I am a Literal Offspring of God…

I am a literal spirit offspring of God.

And He, as my literal spirit parent, has sent me here.

Has given me an earthly home,

With parents, who are literally my spirit siblings, kind and dear.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,

Help me find the way.

Teach me all that I must become,

To be a glorified and exalted being, just like God is, which is logical since I am his literal spirit offspring, somedaaaaaaay.

There have been posts recently here, and here, which directly or indirectly call into question the fact that we are literal spirit children of Heavenly Father. Or more specifically Heavenly Parents. It seems that there are those who claim to believe that we are not literal spirit offspring at all, but are beings who are quite different from God. They seem to forward the idea that the parent-child relationship between God and us is a symbolic relationship, and is really only a covenant that was made. A comment was even made that this covenant relationship is better than a literal parent-child relationship. I have read where some think the idea of a literal parent-child relationship was a strange idea forwarded by Brigham Young, and perpetuated by cultural over belief by folks like Bruce R. McConkie. Hogwash, I say.

The idea of children by covenant has some scriptural basis, but I feel it is incorrectly applied to our literal parent-child relationship with God the Father. This interesting scripture might be applied:

And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. (Mosiah 5:7)

This is quite a powerful scripture used to help make the case that our parent-child relationship to God the Father may be the same type of relationship that we have with Christ through covenant. The wording of the above verse is somewhat compelling – sons and daughters, begotten, and born, are strong words that appear to drive home how strongly to take this relationship. About the only thing I can say about this, is that this scripture is very clear that this is a covenant relationship. The term begotten has the word ‘spiritually’ in front of it. Could ‘spiritually’ be synonymous with ‘symbolically’ in this context?

I fail to see our ultimate relationship with God the Father, as expressed in the scriptures, or teachings of modern prophets, as clearly being described as a covenant based relationship. Perhaps I have missed it. This is not to say we don’t make covenants of course. We make them all the time.

Some of my favorite scriptures that express a literal parent-child relationship with God the Father are:

Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:9)

and

The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)

The Romans scripture particularly links us with Christ as being a child and heir of God. Just like he is. This seems a compelling scripture for Christ being our elder brother, and there being a divine heritage within each of us.

From ‘The Family – A Proclamation to the World’, the first presidency and quorum of the twelve unitedly make this relevant statement:

In the pre mortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life.

Gordon B. Hinkley said:

We sing, ‘I am a child of God’. That isn’t just a figment – that is the living truth. There is something of divinity within each of us, my brothers and sisters, that needs cultivation, that needs to come to the surface, that needs to find expression. You fathers and mothers, teach your children that they are, in a very literal way, sons and daughters of God. There is no greater truth in all the world than that – to think that we have something of divinity in us. (Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinkley Vol. 1, page 396)

It doesn’t get much more compelling than that. I have tried to show from the scriptures, and from the words of our current prophet, the first presidency, and quorum of the twelve, that the clear teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are literally the children of God. These are not coming from obscure statements from Brigham Young, Eliza R. Snow, nor Orson FLIPPIN’ PRATT!! 🙂 I have a hard time believing that I am the last Mormon on earth that is still naive enough to believe that I am a literal child of God.

I would encourage those who wish to question this, not to let reservations about the ways of conception, pregnancy, and birth among exalted resurrected beings, get in the way of the important and beautiful belief in a literal parent-child relationship with God the Father. Remember that God greatly multiplied the ‘sorrow’ associated with bearing children.� Let’s sing again:

I am a literal spirit offspring of God.

And He, as my literal spirit parent, has sent me here.

Has given me an earthly home,

With parents, who are literally my spirit siblings, kind and dear.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,

Help me find the way.

Teach me all that I must become,

To be a glorified and exalted being, just like God is, which is logical since I am his literal spirit offspring, somedaaaaaaay.

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97 Responses to “I am a Literal Offspring of God…”


  1. 2 Connor Boyack October 16, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve been disappointed by the posts you linked to as well. We are God’s children, plain and simple. Prophets both past and present have testified of this. I hereby nominate your new verse of the primary song to be appended in all future editions of the songbook.

  2. 3 J. Stapley October 16, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    I understand what you are saying and I understand what certain authorities have believed. I simply disagree that there is any particularly convincing reason to take the position that you do. Your analysis of Mosiah 5:7 seems incongruous with the analysis of your other scriptures.

  3. 4 J. Stapley October 16, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    I guess I would also ask what you mean by “literal children.” If you are going to discount all the weird theories then you have to come up with one of your own.

  4. 5 Dan October 16, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    I think there is much we do not understand at all about our relationship with God, but I think President Hinckley stated it as clearly as can be stated in our current mortal state. It is one thing to question something you don’t understand, in order to better understand it, but another to start discounting truth spoken by a prophet. Do I understand what it means to be literally a son of God? Not one bit. But that doesn’t alter the faith I have in the prophet’s words. Am I going to learn understand this relationship better before my mortality is up? Most likely not, so I don’t bother with it. I’ve got other more pressing matters right now.

  5. 6 J. Stapley October 16, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    …and for the record. I believe that we are literally children of God. We are also litterally begotten by Christ (D&C 76):

    23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

    24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

    Are you saying that we aren’t?

  6. 7 Téa October 16, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    “I would encourage those who wish to question this, not to let reservations about the ways of conception, pregnancy, and birth among exalted resurrected beings, get in the way of the important and beautiful belief in a literal parent-child relationship with God the Father. Remember that God greatly multiplied the ’sorrow’ associated with bearing children.”

    You’re right, enjoying a parent-child relationship with God shouldn’t be crowded out by questions about the methods–even if it turns out that we’re adopted by covenant that Father-daughter relationship exists for me.

    The last line in that paragraph confuses me though, I’m not sure what the connection is there.

  7. 8 Ryan October 16, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    J.,

    Maybe I’m mistken but isn’t verse 24 referencing a literal parent-child relationship with God the Father – not Christ as you are seemingly suggesting?

    “God” in the context of that scripture is the descriptor for the God the Father (as they describe Christ sitting at the right hand of “God”).

  8. 9 Wade October 16, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    I’ll take it one step further, I believe I am both a literal spirit son of God and also a literal physical son of God! I don’t really care what people say otherwise.

    Whom therefore ye [SO] ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you:

    God . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth . . . [t]hat they should seek . . . [and] find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being . . . for we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is . . . graven by art and man’s device. (Acts 17)

    I’m amazed by the amount of idol worship that goes on in the Church these days!

    If Acts 17 doesn’t convince you, try this one:

    Joseph (the adopted father of Christ while in mortality) “was the son of Heli, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi [you get the point; we come to several generations later and guess whose next in line?] . . . Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God“. (Luke chapter 3)

    So yes, Sing it [literal] brother Eric! SING IT PROUD!!!

  9. 10 J. Stapley October 16, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Ryan, I think it is fairly certain that that verse refers to Jesus Christ.

    even if it turns out that we’re adopted by covenant that Father-daughter relationship exists for me.

    Right on.

  10. 11 Eric Nielson October 16, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    Sorry it took so long to respond. Carnegie night.

    J:

    Thanks for stopping by. I hoped that you would. I quoted Mosiah 5:7 because I know it is a strong vers in your favor and I was trying to be fair. I confess that I do not know how to handle that verse, other than the context is clear about the parent-child relationship with Christ being a covenant based relationship. If my thoughts are correct this is a verse I must address and I don’t know how for sure yet.

    You ask what I mean by literal. I mean that I am a god in embryo. I have some divinity to me. We all do. We have potential to become like God just like we can become like our own parents. For me literal means literal. Offspring, not just partners. Same race. Literal.

    Your other question strikes me as odd. You ask if I am saying that we are not? Assuming you mean not literal children of God. I fail to see how that can be a question. The whole point here is to forward that we are quite literally the same race as God. His offspring. As literal as literal gets.

    So do you believe that we are the same race as God? Race may not be the exact word, but I think anyone who is trying knows what I mean. That if we were able to study spirit DNA that it could potentially be scientifically proven that God the father is our parent. My understanding is that you do not believe this. Perhaps I am wrong in this.

    Dan

    I think you have a good perspective. None of us should get to bent out of shape. I am hoping to get a better understanding of who God is and what my relationship is. I hope this is a righteous goal. I am not trying to pick a fight with Stapley or Mark B. Some of their thoughts confuse me on this topic, and I am trying to clear this up. Probably won’t happen today.

    Tea

    Sorry, I don’t remember how to make the e right for your name. The last line in my paragraph was meant to express that maybe the spirit birth process is much easier and quicker than the whole conception, pegnancy and birth process of mammals on earth. I am making no claim to know what this process is like for exalted and resurrected beings. I am just saying that I believe the parent/child relationship is literal, which for me is to say that it is more than a symbolic relationship based on covenants.

    Wade:

    Interesting thoughts. They are so new to me that I am unprepared to respond to them at the moment. I do not think I am ready to go that far yet. I shall have to consider this further.

  11. 12 Jared* October 16, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    As far as the physical aspect that Wade brings up, I did a post on that a while ago here.
    If it is true, it has been obscured by other realities. Luke chapter 3 is not as strong of evidence as it first appears. JST Joseph changed the wording–and that was after he produced Moses 6. I understand the reasoning and arguments for a physical relationship, but I think the arguments against it are not insignificant. Ultimately I think it is a speculative matter.

  12. 13 J. Stapley October 16, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    Eric, I definately think we are of the same “race” as God. I just think that just as there are differences between indavidual capicity in this life, there are differences in the eternities.

  13. 14 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 12:49 am

    When I say, “I am a literal child of my earthly parents,” I mean that to say that my parents had sexual intercourse (or possibly in vitro fertilization), my father’s sperm fertilized my mother’s egg which caused DNA from my father and mother to join. This cell with DNA from both of my parents multiplied until it was a human fetus gestating in my mother’s uterus. Eventually my body was vaginally birthed (or C-sectioned) and I was born as a literal child of my earthly parents.

    Is that similar to what you mean when you say you are a literal offspring/child of God?

  14. 15 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 1:06 am

    I just read some of the comments and see that you have probably already answered my question… though I still don’t know what you mean by “literal.”

    This was a conversation that I had with a Sunday school teacher of mine:

    her:With the power of the Holy Ghost, our blood literally becomes the blood of Abraham.

    me:What do you mean by literal? Does our DNA change? Blood-type? Physical/Chemical make up of our blood? If I took a blood/DNA test before I was given the Holy Ghost, would it match my blood/DNA afterwards?

    her:Well I think it’s more figuratively literal.

    Similarly, a girl in testimony meeting a month ago said that as she finished praying one night, she “literally felt the arm of Christ around her.” I wanted to ask: Was it heavy? Did you feel five fingers on your shoulder? Was it attached to the rest of Him, or was it a disembodied arm? I didn’t ask, cuz that would be rude. But had I done so, I have the feeling that it would reveal that she didn’t literally mean literal. Of course that leaves the question, of what sense does something have if it is figuratively literal.

    My point in all of this is that there is a trend, not just among Mormons, but everyone in general to wrongly use the word literal figuratively. Think of the last time someone use the word literal. Did she really mean it? (“I literally ran into him in the hall.” Were you really running at the time? “I literally flew across the campus to get to class in time.” Flying? etc)

  15. 16 Eric Nielson October 17, 2006 at 6:44 am

    J

    Thank you for your straight forward answer about the divine race question. I have no problem with large differences in capacity. Not all intelligences are equal. Some are more intelligent than others. One was more intelligent than they all. There will of course be differences in the results of final judgement throught the eternities as well. But this issue does extend forward eternally as well. This strikes at the core of what exaltation is as well. That is one of the reasons I want to maintain a belief in literal offspring status for all of us.

    Narrator

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, I believe very literal. I do not know that pregnancy of exalted beings will be similar to that of mammals on earth, but whatever the process is – I believe that parantage is as literal as literal gets. I agree that our overstating of the word literal, and our hesitancy to let symbolic things be just symbolic is part of the problem. Perhaps the writer of Mosiah 5 was doing the same thing. Or more likely our interpretation of Mosiah 5 and other sources may be to make symolic things more literal than they really are.

  16. 17 Wade October 17, 2006 at 9:47 am

    Jared:

    Luke chapter 3 is not as strong of evidence as it first appears.

    Please enlighten me! I’m curious to see the extent of your theological/verbal/semantic acrobatics to explain how the “evidence” isn’t “strong”.

  17. 18 Wade October 17, 2006 at 10:17 am

    I don’t know why anyone would ever be in doubt about both our LITERAL (and yes, I mean it) spiritual and physical relationship to the Gods as their offspring! If you believe scripture, you are compelled either to accept this truth; or you must twist, contort, and pervert the plain meaning of the text. Let’s take a look:

    We were IN FACT formed by the Gods from the dust of the ground (Abr. 5:7).

    First, who were the Gods? They were physical beings, at least one of each sex: “So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.” (Abr. 4:27) [You have a lot of explaining and verbal gymnastics to perform if you’re going to disagree with me here].

    Second, how did the Gods “form” the humans after their image? They did so after the only manner in which it occurs: from the dust of the ground.

    And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground . . . . (Abr. 5:7).

    But the critical question is: what does it mean to be formed from the dust? Well, JUST FOLLOW THE FOOTNOTE IN ABRAHAM 5:7, which leads you to Moses 6:59.

    “[I]nasmuch as ye were BORN into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, AND SO BECAME OF DUST A LIVING SOUL, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten . . . . (Moses 6:59, capitals, italics, and bold added [of course]).

    I would absolutely love for someone to try and explain away this plain and precious truth! It will remind me of the old days on my mission when evangelicals tried to explain to me the concept of the Trinity–it just doesn’t work!

  18. 20 John W. Redelfs October 17, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    When a few saints begin to “dwindle in unbelief” as occurred so often in ancient America as recorded in the Book of Mormon, they begin looking for ways to disbelieve the scriptures. One of the easiest ways to do this is to dismiss everything in scripture that is intended to be understood literally as something that is only true in a figurative or symbolical way. Hence, Heavenly Father becomes our father only in the sense that George Washington was the father of our country, or James Madison was the father of the US Constitution. The Book of Mormon becomes “true” only in the sense that any work of fiction is true if teaches some true principles as Aesop’s Fables do. Of course the Catholics and Protestants have been doing this for nearly two thousand years, ever since they embraced the heresy that God has no body but is some vast, incorporeal being that fills the immensity of space. They pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven….” But since their God has no body, he could not possibly have any children in any real or literal sense. And for that matter, they do not really believe that Jesus was God’s Son except in some mystical, figurative way that belongs in flowery poetry more than in the real universe.

    It should not distress us that so many of the saints are following the traditional and apostate Christian world into embracing these fallacies. It is inevitable that many should “dwindle in unbelief” in the last days. The scriptures are clear that this has happened in every dispensation. That is why the Savior has to keep calling prophets to restore his ancient gospel from time to time in successive dispensations. Our job, if we choose to take it, is to make sure that we do not dwindle in unbelief as others surely will.

    As many of our Presidents of the Church have attested, there is only one way to make a man. And that is the same way our earthly parents made us and we make our own children. Should we believe instead that we were all made as Pinocchio was made into a “real little boy” from a wooden puppet carved by his father Geppetto? Quite a feat of magic if you can believe that sort of thing.

    We live in an age of disbelief and loss of faith. Sadly it afflicts even the saints. That we are all the literal offspring of God should be obvious to anyone who believes the prophets. And if we do not believe the prophets, in what sense are we saints and followers of Jesus Christ?

  19. 21 Eric Nielson October 17, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    John:

    Thanks for your comments. I too am a little puzzled that this issue should be in any question at all.

    J:

    Do I see some cartwheels coming?

  20. 22 Wade October 17, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you John, for making your comment; wisdom shines forth from it such as rarely occurs in a blog comment thread.

    And thank you Eric for posting this and bringing to light one of the treasured truths commonly dismissed and trampled by even those among us in the Church.

  21. 23 Connor Boyack October 17, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    I’d like to jump on the praise bandwagon and say how much I enjoyed John’s comment. Three cheers for clarity and truth!

  22. 24 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    Wade:

    I don’t know why anyone would ever be in doubt about both our LITERAL (and yes, I mean it) spiritual and physical relationship to the Gods as their offspring! If you believe scripture, you are compelled either to accept this truth; or you must twist, contort, and pervert the plain meaning of the text. Let’s take a look:

    We were IN FACT formed by the Gods from the dust of the ground (Abr. 5:7).

    The LITERAL reading of this verse (as well as the Genesis, Moses, and Endowment accounts) is that human beings were formed out of clay in a similar way that a potter forms a clay statue with the dust of the ground. Dust is LITERALLY dust. Dirt. Clay. Mud.

    But the critical question is: what does it mean to be formed from the dust? Well, JUST FOLLOW THE FOOTNOTE IN ABRAHAM 5:7, which leads you to Moses 6:59.

    Moses 6:59 is a figurative interpretation.

    This is the definition of LITERAL:

    1. in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical: the literal meaning of a word.
    2. following the words of the original very closely and exactly: a literal translation of Goethe.
    3. true to fact; not exaggerated; actual or factual: a literal description of conditions.
    4. being actually such, without exaggeration or inaccuracy: the literal extermination of a city.
    5. (of persons) tending to construe words in the strict sense or in an unimaginative way; matter-of-fact; prosaic.
    6. of or pertaining to the letters of the alphabet.
    7. of the nature of letters.
    8. expressed by letters.
    9. affecting a letter or letters: a literal error.

    The hebrew word (which is the basis for other accounts) translated as dust is ‘aphar. It is defined as:

    1) dry earth, dust, powder, ashes, earth, ground, mortar, rubbish
    a) dry or loose earth
    b) debris
    c) mortar
    d) ore

    That is the literal meaning of dust. The word translated as formed is yatsar, which denotes the actions of a potter working clay.

    Again, the LITERAL reading of ‘formed man from the dust of the ground’ is JUST WHAT IT SAYS. The literal reading is that God formed man with dust as a potter forms a figure out of clay. God then blew His breath (literal meaning of ‘spirit’) into the figure giving it life. That is the LITERAL reading.

    As I was expressing in a previous post, people seriously misuse the term LITERAL. This is just another example.

    Everyone reads some scriptures figuratively. Even God. The only difference is that some choose differently as to which scriptures they’ll read literally and which ones they’ll read figuratively.

  23. 25 J. Stapley October 17, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    The problem is that many faithful Mormons that you castigate could just as easily make accusations of looking beyond the mark, cultural over-belief and and simple ignorance. That would be a mistake in my oppinion just as your triumphant exuberance in your self-affirmed position. Cheer all you want. It doesn’t change the fact that you are playing the child throwing sand in the sandbox.

    A thoughtful position statement that outlines your beliefs and thoughtful response to criticism would strengthen your position. All you have done is weaken it.

  24. 26 Wade October 17, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Narrator:

    You are revealing your interest in arguing for the sake of argument and not addressing the point. Please re-read my comment and try and tell me I said creation from “dust” was literal. I used the word literal only at the beginning of my comment and only in the context of my belief that we are literally offspring of the Gods. THEN, I proceeded to show why I have this literal belief based on an explicit plain reading of two verses from the Pearl of Great Price wherein the figurative concept of creation from dust means physical birth from water, blood, and spirit. Don’t accuse someone of something they have not done!

    J:

    A thoughtful position statement that outlines your beliefs and thoughtful response to criticism would strengthen your position. All you have done is weaken it.

    I am sorry you think I have not made a “thoughtful position statement outlining my belief”. Yet, I feel strongly that eminently reasonable people will disagree with you. Because I often use inflated language in my rhetoric does not detract from the plain meaning I set forth from two verses of scripture. That you fail to see the argument I was making (or “position” I was “outlining”) and refuse to acknowledge my point, actually weakens your position (whatever it is), not mine. Sorry friend.

  25. 27 Michelle October 17, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    J.,
    You have simply confused me here. I am not really sure what you believe at all. I think it should be easy to take a primary song — something we teach our children — and accept that simple truth that we are God’s spirit children. Otherwise it seems we are teaching falsehoods to our children from day one. I don’t believe we are. We don’t have to know all the technicalities to believe that simple truth.

    Personally, I don’t know that the physical literalness matters as much, because it is more a vehicle for who we REALLY are — our spirits. Of course both are needed, but our flesh does not determine who we are. We were who we are before we came here.

  26. 28 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    Wade:

    Please re-read my comment and try and tell me I said creation from “dust” was literal.

    Here:

    If you believe scripture, you are compelled either to accept this truth; or you must twist, contort, and pervert the plain meaning of the text.

    We were IN FACT formed by the Gods from the dust of the ground

    Let’s play with this for a minute. Imagine that you and I are having a conversation and I pull out a small ceramic mug out of my bag. I tell you that I made the mug out of clay. You ask: “Did you literally or figuratively make it out of clay?” I respond: “Listen to the plain meaning of these words – I made it out of clay.”

    How would you understand what I said? What is the plain meaning of my statement?

    I then tell you: “I IN FACT made it out of clay.”

    Did I make it out of clay? What am I saying here? Have I given any indication that I made it in a process other than making it with clay?

    I then tell you: “And by that, I mean that it was made at some factory with a hard-resin injection into a mold which I later bought at Wal*Mart.”

    Given that you seem to be a fairly rational person, I will assume that you would respond with something like this: “That’s not the plain meaning of ‘making it out of clay!’ You did not IN FACT make it out of clay!”

    That you must appeal to a second verse to offer an interpretation of the first shows that you are rejecting the plain meaning of the first. You ask: “what does it mean to be formed from the dust?” You then go on to provide another verse to interpret the first. This shows that you do not accept the first to mean what it actually says.

    THEN, I proceeded to show why I have this literal belief based on an explicit plain reading of two verses from the Pearl of Great Price wherein the figurative concept of creation from dust means physical birth from water, blood, and spirit.

    Yet, you said we were “IN FACT formed by the Gods from the dust of the ground.” Again, that’s fine that you want to read it figuratively, I think you should. However using “IN FACT” is quite synonomous with ‘literal’ and is hardly interchangeable with ‘figurative.’

    But the problems with your argument still continue. Why should the Abr 5:7 be read figuratively while Moses 6:59 read as an interpretation of the figurative? Why not vice-versa? Why not read them both figuratively?

    Of course these questions are also problematic. The ancients did not have a discourse of figurative vs literal, or even actually history vs. mythic history. To force these dichotomies on their scriptures and history is heavily flawed. James Faulconer wrote an excellent essay on the issue of historicity in his ‘Scripture and Incarnation’ (you can read an early draft of it here).

  27. 29 Eric Nielson October 17, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    Michelle:

    J confuses me a little too. Just when I think we are on common ground he throws a bit of a curve. He is still one of my favorites though.

    I think the argument is getting away a little bit. My main point is that our spirits are who we really are, and that those spirits are literal children of God. There are those, with examples given by the links in my post, who don’t seem to really believe that our spirits are children of God at all. That there is an ontalogical difference between our spirits and God’s spirit. I think this ultimately leads to a belief that God has always been God and has never not been God, and that we have never been a God (in embryo or otherwise), and can never be a God (with a capital G).

  28. 30 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Michelle:

    Personally, I don’t know that the physical literalness matters as much, because it is more a vehicle for who we REALLY are — our spirits. Of course both are needed, but our flesh does not determine who we are. We were who we are before we came here.

    I agree. Our being children of God shouldn’t be about our biological/ontological make up or ancestry. It should be about our own divinity, potential, and relationships.

    I have a few friends who are adopted. Their being children of their parents has nothing to do with biology, DNA, and literalness. It has to do with a relationship of love, care, nurture, committment, and support.

  29. 31 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    Eric:

    There are those, with examples given by the links in my post, who don’t seem to really believe that our spirits are children of God at all. That there is an ontalogical difference between our spirits and God’s spirit. I think this ultimately leads to a belief that God has always been God and has never not been God, and that we have never been a God (in embryo or otherwise), and can never be a God (with a capital G).

    I don’t see your accusations being made in those links. While I’m sure that they believe that God and man are ontologically different in number, none of them are arguing that God and humans are ontologically different in type (the two wooden chairs in my kitchen are two distinct and different chairs, but they are both wooden chairs).

    The ‘God’ and ‘god’ distinction in Mormon theological studies is usually used to distinguish God as a personal name and god as a general name for a type of being (similar to ‘the Prophet’ being used solely to reference Joseph Smith and ‘the prophet’ used to refence any president of the church). With this distinction, one cannot become God (just as you cannot become Joseph Smith), but you could certainly become god (just as you could become a prophet).

  30. 32 Wade October 17, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Narrator:

    Now that you give a more nuanced argument in terms of what you are calling “literal” (to include all factual situations being literal), I see your point. And I will concede your pointing out the flaw in my statement about creation “IN FACT”. And as such, I will retract my statement that creation from “dust” is figurative. After further thought, it is my position that being created from dust isn’t figurative, it’s literal; but literal based on the scriptural definition of “dust”. It is not the dust you refer to from typical definitions and translations of the word. Rather the word “dust” is (as they say in the law) a term of art used by the Lord through his prophets, and it means that which God has created (namely water, blood, and spirit).

    Thanks for the clarification. I will concede your point was correct and I retract my misstatement about figurative matters.

  31. 33 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    it’s literal; but literal based on the scriptural definition of “dust”.

    Do you mean the Book of Moses’ figurative interpretation of ‘dust’? ‘aphar in the scriptures is always translated as dust (or dry earth, powder, ashes, earth, ground, mortar, rubbish). Its only literal reading is dust. Dust is dust. It’s dirt. It’s literally dirt. Dust is not literally flesh, water, spirit, blood, or anything else that isn’t dirt. Flesh is literally flesh. Spirit is literally spirit (well, actually… it’s literally breath). Blood is literally blood.

    To say something is literal that isn’t renders ‘literal’ meaningless.

    Rather the word “dust” is (as they say in the law)…

    Huh?

    a term of art used by the Lord through his prophets, and it means that which God has created (namely water, blood, and spirit).

    Here are a few examples of where ‘dust’ is used. It seems the literal (dust) reading of dust works best. I’m not sure how your reading works.

    “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”

    “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”

    “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then] shall thy seed also be numbered.”

    “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which [am but] dust and ashes:”

    “And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”

    “And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:”

    “And whatsoever man [there be] of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.”

    “And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put [it] into the water:”

    and on, and on, and on…

  32. 34 Jared* October 17, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Wade,

    I did most of my ‘theological/verbal/semantic acrobatics’ at the link I provided in my comment above. For your convenience I provide it again: Link. If, after reading it, you would like to discuss the matter further, I will be happy to do so.

  33. 35 J. Stapley October 17, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    Eric, the problem I see with some of the analyses floating around here is that they tie being a child of God to things that are extra-canonical. John states that sexual union and viviparous birth are required. You state that our eternal destiny as having the same position that God the Father has now is required. I believe this to be a mistake.

    The temple is where the most important and sacred teachings about our history and destiny are discussed. So sacred that we don’t discuss them outside the temple. I think the temple could be considered the gold standard for delineating our natures. Neither of the ideas I mention in the previous paragraph are taught in the temple. To be sure, they have been believed and taught by authorities of the Church. There have been many things that we both don’t believe that were considered similarly by such authorities.

    So, what then does it mean to be a child of God? I’m not sure that I completely understand, but I know that it means that he loves us and I believed that he somehow raised us and wants to help us increase and fill the measure of our capacity.

  34. 36 Wade October 17, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    Narrator:

    Because I don’t want to belabor my point (or get into semantical/technical discussoins about the definition of “term of art”–which you seem to be confused about), I am going to concede the point to you.

    Simply put, I think in the end we probably don’t differ too much in what we believe about the literal versus the figurative (at least for purposes of all other circumstances–although I do think this is a technical exception in which I probably disagree with you). Consequently, I am going to agree that I was wrong for using such language as “in fact” etc.

    Now, let’s not try and diverge too much from the substance of Eric’s post. Unfortunately, I think my comments about the physical nature of God’s paternity/maternity have diverged from what Eric is trying to say.

  35. 37 Eric Nielson October 17, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    J:

    As Wade has said to the Narrator, I also feel that you and I are not as far apart as I think we are sometimes. I want to believe that I have literal divine parents. I want to believe that I can live the type of life they live. I am afraid that if I were to begin to believe that I was not their offspring that all of that flies out the window, and that maybe eternal life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I get defensive when this literal parent/child relationship gets questioned – even in subtle ways.

    To all”

    I feel like apologizing. I am not as sophisticated in making the arguments that many of you are capable of making. This type of debate is outside of my normal conversation. I’m a small and simple guy after all. I just want to believe that i really am a child of God in a simple literal way, and have all that that implies – with no limits. I do not pretend to know all of the baggage that this belief comes with when taken to all of its ultimate conclusion. And in a way that doesn’t bother me much. I just hope that we as a church do not get so sophisticated in this type of discourse that we throw out important things by virtue of our intellectual might.

    And also, the post is’mine’ I guess. But the comments are yours. As long as you are respectful feel free to say whatever you want. I just hope yo don’t feel put out if I don’t keep up with some of the tangents. Part of my point is that I desire to avoid many of the tangents that take us away from the basic truth.

    I admire the logic and vocabulary of many of you. I wish I had your talents sometimes.

    Any rate, it is bedtime for my boys. It is time for them to talk to their real father. Their eternal father. I hope they view him as a literal eternal father. I’m going to continue to teach them that.

  36. 38 Wade October 17, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    Eric,

    No need to aplogize! I think those who really are wise, are those who understand that simplicity and reality aren’t polar opposites. Those who like to argue the finer points of things are really good at showing us their facade which covers their ignorance and lack of faith (myself included).

  37. 39 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Wade:

    I am well aware of what a ‘term of art’ is. My confusion arises when you say “Rather the word “dust” is (as they say in the law)“. I just have no idea what you are talking about.

    My issue with this whole discussion deals more with the problem that Eric just illustrated….

    Eric:

    I am afraid that if I were to begin to believe that I was not their offspring that all of that flies out the window, and that maybe eternal life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    Earlier I mentioned the testimony of a girl who claimed: “After praying, I literally felt the arm of Christ around me.” I pointed out the problem of her statement – Was it a disembodied arm, or was it connected to Him? Was it heavy? Did she feel all five fingers on her shoulder? Etc. While part of my point was to illustrate the problem of her language, I left another part of my criticism silent… something that is far more important.

    In his Death and Immortality, D.Z. Phillips (who I was hoping to study with at Claremont before he died) talks about the problems that arise when philosophers (and others) wish to use philosophical/empirical language to understand religious language. My remarks on Jesus’ arm illustrate that. They were not meant to say that she was lying or unaware of what she really experienced. Rather, they were pointing out that one needed to see what it was that she was saying, by examining her practice. If she didn’t feel an actual physical and tangible arm around her, what did she mean? Most likely she meant it in a way that others use that phrase – she felt a powerful and reassuring feeling of comfort, love, understanding, etc.

    Let’s say now that someone sitting in the meeting heard her speak and was deeply touched. However this person thought that she was saying that she literally literally felt the arm of Christ around her (perhaps a disembodied arm…or Christ’s whole physical body was present, or something to that effect). Accompanied with the poweful spirit of her testimony, this person associates the two and believes that this girl’s prayer was answered with a physical manifestation of Christ.

    A week later this person is talking with the girl and asks her about what it felt like to physically feel the arm of Christ. She looks at him with a puzzled face and explains that there wasn’t a tangible arm and explains all the emotional and spiritual love she felt after praying.

    Should this man give up his faith in the love of Christ?

    No. Perhaps, he should give up his misplaced understanding about certain things, but that has no bearing on the girls testimony and the powerful message she shared. Her testimony was not about tangible physical flesh and bone. It was about divine love and care.

    David O. McKay once said (and I’m paraphrasing) that it didn’t matter whether humanity was formed out of clay, evolved from ape, or physically born out of divine beings… the important part is understanding our divine nature and potentiality.

    The importance of our being God’s children isn’t about DNA, ontology, physical (or spiritual-physical) birth, or any other empirical method of determining literalness. It is about our loving relationship with God. It is about our divine potential. It is about our importance. It is about the plan of God. It is about our place in the cosmos. Does it matter if God formed us out of clay and breathed life into our nostrils? Does it matter if we evolved from an earlier animal species? No. How does that change our relationship with God? How does that change our potential? How does that change our place in the cosmos? If our faith is dependent upon such trivial matters, then perhaps we need a faith that is more expansive, looks more outward, and is able to embrace God’s message of love and relationships.

    If your children were adopted, would you love them any less? If they weren’t literally your children, would that make them any less wonderful. No. It shouldn’t change anything at all. Because that’s not what a family is about. That’s not what relationships are about. Just as we shouldn’t get hung up on technicalities about parent-child relationships, we shouldn’t get caught up in technicalities about our relationship with God. Brigham Young once ridiculed Orson Pratt for worshipping the attributes of God instead of God. When you get down to pray at night, how important is the literalness of God’s fatherhood to you? Do you care that God as a physical body? Do you care whether God shares your spiritual DNA? Are those things in front of your mind when you pray? I’m guessing not. I’m guessing that instead you are praying with the knowledge that there is someone out there listening and loving you. You are not praying to a set of attributes and characteristics. You are praying to a God who has the utmost love, hope, and aspirations for who you are. A God who sees the divinity in you and the potential you have – despite whatever ontological relationship you may share.

    Sorry about the extremely long comment.

  38. 40 Michelle October 17, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    When you get down to pray at night, how important is the literalness of God’s fatherhood to you?

    Actually, this is extremely important to me. I don’t really have my physical father to rely on right now, so I NEED my Father that much more. In fact, the other night, I nearly cried out “Daddy” in my prayer because I was needing that – needing HIM — so desperately. The fact that He is my FATHER is HUGE to me. I don’t need to know exactly the mechanics of how I came to be, but I know He is more than just “a relationship” –He is my Father and I am His child.

    Keep it simple. Just like Primary. No need to complicate this issue. We are His children. He is our Father. We don’t need to qualify that or hyperanalyze it. Just savor it, appreciate it.

  39. 41 the narrator October 17, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Michelle:

    I think we are talking past eachother… Yet you are illustrating my point perfectly. It’s not about the literal literalness. It’s about what having a Father means. I can call and talk to my dad whenever I need him. I know he loves me and I can turn to him whenever I’m having my worst and best of days. If I were to find out that I was adopted… that he wasn’t literally my father, that wouldn’t change my relationship with him. It would still be more than” just ‘a relationship'” He is my Father and I am his Child – despite the lack of literalness.

  40. 42 Eric Nielson October 18, 2006 at 6:36 am

    Narrator:

    Your recent comments have opened my eyes to what my real concern is. You speak of adoption with the assumption that it is an adoption within the same species. The important part for this discussion I believe is that either way the adopted child is human and has human parents somewhere. We are not talking about an adopted dog or cat or goldfish or parakeet.

    I am concerned that if we loose the belief in a literal spirit birth to literal spirit parents and go down the road of adoption do we eventually loose the belief in being a child of God? That is why I think the important question to ask during these discussions is if the other side believes that we are of the same race/species as God. So here is the line of reasoning I am concerned about:

    God is God
    God has always been God
    We are not God
    We have never been God
    We were adopted by God
    We are fundamentally different from God
    We will never really be a God
    We are not much more than a pet of God

  41. 43 Mark Butler October 18, 2006 at 8:00 am

    Eric N.,

    Your understanding of what it means to be spiritually begotten and the manner by which we received our bodies of spirit has been the popular understanding in the Church since Brigham Young. However, the idea that heavenly parents have 100 billion spirit children by viviparous pro-creation is in many ways part and parcel of his Adam-God theory – a theory which in some respects was regrettably so mistaken (i.e. contrary to scripture) that it has been officially condemned by the Church for over ninety years.

    Of course we are begotten of our Heavenly Father, and in more ways than one. But one cannot idly assume that what one thinks is the literal (according to the letter) interpretation of any given scriptural term is in fact the true literal meaning of the term. If one wants to understand the way scriptural terms are used, and what their significance is, the best way is to refer to other scriptures.

    And the many scriptures on the concept of spirit birth and re-birth do not provide any direct evidence for the concept of viviparous pro-creation of spirits, and abundant evidence for covenantal adoption, glorification, spiritual in-dwelling, surrection and re-surrection, and so on. The Lord’s commentary in the book of John is typical (look and see).

    Moses 1:34 says that Adam was the first man of all men, and we was also many. Not only that he was created before Eve, the first woman of all women, who was also many [1]. Now by verse 35 we know that the first man Adam and first woman Eve spoken of are not necessarily the same as the Adam and Eve we know. But my point is it is impossible for the first man of all men (the first to receive a spirit body with two eyes and ten fingers, etc.) to be born pro-creatively.

    What this scripture is telling us, in so many words, is that all of us, from the least to the greatest, existed only as intelligences prior to some point, and then God (or the gods) the greatest of all, designed our tabernacle of spirit, created of the dust (like all tabernacles), and placed each of us inside, such that we became a living (spiritual) soul – not just an eternal intelligence (or no-body) but having the same native capacity as God (the Most High) received also.

    We further confirm this point by noting that Adam and Eve, who were many, could not have children. In the general sense this means that there was no pro-creation or viviparous birth in the first estate – marriage after a kind, sure, but biological children no. Spirits are physically (bodily) incapable of having biological children. Biological children are a feature of the second estate[2], and the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, a better covenant founded upon better promises [3], a covenant established according to the foreknowledge of God to remedy the weaknesses of the first.

    An insistence only on pro-creative viviparous birth is basically parochialism. It lead to such heresies as the “baby resurrection”, the idea that in the resurrection one is born again of a mother. On the contrary, our Lord rose again as a full grown adult in the re-surrection. Does that mean that re-surrection in an glorified, immortal body is to be demeaned because it is not pro-creative? And if re-surrection is not to be diminished in that way, why should the surrection, where God first said to Adam: stand up and be a man, be comparably diminished?

    And finally if (contrary to scripture) there was no first man of all men, who designed the human body? Is it some sort of Platonic reality designed by no one? Is God working with a set of plans that neither he nor any other person ever authored? I don’t think so. God is a Creator, not an acolyte to an impersonal collection of attributes or abstractions.

    [1] Moses 4:26
    [2] Moses 5:11
    [3] Heb 8:6

  42. 44 Wade October 18, 2006 at 9:27 am

    If one wants to understand the way scriptural terms are used, and what their significance is, the best way is to refer to other scriptures.

    You are right. Now, how do you explain away Abraham 5:7 and the corresponding definition (refering to “other scriptures”) found in Moses 6:59? You cannot disregard the explicit instruction from God wherein He says creation from dust means birth from water blood and spirit!

  43. 45 J. Stapley October 18, 2006 at 9:33 am

    Eric: We are not much more than a pet of God

    I don’t follow. Pets don’t have free agency. Your slippery slope isn’t particularly rational.

    I just happened to read an interesting excerpt from Brigham Young’s office journal (pg. 217 – 1861):

    “The President asked Elder Hyde whtat he believed about propagating our species in Celestial Glory. The Elder replied that he did not know. He had not taught on that subject.”

    Here we have an apostle of the Lord saying it is unknown to him. I can’t imagine that something as important as you are asserting this to be would be unknown to the apostles who knew Joseph and Brigham intimately.

  44. 46 Eric Nielson October 18, 2006 at 9:46 am

    Mark:

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

    I have not made any claim to know the process of spirit birth. I have tried to avoid that in fact. So I might ask what to me ought to be a simple question, but somehow I expect it wont stay simple. Are we the same spirit race/species as God is? To me the answer is and should be a firm yes.

    I can not hope to go toe to toe with you in an argument like this. I have not got the background nor the time. In general I have a belief somewhat of the Widtsoe, Talmage, BH Roberts line. I believe that God became God. The first God became God. This God developed a plan to assist other lesser intelligences progress faster and farther than they would be able to on their own. Everything after that is after his designs. This of course is simply speculative, but roughly based on what Widtsoe basicall expressed in Rational Theology.

    At any rate, the important thing to me is maintaining that we are of the same race/species as God, and the thought that makes the most sense and feels right to me is the literal parent/child relationship between God and us. Some of the recent thought I have read appear to me to call in question whether we are of the same spirit race/species as God. This makes me nervous.

  45. 47 Eric Nielson October 18, 2006 at 9:53 am

    J:

    We must have been typing simultaneously.

    I guess I do not know much about the subject either. For me it still comes down to the question I think should be simple. Are we the same race/species as God? If so we must be able potentially to become like Him. Certainly the details of the eternal propagation of this common race/species have not been revealted – and I don’t really care at this point to much what my own opinions are about those details. But when other opinios appear to question whether we are of the same race/species of God I start to get interested and want to stand up for something.

  46. 48 J. Stapley October 18, 2006 at 10:02 am

    That is fine, but again, I would love to see what you thought of our Temple rituals as they relate to your necessary criteria. As I see it, the temple controverts your position. I mention that to note that perhaps your requirements aren’t as important as you think they are.

  47. 49 the narrator October 18, 2006 at 10:08 am

    Eric:

    I was pretty sure that the issue of specie was your main issue, however I really don’t understand your line of reasoning that you provided (and think it is severely flawed for reasons I won’t go into).

    I think that you have a legitimate concern, however I am not sure how warranted it is in relation to those you have been criticizing. First of all, the word ‘specie’ should be used with care. While it may be entirely appropriate as a sort of analogy or figurative term, it probably has no real application in a literal sense (literally, the term specie invokes notions of DNA and placement within a biological framework – categories inappropriate for this discussion).

    If specie is understood as ontological ‘type’ then I don’t see what your concern is. I think Mormon discourse is pretty clear that humans are essentially the same type as God. In fact, I think it could be easily argued (as many have) that the scriptures advocate a position that God is best understood as a big-brother father figure and not as a literal father. As J. Stapley and Jared* have pointed out, for one to have a more nuanced parent-child understanding of our relationship to God, one must appeal to extra-canonical sources. The scriptures rather point in a rather different direction (Sorry, I don’t have my quad available with me to give you precise references and quotations). Restoration scriptures are pretty clear that our essential spiritual selves are co-eternal with God, not created by God. This alone makes it difficult to understand God as a literal father. While some may hold and argue that ‘intelligences’ are co-eternal with God, but ‘spirits’ are born of God (analogous to our spirits being pre-mortal entities born into physical bodies by our parents), however this is a position that really doesn’t have much scriptural basis but was rather advocated in the early 20th century by BH Roberts and others. The scriptures rather seem to use ‘intelligenc’ as a synomous term with ‘spirit’ in relation to our pre-mortal individual selves.

    Furthermore, Restoration scriptures state that God is not the literal father of our spirits, but as a co-eternal being, was more intelligent than the rest of his co-eternal entities (the rest of us) and sought to help us achieve the same status that he shares.

    As co-eternal beings (which the scripture are very clear about us being), it is difficult to take the line of reasoning you propose. Furthermore, even if we weren’t co-eternal and God was a literal father, that does not prevent God from seeing us as pets (there are dozens of abhorrent news stories of literal parents of children who see and treat those children as pets – or even worse). What prevents God from seeing us as animals is not some type of literal parentness, but is the love that God has for us.

    As far as your god and God issues go, I think those are partly due to a misunderstanding of the use of those terms in Mormon theological studies as I mentioned in a previous post.

  48. 50 the narrator October 18, 2006 at 10:16 am

    You are right. Now, how do you explain away Abraham 5:7 and the corresponding definition (refering to “other scriptures”) found in Moses 6:59? You cannot disregard the explicit instruction from God wherein He says creation from dust means birth from water blood and spirit!

    “Explaining away” is a loaded phrase. A while back I wrote a brief post about various creation myths in Mormonism. I think these verses can and should both be understood in context of the use of creation myths in religion.

    Here is part of that post:

    each creation myth should not be understood in terms of modern science, but in terms of religious identification, myth, and understanding. they are true, not by correlation to any scientific method, but by correlation to human experience, purpose, and value. each rendition is provided to express a different divine understanding of humanity.

  49. 51 Wade October 18, 2006 at 11:12 am

    I think these verses can and should both be understood in context of the use of creation myths in religion.

    Ah, okay, I see. Thanks for clarifying your position Loyd.

    Mark:

    Now that Loyd has answered the (loaded) question I posed to you, would you mind chiming in? I am interested to know if you likewise explain it away and dismiss it in the same fashion as Loyd.

  50. 52 the narrator October 18, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    I am interested to know if you likewise explain it away and dismiss it in the same fashion as Loyd.

    I am neither explaining it away nor dismissing it. I really don’t know how else to respond without saying something that will get be banned or give Hhhhh something to jump around about.

  51. 53 Wade October 18, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Loyd,

    As long as you remain respectful to those who post and comment on this site (and to Church leadership in general–we don’t like to speak evil of the Lord’s annointed around these parts), I will personally see to it that you don’t get “banned”.

    And just so you know, I really don’t care that you dismiss the plain meaning of the text as read in Moses 6:59 (which is the modifyer to Abraham 5:7). That you call it a “creation myth” is highly telling of your general position; and I find it rather interesting. But it still is a clear dismissal of my point (I don’t know of a better way to dismiss something than by simply calling it a “myth”).

  52. 54 Eric Nielson October 18, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    J:

    I think you must understand ‘my position’ and ‘my criteria’ better than I do. 🙂 What is my criteria again?

    As I see it I want to believe that we are all of the same race/species as God is and that we have the potential to be like him.

    Is this the criteria that you would love to know how I felt it relates to the temple cerimony?

  53. 55 the narrator October 18, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    I don’t know of a better way to dismiss something than by simply calling it a “myth”

    I should have included my explanation of the use of the word ‘myth’ that was used in my original post:

    “(i use the word myths in the sense of religious narrative, and not necessarily to denote fantasy or supernatural)”

    Perhaps ‘drama’ would have been a better term.

    A literal reading of the creation and Eden narratives include a literal seven day creation, animals and humans literally molded out of clay, a literal talking snake, literal magic fruit, literal winged beasts with literally flaming swords, and other things. Do you accept these literal readings, or do you likewise “explain it away and dismiss it”. If you accept a literally understanding of the endowment drama, you’ve got a bunch of other literal things that will be difficult. How does one grip a spirit-being?

  54. 56 Wade October 18, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    Loyd,

    I have LONG debated (with some in this forum even) that the endowment and creation story is almost wholistically figurative. But that’s not the point my friend.

    The point is, I have directed us to a verse of scripture that decodes the meaning of “dust” as used in the creation drama. And from there, ya’ll have dismissed it as a myth (i.e. that “dust” can’t be defined as being born of water, blood, and spirit because surely it is a myth). So, are you saying that God’s descriptive analysis as found in Moses 6:59 is merely a myth within a myth?

  55. 57 J. Stapley October 18, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    Criterion: If so we must be able potentially to become like Him.

    I assume that you mean that humans have can have the job that God the Father has right now. This is a poplular belief in Mormonism, which is fine. I just believe that it isn’t necessary to believe this to believe that we are children of God.

    Is this the criteria that you would love to know how I felt it relates to the temple cerimony?

    Actually the temple cerimonies, but yes.

    Basically, I see you drawing a circle in the sand and setting up a defense wall around something that isn’t particularly defensible. You say that being a child of God means explicitly that humans can have is job one day. This is your working definition (it seems to me). But where did you get that definition? Not the temple. Not the scriptures. Not Joseph Smith. No First Presidency message. How can it therefor be the last line of defense?

  56. 58 the narrator October 18, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    So, are you saying that God’s descriptive analysis as found in Moses 6:59 is merely a myth within a myth?

    Yes. I think almost every discussion of Adam needs to be understood within the discussion of religious myth. If the endowment drama teaches anything, it’s that we are Adam, which is many. It’s not explaining away the creation stories, it’s embracing and internalizing them. It is making them my own.

  57. 59 Eric Nielson October 18, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    J:

    Would it not logically follow that if we were the same race/species that we would therefore potentially be able to become alike? Just in general? That is why I feel the foundation is so important.

    I mean a tadpole is a tadpole, but because it is the same race/species as the frog, it follows that it will eventually become like the frog.

    Then of course there is the couplet. As man is …. (roll eyes now). Was this not a statement by a prophet. But for even the possibility of the famous couplet – which probably makes you cringe – to be even remotely true, we must be the same race/species as God.

    The two ‘ends’ are tied together aren’t they?

    Oh, and I will be thinking of our conversation here next time I go to the temple. Any particular cerimonies I should do and pay close attention to?

  58. 60 J. Stapley October 18, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Check out the eternal nature as described in the initiatories.

    The tadpole is one way to look at it, but another one would be to look at the smartest person in the world who does many great things. Now if they have a child that is not so smart and doesn’t really amount to much, are they no longer a child? Then you can get into some of the whacky nineteenth century belief that Jesus was married and had kids. Would any of them not be his children even though they would have been completely incapable to follow in his footsteps? (Though the church has repeatedly disavowed such beliefs in the 20th century).

  59. 61 Wade October 18, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    I think almost every discussion of Adam needs to be understood within the discussion of religious myth.

    Even when God has decoded the myth for us? You seem to be saying that no matter what God says about the origin of man, he will NEVER say ANYTHING in the literal sense–even if he explicitly says that “bec[oming] of dust a living soul” means being BORN into the world by water blood and spirit?

    At what point do you think understanding things in the literal sense is acceptable? If President Hinckley said the partaking of the forbidden fruit was a symbol of general acquiescence to Lucifer’s instructions, would you say his decoding of the allegory is only a myth? To me, your logic is fundamentally flawed and can never understand allegory or the creation drama. Furthermore, your approach to understanding the creation drama casts God and truth into unknowables because it is impossible to decode the allegory (according to your position, all decoding is simply recasting the code into a different undiscernable and endless code).

  60. 62 Wade October 18, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Any particular cerimonies I should do and pay close attention to?

    All of them! And, interestingly, I would suggest taking what Loyd has presented seriously (of course not his wacky ideas about never-ending myths, but the idea that the creation drama and virtually the whole endowment as an allegory set up to teach general lessons from and not to be literally understood).

  61. 63 the narrator October 18, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Wade:

    the endowment is intentionally uncertain. there is no precise and exact interpretation. we are able to find ourselves in it (and it in us) because our subjective lives and our subjective understanding of our location (in time, space, and circumstance) is constantly changing and uncertain.

    as soon as my life is certain, it is no longer worth living.

  62. 64 the narrator October 18, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    If President Hinckley said the partaking of the forbidden fruit was a symbol of general acquiescence to Lucifer’s instructions, would you say his decoding of the allegory is only a myth?

    I would say it is only one of a plethora of interpretations.

    Even when God has decoded the myth for us? You seem to be saying that no matter what God says about the origin of man, he will NEVER say ANYTHING in the literal sense–even if he explicitly says that “bec[oming] of dust a living soul” means being BORN into the world by water blood and spirit?

    If it’s done in the context of Adam, then it is still a myth. That’s partly because I don’t think that an actual naked guy named Adam was in a magical garden eating fruit and talking to snakes with his naked lady-friend Eve. Thus any discussion of Adam must be understood as a part of the myth.

    …..but that’s a whole other discussion.

  63. 65 Wade October 18, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    that’s a whole other discussion

    Exactly my point, it is the typical response to shift the issue when one refuses to address it. But I’m pretty sure I know where you stand. I think it’s appropriate for reasonable people to disagree and allow others to decide for themselves the most rational and cogent conclusion.

    As for your attempt to teach me about the endowment, I don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish; I’ve repeatedly argued it is allegorical for much of the same reason you assert. Perhaps you misread my prior comments, but I have long been of the view that symbolic references in the Temple are used to teach a plethora of truths through the same medium (so we on differing wave-lengths and levels of understanding can learn at the same time). My presumption is that you have far surpassed me in understanding eternal verities as displayed through the creation drama; yet I do understand the reason for its figurativeness.

    Thanks for the discussion, as always.

  64. 66 Eric Nielson October 18, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    J:

    I guess that if a child has the potential to become like his parents, it does not necessarily mean that they will. But just because the results may not end up exactly the same in every case, there was stil the potential.

    You asked in a previous comment where I get my criteria. Let me attempt this based on the Romans scripture I give in my post.

    The spirit tells me I am a child of God.
    If child then heir.
    Heir of God.
    Joint heir with Christ.

    Then there is the oath and covenant. All that the Father has and all that jazz. And then the quote from our current prophet in my original post seem to be saying just what I am saying. If I am out to lunch am I not out to lunch with Gordo? (President Hinkley. He and I are tight).

    So I’m getting it from somewhere. It also seems to be the general teaching and belief of church members all around. So it is not like I’m pulling this stuff out of thin air. Where else in the mormon world but the bloggernackle could a nice guy like me say something like – I believe God is the Father of our spirits, and I believe it quite literally – and get taken to task for it?

    At any rate, I hope nobody feels like I have been trying to pick a fight here. I really appreciate all of you comming over and engaging in this. I really am trying to sure up my understanding, and do not pretend to have all the answers.

  65. 67 J. Stapley October 18, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    Where else in the mormon world but the bloggernackle could a nice guy like me say something like – I believe God is the Father of our spirits, and I believe it quite literally – and get taken to task for it?

    (grin) I am not sure, but it is the same place that I can say it and mean something completely different.

    …and does the person of lesser intelligence have the same potential as his brilliant father?

  66. 68 Wade October 18, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    and does the person of lesser intelligence have the same potential as his brilliant father?

    Perhaps not anymore, but by virtue of his lineage he did at one point have the potential. The whole debate about nature before nuture or vice-versa comes into play here and has a direct bearing on the differences of opinion between you two I think.

  67. 69 Michelle October 19, 2006 at 12:22 am

    Just so you know, you guys have made my head spin. 🙂

  68. 70 Eric Nielson October 19, 2006 at 6:39 am

    OK Stapely. Let me try to tie you down to something :).

    As I see it, when it comes to spirit bodies there are at least three main camps. Let me know if I am missing any. These camps would be:

    1) Spirit bodies are the same as intelligences and were not created or made, nor can be. They simply are.

    2) Spirit bodies are children of heavenly parents and are the result of some type of reproductive process. Intelligences and spirit bodies become ‘connected’ in this way. We have a spirit birthday.

    3) Spirit bodies are manufactured in some way. Sculpted from spirit dust or some type of spirit material. God made them for us. Intelligences and manufactured spirit bodies become ‘connected’ this way. We have a manufactured date.

    Did I miss some?

    I am firmly in camp number 2. It is my understanding that this is the accepted and current teaching of the church. I believe President Hinkley would consider himself in this camp.

    If I understand Mark Butler, he is firmly in camp 3. He realizes that this is not what the church is officially teaching currently.

    I am not sure what the Narrator believes.

    How about you Stapely. If I were to guess you might lean toward camp 1. What say ye?

  69. 71 J. Stapley October 19, 2006 at 10:38 am

    I don’t think you can seperate camp 2 and 3 like you do. You are saying that there is some unidentified process that embodies an intelligence with a spirit body for both. The only way that you could seperate them is by say 2) sexual reproduction or 3) non-sexual reproduction. If you are trying to argue for sexual reproduction then, well, you know how ludicrous I think that is (mostly because it is a hold-over from adam-god).

    I tend to believe in (1) for a host of reasons, but I recognize many people in the church go for either of the two other options I outlined. Here is some support for that.

    As for what you speculate what President Hinckley believes of my modification of the three, I would most likely say that he believe (3). Now, that is sheer speculation and as he hasn’t commented on it, we really have no way of knowing. As far as what the authorized doctrine of the church is, I would love for you to show me something “authorized” that states that our spirits are formed from sexual union. I believe you are mistaken in your assumptions. There are a lot of insupportable folk doctrines that are quite popular in the church. As far as I am aware, official Church doctrine is that we are the Children of God. The actual mechanics are not discussed.

    I’ll let Mark speak for himself, but I got the impression that he supports (1). Not that this matters to much to me as I don’t typically support his exegeses.

  70. 72 Michelle October 19, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    J.,
    Let’s just pretend for a moment that you don’t know anything about Adam-God. Let’s pretend that you don’t know all you do about all the different philosophies surrounding this issue, and you can’t really keep them all straight anyway. (Now you are a little closer to my level.) 🙂 Is it really so ludicrous to think that the gift and blessing of sexual union that God gives to married couples, and the joy and pleasure and escape-from-the-world-ness that can come along with it, is somehow just a glitch of mortality? That there is nothing we are to consider with regard to the next life? I think that experiences that surpass the mundane (spiritual and sexual) are very likely somehow a glimpse of the joy and blessings that can come in the next life. The technicalities of these things will probably be different (yea, better!!). Why would this consummate act of marriage not somehow maybe possibly in some way be tied to the glory and joy and process of the eternities? Or at least symbolic in some way? I just have a hard time thinking that there isn’t something significant in that aspect of our lives as a prefigure of sorts for the next. Not that I think the whole process will be exactly the same, or nearly as laborious (i.e., the actual birth process) but I just can’t see it being completely separate, either.

    Maybe it sounds simple minded to you. But that’s sort of the way I approach things like this. I think sex in and of itself is like scripture — to be pondered and to understand the mysteries that might lie within its reality.

    OK, now you can go back to thinking like you. 🙂

  71. 73 Eric Nielson October 19, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    J:

    Your variation appears to be exactly what I was trying to express, perhaps your expression is better.

    But what do you think about the quote from the proclamation on the Family? Here is an official declaration signed by the first presidency and quorum of the twelve, and in this document they go out of their way to say:

    ‘All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny’

    For the brothren to use the terms son or daughter and heavenly parents foes quite a way toward implying reproduction does it not? It may not use the term sexual reproduction, but ‘parents’ certainly implies that. Again, this comes from a signed declaration from the first presidency and quorum of the twelve. It has to be considered a strong point in favor of 2.

  72. 74 J. Stapley October 19, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Eric, I don’t see it doing that at all. That phrase, simple states that we are children of Heavenly parents. If you want to project your belief onto it, you are free to; but, it isn’t even close to being definative. I can just as easily project my beliefs onto it, so I do.

    Michelle, we can only speculate about what sort of physical relationships we may or may not have in the heavens. Perhaps we do or do not. I think projecting our mortality into the eternities where we know so little is what got Brigham into his little doctrinal “mistake.” If you do want to embrace this sort of folk reasoning (and I don’t mean that perjoratively), celestial bodies would have celestial babies, just like we have mortal babies from our mortal bodies, no? (you see how you have to invent all this weird doctrine?).

  73. 75 J. Stapley October 19, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    …I think my favorite nugget of weird belief relating to this is when JFS claimed that gender wasn’t eternal and that non-celestials would be resurected without genitals (you can’t have ellicit sex in heaveen!):

    “In both of these kingdoms [i.e., the terrestrial and telestial] there will be changes in the bodies and limitations. They will not have the power of increase, neither the power or nature to live as husbands and wives, for this will be denied them and they cannot increase. Those who receive the exaltation in the celestial kingdom will have the “continuation of the seeds forever.” They will live in the family relationship. In the terrestrial and in the telestial kingdoms there will be no marriage. Those who enter there will remain “separately and singly” forever. Some of the functions in the celestial body will not appear in the terrestrial body, neither in the telestial body, and the power of procreation will be removed. I take it that men and women will, in these kingdoms, be just what the so-called Christian world expects us all to be – neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings having received the resurrection.
    (Doctrines of Salvation vol. 2, pg. 287-288.)”

  74. 76 Michelle October 19, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    J.,

    I understand that thinking and wondering can lead to weird ideas, but dismissing them entirely without proof either seems just as misguided. It’s OK to say we don’t know how it all happens, but then that means we also don’t know how it doesn’t happen. 🙂

    I personally don’t see the need to go to the logic that celstial beings have to create celestial beings. I thought I had heard somewhere that they can create spirits, but even if I hadn’t heard that, I’m not gonna put limits on what celestial beings can and can’t do. I have no problem thinking that celestial beings could “birth” spirits. Again, remember I’m simple minded in this regard.

    As to that last quote, I was with him until the end, even about the “functions” but it was clear to me that he was giving his own opinion. “I take it that….” Now that we know that gender is eternal, we can clear that right up. 🙂

  75. 77 Michelle October 19, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    I was reminded of something from Pres. Packer – something he repeated in a similar way in a talk this year, I believe, at Women’s Conference.

    Those lyrics [“I am a Child of God”] teach a basic doctrine of the Church. We are the children of God. That doctrine is not hidden away in an obscure verse. It is taught over and over again in scripture. These clear examples are from the Bible:

    “All of you are children of the most High.” (Ps. 82:6.)

    And: “We are the offspring of God.” (Acts 17:29.)

    Doctrinal truths are interrelated. There is an old saying that if you pick up one end of a stick, you pick up the other end as well.

    If you concede that we are His children, you must allow that God is our Father.

    God, Our Father
    That, too, is repeated over and over again in the scriptures. There are so many references that I could not even begin to read them to you.

    But I make this point: Christ did not speak only of the Father, or my Father; He spoke of your Father, and our Father. He even put them together in one sentence, saying, “Your Father, and your God, and my God.” (D&C 88:75; italics added.) God is addressed universally in the Christian world as Father. Were we not commanded to pray “Our Father which art in heaven”? (Matt. 6:9.)

    You may respond, “Every Christian knows that.” Perhaps every Christian does, but so-called Christians, with the help of clergymen, belittle in most unchristian ways our teaching that we are the literal sons and daughters of God….

    Since every living thing follows the pattern of its parentage, are we to suppose that God had some other strange pattern in mind for His offspring? Surely we, His children, are not, in the language of science, a different species than He is?

    Like God
    What is in error, then, when we use the term Godhood to describe the ultimate destiny of mankind? We may now be young in our progression—juvenile, even infantile, compared with Him. Nevertheless, in the eternities to come, if we are worthy, we may be like unto Him, enter His presence, “see as [we] are seen, and know as [we] are known,” and receive a “fulness.” (D&C 76:94.)

    The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. 1938, p. 345.)

    And that knowledge is given us.

    The Father is the one true God. This thing is certain: no one will ever ascend above Him; no one will ever replace Him. Nor will anything ever change the relationship that we, His literal offspring, have with Him. He is Eloheim, the Father. He is God. Of Him there is only one. We revere our Father and our God; we worship Him.

    There is only one Christ, one Redeemer. We accept the divinity of the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh. We accept the promise that we may become joint heirs with Him. Paul wrote to the Romans:

    “The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

    “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16–17.)

    There are those who mock our beliefs in the most uncharitable ways. And we will bear what they do with long-suffering, for it does not change truth. And in their own way they move our work along a little faster. We will send our missionaries abroad to teach that we are the literal sons and daughters of God.

  76. 78 J. Stapley October 19, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    but dismissing them entirely without proof either seems just as misguided.

    I think there is pleanty of evidence to dismiss the ideas. You are the one that wanted to keep it simple 🙂

  77. 79 Michelle October 19, 2006 at 1:24 pm

    J.,
    🙂 That was a winner.

    But to your statement. Evidence? Really? Like you have SEEN spirit bodies created? 🙂 I think there’s more ambivalence than evidence. I’m interested to see what you have to say, though. Maybe you have already had this conversation before? Or maybe you already shared your thoughts above? Or maybe this is a threadjack in the extreme?

  78. 80 J. Stapley October 19, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Michelle, such conversations have abounded. Here is one that you might find interesting.

  79. 81 the narrator October 19, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    ‘All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny’

    For the brothren to use the terms son or daughter and heavenly parents foes quite a way toward implying reproduction does it not?

    A good friend of mine just adopted a baby girl yesterday. They have been waiting for a few years for this opportunity. While she and her husband did not sexually produce this child, I’m guessing that you would still consider her the mother of the child.

  80. 82 Eric Nielson October 19, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    Narrator:

    Not the literal mother, no. But the important part to me, as it relates to this discussion, is that the girl is human and has the potential to grow up to be very much like other human adults. And just the same way, she has a divine part to her as well. She is a daughter of God with all the potential that coes with that.

    Certainly she will be loved and cared for just as much as if she were the literal daughter of your good friend. The relationship will be just as strong. But a person could potentially love their dog or cat as much as a human child. And that does not give the dog or cat any potential to be like a human adult.

    Michelle:

    What an awesome quote. Gee, maybe I am not the only Mormon left who still believes this stuff.

  81. 83 Michelle October 19, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    J.
    Thanks for the reference. I figured we didn’t need to recreate the conversation here. I’ll check it out.

  82. 84 the narrator October 19, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Spirit bodies are children of heavenly parents and are the result of some type of reproductive process. Intelligences and spirit bodies become ‘connected’ in this way. We have a spirit birthday.

    This always makes me think of the movie Ghostbusters when the central containment unit gets opened.

    …or a nature video of a fish which gives live birth

    …or the birth in a third world scene in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life

    I try to avoid the image of a poor mother propped up in her birthing chair and giving birth to BILLIONS of spirit babies.

  83. 85 Eric Nielson October 19, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    Anyone who uses a Ghostbusters reference can’t be all bad.

    We’ll need a sample of your brain tissue.

  84. 86 Mark Butler October 19, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    Wade,

    Sorry for the delay – I should follow discussions like this more carefully. The short answer is that there are a lot of different transformations described in the scriptures as births, and some are so obviously different in material respects that we cannot easily conclude that all births are by the same or closely related manner(s), though they are all essential for our salvation.

    For example Moses 6:65-69 describes being born of the Spirit and quickened in the inner man as being born of God, and states that thus all may become my sons. Mosiah 5:7-8 and 25:27-28 describe being spiritually begotten sons and daughters unto Christ (or being born of God) in similar terms.

    Now there is some significance in being a literal descendant of Abraham – it was by that means (that of the literal seed, or seed of the body) that the Lord planned to bless all nations with the blessings of the gospel. Nonetheless one does not have to be a natural descendant to be counted as a child of Abraham. Someday all who receive the gospel will raise up and bless him as their father whether he be their lineal father or not. See Abr 2:9-11.

    And we know that he that is righteous is favored of God [5]. A righteous Gentile will enter the kingdom of God long before an unrighteous descendant of Jacob [6]. So lineal descendancy is important, but what we might call spiritual descendancy (which is adoptive) is more important.

    It doesn’t matter very much if one is a descendant of anyone, if he is not righteous, i.e. born of God [7]. All the ordain-ances in the world (mortal birth is one of them, i.e. that which is ordained of God) will not benefit those who will not abide in the covenant [8]

    Now as to Moses 6:59 – we are (generally speaking) born of dust on three separate occasions. The first is when we received our bodies of spirit, and became men (and women) with two eyes and ten fingers for the first time. Those bodies were made out of what we might call spirit dust. For various reasons, I understand that to be what Moses 3:7 refers to. I call it the surrection, after the manner of the re-surrection.

    The second time we are born of the dust is when we are born of a mother into this, our second estate. We receive temporal bodies also made of the dust through the miracle we call pro-creation. Eve, who was the first women of all women, and also many [9], did not have children prior to the Fall, or in the first estate. She only has children in the second estate – signified in the temples by a move from the Creation Room to the World Room, or in the scriptures by the transition from Moses 4 to Moses 5.

    Notice that in the second, more detailed creation account that starts in Moses 2:4 there is no initial command to multiply and replenish the earth. Eve doesn’t even get her name as the mother of all living until after the Fall [1].

    As she said [2], the Fall turned out to be beneficial in the respect that they would not have had seed at all if it had not occured. Or as I would say, spirits do not have (biological) children. The new and everlasting covenant of marriage, which includes pro-creation, is a feature of the second, mortal, post Fall estate, not the first, spiritual, pre-Fall estate.

    Of course as mortals we die, and our temporal bodies return to the dust. And thus we must be born of the dust a third time, with glorified immortal bodies. And this we call the re-surrection. This birth, like the first, is not viviparous or biological in the normal sense, but that does not make it any less significant [10].

    We have been taught that re-surrection, like baptism is a priesthood ordinance [11]. A person does not resurrect himself – ministers from God come to resurrect him. And so I understand the first birth to be in the manner of the last, and think nothing less of it that it is not after the manner of the second.

    Now Moses 5:59 refers to several of these events in grand parallelism, most apparently to our birth in the second estate of water (of the dust), blood (by sacrifice), and spirit (from our former life) a living soul, this being a type of the process of spiritual re-birth of water (baptism), of the Spirit (the Holy Ghost), and blood (At-one-ment) becoming a new man in Christ.

    Likewise we were originally (as spirits) made of unorganized matter (of which water [13] is descriptive), and then our Father put into us our spirit [14], and but we all sinned and fell short of the glory of God [15], of which transgression blood is a type.

    And also re-surrection is often considered a type of spirit birth. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God [12] – i.e. not only must he be baptised and receive the Holy Ghost to see the kingdom of God, he must be born temporally (of a mother), and spiritually (by resurrection) to do so.

    It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. [3]

    Of course this is a more tangible spirit than in the ordinary sense. As all flesh is not the same flesh [4], neither is all spirit the same spirit (materially speaking).

    Or in Moses 5:59 terms, when we are re-surrected we are born again of water (of the dust), of the spirit (from the spirit world), and of blood (by virtue of the At-one-ment [13]) a living soul, a new man in Christ [14].

    ——-
    [1] Moses 4:26
    [2] Moses 5:11
    [3] 1 Cor 15:44-45
    [4] 1 Cor 15:39
    [5] 1 Ne 17:35
    [6] Matt 22:8-10; Ezek 18:20,29-30
    [7] Luke 3:9
    [8] D&C 98:15
    [9] Moses 4:26
    [10] 1 Cor 15:12-14

    [11]

    I will to a little further with this lest some of you will be querying, doubting, and philosophizing this away. It is true, Jesus said, “I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” I do not doubt the power of Christ; but did he prove that in his resurrection? No. But it is proved that an angel came and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulcher, and did resurrect the body of the son of God.

    “What angel was this?” It is not for me to say. I do not know him. If I ever did know him it is so long since I have entirely forgotten who it was. That Jesus had power to lay down his life, and power to take it up again I do not dispute. Neither do I dispute, but what an angel came, that was sent by the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to roll away the stone from the sepulcher, and resurrect the Son of God. Suffice it to say that he was some character who had himself been resurrected.”
    (Brigham Young, unpublished discourse, Oct 11, 1854)

    We know of course from the JST that two angels came, not just one (Luke 24:2-4, JST Mark 16:3-6, JST Matt 28:2-8) . I would say for other reasons that the rule he outlines about already being resurrected is not an absolute one, but the point that one does not resurrect himself any more than one baptizes himself or ordains himself is perfectly sound. Compare the types in Moses 3:7 and Abr 5:7 as well as the temple account. Adam did not put his spirit (intelligence) into his body, God did. As Brigham Young taught, so it is in the re-surrection.

    [12] John 3:5
    [13] Heb 10:10
    [14] 2 Cor 5:17

  85. 87 Mark Butler October 19, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    Of course there is another sense by which we are the offspring of heavenly parents, but that requires one to take the patriarchal order of the priesthood [1], the Abrahamic covenant [2], and the sealing ordinances of the temple seriously [3].

    As the Lord said to Joseph Smith:

    I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.
    (D&C 132:55)

    And in what sense are fathers and mothers in heaven not heavenly parents?

    [1] D&C 107:55
    [2] Abr 2:9-11
    [3] D&C 138:47-48

  86. 88 Eric Nielson October 20, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Mark:

    You certainly weave quite a web. Thanks for your comments.

  87. 89 Mark Butler October 20, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    For those who are interested, I elaborated that idea in a longer post here:

    http://www.millennialstar.org/index.php/2006/10/20/seven_births

  88. 90 slowB October 30, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    I stand all amazed. This is the most retarded thing I’ve seen all day.

    You spend so much time worrying about whether or not you’re going to be a god, or not that you’ve forgotten to check the footnotes.

    Guess who lied, and guess who still beleives that lie? The answer to the 1st part is Joseph Smith, can you guess the answer to the 2nd part?

  89. 91 Eric Nielson October 31, 2006 at 7:38 am

    slowB:

    I’m sorry if our discussion here disappointed you. I have no idea what your religious beliefs are, or what your background is. It is difficult to have any meaningful discussion without that.

  90. 92 jeffery tripp January 9, 2007 at 1:50 am

    I hope I understand the word of god.

  91. 94 Jim Bailey September 26, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I just found this blog, and appreciate the statement of faith.

    For me, the concept that we are God’s spiritual children is ennobling. (Debating ways and means is as futile and pointless as debating how many angels can stand on the head of pin.) Contrast the value every human being has in that frame of understanding, with the value we would have if we were just the result of a lot of random coincidences.

    There are serious moral dilemmas about creating someone just to damn them to an eternity of misery. Or for damning somebody who didn’t get the chance to do/say/believe the ‘right’ things. The dilemma comes from our faulty understanding.

    God is engaged in the greatest work imaginable. We are a work in progress. Every one of our mistakes can be forgiven, can be erased by Christ’s Atonement. Everybody gets the same opportunity. We will all have weaknesses here, and if we let Him, he will use them for His (and our) good. But the only eternal limits any of us will face are those we place on ourselves by turning away from Him, His example, His teachings, His Church, and His leaders.

    His plan for us is as great as He is. And He has written it so that if we do as He says, it will work for each and every one.

  92. 95 Eric Nielson September 27, 2007 at 4:58 am

    Thanks Jim. Welcome to BofJ.


  1. 1 Blogger of Jared » Blog Archive » I am a Viviparous Child of God Trackback on January 8, 2007 at 5:46 pm
  2. 2 I am a Child of God, and Nobody Else! « Small and Simple Trackback on April 10, 2007 at 3:11 pm

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Bloggernacle



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