5 years in

December 31, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 1:00 am   Category: The Thang

Today is The Thang’s five year anniversary. An awful lot has been discussed around these parts in five years. What do you think the odds are that we’ll still be going in another five years? (I think they are pretty high…) Happy new (blogging) year everyone.

Mormonism and Creedal Christianity

December 28, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 11:14 am   Category: Theology

The Catholic Version of the Nicene Creed reads:

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through Him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
He came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered death and was buried.
On the third day He rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and His kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come


The Big BYU Game(s) Today

December 22, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 8:00 pm   Category: Sports

First, the BYU men’s basketball team scored 110 points in their victory over Nevada today. Jimmer dropped 33 on the Wolfpack alone. The only problem is the Cougs gave up 104 points in the victory. But a win is a win and Nevada is a solid program. BYU is now 11-1 and plays Nebraska tomorrow. If they win that one don’t be surprised if the Cougs crack the top 25 this week.

Ok, on to the other BYU game. At halftime of the Las Vegas Bowl BYU leads Oregon State 23-7.

Things looked ugly at first. With the wind howling at 40 mph in the face of BYU the offense was getting no where and then OSU scored a touchdown that looked way too easy. But BYU suddenly gathered themselves and marched 80 yards down the field directly into the head wind to score a tying touchdown. Right after that the wheels started coming off for The Beavers. First a backwards pass was dropped and BYU scooped it up for a TD. In the second quarter OSU was facing the wind and had two punts go all of 6 yards. Plus OSU got several penalties that helped BYU. The result was another BYU touchdown and field goal. I’m pleasantly surprised at how well things are going at the half. I’ll live blog the rest of the game: (more…)

Meditation as a Spiritual Practice

December 13, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 10:24 pm   Category: Happiness,Mormon Culture/Practices,Personal Revelation

About three years ago I was listening to a Sunstone Symposium recording (a “Pillars of my Faith” talk) given by John Kesler where he talked about his conversion to the gospel after being an atheist for quite a while. He also mentioned that later in his life as a member of the church he started meditating with a Zen Buddhist which led him to feel incredible love and connection with God, which has also allowed him to occasionally hear God’s voice. He also described the experience as training one’s thoughts and gaining self mastery. As a result, I was intrigued with the concept of meditation as a spiritual practice and decided to look into it some more.

I found out that meditation is a part (or has been a part) of the spiritual practice of Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc. for thousands of years. I started paying attention to the use of the word meditation in the correlated materials and the word is often used in conjunction with prayer, scripture study, and fasting as a means to feeling God’s presence and experiencing personal revelation. However, the context that I believe most Mormons use the word is often synonymous with the concept of pondering, or thinking deeply about something; rather than as a systematic mental exercise. The spiritual practice of meditation in other traditions seems to be somewhat different than what I think Mormons do (though it may still be parallel in some regards).

My 10 Most-Read Books From Deseret Book

December 11, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 1:34 pm   Category: Book Reviews

Since my Sista’ in Zion is dissing on Sheri’s little company over at T&S, I thought I’d give them some love. It is Christmas after all, and even Ms. Dew needs love at Christmas. So, in no particular order, here are the 10 books I have read the most that are published by Deseret Book.


The New Fourfold Purposes of the Church

December 10, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 5:50 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

There have been rumors circulating in recent months that the threefold mission of the church that became part of Mormonism under President Kimball (Proclaim the Gospel, Perfect the Saints, Redeem the Dead) was going to be expanded to include something about caring for the poor and needy. It now appears those rumors were accurate. We get this from Peggy Fletcher Stack’s article on the subject today:

The LDS Church is adding “to care for the poor and needy” to its longstanding “threefold mission,” which is to preach the LDS gospel, purify members’ lives and provide saving ordinances such as baptism to those who have died.

This mission first was coined by late LDS President Spencer W. Kimball in the 1980s and since then has been repeated as a mantra by the church’s more than 13 million members.

The new group of phrases will be described as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “purposes,” rather than missions, and will be spelled out in the next edition of the LDS Church Handbook of Instructions , due out next year, church spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed this week.

I like it. A lot.

“Ye are gods”: Thoughts on “Radical Universalism”

December 6, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 9:03 am   Category: King Follett Discourse,spirit birth,Theology,Universalism

Among the most radical teachings of Joseph Smith was his flat rejection of creatio ex nihilo — the idea that a beginningless God created all else that exists out of nothing. By rejecting creatio ex nihilo Joseph opened a world of theological and cosmological possibilities that are precluded from the creedal Christians who accept creation out of nothing as a foundational believe. One of the the theoretical possibilities is an idea I am labeling “radical universalism”.

Here are some of the theological assumptions that would underlie a radically universalistic cosmology:

A. God is beginningless

The scriptures that support the idea of a beginningless God plentiful so one might think that this is an uncontroversial assumption. However in some of our past discussions Mark D. and others have argued that while the rudimentary parts of God are beginningless it is possible that there was a time before there was a fully formed God. While I entertained this idea in the past I currently believe the scriptural support for the claim there never was a time before God is stronger.

B. The One God is a union of multiple divine persons

Utah Still the Happiest State in the Union

December 4, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 9:02 am   Category: Happiness,Mormon Culture/Practices

Utah was atop yet another list of happiest states in the USA.

I’ll bet that really chaps the hides of critics and enemies of Mormonism. For some reason that makes me happy (and I don’t even live in Utah).