Taking Thang Requests — Where’s Your Head At?

June 29, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:07 am   Category: The Thang

Well things have slowed down here at the Thang a bit this month. For the first 28 days of June we only managed to come up with 5 posts between the two of us. It might be a slow down due to the blog muse avoiding the heat of the Arizona summer or that we are simply experiencing a little blog burnout. Whatever the case — the Thang has hit a slow patch.

It’s not like I don’t have plans… Here are some of the posts I hope to get around to:

• Finish my Ostler reading series. I have posted on more than half of Blake’s excellent 2nd book but still need to cover chapters 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11.
• Continue my McMurrin reading series. I only made it a few chapters in on this book before getting distracted. But it is worth finishing.
• Finish my “Feed My Sheep” mini-series. I like this idea but the series hasn’t been that popular so I got distracted.
• Review Jacob’s recent article in Dialogue on the Atonement. In the article Jacob moves in the fruitful direction Blake went and I want to post on that.
• Continue my Covey “7 Habits” reading series. This book/model is worth looking at in some detail I think.
• Post on more Sunday School lessons and RS/PH lessons (mostly from the Wilford Woodruff manual I suspect). I think these can be pretty fun discussions and can be useful on a practical level as well.

The other thing I’d like to do is start a Thang podcast. I like the idea of podcasting on any of the above topics. I think podcasts could be more spontaneous than written blogs, could allow for some good interviews, and might be interesting to a completely different set of people. But getting going on that requires more energy than I’ve been able to muster so far.

Since I and Kristen have lacked motivation, this post is a call for requests. Are there subjects or issues you have been hoping would come up at the Thang or in the ‘nacle in general that don’t come around enough for you tastes? If so, make your requests here in this thread! What do you want to talk about?

[Associated radio.blog song: Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At?]


  1. Geoff,

    You should do a series commenting and analyzing on everything I’ve ever said on the web :-P

    I have no ego!

    No, actually… It seems like we’ve been burning out on rehashing the same theological goodies over and over. What if you start picking up people, places, symbols, etc., from Church history and do a post on each one you find interesting. Or, do a series on the various splinter groups that have come to exist, their individual reasons for splintering, their origins, what you think they have right, and why they are wrong.

    My wife suggests: Make a statement that may or may not be true, but is really controversial and obscure, and let people argue about it.

    Comment by Jeff Day — June 29, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  2. Geoff, how about something on blood atonement, or about Cain ruling over Satan…I don’t know….something fun with no controversy…opps that’s been done!

    Whatever DO SOMETHING!

    Comment by don — June 29, 2006 @ 4:20 pm

  3. Ha! You’re one to talk Don. 9Moons has been slower than the Thang lately! (But I’m glad you care :-) )

    Jeff: Make a statement that may or may not be true, but is really controversial and obscure, and let people argue about it.

    Some people seem to think that is what I normally do…

    Comment by Geoff J — June 29, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  4. A few interesting topics:

    1. Pre-millennial preparations / prophecies
    2. Physical gathering of Israel
    3. Servant songs and other puzzling types of Christ
    4. Cultural diversity in the celestial kingdom
    5. Divine discretion and free will
    6. Difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New
    7. The problems with binding theological creeds

    Comment by Mark Butler — June 29, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

  5. Do one on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom as a Christ figure

    Comment by jk — June 29, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  6. I vote for more atonement posts, though I’m still trying to catch up reading your previous posts on this which I missed. I’m going to be thinking pretty hard about this topic for a while. I’d esp. like to hear more from Mark Butler on his Notes Theory of atonement (sorry, can’t find the comment right now—something about God holding all note claims from pain caused by sin and then making up the difference of suffering through the atonement). Also, I’d be interested in exploring the implications of believing that we as non-infinite beings can in fact achieve a complete and satisfying theory of atonement—who’s to say that a conglomeration of incomplete allegories is not a more accurate, more meaningful, and hence more “true” description of the atonement?

    Also, I sort of like the pace of a post or two a week since it’s something I can actually keep up with! I worry I won’t be able to keep up with the topics I’m really interested in if the pace picks up (but of course my vote shouldn’t count much since I’m mostly a lurker here).

    Comment by Robert C. — June 29, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

  7. (Here’s the comment by Mark Butler I was referring to in #6.)

    Comment by Robert C. — June 29, 2006 @ 9:02 pm

  8. What? No one wants to hear me ramble on about my fabulous life any more?

    Comment by kristen j — June 29, 2006 @ 11:36 pm

  9. I should preface, I haven’t been coming to the ‘nacle for too long, so I never know what has been beaten to death already. That said, a couple of things I have thought about lately are:

    Miracles: Obviously Mormonism is commited to miracles, but how do deal with miracles in your own theology. Example directions for a post:

    When Jesus turned water to wine, do you go with Skousen that all the little particles of water know how to rearrange themselves into wine if commanded, or does God have to go in there with a hydrogen screw driver and an oxygen blow torch to rearrange the atomes himself, or was there and angel standing by with a barrel of wine under his toga and he just switched out the water and replaced it with the wine so fast it looked like water turned to wine? (things to avoid: discussions about whether it was real wine).

    How does your belief system surrounding miracles affect your view of the Flood. Do you believe in a literal flood where water covered every bit of dirt on the earth simulateously? If not, is it because of some argument about how much water, and how many animals fit on a boat, etc. Or, if you do believe in a full blown flood, do you account for it in miraculous ways or do you think the polar ice caps melted. Either way, what do the arguments everyone makes about the flood say about our view of miracles?

    What does it mean (if anything) when we claim that miracles are not violations of law, but events which merely work within laws in ways unknown to us?

    Exegesis: What are your top five rules of exegesis? (If I could get you on the record, I feel sure I could use your list against you in subsequent posts [grin])

    Isaiah: Was that whole thing about studying the great words of Isaiah intended as advice for us, or for the Nephites?

    The Lectures on Faith: Who thinks they are an unappreciated and important source of doctrine, and who thinks they are an uninspired and problematic exposition of Sydney Rigdon’s theology? Do you view all the lectures the same, or do you cherry pick and only quote from lecture sixth?

    Comment by Jacob — June 29, 2006 @ 11:42 pm

  10. Oh yes, and more posts from Kristen, particularly if the post includes a swear word. Those are always the best ones.

    Comment by Jacob — June 29, 2006 @ 11:49 pm

  11. How about

    Deification as taght by the Gnostics compared and contrasted with our understanding of deification.

    the importance of marriage as an ordinance in the gospel of Phillip

    Some brilliant fresh new insight into Mother in Heaven.

    The problem of evil and how changing the paradigm from creation ex nihilo to eternally existent intelligence circumvents it.

    Is God timeless of limited by time, finite or infinite? How might Einstein’s Theory of relativity fit in here?

    What causes a ressurected body to a greater glory to have a countenance like lightning?

    The Earth as a sentient living intelligence that will be resurrected to a greater glory. To what extent is this literal? What will it be like to look into a planet sized Urim and Thummim?

    Prophet who were taken to heaven without death(i.e.Enoch, Elijah, Moses, John the revelator, Three Nephites, Alma? and why this may be. Are they resurrected, translated? What exactly does this mean?

    Just a few thoughts.

    Comment by Doc — June 30, 2006 @ 4:22 am

  12. I would love to see a discussion about Blake’s use of the light, as mentioned in the D&C, with grace. For me, that is one of the most, if not the most, innovating idea/thought I have ever seen. It could change the paradigm of the way we speak/think of grace in the Church. That to me, would be a good thing.

    Comment by CEF — June 30, 2006 @ 9:16 am

  13. On exegesis: Is the charge to “liken the scriptures unto us” an invitation to wrest the scriptures? For example, would you be comfortable doing to Isaiah 50-51 what Jacob does to them in 2 Ne 9?

    Comment by Jacob — June 30, 2006 @ 10:32 am

  14. Kristen, I totally want to hear about your life!! It helps me keep my sanity and sense of humor!
    (Not that I don’t enjoy Geoff’s posts, too!)

    Comment by Allanna — June 30, 2006 @ 10:54 am

  15. Hey thanks, I’ve got some nice swear words up my sleeve to share with you! I’ll get right on it.

    Comment by kristen j — June 30, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  16. Great suggestions all. Keep ’em coming. I’ll start off by covering the first part of Blake Ostler’s chapter 6 on Soteriology today.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 30, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

  17. On a different post, Mark recently wrote:

    Now a very interesting discussion topic would be Joseph Smith’s unrelenting emphasis on knowledge as a requirement for salvation, but that is a little off topic here.

    I agree, this could be an interesting discussion and it would really throw a monkey wrench into some of the theories of exaltation expressed here on this site recently.

    Comment by Jacob — June 30, 2006 @ 8:21 pm

  18. Some of the issues I’d like to see discussed more include:
    1. The meaning of LDS exclusivity claims in light of the Book of Mormon’s statement that God commands all men to write the words that he speaks to them. Does this mean only the Bible and LDS scriptures? If not, then how do we integrate alternative religions?

    2. Is there a need for modern revelation, or can we get by with the scriptures we already have? The various blogs and email lists reflect an enormous, and increasing, diversity of beliefs among LDS, even with respect to fundamental doctrines such as the atonement and the nature of prophecy. The progress in scientific knowledge seems to dwarf progress (if there is any) in religious knowledge. Will these trends continue, and if so, what is the destination?

    3. Has FARMS painted itself, and by extension the Church, into a diminishing corner with the meso-American geography theory?

    4. What can we expect of the millennium that we are not already experiencing? Has the millennium already started?

    Comment by Jonathan N — July 1, 2006 @ 9:57 am

  19. Who is the holy spirit? Will he/she go through mortality? What do we know about this personage?

    Comment by Doc — July 2, 2006 @ 1:51 pm

  20. The Holy Ghost is a male by all accounts (see 1 Nephi 11). However, we have reason to believe that he is assisted in his duties by a large host of pre-mortal and post-mortal spirits, male and female.

    These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial; And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.
    And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.
    (D&C 76:86-88)

    Notice that the telestial receive of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial, or through angels, or through ministering spirits. On the same principle (plus many personal experiences of such ministrations) we can reasonably conclude that these figures act under the direction of, or even epitomize, the Holy Ghost. Indeed in the Old Testament they would be called “elohim” (plural).

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 2, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

  21. Sorry, I didn’t recognize the form of the proposition as a suggestion for later discussion.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 2, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

  22. In the 19th Section of the D&C the Lord reveals that He sometimes tells us things to get us to believe “X” when in fact, “Y” is true…! The Lord use to teach in the Bible and the Book of Morman that the unrepentant who continue in their wicked ways go to HELL, a place likened to a lake of fire where the wicked will suffer endlessly for their mortal sins. In the 19th Section, He reveals that this Hell isn’t really the final destination of most sinners. He clues us in that the “prior” description of HELL as being a place of “endless” and “eternal” suffering was merely a play on words of sorts. He reveals that this so-called “endless” punishment actually has an end but that it can be called “endless” because it is God’s punishment and God is “endless”…get it?
    Apparently, because He wanted people to believe that it was “endless” THEN…but not NOW! THEN He wanted this notion of an “endless” HELL to “work upon the hearts of the children of men” (D&C19:7) NOW He wants us to believe that the wicked will suffer if they don’t repent but not forever. (Now we have the whole 3 degrees of glory doctrine which I like to call a kinder, friendlier version of HELL because it relegates most of us to “endless” separation from God…we’re just not bobbing up and down in a lake of fire and brimstone…like the way HELL used to be taught)
    The Lord calls this “new” revelation, “the mystery of godliness” (D&C19:10) When it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, it was really “NEW” stuff. It was also so “MEATY” that it was initially revealed only to the apostles at the time and WAS not for public consumption.(D&C19:8) In fact, the revelation contains instruction by way of commandment, that this “new” information about the temporary nature of “eternal” punishment is to be kept on the “down low”. (D&C19:21,22) Apparently now the Lord in His “wisdom” has determined that this “new” truth about “eternal” punishment can shared with the public because the 19th Section is now out there for all to see.
    NOW with this “new” information, we sort of scoff at the doctrine of HELL as preached by our other Christian brothers and sisters. We can’t understand how anyone could ever believe that God would be so heartless and vindictive as to punish His children forever in a lake of fire. But not so long ago, that’s exactly what the Lord WANTED people to believe and that’s what He told His prophets to teach!
    I can see why we don’t talk about this aspect of the 19th Section much. It might make people second guess what is and isn’t THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. But to me that’s why I love this revelation, IT IS A LICENSE TO HOPE!
    I like to believe that there is a lot more information to follow. I trust that the “new” information will be glorious. I believe eventually the Lord will reveal “many great and important things” including the fact that this earth is NOT a place where we come to “condemn” ourselves because of the inevitablility of mortal sin. Rather, we will eventually discover that JESUS HAS ALL THAT COVERED.

    Comment by Dave Cluff — July 14, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

  23. Ummm… so is that a request for me to post on section 19, Dave Cluff? Also, ALL CAPS USUALLY SIGNIFIES YELLING. Were you intending to yell your last comment?

    Comment by Geoff J — July 14, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

  24. I like studying things like:

    Jewish expectations of the Messiah

    The Divine Warrior

    Essene Discoveries including Dead Sea Scrolls

    How about a blog on Theological books I’d recommend to others?

    Comment by Rob S — July 27, 2006 @ 10:05 pm

  25. Okay, I have a very unusual request. I have been ranting and raving for a very long time now about how good and potentially live changing the book “What’s So Amazing About Grace? is. Is there any way, that someone here would read the book and start a discussion here about it? I know that most all of us have books that we have already bought and intend to read that we never seem to have time to get to, and adding another one to the pile is not something we would want to do.

    If someone would undertake this request, I will buy the book and give it to you with no strings attached, other than you actually read it and start a discussion about it.

    I am dieing to know if I am just plain weird and that is why I love the book so much or if it is possible that someone else in the Church could get the same good from the book that I have?

    Thank you for whatever consideration you might give this.

    Comment by CEF — August 2, 2006 @ 11:56 am

  26. Ok, CEF. I’ll plan to read and review it. (I’ll see about picking up a copy online.) It might make for an interesting study in the similarities and differences between the range of LDS views on grace and a Protestant view.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 2, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

  27. Geoff – If there were some other words to use better than thank you, that I could think of, I would use them. But, thank you.

    I was serious about paying for the book. I would not want my personal interest to cost someone, so if you would give me your address, I will have Amazon send you a copy. That is the least I could do.

    Thanks again –

    PS – Keep in mind that it is a book written by a nonmember to nonmembers, so please do not look for the ordinances in the book. It is simply a book about grace told by using some of the greatest stories of grace you will ever hear.

    Comment by CEF — August 2, 2006 @ 1:49 pm

  28. Could you do a post on Zion, simply so you could add Lauryn Hill’s “In Zion.” to accompany it.

    Comment by Doc — October 4, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

  29. Sounds like a good plan Doc. I’ll figure out a reason to put that song up at radio.blog soon.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 4, 2006 @ 1:14 pm