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98765432

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2006, 05:06:42 PM »

Excellent post. Thank you for one the best explanations I have seen so far.

OIngo

Thanks.  Now that Stifler seems to have taken his over-sexed and bigotted self out of the thread, I'll invite myself back in.  How some people think such slander is okay is beyond me.

A good friend of mine wrote the following article.  http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:9J47S_xjjzYJ:www3.telus.net/jefmil/The%2520Mark%2520of%2520the%2520Curse%2520by%2520Keith%2520Norman.pdf+%22The+Mark+of+the+Curse:+Lingering+Racism+in+Mormon+Doctrine%3F%E2%80%9D+&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1

He received his undergraduate degree from BYU, his Master's from Harvard Divinity School and his Ph.D. in Theology from Duke.  But he is also writing to a Mormon audience, so some references might be confusing.  I highly recommend the Mormons on the thread read the article, and anyone else as well.  

Getting back to curly who asked about Kolob, I didn't respond because I had already invited myself out of the thread when you asked it, and like it was hinted earlier, it's not like I'm the poster-child of Mormons.  Let me take the time to answer it here.  You seem to know as much about Kolob as I do.  It is simply something that has no connections to the rest of our doctrine and therefore is almost never talked about.  I have spent more time talking about it on this thread than any single conversation with other Mormons in my entire life.  The only connection I can see to doctrine is that we believe that God is not a force, but "has a body of flesh and bones, as tangible as man's."  So when I briefly answered the question before I wasn't trying to be evasive, I was trying to cut to the heart of your question and give the most meaningful answer.  Of course, no other Christians (to my knowledge) believe this about God, so cutting to the heart of it is certainly not trying to smooth things over, it is to show how we are different.

But the larger answer about Mormon evasiveness is this.  Some Mormons all of the time, and most Mormons some of the time are evasive when it comes to being interrogated about their beliefs.  (and yes, what you were doing is akin to interrogation, and you reveal yourself to be insincere when you first ask a question about Kolob.  Kolob is an almost meaningless fact of Mormonism, and anyone who knows Mormons, and is actually interested in what makes them tick (not in how to best make them look alien) will ask hundreds of other questions, ie Blacks and the Priesthood, Polygamy, the Temple, or the Book of Mormon).  But we can be evasive for different reasons.  One reason, like mentioned earlier in the thread, is that that we often get beat up over our beliefs (so to speak).  Another is that some people are ashamed of Mormon doctrine.  These people, in their heart of hearts, I guess don't really believe it (or at least parts of it) so they must be in the Church for some other reason.  Others, again it was mentioned earlier, don't think they know enough to give an acurate answer to obscure questions.  Still others (and I think this is the motive you were criticizing earlier) don't want to talk about the more foreign sounding doctrines too early in the process.  This is the milk before meat thing you mentioned.  But there are two sides to that argument.  It's like telling a girl on a first date that she is the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.  It might be true and all, but you still don't say such a thing so immediately.  Instead you might say something like "you have nice eyes," even though such a statement, while true, really doesn't do justice to your impression of her.  But as soon as you think you can tell her how beautiful you really think she is, without her being weirded out by it, you do.  Some Mormon's do that.  They don't say "God is a person, or at least He lives in a physical reality," they say something less divisive, and therfore less declarative.  But whatever.

Now let me give you some advice.  If you ask "Tell me about Kolob," you will get a range of responses, but I think you run no chance of getting anything more informative than what you received here.  But after reading the post you put down when you left the conversation, I can see that you weren't really asking about Kolob.  You were asking about Exaltation, sometimes called Eternal Progression.  That is the doctrine that says that as children of God, we can eventually live a similar existence as God lives.  Do we become God?  Yes and no.  Like I said earlier, we believe God is a real person (person is the wrong word, but they are all wrong words unless they are tautologies).  So can we become a part of some force called God like your post seemed to describe?  No.  Can we replace God?  No.  Can we become God's equal?  No.  He is God, and always will be.  Even for those (I suppose it is safe to say Moses and Peter are in this group, but I don't want to give the misimpression that we think that only prophets and apostles or only a very few people are in this group) who fully apply the atonement of Jesus Christ and are perfected in Christ, and therefore are rewarded/entrusted with exaltation (becoming like God) and are creating words and universes and whatever it is they do, will ALWAYS worship God as God.

And that, yes, is the most foreign sounding doctrine in the Mormon church.  But it is my experience that most active Mormons take the approach (with this, as with the rest of their lives) that Henry Eyring (who won the National Medal of Science) recommended to his son Henry Eyring (now an apostle in the Church), when he said on his death bed, "Lets just do the homework now and leave the grade for the morning."  The homework of life is to apply the atonment of Christ in your life through repentance.  The grade is exaltation.  That is why if you go to a Mormon worship service you will probably hear the atonement referenced about a hundred times more often than references to exaltation.

(I sure can ramble on, can't I?)

P.S.  If the conversation turns to orgies again, expect me to continue to leave.  Such behavior is not funny here; and it is not civil here; and it reveals a biggot.

catalyst81

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2006, 05:41:23 PM »
I still want to know how the everyday mormon deals with the polygamy issue. I mean, it's written right in there, right? Now clearly every religion has it's orthodox and progressive believers, but in general the progressive group has some way of dismissing certain beliefs -- for example, many jews no longer keep kosher or follow food restrictions because food safety is not what is was when the torah was written.

so, how do you address the polygamy thing?

Well I can't speak for others but this is how I see it...

A fundamental part of our religion is that we believe in revelation.  We believe that you can receive personal revelation for yourself and you may also receive revelation for others in particular circumstances.  For example, a father of a household may receive revelation for his family.  We also believe that the acting President of our church receives revelation for our church and the entire world.

In this sense things such as polygamy may change.  At a point in time God revealed to the prophet that polygamy needed to be instituted within the Church.  It is important to note that only certain members were permitted to practice polygamy.  Later on it was revealed that the practice needed to be stopped.  I don't always understand why certain things are revealed but I have faith that it is the right thing to do.  I can receive personal revelation for myself to know that something is right.

So the key is that we are able to receive revelation from God.

Hopefully that answered your question somewhat.

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2006, 06:11:16 PM »
I still want to know how the everyday mormon deals with the polygamy issue. I mean, it's written right in there, right? Now clearly every religion has it's orthodox and progressive believers, but in general the progressive group has some way of dismissing certain beliefs -- for example, many jews no longer keep kosher or follow food restrictions because food safety is not what is was when the torah was written.

so, how do you address the polygamy thing?

Well I can't speak for others but this is how I see it...

A fundamental part of our religion is that we believe in revelation.  We believe that you can receive personal revelation for yourself and you may also receive revelation for others in particular circumstances.  For example, a father of a household may receive revelation for his family.  We also believe that the acting President of our church receives revelation for our church and the entire world.

In this sense things such as polygamy may change.  At a point in time God revealed to the prophet that polygamy needed to be instituted within the Church.  It is important to note that only certain members were permitted to practice polygamy.  Later on it was revealed that the practice needed to be stopped.  I don't always understand why certain things are revealed but I have faith that it is the right thing to do.  I can receive personal revelation for myself to know that something is right.

So the key is that we are able to receive revelation from God.

Hopefully that answered your question somewhat.

it does, thanks. I think it's neat that mormonism allows its followers to be so connected with their faith, in that God shows them what is right and wrong in their personal path. however, seems like it could be easily abused, in that people could act on urges and claim it as an act of faith that was revealed to them. So it seems like mormonism could be a wonderful thing in an innately good person, but really dangerous in a person with mental disabilities or a proclivity to anger or dishonesty.

98765432

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #43 on: March 27, 2006, 08:13:35 AM »
That is a good point. 

I'm reading Satyagraha by Mohandas Gandhi right now.  It get's into the philosophy of non-violent non-cooperation much more than his autobiography does (which I read over the summer).  I'm really fascinated right now about the humility of great ideas, and Gandhi's are certainly humble.  For instance, with the democratic revolution of the Constitutional Convention, the founders set up a system of checks and balances, and limits on government in the eventual Bill of Rights, even though they were checking their own power.  They did not say "trust us," nor did they say "we can abridge free speech, but after us, the next congress can't."  Gandhi set up similar checks in his non-cooperation movement.  Non-violence was insisted upon, partly because it was a check against error.  If a person believed passionately that s/he was doing the right thing, but in fact wasn't, the method of non-violence insured that no injury was done to anyone but the person him/herself. 

In non-cooperation, the practitioner was always required to submit him/herself to jail, rather than trying to avoid the penalties of breaking the law--even though the broken law was done without motivation for personal gain, and was seen as breaking a law that (because it was unjust) was no law at all.  This was done in order that no person became, as Gandhi put it, "a law unto himself." 

Also, in funding his movement in South Africa, Gandhi initially used donations to purchase a property for the purpose of leasing it and using the residual income to fund the month to month operations of the movement, but he later abandoned this practice as a mistake.  He said that in social movements, no endowment should be amassed, and no residual income used, nor even should benefactors be allowed to make a pledge to contribute on a regular basis; but a movement should instead rely each month on the contributions it received that very month.  This, of course, does not make any financial sense, but Gandhi said that it was necessary in order to place a check on the movement.  A social institution should always be doing the will of the people and one way to ensure that is to make it rely continually on the people for its financial support.  (coincidentally, Mother Teresa did the exact same thing, and both she and Gandhi regularly turned down money, despite not knowing where they would fund their next projects).

These principles are important, and ease the conscience, especially when you know how forceful Gandhi was at times.  He was an international figure, and yet he frequently threatened people with a "fast unto death" unless they did something or other that he wanted them to do.  This stikes most people as completely manipulative, as it did me, until they read about how many checks he put into place out of humility for possibly being in error.

I think the same thing happens in the Mormon church.  God is immediately connected to us, which is a powerful, and which would open the door to abusers if it weren't for the checks set in place.  For instance, learning how to hear God's instructions to us individually is one of the most common topics of sermons in the Mormon church.  This helps the sincere communicate better with God.  But we are also frequently taught the principles upon which personal communication with God rests.  This helps the sincere avoid being deceived by abusers.  One check that we are continually taught is that in order to know if a communication to be of God, it must a-be in conformity with what God revealed in the scriptures, b-be in conformity with what the current prophet and apostles are teaching, and c-be edifying to the person(meaning it fills the recipient with light and testifies of Christ).  So if a person, for instance, should say to his wife, honey, God commanded me to get married again, she could say to him, a-this is not in conformity with what the scriptures teach (that monogamy is the rule, and that polygamy is the very rare exception, and that when it is the exception, such instruction will not be given to the person individually), b-it is not in conformity with what the prophet and apostles teach (that God has made it abundantly clear through continuing revelation that the time of the exception is over) and c-that it is not personally edifying to her (and it should be known that this was a check even 100+ years ago when polygamy was occassionally practiced-the previous wife had to feel on her own that this was God's will).  So even if he felt it was right (edifying), and could somehow convince her it was right, there would be no way to overcome checks a and b.

Just some thoughts.

photo1283

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #44 on: March 27, 2006, 09:27:33 AM »
Interesting conversations.
I'm a theology major at Georgetown (it's Catholic, but I'm Jewish, for the record) and have had a chance to study Mormonism academically a bit in the past few years. I have to say I find it intriguing, and also would say that learning about Mormonism has reshaped my own thoughts/beliefs on religion more than my encounters with any other religion.
I think a large part of it comes down to the fact that we are so close to the source for Mormonism. This was started by an American, hardly 200 years ago. Judaism, Christianity, Islam - these were all begun in a different part of the world, 2,000 years ago - it is much easier to say either, well sure, God used to talk to people, but he doesn't anymore (or some variation thereof), OR to say I don't believe those things really happened, but back then people believed in that sort of thing so it wasn't so crazy.
Because look at the stories, is a man reading tablets out of a hat any more ridiculous than a guy who walks on water and whose body and blood we consume every Sunday? How about another guy who brings plagues with him, but you can protect yourself by painting your door with lambs blood? Or my personal favorite, God told another guy to cut off part of his male private part as a sign of his covenant?
The point is, the stories in Mormonism, while they seem "out there," are really no crazier than what anyone else believes, it's just easier to attack because we know so much about the source of these stories, and we can't say the same for most other religions.
Additionally, all the bad things in their past - well all I have to do is say look at the things Christians have done in the name of religion over the past 2000 years and you each have a number of examples pop into your heads (Crusades, inquisition, witch trials, etc). There is a decent degree of sexism written into the Old Testament, which most people now simply choose to ignore. Women still can't be Catholic priests. And on and on.

I'm not saying Mormonism is right - to be honest, it's made me believe more than anything that we are all equally ridiculous. But so what? These institutions are starting to correct some of their past mistakes, in my experience Mormons are nice, good people - at the very least on average with the general population...

So I see that this doesn't really have a clear point or conclusion, just some things to chew on...

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2006, 09:31:45 AM »
Interesting conversations.
I'm a theology major at Georgetown (it's Catholic, but I'm Jewish, for the record) and have had a chance to study Mormonism academically a bit in the past few years. I have to say I find it intriguing, and also would say that learning about Mormonism has reshaped my own thoughts/beliefs on religion more than my encounters with any other religion.
I think a large part of it comes down to the fact that we are so close to the source for Mormonism. This was started by an American, hardly 200 years ago. Judaism, Christianity, Islam - these were all begun in a different part of the world, 2,000 years ago - it is much easier to say either, well sure, God used to talk to people, but he doesn't anymore (or some variation thereof), OR to say I don't believe those things really happened, but back then people believed in that sort of thing so it wasn't so crazy.
Because look at the stories, is a man reading tablets out of a hat any more ridiculous than a guy who walks on water and whose body and blood we consume every Sunday? How about another guy who brings plagues with him, but you can protect yourself by painting your door with lambs blood? Or my personal favorite, God told another guy to cut off part of his male private part as a sign of his covenant?
The point is, the stories in Mormonism, while they seem "out there," are really no crazier than what anyone else believes, it's just easier to attack because we know so much about the source of these stories, and we can't say the same for most other religions.
Additionally, all the bad things in their past - well all I have to do is say look at the things Christians have done in the name of religion over the past 2000 years and you each have a number of examples pop into your heads (Crusades, inquisition, witch trials, etc). There is a decent degree of sexism written into the Old Testament, which most people now simply choose to ignore. Women still can't be Catholic priests. And on and on.

I'm not saying Mormonism is right - to be honest, it's made me believe more than anything that we are all equally ridiculous. But so what? These institutions are starting to correct some of their past mistakes, in my experience Mormons are nice, good people - at the very least on average with the general population...

So I see that this doesn't really have a clear point or conclusion, just some things to chew on...

Amen.
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you are doomed in the fated sense, but that's completely irrelevant because that's only from the viewpoint of someone who is not constrained by time. since you are temporal, for all intents and purposes you have the power to change your future

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #46 on: March 29, 2006, 12:32:56 PM »
Just thought I'd step back in to say thanks, again, to those who've kept this conversation going, and who've answered questions from the Mormon pov. I've been out of town for a few days, and less able to keep up with the thread. I'm very glad, though, that some honest questions are being asked, and that there are a few of us able to provide some honest answers. If there's anything else we can address, keep it coming...
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jakeb1881

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2006, 05:10:55 PM »
Interesting conversations.
I'm a theology major at Georgetown (it's Catholic, but I'm Jewish, for the record) and have had a chance to study Mormonism academically a bit in the past few years. I have to say I find it intriguing, and also would say that learning about Mormonism has reshaped my own thoughts/beliefs on religion more than my encounters with any other religion.
I think a large part of it comes down to the fact that we are so close to the source for Mormonism. This was started by an American, hardly 200 years ago. Judaism, Christianity, Islam - these were all begun in a different part of the world, 2,000 years ago - it is much easier to say either, well sure, God used to talk to people, but he doesn't anymore (or some variation thereof), OR to say I don't believe those things really happened, but back then people believed in that sort of thing so it wasn't so crazy.
Because look at the stories, is a man reading tablets out of a hat any more ridiculous than a guy who walks on water and whose body and blood we consume every Sunday? How about another guy who brings plagues with him, but you can protect yourself by painting your door with lambs blood? Or my personal favorite, God told another guy to cut off part of his male private part as a sign of his covenant?
The point is, the stories in Mormonism, while they seem "out there," are really no crazier than what anyone else believes, it's just easier to attack because we know so much about the source of these stories, and we can't say the same for most other religions.
Additionally, all the bad things in their past - well all I have to do is say look at the things Christians have done in the name of religion over the past 2000 years and you each have a number of examples pop into your heads (Crusades, inquisition, witch trials, etc). There is a decent degree of sexism written into the Old Testament, which most people now simply choose to ignore. Women still can't be Catholic priests. And on and on.

I'm not saying Mormonism is right - to be honest, it's made me believe more than anything that we are all equally ridiculous. But so what? These institutions are starting to correct some of their past mistakes, in my experience Mormons are nice, good people - at the very least on average with the general population...

So I see that this doesn't really have a clear point or conclusion, just some things to chew on...

Interesting to hear that point of view.  (BTW, I'm also a Mormon and just discovered this thread.)  It's also interesting to hear the viewpoints of some other LDS Church members about polygamy, blacks/priesthood, etc.  These are some issues that don't get talked about a lot anymore in regular church meetings, and therefore it seems to be up to each individual to look in his/her heart and mind, communicate with God as they see fit, and synthesize their own beliefs.  A very faith-building way to do things, IMHO.
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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2006, 04:48:29 PM »
   I'm fairly new to the board and I am a Mormon. I have been impressed with everyone who has posted on this board (with one exception). I wanted to add my two cents to the question about polygamy and to the conversation in general.

   My great-great grandfather was in a high council meeting when Joseph Smith first made his revelation on polygamy public. As I recall Joseph had been studying the bible and wondered about Abraham (and others) having multiple wives. This inquiry led to the revelation. When my gg grandfather heard about it he was hesitant to say the least, but he believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet and eventually took additional wives, one of which I am descended from.

   After many years in which the church practiced polygamy the persecution from outside became intense and many church leaders were imprisoned. They supported one member in a lawsuit trying to overturn anti-polygamy laws on the grounds that they violated the free exercise of religion. After it became clear that the laws would not be overturned Wilford Woodruff, who was a prophet and leader of the church at the time asked God what to do. He was told to stop the practice of Polygamy.

   Since that time the church has not supported polygamy at all (except in allowing those who had already entered into plural marriages to stay married). Those who practice polygamy now are not affiliated with the church, even though they are sometimes referred to as Fundamentalist Mormons.

   I think that many church members don't answer the tough questions because they simply don't know the answers. Many are content that they have read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it and God has let them know it is true, so they don't concern themselves with questions they can't answer. I don't want to sound critical of such people, because I think faith, and even blind faith if you want to call it that, is a virtue. But, at lest for me it helps to learn about the difficult issues and come to a greater understanding of them.
Only the shallow know themselves - Oscar Wilde

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Re: The Mormonism Thread
« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2006, 05:34:24 PM »
are mormon's protestants?

do you know steve young?

No.

No.
I'm not a mormon, but I kind of know Steve Young ... well I know his next door neighbor. He lives on the same street as Steve Jobs.
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