish it from the "former-day Saints" of the Bible. That concept was up front right at the start: so the church doesn't "pretend/claim" to be Christian just so it can get more converts! It isn't "redefining Christianity", it's having a different understanding of what the word means.

quote:
Learn to read for comprehension, Merlin, lose the anti-intellectualism, and please stop lying about me.
"Anti-intellectualism?" That's interesting. Should we go away from this discussion, both convinced that we should stop studying and questing for the truth?

I have told no lies about you. To do that, I would have to deliberately misquote you, say things about you that I KNOW are untrue. You have defended your study into Mormonism. I have countered with, "That isn't good enough to judge the religion properly." That isn't saying a thing about you personally.

quote:
Originally posted by Myrhh:
Two of the big anti-Mormon themes here are the Mormon's denial of their nasty violent history and the subjugation of women which makes them non-Christian, these views coming from Christians with some of the bloodiest history of Christian persecution against those holding different doctrines and the still in its infancy women priesthood after 1900 years or so denying their capacity for this role because subservient to the male.

Do the posters here holding these particular anti-"Mormon are Christians" views also admit they are thus not Christians from their origins?

....

quote:
The biggest problem with Mormonism's view of women is that it isn't content to see women as somehow second-class souls just on Earth; that view extends to the afterlife. I don't know of any other religion with a pretense to being Christian that does that. Do you even understand why it's so appalling a concept?
You STILL have it wrong, Ross! Women and men in mortality have different roles. Mormons routinely joke that men have the priesthood so that they will be compelled to do something; if the women had it, the men would just not amount to anything. Good men, of which the church predominates (but not to listen to your view of it), do not joke when they often claim that they "married above" themselves, i.e. they publically admit that their wives are better people than they themselves are. My own father talks like that each time I visit with him: he has nothing but praise for his wife, and says she is a far better person than he is. I know of countless examples of this, from the "general authorities" right through the entire church. American Mormons, at least, are not dominantly male superiority types. That hasn't always been the case: in former days, before female suffrage, men all over America tended to view women as second class in everything that was considered MALE role stuff. But in the Mormon afterlife (get it this time, please): men and women are EQUALS. There isn't anything in the doctrine, as taught and practiced today (call that improvement, lady) that puts men above women. They require each other to get as far as human destiny is intended. And there is lately not one whiff of polygamy or "harems" mentioned in any of the LDS teachings. (E.g. the latest Ensign has an article on P. P. Pratt: not a letter of a word about polygamy: not even when they say how he died!? "Murdered", but the reason is not given [Confused] What utter bollocks, imho. Any LDS reader worth half his/her salt will wonder what the motive was, surely? And the first reading on the Internet will provide the answer: Pratt was murdered by the jealous husband of his last (sixth?) wife!!!! Put that in your rolled up Ensign and smoke it, boys and girls.)

So yes, the LDS church is far different than the one you keep harping on about: dependent on a historical flogging by taking the rarest words of B. Young, et al, and portraying that as the modern church's doctrine.

quote:
Yes, Christians have behaved abominably toward one another, and toward outsiders. But in its relatively short history, Mormonism has been absolutely horrific. Too bad they can't be honest about it.

Ross

Horrific? I don't know about that. You do use expressive lingo freely, Ross. Demonstrably mistaken, and even fanatical at times, yes. But "horrific" is certainly no worse than any other Christian history you might compare it to. And Mormonism stands up to that pretty well. In less than 200 years, it has gone from Millennialism/Zionist fear mongering, multiple wives, and collectivist/communistic community living, to living like any other mainstream religious people: the polygamy is gonzo (permanently, if you want my guess); the words of B. Young, et al, are only quoted in the main, not the weird, 19th century bits; and all the human development bits are retained and have received emphasis, e.g. the Word of Wisdom requirements in order to get into the temple. Women are more cherished in typical Mormon families than they are in many "Christian" communities that you don't mind attaching that title to.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Merlin, you are a bigot, a bully, and a liar; you roll right over the evidence and just keep going like a demented Energizer Bunny, without acknowledging what others have said and demonstrated. Others give scholarly links; you ignore them, and go on what you feel in your gut. You're on the wrong forum, sir.

For the record: Joe Smith was a lecher and a fraud.

Brigham Young was a lecher and a fraud.

They were both liars, and, through their use of hitmen, murderers.

Mormonism is not Christian, for the following reasons:

1) It's polytheistic, and Christians believe in only ONE God, in three Persons.

2) Smith's wretched "scriptures," cobbled together out of various novels and Bible bits, are demonstrable fictions.

3) Human beings can't become gods.

4) We're all equal in God's sight -- men, women, Jews, Gentiles (real Gentiles), gays, straights -- you name it. We all go to one heaven if we accept God's grace.

5) The bizarre Mormon Jesus isn't the same as the Christian Jesus.

6) I know more about Mormon history and theology than you do -- and it's pretty ugly stuff.

Goodbye.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
What was so wonderful about Luther?

(Martin Luther)
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Trying to lure me out again, Myrrh? Won't work here. If you start a new and separate thread, I'll see you there.
 
Posted by Myrrh (# 11483) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Trying to lure me out again, Myrrh? Won't work here. If you start a new and separate thread, I'll see you there.

I was really only asking in context of this discussion where the Mormons are bombarded with specific accusations to show they're far too uppity in daring to think themselves Christians, nasty murdering bigots from the beginning as it were is one these.

Luther the great reformer it seems didn't reform anything much except in whose control all the murdering bigotry was vested, himself v the established Church of his time. Even if you think the history of the Mormons as given here shows them falling well short of Christ's teaching on this all you can legitimately say is this makes them no different from those who take their beginning from Luther or Calvin or the RC Church they came out of which can't then be used as an argument to prove the Mormons aren't Christian, unless you admit that makes Lutherans and the rest non-Christians either.

There's an extremely low limbo pole given for the Mormons to get under to prove they're Christian and no pole at all for those arguing this.

The inequality of women has been another constant theme running through the thread, but Luther it seems gave only lip service to the equality of women, a great idea and change of direction but he couldn't quite bring himself to believe it himself. (The Less Noble Sex by Nancy Tuana). Is there anything in the doctrines as his brand of Christianity envisaged women that shows any different? Were they allowed to speak in Church?

Myrrh
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
Very interesting quotes from Luther's works in that page you linked us to Myrrh... http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Religion/Martin%20Luther.htm

I would like to make a quote also, on Anthropomorphism, the idea that God is like man. Unlike what some people might think, this is a very ancient Christian heresy. In Saint Cassian's work Conferences, we read the story of Abbot Serapion, a very holy man, that didn't know that the Godhead is not like manhood, because he had been taught differently and worshipped as if the Godhead was similar to manhood... He realized his mistake, only when a learned man explained to him that the catholic churches in the East interpret the verse "Let us make man after our image and likeness" in a different way, and was presented with evidence from the scriptures that God is not like that.

http://www.osb.org/lectio/cassian/conf/book1/conf10.html#10.3

I find the last words of that chapter very touching, when the old man is stripped of the God he knew and does not know the God He addresses.

quote:
......and when we arose to give thanks, and were all together offering up our prayers to the Lord, the old man was so bewildered in mind during his prayer because he felt that the Anthropomorphic image of the Godhead which he used to set before himself in prayer, was banished from his heart, that on a sudden he burst into a flood of bitter tears and continual sobs, and cast himself down on the ground and exclaimed with strong groanings: "Alas! wretched man that I am! they have taken away my God from me, and I have now none to lay hold of; and whom to worship and address I know not." By which scene we were terribly disturbed......


[ 03. June 2007, 15:34: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Merlin, you are a bigot, a bully, and a liar; you roll right over the evidence and just keep going like a demented Energizer Bunny, without acknowledging what others have said and demonstrated. Others give scholarly links; you ignore them, and go on what you feel in your gut. You're on the wrong forum, sir.

I've given plenty of sources. I haven't ignored anything: as I said, I've already read that stuff before, and you are buying into anti Mormon spin.

Personal attacks are for HELL, as far as I understand how the Ship is ordered. So, sweetie, you are the one on the wrong forum.

quote:
For the record: Joe Smith was a lecher and a fraud.
"Joe" Smith was human, and never claimed to be perfect. But did claim that there was nothing untrue about the doctrines that he taught. He believed them and lived them himself. He also claimed that in his heart, he had never desired to do a wrong. He never claimed that he had not done any wrong, only that it was not premeditated.

quote:
Brigham Young was a lecher and a fraud.
Fraud is such a cheap shot. How do you prove that you are not beating your wife?

quote:
They were both liars,...
And lying makes everything you teach automatically invalid? Rahab and Abraham are going to hell with Joe and Brigham? Only perfect teachers have the right to set up a religion?

quote:
... and, through their use of hitmen, murderers.
Wrong, lady, simply wrong. You believe the lies that enemies of the church have always spread around. (Remember reading about the wild stuff that detractors of early Christianity spread around? And Muslims commonly once believed -- some probably still do -- that Christians EAT their God: transubstantiation misunderstood.)

quote:
Mormonism is not Christian, for the following reasons:

1) It's polytheistic, and Christians believe in only ONE God, in three Persons.

Wrong. ORTHODOXY requires the Trinity. There are other understandings within Christianity besides YOUR requirements.

quote:
2) Smith's wretched "scriptures," cobbled together out of various novels and Bible bits, are demonstrable fictions.
A sweeping statement. The NT is a targum itself of the OT in many parts. Jesus' own teachings were OT based, with a slant toward charity and "love your enemies", quite unique for the time. His own "golden rule" was not unique to him. He "cobbled" a lot of earlier stuff together and gave it a new "spin." (Or, we can accept the sage who said "there is nothing new under the sun".)

quote:
3) Human beings can't become gods.
You say it and therefore Jesus' own words are untrue. The Psalmist he quoted is wrong. Muslims are right: Christian teachings about us being the "children (sons)" of God are false doctrine, because the ONE God has no children. You should become Muslim, then, and eliminate all these inconsistencies (their God doesn't require a "son" to do his work of salvation for him; or volumes of rhetoric attempting to explain "the mystery" of the Triune God).

quote:
4) We're all equal in God's sight -- men, women, Jews, Gentiles (real Gentiles), gays, straights -- you name it. We all go to one heaven if we accept God's grace.
True statement. Why not cite the Book of Mormon references for that belief? (I did earlier.) Mormons teach that better than anyone else I know of. (you've left out "fake Gentiles", so I am assuming that there IS a category of self-deluded people that you are sure are hell-bound)

quote:
5) The bizarre Mormon Jesus isn't the same as the Christian Jesus.
But, it IS Jesus Christ being taught and believed. The only thing "bizarre" about the "Mormon Jesus" is, that he is our elder brother, period. Otherwise, everything Mormons believe about Jesus Christ's message and mission falls into place comfortably with mainstream Christianity.

quote:
6) I know more about Mormon history and theology than you do
How can you make a claim like this, when you cannot possibly know?

quote:
-- and it's pretty ugly stuff.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: the reverse is also true.


And, for the record, I think that dogmatic, organized religion across the board is pretty ugly stuff. It produces vituperative attitudes like yours.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
......and when we arose to give thanks, and were all together offering up our prayers to the Lord, the old man was so bewildered in mind during his prayer because he felt that the Anthropomorphic image of the Godhead which he used to set before himself in prayer, was banished from his heart, that on a sudden he burst into a flood of bitter tears and continual sobs, and cast himself down on the ground and exclaimed with strong groanings: "Alas! wretched man that I am! they have taken away my God from me, and I have now none to lay hold of; and whom to worship and address I know not." By which scene we were terribly disturbed......

Very interesting quote, andreas. I have had, quite recently (and by gentle degrees) "my anthropomorphic God" stripped away from me as well. I cannot pray comfortably "Our Heavenly Father", and end, "In Jesus Christ's name, Amen". Because the concept of "God" that I currently hold is not of any shape, size, dimension, or comprehension within space-time. I can pray toward a manifestation of "God" as anthropomorphic; but it feels one full step removed to me. I want my own "reunion" with THE One God of all creation. I don't want to worship some intermediary, no matter how much "they" know.
 
Posted by andreas1984 (# 9313) on :
 
I understand mate, I understand. [Votive]
 
Posted by Tumphouse (# 11321) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
[qb] Originally posted by MerlintheMad:

[QUOTE][qb]The biggest problem with Mormonism's view of women is that it isn't content to see women as somehow second-class souls just on Earth; that view extends to the afterlife. I don't know of any other religion with a pretense to being Christian that does that. Do you even understand why it's so appalling a concept?

You STILL have it wrong, Ross! Women and men in mortality have different roles. Mormons routinely joke that men have the priesthood so that they will be compelled to do something; if the women had it, the men would just not amount to anything. Good men, of which the church predominates (but not to listen to your view of it), do not joke when they often claim that they "married above" themselves, i.e. they publically admit that their wives are better people than they themselves are. My own father talks like that each time I visit with him: he has nothing but praise for his wife, and says she is a far better person than he is. I know of countless examples of this, from the "general authorities" right through the entire church.
Men throughout history have made statements like this about women, Merlin, usually while depring them of autonomy, authority, rights to control their own lives, income , property, and a place in society. The Victorian term was 'The Angel in the House', who had no rights other then those her husband allowed her. So that is what Mormonism is like if you are a woman? And I find it hard to take seriously any views on women from a man who will 'slap' them even virtually
G
G
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
As I said, Myrrh, if you want to discuss Luther, go ahead and start a thread. I'll happily join you there. But doing it here is a) a derailment, b) a tu quoque, and c) just weird.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tumphouse:
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
[qb] Originally posted by MerlintheMad:

[QUOTE][qb]The biggest problem with Mormonism's view of women is that it isn't content to see women as somehow second-class souls just on Earth; that view extends to the afterlife. I don't know of any other religion with a pretense to being Christian that does that. Do you even understand why it's so appalling a concept?

You STILL have it wrong, Ross! Women and men in mortality have different roles. Mormons routinely joke that men have the priesthood so that they will be compelled to do something; if the women had it, the men would just not amount to anything. Good men, of which the church predominates (but not to listen to your view of it), do not joke when they often claim that they "married above" themselves, i.e. they publically admit that their wives are better people than they themselves are. My own father talks like that each time I visit with him: he has nothing but praise for his wife, and says she is a far better person than he is. I know of countless examples of this, from the "general authorities" right through the entire church.
Men throughout history have made statements like this about women, Merlin, usually while depring them of autonomy, authority, rights to control their own lives, income , property, and a place in society. The Victorian term was 'The Angel in the House', who had no rights other then those her husband allowed her. So that is what Mormonism is like if you are a woman? And I find it hard to take seriously any views on women from a man who will 'slap' them even virtually
G
G

Mormon women have never been deprived of autonomy, income, property or their place in society. NEVER. Look up the history, read the diaries. The most Mormon women have had to complain about is feeling like men run THE CHURCH. In the polygamy days, a goodly number of women felt understandably deprived of the male companionship that they wanted and felt they deserved.

If you think Mormon society is abusive to females, as Ross does, than you are just as duped by inaccurate (malicious) "reporting" as she is.

I only "virtually" slap with words. Same as in physical company. And the way I write on this forum is a perfect example of the phraseology I employ. If you feel "slapped", then I'd say the problem is yours, not mine.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
Errata: let me clarify something, before someone goes looking for anecdotal exceptions to my use of NEVER: I mean, that Mormon society never condoned prejudice against women. The law of the church and the state never allowed any abuse of women, vis-a-vis property, autonomy, etc. You will find cases where a woman was abused and deprived by her husband, and even her priesthood leaders. You will find such exceptions to the law and church doctrine, in any religious society.

But there is nothing in the preaching that is doctrine, that condones any such behavior toward their wives by husbands. And a ton of reprimand material (check out just about any general conference going back to the beginning) for husbands/men who treat women poorly, or feel that they have some superiority over women in the church.
 
Posted by Tumphouse (# 11321) on :
 
Merlin, you appear to have missed both points I was making.
First, women are most patronised, and told how deeply special and spiritual they are, in groups and societies in which they are most denied autonomy.
Second, I was not 'slapped' by you, but was horrified at the use of the term in your response to Ross. It was insulting and demeaning.
And I am intrigued that you have presumed I am a woman, simply because of my response to your postings. Interesting.
G
 
Posted by chicklegirl (# 11741) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tumphouse:
The Victorian term was 'The Angel in the House', who had no rights other then those her husband allowed her. So that is what Mormonism is like if you are a woman?

Being a Morman woman, I may be in a better position to answer this than Merlin. No, that is not what Mormonism in general is like for a woman. Every denomination (including Mormonism) counts among its number some truly despicable men who marginalize, denigrate or abuse women. But Mormon doctrine (and when I say doctrine, I mean our official scriptures and church leaders when they are speaking in an official capacity--not when they're "off the clock") abhors and discourages such behavior and in my observation it is the exception rather than the rule in my church.

Despite the fact that Mormon women do not have the priesthood as men do, I've never felt that not having the priesthood made me a second-class citizen. I've never felt that the doctrine oppressed me, and trust me when I say that if I did, I would leave (I'm too opinionated and obnoxious to put up with that kind of garbage; just ask Mr. Chickle).

There are certain doctrines in Mormonism that at a superficial inspection may appear to be sexist; the one that keeps coming up on this thread is that at final judgement, in order for a woman to attain the highest possible level of glory, her husband has to call her name. I believe that, but I don't believe it's sexist in that while my husband will be the one to call me, he's not going anywhere without me--the doctrine is very clear that a man is also incapable of achieving that highest level without his wife. Whether or not you believe that doctrine (which I admit, must sound really bizarre to someone who isn't raised with it!), the one thing it isn't is sexist; Mormons believe that the salvation of husband and wife at that highest level are intertwined, dependent upon being a unit comprised of two equal partners. This makes complete sense to me in the context that the purpose of marriage is not only to have a family, but for a man and a woman to work in unity in keeping God's commandments and grow together in the Lord--to be equally yoked. The "name being called" is part of a priesthood ordinance (like baptism, for example) which must be performed with the proper priesthood authority, which the husband will have if he reaches that point.

I think Merlin attempted to explain in his own way why women in the Mormon church don't have the priesthood. My answer to that question is, I don't know why not, but I don't have a problem with it. I don't feel like I have to do all the same things a man does to be his equal. Frankly, I can do quite a few things that men can't. My faith in God, in the Bible, tells me that it is God's word, His will that men have the priesthood, and call it naive if you will, but that's good enough for me. (I know that many will disagree with that interpretation of the Bible. Don't worry; I'm not trying to convince anyone.) I'm married to a wonderful man who uses the priesthood to bless not only me and our son, but also other people both inside and outside our church. In the twelve years that we've been married, I've observed that having to use the priesthood to serve others has deepened his character and helped him to be be more humble. At the same time, I don't begrudge that or feel like I'm missing out because I don't have the priesthood; I have access to its blessings through him whenever I need them.

Sorry for such a lengthy post, but let me conclude by saying that I'm not trying to convince anyone that I'm right, nor do I want to engage in a lengthy point-by-point repartee; I'm merely attempting to explain why a rational woman (well, mostly rational when I'm not pregnant!) would be a member of such a church and feel that it had something to offer her. I don't have answers to all the hard questions about horrible things Mormon leaders have done, but as a student of history, I've seen that virtually every religion has systematically tried to eliminate/assimilate their competition, had leaders who beheaded insubordinate wives or practiced polygamy, or has engaged in other equally heinous crimes. I don't personally agree with whitewashing embarrassing incidents because somehow, it always comes back to bite you where it hurts the most. That said, I believe what I do: in living prophets; the truth of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price; a Godhead comprised of Father, Son and Holy Ghost as separate beings with a single purpose; and finally, that salvation comes only through obedience to and faith in Jesus Christ. I can't really explain or justify all these crazy beliefs in a way that will satisfy anyone but me. I like how C.S. Lewis said it: "I believe in Christ as I believe in the rising sun; not that I can see it, but that by it I can see everything." For me, Mormonism has been what puts life into context and distills in me a purpose to follow Christ, serve others, and do my utmost to be a better person.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tumphouse:
Merlin, you appear to have missed both points I was making.
First, women are most patronised, and told how deeply special and spiritual they are, in groups and societies in which they are most denied autonomy.
Second, I was not 'slapped' by you, but was horrified at the use of the term in your response to Ross. It was insulting and demeaning.
And I am intrigued that you have presumed I am a woman, simply because of my response to your postings. Interesting.
G

I didn't presume you are a women. But you acted "slapped." I was answering text. I don't usually even think of "male or female" unless it is obvious.

I admit, my use of the term was uncalled for. As it has offended members of both genders, I apologize.

The original point: so, Mormon men can't be sincere in their public protestations of affection and admiration for their wives. Because this is proof that they are "beating their wives." Interesting....
 
Posted by Tumphouse (# 11321) on :
 
Again, Merlin, you miss my point. I no where suggest that these men are 'beating' their wives. I simply point out that in socieities where men make the type of public proclamations you describe, woman tend to lack autonomy. This does not mean that they are 'beaten'
G
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chicklegirl:
...There are certain doctrines in Mormonism that at a superficial inspection may appear to be sexist; the one that keeps coming up on this thread is that at final judgement, in order for a woman to attain the highest possible level of glory, her husband has to call her name. I believe that, but I don't believe it's sexist...

Oh, my. What would you call it, then? How can you justify such a vile doctrine? How can you pretend it's Christian? Have you really thought this one through?

It's bad enough that women are unequal in most societies (and the Mormon organization did an awful lot to keep the Equal Rights Amendment from becoming law, funding do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Phyllis Schlafly's know-nothing Eagle Forum, among others, for that purpose). But one of the wonderful things about Christianity -- as opposed to Mormonism -- is that women ARE equal in Christ and in eternity.

The whole idea that women are condemned to eternal servitude unless Hubby "lifts the veil" and whispers that oh-so-secret name is nothing short of disgusting. He can be "sealed" to a whole harem, if you buy into that theology -- but she's utterly dependent on him, no matter how else she has lived her life. It simply demonstrates the completely man-made nature of Mormonism.

It's sad that women are prevented from following their vocations just because of gender in most religions, including many Christian denominations. It's appalling that anyone could buy into the notion that we're nothing but second-class brood mares for all eternity.

My denomination has its faults, but at least it doesn't mistake the nastiest sort of male fantasy for God's will.

Ross // no doubt our resident Mormon male will be moved to *slap* me again for this one
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MerlintheMad:
... I admit, my use of the term was uncalled for. As it has offended members of both genders, I apologize.

quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
... Ross // no doubt our resident Mormon male will be moved to *slap* me again for this one

No doubt, you're unable to accept apologies from resident Mormon males.
 
Posted by MerlintheMad (# 12279) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tumphouse:
Again, Merlin, you miss my point. I no where suggest that these men are 'beating' their wives. I simply point out that in socieities where men make the type of public proclamations you describe, woman tend to lack autonomy. This does not mean that they are 'beaten'
G

"Beating their wives" was in quotes, to qualify it (had you heard my voice there would be no misunderstanding). It harks to the example of how a leading question can implicate you: e.g. "Why are you beating your wife?" This is unanswerable, because it is wrong from the getgo.

Similarly, making a point, that OTHER societies which are known to be discriminatory toward their women, yet laud them rhetorical praise, is portraying Mormonism the same way. I have called Ross on her understanding of Mormonism's male/female relations: she continues to insist that I am wrong, that she knows more about my church than I do. And it is impossible to get through to someone who won't see that their perception is skewed by too much reading of anti Mormon sources.

In Mormon society, women have ALWAYS been seen as equal to men, because without each other neither gets to the "highest heaven." And in that heaven, everyone is EQUAL. Especially in the modern church, where all teaching on polygamy has long ago disappeared (even to the point of rubbing all traces of it out in modern biographies of the early leaders who practiced it), there is no chance that "harems" and such are part of Mormon heaven. If that makes the church changeable, well, so what? Religion needs to minister to the needs of its people; not force them to accept what they simply refuse to accept. That's why everyone's religions these days continue to change. (E.g. RCC's recent statement on unbaptised babies in "limbo", overturned completely: a centuries-long teaching rendered finally as "not doctrine".)
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
No doubt, you're unable to accept apologies from resident Mormon males.

No, but I should have read all the way through the thread. I'm sorry for that.

On the other hand, he's apologized in the past for putting words on my keyboard -- and then turned right around and done it again, and again, and again...

Ross
 
Posted by Duo Seraphim (# 256) on :
 
A modest suggestion to all - shall we move on?

Duo Seraphim, Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Duo Seraphim:
A modest suggestion to all - shall we move on?

Yes, I think the main points about Mormonism have all been made -- in most cases, several times. Thank you for your patience, Duo.

Ross
 


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