Posts Tagged 'Mormon'

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.

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?

Continue reading ‘General Conference and Agency’

My SMPT Experience

I fully expected the good folks at the SMPT to reject my paper.  I was then going to post it with a title something like ‘Wanna read a rejected SMPT paper?’  I am glad that they accepted it because it allowed me to have a great experience.  I would like to review what I thought were some of the highlights, and then give my impressions of the session I was in.

Continue reading ‘My SMPT Experience’

From the Ensign: What We Believe – God is Truly Our Father

I have been thinking of reviewing this section in the Ensign while it lasts.  I hope the Ensign continues this department.  This review comes from the January 2010 issue, and I will try to catch up as the year goes on.  I will mostly just cut and paste what I feel are key points and open it up for discussion if anyone is interested.  This particular article addresses the topic I am preparing my presentation for so it particularly caught my attention.  You can read this very short article by clicking the link above and then clicking on the ‘What we Believe’ bookmark on the side of this PDF file.

Continue reading ‘From the Ensign: What We Believe – God is Truly Our Father’

A Sketchy First Draft of SMPT ‘Spirit Birth’

(I spit this out pretty quickly.  Some of it is awkward, I know.  I would appreciate any constructive comments.  I have about 1000 words left, so I could address things that are missing.)

Introduction

The idea of mankind being the children of God is not a new one. Yet, many take this idea metaphorically. One of the unique aspects of Mormonism is found in how literally many members take the parent/child relationship between God and man, and how many members take this relationship literally.

Continue reading ‘A Sketchy First Draft of SMPT ‘Spirit Birth’’

Joseph Smith Teaching Spirit Birth? Or Something Like It?

I was asked to teach the Elder’s quorum Lesson yesterday.  We were on lesson 42 of the manual which can be viewed here.  Right off the bat there is a very interesting paragraph:

By 1843, although the Nauvoo Temple was not yet finished, the Prophet had announced the doctrine of salvation for the dead, and he had administered the temple endowment to a group of faithful Saints. But an important part of the sacred work of temples had yet to be put in place. On May 16, 1843, the Prophet traveled from Nauvoo to Ramus, Illinois, where he stayed at the home of his close friend Benjamin F. Johnson. That evening, he taught Brother and Sister Johnson and a few close friends about the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” He explained that this covenant was the “order of the priesthood” necessary to obtain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. (See D&C 131:1–4.) He also taught that unless a man and a woman enter into the covenant of eternal marriage, “they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection.” Those who do enter into this covenant and remain faithful “will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory.”  (HC 5:391)

I have been told a few times in blog debates over spirit birth that Joseph Smith never taught anything about spirit birth, and I have been a little surprised by that.  But this quotation (From History of the Church) is pretty interesting and may bring some evidence about his thoughts on the topic.   The money line in this quote is ‘they will not have any children after the resurrection’.

So, if we assume that Joseph did teach something along these lines, and that it was recorded properly.  What are we to make of such after-resurrection child bearing by exalted, sealed married couples?  I am not sure there are very many possibilities:

1 – This was Joseph’s opinion – and he was wrong.  (Not very satisfying, especially given D&C 131)

2 – Exalted couples giving birth to …. resurrected, exalted beings?  (Not very satisfying either.  Seems a short circuit of the Plan of Salvation.)

3 – Exalted couples giving birth to spirit body offspring.  (This sounds more like it.)

Now, I realize that the quote from above speaks only to the eternal future, and not directly to the eternal past.  But given some statements from the KFD, would we not suppose that the same pattern also went on before?

Does this quote not provide some evidence of Joseph teaching something along the lines of spirit birth?

An Outline for a Possible SMPT Paper

There is a call for papers for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology annual meetings that MattW announced here.  When I saw that the theme was “The Measure of Their Creation—Theological Anthropology”, and that one of the suggested topics was spirit birth, I got a bit excited.  Spirit birth was among my favorite blogging topics, and several of my posts on this topic can be read here.

I have never submitted a paper to anything like this before, and I readily admit that I am likely not up to the task of putting together a paper that will meet the appropriate standards.  But since this is a topic that interests me, and because I have been wanting to piece together the ideas and thoughts of all the posts and comments on this topic – I think I am going to make a go of it.

I thought I might spit out a possible outline for such a paper in this post, and solicit advice from any who care to give it.  I might organize such a paper thus:

Establish that literal spirit birth is a legitimate idea in Mormonism

- Key scriptures (Heb 12, Rom 8 etc.)
– Proclamation, TTTF
– BH Roberts, Truman Madsen, Brigham Young, John Widtsoe quotes

Discuss theological Implications

- Necessity of a tripartite model
– Relationship between God and Man
– Christ as Elder Brother
– Eternal families and Exaltation

Common Objections

- Sexual relations and viviparous birth for Heavenly parents
– Billions + of spirit offspring
– Resurrected being giving birth to spirit bodies
– Why did it take so long?
– Fixed/finite number of intelligences

Alternative View

- Spirit adoption
– Advantages/disadvantages

Conclusions

 

So, feel free to mock me, give me encouragement and advice, ignore me.  Whatever you want.

Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 7 – Revelation and Self-Revelation

The last of a seven part series.  See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Chapter seven of ‘Eternal Man’ by Truman Madsen is called Revelation and Self-Revelation. Madsen begins by talking about efforts to explain mankind’s religiousness. There are many who would reduce this as nothing more than folk-psychology, primitive taboo, flights of wish, emotional purgation, or aesthetic ritual. But he claims that there is something of a universal agreement among such writers that man has an innate sense of something holy and sacred. And that this fact of human consciousness cannot be traced to rational and empirical sources. Madsen again credits this sense of the sacred and holy to the modern revelations regarding man’s premortal spirit.

Continue reading ‘Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 7 – Revelation and Self-Revelation’

Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 6 – Freedom and Fulfillment

The sixth of a seven part series.  See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Chapter six of Eternal Man is called ‘Freedom and Fulfillment’, which addresses free will. Questions such as:

In what sense, if at all, is man free?
Does everything that happens, have to happen?
Given the same conditions could I have been or done otherwise?

are presented. Madsen gives what was then some new developments which he felt added some freshness to a long stalemate between determinists and indeterminists.

Continue reading ‘Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 6 – Freedom and Fulfillment’

Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 5 – Evil and Suffering

The fifth of a seven part series.  See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Chapter five of ‘Eternal Man’ by Truman Madsen is on Evil and Suffering. Madsen concedes that the most staggering objection to a personable God is the overwhelming fact of human inequality and suffering. He then gives a few examples of extreme suffering. For most believers in God, they resort to believing that the ways of God are strange and inscrutable. Some religions go so far as to deny evil. Others find it difficult to not assign evil to God. For one there is no problem, for the other there is no hope.

This chapter is a unique chapter in that most of it is a hypothetical conversation between a woman with a baby that was born blind and paralyzed, and Joseph Smith. Madsen has such a gift for poetic descriptions that I can not hope to match. Yet, I do not wish to simply retype this conversation. If you want the full conversation, buy the book. I will attempt to provide the basics of this conversation in my usual simple way.

Continue reading ‘Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 5 – Evil and Suffering’


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