Gunning For Callings

May 31, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 1:04 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

Let’s face it. Sometimes people aspire to callings/positions/assignments in this church. And usually the more prestigious the calling the more people there are that aspire to it. (more…)

Are we wasting our Mormonism?

May 26, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 2:08 am   Category: Personal Revelation

What is Mormonism giving us that we cannot get elsewhere? There are lots of wonderful benefits to being Mormon but very few of those benefits are unique to our religion. Consider this list of non-unique benefits: (more…)

Word of Wisdom as an Apostate Barrier to Entry?

May 25, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 12:34 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

In the comments of my recent post on the timing of the Second Coming, a Bloggernacle regular that goes by the handle Steve (FSF) made some interesting comments regarding the Word of Wisdom. Here they are: (more…)

What makes a Mormon a Mormon?

May 23, 2005    By: Guest @ 11:19 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

By Craig Atkinson

The more I study Mormonism, the more I am perplexed by the unity within such a diverse group of people. What has increased my perplexity (enough so to inspire me to write this post) is my participation in blogs like this one. Here people feel comfortable enough to share their unique positions with others, and as they do, it becomes clear that there is great diversity within Mormonism.

As I have thought about the question, what makes a Mormon a Mormon? I have considered three answers, (though this isn’t an exhaustive list, it should cover most sub-categories) doctrine, history/tradition, and practice. As I address each of these possible answers keep in mind that this is still a question for me, not something I have a strong opinion on, or even completely thought through, and I am hoping that the responses that I receive will shed more light on the subject for me. (more…)

And the date of the 2nd coming will be… (Drum roll please…)

May 22, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 12:44 am   Category: Scriptures,Theology

The time has come to make a prediction about the timing of the second coming of Jesus Christ. John C. has been asking what happened to Mormon Millenarianism and I decided it was time break out this long-promised post. I’ve warned you that I’d take a whack at this for several months now so don’t act surprised. Guessing the when the second coming will take place is an age-old tradition and who am I to fight such tradition? Before I get started let me first direct anyone who feels inclined to scold me to go to my first post on the subject. I dealt with the classic whining and “why don’t you guess if the pearly gates swing or roll” snarks there. This post is for the old-school Millenarians among us only! (more…)

“God doesn’t talk to blabbermouths”

May 20, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 8:56 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,Theology

Ben S. put up another good post over at M*. The basic subject is: What spiritual matters should we avoid discussing? I posted on a related subject some time ago but I want to try again.

I have often heard (and even taught) that God won’t share his secrets with us if we can’t keep a secret. Or as Elder McConkie is is quoted as saying: “God doesn’t talk to blabbermouths”. That makes enough sense I guess, but I wonder if we have a proper idea of what really constitutes God’s secrets. What is it we’re not supposed to investigate and discuss (or blab about)? (more…)

God as Marketer

May 18, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 2:56 pm   Category: Theology

In the comments of an earlier post Nathan complained when I called the missionary efforts of the church “marketing”. He voiced the feelings I imagine many people have about marketing by saying among other things:

I’m not one of those who disdain marketing and commerce; I think they are good, solid, honorable Terrestrial pursuits. But I do think that the gospel belongs to a higher plane.

Unlike Nathan, I believe the principles of marketing are so fundamental that even God uses them. I believe that God is indeed a marketer. (more…)

A sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it’s a sacrifice

May 17, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 9:16 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

My neighbor and friend Bruce is fond of saying “a sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice unless it’s a sacrifice”. The point is that unless it hurts it is hard to call something a real sacrifice. I think there is some merit to this idea. This post is about what constitutes sacrifice in our lives today. (more…)

Money. Big Money.

May 14, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 8:24 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices

Most of us are concerned about just making enough money to pay our bills. By contrast, there are some people in this world that are really, really rich. I have seen stats in the past that show that almost 40% of all wealth in the US is in the hands of the top 1% of wealthy people. So here is my question to you: What would you do if you were rich? I don’t mean kinda rich, I mean 8-to-9-figures rich. How would you (as a righteous citizen of Zion) handle or distribute your fabulous wealth? What could you do with that resource to actually make the world a better place? (more…)

Treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time

May 12, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 10:14 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.” (Henry B. Eyring, “In the Strength of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2004, 16)

This quote from Elder Eyring pierced me when I heard it a year ago. I find it profound. I am disturbed by how true it is. People have trouble in this world, and sometimes they have lots of it. (more…)

Can Lucifer Repent?

May 11, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 2:41 pm   Category: Theology

Dave’s recent post on Satan got me thinking again about the subject of the Devil. Understanding how the Devil fits in the model of the eternities is a difficult thing to do. We really don’t know much about him. Our doctrine makes it pretty clear that there is an actual being that is the devil, but we don’t know much more than that. Is Satan a role that some spirit plays on every planet? If so, how does one “qualify” for that position? What is the source of any power the devil has? Can the devil actually prompt us with a Quiet, Creepy Whisper in opposition to the still small voice? While the scriptures make his tactics pretty clear (I have dubbed them the Devil’s GPA and have posted on that twice now) they leave us largely in the dark about real nitty gritty details about this fallen angel and his cohorts. I have more questions than answers on this subject so I’ll focus on just one question in this post: Can Lucifer repent? (more…)

Why should I care if anyone but Christ calls me “Christian”?

May 10, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 9:58 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

A favorite gripe in the Bloggernacle and in the Church in general is the fact that lots of other Christians refuse to acknowledge Mormons as fellow Christians. (See Ben’s most recent post on the overall subject over at M*) This snub gets us Mormons in a tizzy. And that, of course, is half of the fun for those who don’t want to let us in “the club”. But not being in the club doesn’t bother me. I really don’t give a hoot who calls me Christian in this world. And when I think about it I can’t figure out why any of us should. (more…)

Personal Revelation: Where to Start

May 9, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 3:15 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

Ok, so after I called the world out on the subject of personal revelation, Crystal called me out on details. She wisely noted:

For someone like me, who has almost an inability to pray, do you have any suggestions for where to start? It’s good to say that we all should be having this, but the hows are helpful to those of us who struggle.

That is a good point. It is one thing to tell everyone to start listening to what God has to say but another thing to explain how to do that. I’ll try my best in this post. But I recognize that there is a high likelihood that you know more about this subject than I do so please correct or amend or add to my attempt here. (more…)

Are you a prophet, seer, and revelator? Well you should be

May 5, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 8:50 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

I am finally finishing Terryl Givens’ excellent book titled By the Hand of Mormon. In the penultimate chapter Givens focuses on the concept of dialogic prayer – personal two-way communication with God. He postulates that the reality of dialogic prayer as displayed over and over among the regular people in the Book of Mormon may be the real revolutionary doctrinal contribution of the Book of Mormon to the world. I think he is right. The prophets of the Book of Mormon seem to consistently expect us to talk to God and hear what he has to say back. In not-so-subtle ways they tell us that if we are not hearing back from God we are among the wicked. Think about what Nephi says to Laman and Lemuel when they have trouble understanding the vision their father had: “Have ye inquired of the Lord?” Laman and Lemuel gave the all too modern answer: “The Lord maketh not such things known unto us.” (1 Nep. 15:8-9) Nephi paints a world where the norm is to have a question, to inquire of the Lord, and to get a clear and specific answer. In his world the normal and righteous citizens consistently describe how “the spirit said unto me” or “the voice of the Lord came unto me”. I believe the Book of Mormon gives us that message because that is the view of the world those prophets and God expect us to keep as the saints in the last days. (more…)

Apologize Early and Often

May 3, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 11:22 pm   Category: Life

Warning: Navel gazing to follow…

In my life I have discovered that the words “I’m sorry” are among the most useful in my vocabulary. I am the type that needs utilize this phrase often. The good news for those of you who have needed it from me is that I mean it when I say it. (more…)