Friday, January 23, 2009

Suggestions?

I would be interested in going into topics the regular readers of this blog might be curious about. I have been trying to focus, as always, on active anti-Mormon issues being kicked around and their doctrinal implications. I will continue that vein if I no one has a specific topic. But I wanted to be sure those who may have issues come up who want a less nuanced or poised response from me have a chance to ask.

Let me know, or point me at issues you would like to have commented upon.

16 comments:

JediMormon said...

I would be interested in your reply to the charge that LDS believe/worship a different Jesus. I've had extensive dealings with anti-Mormons on AOL over the years, and that is one accusation they level that has always puzzled me. Even when I've taken pains to point out to them that there is only ONE Jesus who could have died for our sins and who made the resurrection possible, and that is the Jesus the Bible talks about, they always come back with "but YOUR Jesus..." etc. I've yet to figure out if folks like that are deliberately dense, or just plain close their ears to the simple logic.

Good site, by the way. I check it every few days or so.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Wow, from the last few posts I've read it looks like I've missed out on some exciting moments.

Last Tuesday I did catch about ten minutes of Shawn's show. Shawn must be going through a rough period, his appearance reminds me of Side Show Bob from the Simpson's

I think people like Shawn are his own worse enemy. He is so far out of touch with LDS teachings It's got to be hard for his viewers to believe him. I'm sure he generates a lot of questions from non-member viewers about the church. I for one have had more people in the past few months ask me questions about the church and I think part of it is because of people like Shawn, so I hope he keep up the extremist rhetoric, it’s good for business.

I like what I've read on your blog so far. In fact If it's okay with you I'm going to copy your last two post and put them in my reference file.

Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

Maddog

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I love reading this blog every chance I get. I have a few topics that I would like you to write about. Can a someone enter the Celestial kingdom if they have commited murder? I'm not talking about killing in wars but, murder. Taking someones life in a Bar fight for example.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Thanks for the comments so far. As you may have noticed, I have written on the subject of Mormons having "another Jesus", so thanks for that suggestion. Hopefully that addresses the topic.

As for the idea of a murderer being able to obtain salvation in the celestial kingdom, I must simply answer "Yes, it is possible." Alma 39:6 "For behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yea, I say unto you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness."

I am glad God judges such things, and not me. I know some modern Church leaders have said or implied that forgiveness for a murderer is not possible. Since I have only read such statements and not had a chance to interact with their reasoning, I am content to stick with the scriptural answer. D&C 132:27 extends Alma's explanation by explaining how murder can also be UNforgivable when tied to the light and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. I think maybe this would make a good longer answer, now that I have jumped into it.

At a personal level, I have a friend who taught an Mob hitman while serving his mission. The man embraced the Restored Gospel fully, and desired baptism. The petition, I am told, went to the highest councils of the Church, and the response was they would not allow for his baptism, but would wait for the Millenium for the work to be sorted out. So in practice, I think the Church leaves the possibility of forgiveness, and therefore salvation, up to God to sort out. I think any hypothetical situation, like the bar fight idea, requires God's insight into motives, remorse and faith before and after the sin to really judge.

Again, I am glad we don't need to judge such things with our limited capacities. Since Paul and D&C 76 give so many examples of who is going to hell, and we all have been thieves or liars at some time in our life, I am content to believe that faith, attitudes and Godly sorrow unto salvation are the items separating wanton sinners from those who are trying to press forward in accordance with the light they have received. In the end, Christ pays for my sins, so He gets to set the criteria for mercy and forgiveness.

I will write more about this in a regular blog article.

Thanks for a great topic.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob,
While on my mission we tought a guy that killed another guy in a bar fight, I lost contact with him so I dont know what ever happened. I studied up on the subject and got a lot of wishy washy awnsers but your response helped. My mission president's response was similar.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Can Mormons say they have been "saved" or "born-again" if they are asked?

Luke

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Thank you Luke for the question. The question of "Are Mormons able to say they are saved" was addressed by Elder Dallin H. Oaks at General Conference in April 1998. The topic was discussed in advance of the Baptist Convention which was coming to Salt Lake City that summer.

The short answer is "Yes". Elder Oaks explains in some detail, but let me make it very simple. If we have the holy Spirit in our lives, working in us and inspiring us, and we desire to follow Christ and exercise faith in him, no matter how imperfectly we may do so (up to a point, I suppose), then we can know and be assured that we are saved. The Spirit is the down payment of salvation, so having the Spirit guarantees we will receive salvation. This assumes we continue to exercise faith in Christ, which means we repent and follow Christ, but to repent and follow Christ is not to live a perfect life. We are saved by Grace after all, or anything, we can do. In the context of this question, Christ's grace is like the ocean, and we contribute a couple of glasses. The main contribution we make is to have a desire to seek, which even that is reinforced by the Spirit to help us along.

So though such language as "are you saved" is a little outside the customary language of the LDS, we do in fact constantly speak of being together forever as families, knowing we will again see loved ones who passed away, having missions to fulfill on the other side of the veil, and being around during the millenium doing temple work. All of these concepts imply we will be "saved". As an interesting side note, I have asked rooms of youth and adults if they know they are saved, and usually only a few if any people will raise their hands. I attribute this much more to many people in the Church being overly focused on trying to be perfect, not realizing Christ has already done that for them, in the context of salvation.

Thanks Luke,
Bob

Tony said...

Hey Bob, something that an ex-member, now evangelical, said to me is that we worship another Jesus and "Mormon God" due to the fact that we believe in deification of man and that God could once be a man. Now as far as exaltation there is plenty of scriptural basis for that in the Bible, but he argues that God could not be eternal if he was ever not God. I answered that He would still be eternal, as our spirits are all eternal and can not be destroyed. It's a bit far out there, and we dont know much about the doctrine besides what was said in the King Follet Discourse (which I love to read), so I didn't go farther than that. I am curious, what are your ideas on this?

To me, it makes sense and makes God the Father all the more personal to me.
As Joseph Smith pointed out in that discourse, Jesus only did the things He had seen His Father do. Very interesting.
Not to get too deep lol.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Tony,
I can understand the Ex-Member's perspective, but I think he is assuming way more than Mormonism claims to teach, (although many members like to say they "know" about God's progression being like ours) or that we could comprehend. Paul said something to the effect we are incapable of comprehending the things God has in store for those who love and follow him. Well, when I read the King Follett discourse, the first thing I note is this is a funeral discourse. It was intended to comfort the Follett family in their loss. So when JS says he is going to explain how God came to be God, and that some had wrongly supposed that He had always been God, I think they miss what he was trying to say. He is pointing out that God had a body which likewise died, and he points to Jesus' statement about doing the things which he has seen the Father do. Because of the concepts of the co-eternality of God, matter and spirit, and the "oneness" which men and God and Jesus can enjoy, I am pretty sure the linear answer of "who was the first god?" is fundamentally the wrong question. Wrong in the sense it assumes a beginning to something which is stated to have always existed. I believe the statements in the D&C which say God is from everlasting to everlasting. I believe the Book of Abraham when it says that before the creation of the world, Jesus was like God. So having a body and a point of death and birth is something which was necessary for us to progress to godhood, not them. But the issue of receiving a glorified, immortal body is apparently necessary for even God to have a fulness of joy. So while Jesus could apparently "know all things" and was all powerful, there was something about having a body which increased his actual joy somehow. And I think that is the creation of spirit children, which somehow in the eternities requires a body for at least us non-god eternal beings. But maybe God the Father created his own body, with its ability to die and be taken up. I think that would make him the first Adam (generic sense of Adam as the first of the human family, not Adam in our garden of Eden).

Its not even what I believe, since I actually don't have a belief on this subject. I am waiting for God to fill in the blanks someday. But to me it sort of explains how God could be both eternally God, have progressed to become our God, and to have lived on a planet without there being a paradox of the first of the eternal family needing parents. There are clearly special rules for "gods", such as the ability to be a "god" without a body. So I will not pretend to comprehend how many variants those special rules could yield.

Please, don't accept anything I just wrote as anything more than my musings.

Thanks,
Bob

Tony said...

Thanks for your musings Bob.
I appreciate it, and am not about to worry about it to much. It's not contingent upon our salvation of course, just one of those questions that hopefully will be made manifest some day.

Truid said...

Bob, I've read your comments and I'm surprised that you would describe yourself as "anti-anti-Mormon". Marvin J. Ashton, speaking as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: "Probably we will never be free of those who are openly anti-Mormon. Therefore, we encourage all our members to refuse to become anti-anti-Mormon." Why would you not heed those words?

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Truid,
Have you ever read or researched Elder Ashton's remark.

Elder Ashton was speaking of the hostile, abusive practices of anti-Mormons, and how some members of the Church felt they were therefore justified returning evil for evil.

The president of an organization I belong to, FAIR, approached Elder Ashton about his statement, and specifically discussed the activities of groups such as FAIR which defend the LDS faith against attacks from Anti-Mormons. Elder Ashton reportedly replied that he was talking about physical or emotional combat which some members engage in when they feel offended. In his talk he references the rude, discourteous behavior he himself was subjected to by those "loving" anti-Mormon critics outside of Temple Square. Everyone can read his talk here: http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=dc99c5e8b4b6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

His point is summarized as follows:
"It seems to me there has never been a period in history when it has been more important for us to be engaged in pure religion as taught by the Savior. This religion is not to retaliate, or to exchange in kind, evil actions or unkind statements. Pure religion encompasses the ability to cherish, to build up, and to turn the other cheek in place of destroying and tearing down."

I am very uncomfortable when I reach out to "attack" other faiths. I have tried not to do so. However, I have contrasted the LDS beliefs with Calvinism and the hypocrisy I perceive in "ministries" such as Shawn McCraney's, since I don't find any scriptural support for attacking others. I have directly contrasted the charge of Mormonism having a counterfeit Jesus, which requires directly addressing the differences in beliefs.

Paul presents the Gospel, and only the Gospel, not attacking others; he responds to charges. Peter says to give an answer to anyone who asks why you believe. The D&C says to meet the opponents of the Lord wherever they are, and defend the faith against the "strong reasons" they foist against the Lord's work and servants.

Unlike the more cowardly "anti-Mormons" who seem to try to play some kind of "politically correct" game by denying they are anti-Mormons, a position they no doubt prefer among themselves which virtually every Mormon finds deceptive and laughable, I am pleased to call myself an "anti-Anti Mormon", or as my web URL states "pro-Mormon". I am against those who are against the Lord's work. If 'Anti-Mormons' actually had the courage of their supposed convictions, they would plainly state who they are, too.

Thanks for the comment.

bunker said...

This is more of an anti Christian thing than an anti Mormon thing. Claims by athiests that Christ is just another form of the Hindu God Krishna. What do you make of these comparisons? Thanks.

Tony said...

Are they claiming that Christians got their ideas from the Hindu religion?

As far as I know, the idea that there was a Messiah has been around as long as the Jews, which I believe was before hinduism came about. I could be wrong, but just thinking out loud.

Also, from what I know of the Hindu religion, they seem to borrow from the examples of many religious figures. I knew a wonderful Indian family that the Elders and I visited that saw great things in the dieties of many faiths, Christianity included.

Tony said...

Another thing. Atheists who claim that would have to then compare the Lord to many other religions and their gods that have similar attributes.

I personally would see it as their attempt of just throwing another one out there to try and throw people off, and perhaps justify their beliefs in their own minds.

Janice said...

I love this site. I am game for any topic as I learn a lot. I am trying to learn as much as I can.
Maybe explain why evangelicals mainly follow the Apostle Paul's teachings. Any one know? When presented with other Biblical scripture to show them they are wrong they go back to Paul or say that verse is meant to be taken figuratively, not literally. And vice versa when it suits them and their theology.
Thank You.