Worst. Parent. Ever.

April 30, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 8:56 pm   Category: Life

Apparently my first grader had to write about what he did for spring break. Yesterday he brought the following paper home in a pile of completed school work, sealing my position as worst parent ever:

Breaking: CDC Locates Origin of Pig Flu

   By: Jacob J @ 5:33 pm   Category: Uncategorized

I love bacon

Mormon Wingnuts

April 28, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 5:45 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

By now surely you’ve heard the term wingnut. It is the snarky term for people with hard line right wing political views. (I was interested to learn that the left wing equivalent of a wingnut is called a moonbat). Anyhow, Mormons more often than not lean to the right politically and with millions of us in America it should be no surprise that there are plenty of wingnuts in our ranks. Heck, in the last 50 years we’ve even had some serious wingnuts in our top leadership at times.
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Chapter 4 – Adam & Eve and The Fall

April 27, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 9:01 am   Category: Plan of Salvation

Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

During the last period of creation, God created human bodies for our spirits to inhabit, and we recognize our first parents as Adam and Eve. They were two of Heavenly Father’s very valiant spirit children and they were married and lived in a beautiful place called the Garden of Eden. When they received their bodies, the veil was placed over their minds and they forgot their pre-earth life. Even though they were grown-ups, they were like children and didn’t know much about right or wrong choices. Heavenly Father and Jesus came to the Garden to teach them and gave them two commandments. The first was that they should have children and begin a family. The second was that they should eat fruit from any plant except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was their choice what to eat, but God warned them that they would die if they ate from that tree. This was the first decision they would be accountable for. In their childlike and innocent state, they hadn’t learned how to be parents yet. They had no knowledge, so they were taught a little at a time, just like children are.

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Why we need to be careful with the scriptures.

April 21, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 8:54 pm   Category: Scriptures

We need to be very careful when we read the scriptures and use them to take a stance on issues in the church. It is not wrong to do this, per se, but cherry picking a single line can end up with incorrect conclusions.

For example, In D&C 76, when talking of those who live in the terrestrial world, we are taught:

72 Behold, these are they who died without law;
73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.

A plain reading of this notes that those who do not receive the Gospel in this life don’t go to the Celestial Kingdom. This was February 16, 1832. Years later on January 21, 1836, Joseph was given further revelation: (more…)

The NRA just gave up on me after one survey question

April 17, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 7:51 pm   Category: Life

I just got called by the NRA about two minutes ago. The nice lady on the phone asked me to listen to a brief recorded message and stay on the line for a quick survey afterwords. Within a few seconds I was listening to a recorded message by the NRA’s ever-so-even-handed current leader (Wayne Hoofenhafen or something) about some kind of horrifying gun-related bill being proposed in congress that apparently should cause us all to run around screaming as if our hair were on fire.

After the recorded message a somewhat aggressive sounding dude came on line to survey me.

Survey guy: “Do you trust the gun-hating congress to protect your constitutional rights?” (I kid you not. That was the question.)
Me: (After a mildly stunned pause…) “Yes”
Survey guy: “Ok I thank you for your time”
Me: “Have a good evening”

I like short telemarketing calls, don’t you?

Hey don’t get me wrong — I’m all for the Second Amendment. However I am decidedly against sucky survey questions.

What Joseph believed about Spirit bodies.

April 16, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 5:59 am   Category: spirit birth,Spirits/Intelligences,Theology

Jacob J and I have been l somewhat half-heartedly putting together this post for over a month now. Seeing J. Stapley’s excellent post over at BCC, I thought I’d dust it off a bit and post it. The scope of this post is not to put forth any foundational doctrine or all encompassing concept of theology, but it is merely our hope to establish a few concepts regarding Joseph’s beliefs regarding spirits, and specifically his understanding that pre-mortal human spirits were in human form, which some would term a spirit body. We readily acknowledge that Joseph’s thoughts on this matter are disputed and the sources we have are ambiguous enough to support multiple readings.

With that in mind, it seems prudent to survey as many quotes as possible and look for points on which they seem to converge. While one, two, or even three quotes may be disputed, we believe the combined evidence of these statements puts forward a strong case for what Joseph may have believed on the subject. We provide or reference all the statements and sermons we think are pertinent to the subject below. Please feel free to add to these in the comments, if you know of any statements on the subject (for or against) that we may have missed. (more…)

The good news

April 11, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 8:01 pm   Category: Life

Easter means different things to different people. For some people Easter seems to be inextricably connected to their preferred theory about the atonement. But for me the good news is much more basic and universal than any specific atonement theory. The dead who I love and miss are alive elsewhere. They persist. That is more than enough good news for me.

Happy Easter everyone.

[apologies] To that one kid who told me as a new member…

April 10, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 11:44 am   Category: Life

That Elder Holland had taught that Heavenly Father had hidden in the dark corners of the Universe while Jesus was crucified:

 

With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required; indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

Yeah, it was 10 years ago, but neener neener neener.

On a more serious note, Elder Holland points to the “aloneness” of Christ as a central component of the atonement, so that he could learn what he needed to know to help us when we are seperated from God by sin, and thus also spiritually alone. 

I can say I felt the spirit very strongly while Elder Holland spoke, but am still thinking through what if any theological implications this may have on the compassionate royal infussion exemplar judge theory of the atonement.  lately, I have sort of been drawn toward this crucifixion being a single instant in an infinite process of atonement where Jesus and Heavenly Father are continually suffering us.  But this aloneness would not be an infinite and eternal aloneness, so there seem to be definite aspects of the atonement which, atleast in terms of time, have a definite beginning and end. 

Thoughts?

 

Updated:

In 1980, Elder Holland quoted Melvin J. Ballard (see comment #1 below for the quote) here.

 

Is this a change in doctrine for the church? (doctrine with a lower case d, that is)

In any case, sorry for the neeners, you were right, but things have changed…

Reader question: Renewing baptismal covenant? Really?

April 7, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 2:20 pm   Category: Reader Questions

One of our readers emailed me recently with an interesting question. Here it is:

I have a question that has been percolating in my mind for several years. It seems to me that we have witnessed the birth of a new doctrine in General Conference over the last couple of decades. The doctrine states that by taking the sacrament we are renewing the covenants we make at baptism. From this, there has come the logical extension, articulated quite forcefully by Elder Jay Jensen in the Priesthood session of October 2008, that taking the sacrament properly results in a re-remission of our sins.

In my studies of the scriptures, the teachings of Joseph Smith, or any earlier prophets, I can’t find anything about this doctrine. The article on the Sacrament in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism refers to it, but only cites Mosiah 18, Jesus the Christ, and Articles of Faith. In my opinion, these citations are underwhelming as support for the doctrine. A simple search of Conference addresses seems to show the doctrine originating with Bruce R. McConkie and/or Marion G. Romney in the early 1950’s. Earlier references to “renewing our covenants” through the sacrament seem to be talking about the sacramental covenants of taking upon us his name, always remembering him and keeping his commandments.

I would be interested in an online discussion of this topic. Or, perhaps you are aware of a place where it has already been discussed. If so, please let me know.

What say ye?

Mormonism and undocumented immigrants

April 5, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 8:51 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

There was an interesting article over at USA Today this week about how The Church currently deals with undocumented immigrants in our congregations and in our missionary efforts.

Discuss.

Chapter 3 – The Creation

April 1, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 4:06 pm   Category: Plan of Salvation

Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

Chapter 3 – The Creation

Under Heavenly Father’s direction, Christ created and organized the earth, putting natural forces in order and making sure that all types of plants and animals would grow on it. God made this beautiful earth and all its marvelous creations for His children, where we could experience life with mortal bodies and exercise our agency (D&C 88:19, 25). Because the earth was created for God’s children to live on, it will be renewed to its paradisaical glory after Christ comes again and will be the home to those who choose righteousness and who follow Christ.

I actually do believe in evolution, so maybe that is tempering what I have to say in my paragraph. Maybe with less to say, there will be more room for illustrations. It seems a little odd to me that with so much time spent in the scriptures and in the temple about the creation, I have so little to say about it here. If you have more that you think I should add, please tell me.

As the prophets have condensed the presentation of the endowment, they haven’t trimmed down the creation that much, which makes me curious as to what insights you may have on why that may be. Why do you suppose that so much time is spent on the creation when the purpose of it is so straight-forward in the plan of salvation? Am I missing something here?