Tree of Life — literal or figurative?

June 30, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 12:01 am   Category: Life

A brief exchange in a recent thread made me aware of an assumption I have been making that may not be as common as I had thought. For as long as I can remember, I have considered the Tree of Life as depicted in our various Garden of Eden narratives to be completely figurative rather than a literal tree with actual fruit that could make one wise. I had assumed for some (probably unfounded) reason that most Mormons shared that view with me but now I am not so sure.

What do you think? Was there a literal Tree of Life in a literal Garden of Eden on the earth (and could its fruit actually make Adam and Eve wise); or is the idea of such a tree and its fruit entirely figurative and representative of the general concept of the Fall?

What is final judgment?

June 26, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 1:49 am   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

Eric recently asked me how final I think “final” judgment is. The short answer is that I don’t think final judgment is very final, at least not in the traditional sense. There is nothing too earth shattering about this; the term “final judgment” is not scriptural to begin with. There are, however, lots of scriptural references to a time of judgment when all people will stand before God to be judged according to their works, and these scriptures must mean something. I am one of those heretics that believes in the continuation of free will after judgment, progression between the kingdoms of glory (i.e. the possibility of eternal progression for all but the SofP), and even the logical possibility of God’s downfall. In a personal theology with so much change and opportunity after resurrection, it becomes interesting to ask what meaning (if any) final judgment still retains. This is the question I intend to address in this post. (more…)

Retention: Expanding on Axioms

June 25, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 1:42 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

Someone has failed, failed miserably. I say to bishops throughout the world that with all you have to do — and we recognize that it is much — you cannot disregard the converts. Most of them do not need very much. As I have said before, they need a friend. They need something to do, a responsibility. They need nurturing with the good word of God. They come into the Church with enthusiasm for what they have found. We must immediately build on that enthusiasm

-Gordon B. Hinckley (more…)

On Discussion

June 22, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 5:47 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

Before there is discussion, I have an idea in my head and you have one in yours. The ideas might be the same, but more likely, there is some difference (i.e. disagreement). Discussion is a process of progressive clarification. By identifying and clearing away points of agreement, we slowly but surely narrow in on the substance of our disagreement. The disagreement is the interesting part; it’s where we have the best chance of learning something from one another. (more…)

The Home Teaching Problem

   By: Matt W. @ 9:51 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

Ok, I am a nerdy ward clerk, I admit it. This post isn’t about doctrine or theology at all. It’s about practice. If it seems secular and aspiritual in nature, it’s probably because I am a ward clerk and not an EQP.

This week I was asked to help set up the division of households for home teaching between the High Priests and the Elders. This is a challenge for me, and a big one. Ultimately, My solution was to pull about 20 different reports then push it back to the EQP and HPGL to work on, but I’d love your thoughts.

How does God make decisions?

June 20, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:55 am   Category: Theology

I’ve already gotten ahead of myself, because there is certainly someone out there who will dispute the idea that God makes decisions in the first place. If so, I am interested in that view. For my own part, I consider decision making to be an essential part of personhood, and I believe that God is a person.

If it turns out that I’m correct and God does make decisions, upon what does he base his decisions? (more…)

What Was I Thinking?

June 19, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 6:53 am   Category: Life

About a month before I went on my mission, I made this movie while I was trying to teach myself Maya. I obviously thought “The Matrix” was a great movie. And No I didn’t think this is what being a missionary was like. Anyway, I never did figure out the kinematics, but I thought this was a fun way to let you know me a bit better.


On the necessity of marriage (a theological conundrum)

June 13, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 10:56 pm   Category: MMP,Theology

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this border of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
(D&C 131)

There is an interesting theological conundrum in Mormonism that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. The above passage is the first part of it. The doctrine taught in section 131 teaches that a person cannot be exalted singly and separately — rather a man must be sealed to a woman (and vice versa) for either to exalted. (more…)

A Child of God… the Son

June 8, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 5:46 pm   Category: spirit birth,Spirits/Intelligences,Theology

“I Am a Child of God” is a classic Mormon hymn and it teaches a fundamental Mormon doctrine — all people are children of God. The problem is that most Mormons seem to assume they are only children of God the Father. Not so. Our scriptures clearly teach that all of the faithful are also children of God the Son. Here are some of the relevant passages.

We are the children of Christ:

7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. (Mosiah 5:7)


Against Quantifying Love

   By: Matt W. @ 11:13 am   Category: Life

One of my favorite bloggers, HP, took a friendly dig at me the other day, and it set my mind in motion and first reminded me that the word “love” is problematic, but then that my conception of love is perhaps vastly different than others. This post represents a meandering look at “love.”

We live in a capitalist society of consumerism, which is based on the laws of supply and demand. This means that we often have a concept of scarcity ingrained upon us, and we are typically unable to think in terms of abundance in many areas. This concept of scarcity works in time, where we only have so much time to give. It works in money, where once it’s all spent it’s gone. It works in cars, and clothes, and slices of pumpkin pie.

On my Resume

June 1, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 7:11 am   Category: Life

Today I am working on my Resume. The Thing is, I have my mission on there.

I have it like this:

-Volunteer Work Cebu City, Philippines 2000 – 2002
Assistant to the President; Zone Leader; Volunteer

Promoted moral concepts and family values in one-on-one and group scenarios. Recruited local people as volunteers and members for LDS Church. Worked with the local communities to improve living conditions, to build housing, to help with employment, and to teach English. Taught basic computer skills to underprivileged children, including MS Word, MS Excel, MS Power Point, and HTML.

Key Accomplishments:

• Trained and gave motivational speeches to approximately 200 volunteers over a six-month period for the purpose of accomplishing the organization’s mission

• Kept records of organization achievements and budget in Microsoft Excel

• Learned Cebuano Language, became fluent.

• Supervised and managed the activities of approximately 200 volunteers

• Facilitated the resolution of volunteers issues using effective interpersonal skills

• Coordinated all travel, transportation, and lodging arrangements for 200 volunteers

Should I have it? Is that pompous? Should I drop it?