Survey: What is your average sacrament meeting attendance? UPDATED

July 30, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 10:52 am   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

UPDATE Ok, I have gotten a sample set of 23 different wards at this point, so I thought I’d give you a bit of info which can be gathered from what I have. The Average size of a Ward, with all the data I have, is about 165 people attending church on Any given sunday. This means that if we take the 13M members of the church and divide them into there 27.5k congregations, 165 on average of the 473 average members are at church any given sunday. This is about 35%, or 4.5M mormons attending church on any given sunday. END UPDATE

I am trying to figure out what the average sized congregation is in the church. If you would please post whether you are in a ward or branch, where you are at, and the average sacrament meeting attendance.

Here’s my Ward, for Example.

Ward
San Antonio, Texas
145

Life before the atonement

July 27, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 12:00 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology

One of the conundrums for me has been in resolving how the effects of the atonement were efficacious before the cause of those effects had even occurred.
(more…)

Kobayashi Maru

   By: Jacob J @ 10:45 am   Category: Determinism vs. free will

After two long debates on the issues of free-will and determinism, Joshua summed up his response in this comment. His description gets to the heart of the matter in my opinion. At the end of the day, I think we are left with a fundamental problem on both sides and I think the problems are unanswerable. This creates a dilemma that I find quite fascinating. (more…)

On the *actually* amazing grace described in Mormonism

July 22, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 3:37 pm   Category: Calvinism,Theology

My recent conversations with Aaron Shafovaloff, a devoted evangelical Christian and devoted critic of Mormonism (AKA devout member of The Fluffy Bunny Nice Nice Club(1) ) have reminded me of an important theological point: In Mormonism the grace and mercy of God are far more sweeping and robust and “amazing” than grace is on the evangelical view. (more…)

Eugene England’s Worst. Arguments. Ever.

July 21, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 6:49 pm   Category: Uncategorized

This post is long, but I didn’t want to title a post as I did without at least trying to back it up. You don’t need to read the whole post to comment, feel free to comment on any one of the several arguments discussed.

I know, we all love Eugene England. You do and I do. Nevertheless, someone needs to point out that the arguments in his famous On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage are not good arguments, and it might as well be me that does it. Twenty years after being published this paper is still influential and gets semi-regular mention in the bloggernacle. The main point of the paper is to argue that there will be no plural marriage in the celestial kingdom. Not for Abraham, not for Brigham Young, and not for your grandpa who was sealed to a second wife after his first wife died. (more…)

The advantages of bad theology

July 18, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 12:34 am   Category: Calvinism,Theology

I occasionally spend a little time debating the fine folks at various anti-Mormon(1) sites. I have recently come to the conclusion that there are some advantages to believing certain popular but awful creedal Christian theologies. I am specifically thinking of the horrifying variety of Calvinism that one particularly well read critic of the church named Aaron described to me. Here are some highlights of what his theology looks like as far as I can tell: (more…)

No more Limitations

July 16, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 7:29 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

Mary Sturlaugson Eyer was the first African American woman to serve a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She Served in the San Antonio Texas Mission starting September 28, 1978, just about 29 years ago. As we celebrate pioneer day this upcoming weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to share an experience of a pioneer from my neck of the woods.

Mary Sturlaugson grew up in a home with 23 other siblings and was proselyted by missionaries in 1976. She told them if they ever came back, she would kill them. The missionaries felt like they should come back but were discouraged by their mission president. Later, the mission president called those elders back and said he too felt like they should return. They did, and Mary answered the door with a knife in her hand. (more…)

Actually, free will probably is free

July 12, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 2:56 pm   Category: Determinism vs. free will,Theology

It seems like whenever the subject of free will comes up among religionists — especially Christian religionists — someone chimes in with some variation of this old chestnut: “Free will is not free!” (When Mormons use it they sometimes say “Free agency is not free” but the intent is the same.)

I disagree. I think that our free will is not only free, it is inescapable. In other words, I think that free will in the libertarian sense is entailed by sentience. As far as I can tell, you can’t have one without the other. (more…)

Libertarianism Part Deux

July 9, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 7:43 pm   Category: Determinism vs. free will,Theology

The discussion on my last post veered into a highly technical philosophy of mind debate so I wanted to pick up the core issue again here.

My take on the debate so far is that the Mormon compatibilists were left in an extremely tough spot. One of their main arguments was that we don’t understand how libertarian free will works so it must not exist. But Blake proposed a emergentist theory of how it might work and none of the compatibilists had any ammo to shoot that theory down. (And even if Blake’s theory does not prove to be the final reality behind LFW, not knowing how something works is hardly a powerful argument that it must not exist.) (more…)

Give me libertarian free will or give me oblivion

July 4, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 11:33 pm   Category: Determinism vs. free will,Foreknowledge,Theology

I figured freedom would be a good subject for Independence Day here in the U.S.

Here is the question of the day: Does the Plan of Salvation and restored gospel even make sense if humans do not have free will in the libertarian sense?

Here is the answer for the day: No.
(more…)

Grinning uncontrollably from ear to ear

July 2, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 3:02 pm   Category: Life

Fifteen years ago on this date I found myself grinning uncontrollably in a sealing room of the Seattle Temple. I must have looked utterly ridiculous to the large-ish group of (mostly) strangers who were there looking on. I wanted to act solemn and sober and all but I couldn’t help myself — that giant goofy grin just would not go away.

But I have an excuse for looking like a clown that day… On July 2, 1992 Kristen J and I were married. Those of you who know Kristen can understand why I am still grinning from ear to ear about that event.

The Rod Along the Bank (more on Lehi’s dream)

July 1, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 6:16 pm   Category: Scriptures

This recent exchange reminded me of my “Lehi’s dream” series, which I never finished. Part of the problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to edit this post (below) down to a reasonable length. Also Geoff was less than enthusiastic about the series. Nevertheless, I decided to post this installment to finish off the series, even though it is clearly far too long for a blog post. Oh well, don’t read it if you don’t want to! (more…)