Yes, God the Father does have a Father

May 25, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 6:01 pm   Category: King Follett Discourse,Ostler Reading,Theology

As the second part of my discussion of chapter 12 in the second volume of Blake Ostler’s series of books on Mormon Theology I will deal with the second of two controversial positions Blake takes when reading Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse (KFD) and Sermon in the Grove (SitG). That second position was:

2) While God, the Father of Jesus, did condescend to become a mortal on one of the innumerable previous inhabited planets, he is the ultimate Celestial Monarch and has no “Eternal Father” of his own. Further, Blake holds that the Father was not a Savior to the world to which he condescended.

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Did God “come to be God” or not?

May 24, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 9:50 am   Category: King Follett Discourse,Ostler Reading,Theology

The final chapter in Blake Ostler’s new book is titled “God the Eternal Father” and is his treatment of two seminal sermons by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the final months of his life; the King Follett Discourse given in April 1844 and the Sermon in the Grove given less than two weeks before his death in June of 1844. Since these sermons have been the topic of discussion here as of late I am skipping ahead to cover chapter 12 now. Blake’s interpretation of these sermons is quite unusual and controversial I think. His conclusions include the following:

1) God did not come to be a God but has been divine and in the Godhead forever. This applies to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost according to Blake.
2) While God, the Father of Jesus, did condescend to become a mortal on one of the innumerable previous inhabited planets, he is the ultimate Celestial Monarch and has no “Eternal Father” of his own. Further, Blake holds that the Father was not a Savior to the world to which he condescended.

I will address 2) in the next post and focus only on 1) here. Here are the arguments Blake uses to defend 1). (more…)

The Prophet lived his life in crescendo

May 22, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 7:59 pm   Category: King Follett Discourse,Theology

Regarding the King Follett Discourse, Elder B.H. Roberts said:

Accusations were repeatedly being made about this time that President Smith was a fallen prophet. But when the mighty doctrines that in this discourse he is setting forth are taken into account, and the spiritual power with which he is delivering them is reckoned with, no more complete refutation of his being a fallen prophet could be made. The Prophet lived his life in crescendo. From small beginnings, it rose in breadth and power as he neared its close. As a teacher he reached the climax of his career in this discourse. After it there was but one thing more he could do-seal his testimony with his blood. This he did less than three months later. Such is not the manner of life of false prophets.-Note by Elder B. H. Roberts. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 355, footnote 11)

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If original sin is out, then why do we all sin?

May 17, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:53 pm   Category: Ostler Reading,Theology

Chapter 5 in Blake Ostler’s new book Exploring Mormon Thought Volume 2 is titled “Sin and the Uncircumcised Heart”. It follows his discussion in chapter 4 of why the doctrine of original sin should be rejected. But rejecting the doctrine of original sin leaves Mormonism with the task of explaining why every one of us who can sin does sin. And considering how similar some strains of Mormon thought are to Pelagianism, this question becomes even more interesting. If we have robust free will and come into the world sinless and free from any of Adam’s or anyone else’s guilt, why is it that 100% of us end up sinning anyway? Blake gives us some answers. (more…)

Guest Post: Qualifying for the Telestial kingdom?

May 16, 2006    By: Administrator @ 2:33 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

[The following is a guest post from Jacob, a thoughtful Mormon from Oregon who I met at this year's SMPT conference.]

In a recent series of posts, Geoff has been discussing various models of the plan of salvation, and as you might expect, advocating his favorite “multiple mortal probations” model. During that discussion, the question of telestial salvation came up a number of times, and Geoff graciously offered to host this guest-post of mine on one aspect of that subject. My question is geared toward the more traditional models of the plan of salvation.

In the Church, there seem to be two main camps on telestial salvation: (more…)

No Opposition = No Progression

May 13, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 2:47 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Theology

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass
(2 Ne. 2: 11)

In my last post in this mini-series I described the three primary models of eternity that have been debated here and at other blogs recently. Model 1 is the what I call the My Turn on Earth (MToE) model with no progression between kingdoms, Model 2 was the MToE model with progression between kingdoms, and Model 3 is the Multiple Mortal Probations (MMP) or Heber C. Kimball model. (more…)

Dream Job

May 12, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 1:32 am   Category: Life

I’m a perpetual day dreamer. I don’t consider it a bad thing since it has gotten me through some pretty rough times in my life. For instance, the horrible job I had held during the summers during college. While I packed box after box of school supplies I dreamt of the fabulous places I would visit or lucrative businesses I would start. We were not allowed to listen to music or really talk to each other while we worked so day dreaming was as good as it got for me. (more…)

Why preaching the highly questionable notion of no progression between kingdoms might be a good idea

May 11, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 5:45 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Theology,Universalism

About a week ago I posted insisting that there must be progression between kingdoms of glory or God is not the loving parent we think of him as. When the discussion thread there exceeded 100 comments I wrote a follow-up post to continue that discussion and to issue a challenge for someone to provide a better model of the eternities than my favorite model. The discussion in that thread has been very informative too. In this post I want to recap the three main positions that have been argued (as I understand them) and point to reasons to reject some models and accept others. (more…)

On Original Sin

May 10, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 3:22 pm   Category: Ostler Reading,Theology

Chapter 4 in Blake Ostler’s new book is called “The Implausibility of Original Sin”. That’s a nice way of saying “The doctrine of original sin is a total crock and here is why”. (more…)

Give Me Some Sugar Baby!

May 8, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 9:59 pm   Category: Life

Hi my name is Kristen and I’m a sugar/chocoholic. I love the stuff. If I were to have my dream day of eating it would consist of high quality hot chocolate and a chocolate filled croissant for breakfast and a little (well, not too little) box full of chocolate truffles for a mid-morning snack. Lunch would be a large, warm pazooki with chocolate ice cream and a large Dr Pepper. For an afternoon snack I would then have a bag of rollos and another large Dr Pepper. (more…)

Veils of Forgetfulness, Personal Identity Problems, and a Challenge

May 6, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 1:31 am   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Theology

I’m getting to the point where I don’t like long threads anymore. Too many useful and thought-provoking comments end up buried and nearly impossible to find in those 100+ comment threads. Therefore, this post is picking up on the discussion that has been taking place on my last (rather controversial) post. I should note that that post has also spawned several others worth reading as well (See here, here, and (sorta) here so far.) (more…)

Why the idea of permanent judgment is a crock

May 2, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:59 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Scriptures,Theology

Don asked some good questions over a Nine Moons today. In the comments he asked: “What’s wrong with permanent judgment? It seems like we are all a bunch of “scaredy cats” looking for a way out of what we deserve.” This post is my response to his interesting question. (more…)

Sheep Food (Part 1)

May 1, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:53 pm   Category: Feed My Sheep,Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

And you thought the Feed My Sheep series here at the Thang was dead… Oh, how wrong you were. So far we have discussed the relationship between sheep and shepherds in scripture and who the scriptures define as Christ’s sheep (and who they say aren’t His sheep). In the next couple of posts I will discuss what it is we are supposed to feed these sheep; or in other words, what is the sheep food? (more…)