[quote="Porknpie, post:10, topic:306856"]
Tom, welcome....sounds like you are a catholic.com revert?
Do I understand then in LDS theology:
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit existed before the creation of the Universe?
And that they created the Universe together?
And that they have always existed and they themselves were never created?
If true above, does LDS understand this from the bible alone, the BoA alone or both together?
In your answer above you state "I believe". Are you really saying "LDS believe" or is it your personal belief?
Lots of questions here.
Concerning the universe. I believe that God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) created the universe as we know it from eternal matter and eternal intelligence. We have no experience or contact with this eternal material as mere humans. That being said, eternal intelligences and eternal matter had "existence" "when" God created the universe. So one could properly say that there is a sense in which the universe outside of God is eternal in Mormon thought and the universe outside of God did not exist in any way in Catholic thought.
I offer the above because there are three senses of universe that are appropriate here.
1. All that exists, including God. In this case the universe is eternal because God is eternal and God didn't create God He just exists.
2. All that exists, not including God. In this case the universe in Catholic thought is created ex nihilo by God, but in LDS thought it is "organized" in the act of divine creation.
3. All that we as humans perceive with our senses and instruments and .... In this case God created our universe in both Catholic and LDS thought.
Source of LDS theology?
This is huge question. We have four standard works accepted as scripture not just the Bible.
And we have teachings of past and current leaders.
It is clear that the standard works are at the top (though they are not a systematic theology). It is clear that the current teachings of the general authorities are above the past teachings. Beyond this there has never been a document like the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).
It is my opinion that orthodoxy (right theological thinking in the LDS paradigm) is not of great value in the LDS paradigm.
You are not Catholic if you reject Catholic dogma. There is very little if anything similar to this in LDS thought and practice.
In my answer I tried to present some of the spectrum of thought within the CoJCoLDS, but I focused on my thought. I am certainly not alone in my theological positions. I would say among the 2-3 thousand LDS folks who have read Ostler a significant percentage agree with him about as much as I do (which is not completely).
I really do not know what to tell you. Our critics sometimes effectively state that attacking LDS theology is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Assuming your point is to learn and not attack, there is a great deal that can be embraces/rejected/..., but I doubt you would come to believe exactly as I do or as someone else does. Not having a list of dogmas and a CCC leaves a great deal of fluidity in our thought.
And thank you for the welcome!!!