Mormons: Nature of God(s)


#1

Thanks to Alma147 who suggested I get this reference, Encyclopedia of Mormonism. It is fascinating reading. Yesterday, I read a Doctrinal Exposition of the First Presidency issued in 1909 by President Joseph F. Smith and his two counselors, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund. I find it interesting in view of certain Mormon backtracking in this forum away from the Mormon teaching about eternal progression. I seem to recall certain Mormon visitors claiming, for instance, that the King Follet discourse of J. Smith can’t necessarily be taken as doctrinal teaching.

Then, yesterday, I found this Doctrinal Exposition from 1909. After meandering around for several hundred words using mostly “modern scripture” to buttress the case, the Exposition ends with the following statement:

““The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Diety. God Himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme.””

Also:

**"“Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.”" **

The second paragraph is interesting in view of recent fuzzy statements by Alma147 to the effect that the idea of celestial parentage is “speculative.”

Any comments from Mormons?


#2

The Mormon system deals with this sort of thing in a number of ways:

1.They’re going to say that a “prophet” is only teaching infallible doctrine when speaking as a “prophet.” When offering their own opinions, regardless of how much it might sound like teaching, they are completely fallible. Also, there’s no exact method for a “prophet” to speak as a “prophet” in Mormonism, so anything any “prophet” has ever said is subject to being tossed to suit the whim of the day.

2.Living “prophets” override dead ones automatically. This is why Brigham Young could teach his “Adam-God doctrine” and later “prophets” were able to throw it out when it became egg on the face.

The Mormons hate actually having a teaching that can’t be disregarded. Understandable when you’re religion is based on a 19th century popular culture fad (the Indians as “lost tribes of Israel”). Mormon apologitics is based on an ability to be able to disregard anything when it becomes too illogical or untenable.


#3

From what I’ve seen over the past few months here, I agree. However, this Doctrinal Exposition from 1909, written and published by the First Presidency which consists of the Prophet and his two counselors, entitled “The Origin of Man”, is pretty clear. Not only that, but it parallels and elaborates what J. Smith Jr. said in the famous King Follet discourse a half-century earlier. I’m sure it also parallels and elaborates thought that occured among Mormon thinkers during the passage of that half-century.

I’m also sure it explains exactly what True Believing Mormons believe about God and Man today. Of course, this isn’t something Mormons like to discuss in mixed company, which would explain their reluctance to discuss it in these pages. Yet, there it is, in black and white. Alma147 told me a few days ago that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism is “about as authoritative as it gets” with regard to true Mormon teachings. It was done by the scholars at BYU. It includes this Doctrinal Exposition from 1909 over the signatures of the First Presidency.

I’m gonna remember this the next time a Mormon arrives here claiming that the man-becomes-god teaching is “speculative.”


#4

You’re quite right, to most people this would seem like a black letter Mormon teaching. As we’re used to the idea of dogma, or at the very least doctrines with very little wiggle room. No such creature in Mormonism. This is black letter teaching, so is Snow’s (another “prophet”) little couplet, “As man now is, God once was. As God is now man can become.” Bruce R. McConkie also forwards this notion in his “Mormon Doctrine” book. A book which is considered very authoritive by “chapel Mormons” and you’ll often find it used in Mormon sacrament meeting talks, Sunday school lessons, and in priesthood/relief society. “Internet Mormonism,” or apologitic Mormonism, quickly dismiss this book as lacking. Though mainly because McConkie writes some things regarding the conception of Jesus that are positively blasphemous.

You’ll find this is a common theme in Mormon apologitics. Another good example is the rise of the “Limited Geography Theory.” Mormon religious authorities have historically maintained that the Nephite and Lamanite cultures existed across North and South America and to say otherwise was to discount the Book of Mormon. By in large they’re right in this assertation, you really can’t say your understanding of the BoM is literal while believing the LGT. You’ll also find that chapel Mormons still old the belief that indeed the Nephites and Lamanites fully occupied North and South America. Archeologically this is rubbish, and Mormon apologists know it. As such the new trend is simply to abandon everything Mormonism has historically taught on the subject and claim the events of the BoM actually took place on a very limited land area in central America.

Now it’s not exactly fair to blame, per se, modern Mormon apologists for this aspect of Mormonism. Development of new unheard of doctrine and abandonment of old doctrines as replaced is nothing new to Mormonism. It begins with Joseph Smith himself. The King Follet discourses do begin a radical departure from the religion Mormonism was in the early phase. Mormonism as it began was basically just another prophet based restorationist evangelical protestant sect, quite common in the 19th century. Modern evangelicals are the children of this restorationist theology. The only striking difference would be that Smith doctrinized the pop culture fad that Indians were really “lost tribes of Israel” and had his inspired account of this fact (the BoM). The wild aspects of Mormonism come in as Smith learns more and more from Sidney Rigdon. A man with some theological education and knowledge of various anicent heretical beliefs like Gnosticism. Smith becomes quite the libertine with the introduction of polygamy (mind you Mormonism follows none of the OT rules for polygamy) and theologically just gets more wild from there. The King Follet discourses are really just a beginning for Smith, but he is killed before he can run with his new teachings. Of course Brigham Young picks up where Smith left off with new doctrines of his own. For example, Smith ordains Elijah Able (a free black man) into the Mormon priesthood. Young introduces everything from the systematic Mormon racism to the notion that Adam was really God and Eve a goddess wife that came down to earth to get things started. These things are matters of some embarassment to modern Mormons and throughly discounted, even though taught as revelation and unchanging “gospel prinicipals.”

The reality is you can’t nail down Mormonism because the Mormon “prophet” system gives unlimited authority to one guy to say that God spoke to him and thus empowers him to make any change he wishes to Mormonism. Since anything in Mormonism is subject to change Mormon apologists are, of course, going to feel free to disregard any problem past Mormon teaching creates by saying it was just “speculation.” Since the only thing Mormonism actually requires one to accept as authoritive is the “prophet” and a new “prophet” always overrides past ones Mormonism can adapt in any way that works for it. As illogical and silly as this approach to religion is, it does make it possible for Mormons to accept or reject anything. After all the span of unquestionable authority lasts only as long as one “prophet” is alive. As soon as he dies the new one is free to clear up any problems created by the last ones, or other past “prophets” by declaring new revelation. The wild whacky world of Mormonism…


#5

Hi
Are you a Mormon; I never met a Mormon?
If you are a Mormon then I would like to ask you a litlle quetions.
Is MormonGod the same, with same attributes as the JWsGod or CatholicGod, please inform from some authoritative Mormon source?
If you are not a Mormon then I would request any Mormon on this forum to answer.
This is just for comparative study of the Christian faiths/denominations/religions. Please don’t mind.
Thanks
I am an Ahmadi – a peaceful faith in Islam bridging gaps between faiths/denominations/religions/agnostics


#6

Nailing down ANY Mormon teaching is like nailing Jello to a wall. Everything is subject to revision, ignoring, or plain retconning at any given moment. Both by the people in charge and the average members.

There are plenty of kooks who interpret the doctrines somewhat differently. As long as they tithe, don’t seriously break with the church over major issues, or make it look bad (like the polys) they are generally left alone to pick an choose their favorite interpretation.


#7

If you’ll look at what I said was “speculative” I was referring to “celestial sex” rather than procreation–which I think clearly carry two connotations.

I also email the Doctrinal Exposition to my students when we discuss these matters.

Alma


#8

And this occurred sometime in or before 1844. As such, Smith was quite progressive, especially given the fact that the Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians had already, or were just about, to split over the issue of slavery. Given Brigham Young’s reversal, I’m sure Smith stepped out on a limb in this ordination.

There’s also evidence Smith was ordaining women to the priesthood, too. (I refer you to the PBS series of Mormonism.)


#9

What exactly is a “chapel Mormon?”

and you’ll often find it used in Mormon sacrament meeting talks, Sunday school lessons, and in priesthood/relief society. “Internet Mormonism,” or apologitic Mormonism, quickly dismiss this book as lacking. Though mainly because McConkie writes some things regarding the conception of Jesus that are positively blasphemous.

You apparently aren’t aware of the controversy involved in the first publication of McConkie’s book. Many of the 12 apostles had the same view towards it as “apologetic” Mormons.

You’ll find this is a common theme in Mormon apologitics. Another good example is the rise of the “Limited Geography Theory.” Mormon religious authorities have historically maintained that the Nephite and Lamanite cultures existed across North and South America and to say otherwise was to discount the Book of Mormon. By in large they’re right in this assertation, you really can’t say your understanding of the BoM is literal while believing the LGT.

That is absolutely fascinating! I have always thought I had a literal understanding of the Book of Mormon and I’m pretty certain it teaches a geography significantly smaller than what you’re proposing. Maybe I’m just not seeing what you can see. Could you explain to me how the following passage could indicate the entire North American continent?

Alma 22:32
32 And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.

Do you think they had commuter air?

You’ll also find that chapel Mormons still old the belief that indeed the Nephites and Lamanites fully occupied North and South America.

I think there’s something you’ve missed here CCM08. Do you think it’s possible for a book to tell about a relatively small area of terrain, but allow those participants in that story over the next thousand or so years to have descendants in a wider area? I’m thinking of the descendants of Judah who traveled about as much as from Egypt to ancient Babylon (roughly the same land area a Meso America.) At the end of the Old Testament, they were still confined to about that same area, but now after 2,000 years, we find them in America (both coasts) Europe, Asia and Africa. Why isn’t the same thing possible for pre-Columbian Meso Americans?

Archeologically this is rubbish, and Mormon apologists know it. As such the new trend is simply to abandon everything Mormonism has historically taught on the subject and claim the events of the BoM actually took place on a very limited land area in central America.

I think you’re misinterpreting and combining historical assumptions to manufacture a problem. You’re confounding several related aspects into one and concluding they don’t make sense–and saying Mormon apologists are all dishonest as well. You don’t know me and I dare say you don’t know what I know, and I’d suggest you might approach the subject with a little less aggression.

It begins with Joseph Smith himself. The King Follet discourses do begin a radical departure from the religion Mormonism was in the early phase. Mormonism as it began was basically just another prophet based restorationist evangelical protestant sect, quite common in the 19th century. Modern evangelicals are the children of this restorationist theology. The only striking difference would be that Smith doctrinized the pop culture fad that Indians were really “lost tribes of Israel” and had his inspired account of this fact (the BoM). The wild aspects of Mormonism come in as Smith learns more and more from Sidney Rigdon.

The above paragraph tells me you are pretty much ignorant about these subjects. Do you know that the “lost tribes” are specifically excluded from Book of Mormon people? Do you realize that Mormonism was teaching a corporeal God as early as 1832 (as evidenced by newspaper reports)? Your alleged exposition on Mormonism is appalling.

Alma


#10

CCM08 is mistaken. Elijah Abel was not ordained by Joseph Smith; he was ordained by Zebedee Coltrin.

Alma


#11

Hi
I would request if there is some Mormon here to elaborate the attributes of MormonGod viz-a-viz the ChristianGod for a comparative study.
Thanks
I am an Ahmadi – a peaceful faith in Islam bridging gaps between faiths/denominations/religions/agnostics


#12

Howdy again, Alma. I’m enjoying the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Thanks for turning me on to it.

I gather you’re saying that the type of procreation going on in the Celestial Kingdom is nothing remotely like that that goes on here on Earth between humans. Is that correct?

It seems to me that most humans, when they think of procreation, meaning the reproductive activity that results from the union of male and female, they’re thinking, at least in part, of the sex act.

I’ve been told that the conception of Jesus, according to Mormon teachings, took place when Heavenly Father came to Earth and engaged in sexual intercourse with Mary while she slept. If this is true, or rather, if this is an accurate representation of Mormon teaching, and not speculative, then it follows that Heavenly Father is capable of conducting sexual relations with human beings, same as human beings do with each other. It also suggests that he may be doing the same thing with others in the Celestial Kingdom. Am I out on a limb here?


#13

I’ve actually seen some evidence on this. Of course the person presenting it was a “high Mormon priestess” who also happened to practice the “Wiccan religion” so it might lack creditability. Of course with Joseph Smith a woman’s ordaination could probably be had for the low low price of a quicky she didn’t tell her husband about.


#14

That is correct. However, Smith made no action against it and as slience is consent he obviously didn’t have a problem with the concept.


#15

Yeah, it’s so full of errors that the Mormon church retails it in it’s book stores and allows it’s use in various official church instruction. If they have a problem with it that’s certainly a funny way of demonstrating it.

That is absolutely fascinating! I have always thought I had a literal understanding of the Book of Mormon and I’m pretty certain it teaches a geography significantly smaller than what you’re proposing. Maybe I’m just not seeing what you can see. Could you explain to me how the following passage could indicate the entire North American continent?

Alma 22:32
32 And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.

Do you think they had commuter air?

Either the Lamanites and Nephites occupied all of North and South of America or for some reason they marched thousands of miles to up state New York across very difficult ground to wage their war of extermination.
As for what the passage does or does not includes, who knows? Mormons can’t identify any specific location with Book of Mormon stories. Of course that’s difficult to do when the stories never actually happened…

I think there’s something you’ve missed here CCM08. Do you think it’s possible for a book to tell about a relatively small area of terrain, but allow those participants in that story over the next thousand or so years to have descendants in a wider area? I’m thinking of the descendants of Judah who traveled about as much as from Egypt to ancient Babylon (roughly the same land area a Meso America.) At the end of the Old Testament, they were still confined to about that same area, but now after 2,000 years, we find them in America (both coasts) Europe, Asia and Africa. Why isn’t the same thing possible for pre-Columbian Meso Americans?

Because Iron age Jews from the old world didn’t mutate into stone age people from western Asia. The DNA evidence in the matter is conclusive.

I think you’re misinterpreting and combining historical assumptions to manufacture a problem. You’re confounding several related aspects into one and concluding they don’t make sense–and saying Mormon apologists are all dishonest as well. You don’t know me and I dare say you don’t know what I know, and I’d suggest you might approach the subject with a little less aggression.

Liars don’t get much sympathy from me. Archeology, DNA, and everything we know about pre-Columbian America directly contradict Joseph Smith’s fiction. Trying in desperation to create “reasonable doubt” for it is a dishonest thing to do.

The above paragraph tells me you are pretty much ignorant about these subjects. Do you know that the “lost tribes” are specifically excluded from Book of Mormon people? Do you realize that Mormonism was teaching a corporeal God as early as 1832 (as evidenced by newspaper reports)? Your alleged exposition on Mormonism is appalling.

Alma

The inspiration for Smith’s fiction was the popular culture of the era. Specifically that the American aboriginals were in fact Jews. It’s amazing that such a baseless and illogical belief, no different that the crazy UFO stories of tody, actually turn out to be accurate. Or that Smith happened to create a story remarkably similar to a number of ficitional works of the time. Or that Sidney Rigdon happened to work at the print shop were “Manuscript Found” would just happen to become a major figure in Mormonism. Or the fact that Smith clearly lied about when he started his association with Rigdon.


#16

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