Joseph Smith’s or W. W. Phelps’ poetic paraphrase of “The Vision”?

October 26, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 12:54 am   Category: Theology

In the February 1, 1843 issue of Times and Seasons a poem signed “Joseph Smith” was printed. The 312-line poem was labeled “The Answer. To W.W. Phelps. Esq.” and was titled The Vision. It was a poetic paraphrase of “The Vision”, the revelation now found in D&C 76. The poem itself is generally not thought to be very good and would not attract much attention at all today if it weren’t for one startling theological statement it contains which is not in the actual revelation it is paraphrasing. Stanzas 21-22 of the poem say that all of the inhabitants of the universe “from first to last, /Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours”. Those who like the idea that Jesus is the only Savior for all the innumerable worlds throughout all eternity (yes, Blake, I’m looking at you) like to quote this poem as evidence that Joseph believed and preached such a doctrine. But as we have discussed at length here, the notion that Jesus is the first, last and only Savior throughout eternity seems to be at odds with the ideas Joseph preached later in the King Follet Discourse and the follow up sermon often called The Sermon in the Grove. (more…)

Why keeping the commandments will lead to prospering in the land

October 23, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 3:45 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Personal Revelation,Theology

A while back I posted on the oft repeated promise in the Book of Mormon “Inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land”. I have always taken this to be a self-evident truth in Mormonism but it turns out that lots of people in the church just don’t believe it. Well, they may sorta believe it but apparently many want to water it down and make it only applicable to societies and not to individuals. Or perhaps they misread the word “prosper” and think the only thing it could possibly be referring to is worldly riches (ignoring other ways we can prosper in the land like by having good physical and mental health, true friends, loving relationships, etc.) I think the promise is very literal and applies to individuals today. In this post I’ll explain the two ways I think the promise plays out. (more…)

Penal-Substitution anyone?

October 12, 2006    By: Jacob J @ 11:47 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Theology

In the previous thread, Matt started up a defense of the penal-substitution theory, so I am putting up this post as a place to discuss it in more detail. (more…)

Some thoughts on atonement theory

October 9, 2006    By: Jacob J @ 10:22 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Theology

Not too long ago here at the Thang we were arguing about Blake Ostler’s atonement theory. In the course of that discussion, more than one person made a statement to the effect that some particular question was the central question of atonement theory, or, on one occasion, that a given theory did not really qualify as such unless it resolved a certain problem.

When you get focused on some specific problem it is easy to start thinking this way, but I don’t really buy into it. (more…)

On brother Nibley and taking potshots at “the rich”

October 3, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 2:08 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

One of the popular sports among many Mormons is taking potshots at “the rich”. Hugh Nibley seems to have really gotten the ball rolling on this sport (perhaps unintentionally?) with some of his excellent essays found in the book Approaching Zion. Using many of Nibley’s arguments, some Mormons seem to immensely enjoy lobbing theological grenades at the ever-nebulous and faceless group, the rich. We have been discussing this very topic in the comments over at my recent post about the camel and the eye of the needle teachings in the New Testament.

The problem is that nobody seems to be willing to define the term rich. What makes one officially rich? Is it net worth? Is it annual income?

Are you among those who actually believe that being poor (please define poor too, btw) is morally and spiritually superior to being rich?

I have mentioned elsewhere that I have a Nibley hangover lately and it is things like this that have given it to me. It was fun to ride a high horse and look down on “the rich” for a while after reading his stuff but falling off that high horse seems to have given me a Nibley headache or something…

[Associated song: ABC – How To Be A Millionaire]

Does the Lord prepare a way or not?

October 2, 2006    By: Jacob J @ 9:20 am   Category: Scriptures

Time for another quick scripture poll. How do you reconcile the apparent disagreement between these two verses:

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Ne. 3:7)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings. (D&C 124:49)

Obviously, these two verses seem to be at odds with one another. The verse from the D&C seems to be saying that the work was no longer required specifically because it was hindered by enemies and not by the lack of faith or effort on the part of the “sons of men.” On the flip side, Nephi seems to be saying that the situation decribed in D&C 124:49 will never occur since the Lord will always provide a way to prevail over enemies who attempt to hinder the Lord’s commandments from being fulfilled.

My question is, how do you reconcile these two verses? Is one right and the other wrong (in which case, which is which)? Or is there a way to resolve the apparent conflict in their messages and make them both true at the same time?