Skip to content

Responding to the "Easy, Greasy, Grace Gospel" Charge

April 17, 2009

I often hear Mormons charging Evangelicals with having an “easy believism” gospel.  A more colorful description of this charge was just presented on a previous thread by an LDS commenter.

I would like to respond to this.  While it is true that some Evangelicals might have an incorrect understanding of grace, the Bible is very clear on the matter.  Just as there are LDS who misunderstand and misinterpret aspects of LDS doctrine, so there are Evangelicals who misunderstand or misapply Biblical truths.

The Bible is clear that justified believers still have the potential to sin (Romans 6:12-19).  If believers do not have the potential to sin why all the admonishments, warnings, and commandments given to Christians in the NT to not sin?  Some religions misinterpret these passages and think that a person has to obey all of these commandments in order to be saved, but the Bible is very clear in declaring how a person is saved:  by faith alone in Christ alone (Romans – the whole book – but in particular 4:4-5, 5:1, Gal. 2:16, 3:14, book of John, etc.).

Once a person is saved, however, they enter a process of sanctification (being transformed into the image of Christ).  People err if they say, “I’m saved by grace which means I can do whatever I want.”  Paul speaks directly against this in Rom. 6:15: “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”  “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body…” (Rom. 6:12).  We are admonished of the consequences for allowing sin to reign in our lives (Rom. 6:16).  Continuing to give sin a place in our lives can lead to addictions/demonic strongholds that become increasingly hard to break the more one yields themselves to sin’s power.  Even more tragic, we can become a hindrance to the spread of the gospel by being such a poor testimony.

Incredibly, God has made the way for a believer to be sanctified similar to his plan for unbelievers to be justified: by faith alone in Christ alone.  We are only able to walk in the Spirit by faith (Rom. 6:11, Gal. 3:2-9).  The word “reckon” makes this clear.  Paul doesn’t say “die to your old self” – he tells believers that when they received Christ they already died to their old self! He exhorts them to consider, by faith, that this is the truth and to conform their minds to believe what God has declared.  Just as in justification, God declares that we must conform our minds to His plan of salvation and not our own.  Man’s natural, prideful inclination is to want to work to earn his own way and every religion in the world (outside of Biblical Christianity) teaches some form of work that is required for salvation.

God’s plan of salvation runs contrary to the natural instincts of the old man which is why one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world “of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8) so that people who are “dead in trespasses and sins” can be saved.  The plan of salvation is so utterly contrary to our natural, fallen state.  It is the same with sanctification.  We are often drawn by our natural inclination (from our flesh) to try to do works to gain favor with God (for selfish motivations).  Any works done out of these urges and motivations that spring from our flesh do not please God (Rom. 8:8 “they that are in the flesh cannot please God”).  Christ does not have these prideful, selfish ambitions.  As we abide in Him, and allow Him to work in and through us, we are able to be a sweet-smelling savor in this sinful world.  This abiding in Him is an ongoing, moment-by-moment walk that must be appropriated by faith.  There’s no credit in it for us to glory in ourselves – all the glory goes to Christ for He is the one doing the works through us.

This is not easy, greasy…  This involves deep brokenness.  Those who have fallen on the rock of Christ have become broken (Matt. 21:44).  Self is no longer reigning on the throne.  They can say with the Apostle Paul, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Here are some more thoughts on these deep Biblical truths from saints who have gone on before:

Evan H. Hopkins: “The trouble of the believer who knows Christ as his justification is not sin as to its guilt, but sin as to its ruling power. In other words, it is not from sin as a load, or an offence, that he seeks to be freed — for he sees that God has completely acquitted him from the charge and penalty of sin — but it is from sin as a master. To know God’s way of deliverance from sin as a master he must apprehend the truth contained in the sixth chapter of Romans. There we see what God has done, not with our sins — that question the Apostle dealt with in the preceding chapters — but with ourselves, the agents and slaves of sin. He has put our old man — our original self — where He put our sins, namely, on the cross with Christ. ‘Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him’ (Romans 6:6). The believer there sees not only that Christ died for him — substitution — but that he died with Christ — identification” (Thoughts on Life and Godliness, p.50).

Andrew Murray: “Like Christ, the believer too has died to sin; he is one with Christ, in the likeness of His death (Romans 6:5). And as the knowledge that Christ died for sin as our atonement is indispensable to our justification; so the knowledge that Christ and we with Him in the likeness of His death, are dead to sin, is indispensable to our sanctification” (Like Christ, p.176).

J. Hudson Taylor: “Since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! I am dead and buried with Christ — ay, and risen too! And now Christ lives in me, and ‘the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ Nor should we look upon this experience, these truths, as for the few. They are the birthright of every child of God, and no one can dispense with them without dishonoring our Lord” (Spiritual Secret, p.116).

Wm. R. Newell: “To those who refuse or neglect to reckon themselves dead to sin as God commands, we press the question, How are you able to believe that Christ really bare the guilt of your sins and that you will not meet them at the judgment day? It is only God’s Word that tells you that Christ bare your sins in His own body on the tree. And it is the same Word that tells you that you as connected with Adam, died with Christ, that your old man was crucified, that since you are in Christ you shared His death unto sin, and are thus to reckon your present relation to sin in Christ — as one who is dead to it, and alive unto God” (Romans, Verse by Verse, p.227).

All above quotes (and more like them) here.

Advertisements
196 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2009 5:09 am

    Jessica,

    I think those are some of the quotes you shared with me a couple months ago. Am I right? I shared some of them with my mom not too long ago and she really liked them. I am quite taken with the idea of identification–where Christ dies for us, so our old self dies in Him. It’s a beautiful way of expressing things. It’s not a concept that has been spoken about much in my experience as a Mormon, which is a shame, because I think it really gets to the heart of the grace vs. works debate. It seems like a place where both Mormons and evangelicals could finally find some common ground on this otherwise contentious topic.

    Finally, regarding the “easy, greasy grace” stuff. (That’s an awesomely descriptive way of phrasing it, by the way!) 🙂 There may be some advocates of it out there, but I can’t say any of the evangelicals I’ve ever met are among them. It’s kind of like saying Mormons believe [fill in the blank; we’ll be equal to God someday; blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence; God had physical relations with Mary, etc.]. Some might believe that kind of stuff, but those types tend to be on the fringe and aren’t representative of the group as a whole.

  2. April 17, 2009 6:35 am

    Ways to fail when interacting with other religions:

    Accuse Mormons of worshiping Joseph Smith
    Accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary
    Accuse Evangelicals of believing it’s okay to sin after confession
    Accuse Jehovah’s Witnesses of thinking only 144,000 people are getting saved

    Am I missing any?

  3. MadChemist permalink
    April 17, 2009 11:40 am

    Yes Jack:
    Accusing Mormons of believing that they aren’t saved by grace when they require a response from our part.
    While it is true that both Evangelicals and Mormons can misunderstand hwo their own faith tradition interprets grace, far more Evangelicals misunderstand the Mormon interpretation of grace, and yet have no problem lying about it on the web.
    Jessica, I was addressing a lie spoken about Mormonism on your website. Maybe you should link to the comments provoking that comment to provide context.
    I have no problem with Evangelicals saying that our viewpoints about grace aren’t correct, but to claim Mormons have no reliance on grace is just plain WRONG!

  4. MadChemist permalink
    April 17, 2009 11:46 am

    I wrote:
    “I doubt very seriously, Gloria, that your husband would agree with your characterization of his viewpoint that “He openly admits to me that Jesus’ blood and what He did is simply not enough.”

    Unless, you’re trying to preach a gospel different than Paul preached. A false, easy, greasy, grace gospel where people merely confess with their mouth and aren’t truly committed enough to Christ to repent and allow Christ to change their behavior, and submit to a simple ordinance as a sign that you have entered into a covenant with Him.”

    I provided the other swing of a false caraciture of religion. That is, you mischaractarize us, we can also mischaracterize you. Or you could NOT mischaractarize us, and we wouldn’t mischaractarize you. I was not saying that Evangelicals believe this, I was saying, “Your mischaractarization is just as wrong as this one.” If you were offended by thinking I was charactarizng your beliefs like that, just imagine how we feel when you mischaracterize us TO THE SAME EXTENT.

  5. April 17, 2009 2:52 pm

    Jessica, do you think there are more or less Evangelicals – as a population – who mistakenly adhere to “cheap grace” than there are Mormons – as a population – who adhere to “earning a ticket to heaven?”

  6. Tom permalink
    April 17, 2009 4:07 pm

    Jessica,

    Good quotations. Romans 6 is one of my favorite chapters in all scripture. The symbolism is so beautiful.

    Thanks also for your response to my comments on the Kirk Cameron thread. I was genuinely touched by your words. While I don’t think you as an evangelical and I as a Mormon will ever completely agree on some specifics, I am grateful that you CAN appreciate and share my joy in the wonderful experiences I have had in my own journey to accepting Christ’s grace.

  7. April 17, 2009 6:06 pm

    Katie, you said, I think those are some of the quotes you shared with me a couple months ago. Am I right?

    Actually, the whole post is a re-vamp of something I originally wrote for you awhile back. I wondered if you would find it familiar. 🙂 I think you are right about this topic getting more to the heart of the grace vs works debate and that it might be possible to talk about the differences without as much contention. I sure hope so – it’s really worked well for you and I in trying to articulate the differences.

    BJM: re: ways to fail – LOL

    MadChemist, I wasn’t offended by the comment and I don’t think my post says you were trying to mischaracterize my beliefs. My post says, “I often hear Mormons charging Evangelicals with having an “easy believism” gospel. A more colorful description of this charge was just presented on a previous thread by an LDS commenter.” I liked your colorful description of this misrepresentation of our beliefs. 🙂 And it reminded me that I’ve been wanting to address this misrepresentation for some time!

    Seth, you said, “Jessica, do you think there are more or less Evangelicals – as a population – who mistakenly adhere to “cheap grace” than there are Mormons – as a population – who adhere to “earning a ticket to heaven?”

    I really have no idea. Barna should do a poll about this! Maybe some of the other Evangelicals here have better data. I tend to choose my fellowship with those who are serious about sanctification so I don’t have a very good pulse on what I consider apostate Christendom. I don’t claim to have a good pulse on the Mormon population’s take on this subject either. I only have anecdotal evidence from the LDS folks I know IRL and on the internet. The ones I know IRL definitely seem to adhere to the “earning a ticket to heaven” belief. The LDS I’ve met on the internet seem to be all over the board on this topic.

    Tom, Romans 6 is definitely one of my favorite chapters as well! 🙂

    Well, as much as I would rather blog, I better get back to work!

  8. April 17, 2009 6:39 pm

    Am I missing any?

    I would add to this list criticizing Kirk Cameron.

  9. April 17, 2009 6:42 pm

    A couple of questions:

    If some Evangelical type commits some kind of sin, is this sure evidence (in your view) that they are neither justified, nor sanctified, nor saved? You mention this sanctification as a process – so then there must be some partial sanctification for most of these folks?

    Is there ANY individual merit whatsoever to the faith of a believer?

    If the answer is no, then how is this not just God picking and choosing who gets saved. If the answer is yes, then I would say that your views are likely a difference in degree with Mormonism and not a difference in type. Especially if you buy the partial sactification bit (which would fit in nicely with degrees of glory in Mormon beliefs).

  10. April 17, 2009 8:29 pm

    MadChemist ~ For the record, I kind of quit reading the Kirk Cameron thread when it stopped being about Kirk Cameron, and I’m too lazy to go back and read it now, so I’m not accusing you of anything.

    And you already know that I don’t do the grace v. works debate. If other evangelicals and Mormons want to go down that rabbit hole, good for them, but I can never stand all the misrepresentation and talking past each other. There are Mormons and evangelicals who get it and there are Mormons and evangelicals who don’t and I’m not interested in figuring out whose house is messier.

    Katie ~ I would add to this list criticizing Kirk Cameron.

    LOL, yeah, wouldn’t want to offend the First Church of Smitten Women Who Adore Kirk Cameron now, would we?

  11. MadChemist permalink
    April 17, 2009 11:41 pm

    Jack, I was just adding another point to the list, NOT accusing you of doing it.

    Jessica. Now that I reread your point, I recognize that you said I was explaining the charging, and not charging it. My bad. I’m sorry.

  12. April 18, 2009 2:16 am

    Eric,

    I’ll take a stab at your questions. You asked, “If some Evangelical type commits some kind of sin, is this sure evidence (in your view) that they are neither justified, nor sanctified, nor saved?”

    No I do not think that someone who has been regenerated no longer sins (1 John 1:10). In fact there is a struggle with sin throughout the life of the faithful; this is a struggle that we can only fight with the help of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:17 1 Peter 2:11). In fact I would say to try to fight sin without the help of Christ is sinful and only produces self righteousness and hypocrisy.

    Your second question was, “Is there ANY individual merit whatsoever to the faith of a believer?”

    No there is no merit in faith that can be accounted to the believer (Eph 1:17-19; 2:8). Our faith is the work of the Spirit and our union with Christ.

    Your third question was “If the answer is no, then how is this not just God picking and choosing who gets saved.”

    Let me answer your question by quoting from the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 3 “Of God’s Eternal Decree” so there is no confusion on this subject.

    1. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass…

    3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    I cannot of course speak for all Christians, many would disagree with part or all of what I have said. This is my understanding of the Presbyterian and Reformed view on your questions and this best matches my understanding of the Bible on these subjects.

    Can you explain what you mean by partial sanctification and degrees of glory?

  13. April 18, 2009 3:45 am

    Gundeck, just something “being in the Bible” is never a sufficient reason for me.

    Not that I think the Bible demands that conclusion, mind…

  14. April 18, 2009 4:44 am

    Hi Eric,

    You mention this sanctification as a process – so then there must be some partial sanctification for most of these folks?

    I think I understand what you mean by this, but maybe I’m just guessing. I notice Gundek asked for clarification. I’ll attempt to answer what I think you are asking and you can let me know if I’m totally off.

    Justified believers are in the process of being transformed into the image of Christ. Some have surrendered deeply to the Holy Spirit to take over and revolutionize their lives. Others are still filled with the flesh and self seems to be reigning on the throne. Their talk and way of living seems worldly and full of themselves rather than full of Christ. This doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t saved (although it might mean that), but their works (done in the flesh) will be burned up at the judgment day. They will be saved “yet so as by fire” (I Cor. 3:15). It seems clear from I Cor. 3:12-15 that there will be varying levels of rewards for believers. The concept is similar in some limited ways, I suppose, to degrees of glory, but very different in significant ways.

    I take a slightly different spin on predestination than Gundek. While the Bible is very clear that God has predestined those who will be saved and those who will be condemned, I believe He predestines according to foreknowledge. I do not believe an all-loving, all-just God would eternally punish people who had no choice in the matter. I believe He has given a legitimate offer of salvation to all, He desires all to be saved (II Pet. 3:9), and He has known from eternity past who would receive and who would reject His offer. Christ grieved over those who rejected Him (Matthew 23:37). I like the C.S. Lewis quote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell choose it.”

    Christians have different interpretations on predestination, as you know, but it does not affect our salvation. We are in agreement that there is nothing meritorious about our faith or our choosing. We are dead in trespasses and sins without Christ and are only able to come to Him because of the Spirit’s drawing. It’s all by grace, not of works so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

    How do you see this as similar or different to your view?

  15. April 18, 2009 5:53 am

    Seth R,

    You and I tend to agree an awful lot lately. Are you a Westminster man? You know, only a Calvinist can be proud he is totally depraved. Only joking.

    I have a deep and abiding belief in what I posted. This does not only come from the Bible but also from the Holy Spirit that convicts me of these truths. My beliefs come from faith, my union with Christ and His grace that I see working around me every day. The fact that the sun came up this morning and will do so tomorrow testifies to the absolute sovereignty of God and makes me beleive all the more.

    Generally, because I also beleive that man is fallen and prone to err, I commonly refer to what the the Bible says and leave out my own testimonies, because the Bible is a much more objective truth and not open to whims. I understand that others may disagree with the interpretations that I have of the Bible, as Jessica does concerning predestination (I do agree that belief in predestination does not affect salvation). But I must maintain my beliefs and present the truth. To do otherwise would be dishonest and sinful.

  16. April 18, 2009 6:29 am

    While the Bible is very clear that God has predestined those who will be saved and those who will be condemned, I believe He predestines according to foreknowledge.

    Ugh, this is where things get very, very confusing for me.

    On the one hand, a God who doesn’t know what I’m going to do doesn’t seem like much of a God at all.

    On the other hand, if God DOES know what I’m going to do, and has always known, do I really have free will?

    And if I don’t have free will, it seems like the Problem of Evil is, like, really REALLY problematic.

    But if the only way I can truly have free will is by God not knowing what I’m going to do beforehand, then that seems to limit God.

    I’m sure this is old stuff for most of y’all, but it’s new to me, and it’s kinda bugging me.

  17. April 18, 2009 12:35 pm

    Katie,

    I have also heard some note that if God DID perfectly foreknow the future and all human action, it wouldn’t do him any good. Because if one year ago, he knew that things would turn out a certain way, it would leave him powerless to influence or change the course of events. Because if he did reach out and change events to avoid a negative, it would mean that he didn’t really foreknow what was going to happen a year ago. Meaning he would have been mistaken – which obviously doesn’t work.

    In the end, perfect foreknowledge leaves God just as much a slave of the universe as the rest of us.

    Jack pointed me out to a website on Open Theism, and it made an awful lot of sense to me – not just logical sense, but it also seemed more of a correct exegesis of the Bible than either Calvinist or Arminian attempts to explain God and free will. Here’s the link:

    http://www.opentheism.info/

    Jessica,

    I once read Hugh Nibley questioning who is “Celestial material.” His answer was – “anyone who is repenting.” He made it clear that no matter where we are on the path to heaven, it doesn’t matter for whether we have an expectation of exaltation (note – I’m deliberately using the word exaltation, and not salvation). What matters is what direction we are facing, not what our surrounding circumstances and flaws are.

    It is this repentance thing that is the key. Which is why I have repeatedly asserted that any Mormon notion of works can only be referring to repentance and not merit.

  18. April 18, 2009 3:34 pm

    Seth ~ Quit evangelizing people for open theism! You’re gonna make me feel all responsible and stuff.

    Katie ~ Personally I always found C.S. Lewis’s chapter on God and time in Mere Christianity helpful to understanding how God could know everything and we could still have our free will. The entire thing is online here.

    Just to clarify, while I have a positive attitude toward Open Theism, I’m still very much an Arminian myself. I just can’t imagine God not knowing the future.

  19. April 18, 2009 5:11 pm

    Jack, you merely provided ammunition for a view I’d informally come to previously. It’s just I never knew there was a name for it before. I was also rather gratified to find that my opinions had a formalized framework of Biblical exegesis available, rather than just being my own intuitive conclusions.

    The remaining problem though is a complete exegesis of Mormon scripture. God is much more clearly declared to be timeless in Mormon scripture than in the Bible. Since a lot of the existing theological work on open theism posits a God clearly situated in a temporal reality, this presents a real problem.

    My own half-baked theory is that part of the “condescension of God” spoken of in scripture is voluntarily limiting himself to a temporal reality when dealing with us, but remaining timeless everywhere else. My wife speculated that our own local universe may be a “bubble” of temporal existence. But that the rest of the universe is not experience temporally. God would be master of both.

    There are probably a few kinks left in the theory, but it’s a start. I think Blake Ostler is an Open Theist as well and has written a bunch of stuff on the subject. But I haven’t jumped into that yet.

  20. April 18, 2009 6:46 pm

    Seth, I know you’ve posted at LDSTalk the scriptures your father gave you on God being out of time, but scriptures aside for the moment, I’ve always thought the notion of a temporal God fits the LDS paradigm far better, especially if one believes God the Father used to be a mortal who had to progress to become God, which I know you’ve said elsewhere you do believe for the time being. I mean, how does a temporal being stop being a temporal being? It creates that weird scenario I described earlier where God can technically be watching Himself in his old mortal life. Could God go back in time and smite Himself? What’s stopping Him?

    Seems like time is either a law of the universe which God is bound by same as creatio ex materia or it isn’t.

    Your scriptures on God being outside of time need metaphorical interpretations or something in order to fit the theology you’re developing.

  21. MadChemist permalink
    April 18, 2009 7:06 pm

    I’ve always been astounded on the standard deviation of beliefs about God being in time or out. It’s fun to watch Seth and Jack go back and forth. I can’t contribute anything useful here, but I like your comments.

  22. April 18, 2009 7:56 pm

    I’m agnostic on the point of whether God “progressed to be God” or whether he just always was. You can find support for God’s progression in Mormonism aplenty (some of it even authoritative-sounding). But too many smart Mormons I know are claiming that Mormon scripture requires a view of God being always just the way he is now for me to be certain one way or the other.

    As far as whether it’s possible for God to be both temporal and not temporal…

    I can only point out that the universe seems to be both. Why not God?

  23. April 18, 2009 9:13 pm

    Seth,

    Is there anything even in the LDS canon that teaches that God progressed to be God? There’s plenty of stuff in non-canonical sources for sure, but do you know of anywhere that this is taught in the canon? Seems there’s plenty of scriptures in the LDS canon that refute this teaching (D & C 20:17, 76:1-4, Moroni 8:18, Moses 1:3, etc to name a few). My understanding is that this doctrine didn’t emerge until the King Follett discourse, am I right?

  24. April 18, 2009 9:58 pm

    You might well be right about this Jessica. I can’t say for sure, but no canonical sources of this particular doctrine spring to mind. Maybe someone else can provide some citations.

    This is one of the reasons I’ve been telling Evangelicals that you don’t even need to call Mormons out of Mormonism to bring them closer to Protestant notions of God. All you need to do is read their own scriptures to them, and do it in a way that isn’t perceived as an attack by some counter-cultist playing gotcha-games.

  25. April 19, 2009 2:42 am

    MadChemist ~ Someday Seth and I will have a disagreement that isn’t amicable, and then you will really want to grab your popcorn.

    Seth ~ Agnostic on the progression of God the Father? Is that a recent change in your thinking? I could have sworn that I read a comment by you sometime this year where you said you believed in it, though you sounded reluctant.

    I’m not sure I follow you on the universe being both temporal and non-temporal. Seems fairly temporal to me.

    This is one of the reasons I’ve been telling Evangelicals that you don’t even need to call Mormons out of Mormonism to bring them closer to Protestant notions of God. All you need to do is read their own scriptures to them, and do it in a way that isn’t perceived as an attack by some counter-cultist playing gotcha-games.

    This is your indirect way of acknowledging how awesome I am.

  26. April 19, 2009 2:56 am

    Jack, I’ve been of more than two minds on the issue of God’s progression.

    But despite how ambiguous I may be myself on the issue, I’m not going to let the opponents of Mormonism bag on the idea of God progressing into godhood. It’s within the spectrum of LDS belief and I don’t think it’s completely unsupportable.

    Using the analogy of family – It’s the brother I often disagree with, but no way I’m going to let the other kids at school make fun of him.

    That’s my job.

  27. April 19, 2009 3:12 am

    Jack, my wife says you probably deserve any compliment you get – intentional or not.

  28. April 19, 2009 3:19 am

    Your wife’s a wise woman. Tell her I taught my husband how to kiss, too. 😉

  29. Susan permalink
    April 19, 2009 11:24 am

    Hi Jessica,

    I haven’t visited your blog for awhile, but you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with all of these things! Bless you for your faithfulness in proclaiming the gospel and for your gentle and respectful interactions with your readers (1 Peter 3:15).

    In Him,
    Susan

  30. MadChemist permalink
    April 22, 2009 2:46 am

    The alternate side of this post; occurs when Evangelicals accuse Mormons of thinking their works save them. One example of this charge is by Gerald McDermott in “Claiming Christ.”
    McDermott asks: “Doesn’t this mean that my salvation depends partly on grace and partly on my free will?”
    The answer is, yes, your salvation does depend on your free will. That is, Christ freely offers salvation to all, but not everyone will accept, because He has granted that He will maintain their freewill. Does this mean that we in anyway earn our salvation, absolutely not.

    Now I understand that Evangelicals don’t understand this viewpoint, and that’s why I’ve come up with a way to try to explain our viewpoint.

    The Parable of the Pie.
    By MadChemist

    If I bake a pie (imagine your favorite, mine’s definitely blackberry), and invite you over, even when you don’t deserve it, cut a piece out, hand you a fork, and put some ice cream on top. Now there’s a choice, you could sit there and talk about how nice it was for me to make the pie, and talk about how good of a baker I am, or how awesome I am to not require you to do anything to get the pie. But until you choose to actually eat any of the pie, you won’t really know how good it tastes. Would you have gained from the pie without having eaten it, no. Yet, would you really claim boasting rights, or consider it an achievement that you actually ate the pie. Of course not.
    Of course, from the Mormon point of view, eating the pie is the equivalent of submitting to baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. That is how you “come unto Christ.” That’s how you partake of His grace. But just like we didn’t earn the pie, we also don’t enjoy it unless we eat it.
    Mcdermott then asks, “Have I not then become, in a sense, a so-savior with Christ?”
    And I would answer: “Not unless you also become a co-baker with me for eating my pie.”
    The pie is the salvation that Christ has prepared for us, but we MUST choose to follow him, yet we don’t earn the salvation. He moved first, He provides, He saves, but we must react positively and obediently to His message. “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, if ye do not the things which I say unto you.”
    Now it’s true Christ doesn’t cut the slice out for everyone, and doesn’t hand the fork to everyone, but He has made the pie for everyone, and invited everyone to come and have some. Those who know the sweetness of that pie, know that Christ is the Baker thereof, and we won’t trade it down for the Walmart, store-bought, creedal, tradition-laden brands that are now being offered us. We’ll take the real thing, from Christ’s own recipe, thank you very much.

  31. Ethan permalink
    June 8, 2009 9:53 pm

    Mormons do believe Christ was divine. Also, Don’t confuse the LDS doctrines of salvation vs. exaltation.

    Actually, Mormons believe all mankind is SAVED by the GRACE of God, even Hitler will end up in a degree of glory (for Mormons hell is a lesser glory relative to the higher state where God dwells and family units are eternal). Conversely, Evangelicals believe a person must perform the WORK of physically “accepting Jesus” vocally to be saved. For them, not all will be “saved.”

    Therefore, mormons believe in being saved by grace and Evangelicals believe in salvation by works (act of being born again).

  32. Stephanie permalink
    June 8, 2009 11:40 pm

    Hi Ethan,

    Your response is interesting. I’m not sure where you have heard this from Evangelicals but it is incorrect. Evangelicals believe that salvation is based upon trust in Christ. There is no “prayer” that could be prayed that would save a person if they did not believe in their heart that Jesus’ work on the cross paid the penalty for their sins. The “act of being born again” is surely not works based. Why else would Jesus have proclaimed to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.” When Nicodemus questioned Jesus for clarification Jesus responded, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). It is impossible to believe “vocally.” Belief is centered in the heart, mind and will. I can say many things vocally and not mean them in my heart.

    I wanted to quickly respond to your statement about Hitler as well. One of the problems with LDS theology is the lack of eternal consequences for rejection of Christ. Unfortunately the doctrine of hell is clear in the gospels and NT epistles. It is sobering to think that many people are being “lulled” into a false hope of going to “a heaven.” “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt 7:15).

    Stephanie

  33. June 9, 2009 12:03 am

    Before you get too engaged Stephanie…

    Ethan appears to be a Mormon spambot. This exact, identical comment just popped up on about three other blogs – including a thread on By Common Consent that had zero to do with grace at all.

    I guess it’s at least relevant to this thread. But I doubt there’s a real person on the other end of this comment to talk to.

  34. Stephanie permalink
    June 9, 2009 3:58 am

    Thanks Seth for the FYI 🙂

    Wow. Hitler in heaven!! That was a frightening thought!

  35. June 9, 2009 12:58 pm

    thanks , SETH

    and not all that intelligent a spambot at that

    GERMIT

  36. psychochemiker permalink
    June 9, 2009 4:41 pm

    Stephanie,
    There’s not proof that anyone on earth knows where anyone else is going to end up. I kind of hope that Hitler will be too proud to accept Jesus’s atonement and will end up in outer darkness.

  37. faithoffathers permalink
    June 9, 2009 6:06 pm

    I tend to think a person like Hitler will go to outer darkness. But, I ain’t the judge. I don’t believe we have reason to say, based on LDS doctrine, that Hitler will be “saved” with any degree of glory. I have seen people get a lot of mileage by saying the mormons believe Hitler will be saved. Not true.

    Each person is born with the light of Christ- every person knows it is wrong to murder. To some degree, it doesn’t matter how much turning around Hitler wants to do after this life- he done what he done.

    fof

  38. June 9, 2009 6:22 pm

    I don’t hope Hitler ends up there.

    This isn’t about our own feelings of self-righteous revenge. I don’t wish that fate on anyone.

    One soul in outer darkness is far worse to me than one-million, no – one HUNDRED million Jews slaughtered.

  39. June 9, 2009 7:31 pm

    What is a mormon “spambot” .. sorry I am not techy. I ask because the same comment was left by “ethan” on my blog a few days back. I thought it was odd, because it had nothing to do with the remarks I had written. But hey I approved it thinking it was odd, but nothing more than that.

    gloria

  40. June 9, 2009 8:38 pm

    I think it’s a computer algorithm that scans blogs for certain keywords. When it picks them up, it automatically posts a stock comment.

    No point responding to it since there isn’t a person on the other end. Just a computer program.

  41. June 9, 2009 9:07 pm

    Oh, is that how spammers work? I suspected a spam when I got a comment from “kittywaymo” and saw the identical comment on Todd Wood's blog. But in her case I think she might actually be a real person.

  42. June 9, 2009 11:14 pm

    Kitty Way Mo. I think I’ve run into her before. She’s waaaaaaaaaaaay too Mo for me.

  43. June 9, 2009 11:15 pm

    Though we always call those folks Whoa-Mos.

    (And by “we” I mean that’s what I call them.)

  44. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 2:56 am

    Stephanie,

    “accepting Jesus” in your heart and specifically choosing to follow HIm is a work indeed. Is this not required for salvation by Evangelicals? Salvation by the WORK of commiting to Christ.

    You are wrong to say that Mormons believe there is no penalty for rejecting Christ. Hitler will certainly not be in any kind of “heaven.” However, LDS do believe correctly that he will be resurrected, immortality is a free gift of God to ALL mankind, purchased through the blood of Christ. We are SAVED from death by this grace. Consider babies born in China millenia ago. They had no knowledge of Christ. Mormons (via the Bible) teach that these individuals will have the opportunity to accept Him eventually, if they choose. Protestants teach these are damned. That is disturbing.

    Again we come to the distinction between slavation and exaltation. Mormons believe that to be exalted requires more. This is to live where God lives and have the natural society of eternal family units, with the power to increase a kingdom the way a young couple can on Earth, as it is in heaven.

    You qouted Matt 7:15: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat”. This scripture does not say anything about the nature of Hell. Actually, this scripture is a beautiful reference to the fact that not many will become exalted, it can in no way be interpreted to say that the grace of ressurection is NOT available to all. You are making an assumption.

    Also, I often hear people say Mormons aren’t Christians. The question is whether Christians are Mormon. Truly, there are many doctrines presented by Joseph Smith that have now become adopted by every wing of modern Christianity. These are teachings that Smith was ridiculed for and were not known then. Now they are common among Evangelicals. For a list see:

    http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/general/madsen_christians_mormon.htm

  45. psychochemiker permalink
    June 10, 2009 4:28 am

    Seth,
    I don’t think I should wish Hitler to OD, but I do. I know God doesn’t wish Hitler to OD. But I ain’t God.

    I do take comfort, Seth, in the LDS view that if Hitler is condemned to OD, it wasn’t because God foreordained him to evil and damnation, or that God foreordained him to salvation in [the lowest] heaven, despite being the cause of death of so many millions.

  46. June 10, 2009 6:28 am

    The bot speaks! And wow, lately it feels like I have been running into a lot of Mormons doing snotty misrepresentations of what Protestants/other Christians believe. This is fabulous. Mormons can finally quit whining about how much we lie about you and misrepresent your doctrine, because now you’re doing it, too!

    Consider babies born in China millenia ago. They had no knowledge of Christ. They had no knowledge of Christ. … Protestants teach these are damned. That is disturbing.

    Baloney. Please go read up on Protestant theories concerning the fate of the unevangelized; we don’t have a singular doctrine on it. You can start here.

    Mormons (via the Bible) teach that these individuals will have the opportunity to accept Him eventually, if they choose.

    Wonderful! I’m glad Mormons teach this. Now would you all please stay the heck away from my front door? I want to enjoy what time I have left on this earth free from the trappings of patriarchy, polygamy, ugly underwear and having to wear my bra over an undershirt. You can convert me to that stuff after I die.

  47. Anonymous permalink
    June 10, 2009 10:37 am

    Ethan,

    The problem that I have with your position is that it is not Biblical. The Bible never speaks of a “second opportunity” for salvation after death. In fact, quite the opposite. The writer of Hebrews says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (9:27-28). This is the reason we do missions. This is why Jesus sent his disciples into the world to evangelize.

  48. June 10, 2009 1:16 pm

    JACK wrote: .

    You can convert me to that stuff after I die.

    I think I could just make out the bot recording your ‘promise’, JACK….hope I’m in on the heavenly interview….that would be kind of entertaning.

    ETHAN, or whatever your name is: JACK is not just running her mouth on this, most ev.’s would go to Romans 1 and refer to a judgment according to what each KNEW, which for an infant would be precious little. Or some version of that. Be careful about spouting what ALL EV.’s believe, Mr. Bot.

    thanks
    GERmIT

  49. June 10, 2009 1:29 pm

    Mr. Ethan; followed out that link, or some of it and noticed that many of your stats and figures are horribly out dated. Quite a bit of the church growth stuff was from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Now a like a really good BIC lighter at a Jefferson Starship concert, just like the next burn out , but you might want to update some of this. thot you might want to know.

    GERMIT

  50. faithoffathers permalink
    June 10, 2009 2:49 pm

    Jack,

    I thought it was an absolute requirement that a person accept or believe in Christ to be saved. Is this not the evangelical doctrine?

    The claim that we are judged based on what we know is a huge shift in the way I see evangelical doctrine. This is fundamental to what we believe- that all people will be judged based on how they resonded to what they know. And eventually, everybody will be brought up to speed on truth- in other words, all will be on the same page at some point after this life. But this requires that there be teaching and learning and accepting in the after-life.

    fof

  51. June 10, 2009 3:21 pm

    FOF ~ I thought it was an absolute requirement that a person accept or believe in Christ to be saved. Is this not the evangelical doctrine?

    Yes, and it’s certainly evangelical doctrine that a person cannot directly reject Christ and still be saved. But there’s debate among evangelicals of how this applies in the case of people who have never even heard of Christ. Does God judge people according to how they would have responded? Does Christ have some other way of manifesting to these people and reconciling them to Him?

    I won’t lie, there are evangelicals who think the unevangelized are going to hell, but usually this is because they think the reason God didn’t present the gospel to these people is because they would not have accepted it anyways. Their view usually isn’t that these are people who might have been saved had the rest of us put in a little more effort to get the Gospel to them; they think these people would have rejected Christ even if they’d lived in the heartland of the Bible belt.

    Personally though, I find that view unbiblical for reasons Glenn Miller made clear at the very start of the article I linked to. The book of Revelation records that the throngs of heaven include men and women “from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev. 5:7) Since there have been entire nations and people of other languages who never heard of Christ, that means God has some way of reconciling the unevangelized to himself. Either they are judged based on how they would have responded to God with the knowledge they had, or they are judged based on God’s perfect knowledge of how they would have responded to the Gospel if they’d known. Very rarely I will meet an evangelical who think everyone will get a second chance to accept or reject Christ at the millennium—not entirely different from Mormon post-mortem evangelization, though I reject it myself.

    There are all kinds of anecdotal stories in the Protestant world about missionaries bringing the gospel to primitive third world tribes only to have the tribesmen get excited and exclaim, “We knew God was like this! What took you so long?” So I vote that God can reconcile them based on the knowledge they have, but that’s just me. I’m a fan of limited soteriological inclusivism.

  52. June 10, 2009 3:23 pm

    Either they are judged based on how they would have responded to God with the knowledge they had, or they are judged based on God’s perfect knowledge of how they would have responded to the Gospel if they’d known.

    This sentence should read, “Either they are judged based on the knowledge they had, or they are judged based on God’s perfect knowledge of how they would have responded to the Gospel if they’d known.” Sorry about that.

  53. June 10, 2009 3:38 pm

    I thought it was an absolute requirement that a person accept or believe in Christ to be saved. Is this not the evangelical doctrine?

    FOF, there’s a great deal of diversity on this in the Christian community–even among Evangelicals–from universalism (all are saved or all roads lead to Christ) to soteriological inclusivism (CS Lewis was a proponent of this and said: “There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence…and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it”) to exclusivism (which is the position you are most familiar with). There are actually a few more positions in the spaces there, but that’s kind of the spectrum.

    So the idea that only Mormons have a charitable view of the fate of the unevangelized is actually sort of our outdated propaganda. We’d do well to understand better the texture of their beliefs.

    (Jack, did I do a good job explaining that?) 😉

  54. June 10, 2009 3:40 pm

    Jack: oh, you totally answered. Forgot to refresh before I posted so I didn’t see your response. You did a better job anywayz.

  55. June 10, 2009 4:38 pm

    Katie ~ You did a beautiful job just the same.

  56. June 10, 2009 5:37 pm

    Katie wrote, with her pink, diamond encrusted pen:

    So the idea that only Mormons have a charitable view of the fate of the unevangelized is actually sort of our outdated propaganda. We’d do well to understand better the texture of their beliefs.

    the is one * FINE set of sentences, you’ve got there girlfriend (ONLY a metaphor, folks..) could this be made into an ink-stamp or something ?? I have a few targets in mind..

    GERMIT

  57. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 5:43 pm

    Thanks for allowing me to comment.

    Anon:

    But how can God’s mercy take effect, since salvation is only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? As a solution, some Evangelicals suggest “post-mortem evangelism.” They argue that a number of New Testament passages support this view including Ephesians 4:8-10; 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6; and 1 Corinthians 15:29. They note the early Christian tradition that Christ during the interval between his death and resurrection descended to preach the Gospel to the spirits of the dead. “Despite the scores of interpretations of the difficult texts just cited that have been suggested in the history of Christian thought, this still seems to be a possible and plausible look at 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:5-6.”5 They then reason, “If the gospel was once preached to the dead, perhaps this practice continues. If so, perhaps the ignorant are preached to after death and receive then the chance they never had before to receive Christ and turn to God.”6

    Hebrews 9:27
    This scripture merely states that the judgement follows death. Latter-day Saints do not question that, however it is what happens in-between death and resurrection before the judgement that is the issue in question. Jesus and the apostles understood there was an interval between the time of death and the resurrection.7

    Luke 16:19-31
    I’ve heard some argue that this passage, makes clear that there is no opportunity to repent after death” and excludes the possibility of repentance in the spirit world. This example, however, is ill-chosen since it does not describe the fate of one who died in ignorance, but the fate of one who SINNED against light and knowledge. Unlike those who die in ignorance of the Gospel, the rich man and his family had already known of “Moses and the prophets” (Luke 16:29). These prophets had repeatedly taught Israel to treat the poor with mercy and kindness. Thus he had not died in ignorance of this truth, but had chosen a life of wickedness in spite of the commandments. Now dead, and having sinned against this light of knowledge, he finds himself suffering torment in hell. This example does not apply to those who die in ignorance.

    Face it, there is no other path. How else are the innocently ignorant not damned by your theology?

  58. June 10, 2009 5:53 pm

    Hey… I happen to like outdated propaganda.

    Now… shut up while I make fun of those silly harps you’ll be playing in heaven.

  59. faithoffathers permalink
    June 10, 2009 6:47 pm

    Jack,

    Thanks for the explanation. This actually sheds some valuable light for me on your view of God.

    My response is to ask you what you think of the LDS plan of salvation as it relates to all people having an opportunity to hear for themselves the gospel of Jesus Christ? You mentioned people getting a second chance. I really would not consider our view of what happens after this life as a second chance. Those who reject the gospel here will not necessarily have another chance there. It is those who never had the chance who will be given the opportunity for the first time to hear and accept the gospel.

    To me, the LDS doctrine in this area is the perfect combination and balance of God being merciful, yet also being just and uncompromising on eternal truth.

    In essence, according to our view, each person will have a genuine opportunity to hear and accept the gospel before judgement- either during this life or in the spirit world. That way, we will all be on the same grounds, or playing field. Accepting the gospel in the spirit world will require the same committment and faith that it requires here. Some have claimed that it will be easy to sign up there- a claim that I completely reject.

    At some point (judgement day according to our doctrine) we all have to arrive at the same understanding of truth whether we choose to embrace that truth or not. Make sense? “Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess…” How will people who never heard of Christ kneel and confess that He is the Christ?

    If somebody who never heard the gospel was judged solely on how they theoretically would have responded had they had the opportunity and was sent to heaven, would they not be a little confused or behind a little in understanding what was going on and who was in charge and on and on?

    I guess what I am claiming is that there is truth in what you are saying- God has a way of making it all work out for people based on the desires of their hearts. But what we offer is a little more concrete information on the mechanics of how He does that.

    I am very reassured that you believe in a God who does not send babies and other people to burning hell when they did not have a chance. I know there are those who believe just that. Amazing.

    fof

  60. June 10, 2009 7:43 pm

    Face it, there is no other path. How else are the innocently ignorant not damned by your theology?

    Ethan, that was lame. Sorry, buddy.

    I can’t speak for anonymous’ views, but Jack and I spent several paragraphs explaining that there are various positions in Christian thought regarding the fate of the unevangelized. I’m a Mormon too, but I try my darndest not to misrepresent others’ beliefs–because it seriously bugs me when people do it to us. You would be wise to do the same, otherwise you’re no better than the “anti-Mormon” crowd.

  61. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 7:45 pm

    Germit:

    The question is still “are Christians Mormon.” The stats about LDS demographics in that article are irrelevant. The point of that link was to showcase the myriad of MORMON Biblical beliefs that have crept into the Protestant world because they are solidly Biblical and simply make more sense. These are not theologians on the fringe either, many of these are right at the center of Protestant circles.

    The irony is that Joseph Smith and Co. endured tremendous ridicule for these teachings. I guess it is Mormon poetic justice that these ideas are now taught by pastors everywhere.

  62. June 10, 2009 7:54 pm

    Wow. Turns out Ethan is a person after all.

    His earlier cut-and-paste comments had me completely fooled.

  63. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 8:13 pm

    Katie,
    It’s not a lame point at all. Either these people who die without knowing Christ get a second chance or they don’t. Catholics have taught damnation for these for centuries. There may be some Protestant groups that are leaning toward the “after death” opportunity, but as Bridget admits, there are still many Christians who believe they are damned.

    At best what I am hearing is that they don’t know what happens. They simply trust that God will “work it out.”

    Not to sound cheeky but at least the LDS have delved into the Bible and come out with some solid verses that fix this dilemna (see above). Make of it what you will.

  64. psychochemiker permalink
    June 10, 2009 9:14 pm

    I hope the Evangelicals can understand why we Mormons are so confused about the wide spectrum of Evangelical beliefs. Quite frankly, we just don’t have as large of a standard deviation. And, we interact with the more vocal Calvinists quite a bit. Give us time as we learn to accept the large variety (deviations) in historical Evangelical Christianity.

  65. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 9:36 pm

    Jack,
    Sorry if I came across as snotty, as you say. There’s no call for attitude in these discussions. I’ll try to get proper facts when I’m speaking about Protestant beliefs. The one about infants being damned is actually taught by many Christians, perhaps I should have clarified.

    Same to Katie, I guess after dealing with recalcitrant critics of the Church for so long it brings out a certain je ne sais quoi. It’s nice to have a forum where things are discussed without the sucker punches. I won’t defame Kirk Cameron if you’ll lay off my underwear. Deal?

  66. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 9:41 pm

    psycho:

    I think there is some truth to that. I hope this doesn’t inflame anyone after my promise to be good, but have you ever googled “Evangelical Polygamy?” It turns out that statistically there are more Evangelicals in the US who are polygamists than FLDS. Not that I would judge the Protestants here by the actions of a few, but it does illustrate the broadness of what we are trying to pin down here.

  67. June 10, 2009 9:50 pm

    FoF ~ My response is to ask you what you think of the LDS plan of salvation as it relates to all people having an opportunity to hear for themselves the gospel of Jesus Christ?

    Honestly FoF, I’m not sure there is a single LDS position on the issue, and I find the matter a bit confusing because a lot of Mormons act like their position is the definitive church position. Some Mormons tell me that everyone will get the chance to hear the gospel again and eventually progress, even if they rejected it in this life, and I think LDS proxy ritual practices are consistent with this view. On the other hand, some Mormons tell me that people who rejected it in this life will not be able to progress further in the next life (that seems to be your position). Such people will be confined to the telestial or terrestrial kingdoms for eternity, or perhaps confined to one of the lower rungs of the celestial kingdom depending on circumstances. In any case, they’ll have no chance at exaltation.

    It’s all very interesting to me as a never-Mormon with a degree from Brigham Young University. No one can tell me that I didn’t get to hear the LDS gospel; I definitely heard it and said “no thank you.” So will I be stuck in one of the lower kingdoms or not?

    BUT I can tell you that my LDS relatives definitely plan on doing work for me and having me sealed to my husband after I die. What’s the point in performing sealings on dead people who rejected the LDS gospel in this life if they aren’t going to have a shot at exaltation in the next life?

    See? Confusing.

    In my opinion, position 2 (that there is no progression/second chance for those who reject the LDS gospel in this life) is more consistent with all of the LDS scriptures and not very far removed from my own beliefs about hell, but my experience has been that most Mormons believe in position 1, and the practice of performing sealings on dead people who rejected the LDS gospel in this life confirms this.

    Ethan ~ Your initial posts came across to me as deliberately polemical, which is why I responded in kind. If you’re honestly just trying to understand evangelical beliefs, that’s fine by me. Here goes.

    Either these people who die without knowing Christ get a second chance or they don’t.

    Or they don’t need a “second chance” because of individual soteriological inclusivism.

    as Bridget admits, there are still many Christians who believe they are damned.

    I didn’t say “many.” In my experience very few Protestant Christians take that point of view. Most will say that they do not know what happens to the unevangelized, they simply trust that since God is loving and God is just, it will all work out.

    If it makes you feel good that Mormonism has hammered this one down, fine; I won’t deny that evangelical Christianity doesn’t have a solid answer to this. However, I can point to all kinds of problems in the next life that Mormonism hasn’t worked out very well. Answered theological questions are a little like missing links. Every time you answer one, you create two more.

    Psychochemiker ~ I don’t mind when Mormons struggle with understanding the spectrum of evangelical beliefs. I do mind when Mormons choose the worst possible strain of evangelical beliefs on an issue, compare it to the most optimal option in Mormonism, then start high-fiving each other because Mormonism is awesome and evangelical Christianity sucks. We can all play that game, and it gets old fast.

    Ethan has toned it down though, so I’ll likewise do the same.

    @the topic ~ One more thing: I have never met an evangelical Christian who thinks babies who die before they can accept Jesus are going to hell. I have met evangelicals who think unevangelized adults are going to hell, but I’ve definitely never heard anything about applying that to babies and little children.

    I really disliked the extremely popular evangelical series Left Behind, but in it, all babies (born and unborn) and small children are taken in the Rapture in book 1. The book specifically gives time to how there is no work for the abortion clinics for several months after the Rapture because no one is pregnant anymore.

    So I would wager that most evangelicals think babies and small children are automatically going to heaven.

  68. June 10, 2009 9:53 pm

    Ethan: you are probably quickly discovering this for yourself, allow me to give this yet another nudge: “evangelical”, like “protestant” or even “follower of Joseph Smith” just doesn’t tell us much, does it ?? I AM an evangelical, according to most definitions, and I dont’ care for the term very much….it means so much, it means nothing at all. My beliefs are not at all similar in the areas that are important to me to say….Joel Osteen. Yet we are both “evangelicals” in most peoples understanding.

    From what I can detect after 14 months or so of blogging is that the Calvinitst voice on the internet is disproportionate to their actual numbers. I don’t mean this as a slam, only an observation. I’m sure WAY, WAY, down deep, they are good people….or will be in the next life….. 🙂

    GERMIT

  69. June 10, 2009 9:55 pm

    I didn’t say “many.” In my experience very few Protestant Christians take that point of view. Most will say that they do not know what happens to the unevangelized, they simply trust that since God is loving and God is just, it will all work out.

    Absolutely my take as well, JACK…..

    GERMIT

  70. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 10:28 pm

    Germit:
    Indeed, we have struggled through the semantic tangles of trying to attach these complex ideas to mere words. So much frustration and hurt originates from these misunderstandings.

    Which perhaps brings it all back to my original post about LDS salvation vs. exaltation. I wasn’t beeing snide when I asserted that in my opinion it is the Mormons who believe in salvation by grace and the Protestants who believe in salvation by works. This is using the LDS idea of salvation, not exaltation. Many anti-Mormons lightly throw around the LDS idea of “salavation” when they’re really talking about exaltation.

    Truly, LDS or Evangelical, perhaps we do need someone like Moses to call it all for what it should be. A spokesman for the Lord. I can hear you rolling your eyes, I know this is an LDS cliche but clearly the Bible alone is not setting the record straight for these variations. That statement is not necessarily anti-bible.

    Jack:
    individual soteriological inclusivism…(way to pull out the heavy lumber, I confess this is new to me). This appears to basically say that EVERYONE throughout all time, young and old, who never heard of Aslan (Christ) get a free pass to heaven. Man was I on the wring bus to Earth! But I don’t think Attila the Hun is good company. So we are still left with them either getting a second shot or not.

  71. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 10:34 pm

    ps, how do I create a proper avatar on here? I feel like a second class citizen with the Mormon quilt pattern that the blog is giving everyone.

  72. June 10, 2009 11:04 pm

    ” The one about infants being damned is taught by many Christians”……

    Hi, ethan —

    Other than the Roman Catholic faith tradition ( and I suspect E.Orthodox) what Christian faith traditions or denominations teach that infants are damned?

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  73. June 10, 2009 11:15 pm

    I won’t defame Kirk Cameron if you’ll lay off my underwear. Deal?

    LOL! While Jack couldn’t care less if you defame Kirk Cameron, I will take you up on that deal! 🙂

  74. Ethan permalink
    June 10, 2009 11:30 pm

    Gloria,

    At the outset, let me say that the “infant” aspect could become an emotional red herring. Age is irrelevant. The idea of people dying without hearing of Christ is being applied to ALL ages here.

    For one thing, Protestant Christianity is a branch of Catholicism. Like it or not, the Catholic tradition is the Protestant tradition on paper, else what were they “protest”-ing? Trust me, I’m a Latter-day Saint and we are family tree geeks. LDS faith was not born of a protest, we consider ourselves a whole new plant, but that’s another issue. The fact that there are 1 billion Catholics should not be overlooked. That is substantial. Most Evangelicals have no problem with a Catholic running for president, a trip to Baroque Rome, or calling Catholics Christians. If not the authors here would no doubt be running an “I Love Catholics” blog. So we take their beliefs seriously.

    Also, like Jack said there are still those in the Protestant circles who share the belief that the unevangelized are toast. Jack, do you have more info on the sects that do?

  75. June 10, 2009 11:37 pm

    I won’t defame Kirk Cameron if you’ll lay off my underwear.

    Kirk Cameron is a favorite topic around these here parts. Feel free to go digging in the archives. Funnily enough, there are “certain Mormons” around here who have a bit more love for Kirk Cameron than “certain Evangelicals”. Though how anyone–ANYONE–could have anything but deep adoration for the man is beyond me. (You hear that? BEYOND ME!) 😉

    This appears to basically say that EVERYONE throughout all time, young and old, who never heard of Aslan (Christ) get a free pass to heaven.

    Ethan, there are strains of that in some approaches to the question–it’s called universalism. But more conservative versions of inclusivism (including, as I understand it, C.S. Lewis’s concept) state that people who respond to the “general revelation” they have received will be saved by the grace of Christ, even if it’s not until the afterlife that they realize it is Christ per se who is saving them.

    As I said, it’s a nuanced topic and there are lots of different perspectives within the Christian community on this particular point. I found this simple document extremely useful when I began learning about it, because it nicely summarizes some of the prevailing views.

  76. Stephanie permalink
    June 10, 2009 11:37 pm

    Hi Ethan,

    I apologize for the “anonymous” post above. I wasn’t trying to be incognito, I just hadn’t typed my name in I guess. 🙂

    I believe the real problem with the conversation is a differing definition of “heaven.” My copy of “Preach My Gospel” defines the Kingdoms of Glory this way, “Those who have repented of their sins and received the ordinances of the gospel and kept the associated covenants will be cleansed by the Atonement of Christ. They will receive exaltation in the highest kingdom, also known as the celestial kingdom. They will live in God’s presence, become like Him, and receive a fulness of joy. They will live together for eternity with those of their family who qualify. In the scriptures this kingdom is compared to the glory of brightness of the sun” (53). In other words, this heaven is for the LDS. The terrestrial heaven appears to be a place for moral people and the telestial kingdom is for the “sinners.” So, in other words, as a moral person, but not a Mormon, I would probably go to the second kingdom down. How is that heaven for me? Without the presence of God there that would be hell!

    In contrast, the Bible says that Heaven is a place where God dwells. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2,3) Heaven is the dwelling place of God (Matt 6:9; Matt 10:32; Matt 12:50). The way the LDS church has divided up “heaven” seems deceitful to me. On the surface it appears that everybody gets to go to heaven, but then on closer examination God only resides in the highest of the “heavens” where the LDS go.

  77. June 10, 2009 11:43 pm

    Germit,

    It is interesting that you say that the Calvinist voice on the Internet is disproportionate to its size in the body of Christ. I think you are correct, I travel a bit for work and I have had a difficult time finding a Reformed Church to worship at in many places of the country. It is harder and harder to find a Reformed Church that has an evening service. In fact NAPARC denominations number less than 1 million and I can assure you that some of those people don’t own computers. I think there are probably more “Internet Calvinists” than there are Reformed. Just an observation and totally off topic.

  78. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 12:11 am

    Stephanie,

    I would agree with most of what you say. This LDS view dovetials with the verses you qouted about the “strait gate.” LDS maintain that refers to the Celestial Kingdom.

    The way the LDS church has divided up “heaven” seems deceitful to me

    The Bible makes clear that all mankind will be “judged. . . according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12) And if so, won’t everyone’s rewards be different one from another? As you said in John 14:2 Jesus insisted that in His “Father’s house are many mansions.”

    Paul wrote that in the judgment a person’s works might be added to his reward or burned up, but either way he might still be saved: “If any man’s work abide which he hath built [upon the foundation of Jesus Christ], he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 _Cor. 3:14-15) Paul also indicated that he had seen a vision of “the third heaven.” (2 _Cor. 12:2) Therefore, one might logically conclude from these passages that recipients of salvation will be allotted varying rewards within at least three different “heavens” or “degrees of glory.” This is in the Bible.

    Also, it is LDS doctrine that Jesus Christ will reside in both the Terrestrial and Celestial kingdoms. The more I think about it the LDS “Terrestrial Kingdom” is essentially the Protestant concept of heaven. Jesus is there, it is a glory beyond imagination, there are no families/marraiges, harps…not sure :). It is only in the lowest Telestial “mansion” that would be considered “hell.” (we’ve hashed out the Hitler thing).

    Interestingly, I think Joseph Smith once said that if you could see the Telestial Kingdom you would kill yourself to get there. Hell is somewhat relative, but we are sure it is still misery (hell) in that you fell short of higher potential. Someone dropping out of high school rather than going to Harvard puts them in a different track in life, they’re alive and surviving but what if…..

    FOF – what’s your take on LDS Hell vs Telestial Kingdom?

  79. June 11, 2009 1:12 am

    Stephanie,
    I appreciated your remarks. It was well stated.

    I am glad to know that Jesus had paid the price for me to be eternally in the presense of God and live forever more with Him.

    I look forward to that day with joyful anticipation.

    God bless,
    gloria

  80. June 11, 2009 1:15 am

    Ethan,

    How do LDS view Rev.20:15

    ” And whosever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

    The lake of fire is the final resting place of those who rejected the lamb. How do the LDS reconcile that with all those “good” people, who rejected Christ in this life?

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  81. June 11, 2009 1:22 am

    Ethan,

    I guess I am just not clear…. you said most christians view that infants that die are damned? I am not clear on that… because the only faith tradition that has taught that has been the Catholics…. and maybe the E.Orthodox….. most Christian faiths most definately do not believe that. Are you eluding to Catholic Faith? I also have to say that I believe the Roman Catholic church recently changed it’s position on that — my sis is deeply Catholic and we were speaking of this a few weeks back. I would have to check though.

    For the rest of the Christians here — any of your churches or denominations teach infants are damned without baptism? Mine sure doesn’t.

    Ethan, just because the Catholics teach that does not mean the rest of Christianity does.

    I would also say that there are sites out there that speak out against the false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I have a sis who is Catholic and definately born again. The Lord told us we must be “born again”… there are many christians who attend church each Sunday and have yet to be born again and truly experience a re-birth in Christ. As I tell my children, not all christians have been born again. Many just attend church out of custom, tradition ,etc. but have yet to fully give their lives to Christ.

    Hope that makes sense,
    gloria

  82. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 1:31 am

    Gloria,

    The Encyclopedia of Mormonism notes, in part:

    Latter-day scriptures describe at least three senses of hell:
    1.that condition of misery which may attend a person in mortality due to disobedience to divine law;
    2.the miserable, but temporary, state of disobedient spirits in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection;
    3.the permanent habitation of the sons of perdition, who suffer the second spiritual death and remain in hell even after the resurrection.

    We DO believe in a “bad” hell. LDS scripture repeatedly refers to hell, as does the Bible, and as demonstrated above, the LDS have a clear use of hell in their theology.

    LDS scripture says of those in hell that “their torment is AS a lake of fire and brimstone” (2_Ne. 9:16). Thus, LDS scripture sees the burning of hell as metaphorical. This does not, however, mean that LDS doctrine devalues or downplays the suffering of hell. The resurrected Christ told Joseph Smith that:

    15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
    16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
    17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
    18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
    19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
    20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit. (D&C 19:15-20)

  83. June 11, 2009 1:46 am

    Ethan ~ I won’t defame Kirk Cameron if you’ll lay off my underwear.

    See, I loathe Kirk Cameron, so this is a good way of encouraging me to make fun of LDS underwear some more.

    In seriousness though, I only took shots at LDS garments because I was being rude on purpose. In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, my husband is an active, garment-wearing Mormon, and I’m usually more respectful of such things.

    For one thing, Protestant Christianity is a branch of Catholicism. Like it or not, the Catholic tradition is the Protestant tradition on paper, else what were they “protest”-ing?

    That’s a little ridiculous, Ethan. If you want Protestants to be responsible for Catholic teachings, then I’m going to have to require Mormons to own the crazy-[butt] teachings of all 100+ LDS splinter groups which have accepted Joseph Smith as a Prophet and the Book of Mormon as scripture since 1830, and I don’t think you’re going to like that. But hey, they’re definitely part of the “Mormon tradition.”

    If you’re upset about evangelicals not wanting a Mormon in power (i.e. Mitt Romney), well, what on earth did you expect after we’ve had to put up with Harry Reid? 😛

    Personally, when it was Romney v. McCain, I infinitely preferred Romney, but I guess that’s all water under the bridge now.

    To answer your questions:

    (1) As Katie indicated, limited individual soteriological inclusivism doesn’t work out to a “free pass to heaven” for everyone who hasn’t heard of Christ. Have you read The Last Battle? In it, Emeth is one of thousands of Calormene warriors who invade Narnia, and he’s a worshiper of Tash. He actually has heard of Aslan—and he hates him—but he sincerely seeks after and thirsts for the truth. He’s a good and noble man who loves doing what’s right, but he’s sincerely been deceived into Tash-worship.

    When the Calormenes begin spreading the lie that Aslan and Tash are one in the same (“Tashlan,” ie pluralism), Emeth decides to venture through the door of the shack where Tashlan is held to see if it’s true. Through the door he winds up in the new Narnia (ie heaven) where Aslan eventually confronts him. He tells Aslan that he earnestly sought and desired Tash his entire life, but Aslan corrects him and says that his heart’s desire was always for Aslan when he thought he was seeking Tash, he just didn’t know it.

    The other thousands of Tash-worshiping Calormenes still go to hell.

    So, the Calormene warrior account is C.S. Lewis’s way of saying that very rarely it’s possible that people in false religions who have rejected Christ due to deception can be saved. I apply the same principle to people who haven’t even heard about Christ at all.

    (2) I don’t know any Protestant sects which directly teach damnation of the unevangelized as a denominational creed or anything like that, I’ve only heard it from individual speakers and videos on very rare occasions.

    I suppose Calvinists who accept double predestination might believe that the reason God lets these people remain in areas where they don’t hear the Gospel is because they’re predestined to destruction anyways, but I don’t know for sure if that’s their view. Even if it is, it’s not like we need any more evidence that Calvinism is repulsive to free-will-loving Mormons.

    Avatars

    To get a cool Avatar, this is what you need to do:

    1. Register for a Username at WordPress. Unless you want to start your own blog, say that you just want a User Name, not a blog. I’m guessing “Ethan” is taken, so register as something else and follow my directions for changing your display name to Ethan.

    2. Log in to WordPress. In your control panel, go to the lefthand sidebar and click on “Users.” A menu will drop down. Click on “Your Profile.”

    3. You will see a square box in the righthand corner which says “My Gravatar.” Click on “Change your Gravatar” and follow the directions for uploading a new picture.

    4. Under “Name,” go to the drop-down menu on “Display name publicly as” and select Ethan. If Ethan isn’t part of the real name you used to sign up for the account, enter it in the “Nickname” field and it will become an option on the “Display name publicly” menu.

    If you need further help, I’ll upload some pictures for you.

  84. psychochemiker permalink
    June 11, 2009 2:29 am

    Dear Stephanie,
    While the celestial kingdom is certainly part of the LDS conception of Heaven, I sense that you interpret the celestial kingdom is the ONLY LDS conception of Heaven. This is not true. While no faithful LDS is aiming for something other than the Celestial kingdom, I think the LDS concept of heaven includes both the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms, however I recognize that this subtlety is something some LDS fail to comprehend to teach to other Christians. In the telestial kingdom, the inhabitants can enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost. Under LDS theology, the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead, and because God dwells in heaven (Abr 2:7), where God dwells is heaven, be it the person of the Holy Spirit, Son, or the Father. Inhabitants of the terrestrial kingdom can enjoy the presence of the Son. The telestial kingdom is heaven, the terrestrial kingdom, is heaven. The glory of the terrestrial kingdown is greater than that of the telestial kingdom, and the glory of the celestial kingdom is greater than that of the terrestrial kingdom.

    No “sinner” will end up in the Celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, or the telestial kingdom. There will be plenty of reformed sinners, in all three. This is not something that Mormons have been very good at understanding, but scripturally, “No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God”, be it the Father, Son or Holy Ghost. No murderer will be admitted to the presence of the Holy Ghost. Those who are eventually purified by the atonement can enter the kingdom of Heaven. The question is when do they accept. In this life, in the next, when they first hear, do they resist the spirit for minutes, days, decades, the entire millennium? No part of the kingdoms of Glory will be lacking the presence of God.

  85. psychochemiker permalink
    June 11, 2009 2:33 am

    Ethan.
    The telestial kingdom is not equal to hell. I would love to see the LDS scripture you prooftext to prove that.
    Also, call for references on the Joseph Smith quote. “The bloggernacles doesn’t likes false quotes.”

  86. psychochemiker permalink
    June 11, 2009 2:48 am

    Jack:
    Are you sure the rest of the Calormenes still go to hell, or are you interpreting that into the text because we don’t see them in Narnia.???

    Admittedly Jack,
    Many LDS are weak in their understanding of the Plan of Salvation. I’d love to share by 0.02 Euros and see if that helps.

    Everyone will get A chance to hear the gospel, free of false interpretations, and the weakness of human existence, depression, abuse, FALSE TEACHINGS. But if the spirit does testify to you somewhere along the path, and you reject it, there will be consequences. Those who reject the spirit will be held back from their spiritual progression.

    And Jack, while it’s true that you’ve heard the LDS gospel, the real question is “Has the Holy Spirit born Witness.” If yes, and you’ve been willfully rejecting it and don’t repent before you die, you can count exaltation out and probably the celestial kingdom. If sometime early after you die, you repent of your perverse nature that you’ve taught your daughter, you can expect to be saved in terrestrial glory. If you relish your irreverent Kirk-Cameron-publicly-bashing-but privately- um- intrigued by for the entire millennium, and procrastinate your repentance away from that until the end of the millennium, expect a telestial Glory of Heaven with the Holy Ghost.

    The reason we perform “ordinances of exaltation” for hopeless cases like yourself isn’t really because we think they’ll help you, but because God has commanded that all receive the same equal opportunity.

    BTW, I know humor isn’t my strongpoint, so just for the record “Hopeless case” and the whole “icky KC crush” were attempts at humor on my part.

  87. germit permalink
    June 11, 2009 2:53 am

    EthaN: so you could HEAR my eyes rolling….just how many super human powers do you have ? I’m a little afraid now, but let me tell you straight out, the assassin wives here won’t flinch….they don’t do the fear thing….ever. I think JACK would sooner wear her hair in a bun and can her own jelly ..

    well, you’ve HAD a “spokesman” for 180 yrs or so, and it doesn’t seem (to me) to have solved all the mysteries either. I know “main and plain truths of salvation, etc.”….but I could say EXACTLY the same about the bible, so we’d be even.

    I don’t have a lot to share about your link, “Are Christians Mormon” other than a remark that some of those folks cited were anything but “at the center” of their respective denoms. Teihard de Chardin to the Catholics is roughly the same as Orson Scott Card to the Mormons….. would you put Card at “the center” of Mormonism ?? Maybe not.

    appreciate your ideas and input, hope you are enjoying the company here
    GERMIT

  88. June 11, 2009 3:17 am

    Psychochemiker ~ The other Calormene warriors and rebellious Narnians step into Aslan’s shadow and disappear. Seems like implied hell to me, but who knows.

    Simple question: do you believe it’s possible for someone to hear a clear, honest presentation of the LDS gospel and not receive a witness from the Spirit?

    you repent of your perverse nature that you’ve taught your daughter

    NEVER! Guess it’s the telestial kingdom for me. Do they have wakeboarding in the telestial kingdom? If so, I think I can live with it, especially if I get to wear a scandalous two-piece swimsuit.

    Germit ~ What’s wrong with wearing my hair in a bun? Goes great if I’m shooting for a “naughty librarian” look.

  89. Stephanie permalink
    June 11, 2009 3:19 am

    Psychochemiker and Ethan,

    Okay, I think you guys are making it worse!!! 🙂 Are you saying Jesus won’t reside in the Celestial Kingdom!?! Please no. Please don’t tell me that the perfect sinless Son of God who died on a cross for my sins is going to go to the second class heaven. Say it ain’t so……..

    Stephanie

  90. June 11, 2009 5:06 am

    Ethan, Joseph Smith never said you’d commit suicide to get into the Telestial Kingdom. That’s a Mormon urban legend that gets passed around a lot.

    What he said was that its glory surpasses any human understanding.

    Jesus rules the Terrestrial Kingdom in some ritual sense. But he is one with the Father. Of course he dwells in full presence of the Father. Same with the Holy Spirit, even though those in the Telestial Kingdom enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit. I’ve even heard it said that beings from higher glories can visit the lower glories, but not vis versa.

    Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants is a symbolic representation of the afterlife. Like any symbolic paradigm that seeks to classify real people in human terms – it is inadequate to capture the full nuance and meaning of the situation. People certainly cannot be pigeonholed so easily.

    The primary message of Section 76 is that there are degrees of reward in heaven that are tied to our willingness to let Christ’s Atonement be a force in our lives. The Mormon view of Atonement is two-fold: first the resurrection and salvation of all (which is indiscriminately given to all irrespective of their own choices). But the second part is the way in which the Atonement acts as an enabling agent in the life of the follower of Christ. It is this enabling agent that allows the disciple to enter God’s temple, make sacred covenants, progress in the Gospel and endure in righteousness to the end of the journey. Not of personal merit. But through use of the Atonement as a daily and constant tool toward sanctification. The degree to which this second part of the Atonement (seemingly neglected by some Evangelicals) is a part of one’s life will determine the degree of glory that one enjoys hereafter.

    As Jesus said – in Father’s kingdom there are many mansions and many degrees of reward.

  91. June 11, 2009 12:54 pm

    Ralph,

    Sanctification is an essential doctrine of the Reformed Church but we regard that act of atonement, the perfect sacrifice made by Jesus Christ that fully satisfies the justice of the Father, as an act of the Son and not something that we take part in.

    If you are interested in the importance of sanctification I would start with “An Alarm to the Unconverted” by Joseph Alleine or the Mortification of Sin by John Owen. Both are available on Google Books.

  92. psychochemiker permalink
    June 11, 2009 1:23 pm

    Simple question: do you believe it’s possible for someone to hear a clear, honest presentation of the LDS gospel and not receive a witness from the Spirit?

    Yes, which is why I specifically do not try and interpret your status vis-a-vie afterlife.

    And Jack, all clothing in the telestial kingdom is to the wrists and ankles, if you believe hell is hot. And if you believe hell is cold, hell is freezing and you don’t get any clothes. Of course, they’re all tk smoothie anyhow. {joke}

  93. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 3:41 pm

    pyscho:
    Just looked up that qoute and you’re right, complete folklore.

    Stephanie:
    Christ can certainly reside anywhere, he can set up camp in Huckabee’s guest house if he wants.

    I think it’s fair to say that the LDS view of the Terrestrial Kingdom is spot on with the traditional Evangelical view of heaven. It’s a win-win in that sense in that good Christians are going to get exactly what they hope for, as they understand it now. What LDS (and frankly bible- see above) theology present in the Celestial Kingdom is a more sophisticated view of the order of things. It offers a greater hope for the literal children of God. The same way you look at your toddler and imagine him progressing to where you are. There is nothing unnatural in that system. It is the very pattern of life that God created here. There are no coincidences.

    Another thought is gender. Do you believe that you will be a female in the next life? Why? If we retain our gender identities in the eternities does that not indicate some design for family life and procreation? If not, why not do away with gender and have everyone become Kate Moss?

    Jack:
    Thanks for clearing up the Narnia analogy. It still seems a little automatic, this is exactly the kind of quagmire that gives the atheists delight. Bill Maher is raking them in on this stuff.

    Germit:
    I have nothing but boyishly frightened respect for the assissin wives on here.

  94. psychochemiker permalink
    June 11, 2009 4:00 pm

    Jack

    step into Aslan’s shadow and disappear. Seems like implied hell to me, but who knows.

    But you’re defintely reading that into the text. One could also suppose Lewis was referencing the Great Divorce. The really just shrunk very quickly. We should be careful about reading more into the text than Lewis actually writes…

  95. June 11, 2009 4:02 pm

    I have nothing but boyishly frightened respect for the assissin wives on here.

    You are wise, young one.

  96. June 11, 2009 4:14 pm

    We should be careful about reading more into the text than Lewis actually writes…

    I would add that we should be careful about basing our theology on C.S. Lewis at all unless we can see where he’s basing his on scripture…… Just my .02 cents.

    LOVE your avatar, Ethan! LOL!!!! 🙂

  97. June 11, 2009 4:15 pm

    Jessica, good point–about both C.S. Lewis AND Ethan’s avatar.

  98. June 11, 2009 4:22 pm

    Ethan ~ this is exactly the kind of quagmire that gives the atheists delight. Bill Maher is raking them in on this stuff.

    This comment makes absolutely no sense to me. It certainly isn’t more of a quagmire than all the stuff that happens with LDS temple sealings, death and divorce to which Mormons can only helplessly reply, “the Lord will sort things out later.”

    To answer the questions you asked Stephanie, I hope that in the next life, God doesn’t change our sexes, hair color, eye colors, or skin colors, because I think they’re all beautiful. An eternity full of people who look exactly the same, Kate Moss or not, would get boring fast. And I don’t think the LDS view of eternity is “more sophisticated.” Just more confusing, and potentially somewhat disturbing depending on how you look at it.

    BTW, glad you got the avatar figured out.

    Psychochemiker ~ But you’re defintely reading that into the text. One could also suppose Lewis was referencing the Great Divorce.

    Um, the little tiny shrunken people in The Great Divorce were in hell, so it’s correct to say the Calormene warriors went to hell either way. C.S. Lewis definitely believed in hell:

    God can’t condone evil, forgiving the wilfully unrepentant. Lost souls have their wish – to live wholly in the Self, and to make the best of what they find there. And what they finds there is hell. Should God increase our chances to repent? I believe that if a million opportunities were likely to do good, they would be given. But finality has to come some time. Our Lord uses three symbols to describe hell – everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46), destruction (Matthew 10:28), and privation, exclusion, banishment (Matthew 22:13). The image of fire illustrates both torment and destruction (not annihilation – the destruction of one thing issues in the emergence of something else, in both worlds). It may be feasible that hell is hell not from its own point of view, but from that of heaven. And it is also possible that the eternal fixity of the lost soul need not imply endless duration. Our Lord emphasises rather the finality of hell. Does the ultimate loss of a soul mean the defeat of Omnipotence? In a sense, yes. The damned are successful rebels to the end, enslaved within the horrible freedom they have demanded. The doors of hell are locked on the inside.

    In the long run, objectors to the doctrine of hell must answer this question: What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins, and at all costs to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty, and offering every miraculous help? But he has done so – in the life and death of his Son. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, that is what he does.

    I’m not really sure what you’re objecting to here.

  99. June 11, 2009 4:30 pm

    I found the Great Divorce fascinating. But I didn’t much care for the analogy of the guy leading an oversized puppet of himself around on a chain.

  100. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 4:53 pm

    Jack:

    To answer the questions you asked Stephanie

    You didn’t actually answer the real question and it’s a rather intriguing one. What is the role of gender in the next life?

    Also, LDS Temple ceremonies are no stranger than the Judeo-Christian temple cultus tradition in the bible were people put on clothing, conducted ritual, were required to make covenants and even slaughtered animals. There are Jews today who want to rebuild the Temple in Jersusalem and start bringing in hefers. Would that offend your sensibilites? If you subscribe to the bible it shouldn’t, right?

    It seems anti-Mormons are quick to play the “strange” card, they really cannot condemn anything in LDS theology without condemning the Bible cultures. If you don’t like polygamy (I’m not a big fan), then you’ll have to come to terms with Moses and abraham’s family life when you meet them. Even Bill McKeever’s entire rolodex of LDS folly can be traced back to something in the Bible. They are only strange to people 1600 years removed from them.

    The “Mormons aren’t biblical” tack baffles me. If you don’t like the teachings, take it up with the word of God.

  101. June 11, 2009 5:01 pm

    ” It seems anti-mormons are quick to play the “strange” card , they really cannot condemn anything in LDS theology without condemning the Bible cultures. If you don’t lie polygamy, they you’ll have to come to terms with Moses and Abraham’s family life when you meet them”

    Ethan,
    I don’t doubt that the things done in the OT would be considered odd by all of us…….. the difference is, that God did not command all those odd practices… for example, it was man that chose to abandon God’s plan for marriage and begin to multiply wives unto themselves. God did not ordain it so, but allowed man to have their way as a result of the hardness of their hearts or shall I say the “lusts” of their hearts ( thinking of Solomon here:)

    As for animal slaughter, burning incense, lighting of candles.. yeah that sure did happen, and it is spelled out pretty specifically in the OT. The OT rituals are openly written about and discussed in the Bible. I have been thru the LDS endowment ceremony more times than I can count as well as sealings and baptisms for the dead, etc. & I can tell you there is no comparison between ancient Jewish Temple ritual and modern Mormon temple ritual. It was an eye opener to me when I read thru the OT and saw the many differences…..

    I for one am glad that God wants the circumcision of our hearts, instead of our body…….

    Kind regards,
    glroia

  102. June 11, 2009 5:09 pm

    What is the role of gender in the next life?

    So that we can continue blissfully procreating into the eternities.

    Obviously.

    (Once had a seminary teacher use that precise phrase: “blissfully procreating into the eternities.” Thank you for a mental image my 16-year-old self didn’t need, Mr. Seminary Teacher.)

  103. June 11, 2009 5:14 pm

    ” one had a seminary teacher use that precise phrase: blissfully procreating into the eternities”.

    hmm…. would that was a male seminary teacher who said that?

    No doubt.:)

    Gloria

  104. psychochemiker permalink
    June 11, 2009 5:17 pm

    Seth R.

    I found the Great Divorce fascinating. But I didn’t much care for the analogy of the guy leading an oversized puppet of himself around on a chain.

    Did you not like the symbol (because it speaks against your own pride) or for some other reason? I only ask, because if I didn’t like the symbol, it would be because I wouldn’t like the way it represented my “defense mechanisms” that don’t really help me at all, my pride.

    Jessica.
    While I recognize that you believe your own private interpretation of the Bible is the only infallible one, I recognize that others have different ways of interpreting the data. I, like Seth, found Lewis’s interpretation of Hell so different than the caracitured calvinist “souls roasting on an openfire, crows nipping at your eyes” that the “traditional trinitarian God” seems to enjoy so much. Lewis work was nothing more an imaginative interpretation, no LESS valid than your own. But fascinatingly, Hell serves a purpose more than just appeasing a God who likes to smell burning souls, it’s meant to get people to turn from their own pride and arrogance to the source of all goodness, God, by the power of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

    I was merely suggesting, that Jack should look at some of Lewis’s other writings when attempting to interpret his works rather than her own worldview. That was the whole purpose behind the prooftext post of mine.

    I’m not arguing that Lewis didn’t believe in Hell, but rather, lewis didn’t place the disobedient Caloremens in the “traditional Hell” some evangelicals are so happy to place the large majority of humanity into. The very fact that he didn’t describe the place where the other caloremenes ended up has significance as well. Maybe he was tired of writing. Maybe he didn’t want to focus on that. I don’t know what it is, but I’m certain the text only implies they went to hell if that’s the worldview you insist upon reading INTO the text. And that, my friends, is why Evangelicals can never fully understand Mormonism. And I’m sure vice-versa is true as well.

  105. June 11, 2009 5:27 pm

    Why yes, Gloria, he was male.

    Though I would be lying if I said I don’t enjoy a little “blissful procreating” every now and then. 😉

  106. June 11, 2009 5:28 pm

    Ethan ~ What is the role of gender in the next life?

    I don’t believe in gender roles in this life. Why would I believe in them in the next life?

    If you’re asking me what the function of male and female are in the next life, to me, that’s like asking me what the function is of redheads v. blonds. It’s just one more way God has of making us different.

    Mormonism may have found something resembling answers to your question, but frankly, I think Mormonism’s answers suck.

    I haven’t called Mormon temple ceremonies “strange,” so I’m not really sure what you’re getting at. I am a bit of a self-professed temple phobe, but I’ll freely acknowledge that’s just me. I also haven’t said anything about how Mormonism “isn’t biblical.” I find claims on who is and isn’t “biblical” to be really vague and unhelpful, and even if I could show you LDS beliefs which aren’t in the Bible, so what? The Bible isn’t your ultimate and only source for revelation, anyways, so I’m not going to waste our time with that.

    And as far as polygamy goes: I’m fine with polygamy in the Old Testament. Politically I’m pretty okay with a society that allows polygamy, religiously I’m not a big fan of it as per my interpretation of certain passages in the New Testament. What I don’t like is a system which says polygamy is an eternal order wherein men can have multiple wives in the next life but women can’t have multiple husbands. That puts men in a privileged position over women for eternity. That’s what disturbs me.

  107. June 11, 2009 5:31 pm

    Psychochemiker ~ I’m not arguing that Lewis didn’t believe in Hell, but rather, lewis didn’t place the disobedient Caloremens in the “traditional Hell” some evangelicals are so happy to place the large majority of humanity into.

    I don’t believe in “traditional Hell” either. To me, hell is about agency, dishonor and shame. Not literal fire, brimstone and gruesome physical torture.

    Someday I’ll have to do a blog post about it. Way too busy these days though.

  108. psychochemiker permalink
    June 11, 2009 5:36 pm

    I think I’ll also do a post about what I’ve learned from Lewis.
    What day do you move? It’s got to be coming up in the next months?

  109. June 11, 2009 5:56 pm

    We’ll probably arrive in Chicago sometime between August 20th and August 23rd. Got a 3-day trek across the country to plan for.

    Orientation is August 26th, so I have to be there before then.

  110. June 11, 2009 6:08 pm

    Blissfully procreating into the eternities…..

    this is so right…..and yet so wrong…..tell me he didn’t go with visuals… this is right up there with “pass the balloon” as a co-ed youth group activity….that draws a crowd of kids in a HURRY…learned that one the ….oops, almonst went there….. 🙂

    GERMIT

    hey, JACK , your post is bringing up visions of Half-Day Rd. have a rockin’ good grad school; keep stirring it up.

  111. June 11, 2009 6:20 pm

    I never played “pass the balloon” in youth group, Germit.

    I may have played “make out behind the church” once or twice though.

  112. June 11, 2009 6:31 pm

    I may have played “make out behind the church” once or twice though.

    My. Favorite. Game. Played it a time or two myself.

    Got caught making out after ward prayer once. That was embarrassing.

  113. June 11, 2009 6:34 pm

    If you don’t like polygamy (I’m not a big fan), then you’ll have to come to terms with Moses and abraham’s family life when you meet them.

    The Bible doesn’t say Moses was a polygamist or that he had two wives at the same time. This is an assumption based on the mention of another wife (the Ethiopian woman) after Zipporah, but this was much later in life so it could have been that Zipporah died. We don’t know as the text doesn’t say so I don’t think Moses is a good example to use. There were other polygamists mentioned clearly in the OT, I just don’t think Moses is a good example to use.

    Thankfully, when I meet them they won’t be polygamists anymore since there is no marriage in heaven! 🙂

  114. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 6:52 pm

    I don’t believe in gender roles in this life. Why would I believe in them in the next life?

    I don’t think gender roles (social) is the same as the role of gender (sexual).

    If you’re asking me what the function of male and female are in the next life, to me, that’s like asking me what the function is of redheads v. blonds. It’s just one more way God has of making us different.

    You have no problem with gay marriage then. I have this image in my head of some Evangelical Duran Duran video. Will tween girls in heaven still obsess over Twilight? hee hee!

    What I don’t like is a system which says polygamy is an eternal order wherein men can have multiple wives in the next life but women can’t have multiple husbands. That puts men in a privileged position over women for eternity.

    My understanding is that this is not exclusive to men, women are able to be sealed to more than one husband. I can think of several examples. Can you back this up, pyscho?

  115. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 7:08 pm

    Gloria,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. To be honest, my younger sister did not enjoy the endowment when she first went through. Now that she knows more about it, she has great reverence for it.

    Here are some Bible scriptures that back up the LDS Temple experience:

    1 cor 15:29 baptism for dead
    john 3:5 without baptism NO heaven. As per our post on unevangelized.
    nehemiah 7:5 genealogy records for temple use
    Genesis 1-3 creation drama
    ex 40:12-13 temple clothes, washings, anointing @ temple, garment put on.
    psalms 23 anoint head with oil in temple
    num 27:23 hands laid n joshua’s head for ordinance
    isa 40:31 people given new names
    rev 3:12 people go to temple/recieve new names
    rev 1:5 temple people made priests and kings unto God.
    rev 3:4-5 wear WHITE garments, do not defile them
    1 kings 7:25 Solomon’s temple had a baptismal font on the backs of 12 oxen.
    and on and on…

    Perhaps Dan Brown’s new book about Mormon and Masonic Temple rites will further connect the dots back to ancient Israel for those who don’t know these ties. At least Tom Hanks can explain it, even with a bad haircut.

  116. June 11, 2009 7:37 pm

    Ethan ~ I have a problem with gay marriage religiously because God prohibits it in the Bible. Admittedly I couldn’t tell you why it’s prohibited; that isn’t explained. I have some theories, but they’re long-winded and ultimately it’s one of those things I accept on faith. Politically, I’m in favor of the “civil unions for all, let churches define marriage” option.

    I’m not sure I believe in a sexual role of gender outside of pure biological reproductive functions, and even that is difficult to believe in because not all men and women have those functions in this life. I really don’t see why those functions would exist in the next life. Given how unpleasant pregnancy is, I rather hope they don’t.

    The current LDS church policy is that men can be sealed to more than one woman while living, either due to death of or divorce from previous wives. Living women can only be sealed to one spouse. If spouse 1 divorces her or dies, she has to have the sealing canceled before she can be sealed to spouse 2.

    In 1998, the policy changed to allow a deceased woman to be sealed to all of the spouses she was married to while living; I believe the requirement is that all parties involved be deceased. I believe it’s also a requirement that she had no other sealings prior to death; they won’t add more sealings to an already sealed woman. The idea behind this seems to be so that the deceased woman can choose which husband to be with, not so that she can be a postmortem polyandrist. The fact that sealings to multiple men for living women are still prohibited backs this up.

    I’ve seen these policies discussed and clarified in many places on the LDS Bloggernacle; here for example.

    So yeah, it seems like Mormonism teaches eternal polygamy only one way, which says disturbing things to me about gender in the next life. There are Mormons like Seth who think this is wrong and polygamy will be permitted both ways in the next life, but to my knowledge church leaders have never said anything backing that up. Quite the opposite.

  117. June 11, 2009 7:54 pm

    Politically, I’m in favor of the “civil unions for all, let churches define marriage” option.

    DITTO
    GERMIT

  118. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 8:10 pm

    I don’t mind civil unions either. The constitution exists for the benefit of society. Marriage as an institution, and all of the legal perks that come with it, exists as an incentive for people to enter into it. It’s good for society. I can’t think of one way that gay marraige benefits society on any level. Besides, if the gay movement breaks down this door it will set a precedent for polygamy, siblings, Jack and her husband…whatever goes! 🙂

  119. June 11, 2009 8:43 pm

    “If you don’t like polygamy (I’m not a big fan), then you’ll have to come to terms with Moses and abraham’s family life when you meet them.”

    I will back up what Jessica said above… bad example with Moses. In addition, Abraham is not a good example either. Although The Bible mentions a concubine there is absolutely no mention of more than one wife at a time. He did not take his second wife until after Sarah died. In addition, the concubines are mentioned only in passing, are never ordered or mentioned as being even remotely condoned by God.

    Darrell

  120. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 8:48 pm

    Jack,
    In all seriousness, how is it being married to a Mormon? You seem like quite an activist, I imagine there would be some karate chops.

    ps I can’t take this avatar anymore, gives me the creeps

  121. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 9:02 pm

    Darrell,

    There is no way you can maintain that Biblical polygamy wasn’t common and approved by the Lord.

    It is true that David and Solomon were condemned for some of their marriage practices. This problem was mentioned in Deuteronomy 17:15-17.

    Critics ignore the fact that only four chapters later, the Lord gives instructions on how to treat equitably plural wives and children. (See Deut. 21:15-17.) Why does He not simply forbid plural marriage, if that is the intent of chapter 17? Why does He instruct the Israelites on how to conduct themselves in plural households, if all such households are forbidden?

    Other examples:
    Abraham married Hagar (Gen. 16:3), Keturah (Gen. 25:1) and other unnamed concubines (Gen. 25:6).
    Jacob (Gen. 29:21-30, Gen. 30:3-4, Gen. 30:9)
    Abijah had fourteen wives (2_Chron. 13:21) and yet he is described as a righteous king of Judah who honored the Lord (2_Chron. 13:8-12) and prosper in battle because of the Lord’s blessing (2_Chron. 13:16-18)
    Jehoiada, priest under king Joash had two wives (2_Chron. 3:4) and is described at his death as one who “had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward his house. [i.e. family]” (2Chronicles|16).
    and also possibly:

    Moses [married Zipporah (Ex. 2:22 and an “Ethiopian” (Cushite) woman Num. 12:1 which may or may not be the same person.

  122. NChristine permalink
    June 11, 2009 9:19 pm

    Hi Ethan,

    I wanted to respond to something you said WAY back there. (It seemed very important as I read over this whole conversation…to which I am obviously very late.) 🙂 You said,

    LDS do believe correctly that he will be resurrected, immortality is a free gift of God to ALL mankind, purchased through the blood of Christ. We are SAVED from death by this grace.

    As I understand it, Mormons believe that general salvation involves the universal resurrection of the body. Universal salvation = bodily resurrection. Is this correct?

    However, Jesus clearly stated that all will indeed be resurrected…but that there are two resurrections. One of those resurrections, He said, is the “resurrection of damnation”:

    Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his [Jesus’] voice, and shall come forth [resurrection]; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

    According to Jesus, Mormons are right in saying all will be physically resurrected. But how can physical resurrection equal “salvation” (under any definition) when some of those who are physically resurrected will be “damned”?

    Someone might argue that perhaps the Greek word translated “damnation” does not refer to hell. However, that “out” does not seem justified from a quick search of the use of the word on such a resource as blueletterbible.org. The word often refers to “the day of judgment” (e.g., Matt. 12:36) and is related to the judgment of the wicked (e.g., Sodom and Gomorrha). The term is also used in the phrases “the damnation of hell” (Matt. 23:33) and “eternal damnation” (Mark 3:29). Most pertinently, it is used by John in the same chapter as the above quotation (chap. 5) in contrast to “everlasting life” (verse 24).

    How can one participate in the “resurrection of life” that belongs to those “that have done good”? Jesus said this in the exact same passage:

    He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [same Greek word as “damnation”]; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24).

  123. June 11, 2009 9:36 pm

    Ethan ~ If you’re interested, I did a lengthy series on my Mormon-evangelical interfaith marriage here. It’s probably still got one or two parts coming.

    You’ve got lots of people responding to you, and I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’m gonna let you go. I’ve enjoyed our exchange.

    Wishing you all the best.

  124. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 9:36 pm

    Christine,

    Good question. We often get confused in the semantics. Let me try to explain the way I understand the LDS doctrine.

    John 5:29 says it well:
    And shall come forth; they that have done good (works), to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil (bad works), to the resurrection of damnation.

    Either way, Mormons teach that everyone is “saved” in this sense. To be resurrected all you need to do is be born, Christ and his infinite grace have provided that gift.

    The LDS doctrine of exaltation is another matter. This is not only to be resurrected, but to have what the scriptures call “eternal life” in the Kingdom of God, as natural family units, etc…

    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me IN MY THRONE, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne (Revelation 3:20 – 21).

    What do people who sit in thrones do? The are like the king.

    He that overcometh shall inherit ALL things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Revelation 21:7).

    You have to ask yourself how a “son” can inherit all that his father has here on Earth. Obviously it is by growing up, getting educated, getting married and having his own family like his dad. Is God our father and are we His children as the Bible says? Is the Earth patterned after heaven? Mormons believe it is, not by coincidence.

  125. June 11, 2009 9:43 pm

    psycho,

    The image was fine. What I didn’t like is how the supposedly exalted woman lectures her husband on how the joy in heaven prevents her from ever feeling any loss at him rejecting heaven.

    The idea that Heaven is so happy that we never feel bad about all the schmucks who didn’t make it never sat well with me.

  126. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 9:53 pm

    Christine,

    One moe thought on this “salvation” idea. I think salvation here is being used in terms of the grave, or being dead; not existing the way atheists and existentials see it when we die.

    In other words, we live again. The grave has no “victory” because through Christ all will rise again like he did to be immortal.

    1 cor 15:55 says it beautifully:
    O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? This of course beacuse of Christ on the cross.

  127. June 11, 2009 10:08 pm

    Ethan,

    The marriage of Abraham to Hagar was never commanded of the Lord and actually brought some pretty bad things upon him and Sarah. You mention Keturah. Perhaps this is an oversight on your part but she was taken as his wife AFTER Sarah died and after he had sent Hagar away.

    There is not one mention in The Bible of The Lord commanding or condoning plural marriage. Yes you find people doing it; however, you can find people doing many terrible things that The Lord allows but never commands or condones… slavery comes to mind. As for polygamy, The Lord never condones it He merely puts up with it. In fact, in many places He specifically talks about how we are to have one wife… Genesis 2:24 specifically says and the two shall be one flesh. It does not say that the 3, 4, 5 or in JS’s case 30+ shall be one flesh. Also check out 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 and Titus 2:6. Why would The Lord tell JS polygamy is part of The New and Everlasting Covenant yet tell us in The Bible that Adam, Bishops, Overseers and others should only have one wife?

    Darrell

  128. Ethan permalink
    June 11, 2009 10:42 pm

    The evidence we have about Abraham’s character is very positve from the Bible. Nowhere does the Lord come down and chastise him for marrying Hagar. What makes you think the “bad things” that inlvolved Hagar were a result of Abraham’s polygamy? The bible does not say it’s due to the marraige, that is an assumption.

    The bottom line with Hagar is that Abraham, a man that we know to be one of the premier men of God in the Bible, utterly upstanding, is in a polygamous relationship. Furthermore, there is no evidence there that God was displeased in any way by the marraige.

    You still have Deut. 21:15-17 which is God basically telling people how to live as polygamists the RIGHT way. Pretty conclusive.

    Titus 2:6 tells young men to be good, nothing more.

    Gen 2:24 says “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This seems to be saing that when people are married they become “one flesh” (united), this does not preclude 2, 3 or 20 wives becoming one team in one estate. It says a man shall cleave to a wife, but it does NOT say that a man may not cleave unto more. An important distinction.

    Even Augustine, a towering figure in Christian theology, held that polygamy was not something that was a crime before God, but rather a matter that depended more upon cultural biases:

    “Jacob the son of Isaac is charged with having committed a great crime because he had four wives. But here there is no ground for a criminal accusation: for a plurality of wives was no crime when it was the custom; and it is a crime now, because it is no longer the custom. There are sins against nature, and sins against custom, and sins against the laws. In which, then, of these senses did Jacob sin in having a plurality of wives? As regards nature, he used the women not for sensual gratification, but for the procreation of children. For custom, this was the common practice at that time in those countries. And for the laws, no prohibition existed. The only reason of its being a crime now to do this, is because custom and the [secular] laws forbid it.”

  129. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 12:41 am

    Jack,
    Thanks for posting that. I didn’t realize you were no longer married. Feel free to drop a line whenever you want and good luck in chicago.

  130. June 12, 2009 12:48 am

    Oh no, I’m definitely married. If you read the entire divorce article, you’ll see that my husband and I got back together.

    November 1st will be our six-year anniversary.

  131. psychochemiker permalink
    June 12, 2009 1:40 am

    Seth,
    I didn’t even remember that part.
    You’ve given me something to think about, again…

  132. germit permalink
    June 12, 2009 1:55 am

    The evidence we have about Abraham’s character is very positve from the Bible. Nowhere does the Lord come down and chastise him for marrying Hagar.

    Actually, the evidence is very ‘mixed”, which gives schmucks like moi a LOT of hope….if a liar and occaisional coward like Abe can get GOD’s favor by faith, maybe I can also…as to the chastisement: look closely at the course of events following NOT trusting GOD for an heir…maybe ‘chastisement’ came in the form of cause and effect.

    glad to have ya here, Ethan
    GERMIT

  133. germit permalink
    June 12, 2009 1:59 am

    JACK: congrats on making it into your sixth year…It will be 13 for Mr and Mrs GERMIT this Nov.30; I would say it just gets easier and easier, but that would be a lie (at least from what I’ve seen) and I’ve used up my allotment of lies for today….easy or tough, it’s good to see a couple say “better or worse”, and mean it…..

    GERMIT

  134. June 12, 2009 2:01 am

    “Titus 2:6 tells young men to be good, nothing more.”

    My bad. I meant Titus 1:6. It speaks specifically about how an elder must be the husband of but ONE WIFE. I guess JS, BY and others were not Elders. Maybe they got away with it because they were High Priests, Seventies, Apostles and Prophets. Perhaps The Lord holds Elders to higher standards than Prophets and Apostles?

    “What makes you think the “bad things” that inlvolved Hagar were a result of Abraham’s polygamy?”

    One of the overall messages of Genesis 15-21 was Abraham and Sarah taking it upon themselves to hurry The Lord along by entering into a polygamous union to father a child. Many difficulties arose as a result. Bear in mind that nowhere does The Lord command or instruct them to do this. This is something THEY CHOSE TO DO as they were hoping the Lord would bless the union and the child. Unfortunately for them The Lord did not (17:18). 16:12 speaks rather poorly of what the child’s life would be like and let us not forget that many believe we now have Islam as a result of this union. Also, Sarah, Hagar and Abraham’s life were very difficult as a result.

    1. Sarah regretted what she had done
    2. Abraham was forced, in order to keep peace, to send Hagar away twice
    3. Poor Hagar was sent away alone with a child (the first single mom!) and had to be comforted by The Lord
    4. Ishmael’s life was hard (some might say cursed when you look at 16:12).

    If you don’t call these difficulites I don’t know what to tell you. All of this because they did not just trust the Lord and chose instead to enter into a polygamous relationship to father a child OUTSIDE OF the convenant. If this is what The Lord had intended then Ishmael would have been blessed with the covenant.

    “this does not preclude 2, 3 or 20 wives becoming one team in one estate.”

    Ah, but it does say the TWO shall become one. If God would have intended polygamy He could have made it pretty clear here. Perhaps He would have created multiple Eve’s. That would have made it TERRIBLY CLEAR. The first wedding would have set the stage for all to come. In addition, if the purpose of polygamy is to father multiple children quickly, as many Mormons say was the intent The Lord had in JS’s time, it would have extremely easy to do right from the beginning of time by having multiple Eve’s running around. Perhaps then The Lord would have said “man shall cleve unto his WIVES and THEY ALL shall become one.” The fact is, two becoming one is not consistent with 30 becoming one. A man cannot be ONE FLESH with one wife and then ONE FLESH again with 29 others. That would be multiple ONE FLESHES from ONE MAN. Maybe JS and BY were 30+ ONE FLESHES??? Makes no sense.

    “…but it does NOT say that a man may not cleave unto more.”

    Your logic basically says unless something is EXPLICITLY prohibited we can do it. I thought there was something in Mormon theology about not having to be “commanded in all things?” By your logic slavery is ok since The Bible doesn’t explicitly prohibit it and people practiced it in Biblical times.

    “You still have Deut. 21:15-17 which is God basically telling people how to live as polygamists the RIGHT way.”

    Again, The Bible also tells slave owners how to treat their slaves and slaves how to obey their masters. Does that mean slavery is OK? Is God actually condoning slavery by telling people they ought to treat each other RIGHT? I think not.

    “Even Augustine, a towering figure in Christian theology, held that polygamy was not something that was a crime before God…”

    Even great thinkers can be wrong from time to time.

    Darrell

  135. Stephanie permalink
    June 12, 2009 3:44 am

    Hey Ethan,

    I have to say that I’m really digging your new Avatar.

    Sorry to jump on your response to Gloria but I would like to copy what you wrote to her:

    Here are some Bible scriptures that back up the LDS Temple experience:

    1 cor 15:29 baptism for dead
    john 3:5 without baptism NO heaven. As per our post on unevangelized.
    nehemiah 7:5 genealogy records for temple use
    Genesis 1-3 creation drama
    ex 40:12-13 temple clothes, washings, anointing @ temple, garment put on.
    psalms 23 anoint head with oil in temple
    num 27:23 hands laid n joshua’s head for ordinance
    isa 40:31 people given new names
    rev 3:12 people go to temple/recieve new names
    rev 1:5 temple people made priests and kings unto God.
    rev 3:4-5 wear WHITE garments, do not defile them
    1 kings 7:25 Solomon’s temple had a baptismal font on the backs of 12 oxen.

    Perhaps you missed the earlier conversation about prooftexting, but some of these verses are really excellent examples of Scripture twisting. For example, I Cor. 15:29 is pulled from a passage about the resurrection and those who deny the resurrection. Verse 29 mentions people who baptize for the dead. It neither condones nor condemns the act, but rather uses it as an example of the participants’ inconsistency of belief and practice. One of the LDS museums in SLC has this verse above a recreation of the baptismal font. However, only the FIRST part of the verse is used. In fact, they usually go so far as to chop the first sentence of the verse in half! This is the verse in its entirety, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” The focus of the verse and the passage is the resurrection! You cannot pull this verse out of its context and build a theology around it.

    John 3:5 is also taken out of context in a very major way. This passage records Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus and the requirement of being born again. The context of this verse if prior the ordinance of Christian baptism and passage itself does not even mention the word baptism. The Jews would have been familiar with the baptism of the Jews and John—if Jesus was referring to either of those he would have used the word baptism. He doesn’t. He says, “born of water.” Since the passage is not talking about baptism we cannot use this verse to support a theology that contradicts the rest of the NT. It seems more likely that the water in this passage is not from the baptismal font but the “living water” that Jesus offered to the woman at the well.

    Nehemiah 7:5 is just one example of many in the Bible showing the importance of genealogy to the record keeping of the Jews. Both Luke and Matthew record Jesus’ genealogy and from that information we can learn a great deal about the human ancestry of Christ. The “temple use” in the LDS sense is way different than the record keeping of the Jews. The Jews did not do genealogy for the purpose of baptizing their relatives from eternity past but rather for the purpose of record keeping.

    Genesis 1-3. Yes, this is the story of creation. If read in its context it greatly contradicts the teaching of the LDS church’s rendition.

    Ethan, these are just a few examples of prooftexting. I offer a challenge to you. Jessica has written a couple of excellent posts entitled, “In the beginning” parts 1 and 2. Part 2 deals with Romans 5:12-20. True Bible study and understanding comes from reading an entire passage, entire chapter, entire book, entire whole. You cannot come to a solid Biblical theology by tying together half a verse from Corinthians, verse from John, verse from Genesis, etc. The Bible was never meant to be understood in that manner. It is meant to be read within its context. It is interesting to note that, while this has been a heated and lively conversation, the blog post about Romans 5:12-20 contains only 8 responses. And only half of those responses were by Mormons. My challenge to you is to respond to a PASSAGE. Not a verse here and there but an entire passage within its context. I think you will find that the Bible varies greatly with what you are being taught in the LDS church.

    Stephanie

  136. June 12, 2009 4:14 am

    “You cannot pull this verse out of its context and build a theology around it.”

    Stephanie, I actually agree with this. You can’t get the Mormon three degrees of glory or baptism for the dead from Paul’s words alone.

    But Paul’s words PLUS Joseph Smith’s OWN prophetic lifeline to God CAN yield such a result.

    LDS would do well to remember that we simply do theology differently than Evangelicals.

    And that’s not a bad thing.

  137. Stephanie permalink
    June 12, 2009 4:22 am

    Seth,

    I get what your saying. But, I think I mentioned to you before my reservations with J.S. based upon his marrying plural teenage wives. Someone who marries a 14-year-old doesn’t have a “prophetic lifeline to God.” Sorry. Thats what David Koresh tried to sell people too. I’m not buying it.

    Steph

  138. NChristine permalink
    June 12, 2009 4:35 am

    Hi Ethan,

    I started to write to you and then refreshed the browser and found you were getting multiple responses from multiple people on multiple topics. This is not gang-up-on-Ethan day. 🙂 Please consider these scriptures and thoughts below, though; they are crucially important.

    I found myself confused by your response regarding the “resurrection of life” and the “resurrection of damnation.” I do understand that Mormons have different categories for different types of salvation. But how do you square this with Jesus’ categories? Jesus has two categories when it comes to salvation: (1) the resurrection of life and (2) the resurrection of damnation. This is extremely simple and extremely clear. How does this fit with the idea of everyone being “saved” by resurrection? How can those resurrected for “damnation” possibly be “saved”?

    Further, who are the people that belong in each of Jesus’ two categories? You seem to suggest this:

    Exaltation = Eternal Life = Rewarded on the basis of works

    Have I correctly stated this belief? That is not what the Bible teaches. As I noted above, this very resurrection passage (John 5) says, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (Jn. 5:24). In other words, the Bible says this:

    “Resurrection of life” = Eternal Life = Given by grace on the basis of faith

    You also cited passages about “him that overcometh” as referring to the LDS doctrine of exaltation. However, the passages you quoted are from Revelation, written by the apostle John. Who are the “overcomers” according that self-same John? He tells us in 1 John:

    For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God (I Jn. 5:4-5)?

    In other words, someone “overcomes” not by “growing up, getting educated, getting married and having his own family like his dad.” One becomes an “overcomer” by “faith,” says John! This adds another facet to the Bible’s teaching on salvation:

    “Resurrection of life” = Eternal Life = Given by grace on the basis of faith = Results in victory and overcoming!

    These biblical teachings are not just based on a few passages but on many, many passages…at length…in context.

  139. June 12, 2009 5:21 am

    Yeah Stephanie, and I simply reject your hyper-Puritan view of prophethood.

    The age of one of Joseph’s brides is utterly irrelevant to the issue.

    If our theology is better than yours, it is just better than yours.

    The end.

    Tough beans.

    Your attempts to make this about Joseph rather than the doctrine hold no sway with me, so you might as well drop it.

    I – don’t – care.

  140. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:25 am

    Wow, I leave for a few hours and coem back to the the Council of Nicea playing out right on my PC.

    I’ll be sure to try to get back so we can push forward some more philosophies of men mingled with scripture, in the Christian tradition.

    I can’t promise that we’ll cover all of this guys, way to disjointed. Rest assured that there are solid answers from the LDS camp on these. To save time and carpal tunnel diagnoses, refer to farms or fairlds.org

  141. June 12, 2009 10:55 am

    “Yeah Stephanie, and I simply reject your hyper-Puritan view of prophethood.”

    It is “hyper-Puritan” to consider it wrong for a 30+ year old man to coerce
    a teenage girl’s family into forcing her to marry him. By this twisted definition of “hyper-Puritan” maybe David Koresh and child molesters are all members of a Puritanical society.

    I (and many, many others to whom morality matters) – do – care.

    Darrell

  142. June 12, 2009 11:45 am

    Seth,

    I do not understand how you can be comfortable with a tying sanctification with the atonement and dismiss an expectation of morality in a man of God as puritanical. You might not want to read Alleine or Owen the will probably surpass your definition of hyper-puritan.

  143. June 12, 2009 1:04 pm

    Seth: I’ll give you a half-pass on the age of his bride, a half-pass on polygamy in general, but no pass at all for marrying another mans’s wife while that man was still alive. And a FRIEND’s wife, at that. I don’t rant a lot on this , it just seems to piss people off, but look me on my blogger eye and tell me you’re just peachy with a man of GOD marrying someone else’s wife, and that GOD HIMSELF directed that.

    GERMIT

  144. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 1:41 pm

    I know it is a leading tactic to denegrate the prophet Joseph, take him down and Mormonism goes with him, isn’t that your logic? Your push on him has to be fierce. However, I’m not going to let you get away with that kind of uncontested slam dunk.

    The fact remains on paper, in the testimonies of those closest to him, and in the pudding itself (accomplishments) that this was no mere charlatan, rascal, joker, 19th century shyster or other cartoon drawing that you rely upon to render his career void. What occured in his life is nothing short of miraculous on many levels. His writings alone make CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien (both life long Oxford men) look callow by comparison. That is not the product of a David Koresh.

  145. June 12, 2009 2:30 pm

    Oh, I do expect moral behavior Gundeck.

    I just don’t necessarily tie it to revelation.

    I agree with Ethan. I have yet to be convinced that Joseph’s marriage to Helen Mar Kimball (who may have actually been 15 rather than 14 – if you care) was any more coercive than many, many marriages in that time period. Nor am I even convinced he slept with her at all. By all accounts, it appears to have been more of a “dynastic marriage” than anything else (as were several other of his marriages).

    Today we think marriage, and we automatically think “sex.” That’s frankly because you guys have been watching too much TV.

    People got married in the old days for a variety of reasons and the institution was simply viewed differently. My own great grandmother would tell a story how she got pneumonia (serious business back then). She told her mother “if I die, don’t marry me to the bishop.” She didn’t much like him, and it was common practice in that time to marry a girl posthumously to the current bishop if she died before coming of age.

    Somehow I doubt that had much of anything to do with romance or sex.

    Polygamy was viewed as a religious ritual first and foremost.

    But either way – it’s all beside the point.

    Think the worst of Joseph if you want. But if you do – the problem remains for you:

    This lying, superstitious, adulterous, prideful, authoritarian, ridiculous backwoods farm boy came up with a theology that is, frankly, better than yours.

    And you’re just going to have to deal with that.

  146. June 12, 2009 4:14 pm

    “His writings alone make CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien (both life long Oxford men) look callow by comparison.”

    “AND IT CAME TO PASS”, Ethan was wrong.

    For those who have not read the BOM, “and it came to pass” is used about 50 billion times on each page. The book is, in this humble man’s opinion, a far cry from the literary works of Lewis and Tolkien. JS’s literary style is annoying at best and his theology as expressed in the BOM is nothing more than a confused mixture of trinitarianism and modalism. He later made made things even more garbled by choosing to go a totally separate route by delving into Tr-Theism. Fortunately he had not sold the copyright to the BOM, despite his best attempts, and was able to alter verses in the BOM to be more consistent with his new theological view (unfortunately he still left a few and we have the 1830 copy to show the changes). He also altered the First Vision account to be more consistent with Tri-theism by suddenly saying 2 beings appeared to him instead of 1. Great guy!

    Darrell

  147. June 12, 2009 4:26 pm

    “This lying, superstitious, adulterous, prideful, authoritarian, ridiculous backwoods farm boy came up with a theology that is, frankly, better than yours. And you’re just going to have to deal with that.”

    Seth,

    Resorting to the “my dad is better than your dad” school yard debate tactics? That is not like you. And I mean that seriously.

    I guess I can respond with, “No, my theology is better than yours.” So where does that leave us? Acting like 5 year olds saying, “No it’s not!” – “Yes it is!” – “No it’s not!” – “Yes it is!”

    The fact is it doesn’t matter what “tickles your ears more.” The only thing that matters is what is true. So the central point of this discussion should not be “my theology is cooler than yours.” Rather it should be demonstating how and why you think your theology is right and our’s is wrong. Obviously, given the fact I left the LDS Church, I don’t think you will be able to do this.

    Darrell

  148. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 4:30 pm

    Verily, Verily, Thus saith the Lord (I’m so sick of this garbage phrase):

    Darrell is overlooking the complexities and scores of bulls-eyes that Joseph Smith “made up” in the BOM.

  149. June 12, 2009 4:48 pm

    “Verily, Verily, Thus saith the Lord (I’m so sick of this garbage phrase)”

    I did a seard on Bible Gateway and, according to it, this phrase appears no where in The King James Bible. Perhaps you can point me to where it is.

    As a matter of fact, although verily does appear A FEW TIMES (no where NEAR the hundreds and hundreds of times “It Came To Pass appears in the BOM), I can’t find “Verily, Verily” anywhere in The King James Bible. Here is a link to the search.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=verily%2C+verily&qs_version=9

    Darrell

  150. June 12, 2009 4:48 pm

    The schoolyard phrasing was deliberately calculated Darrell.

    It points out the central problem I have with dealing with you, and many others.

    People in your group will always try to make it about the man instead of the religion at any opportunity. And I’m not taking it anymore.

    You want to have any traction with me, you will address the theology. I really don’t give a flying fig what Joseph’s accounts of the First Vision were. I find Mormon theology decisively BETTER than yours.

    And I suggest you take a long hard look inward and figure out why, if your God is true, he left you with such an inferior theology.

    Just centering this debate back where it belongs. Because frankly, Stephanie’s shallow attempt to divert the conversation with issues of Joseph’s character were totally off topic, and irrelevant. It’s a typical counter-cult tactic – when you’re getting nowhere, shout “Joseph’s a pedophile” and maybe no one will notice your other deficiencies.

  151. June 12, 2009 4:56 pm

    And by the way, for the Evangelicals I know here who don’t resort to lazy ad hominem arguments at the drop of a hat – I am aware that a lot of Christian theology is actually rather impressive and I do respect it.

    But I’m not having another “Joseph the pedophile” discussion. It’s a stupid argument for people who are bitter that what they learned in Mormon Primary wasn’t as detailed as they’d like. My belief stopped being about Joseph the MAN a long, long time ago. If you want to take that tack – you’re wasting your time with me.

    My challenge on the theology stands.

  152. June 12, 2009 5:03 pm

    Seth,

    I don’t think Joseph’s character when it comes to coercing a 14 year old into bed – ooops, I mean marriage – is besides the point at all. We are commanded to judge so called prophets BY THEIR FRUIT (Matthew 7:15-20). You should know this scripture as Mormons proof text it all the time. The fact is this scripture specifically talks about JUDGING WHETHER SO CALLED PROPHETS ARE TRUE OR NOT by their fruits. So we are dead on to look at JS’s use of his prophetic mantel to wed children and other men’s wives. It was sick and it demonstrates his being a false prophet.

    As for my theology being inferior, sorry Seth but you are wrong. I ahve experienced both sides, unlike you, and I know for a fact that the God I worship now and what He has taught me is far superior to anything the god of Mormonism ever gave. The God I worship now is so much more real, peaceful and loving than the god of Mormonism that words can’t describe it. The peace that pervades my home now and the joy my wife and I have is amazing. We never had that as Mormons! Mormonism is inferior for one reason and one reason only… because IT IS FALSE.

    Darrell

  153. June 12, 2009 5:11 pm

    Seth, I’m crushed. I thought discussions revolving around Joseph Smith’s sex life were some of your favorite.

  154. June 12, 2009 5:13 pm

    Seth,
    I have told you before that I can care less about your Churches teaching on polygamy, my comment is pointed more to the hyper-puritan remark. I am not sure what a hyper-puritan is, but Alleine and Owen are probably a little to puritan on necessity and the extent of sanctification in the true Christian for you.
    I don’t want to start throwing bible verses at you but we are instructed to but just like the Bereans of Acts 17:11 we need to test doctrine by the Scripture so you may find Joseph Smith’s teaching palatable and superior but I find it wanting and worthy of rejection.

  155. June 12, 2009 5:14 pm

    Not when it’s implied that it has anything to do with whether he answered the theodicy or not.

    And Darrell, I think I’ve probably had more exposure to Christian theology than most Mormons. Heck, I’ve probably had more exposure than a lot of the people at that Lutheran Church down the street from our house.

    As for fruits. You’re ignoring most of them. That’s my central point.

  156. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:23 pm

    Derrall,

    Your technical tap dancing is stingy. You know exactly what I mean.

    There are many verses that begain with some form of:
    Verily, I say.. verily, saith the lord, “I am telling you the truth” etc.

  157. GERMIT permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:35 pm

    Seth wrote:

    Oh, I do expect moral behavior Gundeck.

    I just don’t necessarily tie it to revelation.

    and that would be a massive disconnect…yes , there are many problematic passages in the OT that would seem to help out SETH’s point, but really, it flies in the face of what we know of the use of ANY gift or position in the NT. SETH: believe what you will, for whatever reasons you will, but for the ev.’s here, it’s just not possible to separate a person’t revelation and who they are; all the more so in JS position as THE GUY who brought back the restoration.

    in a very real sense, the MAN IS the religion….so who he was as a man is very much an issue.

    leaving aside for a second “revelation”, how about use of power and authority ? Are those non-issues because his revelation is seen as superior ?? What about walking as JESUS walked ? But this is starting to sound preachy, I’ll end with that.

    GERMIT

  158. GERMIT permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:40 pm

    PS: and about “the old days” , I’m thinking that marrying your friend’s wife was not really that common back on the 1840’s…..am I missing something here ???

  159. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:46 pm

    You are still assuming too much. The Bible never forbids polygamy. If God knew it would become such a problem wouldn’t we have a clear “Thou shalt not be poly..?” You are reading the scriptures anachronistically. Polygamy was the cultural standard at the time. Early Christians understood, even if modern critics don’t, that polygamy is generally a matter of culture, and not an absolute moral right or wrong. See quotes here:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Early_Christians_on_plural_marriage

    Gen 2:24 in my KJV states “HIS wife” not “ONE wife.” Are you saying the millions who use the KJV are deceived? Is the Bible fallible? This is not anti-Bible, it’s anti-confusion. God is anti-confusion.

    How do we become “one flesh?” If we take it literally then God is commanding a nightmarish surgical procedure to fuse their skin. I look at it more like two candle flames that when brought together form one flame. More could be added.

    Also, this verse is sexually explicit. How do you “cleave” unto a wife and become “One flesh.” This is classic mo-pro (mormon procreation charge harmony). Can a man cleave to more than one woman at a time? Yikes! So it does not necessiraly preclude other spouses.

    You are reading the scriptures from Paul about “one wife” in a way that betrays far too much certainty. Paul’s meaning can vary with how the Greek is read, and one’s assumptions will dictate which conclusion one draws. Contrary to what they think, their conclusion is not the only possible one from the text (see footnote here):

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Early_Christians_on_plural_marriage#endnote_barney1

  160. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:46 pm

    Also, You can take the matter up with Augustine, Tertullian, and Justin Martyr if you wish. What right do you have to disagree? The only authority you have on this is the numbing overconfidence that comes from knee-jerk we-are-right-ism which maintains your comortable status quo. I think my take is correct, it makes more sense to me. What now? angel? prophet? burning bush? Mary on a piece of toast? You offer none. Shall I become Catholic? E. Orthodox? Baptist? All use the same bible and look at the chasms. But of course YOU are right, duh! Shucks, Bill’s “Mountain View Ministry” is correct. Everyone can go home now, Darrell figured it all out. His view isbetter!

    Finally, you seem to be thinking that plural marriage is tolerated by God, but not commanded by Him. This is ridiculous, since the law of Moses specifically commands it in some cases. God could have forbidden it, but did not. See:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Polygamy_not_Biblical
    http://en.fairmormon.org/Polygamy_not_Biblical/No_biblical_mandate_for_plural_marriage

    But, frankly, the whole issue of polygamy is far too complex for these kind of “sound bite” discussions with those who aren’t interested in understanding anyway.

    As for slavery, since you opened that box we should discuss how the Evangelical movement in its US cradle was up to its eyeballs in violent racism. Are the Evangelical fathers damned? Are the Israelites? Why not? If not, are LDS/polys off the hook, too? Why not? Was God leading the Evangelical Church when it taught that Blacks were sub-human in Alabama? Critics poke a mote at the misunderstood LDS Black history while they ignore a burning cross in their eye.

  161. June 12, 2009 5:58 pm

    Ethan, you had 11 comments go into spam. I think they are duplicates of the 2 comments I just retrieved, but let me know if you are missing anything and I’ll try to fish them out for you.

  162. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:01 pm

    Delete them, my previous post was too long I suppose so I broke it in two, Nicene Creed style!

  163. GERMIT permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:02 pm

    Polygamy was the cultural standard at the time. Early Christians understood, even if modern critics don’t, that polygamy is generally a matter of culture, and not an absolute moral right or wrong….

    then why does your church, ETHAN take such a stron stand (now) against it , if, in fact, it’s only “cultural” ?? On what grounds can they take that stand ??

  164. June 12, 2009 6:05 pm

    Seth, you said,

    “You want to have any traction with me, you will address the theology” and “My challenge on the theology stands.”

    I find this interesting because my impression is that you only comment on the threads that deal with external evidence. Whenever I post a thread on theology I don’t see many comments from LDS and I’m not sure if I’ve seen any from you. The last 3 posts I’ve done have been about LDS theology related to the fall. I’d love to hear your responses on those. PC admitted that I had made some good points and that he would have to think about them awhile before responding further.

    It’s fine to say your theology is superior and all that, but your silence on the theology threads conveys a different message.

  165. June 12, 2009 6:12 pm

    Jessica, it’s possibly because I’ve never been able to find your RSS feed. So most of the time I spot a post from you, it’s because it popped up in my Google Alerts inbox (I have certain keywords dialed in). Maybe theology posts are saying the “magic words” or something.

    It could also be that I leave theology-based posts alone because they actually make good points. I have done that before – though I can’t remember if it was here.

  166. Ethan permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:12 pm

    Germit,

    polygamy was instituted for various reasons as it has come and gone over the millenia. One is found in Jac. 2:30:

    “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

    For a list of some logical explanations look here:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Purpose_of_plural_marriage

    Makes sense to me.

  167. June 12, 2009 6:14 pm

    I don’t have RSS feed?? How do I add that??

    You can always just hit the “I Love Mormons” title at the top of my blog and it will bring up the most recent posts.

  168. faithoffathers permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:16 pm

    Whatever God commands is right.

    What God commands may not always seem on the surface to make sense to us mortals.

    A statistical, historical, cold, and factual analysis of prophets of God will never produce a witness from the spirit. Remove the spirit from the equation, and we would likely all be atheists.

    I think the issue ya’ll are discussin’ is at the core of what critics cannot let go of with Joseph Smith. But it is falling into a trap. It is using the brain to determine what God should do and what He can do. Don’t get me wrong- the brain is supremely important. But the reliance on the carnal way of thinking must be surrendered to some degree to obtain revelation from God. And true religion is based on revelation- past and present, personal revelation.

    No one fact should dominate the question as to whether Joseph was a prophet. And this one fact -polygamy- results in many people categorically rejecting Joseph as a prophet.

    I think the role of the brain in the equation includes an assessment of fruits- the fruits of Joseph Smith’s life and work. I know the critics here would say that polygamy, etc. was a bad fruit. That is debatable.

    Focusing too much on any given factoid or criticism can preclude a person from ever truly relying on the most important source of truth- the Spirit. It can easily result in prejudice that limits the ability to see the broader and more important perspective.

    You may say this is all just a wave of the hand.

    I can think of literally hundreds and thousands of very, very smart and educated people I have known who are familiar with the these issues with Joseph yet claim in all sincerity and honesty that they have received an independent, personal witness through the spirit that Joseph was a prophet of God.

    Left to my own natural brain- yes, I can very easily see having a problem with polygamy, etc.

    Germit mentions walking as Jesus walked. I absolutely agree- this is a look at the fruits of a person. Have critics here ever read the positive things about Joseph- his character, his service to others, his loyalty, his personal sacrifice in the accounts of those closest to him? There are countless stories of the goodness of this man, yet these never seem to figure into the equation for critics. He was willing to give his life for the claims he made, and that is no small witness.

    It is certainly possible to create an ugly caricature of Joseph Smith. But a person gets very little of the true, whole picture when they focus so much on details and events which we, in reality, know little about.

    fof

  169. June 12, 2009 6:22 pm

    Your technical tap dancing is stingy. You know exactly what I mean. There are many verses that begain with some form of: Verily, I say.. verily, saith the lord, “I am telling you the truth” etc.”

    Ethan,

    There are a total of 113 verses in the entire King James Bible that contain the word verily. 113 out of the THOUSANDS is not many. Here is a search on Bible Gateway for all of the verses containing verily.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/index.php?search=verily&version1=9&searchtype=all&limit=none&wholewordsonly=no&startnumber=26&startnumber=101

    Care to guess how many verses in the BOM contain the phrase “And it came to pass?” I’ll just take a wild guess and say that it is A HECK OF A LOT MORE than 113.

    PS. Sorry if you find this “stingy” but when you start comparing the pitiful literary style of the BOM to the great works of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien I feel obligated to demonstrate otherwise.

    Darrell

  170. June 12, 2009 6:26 pm

    “Care to guess how many verses in the BOM contain the phrase “and it came to pass?” I’ll take a wild guess and say that it is A HECK OF A LOT MORE than 113.”

    According to PC’s count here, it is 1,123.

    I don’t think he ran a search on “it came to pass” without the “and” – I believe that would significantly increase the number.

  171. June 12, 2009 6:28 pm

    Well, I’m a high-volume consumer of online content. There’s a few ways I cope with the volume and still get actual work done in the office (yes, I do get a lot done there).

    For one thing, I subscribe to favorite blogs via the RSS feed. I use Bloglines, because it’s free. Any time a blog like, say… Feminist Mormon Housewives puts up a new post, it automatically shows up in my aggregator for easy viewing. It’s like my own personalized newspaper in a sense.

    Another method is to favorite a blog in my browser when I encounter it. I usually do this, and yours is favorited under my “Religious Dialogue” category. But I rarely have time to scan my favorites. It’s very time-consuming. So if checking my favorites is the only way for me to find a new post from you, I’m unlikely to see much of your stuff.

    I also use “Google Alerts.” You give Google certain keywords and Google gives you a digest in your email inbox of (I assume) every blog post or new story that used that keyword today. My keywords are “Joseph Smith”, “Mormon”, “Mormons”, “Mormonism”, and “LDS”. Sometimes your posts trigger these keywords. But I’ve found that blog posts don’t always show up on these. It’s not exhaustive.

    I also like having an email subscription option to follow-up comments (which you have). This allows me to conveniently follow a conversation I’ve already waded into. But it does mean that I’m not going to the blog homepage every time I comment, but merely to the specific post. When a conversation stagnates and becomes no longer interesting to me, I’ll just start deleting the email updates without following through to the blog itself.

    Through these methods, I usually end up in half a dozen debates per week with various people. I’m debating with an atheist over the problem of evil right now actually. Sometimes I’ll update three different debates on different topics in one email inbox session within ten minutes or so – one on Limited Geography theory, a second on Fanny Alger, and a third explaining the three degrees of glory to a total newbie somewhere else.

    But if you get an RSS feed, I’ll probably catch most of your posts.

  172. faithoffathers permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:40 pm

    Darrell,

    The BOM literary style is “pitiful?” Wow. It contains some of the most beautiful statements and prose I know of.

    It contains thousands of what I consider pearls- unique and universal truths that are sometimes found in a single verse, phrase, or clause. It is the most profound and accurate description and demonstration of human nature and its interraction with and response to God.

    I suppose beauty or pitifulness (not a real word) is in the eye of the beholder. To me, the BOM is the most beautiful book in the world!

    fof

  173. June 12, 2009 6:44 pm

    According to PC’s count here, it is 1,123.

    I should add that you cannot run this search on LDS.org scriptures. It results in the number 171 for some odd reason. I knew this was incorrect because I had counted nearly 200 uses of this phrase in the book of 1 Nephi alone. I believe PC has all of the LDS scriptures on a computer program and that is how he was able to run the search. I would like to know how many uses of “it came to pass” without the “and” are in the BOM.

  174. psychochemiker permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:50 pm

    If you remove “and” from the phrase and search “it came to pass” you only get 1258, which is not a huge increase over 1123.
    LDS CD ROM scriptures are Die Bombe.

  175. faithoffathers permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:52 pm

    Darrell and Jessica,

    What is the implication of your pointing out that the phrase “it came to pass” occurs 1,123 times in the Book of Mormon? Are you suggesting the book is simple or shallow? Does the common usage of this phrase suggest the book is false?

    fof

  176. psychochemiker permalink
    June 12, 2009 6:53 pm

    Now you too can own this program.

    Holy Moly, that’s one heck of a link.

  177. June 12, 2009 7:04 pm

    Jessica, you need to go into your control panel, click on “Appearance” which will display more options, then click on “Widgets.” From there drag “RSS” into your sidebar menu.

    See image here.

  178. June 12, 2009 7:05 pm

    Ethan,

    “You are still assuming too much. The Bible never forbids polygamy.”

    No, you are trying to read into the Bible to find a way around what The Lord established so as to line up with your preconceived notion that JS was a prophet of God and therefore, the polygamy he established was OK.

    “Polygamy was the cultural standard at the time. ”

    First of all this an unsupported assertion. Second, so what if it was? Abortion is the cultural standard now. Does that somehow make it ok? Was it the cultural standard in JS’s time for 30 something year old men to wed 14 year old girls in a polygamous relationship?

    “Early Christians understood, even if modern critics don’t, that polygamy is generally a matter of culture, and not an absolute moral right or wrong.”

    Again, an unsupported assertion that Early Christians understood this. Citing a few early church fathers is a far cry from establishing the fact that all early christians though polygamy was a morally neutral act. In addition, who cares if they did? I don’t base my theology on what some early christians taught. I base it upon The Bible. The Lord established marriage between one man and one woman and He reaffirmed this standard repeatedly. Unlike you, I don’t need to find a way to get around this teaching so as to give a “latter-day prophet” a free pass to wed children.

    “Also, this verse is sexually explicit. How do you “cleave” unto a wife and become “One flesh.” This is classic mo-pro (mormon procreation charge harmony). Can a man cleave to more than one woman at a time? Yikes! So it does not necessiraly preclude other spouses.”

    Um, yes it does. If a man is “one” with one woman he cannot at the same time be “one” with another woman. BTW, the verse is not solely talking about sexuality… it is talking about spiritually, emotionally, etc. Again, a man cannot be one with 30+ woman at the same time.

    “Also, You can take the matter up with Augustine, Tertullian, and Justin Martyr if you wish. ”

    That is the difference between Mormons and Christians. I don’t have to take it up with them Ethan BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST MEN. There is only one I have to deal with on this issue – Yahweh. I have sought him out on this through prayer and study of The Bible and what I have found is polygamy is wrong.

    Ethan, you say the Lord COMMANDED polygamy at some point in The Bible. Can you please give me the specific verse which says this. I would like to read it.

    “As for slavery, since you opened that box we should discuss how the Evangelical movement in its US cradle was up to its eyeballs in violent racism. Are the Evangelical fathers damned? Are the Israelites? Why not? ”

    This whole issue is pretty simple. Slavery is wrong and those who twisted scripture to support it were wrong to do so. Are the damned because of this? No, they are damned for each and every single sin they committed UNLESS THEY HAVE COME INTO A REALTIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST. It is not the sin of slavery or polygamy that damns. It is each and every single sin you commit that damns (whether you only commit one or you commit thousands).

    FOF,

    “The BOM literary style is “pitiful?””

    Yes, IMO it is pitiful. I found the book irritating for several reasons. It’s repetitive use of “it came to pass” and run on sentences just to name a couple.

    Darrell

  179. June 12, 2009 7:13 pm

    Whoops, I gave you the wrong directions, Jessica. You actually want the box just above “RSS” which says “Meta.” Close enough, right?

  180. GERMIT permalink
    June 12, 2009 7:30 pm

    FoF asked…..
    The BOM literary style is “pitiful?”

    and I think the phrase Mark Twain used (himself, an agnostic with no horse in this race, IMO) was “sleepy….repetitive….biblish” and of course “chloroform in print”; but he was not a fan of ANY religion that I know of, so take that into account..

  181. GERMIT permalink
    June 12, 2009 8:13 pm

    FoF wrote:
    No one fact should dominate the question as to whether Joseph was a prophet. And this one fact -polygamy- results in many people categorically rejecting Joseph as a prophet.

    Yeah….it sure seems so, esp. when the ages and the context of some of these relationships is found out. So I guess there is a sizable number of folks who do NOT operate the way SETH does: look at the finished product of theology and go “WOW…..guess I don’t really care WHAT he did, or to whom, cuz I sure like that theology….” I know this is a simplification, sorry Seth…. but even for many a MO, it seems morality DOES matter.

  182. GERMIT permalink
    June 12, 2009 8:42 pm

    Ethan wrote: “

    Early Christians understood, even if modern critics don’t, that polygamy is generally a matter of culture, and not an absolute moral right or wrong.”

    I’m going to call you out on this one, Mr.E. I need to see some ‘coin’ on this one, dude, because it seems you have a few thousand years of church history, by that I mean PRACTICE, going against you. I’m thinking that’s for a reason (call it dead orthodoxy if you want, but I’m asserting that the early church did not AT LARGE practice what you say they taught)

    feel free to show me different
    GERMIT

  183. June 12, 2009 11:33 pm

    If you remove “and” from the phrase and search “it came to pass” you only get 1258, which is not a huge increase over 1123.

    Thank you for looking that up for me, PC! I really appreciate it!

    What is the implication of your pointing out that the phrase “it came to pass” occurs 1,123 times in the Book of Mormon? Are you suggesting the book is simple or shallow? Does the common usage of this phrase suggest the book is false?

    I just find it very interesting and different from the style of other books I’ve read, fof. It stands out as extremely repetitious to me. Also I’m not sure about this yet, but I think it might be supporting evidence that the BOM had one author. The use of the phrase is consistent throughout the book which is supposed to be written by various authors and merely “translated” by Joseph Smith. With the Bible we notice quite a bit of variation in style between different authors, but I hardly feel like I’m an authority on this topic as I haven’t concluded my in-depth study and analysis yet. Maybe someone else knows more about variation in style between the different books in the BOM.

    Thank you so much, Jack, for lending your technical expertise! 🙂

    Behold, the I Love Mormons blog is now available in RSS feed!

  184. June 12, 2009 11:35 pm

    The use of the phrase is consistent throughout the book

    Correction! I meant to say “the use of the phrase seems consistent…” that is, in my review so far….

  185. NChristine permalink
    June 13, 2009 12:03 am

    Hi Seth,

    You said this above:

    Your attempts to make this about Joseph rather than the doctrine hold no sway with me, so you might as well drop it.

    And yet just previously you had veered the conversation from the scriptural arguments by saying this:

    You can’t get the Mormon three degrees of glory or baptism for the dead from Paul’s words alone. But Paul’s words PLUS Joseph Smith’s OWN prophetic lifeline to God CAN yield such a result.

    My observation is that you were the one who “made this about Joseph.” 🙂 You changed the subject to JS by appealing to JS’s “prophetic lifeline” to defend doctrines not rooted in the Bible. It seems to me that if the weight of Scripture is dismissed in favor of a “prophetic lifeline,” then it is extremely important to examine the trustworthiness of that “lifeline.” I would much rather talk about the Scripture any day. 🙂

    Sure would like all to read and interact with Jessica’s more current posts and the scriptures belonging thereto.

  186. June 13, 2009 1:29 am

    Ethan,

    I Thought that someone would have let you know that the font in 1 Kings 7:25 was used for the priests to wash in according to 2 Chronicles 4:6 and was not used for baptisms much less baptisms for the dead.

  187. Ethan permalink
    June 13, 2009 1:57 am

    To all who are riding the polygamy wave here:

    There is much more that can be said about this complex topic. We’ve all made brief cases and yet (surprise) we seem to be at a stalemate…again. Of course, each side still believes the other is blind to the “evidence.”

    I have to say that I have little patience for these scripture chases that really prove little. Neither side is going to land a death blow, not because it’s difficult, but because it is so subjective.

    As an English major I remember often being assigned a text to study and analyze critically. A class full of diverse kids with different backgrounds and world views took him the same book and ended up crafting very different, yet perfectly valid, essays about what the meaning of the book was. That’s inevitable. Don’t kid yourself that this is any different. Frankly, Hemingway was much clearer, even when touting existentialism.

    In my view, an objective court of law would rule against the Bible as an effective, infallible source by the very fact that differing workable views exist. It doesn’t matter that you insist yours is correct. That’s great for you, whichever way you manage to convince yourself that you are indeed speaking for God or the men who wrote the passages.

    I stand by the LDS view interpretation. Period. I see plenty of evidence that polgamy was prevalant in biblical culture. I also find NO clear proclamation that it is forbidden.

    I find the LDS interpretation of the gospel elegant, effecient and frankly more. Feel free to disagree, I’m confortable with that. I don’t have the authority to tell you that you’re valid views are wrong. Run with it.

  188. Ethan permalink
    June 13, 2009 6:17 am

    Gundek,

    A Jewish professor, Dr. Harris Lenowitz, from the University of Utah is a frequent guest speaker in non-LDS comparative religion classes. One day a student asked him if Jews baptize. His reply, “who do you think the Christians stole the idea from?” He went on to explain that today, since the Jews lost the Temple, it i called a Mikva Bath and most synagogues have one. Converts to Judaism must have this ritual.

    Furthermore, ritual washing and anointing as was required of Aaron and other priests before entering the holy temple is another rite that is perfectly preserved in the LDS temple. Completely biblical.

    Frank Moore Cross, professor of ancient history at Harvard Univeristy said, “I am both interested and delighted to see so much of ancient religious tradition, particularly BIBLE tradition, taken up into the religious structures and rituals of the Mormons.” Do you think a Harvard professor knows history? This is a guy who publishes for the Smithsonian. He’s not LDS, what would he gain from such a comment if it were not true?

  189. June 13, 2009 2:04 pm

    Ethan,

    I am not sure what your point is. I am not denying that the Jewish people preformed and continue to preform ritual baths, in fact that is my position. I do not see how you can make a comparison between a mikvah and the “the sea of cast metal” describe in 1 Kings 7:25 and 2 Chron 4:6, because we are told that it was used by the priests to wash in, in the same fashion as the bronze base described in Exodus 30:18-21 was used. The physical characteristics of a Mikvah don’t even match those describe in 1 Kings 7:25 or 2 Chron 4:6. There is no ritual connection in the Bible between the “sea” or the “bronze basin” to a sacramental rite of entry into the covenant people, one of the uses for a Mikvah, and a Mikvah unlike the sacrament of baptism is preformed repeatedly before religious holidays in addition to a rite of entry upon conversion. A Mikvah is a ritual bath used by all believers, male and female, in modern Jewish worship, while the “sea” or the “bronze basin” were only used by the male priests. I find your attempt to imply a connection to be an act of over syncretism.

    I will have to accept your claim that you wash your hands and feet, so that you may not die prior to making burnt offerings, perfectly preserving in the LDS temple the rituals prescribed to Aaron, the fact that you do this at multiple temples and not the single place of worship prescribed by God not withstanding.

    I do wonder why if Frank Moore Cross is so interested and delighted in Mormon worship practices he isn’t a Mormon. But as I have shown, It doesn’t take a degree from Harvard to see that what ever purpose the font is used for in Mormon temples, it has nothing to do with the Basin described in Exodus 30:18-21 or the sea described in 1 Kings 7:23-26 and 2 Chron 4:2-6. I am baffled at what Professor Cross’s statement has to do with the propriety of Mormon worship much less the truth claims of your religion.

  190. Ethan permalink
    June 13, 2009 6:45 pm

    My point was exactly what this Jewish professor said, namely that the Mikvah Bath was close enough to the Christian concept of baptism that he actually joked about us (yes, you AND me as Christians) stealing it.

    The evidence is in the bath itself. Google a photo of a Mikvah and compare it to the bath in Soloman’s Temple. They are exactly the same dimensions. If the priests were merely “washing” in the bathroom sink sense then why have a giant hot tub to climb into?

    I will have to accept your claim that you wash your hands and feet, so that you may not die prior to making burnt offerings

    Spot on, only Christ and the higher law has done away with the OT law of sacrifing of animals. The washing and anoitning with oil that LDS do is preparatory to entering the temple to make sacrifices of a higher law nature. There are five covenants (or sacrifices we offer up) and they are detailed beginning in Revelations 2. The promises to “those who overcome” are exact mirrors of the teachings, covenants and attached blessings of the LDS endowment:

    “I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” – Creation drama
    “who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death” -resurrection/exaltation
    “I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it which no man knows save he that receives it” – Urim & Thummin with new name (become seers)
    “to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron” – lordship/power to reign as kings/queens
    “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white” – clothing
    “I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again (70 ad) will he leave it. I will write on him of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem (latter-day Zion), which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name
    “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne” What are thrones for? kingship/gods.

  191. NChristine permalink
    June 13, 2009 6:57 pm

    Hi Ethan,

    Sorry to jump in — I noticed you didn’t respond at all to my comment about Jesus’ definitions of resurrection and salvation and the apostle John’s definitions of “overcoming.” Since you are discussing “him that overcomes” again, may I ask you to have a look at that comment here? The writer of Revelation (John) makes explicit who the “overcomers” are and how one overcomes!

  192. Ethan permalink
    June 13, 2009 7:12 pm

    NChristine:

    Sorry if I missed your question. These promises and blessings to the seven churches clearly apply to the church in John’s day as well as to our church today. The WHOLE church seems to be meant. The instruction to each church was universal for it tells ‘what the Spirit is saying to the churches’—ALL the churches.

    Having listed the parallels, we can now work out why these correlations exist between the garden story and the letters to the seven churches (in rev: 2). John drew his readers’ attention to the temple themes found in Genesis 2–3. The letters were to sound a warning to the church as a whole. Apostasy was running full steam, fueled by false prophets and apostles. Entire branches were ignorantly or willfully being overrun by it. The message to the churches sounded a clear warning that God would abandon them unless they returned to him. Each congregation was responsible to stop the spread of heresy, hold on to the truth, and thereby gain salvation. The book “Opening the Seven Seals” explains:

    From the context of the letters, the Church’s spiritual life foundered in six areas. Two were external: a willingness to compromise with paganism and a denial of Christianity due to Jewish harassment. Four were internal: the acceptance of unauthorized leaders, approval of false doctrine promulgated by pseudo-prophets, halfheartedness and indifference, and a loss of love for the Church and her Master. Succumbing to any one of these would have sounded the death knell for the Church

    John reached out to warn and hold them, choosing the most powerful imagery he could—temple imagery. The trial of the Saints in Asia Minor became a kind of microcosm for the problem the Saints faced everywhere: overcoming the world while facing forces that would take them away from God. John’s readers lived in the fallen world and felt the effects of that fall. John encouraged them by promising a return to sacred space (temple and or heaven). After having left the divine temple of Eden, humankind could, by overcoming the world, once more enter into sacred space and enjoy the blessings of the eternal paradise, the temple in heaven.

    Our contemporary temples, of course, serve to reverse the direction of our (Adam and Eve’s) path toward the second death and destruction. Our temples assist us in partaking of the power of Christ (the hidden manna), gaining dominion in the eternal world, acquiring the sacred vestments, receiving the sacred name, and returning to the tree of life and to God’s presence.

  193. June 13, 2009 9:45 pm

    “the fact that you do this at multiple temples and not the single place of worship prescribed by God not withstanding.”

    Actually Gundeck, the pre-Exile Jews did have more than one temple. Multiple sites have been located that seem to have been done with the full blessing of those in Jerusalem.

    The “one-temple-only” criticism that Evangelicals sometimes level at Mormons simply doesn’t match the most recent scholarship. And even if there were only one temple in the time of Jeremiah, so what? You saying that God is prohibited from allowing more than one, just because we did it that way back in the days when we ate mutton over an open fire on a stick for dinner, and then went out to see a gay person publicly stoned to death in the village square?

    Talk about your religion being stuck in the Stone Age…

  194. June 13, 2009 9:58 pm

    Ouch. And I have been to some of those archeaological places outside Jerusalem, Seth.

    But I was just rejoicing today over the content of Jeremiah 31:6.

    Since the schism began back in the days of Solomon in the 900s, can you imagine the joy for those hearing this?

    The Northern tribes crying to go to Zion for worship!

    What a marvelous day!

  195. June 14, 2009 1:28 am

    Yes indeed. Who was right and who was wrong over 2,000 years ago?

    Fun to speculate I guess.

  196. March 18, 2012 5:02 pm

    Dear Rev pastor,

    Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    First of all, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Samuel
    Nethala. I am living in Andhra Pradesh, South India. I am working as a
    Pastor. There are many remote villages surrounding the town of
    Junupalli and mummidivaram in these villages’ live very poor and
    disadvantaged people, everyday we visit these people give out tracts
    and preach God’s message. Many people hear the Gospel and some are
    accepting Jesus Christ. We would really like to see these desperately
    poor people get the medical help. They also really desire to read and
    know about the world around them. This will take funding. Please pray
    for these needs. Being destitute farmers and fishermen, many of them
    are pagan worshipers. Our burden is to win these villages over to
    Jesus Christ. We need your kind prayers, encouragement and financial
    support.

    We are also operating an orphan home. At this moment we have 25
    children. Due to lack of local support and donor supports we are
    facing great hardships and these children are provided with shelter,
    food, clothing and a basic education at a local school. Medical
    attention is given as and when required. The happy atmosphere and the
    warm appreciation of the children for the little they do have cannot
    hide the great need there is for improvement. So as such we approach
    for furtherance and of help and support which will uplift us and make
    the children more feel and comfort. Please do have a soft corner in
    your heart to help the least of these as we save these children to win
    them for Christ. We are not a part of any mission, organization and
    consequently are not funded. If you are willing to sponsor one child
    or more, we would be very thankful to God. We are praying for you and
    your work. All our orphans, widows, our staff join us in sending you
    love, greetings and look forward to receive your love and affection.

    Visit our ministry website at: http://www.gracegospelmin.webs.com

    Your Brother in Christ
    Samuel Nethala

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: