Comments about ‘LDS scholars share perspective on Mormonism’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 6 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

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RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

"Mormonism is an amateur religion, a religion founded by people who had no training in religious theology or organization or anything like that,"

--- Wasn't Sidney Rigdon a preacher prior to hooking up with Joseph Smith?

"Mormons are reticent to go and become defensive and bash people,"

--- You haven't read the online comments posted by Mormons.

"Bigotry in religion, when it comes to Mormons, has been winked at and tolerated â and it shouldn't be."

--- Mormons have winked at, tolerated and participated in bigotry against GLBT people. Mormons have no room to complain. --- You reap what you sow.

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

"You cannot be a secretive faith and be in the mainstream," Bowman said. "Americans just will not tolerate that."

Yes.

Apropos of that, can anyone tell me what the scriptural or doctrinal warrant is for the rule that non-Church members can't enter a dedicated temple? Barring non-member family members of temple-married couples (like Ann Romney's family) does, in my experience, account for an awful lot of the perception that Mormons are excessively secretive.

I understand the requirement for sacred secrecy for parts of temple worship, but I don't see any scripture or other doctrinal source that necessarily bars non-member family members from the marriage ceremony. I understand that the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples were open to non-members. Can anyone point to a binding doctrinal source for the change?

If there is something fundamental that requires the Church to maintain its present policy, by all means let the Church stick to its guns. But if this is not a matter of doctrine, but only of policy, I hope it's been considered whether the policy's benefits are worth their cost.

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

A question to Mormons who claim to reject the doctrine of the Trinity:

Mormonism teaches that Jesus is God (see the title page of the Book of Mormon) and that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are "one God." (D&C ch. 20.)

How is this not Trinitarianism?

The classical doctrine of the Trinity is usually misunderstood by Mormons. We've got it mixed up with Modalism -- a doctrine that the early Church fathers rejected, which taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were simply aspects of the same person wearing different hats at different times. The *actual* doctrine of the Trinity (which even a lot of Protestant pastors don't understand) is careful to emphasize that the Godhead does consist of three distinct, individual personalities, who are equally divine, and who are so united that they can be called one God, but who are not the same. The classical Athanasian Creed warns specifically against "confounding [i.e., erasing the distinction between] the Persons."

As far as I can tell, Mormons believe in a variety of Trinitarianism that's known as Social Trinitarianism. That's a perfectly respectable interpretation of the Trinity, and may even be the majority interpretation among modern theologians.

So what the heck are we fighting about?

Civil
Salt Lake City, UT

Dear Duck,

Thoughtful questions, indeed.

As to the temple and non-members, a simple equivalent would be the Temple in Jesus' day. Sacred, and for Jews only.

As to your view of the Trinity -- God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost separate individuals, one in purpose -- that is exactly the LDS View.

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

Civil --

I understand the parallel to the ancient Temple. The question is why do we echo the ancient Jews' practices? We don't follow their customs with respect to lobster and bacon (thank heaven!) What is the actual, latter-day scriptural (or non-scriptural doctrinal) warrant for keeping non-members out of dedicated temples?

Anyway, have the Brethren got the keys of the Kingdom, or haven't they? We temporarily de-dedicate temple buildings for renovations. Why not delegate to a temple worker the authority to temporarily de-dedicate a "bubble" of space following non-member parents of an LDS couple up to the sealing room and out again?

As to "one in purpose," I wonder if we might not re-think that traditional shorthand. Not because it's wrong, but because it may tend to lead to the misperception that the unity of the Father and the Son is less than perfect and complete. And from Scripture, it clearly appears that there is something special and sacred about the Godhead's unity, similar to (but surpassing) the way in which a married couple are said to be "one flesh."

Speaking of misperception, the Catholic Church recently re-translated the language of the Nicene Creed, changing the phrase "one Being with the Father" to "consubstantial with the Father." The explanation given is that the former translation, while true, tended to give the impression that the Father and the Son are not separate persons, when the original Creed was meant to underscore that Christ has the same divine nature as his Father.

We really do need to dial back our potshots at the Trinity, because (1) most of us have no idea what it is we're criticizing; and (2) we really are not that far apart.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

TheProudDuck | 1:20 p.m. Feb. 6, 2012
Newport Beach, CA
"You cannot be a secretive faith and be in the mainstream," Bowman said. "Americans just will not tolerate that."

=============

Unless you are a Republican, Utah, Mormon, in the State Legislature....
Then "Secret" is the name of the game and completely toleranted.

t702
Las Vegas, NV

The Lord's advice about trying to satisfy everyone's demand for openness can be found on Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Those that are sincere about their search for the truth will find it through earnest prayer and searching for the help of the Lord not through demanding to see what they are not ready for.

Still Blue after all these years
Kaysville, UT

The purpose of the Church is to bring people unto Christ. I'm not sure how these "debates" accomplish that. Testimonies of Christ and his sacred work come through scripture study, prayer, faith and then repentance. We know some like to bash our religion, but we must be careful to never bash anyone else's, as it is not Christlike.

donn
layton, UT

@Town Crier ,I would be particularly interested in how these scholars would
explain the meaning of Moses 7:8 (chapter 7 verse 8) found in the Pearl of Great
Price.
According to the book of Abraham the descendants of Cain were to be denied the
priesthood of God (Abr. 1:23-27).".
The Pharaohâs lineage was invalid do to Cain. Also the decedents of Ephraim or
Manasseh their mother was of the lineage of the pharaoh as well. See (Genesis
41: 48-50)

Owl
Salt Lake City, UT

Good article. It is worthwhile to have issues out in the open. Most people who use the word "cult" have no idea what the word means and use it only as a pejorative. They think it makes their insults seem more credible and compelling. Obama's pastor's anti-American liberation theology and JFK's Papal primacy weren't an issue with enlightened voters and hopefully Romney will be judged by his record and platform, not theological fine points.

donn
layton, UT

@Town crier, In the P.of G.P., Abraham 1:27 Now Pharaoh being of the lineage by which could not have the right of the Priesthoodâ¦Most Mormon when they receive a blessing are they are descendants of Ehpraim or Manasseh. Their mother was of the same lineage as the pharaohs(Genesis 41: 50-52). According to Mormon theology, prior to the 1978 revelation most al Mormons were barred from holding their own priesthood..

LDSareChristians
Anchorage, AK

@ Donn, Owl,

"Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him."

I have read in Jewish litetature, that Asenath was an adopted Israelite daughter of Potipherah. The fact that the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh have held the Priesthood, indicates there is truth in that Jewish tradition.

Semper Fi
Bakersfield, CA

Get out, read a book, go to a Christian bookstore, check out the "Cults & Apologetics" section that is in every one of them. Then you'll understand that evangelicals have no personal vendetta against one denomination. It is plain and simply following the Biblical mandate to be obedient to Christ's call to preach His gospel and to expose false ones.

You'll find Jehovah 's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Bahai, Moonies and several others, listed with their unbiblical doctrines. That's it. No conspiracy, no bigotry, no hatred. All the good aspects of each religion's lifestyles are listed, a full history of their leaders teachings, changes, unfulfilled prophecies if they were given, and a clear explanation of how to understand the semantic differences between their religious definitions and Biblical ones. (Example- salvation).

Those who claim the Name of Christ should be united in pursuing truth and sharing it with the lost. Those were Christ's last words of adminition to His followers: Go and preach the Good News. Make disciples.

Only the evil one wants us to attack each other and take our eyes off of Christ. Let's get back to praying for each other and listening to each other.

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

For every 1 book that purports to show the LDS Church is a cult, there are probably 20 that claim Christianity itself is wishful thinking, and another 40 that 'proves' monotheism is bunk. Each one written by an author who believes he has exposed the truth, and read by a consumer who thinks he/she just read the definitive word on the subject. I willingly agree to reading any anti-Mormon book suggested, but only if the person making the suggestion agrees to read David Hume or Frederick Nietzsche while I do so. That usually ends the argument.

It seems to me that people who approach Mormons and offer unsolicited advice, the foundation of which being 'you aren't a real Christian and I'm here to help you,' are usually those most in need of it. A question of manners. I call them Keyboard Crusaders.

Semper Fi
Bakersfield, CA

Moontan,

Who are you calling Keyboard Crusaders? Every missionary on my porch, every invitation to Sacrament mtng, every gift of the Book of Mormon is a crusade against anyone non-LDS.

If you know your religion, that's your message.

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

Semper Fi.... Your original post mentioned 'semantic differences'. We're dealing with such here.

Missionaries giving you an 'invitation' and 'gift' - your words - are hardly conducting a crusade. They don't claim you're headed to the fires o' hell because of your wrong beliefs. They willingly leave when told to. They'd water the plants on your porch if asked to. They don't keep coming back like a bad dream asking if you are sure you don't wanna be saved, or show up at your blog with condescending comments trying to make you see their light. There is nothing patronizing in their personal interactions.

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