God as a Person

May 30, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:23 am   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man,
and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret.

There is no debate over whether or not God is a person. On that point everyone agrees. The trouble begins when we try to pin down what it means to be a person and whether or not God can have all the characteristics we attribute to him and still be personal.

The Setup

The “otherness” of God so commonly stressed in traditional Christian theology creates problems in this regard. Our notions of what it means to be a person are derived from our experiences with other people. If God is radically unlike us, it becomes difficult to explain how he is still a person. (more…)

On the personhood of Satan

May 20, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 2:56 pm   Category: Theology

The theological assumption of most church members and leaders is that Satan is a person; not just a symbolic figurehead representing the source of evil and temptations in the world but a real spirit person who is really at work on the earth tempting us to do evil and generally working hard to make all humankind miserable. Elder Spencer W. Kimball expressed this opinion rather clearly in The Miracle of Forgiveness (as quoted in the SWK manual): (more…)

Widtsoe on Gender Differences.

May 17, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 12:45 pm   Category: Widtsoe Reading

For the sake of expediency, I am going to take down my previous two posts in this series. While initially, I had intended to allow Widtsoe to speak for himself, the way I was parsing his quotes by topic was creating some confusion where it otherwise would not be, and was causing me to respond too often “wait and see” to issues which came up. More important, I was frankly just being lazy in my blogging. I hope no one is offended as my removing the two prior posts will delete comments. (more…)

When God says “no”

May 16, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 11:24 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

God sometimes tells us no when we ask him for assistance or intervention on various things. Sometimes the “no” answer is very clear. Sort of like the big ol’ “no” that the ancient prophet Mormon got when he prayed that his people might repent and be spared:

2 But behold, I was without hope, for I knew the judgments of the Lord which should come upon them; for they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon that Being who created them. (Mormon 5: 2)


Propositional Knowledge: Is there any other kind?

May 14, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 2:14 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

On a recent thread, RT made the following comment:

I think the Spirit rarely gives propositional knowledge; it instead gives experience and comfort. The Spirit primarily reveals God as a being, we get to know God and Jesus Christ through the Spirit, as the New Testament suggests — note that the phrase is know as in become acquainted with, not know about as in have propositional knowledge regarding. Knowing someone involves joint emotional experience and the development of empathy, not the acquisition of true sentences. The Spirit likewise is called the Comforter because we receive God’s love, compassion, and comfort through it. Again, none of these involves propositional knowledge. (RT in this comment)

RT asks us to imagine a scenario in which a person has feelings which are spiritually meaningful, but carry no content with respect to propositions. After some time and effort, I have been unable to imagine such a scenario. (more…)

A new Dichotomy: Participants and Volunteers

May 9, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 1:44 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

Several people or organizations have made attempts to subdivide the church into classes of people. Some examples include “iron-rod” and “liahona” members, “liberal” and “conservative” members, and even “orthodox” and “heterodox” members. Typically these labels seem to have the intent of looking down upon some other group of people, and do not seek to improve the church in any way shape or form. Thus, I consider these labels worthless, and would like to suggest a different line that may be more useful to define in the membership of the church. I would like to move away from the theological foundations of our beliefs, and instead focus on the activity of two types of members. In my dichotomy, I will label these two groups participants and volunteers. The basic concept here is that there are two groups of people who are at church, those who go to church to be helped, and those who go to church to help others. This is much like any other charitable organization, and it doesn’t mean either group is evil.

Our iconoclastic exemplars

May 6, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 5:33 pm   Category: Scriptures

Today we covered John 9 in Sunday School. I’ve always admired the man who was blind from birth in this story — partially for his faith but more for his belligerent attitude toward the prideful and conniving leaders of his community. Let’s look at some of the relevant passages. First, after the man’s sight is restored the people are astonished and ask him what happened:

10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.


Little League

May 5, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 1:38 pm   Category: Life

So Q-Dog is five years old now and we have made our first foray into the world of little league baseball. I gotta tell you folks — I’m not liking the looks of this so far. (That’s not him in the pic BTW — just some random tee ball photo I found)

Doggy has two older sisters so I already have experience with some sports and activities for kids. We have done the dance thing, gymnastics, swim team, and I even helped coach the volleyball team for Number One (that’s our oldest who turned 10 yesterday). At most those activities required one practice per week and perhaps an hour long game on a Saturday. Not bad.

Enter Tee-Ball.

Research Project, what is the best retention model for Mormonism?

May 2, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 12:12 pm   Category: Life

Ok, as may be apparent by some of my previous posts, I am very interested in retention in the LDS church. In scholarly research, there have been studies done on employee volunteer retention, student retention, member or participant retention, patient retention. There have even been studies of church retention. Which do you think applies to Mormonism?

In other words, what is the Church? Is it a Church like other Churches? Is it a Volunteer organization with it’s vast unpaid clergy? Is it a therapy session where we are all patients? Is it a school where we are students? Is it a club where we’re all members? Perhaps it is all of the above depending on the individual? Perhaps it is none of the above? What do you think?

Personally, I hypothesize that there are multiple distinct groups within Mormonism, with either Volunteer, member, student, or patient mentalities, depending on the situation. Thus I hypothesize that the most effective retention program in the LDS church is going to be an amalgam which seeks to identify members into these groups, retain them at their needs level, and also to run larger more generalized retention processes as well.

Lastly, if you know of any really good impactful retention studies in any field, I’d be interested in them.