Related Posts: Mormon Temple Worship; Fall of Man Part I
See Also: “Garments” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism and Temple Garments at LDS Newsroom.
There has been some talk of Mormon temple garments, what some people call Mormon underwear. So I thought I would say a few things about them. The Church discourages its members from engaging in casual conversation about temple garments so I will be brief;)
After a Mormon has gone through the temple he or she is expected to wear what is called “the garment,” or temple garment. In form it is usually a two piece undergarment consisting of what looks like a t-shirt and an extended leg brief. The pictures below are ordinary undergarments which can be purchased at any department store, but they look almost exactly like Mormon garments. In fact if you were in a locker room you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. The Mormon garment is about 1 to 2 inches longer in the leg.
Pictures of what Mormon garments look like.
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).
Related Posts: Problem of Evil; Fall of Man: The Doctrine; Fall of Man: Defense of the Doctrine; The Premortal Life; Doctrine of Agency
The concept of opposition in Mormonism is an important one. “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11), wrote the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi. This post explores the concept of opposition and the role it plays within Mormon beliefs.
2 Nephi 11
The idea is almost entirely based on a passage from 2 Nephi.
11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. 12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God. 13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away. (2 Nephi 2:11-13)
Related Posts: Who is Jesus?—to a Mormon; The Nature of Christ; The Trinity; Godhead: God or Gods?
See also “Worship” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism
In the mind of most Mormons the objects of worship are God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is necessary for the true worship of the Father and the Son; it is through the Holy Ghost that we worship in spirit and in truth, for “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 5:5).
The concept of worship in Mormonism is not strictly defined. Those in heaven “sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost” (Mormon 7:7); the ordinance of baptism is performed “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 20:73); our prayers are directed to God the Father and are done in the name of Jesus Christ; and the first words every newly confirmed church member hears are, “Receive the Holy Ghost” (D&C 49:13-14). Continue reading
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
Related Posts: Mormons and the Bible: Missing Scripture and Inerrancy; Mormons and the Bible: King James Version and the Joseph Smith Translation
J. Reuben Clark’s 16 points
This post is based on a talk given by Apostle J. Reuben Clark in 1954 (“Our Bible,” General Conference, April 1954). In it he outlines 16 differences between the Received text (essentially the King James Version) and the Revised texts (represented by the Revised Standard Version). This talk is included in the Resource Edition CD-ROM of the official LDS scriptures. Elder Clark’s talk compares only NT passages.
I have listed the verses from Elder Clark’s sixteen points as they are found in the KJV, NASB, NIV, ASV, RSV (1946 and 1971), and ESV for comparison. At the end of this post there is a summary of the results in a pass/fail format. My criteria for pass/fail is consistency with the corresponding KJV passage. Elder Clark also brings up points of dispute with some of the RSV footnotes because they cast doubt on the validity of traditional interpretation. I have not considered the footnotes in my evaluation. Continue reading
Related Posts: Mormons and the Bible: Missing Scripture and Inerrancy; Mormons and the Bible: Reuben Clark’s 16 Points
The King James Bible and the Joseph Smith Translation
The King James Version of the Bible is likely the most honored English Bible ever published. It is also official Bible for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the church was organized in 1830 the KJV was the de facto Bible for the English speaking world, and continued to be so until the 20th century. During the twentieth century many new English Bibles were published, several of which became popular: such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New International Version (NIV), and the New King James Version (NKJV). By the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century a number of other notable versions were published: the English Standard Version (ESV), Today’s New International Version (TNIV), the Net Bible (NET), the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), and the New Living Translation (NLT).
After 1948 the rate at which English Bible translations were being published increased dramatically. From 1800 to 1900 the number of English Bibles increased at a rate of 0.31 per year. Continue reading