Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Here is some more of what the "Encyclopedia of Mormonism" has to say, this time about Protestant beliefs.

Christian Protestantism may be viewed as the product of late medieval "protests" against various elements of the Roman Catholic church. Though there were always persons within Catholicism pressing for reforms, the beginning of the Protestant Reformation is usually dated to 1517 when Martin Luther (1483-1546), an Augustinian monk in Wittenberg, Germany, published his ninety-five theses against papal indulgences. The theses challenged the authority of the pope and by extension of the Roman Catholic church. Protestants since that time are generally considered to be those Christians who are neither Roman Catholics nor Eastern (or Russian) Orthodox.

Although Protestant theology is varied today, it can be characterized by four basic beliefs: (1) the Bible is the Word of God and all authority resides within its pages as it bears witness to Jesus Christ; (2) the Bible should be in the language of the people, who, by the power of the Holy Ghost, can gain their own understanding of God's Word; (3) all church members hold the priesthood and should be involved in the total life of the church, meaning that no mediatorial priesthood is necessary; and (4) people are saved by their faith, through the grace of God, and not by any works they may do apart from or in addition to faith.

While Latter-day Saints share with Protestants a conviction of the importance of the scriptures, an extensive lay priesthood (but given only by the laying on of hands by those having proper priesthood authority), and the primacy of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as the first principle of the gospel, they differ from them by affirming a centralized authority headed by a latter-day prophet and by a number of other doctrines unique to the Church, i.e. temple ordinances for the living and the dead, and the eternal nature of the marriage covenant. Despite some important differences, Latter-day Saints actually share much in doctrine, heritage, and aspiration with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. Even so, they view themselves as embodying an independent Christian tradition standing on its own apart from these other traditions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a reformation of a previously existing ecclesiastical body but is instead a restoration through heavenly ministrations of authority and of truths, structures, and scriptures that God returned to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors.

I admit that I don’t know much yet about other religious views outside of Mormonism so I wonder if they got it right.

Mother in Heaven

Here is a fun one for you. There is an underlining belief that God is married (which is consistent with the idea that you can be an “eternal family” and become a God yourself if you do everything right).

On the front page of they advertise the completion of the on-line text of what is called the “Encyclopedia of Mormonism”. As with most LDS material, it comes with a disclaimer…

Note: This encyclopedia is a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company and does not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My thought is that if you put it on your website, you obviously find it to be of value and support its use. If there were things in it that do not accurately show the “official position” of the LDS church, I’m sure they would have had them changed before they promoted it.

Anyways, I’m going to post selected topics that I think will be of interest. Here is what it says about the belief in a Heavenly Mother.

Latter-day Saints infer from authoritative sources of scripture and modern prophecy that there is a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rejects the idea found in some religions that the spirits or souls of individual human beings are created ex nihilo. Rather it accepts literally the vital scriptural teaching as worded by Paul: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." This and other scriptures underscore not only spiritual sibling relationships but heirship with God, and a destiny of joint heirship with Christ (Rom. 8:16-18; cf. Mal. 2:10).

Latter-day Saints believe that all the people of earth who lived or will live are actual spiritual offspring of God the Eternal Father (Num. 16:22; Heb. 12:9). In this perspective, parenthood requires both father and mother, whether for the creation of spirits in the premortal life or of physical tabernacles on earth. A Heavenly Mother shares parenthood with the Heavenly Father. This concept leads Latter-day Saints to believe that she is like him in glory, perfection, compassion, wisdom, and holiness.

Elohim, the name-title for God, suggests the plural of the Caananite El or the Hebrew Eloah. It is used in various Hebrew combinations to describe the highest God. It is the majestic title of the ultimate deity. Genesis 1:27reads, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them" (emphasis added), which may be read to mean that "God" is plural.
For Latter-day Saints, the concept of eternal family is more than a firm belief; it governs their way of life. It is the eternal plan of life, stretching from life before through life beyond mortality.

As early as 1839 the Prophet Joseph Smith taught the concept of an eternal mother, as reported in several accounts from that period. Out of his teaching came a hymn that Latter-day Saints learn, sing, quote, and cherish, "O My Father," by Eliza R. Snow. President Wilford Woodruff called it a revelation (Woodruff, p. 62). In the heav'ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal Tells me I've a mother there. When I leave this frail existence, When I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you In your royal courts on high? [Hymn no. 292]

In 1909 the First Presidency, under Joseph F. Smith, issued a statement on the origin of man that teaches that "man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father," as an "offspring of celestial parentage," and further teaches that "all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity" (Smith, pp. 199-205).

Belief that there is a Mother in Heaven who is a partner with God in creation and procreation is not the same as the heavy emphasis on Mariology in the Roman tradition.

Today the belief in a living Mother in Heaven is implicit in Latter-day Saint thought. Though the scriptures contain only hints, statements from presidents of the church over the years indicate that human beings have a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father.

I'm curious to know what the "Christian" view on this is.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Part of the problem with the Mormon teachings and culture

I was lead to this audio clip from the Dr. Laura Show that has her discussing if a husband (the caller) should divorce his wife because she wants to leave the Mormon church. Listen to it HERE.

The Mormon culture breeds a sense of “if you are not with us, you are against us” which leads to this idea that if someone chooses a different path, all ties should be cut. Thankfully, there are some who go against this kind of thinking and do not care what church a person goes to and to me they are special people. It is not always easy to distinguish who these people are because, as I have found out through my experience, many act like they are true friends to your face but once you turn your back they are the first to condemn you.

After listening to this clip, it is easy to see that it is the teachings of “eternal marriage” that causes a great divide in families if just one member chooses to not play the game anymore. How sad is it that this man actually thought that he would be justified in leaving his wife of like 14 years, who converted to Mormonism FOR HIM no less, along with their two kids just because she is considering or maybe already has gone to another church. This is the horrible side affect temple marriage has on families.

My mother has had 2 temple marriages and both ended in divorce. While I don’t know all of the details of what happened with either of them, I can give my opinion from my point of view. My mom probably tries harder then any Mormon I know to do everything she is supposed to do and do it right. The down side to that is she is not very tolerant of others when they do not live up to the same standards she has or expects. From where I sit, this is what drove her husbands away. If you push someone long enough to be something they are not or can never be, eventually they will tire of it and walk away. I don’t think my father or step-father should be excused for any wrong doing they might have be part of but I do think it was her “you have to be a perfect Mormon” attitude that drove them away.

Unfortunately, she is not the only one. I know of many women who had no hesitation in their voice when they said that they would leave their husbands if they ever went inactive or left the church. I think they are missing the point about being focused on family.

I am so thankful that I have a wife who, no matter what others were saying, stuck by my side to support me and love me when I decided I had been Mormon long enough. She showed true unconditional love that many members of the LDS church lack. I am blessed to have her by my side.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Exposing the Temple Ceremony

The other day I ran accross a video that showed a man going through the temple ceremony, wearing the robes and all. I was not sure if I should post it here but today I read THIS POST on Mormon Coffee. I have linked to it so you can read it if you choose. I think it is pretty good.

The best part of waking up is Starbucks in your cup!

This morning I had my first freshly brewed cup of coffee from our new coffee maker. We bought the coffee maker on July 4th and I finally got around to taking it out of the box last night. Having never made coffee before, I felt the need to read the instructions (which I usually never do). I set the timer, added the coffee and water and waited like a kid on Christmas Eve to see if it would really work. 6:00 this morning the smell of Starbucks Breakfast Blend started to fill the house. I did it! I brewed my first cup of coffee! How silly does that sound coming from a 30 year old man?

“Starbucks® Breakfast Blend is light-bodied and light-roasted, and it will imbue your morning with its essence. This blend makes a bright impression as it sparkles and dances on your tongue - a sign of crisp acidity. A mild and flavorful coffee awaits you.”

As I poured it into my Winnie the Pooh Christmas Mug (that up till now was reserved for hot-coco), part of me was excited while the other half was nervous. How much creamer do I add? What about sugar? I don’t want to make it too sweet but if I don’t put enough in…yuck. A couple shakes of creamer and 3 tea spoons of sugar later, it was done and there was no going back. I was late for work so I had to run out the door without being able to taste and modify if needed. Knowing that it was going to be hot, I let it cool down a bit and then I took my first sip. WOW! It was good! Not bitter, like I had feared. Instead, it was smooth with just a hint of sweet. I did not notice the earthy taste till after the cup was gone but by then I was hooked. I wish I would have given myself more time at the house to drink it because I could have easily had another cup.

We got the “half-caf” because we know that Amy cannot take it full strength yet. For me, it seems to be just enough to perk-me-up and get me moving. I don’t feel jittery or overly stimulated which I guess is good.

Its funny how for years, I grew up thinking that coffee was such a bad thing. When you actually read about the benefits, you see that it can be quite good for you because of the high levels of antioxidants. Even the high level of caffeine in coffee has been found to help reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease. It also has a tendency to reduce the affects of Type 2 Diabetes by improving the body's response to insulin. As with anything, moderation (a few cups a day according to a study done by Harvard University) is the key and you should only drink the amount your body can handle but it seems like the idea I had in my head about coffee was opposite of reality.

As I was drinking my hot cup-of-joe in the car, I remembered this movie and I though it was perfect for the situation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Getting Mormons to Explain Why They Believe

This is a brief interlude before my next post about the temple which will be up tomorrow. Below is a 3 part video that discusses the basis of the Mormon belief system, the testimony. Watch all 3 videos, you won't be disappointed.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3: