Another Question for you guys.

Okay, I have got in heated battles about the question of God. Catholics know that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. Know, do mormons really believe that they are thee seperate people, therefore three seperate gods and therefore a polythesitic religion? I that is what some mormon friends tell me that there are three seperate people that are not one god. Would like to hear from mormons or x-mormons.

LDS like all Christians must right the concept of the oneness of God and the threeness of God.
You talked about “three persons.” The non-LDS Christian orthodox statement of God includes the term “three personages.”
LDS would seldom say that God is “one being,” but non-LDS Christians would.
LDS would almost universally reject the term “polytheist,” but some would embrace the term “henotheist.” I would also reject the term “henotheist.”
Here are some statements from the BOM that point to the oneness of God. All of these are from 3 Nephi and are collected by Blake Ostler in his excellent essay, “Re-vision-ing the Mormon Concept of Deity” (which was recently taken off the Norte Dame .edu website unfortunately).

As LDS moved away (to the Salt Lake valley) from the Christian persecution they felt they were running from, they also emphasized Christian doctrine in a way that emphasized differences. This emphasis is evident in a distinctiveness of the Godhead expressed over many years. As LDS have begun to interact more positively with some Christians some of this UNDUE emphasis has abated. This is a view I have expressed for about 2 years and was recently expressed in the Joseph Smith Conference at the Library of Conference a couple of months ago.

So some LDS will resolve the above oneness statements with a statement that says, “they are merely one in purpose.” Some LDS will explain our concept of deification in a henotheistic way.

I do not think this is the best read of the LDS scriptures (the largest of which is the Bible) and I believe that slowly the church is moving away from our position of protest to a position in alignment with our scriptures. I along with Ostler and David Paulsen embrace what is called a Social Trinity. With Ostler’s help I define it as below:

  1. Social Trinitarianism LDS: God is one and GOD is three. In a simplistic way the term God refers to one thing when it is attached to one and refers to a different but related thing when attached to three. (much of the below is from Ostler)

a. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct divine persons and one Godhead in virtue of oneness of indwelling unity of presence, glory, and oneness of mind purpose, power and intent. Three wills exist, but the Son and the Holy Ghost freely, perfectly, and always choose to submit their will to the Father’s (the Son and Holy Ghost are subordinate to the Father, but they are fully divine).

b. The Father is the fount of divinity. The Son and the Holy Ghost exist, but through the indwelling love of the Father are divine. Also, part of divinity is the love of the Father for the Son and Holy Ghost (and of course their love of Him and eachother). Divinity is expressed through the relation of the three, thus one divinity exists.

c. The unity of the divine persons falls short of identity, but is much more intimate than merely belonging to the same class. There are distinct divine persons, but hardly separated or independent divine persons.

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Anyway, this is what I believe. I suggest that henotheistic or polytheistic LDS could do well to evaluate the oneness scriptures in the Bible and BOM. But, to be a LDS is to embrace your LDS brother’s and sister’s even when they may have some differences of thoughts. Make no mistake there is a spectrum of Catholic (and by this I mean truly orthodox Catholic) beliefs, but the spectrum I believe is much larger in the CoJCoLDS.

Charity, TOm

[quote=alterserver_07]Okay, I have got in heated battles about the question of God. Catholics know that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. Know, do mormons really believe that they are thee seperate people, therefore three seperate gods and therefore a polythesitic religion? I that is what some mormon friends tell me that there are three seperate people that are not one god. Would like to hear from mormons or x-mormons.
[/quote]

Back up a little.
Catholics believe God is one nature (answers the question ‘WHAT is God?’)
We Catholics believe that God is three persons (answers the question ‘WHO is God?’)
One God, Three Persons.
rosary-center.org/ll47n3.htm
catholic.com/thisrock/2003/0312clas.asp

Mormons, as a consequence of their doctrine of eternal progression believe in (but do not worship) countless gods/Gods.
utlm.org/navtopicalindex.htm

As one who maitained his Trinitarian belief while a mormon for nine years, I can agree with TOm (Hi TOm, didn’t realize you hung out here too), that there is sufficient room in the LDS church to believe what you want in this, and quite frankly many, matters; it is also safe to point out that most(as in the majority) LDS are happily polytheistic, and are not discouraged from being so. Many will object to the title of “polytheist”, but that is because they don’t really consider that the mere unity of “purpose” (rather than substance) to disqualify them from the title of “monotheist”, which they know to be the correct one.

The great weakness of TOm’s (and my own back in the day, we both had lively discourses on ZLMB trying to defend our monotheism to antimormons and mormons alike) position in rejecting mormon polytheism is that the LDS church’s main claim to the Christian faith is in restoring those “plain and precious” things hidden or destroyed by the centuries of theologians voting on doctrine (like the Trinity) instead of revealing it through a leader-prophet. And quite simply, the early LDS “fathers”, like JS and BY, and all the way up to (but stopping at “I don’t know”) Hinkley, have unequivocably asserted the plurality of gods, with the monotheistic doctrine of the BoM being ignored or reinterpreted beyond monotheistic bounds (most commonly by asserting that such passages refer only to the Father, or only to the Son).

If the sources TOm cites manage to convince Salt Lake that God is indeed one, then they have to turn their backs on their claims that the prophets were really relaying God’s message, making their prophets no more sure about God than the Pope, Calvin, Wesley, or the Archbishop of Canterbury. They will have to replace angels with burning swords delivering unmistakable and unequivocal messages (see D&C) with the warm-fuzzies that the rest of the LDS membership has to rely on.

And, as DeFide correctly pointed out, the general conception that LDS have regarding their own deification, is severely challenged by a monotheistic approach, as polytheism is a natural result of the mormon deification doctrine. Though, for those like TOm and myself, it is only the “common” vision of diefication that needs adjustment to refute that “problem”; but it requires the redefinition of the mormon idea of diefication.

I suspect that the polytheism, and the rest of the “objectionable” doctrines of the church will completely die out once the converts are actually running the show, instead of the hereditary Utah-Pioneer mormons. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that “modern” LDS don’t know what the church teaches as “official”, whereas the old-timer mormons from before 1970 knew exactly what they belived, and what the church taught. As the majority of converts are from Christian faiths, it is only a matter of time before the LDS church is de-converted from within. Now, if they actually produced another JS or BY, then they may avoid such a fate, but I honestly cannot say I am hoping for that. :smiley:

Part of the problem is, that such questions are matters of “deep doctrine”, and therefore are discouraged from discussion or exploration. And, I make the model case for them; exploration of “deep” doctrine leads you away from the Church, so just be a good little mormon and follow the breatheren, trust them, otherwise you’ll end up like that apostate Rumph who led his whole family away from the church and into eternal darkness… The other part is the church leadership’s absolute refusal to actually define doctrine (the modern leadership, of course; according to BY, everything he said was scripture, including the JoD).

So, again, in short; the LDS church teaches and believes in a polytheistic godhead, though there is enough wiggle room in the modern church for a minority (but surely growing!) membership to support a monotheistic veiwpoint.

Caritas numquam excidit

There is no catechism or creed in Mormonism? Where does one go for the authoritive and final answer?

As some will assert, only the four standard works (the Bible, BoM, D&C, and PoGP) are “official” doctrine. However, this claim is against even the most basic observance of members’ beliefs, as well as being contradicting.

The bible, or any of their standard works, cannot interpret themselves. One of the big “comforts” in having a prophet leading the church is that contention over doctrine is avoided, unlike in the protestant churches; however, whenever the prophet says something that doesn’t jive with their position, then it is just the prophet’s speculation as a man, and can be politely ignored. Some (certainly not all) go so far to insist that unless the prophet actually says “Thus sayeth the Lord…” when making their statement, then it is just his opinion, not revelation.

As someone else pointed out, not many mormons utilize this argument, simply because it is so weak within the practice of the lds church.

It also is problematical when prophets do insist that what they said was revelation, or “as good as scripture”, and the church ignores it. Such is the case for much of BY’s contribution to the faith. His impact on the church’s belief’s are profound, and impossible to eradicate, but nothing he has ever produced has been placed into the standard works, so “officially” all of his teachings are not official; despite his use of his office to make his pronouncements as a prophet, not a man.

However, there is disagreement on this issue. Some mormons I know veiw all proclamations from church officials during official forums, such as the semi-annual conferences, as being as binding as the standard works, for it is through this “continuing revelation” that the church provides the interpretation of the standard works that a catechism serves in the RCC.

Some feel that anything that is published directly by the LDS church, such as teachers manuals, are “official” sources of doctrine, which again makes logical sense to everyone but the apologists; after all, this is what the church is telling the teachers to teach the members, if this isn’t official, what is? If it is not official, then why are they telling the teachers to teach it? We aren’t talking privately published books distributed by Deseret Books, but manuals authored, printed, and distributed by the church.

But, still, apologists will sometimes still insist that only the four standard works are the only official source of doctrine, and all else is simply speculation. In this case, they have the same position and certitude as every sola scriptura denomination out there, which in the final analysis, is none. This is why the speculating prophet is used so frequently in selling the church, because he, at skin level, mitigates and possibly eliminates this weakness.

BTW, to more succinctly answer your question;

the closest thing mormons have to a creed is the Articles of Faith. However, unlike a true creed, it does not actually define anything. examine particularly Article I, as it is the least contentious, but also least informative article in the set.

There is also a more detailed set of beliefs set out by JS in the D&C, that I used as somewhat a statement of beliefs (up to a point), but I cannot say that have ever heard of any other mormon citing it in explaining their faith. It is D&C 20: 17-24 (there was more, but I didn’t use it myself).

Caritas numquam excidit

BJRumph,

First, I do not know who you are from ZLMB. My best guess actually is Tundramom, but that does not quite fit since she was never a believing Mormon while on ZLMB.

Next, you exhibit an awareness of LDS apologetics which is a good thing if one wishes to engage in these discussions. I suppose I should consider it good that you hint at the more strong LDS arguments before you explain why you do not advocate that the CoJCoLDS be addressed from these more strong positions. At least you let others know that there are stronger positions that are not so easily toppled.

But make no mistake, the Catholic Church has many little old lady who effectively WORSHIPS Mary or the Saints. Those who in word and deed betray the dulia, hyper-dulia and latria distinctions.

There are Catholics who have no concept of Newman’s Development of Christian Doctrine, but instead believe that the church stepped out of the box as it is today.

There are Catholics who have no concept of the development of the Papacy.

There are Catholics who have no concept of the words said by beautified Saints that deny modern Catholic dogma.

These things are real and they require responses and yet the majority of Catholics are content to pray to Saints and believe that the church is as it has always been. I suggest to you that if you hold the Catholic Church to the standard of the “most basic observance of members’ beliefs” you will have an untenable church that is so internally contradictive that it could not be true.

This is why it is important to compare best to best. The best understanding of the Catholic Church is that understanding created by folks like Newman. The best understanding of the CoJCoLDS is not had by the querying of a little old lady.

If I show that Newman’s development was a fundamental shift in the way Catholics thought of the gospel, and that his development was not in alignment with his characteristics of a true development, then that is something to discuss (I do not claim to be able to do this and am currently focusing elsewhere, there is plenty of reason to believe that I could not do this). But if I demand that the Maxim of St. Vincent de Lerins (as it was almost universally embrace and as it is currently commonly embraced) shows that the Catholic Church is false based on this or that development and end without acknowledging Newman’s work I am judging Catholicism based upon a inferior reading of its doctrines.

There is a place to acknowledge that the non-scholarly Catholic and the non-scholarly LDS believe somewhat differently than do the scholarly variants, but I do not think it is too damning a blow to either religion. AND I believe it is a blow that is of comparative force when dealt to either or our religions.

I will deal a little more specifically with your points in my next post if I get a chance, but I am suggesting that your method (while superior to the methods of those who have no concept of LDS apologetics) is unlikely to produce the most thorough examination of the merits of our belief structures. In addition to this, I would suggest that LDS who choose to engage a particular issue should be given deference when it comes to defining what LDS must/should believe. You may have been a great apologist, you may be very knowledgeable, but you speak from a position that if the CoJCoLDS is God’s church CANNOT hope to demonstrate this as a fact. To place preference upon your read of your former Church is to seal a conclusion thorough ones methodology.

Charity, TOm

[quote=BJRumph] but that is because they don’t really consider that the mere unity of “purpose” (rather than substance) to disqualify them from the title of “monotheist”, which they know to be the correct one.
[/quote]

Emerging from Nicea unity of substance, Homoousian was not what it is today. LDS can happily embrace the idea of the Trinity being Homoousian as it was understood by the majority of Bishops at Nicea.

Going to what “unity of substance” and one beingness has come to mean, as I have suggested I would generally not say that the Godhead is one being, but since you cannot define strictly what beingness and personness is, I could define beingness such that LDS can embrace a single being in the God head. While most non-Trinitarians think the Trinity is modalism, what is obvious to those who understand the Trinity is that “being” and “personage” do not have simple obvious definitions.

[quote=BJRumph] And quite simply, the early LDS “fathers”, like JS and BY, and all the way up to (but stopping at “I don’t know”) Hinkley, have unequivocably asserted the plurality of gods, with the monotheistic doctrine of the BoM being ignored or reinterpreted beyond monotheistic bounds (most commonly by asserting that such passages refer only to the Father, or only to the Son).
[/quote]

I believe LDS are less bound by our “fathers” than are Catholics, and you should know that the ECFs used terms like “gods,” and “second god.” As I have suggested, the move away from the persecutors was more than just a physical move. As a result ideas were emphasized in ways intentionally creating distance from the thoughts and creeds of the persecutors. Our closest for of sealing through the chrasm of infallibility is the acceptance by common consent. This is were we get the binding doctrine resides in the 4 standard works. If you choose to not be bound by St. Justin Martyr’s and St. Clement of Rome (a Pope) statements in opposition to creation ex nihilo, do you not think LDS should be allowed to explain what is binding and what is not.

[quote=BJRumph] Prophets no more sure about God than the Pope, Calvin, Wesley, or the Archbishop of Canterbury.
[/quote]

Oh I do not think so. The claim that scripture can be revealed and accepted by common consent will place the heavens far more open than anything claimed by the Pope or others. Also the Orthopraxy associated with following God’s appointed leader and sustaining him is also beyond what is done with respect to the Vicar of Christ.

[quote=BJRumph] I suspect that the polytheism, and the rest of the “objectionable” doctrines of the church will completely die out once the converts are actually running the show, instead of the hereditary Utah-Pioneer mormons. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that “modern” LDS don’t know what the church teaches as “official”, whereas the old-timer mormons from before 1970 knew exactly what they belived, and what the church taught.
[/quote]

I think there will be points were LDS will continue to be different. My favorite is Eternal Intelligences. I think it is some of the old timers that do not know of the way the D&C, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Harold B. Lee defined what is “binding” doctrine. However in my ward the Sunday School teacher explained how scripture accepted by common consent is placed above words that may or may not be scripture be they spoken by Bishops or Prophets. There is some developments occurring and I will not deny this, but I do not see them as significantly more radical than developments that have occurred in the Catholic Church AND I see the CoJCoLDS as far more free to develop.

Charity, TOm

[quote=TOmNossor]If you choose to not be bound by St. Justin Martyr’s and St. Clement of Rome (a Pope) statements in opposition to creation ex nihilo, do you not think LDS should be allowed to explain what is binding and what is not.
[/quote]

What did St. Clement have to say about it? This is new to me.

Tom, I have had missionaries laugh in my face when I tell them that Christian belief is as it is regarding the nature of God. (They said, “so God is a good ventriloquist using Jesus as the puppet”) Three in one, One God, creator of all things, no Gods before or after God. That within God there has always been a relationship of Love. We witness this love through God the Eternal Son.

“Here are some statements from the BOM that point to the oneness of God”

The Book of Mormon speaks of One God. But I know in my heart that it was a stepping stone to take one away from God. Did these beliefs not then change through the short years? Regarding the Nature of God? Has your current Prophet not spoken on these matters directly? Is the LDS official website honest in this matter for those who inquire about God?

God Bless Tom

TOm:

1.) Bjiggity
2.) I do not now, nor have ever, claim to be a great, or even good, apologist. I use what I got; sometimes it is sufficient, sometime it is not.
3.) I am more interested in helping questions get answered than in attacking or defending the LDS faith. It is a matter of circumstance that the questions that are being asked here are not being really adressed in a better light, as many of the LDS who have been “answering” the questions posed, are obscuring reality, not bringing it out in the open. If I didn’t have to explain or undo the obfuscations, I think I could be bit more charitable in my posts; and is the reason I am trying to limit my time spent here.

:thumbsup:

Caritas numquam excidit

And you truly see no danger in this concept of common consent? What can happen with common consent? I’m not saying you are a Nazi, I am not saying you are a member of the KKK, I am not saying you have anything to do with Jonestown. But these are all examples of action by common consent. What is your safety net for common consent or do you have one?

Thanks Chris-WA for getting to that.

It is not even that the prophets claim divine “insiration”, as does not the RCC consider the ECF to have also been inspired by the Holy Spirit to guide the Church; or as the Pope is when speaking infallibly?

No, what the LDS prophets claim is full blown visionary revelation , not just inspiriation. If you reject that the LDS prophets claim any revelation as is being suggested, and rely only on inspiration, then you must throw out 3 of the 4 standard works of the LDS church. The whole selling point, for JS, to the church was that it offered unmistakeable revelation to the truth of the Gospel, and not the reliance of theological counsels (of which reliance in LDS thought is one of the primary causes of the confusion in christendom, not to mention sets the “traditions of man” before the word of God).

Further, the ECFs recognized that what they had was their , inspired to be sure, opinions on the Truth, and taught accordingly. The LDSFs however, laid claim on direct revelation as to a particular subject (the D&C shows a few examples of people going to JS and asking questions, to which JS provides an OT style revelation from God, not his “inspired opinion”.), leaving no real room for speculation in regards to that particular issue.If you deny this claim of the LDSFs (through their action and teaching, if not through proclamation), then you must deny their revelations.

The idea that the ECFs = LDSFs leads to the rejection of the LDS truth claims. Only by aknowledging that the LDSFs claims are not equal to the ECFs can the LDS position hold. But if it does, then why does the church, whose most primal duty to its members is correct teaching of its own dogma, allow so many of its members to teach and believe “false” doctrines, such as polytheism, spirit children, or working out our own salvation that we may attain diefication?

If these beliefs are held by the common mormon, and the church does nothing but encourage these beliefs, even if they are not “true” according to the church, as the ECF=LDSF premise suggests, then the church is knowingly teaching and allowing false doctrine (within the scope of its own dogma, how this relates to other’s truth claims is unimportant here), and therefore false by its own definitions.

So, to compare the ECFs with the LDSFs, in an effort to deny an utterance of the latter as being mere opinion and not binding on the church because the ECFs were not necessarily binding on the Church, is comparing apples and oranges, and falicious. How the ecfs are defined by the RCC (and how they defined themselves) is intrinsically and substantially different than how the LDSFs are defined by the CoJCoLDS, and especially how they defined themselves. To continue to do so fully undermines the premise of the LDS faith to a mortal degree.

I challenge anyone who thinks that JS only believed he was “inspired” to read his “inspirations” that are recorded in the D&C (binding doctrine); if you have gotten past his “translations” of the BoM and Abraham papyri through “inspiration” rather than through the knowledge of man, especially in JS’s claim that the BoM is the most correct book on earth (in whatever sense suits your fancy). GBH may only be “inspired”, but JS and BY would certainly reject such a notion of the prophet’s calling and very life blood, even though he continues their sucession.

[quote=BJRumph]Thanks Chris-WA for getting to that.

It is not even that the prophets claim divine “insiration”, as does not the RCC consider the ECF to have also been inspired by the Holy Spirit to guide the Church; or as the Pope is when speaking infallibly?

No, what the LDS prophets claim is full blown visionary revelation , not just inspiriation. If you reject that the LDS prophets claim any revelation as is being suggested, and rely only on inspiration, then you must throw out 3 of the 4 standard works of the LDS church. The whole selling point, for JS, to the church was that it offered unmistakeable revelation to the truth of the Gospel, and not the reliance of theological counsels (of which reliance in LDS thought is one of the primary causes of the confusion in christendom, not to mention sets the “traditions of man” before the word of God).

Further, the ECFs recognized that what they had was their , inspired to be sure, opinions on the Truth, and taught accordingly. The LDSFs however, laid claim on direct revelation as to a particular subject (the D&C shows a few examples of people going to JS and asking questions, to which JS provides an OT style revelation from God, not his “inspired opinion”.), leaving no real room for speculation in regards to that particular issue.If you deny this claim of the LDSFs (through their action and teaching, if not through proclamation), then you must deny their revelations.

The idea that the ECFs = LDSFs leads to the rejection of the LDS truth claims. Only by aknowledging that the LDSFs claims are not equal to the ECFs can the LDS position hold. But if it does, then why does the church, whose most primal duty to its members is correct teaching of its own dogma, allow so many of its members to teach and believe “false” doctrines, such as polytheism, spirit children, or working out our own salvation that we may attain diefication?

If these beliefs are held by the common mormon, and the church does nothing but encourage these beliefs, even if they are not “true” according to the church, as the ECF=LDSF premise suggests, then the church is knowingly teaching and allowing false doctrine (within the scope of its own dogma, how this relates to other’s truth claims is unimportant here), and therefore false by its own definitions.

So, to compare the ECFs with the LDSFs, in an effort to deny an utterance of the latter as being mere opinion and not binding on the church because the ECFs were not necessarily binding on the Church, is comparing apples and oranges, and falicious. How the ecfs are defined by the RCC (and how they defined themselves) is intrinsically and substantially different than how the LDSFs are defined by the CoJCoLDS, and especially how they defined themselves. To continue to do so fully undermines the premise of the LDS faith to a mortal degree.

I challenge anyone who thinks that JS only believed he was “inspired” to read his “inspirations” that are recorded in the D&C (binding doctrine); if you have gotten past his “translations” of the BoM and Abraham papyri through “inspiration” rather than through the knowledge of man, especially in JS’s claim that the BoM is the most correct book on earth (in whatever sense suits your fancy). GBH may only be “inspired”, but JS and BY would certainly reject such a notion of the prophet’s calling and very life blood, even though he continues their sucession.
[/quote]

Some of the LDS posters on these threads have tried to minimize certain teachings of JS and BY that are no longer taught or emphasized. They have also claimed that the only binding teachings in their religion are what is contained within the 4 standard works. I don’t agree with this notion. Those works must be authoritively interpreted by the prophets, and that’s exactly what the prophets were doing when they expounded on certain items from those works. To reject their teachings by callling them opinion opens a huge can of worms, and in my opinion, severely calls into question their authenticity as prophets. You can’t have it both ways. If these men are true prophets chosen by God then their teachings much be accepted in their entirety. If not, then they are not true prophets. I see way too much leeway being afforded to the early LDS prophets in terms of disregarding whatever teaching doens’t conform to current LDS thought.

[quote=BJRumph]TOm:
[/quote]

1.) Bjiggity

2.) I do not now, nor have ever, claim to be a great, or even good, apologist. I use what I got; sometimes it is sufficient, sometime it is not.

3.) I am more interested in helping questions get answered than in attacking or defending the LDS faith. It is a matter of circumstance that the questions that are being asked here are not being really adressed in a better light, as many of the LDS who have been “answering” the questions posed, are obscuring reality, not bringing it out in the open. If I didn’t have to explain or undo the obfuscations, I think I could be bit more charitable in my posts; and is the reason I am trying to limit my time spent here.

I know you now. If I remember correctly during your time at ZLMB you were never a TBM. I believe I may even have suggested to you (I know I have suggested to some) that some amount of non-mainstream beliefs is acceptable. While I consider myself a TBM and I doubt I will be leaving the church, I commend you on the path you choose. Were I to ever cease to be a LDS, I would be a Catholic.

“Obfuscation!” I guess you are suggesting that when I express my beliefs while acknowledging what I consider to be less correct ways of defining LDS beliefs I am obfuscating. You are entitled to your opinion.

Charity, TOm

Spot on there Chris;

I’d also like to add for those who try to make it seem as though we are insisting on the ridiculous notion that “every word” spoken by JS or any of the LDS prophets must be doctrinal; it isn’t as though anyone is using JS’s or BY’s private journals or private conversations to establish these spurious inspirations; these are things that were taught from the pulpit. Far more “official” in regards to the doctrine of a church than a private letter from one ECF to another.

No one is going to make such a claim. What is being questioned, however, is the point of having a prophet, with the assurity that LDS prophets claim for themselves, who is going to use his position in the church to declare, in all effect, a heresy? How is that “more sure a foundation” that what any other church provides? And yet, this is what is being claimed by the current lds church when it dismisses those teachings of the prophets that they perceive as embarassing.

And, for an anticipated spin on this, is it really likely that God will have given JS a direct revelation to build a temple to Him, and then only “inspire” JS as to the content, neglecting to point out to an over-credulous JS that the Masonic ritual really does not retain anything from the original Jerusalem Temple cult, despite the “common knowledge” of the day, or JS’s belief that the masonic ritual was a corrupted version of the JT rituals? Given the historical records regarding God’s directions about His temple, I think it highly unlikely that He would do so now, “at the restoration of all things”, especially if He is the same today as He was yesterday. “Thou Shalt Build Me A Temple, but you must rely on your own understanding and guesswork to find out what must be done in My Temple!” :rolleyes:

So, the coming argument that “sometimes a prophet receives Revelation, and the rest of the time it is only Inspiration” causes its own problems within the church. A second example that refutes a similar spin (that God only “reveals” things essential to our salvation, or critical to the church, and uses inspiration for the non-essentials) is to look through the D&C itself. There, you will find a JS who uses “revelation” for a plethora of pointless issues that have no significance outside the immediate circumstance in which they were given.

Another interesting case of how the church takes on doctrines at the behedst of the prophet, despite no common approval, is the messy buisness of the introduction of polygamy into the church. Here, from the “facts” provided by the church, you have a doctrine introduced by the prophet into the membership of the church secretly, and therefore without the church’s common consent. It was not until the Utah era that the revelation was produced, publicly, for inclusion into the canon, after the practice had been in effect for years. And despite the prior public proclamations of the various leadership quorums that denied, in no uncertain terms, that polygamy was not being practiced, and that reports of such are just the lies of the scoundrels trying to take down the church, signed by many who, at that date, were themselves polygamists.

So, is it really possible to accept the proposed fact that the church really practices or promulgates the notion that only the four standard works are the only “official” and binding doctrine of the church? I think it obvious that the history of the church says otherwise. If not, consider this:

If true, the LDS Temple ordinances are the most powerful religious ordinances known to man (no exaggeration); why then did God leave it to JS to speculate about their content, instead of giving him, and others, the necessary direct revelation, regarding them? Before you say they did, keep in mind your own premise that if it is not in the SW, then it is only speculation. Either there is binding doctrine outside the SW, such as the teachings in the temple; or there is not, in which case the temple is just another “false” or “speculative” doctrine that is directly promoted by the lds church in spite of its own canon. Which do you preferr? Binding revelation that is not canon; or heretical temple practices.

Oops, that was a long one. Sorry.

Heh. Hi TOm.

Hmm, I think that the only thing that I would accuse you of , from what I have seen here, is the presentation of your own particular beliefs as being more mainstream-lds than is really true. We both know what is taught by the church (weather we agree it is correct or not) is not the monotheism we both espouse.

As I mentioned to others, of the lds apologists who I have seen actually post in this board, you are the only actual threat. The reason is you hold beliefs that are not held by the common lds membership, and therefore the actualities of the differences between LDS and RCC theology are not as apparent in your posts than in most.

Your veiw of the lds church is certainly the most articulate of those I have ever encountered (both on the 'net,and in person), but it does not escape me that many of the conclusions you draw, no matter how appealing or reasonable, are not conclusions that would be considered orthodox from an lds standpoint.

We both wholly agree that the LDS religion, in effect, allows a great deal of divergence in personal belief; I believe I have already mentioned my own retention of Trinitarian beliefs, despite what I delt with every sunday. In fact, I think it fully possible for a RCCer to hold to every one of their own catholic beliefs, while juggleing the teachings of the LDS church (should they be so inclined to such flexibility, though mormon and RCC alike will argue against the “true” belifs of such a person).

However, that “flexibility” is not useful when trying to figure out what the lds church actually teaches on anything. That flexibility that we both use(d) to maintain our faith in the LDS template does not support the claims to definitive Truth that are made by the church. That we can exist in the church, and be more or less accepted as non-heretics, shows that the church is not capable of presenting or teaching a definitive truth. Sure, it is chalk full of philosophical truths, but we don’t need a prophet or continuing revelation for that. Its great when defending the faith, since you can find a way to deny any “problematical” doctrine you need. I’d rather be able to authoritatively affirm what is taught as true, not squirm past it or hide it as anything but the truth.

What is the point of restoring the authority to proclaim The Faith, if those with the authority refuse to proclaim it, letting the lay believe what they want?

Frankly, I think that I was as much a TBM as you, or even Lord Kerry, are; neither of us really fit that description, especially with* real* TBMs like Pahoran around :slight_smile: Sure, I had no problem with seeing the faults of the church then, as neither do you really do; you would have no need for such a practiced defence of your personal beliefs if they actually squared with what the church teaches, and you are as ready to point out the flaw in “some” lds’ beliefs which are unecessarily flawed in your opinion.

But, that is just my opinion. And, if any of that would be considered obfuscation, than I guess you would have to be included in that, though it was not particularly aimed at you, but rather those here who blatantly deny even the most basic and obvious LDS doctrines.

Neither one of us disagrees, except in if it is true, on the lds teaching regarding diefication of man; but there were others who suggested that the simple doctrine was not part of the lds teaching (as an example, it was denied by a tbm that God was a deified man on another thread; surely you do not agree that the church does not teach that). That I consider deliberate obfuscation of the truth. We don’t have to agree as to how or if men will be deified, but that it is a teaching of the lds church should be without need of question.

Anyway, apologetics is supposed to be about defending/arguing the merits of the teachings of your faith; not arguing the existence of the teachings of your faith. Sincere questions about what the lds church teaches/believes are asked, and then they are being told that the church doesn’t actually teach that. Thus, you are the only lds here that I’d actually call an apologist, even if I get a little hot under the collar when others are pulling the latter tactic.

Caritas numquam excidit

Quote from Bjrumph

“Anyway, apologetics is supposed to be about defending/arguing the merits of the teachings of your faith; not arguing the existence of the teachings of your faith. Sincere questions about what the lds church teaches/believes are asked, and then they are being told that the church doesn’t actually teach that. Thus, you are the only lds here that I’d actually call an apologist, even if I get a little hot under the collar when others are pulling the latter tactic.”

You know, this is really a good point. Apologetics is about the merits of the teachings, not about what are the teachings. That is an excellent point. That is what I was trying to convey in my post to Tom Nosser Apologetics. what I was trying to show were the merits of the teachings of my Church- what it can cause people to do. go out and make friends with hostile forces. But one of the problems I find here on this forum, is that depending on whether it is Tom, B.J., Casen, or whoever, no one agrees on what the LDS actually teach. Very frustrating. But they are willing to engage in hours of argument, claiming confusion, for instance in B.J.'s case , about whether we worship the Virgin Mary, when she has been told quite clearly, no. Or look it up in the Catechism. It’s almost as if since they are not sure what LDS teach, they are equally unsure as to the truthfulness of other churches stating clearly what they believe. So following you, can some merits to the LDS teachings be shown? Start maybe with the easiest to understand- the health code.

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