Playing Brigham’s Advocate

April 29, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 12:41 pm   Category: MMP,Mormon Culture/Practices

Brigham Young appears to be a favorite punching bag in the church and especially on the Bloggernacle. I read and interesting post over at Unofficial Manifesto asking “Is Brother Brigham our black eye?” Apparently many in the church feel he is on several counts, but none more so than on the now infamous doctrine he taught about Adam. (more…)

What do you know?

April 27, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 5:51 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

There have been a couple of interesting discussions going on recently about what we can know or not spiritually and the hypothetical possibility we could be deceived about our faith. I like this topic. And since today is my birthday, I think we should talk about it. (You must obey the birthday boy after all). (more…)

Gifts of God? Nah, no thanks

April 25, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 11:42 am   Category: Personal Revelation

We covered lesson 15 in Gospel doctrine yesterday. Once again my friend and neighbor Bruce did an excellent job. (I’m trying to butter him up to get him to start posting here.) The most important nugget I got from his lesson is that the injunction Moroni gives us to “deny not the gifts of God” is not so much him imploring us to avoid denying their existence as it is a plea for us not to decline the gifts God wants to give us. If this reading is correct (and I think it is), then the saying might be more appropriately read “decline not the gifts of God”. (more…)

Did each world have a savior of its own?

April 22, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 2:22 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Theology

As promised, this is the third in my series about the worlds without number and the inhabitants thereof talked about in our scriptures and in the church. In the second of the series we explored the question of who the inhabitants of those planets were. It basically comes down to one fundamental question: Were we those people or were they completely separate batches of spirits? (We are calling the first model the Heber C. Kimball (HCK) Model because he and other 19th century leaders taught it and the latter The Batch Model). Not surprisingly opinions differ on this issue. A separate but related question is: Did each of those worlds have a savior inhabit it? (more…)

Jazz and my Stake Relief Society gig

   By: Geoff J @ 12:56 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

I think teaching the gospel is very much like live performing of music (both rock and jazz). When I play gigs it is a lot better when the crowd is into it and responding and dancing. I can read the reactions and feed off of it and build the energy accordingly. When I teach from the pulpit instead of in a classrom setting (like I had to tonight at our Stake Women’s Conference) I lose much of that connection. The congregation may be getting a lot but it is hard to tell so I often sit down wringing my hands a bit. I think “Did they get it? Did any of that inspire anyone? I gave ‘em my best stuff… Was I just off tonight?” If nothing else I hoped my prayer and pondering and fasting in preparation helped cover for me. The women were complimentary afterwards tonight but I’m always happier when it’s more obvious that light bulbs are coming on over heads. I think I might have seen a few light bulbs tonight in that half-full chapel, but they were sort of far away. (more…)

I’m teaching Stake Relief Society tonight

April 21, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 4:46 pm   Category: Life

I’ve been asked to teach a class tonight for a stake Relief Society activity called Rejoice! You don’t have to teach this class! The goal is to provide “Tips for teaching by the spirit”. I am one of about twelve guest speakers under assignment from the Stake Relief Society president that will teach a class. There are about four concurrent classes in three segments so I won’t be teaching the entire stake RS or anything. (Besides, who knows how many people will actually show up). Still it is a little nerve racking for me. I am one of the few male speakers and the topic is a little tough – how to teach by the spirit. Talk about pressure! If I don’t manage to get the Spirit to show up for this I’m gonna look like quite an idiot. Oh well, I look like an idiot regularly enough not to care so much about that, but I do want to be useful to God if I can. (more…)

Daddy loves Mama the most

April 20, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 4:39 pm   Category: Life

Yep, ask any my kids who daddy loves the most in the world and that would be their answer. Ask them who mama loves most in the world and the answer would be “daddy”. My kids assume that’s the way it is supposed to be and they are right. Further, they tell me they are quite happy with these facts. (more…)

Everyone is the Literal Blood of Israel

April 18, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 5:27 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

I suspect I’m not the only one who has been baffled by the advantage (or not) of being the literal blood of Israel vs. being adopted into the house of Israel. Being adopted in to the lineage by taking baptismal covenants makes good enough sense to me, but then we hear various authoritative quotes about how basically everyone that joins the Church probably has the literal blood of Israel coursing through their veins already anyway. Here is an example: (more…)

Two dollars, I want my Two Dollaaarrrs!

April 17, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 12:03 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

The law of consecration worries me. It nags me. It harasses me. It won’t leave me alone. It’s like that paper boy in the 80’s teen flick Better Off Dead that kept showing up out of nowhere demanding his “twoooo dollllaaarss!” — It just won’t go away. (more…)

Ears

April 14, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 8:48 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

Steve put up a great post today over at Kulturblog on developing tastes for the finer things in life — food, music, art, etc. It is an interesting subject in itself and in the comments Clark linked to another very interesting blog with a cool listening experiment. Go try it yourself.

As hard as I found it to believe, apparently a lot of people can’t tell which version of the music is askew. It was painfully obvious to me, but then again I have a degree in music and have played semi-professionally, etc. So let me know if it is obvious to you or not. If it is not, don’t fret — apparently you are in the majority. According to the study cited, most people don’t currently have the ability to discern any difference. But if it is not this might serve as an interesting object lesson on the spiritual subject of discernment. (more…)

Sun, Moon, and Stars

April 13, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 10:26 am   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Scriptures

Most of the Christian world believes the afterlife is divided into two states: heaven and hell. It was revealed to Joseph Smith that there are more details to the afterlife than that. The Lord explained in section 76 that when Paul talked about resurrected bodies having glories as different as the Sun, the Moon and the Stars that this was in fact a model of the afterlife. So in the Church we now understand that rather than just heaven and hell, there is gradation in “heaven”. There is a telestial kingdom which matches the glory of the stars, a terrestrial kingdom that is likened to the glory of the moon, and a celestial kingdom that is likened to the glory of the sun. It is my opinion that just as the three-kingdom model shows more gradation than the heaven/hell model, that in reality the afterlife is a continuum of glory ranging from no light (outer darkness) to enough light to be likened to the sun at noonday (in Arizona no less). (more…)

Let it Be

April 12, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 3:21 pm   Category: Life

It was a typically hot and dry summer in Utah Valley and I was a newlywed trying to finish up my bachelor’s degree, the only thing that stood between my and a diploma was a semester-long internship in recreational therapy. I inquired about internships at several facilities but was turned away because the intern positions had already been filled.

The state mental hospital was not far from my home so I decided that I would apply there and see how I fared. Not only did this facility have positions but there were several that I could choose from. I thought about it for a little bit and decided that the internship where I would learn the most and would be the most interesting would be on the forensic unit (the criminal lock-down unit). When I announced the decision to my family I got mixed reactions, my husband was supportive but a little bit wary and my parents weren’t too thrilled with the idea, especially my dad. (more…)

Progression between kingdoms

April 11, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 6:42 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Scriptures

In the comments of my recent post on other inhabited worlds the question of progression between kingdoms in the afterlife came up. D&C 76 teaches that in the afterlife all but the sons of perdition will eventually be assigned a kingdom of glory (segmented into three kingdoms: Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial). Some people believe there is a possibility of progression between these kingdoms in the eternities to come and others think the kingdom assignments are permanent. I am firmly in the progression camp. (more…)

Who were the inhabitants of all those other worlds?

April 10, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 12:05 am   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Scriptures,Theology

As the second post in this purely speculative discussion on the innumerable inhabited worlds that, according to our scriptures, have already passed, I will discuss the question: Who were the inhabitants of all those other worlds? It is an easy assumption to make that humans inhabited those worlds (since God the Father was among them according to Joseph), but the unanswered question is who were they? I have heard two theories: (more…)

Worlds without number and the inhabitants thereof

April 9, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 11:57 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Scriptures,Theology

One of the most striking concepts revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith can be found in the first chapter of the Book of Moses.

33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. (Moses 1:33-35, 38)

These scriptures are most commonly read in the church to mean that before this earth was created there were innumerable other similar inhabited worlds that God created. In fact the header in this chapter reads: Many inhabited worlds seen. (more…)

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