Gay Marriage, Again

Civil_marriage_is_a_civil_right

Related Posts: Gay Marriage; More on gay marriage; Gay Marriage: The Iowa Supreme Court

I am very pleased that Proposition 8 passed. But the debate is far from over. The far left will continue to criticize the Church and the Latter-day Saints. On Americablog John Aravosis accused the Mormon church of “promote[ing] legislative gay-bashing,” writing,

At some point the Mormon Church needs to learn that they’re not the only people with the right to free speech. They have the right to bankroll bigotry and we have the right to publicly call them on it. And we finally are.

Because of the Churches involvement in getting Proposition 8 passed, and because most of Utah’s population is Mormon, and because the Mormon Church is based here, some have decided to unleash their fury on Utah. Aravosis was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “We’re going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state,” “At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one…They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards…You don’t do that and get away with it” (“Thousands protest LDS stance on same-sex marriage,” Salt Lake Tribune; “Utah faces boycott after Mormon work for Prop 8,” AP). One website even called for the Mormon Church to be stripped “of its status as a religious organization” so as to “stop taxpayer subsidies of intolerance.” Continue reading

The Afterlife, i.e. the Spirit World

Related posts: Angels; Premortal Life

According to Mormon beliefs, at death the spirit is separated from the body and enters what we call the spirit world–a place where disembodied spirits await the resurrection and God’s final judgment. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma explains,

Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection–Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are…these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth… thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection. (Alma 40:11-14).

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Growth of the Church

Related Posts: Is LDS (Mormon) Church Growth Decelerating? (2014)

One point of interest among Mormons and non-Mormons is the growth rate of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many Mormons are confidant in the “fact” that the church is the fastest growing church in the United States and expect to see enormous increases in membership. This notion is fed by predictions from a few sociologists. Rodney Stark made the following observation in 1984:

If growth during the next century is like that of the past, the Mormons will become a major world faith. If, for example, we assume they will grow by 30 percent per decade, then in 2080 there will be more than 60 million Mormons. But, since World War II, the Mormon growth rate has been far higher than 30 percent per decade. If we set the rate at 50 percent, then in 2080 there will be 250 million Mormons. (Rodney Stark, “The Rise of a New World Faith,” Review of Religious Research, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 18-27)

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Election

Related Posts: The Premortal Life; Blacks and the Priesthood; Grace; Justification; Why Covenants?; The Fall of Man: The Doctrine; Omniscience; Faith and Charity; Justification and Salvation

The elect are those whom God has chosen: “but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen” (Mark 13:20). The LDS Bible Dictionary points out that election “is both on a national and an individual basis” (“Election,” Bible Dictionary).

National (group) election

The national basis is that God has elected his church to be holy, and that Israel will be his holy people. A good place to begin is Ephesians chapter 1:

PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Eph. 1:1-7)

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Justification

Related Posts: Why Covenants?; Grace; Election; Faith and Charity; Faith and Justification

The word justify can mean (1) innocence before the law, (2) reconciliation with God, and (3) to be shown to be correct (vindication). Unless otherwise stated the word justification is used in the sense of (1), innocence before the law.

Justification

The term justification generally can be thought of as the language of the courts. For example, if the outcome of a trial is decided in your favor you have been justified. This is the context which Isaiah uses:

All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, Or let them hear and say, “It is true.” (NASB, Isa. 43:9)

The opposite of justification is condemnation: “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37; See also Alma 41:15).

In the Mormon view works alone cannot justify us. The reason is partly due to our unsteadiness.

AND thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea…how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men,…how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! (Hel. 12:1-5)

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Salvation by Grace

Related Posts: Why Covenants?; Justification; Election; Faith and Charity; Faith and Justification

Our relationship to God

There are many ways to picture our relationship to God. He can be seen as our Father in Heaven (Jer. 3:19; Matt. 5:45); as a Judge and Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22), with Christ as our advocate (1 John 1:9). He has been pictured as the husband of a wayward wife (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:14), and as a great King or Lord (1 Tim. 6:15). He has been pictured as God the farmer (John 15:1; Jacob 5); God the shepherd (Psalm 23:1; Matt. 25:32); God the potter (Jer. 18:6); God the employer (Alma 3:27; Matt. 20:1); and as a fountain of righteousness giving refreshment to his followers (Ether 8:26). Also, he is often pictured as a master ruling over his servants (slaves): “For it is just like a man going on a journey. He called his own slaves and turned over his possessions to them” (ESV, Matt. 25:14). For this post I will use the master servant relationship to explore the concept of salvation by God’s grace.
Jesus said to his disciples.

Does [the master] thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ (NKJV, Luke 17:9-10; compare Mosiah 2:21)

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Mormons and the Bible: Missing Scripture and Inerrancy

Related Posts: Mormons and the Bible: King James Version and the JST; Mormons and the Bible: Reuben Clark’s 16 Points

The traditional Protestant Bible consists of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament (OT) and 27 in the New Testament (NT). The Greek word for testament is “diatheke…[which] in classical Greek [means] an arrangement, and therefore sometimes a will or testament, as in an arrangement for disposal of a person’s property after his death.” (“Bible”, LDS Bible dictionary). Diatheke corresponds to an OT word meaning covenant.

QUAD

The LDS Quadruple Combination

The LDS’ attitude toward the Bible is stated in our Articles of Faith: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8). The LDS cannon is referred to as the Standard Works which consists of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

FYI: when these books are bound into a single volume it is referred to as a quad.
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Images, Icons, and the Christian Cross

Related Posts: Mormon Temple Garments; Christ, The Nature of; Mormon Temple Worship

Modern Christian Symbols

The cross has symbolic and/or liturgical use in nearly every Christian denomination. It has many iconic forms such as the crux immissa (), crux simplex (|), crux decussata (X), crux commissa (T), and the Greek forms (+). A cross that has an image of the body of Christ hanging on it is known as a crucifix. Most Protestant denominations do not use this symbol, but instead use an empty cross to symbolize Christ’s resurrection.[1]

CrossThe Christian writer Tertullian (circa A.D. 200) says in his Apology, “if any of you think we render superstitious adoration to the cross, in that adoration he is sharer with us” (Apology 16), referring to the Christian practice of using the cross as part of the worship of God and to the pagan tendency to worship images that in form resemble a cross.[2] Christians were generally reluctant to display any outward Christian symbols for fear of persecution. But after Christianity became universally recognized (A.D. 313) the public display of crosses became common. Continue reading

Capital Punishment, Blood Atonement, and Vigilantism

On the issue of capital punishment Nephite law was very clear: “If a man murdered he should die” (Alma 42:19; See also 2 Nephi 9:35; Alma 27:6-9). The first example of execution in the book of Mormon is Nehor who was condemned to die for the murder of Gideon. At the execution the chief Judge Alma stated, “were we to spare thee[, Nehor,] his blood would come upon us for vengeance” (Alma 1:13). In another case the leader of an army of robbers and thieves by the name of Zemnarihah had been captured. “They…hanged him until he was dead.” Exulting in the execution of this man “[they] did cry with a loud voice, saying: May the Lord preserve his people in righteousness and in holiness of heart, that they may cause to be felled to the earth all who shall seek to slay them because of power and secret combinations, even as this man hath been felled to the earth” (3 Nephi 4:28-30). Continue reading

Adam-God Theory

Related Posts: The Fall of Man: Part I; Adam-ondi-Ahman and Eden; Angels

Anti-Mormon writers use a theory called the Adam-God Theory, with which they make the claim that Mormons believe Adam is God the Father; and also, that within the Mormon faith, this is (or was) a deeply held and secret belief.

The theory stems from a sermon delivered by Brigham Young on April 9, 1852. Here is the passage in question.

Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken–He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later.

…Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. (JD 1:50-51)

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