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Comments about ‘Book review: 'Hebrew Roots of Mormonism' is an intellectual book’

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Published: Sunday, Feb. 24 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

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dogchow1
Salt Lake City, UT

Exactly the point.

SparkyVA
Winchester, VA

I think you will find that much of modern "Christianity" has roots in Greek theology, and that a lot of the Hebrew theology was tossed out of the religion by the council of Nice in 325 just as Jewish theology tossed out much that is today considered to be in only Christian theology in their convention in Damascus in 350. The modern world sees the two religions as very different. It is good to see the similarities reviewed once more.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Hebrew Roots of Mormonism' is an intellectual book. True,

Joseph Smith(HofC v 4, p 211-12, 1840)These sacrifices ,as well as every ordinance belonging to the priesthood, will when the Temple of the Lord shall be built ,and the sons of Levi purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers ramifications, and blessings.

This ever did and will exist when the powers of the Melchisedec Priesthood are sufficiently manifest; else how can restitution of all things spoken of by the holy prophets be brought to pass? It is not to be understood that the law of Moses will be established again with all it rites and variety of ceremonies; this has never been spoken of by the Prophets; but those things which existed prior to Moses’ day, namely Sacrifice, will be continued.

antodav
TAMPA, FL

I'm sure it makes good, interesting points, but I definitely wouldn't pay $20 for a book like that. The reason why other Christians don't consider Mormons to be Christians is quite obvious: their definition of Christianity is flawed, based upon unbiblical medieval creeds as opposed to the scriptures themselves and the words of God's appointed prophets.

sigmund5
Salt Lake City, UT

When the headline has to say "intellectual book" Thou protest too much. What is the definition of intellectual? Does it mean FAIR and the church will like it?

voiceofreason1234
SANDY, TX

First of all, I would like to respond to Mr. antodav ofTAMPA, FL who says:
The reason why other Christians don't consider Mormons to be Christians is quite obvious: their definition of Christianity is flawed, based upon unbiblical medieval creeds as opposed to the scriptures themselves and the words of God's appointed prophets.

I am sick and tired of hearing all of the so called Christians in the evangelical world, etc feel so comfortable stating Mormons are not Christian!! It is simply a false accusation that has gained a footing in the world, being used to keep sincere followers of Christ from looking further into the Mormon faith.

We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost.
God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ have separate bodies of flesh and bone as tangible as man's, the Holy Ghost does not have a body, or else He could not dwell in us.

Those stating WE are not Christians seem to believe that Jesus and the Father do not have bodies --- this is the flawed definition, my friends. Wake up!! We are true Christians.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

It's an interesting premise - that most Christian denominations are Pauline (which is true) and Mormonism is closer to, say, the kind of Christianity the apostle James and the author of the Gospel of Matthew wanted.

I couldn't help but feel a little sad though that the Nag Hammadi gospels were not found by (or delivered by an angel to) a young charismatic genius who could have spun them into a thriving religion based on the third Christian movement.

Sadly the Gnostic teachings were all but wiped out by the Orthodox Church, and with it their primary message of self-transformation and personal responsibility (no vicarious redemption here).

And so today, those who are drawn to that message usually turn east...

Max Jamison
Lehi, UT

For those interested in the subject, I would recommend "Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity," a compilation of 1954 class notes by then novice BYU instructor Hugh Nibley edited and completed by John F. Hall and John W. Welsh after his death. It is amazing how current his comments are, especially in regard to how the Bishop of Rome gained ascendency over all of the other bishops.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"....He eventually concludes that there are three distinct sects within the Christian movement— the Hebrew Christians, the Pauline Christians and the Gnostics.
______________________________

Strange as it may sound, early Christianity was unconventional before it became orthodox. One doesn’t become orthodox about something until that something gets challenged.

It’s important to emphasize that the early Christian communities that came to be labeled heresies, did not see themselves as heresies. They were competitors in interpreting the life of Jesus. For us to deem them heretics is to see them through the lens of the orthodox Christianity which emerged triumphant in the struggle.

We owe a lot to the Church for preserving what knowledge we have of the early so-called heresies. That said, those groups deserve to be studied and understood in their own right for what information they might yield on early Christianity.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

Agreed that most Christian denominations are heavily Pauline. Almost to the exclusion of the Gospels (oddly). Not to say they don't revere the Gospels but some of the things plainly taught therein are set aside for less plain teachings from Paul.

Reference Gnosticism. I came to the church looking for that spiritual component. At first, I could not quite believe that these rather ordinary suburban types were devoted to a very spiritual quest.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Twin Lights – “I could not quite believe that these rather ordinary suburban types were devoted to a very spiritual quest.”

Good point, and it is no doubt what many are hungry for (as opposed to doctrines and theology). And some of the leaders of your church would seem to agree (e.g., David O McKay’s address titled “Consciousness of God”).

Still, I think the gnostics were looking to go much deeper (more akin to what Buddhists do) in terms of spiritual connection and self-transformation. They saw Jesus as primarily wanting to transform people and took his 40 days in the desert (rather than some metaphor for wrestling with the Devil) as the initial path to this transformation.

I know you’re familiar with my gripes against many organized religions, but to me perhaps the saddest thing I see is that most believers are so caught up in conformity, the organization, and making sure they have the “correct” beliefs and doctrines, that what little time they give to prayer and meditation barely scratches the surface of what is possible in connecting to the Divine.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

My family lineage is Jewish, so my family has been familar with modern jewish customs.

I have many friends and work associates who are Muslim and HIindi,
and served a LDS mission is Southeast Asia amongst Buddahists.

I my experience - Mormonism is not exclusively Christian, but is a composite of nearly every religion - modern and ancient.

What better way to rectify Judahism, Christianity and Islam than by having All truth, gathered together into one great whole.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"....What better way to rectify Judahism, Christianity and Islam than by having All truth, gathered together into one great whole."
______________________________

Isn't it the dream of every religion to become the consummation of all other religions? That doesn’t make much allowance for learning to accept and respect differences. Maybe the better way for the world is coming to see God as having cast a much wider net than just any single religion.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Craig Clark: Open Minded is correct in that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true and living church of Jesus Christ. It makes perfect sense that the Lord's Church would encompass all and not just Christianity. This way there would be no way to mistake the Lord's Church. The Lord Jesus Christ after his resurrection visited numerous people after his resurrection. This is completely verified and complete with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. It reveals that not only did the Lord visit the American Hemishere but many others who had never heard or seen of the son. What a glorious thing it is to have knowledge of such a kind and gracious Heavenly Father.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

I would disagree. I think that personal transformation is at the very core. As to how deep? I am not sure I see the end (and I have been at this for over 35 years). As to Jesus wanting to transform people? Absolutely and completely so. The Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 4:2 reads “And after forty days, the devil came unto him, to tempt him” such that the fasting and tempting were not the same thing in LDS theology but were sequential events.

Conformity as an end is ridiculous but it can be of help to take cues and learn from those more practiced than ourselves.

I have had some minor involvement in Church organization. All of my experience has been leaders begging and pleading with people to open their scriptures, get on their knees, and form a personal and powerful bond with God.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Twin Lights – “As to how deep? I am not sure I see the end…”

If I were to ever convert to an organized religion it would be in part because of dialogue with folks like you. I mean that sincerely…

As to your quote above, I’ve always been drawn to the writings of the mystics found in all traditions, and Christianity does have its fair share. The spiritual depths seem very deep indeed and some of the descriptions of the “kingdom within” sound like your reading about heaven itself… good stuff.

I know LDS folks are in church a bit longer than most denominations – is the whole time on Sunday spent in formal church (I assume with lessons on doctrine, morals, etc.), or is there any time set aside for prayer groups (real prayer, and not the “God, please help me win the big game” kind of prayer)?

GFuller
Mattoon, IL

TylerD, I know LDS folks are in church a bit longer than most denominations – is the whole time on Sunday spent in formal church (I assume with lessons on doctrine, morals, etc.), or is there any time set aside for prayer groups (real prayer, and not the “God, please help me win the big game” kind of prayer)?

I would invite you to come and see. Come and experience for yourself. We could tell you what we experience in our Church meetings, but perhaps few of us experience or receive exactly the same. You may not find anything for you in the meetings on a given Sunday, but on another Sunday you may receive a full and rich spiritual experience. I do not identify anything such as what you describe as "prayer groups" with "real prayer", but you will on most Sundays, at least in our ward, hear people testifying of their experiences with personal prayer, prayer with their families, and/or urging other in the congregation to spend time in communication with God through prayer and study of the Scriptures.

Please, come and see for yourself.

donn
layton, UT

RE: GFuller, I would invite you to come and see. Come and experience for yourself. We could tell you what we experience in our Church meetings, but perhaps few of us experience or receive exactly the same. You may not find anything for you in the meetings on a given Sunday, but on another Sunday you may receive a full and rich spiritual experience.

.(JoD V. 2 p. 142)Can you make a Christian of a Jew? I tell you Nay, If a Jew comes into this church ,and the blood honestly professes to be a Saint, a follower of Christ, and if the blood of Judah is in his veins, he will apostatize.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

Thank you. I hope that someday you give us a sincere look. You might like some of the writings by Neal A. Maxwell (an LDS apostle who passed a few years ago).

I suppose the part of church that gets most toward real individual prayer and meditation is the sacrament (the Lord’s Supper). Other churches I have attended play music or sing during this time. In the LDS faith it is quiet (or as quiet as our youngest will allow). It is a time for real introspection.

My favorite story about learning is from Sister Hinckley – the wife of President Gordon B. Hinckley. Pres. Hinckley was then 88 years old. Previously he had been a counselor to other presidents of the church for 14 years and for another 30 years prior to that as an apostle. Sister Hinckley remarked how much he had changed in the three years he had been the prophet. I was stunned (I still am). If he was learning and growing at 88 with that kind of a background, I suppose I could too.

GGuller
Mattoon, IL

Donn, I have now read in the Journal of Discourses what you quoted to us about converting a Jew. Of course my first reaction to your post was that we do not profess to convert a man, that is the work of the Holy Ghost and is subject to the willingness of the man to be receive truth. But I went ahead and read to be sure what you were talking about. I now recommend that you continue to read for a few lines beyond where you found the quote you gave to us, and you will see that Brigham Young was not saying what could be inferred with just that snippet of his lecture.

Again I invent you, Come and See.

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