Confessing God’s hand in all things

January 31, 2008    By: Jacob J @ 12:01 pm   Category: Scriptures

I can’t get any of my real posts to the point where I am willing to pull the trigger, so I will settle today with a quick question about an interesting scripture:

21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments. (D&C 59:21)

The idea that God’s wrath is kindled against those who don’t confess his hand in all things is often used to argue that God is sticking his fingers is way more things than some of us have supposed. For example, Blake used this scripture in that way here, which got me thinking about it again. Earlier in that thread, I said that I reject the “everything happens for a purpose” way of thinking. I don’t think God is micro-managing everything that happens. I don’t feel compelled to attribute every good thing that happens to some form of divine intervention. (more…)

In Which A GA Says “Wanna See My McCain Button?”

January 27, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 8:26 am   Category: Life

This weekend our stake is splitting, so Elder Perry M. Webb of the Seventy and Elder Neil L. Anderson of the presidency of the seventy are here for a special stake conference for this purpose.

Yesterday, as is typical, we had a priesthood session followed by an adult session of conference.

As the typical nature of priesthood session, this is where the GAs are at their most candid. It was especially interesting yesterday as rather than having any prepared remarks, Elder Anderson opened the time up to be a question and answer session (with the caveat that we kept the questions spiritual and not intellectual, and with the preemptive example that he did not know where the sword of Laban was currently.) I never ask questions in these sorts of forums (Maybe because my first instinct is always to ask about the second anointing, which shuts me up pretty quickly) but there were some very interesting comments made, and I thought some would be interesting to share. (more…)

Compassionate Immigration Policy

January 24, 2008    By: Blake @ 8:40 pm   Category: Life

The Church leaders urged Utah legislators to bring compassion back to the discussion of illegal immigration. What does that mean? I’m going to suggest what I consider to be a fairly obvious resolution to the immigration problem that is also compassionate by my lights. It is also fairly certain to actually work!

Let’s begin with the obvious. We can count on Hispanics to continue to flood across the U.S. borders as long as there is no work in Mexico and jobs are plentiful in the U.S. We can count on it because Hispanics will do what all good and decent people do — they provide for their families. They look for a better life for their children. Of course there are those illegal immigrants who who aren’t good and decent who come to traffic in drugs and commit crimes. But they are only a small fraction of the many immigrants who have sought to made the U.S. their home.
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Never fighting with your spouse could be deadly

   By: Geoff J @ 9:13 am   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

A new study in the news today is indicating that married couples who are willing to argue with each other (and resolve the arguments) live longer than those who keep it in. Those of you who felt bad about not keeping up with the old advice to never go to bed angry in a marriage can breathe a sigh of relief.

10 things I never knew before in First Nephi

January 23, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 9:52 pm   Category: Sunday School Lessons

This year, my new years resolution was to read and seriously study the book of Mormon. Tonight I finished first Nephi, and thought I’d take a moment to share 10 things I learned that I didn’t know before. If it’s old hat to you, your name is probably Kevin Barney.
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Mormonism and the Problem of Evil (Or, Fun with Theodicies)

January 13, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 12:13 am   Category: Theology

The problem of evil is always a popular topic in the bloggernacle. And why not? It’s a very perplexing and theologically important issue. (See recent discussions on the subject here, here, and here.)

For those of you not familiar with “the problem of evil” it is basically the problem of reconciling the existence of evils and sufferings of all kinds in the world with the claim that there is an all powerful and all loving God watching over the world. Here are some examples of the problem:

Example A1

Mike and Joe are walking through the jungle. Joe falls in some quicksand and slowly starts to sink. Mike sees all this happening, has power to save Joe, and even hears Joe plead for assistance. But Mike chooses to ignore Joe and lets him die.

- We would say Mike is wicked/immoral for refusing to lift a finger to help Joe.

Example A2

Joe is walking through the jungle. Joe falls in some quicksand and slowly starts to sink. God sees all this happening, has power to save Joe, and even hears Joe plead for assistance. But God chooses to ignore Joe and lets him die.

- Why shouldn’t we also say God is wicked/immoral for refusing to lift a finger to help Joe (as we don’t hesitate to do with Mike)?
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A review of study aides to the Book of Mormon

January 8, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 8:28 pm   Category: Sunday School Lessons

This year for sunday school we are studying the Book of Mormon. It is my new years resolution to take this study seriously and to make a real effort to have a positive experience with Studying the Book of Mormon this year. So far, I have gone through the first ten chapters, using various study aids, and am having a good experience. I figured I would pass on some the aids to you, and give you a review of which ones I found worthwhile and which ones, not so much.

First, let me give you the basis of my analysis. I graded all the materials with scores of either great, ok, or disappointing, with the idea being that the book, to be worthwhile had to be as good or better than the very affordable (free) church produced material, and the book had to supplement actually studying the text of the Book of Mormon itself. (Sorry, that means I disqualified the excellent “By the Hand of Mormon”)

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Who the Computer tells you to vote for.

January 3, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 8:37 am   Category: Life

USA today has a fun little candidate match game which tells you who you should vote for.

Just for fun, who does the site tell you to vote for?

(It told me to vote for 1.Ron Paul or 2.Mitt Romney)

“Stop thinking about and talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

January 2, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 6:50 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,The Thang

The Thang turned 3 years old this week. Happy birthday to us.

As our regular readers know, a focus of the posts here at New Cool Thang has always been trying to more deeply understand Mormon doctrine, theology, and scriptures. We have spent a lot of time trying to better understand things like the atonement of Jesus Christ, free will/agency, foreknowledge, personal revelation, eternal progression, and all sorts of other intriguing but difficult theological and philosophical subjects. Along the way there have been many wonderful comments and discussions. My life has been greatly enriched by these discussions and I feel simultaneously more knowledgeable about the things of God and more acutely aware of how much I/we really don’t know about God and the eternities. (more…)