Failing Falling

October 19, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 1:59 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Plan of Salvation,Theology

“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”

-2nd Article of Faith

“All mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual”

-Helaman 14:16

It is a common claim (see for example Bhodge’s latest excellent post at BCC) the LDS church rejects “original sin”, and rightly so, due to our second article of faith, the belief that Adam and Eve took the fall as a progressive step, and due to our belief that small children are considered not accountable, and thus innocent.

However, one claim I am uncomfortable with, from Blair’s latest post (and I should add the claim is not his, but that of Peter J. Thuesen, is that this somehow allows our faith to escape the situation of an “inherently damnable humanity”, as Hodges quotes. It is, after all, our inherent damnability which is central to the Gospel.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ occurs to reconcile our sinful nature. We sin because we have free will and are weak creatures. The very plan of salvation (come to earth via birth, get a body, be apart from God, have faith, learn to repent, progress towards being heavenly creatures) is set up so that we can progress, and we would not be able to progress without God, we were selected by him to be his children, and he made it his “work and glory” to bring us up to a higher level of existence.

So if Mormonism does not teach the fall causing inherent damnability, it is only because we have removed it as our starting point, and thus moved our personal damnation back to our eternal selves. Our “original sin” truly becomes original to us, with the sin being our inability to achieve the loving nature required of us to live with God.

This does create for us a unique solution, in that our damnation is defined as our inability to attain a certain nature through our own ability, and God’s salvation is his giving us characteristics which we can use to attain to that nature. (A body, the light of Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, covenants, the atoning help of Christ).

It also raises questions. If we are eternal, and unable to change, how does it become possible for God to make this change? I don’t really know, but I do believe.

What does Jesus think about giving alms to the poor?

October 16, 2011    By: Jacob J @ 7:56 pm   Category: Book Reviews,Scriptures

I recently finished The Bible Now by Richard Elliott Friedman and Shawna Dolansky. Freidman follows his regular pattern of faking out potential buyers of his book by putting only “The Bible” in the title of his book even though he will only be discussing the Old Testament. As in previous efforts, his work here is sufficiently excellent that this trickery can be forgiven. (more…)

Oregon State Gets The Full Nelson From BYU

October 15, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 10:36 pm   Category: Sports

BYU took down the Oregon State Beavers this afternoon 38-28. Here are some thoughts on the game:

– For the second straight week QB Riley Nelson played the entire time while Jake Heaps watched from the sideline. Riley continued to show signs of brilliance mixed in with stretches of ineptitude. The good news is that Riley showed more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff this week. He and the offense seem to be getting better week by week.
– HUGE game for sophomore receiver Cody Hoffman. This kid was virtually invisible the first few weeks while Jake Heaps was QB. In the last few weeks Hoffman has put up great numbers.
– Conversely, Ross Apo who was clearly a favorite of Jake Heaps has had quiet games as of late. Hopefully he can get more involved going forward as well. (more…)

BYU vs. SJSU recap: Half Nelson

October 9, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 1:28 am   Category: Sports

BYU started Riley Nelson for the first time this year and for most of the first half it looked like a genius move. Then Riley started throwing interceptions and the offense stagnated in the second half. In the end it was good enough to get a 29-16 win over a below average San Jose State team.

Some thoughts on the game:

– Riley did not pull away from Heaps in the QB competition. He looked like he would and then he started fumbling and throwing knucklehead interceptions.
– Doman needs to only play QB’s he is willing to let pass. After Riley’s second interception Doman stopped calling pass plays and the offense stopped moving the ball. BYU needs pass yards to be effective.
– The offense looked good in the first half but scored only six points in the second half against a weak team. That is really disappointing.
– BYU has a new #1 running back. Mike Alisa emerged out of nowhere to be the best option at tailback after playing a little fullback up until now. He looked great gashing big runs up the middle. Looks like fewer carries for Kariya and Quezada going forward (although DiLuigi will still be the outside runner).
– The defense looked ok but Bronco said he was going with a bend don’t break scheme so there were more yards given up than BYU fans would have liked.
– Special teams were ok. Two made FGs were good. Kickoffs didn’t go out of the end zone though. And believe it or not there were zero BYU punts this game.
– Kyle Van Noy and Jordan Pendleton are fantastic outside linebackers. That position is the best on the team this year.
– Too many drops by receivers today. Jacobson dropped a sure TD in the endzone. Hoffman dropped a hard catch in traffic. And Matthews dropped an easy and sure first down catch late in the game.

Overall there were some nice things today but not enough to make me think “yeah, BYU finally has things figured out”.

Regarding the BYU and Big12 thing:

– The odds of BYU joining the Big12 took a major hit this week with The Big12 inviting TCU ahead of BYU
– Rumors circulating are that there are snags of some kind — presumably with TV rights — that are keeping the Big12 from inviting BYU
– It is still possible that BYU and the Big12 will work things out but I think the odds are much more slim this week than they looked last week.

Sound off in the comments BYU fans.

Why can’t Mormons pull something like this off?

October 3, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 9:43 pm   Category: Life

You gotta feel for the Aggies after last night (and other BYU football news)

October 1, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 5:46 pm   Category: Sports

BYU completed a shocking comeback with about 11 seconds to go en route to beating the the Utah State Aggies on Friday 27-24. The Cougars were playing generally solid defense against a good Aggies offense for most of the game but Jake Heaps and the BYU offense were getting killed (as usual). So the BYU coaching staff decided to put Riley Nelson into the game near the end of the third quarter with BYU losing 24-13. Nelson was actually the starting quarterback at USU his freshman season before leaving on a mission. Nelson decided to transfer to BYU after his mission. It was a controversial transfer — so much so that the NCAA instituted a new rule after the transfer requiring RM’s to sit out a year if they transfer after the mission. Anyway, this game seemed over before Heaps was benched and Nelson came in. BYU appeared to have no chance of coming back with Heaps at QB. But obviously BYU could come back with Nelson.

So with that I’d say BYU has a new starting QB. If Heaps wants to start again he’ll have to earn it.

Some thoughts on the game: (more…)