Mormon Humanism

March 29, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 11:03 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

Sterling McMurrin said in his classic little Mormon theology book that the the Mormon view of reality has a “humanistic quality unusual in theistic philosophy”. Humanism and Theism do indeed seem to be unusual companions — especially in recent centuries. But in the early days of the the humanism movement it was not so unusual to combine the two.

How Many Degrees of Glory?

March 25, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 1:09 am   Category: Eternal Progression

On Matt’s “crazy things you believe” thread several people mentioned that they don’t believe there are actually three degrees of glory, but instead see the three degrees of glory from D&C 76 as being symbolic of an infinite gradation of glory in the world to come (as Matt suggested in #5 of the original post). Although I have argued for an infinite gradation of glory in the next life, I have not abandoned the traditional three degrees. Here’s why. (more…)

Chapter 2 – The War in Heaven

March 22, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 10:34 pm   Category: Plan of Salvation

See my three earlier posts (here, here, and here) if you don’t know what this series is all about and the table of contents.

Chapter 2: The War in Heaven


Crazy Things You Believe

March 17, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 10:25 am   Category: Life

Are there things which you believe which sound crazy even to you, and yet you continue to believe them. Are there things that you believe that you’d never share with someone else because you think they’d think you are crazy?

Here are some crazy things I believe:

  1. I believe that Jesus’ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane may be connected to his taking omniscience upon himself, and thus feeling what Heavenly Father always feels.
  2. I believe that some day the temple ceremony is going to change and be very different than what it is like today, including allowing entrance to non-members for their children’s sealings.
  3. I believe that the future doesn’t exist, but God knows it anyway.
  4. I believe in determinism and free-will being compatible (only sometimes, usually on tuesdays)
  5. I believe there are as many degrees of glory as individual people, and the 3 degrees are mainly symbolic/generic in nature
  6. I believe that we suffered pre-mortally due to deficiencies that required this life
  7. I believe God doesn’t interact with us more directly because it would damage us if he did
  8. I believe polygamy will not be practiced eternally, and may have been merely a form of theolgocial collateral damage in order to bring about sealings as they are practiced now
  9. I believe that sealings are mainly about human interdependence
  10. I believe what many think of as romantic Love is just a chemical reaction 
  11. I believe most of the time God is limited to what’s available at the time in terms of calling people, etc.
  12. I believe the Prophet does have a batphone to God, or atleast a spider-sense to Him or something. He definitely has something I don’t have, or is better at using it, at any rate.
  13. I believe that things that we do that are not for either survival or procreation (like art) are probably the closest we can get to seeing our true eternal selves. 
  14. I believe in evolution and I believe there is absolutely nothing heretical about that
  15. I believe Padre Pio wasn’t lying about the stigmata
  16. I sometimes believe the Holy Ghost may be a calling and not an individual (like Elias)
  17. I believe animals have free-will, but there is some fundamental difference between them and human spirits, like we talk about with Gender sometimes.
  18. I believe more orange juice helps everything
So what crazy things do you believe?

Big Pornography

March 16, 2009    By: Blake @ 3:45 pm   Category: Life

I’m about to explain why I regard HBO’s depiction of a part of the temple ceremony as morally equivalent to pornography. Let me make clear up front that I don’t subscribe to HBO. Never have. Never will. I was reminded again why I don’t subscribe by HBO’s lame apologies for an ailing petty-drama that is not doing well in the ratings and using sensationalism to prop up pretty poor and pathetic writing.

HBO said that it didn’t intend to offend LDS. Well, they knew it was offensive and announced that they didn’t intend to offend knowing it would offend. That’s just a mealy-mouthed admission of an intention to offend as I see it. It’s like using a defense of lack of intention to a charge of battery: “I knew that I would break your arm by hitting you but I didn’t intend to break your arm by hitting you. I really intended just to hit you.”

The Madness of March is Upon Us — BYU Dances Again

   By: Geoff J @ 12:01 am   Category: Sports

Another year, another #8 seed for the Cougars of BYU. The BYU Men’s Basketball got their official at-large invitation to the Big Dance (aka the NCAA basketball tournament) today. Oddly, BYU as a #8 seed has the same #9 seed first round opponent as last year, Texas A&M. BYU lost last year.

The good news is that I am convinced that this BYU team is stronger than the team was last year. Four of five starters are back and the team has been solid this year.

Anyone remember the last time BYU won a game in the Big Dance? I do. My old college buddy Keith reminded me today that we watched the game together in 1993 in the Wilkinson Center (in the dearly-departed Memorial Lounge I believe). That was too long ago. Will this be the year BYU breaks the first round curse that has plagued it since 1993? I sure hope so…

Drawing a bright line between consecration and the united order

March 15, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 5:48 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Scriptures

The Setup

In the temple, we covenant to obey the law of consecration, but I have observed that there is some disagreement about what is entailed in obedience to the law of consecration. In the early days of the church, the saints established the United Order to implement the law of consecration as it had been revealed to that point. Members voluntarily consecrated (deeded over) their property to the Church and in return received a stewardship over property to meet their needs. The United Order lasted a relatively short period of time and the Church hasn’t asked people to deed over all their property for well over one hundred years. (more…)

Happy Happy Utah

March 11, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 10:27 am   Category: Happiness,Mormon Culture/Practices

Anyone else see this article today? Apparently the current happiest states in the union are Utah, Hawaii, and Wyoming.

Here is a quote:

Looking for happiness — it’s family-friendly communities for some, tropical paradise or the rugged West for others. A survey of Americans’ well-being, conducted by Gallup in partnership with Healthways and America’s Health Insurance Plans, gives high marks to Utah, which boasts lots of outdoor recreation for its youthful population.

Speaking of outdoor recreation, the islands of Hawaii took second place and Wyoming was third in the poll that rated such variables as mental, physical and economic health.

But fun outdoors obviously wasn’t the only criteria — “wild, wonderful” West Virginia was ranked last among the states.

And the bluegrass state of Kentucky was 49th, with Mississippi 48th on the list.

The anti-Mormon crowd, or at least the anti-Utah crowd might be in mourning today because of this study… Seems like some folks just can’t do enough crowing about that old “Utah has the highest anti-depressant usage in the country” report that has gotten so much play in recent years. (Of course maybe the anti-depressant companies can use both reports to show how good their products work…)

Anyhow, the upshot is Utah has the happiest Americans around right now according to this report.

Chapter 1 – Council in Heaven

March 10, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 1:47 pm   Category: Plan of Salvation

Okay, so here is the first chapter of my children’s book (to be illustrated by my wife). See my two earlier posts (here and here) if you don’t know what this series is all about and the table of contents.

Chapter 1: Council in Heaven

Before we were born on this earth, we lived as spirits with our Heavenly Father. We learned a lot as spirits and Heavenly Father told us He had a plan that would help us learn more so we could be even happier. Heavenly Father explained that He has a fullness of joy, which means He is full of love and gratitude, and that He loves being our Father.

Heavenly Father’s plan would help us all be full of joy like He is. We call His plan the Plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Happiness. Heavenly Father was a spirit like we were, but He also had a body and tremendous glory. As we learned, we were also gaining glory, and having glory made us happy, but we couldn’t receive more glory and have a more intimate relationship with our Father without coming to this world.


Could Jesus Fail?

March 7, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 6:27 pm   Category: Life

So last night, I suddenly became distracted by a new theological puzzle. I wondered to myself, Could Jesus Fail?

By this I mean, could Jesus have not lived a perfect life and brought forth the atonement?

If he couldn’t fail, then is Jesus different than us, and our trying to be like Jesus is merely vanity, something we cannot accomplish? If he can’t fail and we are utter failures, how do we take being called to be perfect even as the father in heaven is perfect?

On the other hand, If he could fail, then why didn’t he? Are there other Jesus’ out there in our history who didn’t make it? Could I live a perfect life without Jesus’ help? If so, why don’t I?

I can’t even articulate how confused this is making me, or the scope of the conundrum. But I did want to throw something out here for discussions.

What are the elements of The Plan of Salvation?

March 3, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 11:51 am   Category: Plan of Salvation

In my last post I stated that the “Plan of Salvation,” as Mormons use it, provides the framework to include all the elements necessary to create a compelling worldview. (more…)