The Gethsemane Event in Church History

March 29, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 8:00 am   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Theology

Ok, I am studying what the church has taught about Gethsemane, and it is pretty interesting to me, so I thought I would post it here and also ask for a little help.

An [evangelical] Survey of Mormon Teachings

March 26, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 11:45 am   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Theology

In 2003, Dr. Cky J. Carrigan presented this survey for our edification and perusal. First, let me say I do not find anything in what I have skimmed from this article malicious, and actually was thoroughly impressed at the effort Dr. Carrigan put into it.

I thought I would post Dr. Carrigan’s conclusions here for our discussion.

A Rational Theology: The Big Problem with a capital “A”

March 22, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 12:33 pm   Category: Theology,Widtsoe Reading

For the past two weeks I have been engaged in reading, thinking about, and reviewing John A. Widtsoe’s “A Rational Theology”. While I enjoy several of Elder Widtsoe’s concepts regarding the pre-mortal existence, the book is lacking in a few areas which attribute to the reason why it has not had a longer lasting impression on our religion, and why it has sort of gone away from our religion.

Does “goodly” mean “wealthy”?

March 21, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 10:20 pm   Category: Scriptures

Nephi starts out his record thusly:

I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; (1 Ne 1:1)

Could Nephi be saying that he got a good education because his parents were wealthy?

A Rational Theology: Law, God, and Value

March 20, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 11:47 am   Category: Theology,Widtsoe Reading

1915 must have been a great year to be a literate Mormon. Talmage produced his Opus, “Jesus the Christ”, for use in Sunday School Classes, and John A. Widtsoe produced “A Rational Theology” for the manual for Priesthood. I would like to take some time to evaluate how Widtsoe’s teachings have held up over time and what we can learn today from his “rational theology”. I thought it would be fun to see how my conceptions of the book evolve while I read through, this being my first full introduction to Widtsoe. This post will review Chapters 5-7 for those interested in turning to the source. I previously discussed chapters 1-4 here. The book is available for free here.

The Great Law– Chapter 5 sets up the underlying “great law” of the universe. As a preface to this, Widtsoe reminds us that the universe is ordered. He calls it “a universe controlled by intelligence under the law of cause and effect.” This means that the same act, under the same conditions will produce the same results. Thus the universe is not chaotic or filled with confusion, though it may be extremely complex and lacking “quiescence” [ie- to be still, inactive or dormant]. In fact, dormancy is impossible in a universe where matter, energy, and intelligence are eternal. Per Widtsoe, this lack of dormancy among learning intelligent beings means that there is an increase in complexity as reactions or changes take place among the basic components of the universe. “Each set of new effects becomes the cause of still other effects…increasing complexity or variety would seem to be the resultant law….this is the great law of nature…”

God is not timeless, deal with it

March 18, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 9:48 pm   Category: Foreknowledge,Theology

Recently, a series of comments on different threads and from different people has convinced me that far more people believe that God lives outside of time than I would have suspected. I think the idea of a timeless God is a-scriptural and unworkable in the context of Mormon theology. The problems I see with divine timelessness fall into two categories. The first category involves conflicts that arise because change cannot happen in a timeless existence. The second category has to do with the lack of an intersection between time and timelessness. Let’s consider each one. (more…)

A Rational Theology: Epistemology and Eternal Existence

March 16, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 12:19 pm   Category: Theology,Widtsoe Reading

I would like to take some time to evaluate how Widtsoe’s teachings have held up over time and what we can learn today from his “rational theology”. I thought it would be fun to see how my conceptions of the book evolve while I read through, this being my first full introduction to Widtsoe. This post will review Chapters 1-4 for those interested in turning to the source. Six years after writing this Church Manual, John A. Widtsoe was ordained an apostle.

Epistemology– After briefly introducing the purpose of his work, Widtsoe goes into a brief explanation of “How Knowledge is Gained” which acts both as an epistemology as well as an explanation of the methodology used to derive the contents which follow in the book. Widtsoe’s exposition is fairly simple: We rely on our senses, but without assistance, this would limit us to a very small part of the universe. This assistance or “sixth sense” exists and can be received. In Widtsoe’s own words “By Proper preparation and exertion he may intercept messages from out of the directly unknown, as complete as this may be done by man-made instruments.

For the Strength of Youth (1966)

March 13, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 9:44 pm   Category: Modesty,Mormon Culture/Practices


This past weekend I spent some time with my Wife’s Grandfather and he offered me the opportunity to rummage through his old books and take anything I am interested in. I don’t pass up such opportunities, and came away with a good bunch of books, including a 1930’s Adult Sunday School Manual, A 1955 Youth Sunday School Manual (Which I will post on soon, as it is amazing), a 1968 Church Handbook of Instructions, and a 1966 For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet.

Today I thought it would be fun to share the pamphlet with you. (more…)

Is God Essentially Embodied?

March 11, 2007    By: Blake @ 1:03 pm   Category: Theology

I want to ask a question that perhaps only an analytic philosopher would ask. But it is a very important question for Mormon philosophical theology: Is God essentially embodied? Another way of stating this rather technical logical point is: Could God choose not to have a body? Another way of stating it is as follows: Is it the case that God is a body or does God merely possess a body? In other words, could God fail to have a body and yet continue to exist?

Survey: Will you serve a Senior Mission?

March 9, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 11:44 am   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

I was intending to throw this up at Blogger of Jared, but they appear to be down. So, while Conner and Eric give that blog a healing blessing of some sort, I thought I’d ask for input here. Besides, now that Geoff has turned the corner, and this is no longer the speculative theology blog, but just another general mormonalia blog, perhaps this is as good a home as any.

So, I ask you, will you serve a Senior mission? Why or Why not?

That’s a Lotta Nuts!

March 8, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 10:21 am   Category: Life,The Thang

Alright, I just installed a new YouTube plugin so I figured I share it with y’all. Here are a few clips from Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. My older brother told me about this movie and he was right — it is really really bad and yet I couldn’t stop laughing when I watched it. It was done by Steve Oedekerk — the same guy who brings us much joy with Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. I guess he took a bad kung fu movie and inserted himself in it then changed all the dialogue to make this film. So without further ado…

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