The title of this post has to be qualified a little bit, because I am wholly unacquainted with the gay blogging landscape. But when I stumbled across Soy Made Me Gay, I was really interested. Here was Clint, a gay Mormon, who had chosen to take the church’s counsel and remain celibate. I’m sure Clint would loathe to be compared to Abraham, but I can’t help drawing parallels with the faith required to sacrifice Isaac. Clint shares his own disarmingly honest feelings about his own homosexuality and shares some really valuable advice for straight Mormons with gay friends and/or relatives (which, let’s face it, is or will be all of us).
Sadly, he announced today that he will no longer be posting to his blog. I hope this only a temporary hiatus. His voice is a much needed perspective among so many which either cast the LDS church and homosexuals as two groups antithetical by definition, or else identify as Mormon but prefer to ignore the counsel of General Authorities.
And this kind of thing is not documented well enough.
One of the most fundamental Mormon doctrines is that which was first communicated to Joseph Smith through theophany: that none of his contemporary churches were true, because, according to God himself (to quote both Isaiah 29:13 and 2 Tim. 3:5):
They were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed [Joseph] said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. (Joseph Smith-History 19)
Couple this with the sixth Article of Faith:
We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, namely apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists and so forth.
From these statements we have deduced the Great Apostasy: that somewhere between the time that Jesus founded his church (another doctrine in Mormonsim) and the time that Joseph Smith went into the woods to pray, the Christian church as a whole apostatized from the true Gospel of Christ. Essential doctrines were lost and the authority of stewardship over God’s economy was taken off the earth in such a way that it could in no way be regained except through direct agency of God himself (i.e. a human “reformation” as through Martin Luther and others was not enough). The result was a Christianity that primitive Christians would have difficulty recognizing. This deduction has been confirmed by various heavenly messengers who have restored key doctrines and authorities taken from the earth when the above mentioned apostasy occurred. Read the rest of this entry »
We Mormons are often accused of rejecting the Bible because we do not interpret it the same way as historic Christians. But what about the rest of Christianity? Surely there are some evangelicals and other conservative groups who truly attempt to adhere to the Bible and centralize it in their teaching. But what about the Christian world as a whole? Do they really take the Bible seriously? Read the rest of this entry »
In my Hebrew class today, our teacher asked us to respond to a certain argument raised concerning the text we were reading. The student who responded hesitated and said:
Are you asking in terms of Mormon theology or academic theology?
The class laughed and emphatically agreed that they were two different things. Our teacher responded that when Academic theology is correct it parallels Mormon theology. I thought the episode was extremely interesting since it raises (or resurrects) an entire host of questions concerning epistimology, the faith vs. reason debate, religion’s place in the academy, and the semantic parameters of those questions.
How would you respond to my classmate’s questions? What are your opinions of the terms, “Mormon theology” or “academic theology?” If you don’t believe in divinely revealed truth, this question might be easy to answer; but if you believe that truth results from faith as well as the academy, how should each inform the way in which we express truth?
Otherwise entitled: Early Christians and Deification in Psalms 82:1
The Yellow Dart has posted recently on the Divine Council in the Hebrew Bible and Judaism here and here. The most descriptive passage of the divine council is Psalms 82:1 (NRSV). It is worth noting that the LXX translates the Hebrew בַּעֲדַת־אֵל as ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν (“congregation of gods” rather than “divine council”). Conservative Christians sometimes interpret this divine council as representing something more in line with the strict monotheism to which they subscribe. This theological interpretation is evident in the NIV, which implies that the verse refers to gods so-called (not real gods) by putting the word in quotation marks. The NASB goes even further to translate the word “gods” as “rulers.”
My contention would not be that they are wrong, but that they disagree with many of the earliest Christians, who not only saw the deities as real (not false gods, idols, or demons, earthly rulers, etc.), but also as the pinnacle of human potential. In other words, the gods in the divine council are ultimately devout Christians having attained godhood and being judged of God, Read the rest of this entry »
My objection to truthfulness was based on my truthiness.
I hate it when I’m wrong.
But I have to be honest.
I started fuming about it when I listened to more and more testimonies in church more critically (and by critically I mean carefully and engagingly rather than maliciously or with intent to malign). A lot of people, general authorities included, frequently testify of the truthfulness of many things from the Book of Mormon to the Word of Wisdom.
However, I never told one person on my mission that I knew the Book of Mormon was truthful, but rather that I knew it was true. The aforementioned testifiers are no doubt looking for a noun to correspond to the adjective “true.” I just don’t understand how they—or rather how we, since I’ve done it too—chose “truthfulness,” when “truth” seems like the more correct adjective, and nine times out of ten seems more appropriate than “truthfulness”. Read the rest of this entry »
I just posted my first post as a guest blogger on Faith Promoting Rumor. Go on over and see what you think.
In case any BYU readers are interested, I will be presenting in the 2008 Religious Education Student Symposium on Friday, Feb. 22 in 3222 WSC (the Wilk) at 2 PM. I will be presenting on my paper titled: “Putting on the Heavenly Home: An Exegesis of 2 Corithians 5:1–4.” In truth, I also talk a lot about 2 Cor. 5:6–10, but as a matter of context; there’s only so much time. The other two presenters my hour will present on such topics as, “The Polarizing Effect of Miracles” and “If Ye Keep My Commandments, Ye Shall Prosper in the Land.”
In part my paper discusses how the author of 2 Cor., whom I accept as Paul himself (as do, I think, most scholars), obviously expects an imminent parousia (second coming), which will not only be witnessed by his audience, but will also transfigure them by fitting them with a new “eternal” body, which physicality is the real Christian hope of resurrection. This statement runs counter to anti-materialism, which might contend that disembodiment is the final eternal state.
I warn you in advance that one of my faculty reviewers said that while my paper was an “exemplary” example of an exegetical exercise, “out of that setting, it has little value.” So I feel obligated to qualify my invitation by saying your time might potentially be wasted. I’ll think about posting some talking points on Friday and you can judge for yourself.