Archive for the 'Mormon Doctrine' Category

40 Answers from a Mormon

I saw a couple of facebook links from a sister of mine to some dude with a blog that had posted 40 questions for Christians.  This obviously meant something to her, so I wanted to respond at some level.  This particular list is not as impressive as it may sound.  There are really about 5 questions that are asked in different ways.  These questions seem to be more focused on main-stream Christianity.  And in my highly biased opinion, Mormonism provides better answers.

So, I know this is long (although my answers are very brief), but it is something that can be easily skimmed through.  I hope some of these simple answers are meaningful to someone. – especially the sister.

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Dude. You Have the Scriptures on Your IPod?!

A paraphrased story from my #2 son:

We have recently moved to a small town in western Ohio.  My #2 son is one of only two young men in the local high school (as far as I know).  He is participating on the football team and just the other day the team had a meal together.  At the table where he sat, the conversation turned to the practices of Mormonism.  The report of the conversations went something like this:

“So you believe there should not be any sex before marriage.”

“Yes”, my boy said.

“Seriously?”

“Yes”

“What would you do if a pretty girl came up to you, unzipped your pants, and gave you a hand job?”

“I would probably slap her face.”

“No you wouldn’t”

“Yes I would”

“What about Adam and Eve, they weren’t married”

“Yes the were”

My son then pulls out his IPod and goes to Genesis 1 to show that Adam and Eve were husband and wife.

“Dude.  You have the scriptures on your IPod?!”

The boy seemed to handle it pretty well.  And seems to have no fear.

The Good News – You are a Child of God. The Bad News – You Were Adopted?!

In my many blog discussions and debates over spirit birth, I have learned that spirit adoption is the preferred theory of those who do not like the idea of literal spirit birth.  The idea of adoption as the fundamental relationship between God and man does not appeal to me in the least.  And I would like to attempt to explain why that is. But first it may be a good idea to provide simple definitions for spirit birth and spirit adoption as I currently understand the terms.

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Essential Properties of God: Freedom, Goodness and Necessity

To wrap up notes on T. J. Mawson’s Philosophy of Religion lecutes, here are the final three essential properties of God.  On these three, I feel most Mormons will be in pretty good agreement.  So here is my take.

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Who Should Be More Optimistic About The After-Life?

I have been wondering about the question of whether members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ought to be more optimistic about the after-life than members of other Christian faiths.  In asking this, I am not wondering which group is more smug, arrogant and self-righteous.  I am also not asking this in terms of who is more confident in being doctrinally correct.  What I am wondering, is given the basic theology of different religious traditions (Mormonism and mainstream Protestants for example), who should be more optimistic about the after-life?  In making such comparisons, I will of course be generalizing and over-simplifying to very high levels.  But I hope that thinking and discussing this will have some positive results.

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Saying that Mormonism is a Non-Christian Cult is a Fallacy of Equivocation

Dan Peterson makes what I feel is an excellent point in a recent article here.

The basic point is this, people know that terms like ‘non-Christian’ and ‘Cult’ are loaded terms, and they use them anyway.  They may justify this by telling themselves that they are using a lesser known meaning or use of a word, while the audience will largely take away the common use of the word.  Peterson does a good job of bringing this out.

Kierkegaard on Prophets/Apostles

I have read with interest some posts at FPR about prophets, and what they ought to be like.  It so happens that I have just started reading some Kierkegaard, and he had some interesting things to say about prophets and apostles.

David Paulsen has an excellent article that was published in BYU studies about Kierkegaard and Joseph Smith.  As I related in a previous post, Mormons will like some of what Kierkegaard has to say regarding Christian apostasy.   In the Book on Adler, Kierkegaard gives five characteristics that he would expect from one who had the true mantle of authority.  They are:

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Grace vs. Grace Alone

I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Georgia.  While I was there, I came across many conservative, fundamentalist, Southern Baptists.  These folks appeared to be heavily influenced by Calvinist theology.  I learned to love the people, but I hated the theology.  Perhaps missionaries who serve in the southern U.S. should receive some type of therapy upon the completion of their mission, because I still get a little grouchy whenever I hear the term ‘grace’.

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Is God Absolutely Responsible for Every Event?

Apparently, at a key moment in a football game, a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills (Steve Johnson) dropped a sure touchdown pass that would have won the game.  He then apparently tweeted his blaming of God for the drop according to a story here.

Those of us who watch sports once in a while are familiar with the praise that winners frequently give to God for their victory.  Very interesting to now see someone blame God for the dropped pass and the loss.  This strikes at a key theological topic regarding the absoluteness of God.  If we believe that God is responsible, or in total control, of every event, then we must not only praise Him when things go well, but blame Him when things do not.  At least Steve Johnson is being logical and consistent here.

My guess is that God does not catch or drop every football, and likely does not care who wins or loses most games.  I would rather contemplate a God who is not in absolute control over everthing, than one who is absolutely and ultimately responsible for everything.  Blaming God for a dropped pass (and things even more evil) is the logical result of believing in an absolute God who is literally everywhere, everywhen, omni-this, omni-that, in absolute terms.

If it is God who catches or drops every ball, then what is the point of the game?

General Conference and Agency

One of the themes of conference that emerged for me was that of agency.  Elder Hales and President Monson (priesthood session) both spoke on this topic directly.  One idea from the scriptures, which both men shared, is that agency is God-given.  This might seem unambiguous and straight forward, but it brings to my mind questions about what is agency, and how is it given?

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