New Harmony: The mainstreaming of Mormonism

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  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 17, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    RE: Twin Lights, said, the Triune God, Christ did not preach or teach it to any significant degree??
    (Mt 28:19 NIV) “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations=(ethnic, black or white) baptizing them in the NAME of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. The Trinity, there are three persons, but one name, but one God.

    Baptism signifies a full and eternal consecration of the person to the service and honor of that Being in whose Name it is administered; but this consecration can never be made to a creature; therefore the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are not creatures. i.e..,

    God said unto Moses,” I am “(the BEING)=HE WHO IS: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, HE WHO IS hath sent me unto you. (LXX Ex 3:14)

    *WHO IS=( G. ὁ ὤν/The one Being) occurs in Rev 1:4, 8; 4:8, 11:17; and 16:5. Like(John 1:1),In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Trinity in the N.T..

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 17, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    Same to you, Twin Lights!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 17, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    Res Novae,

    I enjoy your comments and restrained style.

    Thank you.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 17, 2013 7:55 a.m.


    "How did this confusion come about? Why would church leaders have not clarified this point many years ago if it was in error?"

    I'll take a stab within the word limit, not to convince you but to give my perspective. The thing is it's not in error. It's actually a logical inference from doctrine and has deep roots in Mormonism's speculative theology phase.

    At the same time, it isn't doctrinal either. It should be recognized as speculative and part of "folklore" that Mormons can take or leave. It highlights Mormonism's do-it-yourself approach to much of its theology, and the tensions between having both personal revelation and a top-down approach to doctrine. The paradoxes resulting from this approach are frustrating and awkward to navigate, but also give Mormonism an underrated depth and vitality.

    I don't care for the whole "planet" thing because 1) it's understating our relationship to the Divine, 2) it runs the danger of making our lives' objective just a big power trip, and 3) it's something critics throw out in the same sentence as "cult" and "gold bible" - pretty wackadoo without understanding the context and background of it.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    May 17, 2013 3:30 a.m.


    I feel your pain with the endless debate by antagonists of our faith with so called scholarly wisdom and points not revealed by the Bible or otherwise. As you know, faith is not acquired by academic or vicarious scrutiny of eternal truths by worldly knowledge.

    There are many of the same users who frequent the blogs of this site who are very quick to denounce many truths spoken in articles by authors. I seem the same names popup repeatedly right after an article is published. They pick apart truths and attempt to replace them with longstanding and modern false precepts of the world. Such rhetoric has always been present in the halls of history through many cunning ways.

    While I feel your frustration and recognize people cannot see God's truths through contentious replies, I believe it is incumbent upon latter day saints to defend truth in the Lord's prescribed manner, whether that comes in the form of clarification, a gentile rebuke, or with sharpness. This should always then be folllowed by an increase of love, even for those who seek to tear down the kingdom of God on the earth today.

  • ericNorCal San Jose, CA
    May 16, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    Mainstream is the Great and Spacious building. Yet now, many more are looking out different windows and porches of that Great Building to see those of us who are holding on to the iron rod. For some their viewpoint is different now. In this process, I will keep holding and they can keep watching. I will offer my voice and a place to grip on to the rod next to me or anywhere else they can grab and hold on. The ride for some has yet to begin.

  • laVerl 09 St Johns, AZ
    May 16, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    Skeptic, about your question: "How does one explain the millions of different religious believers around the world who feel they obtain spiritual confirmation of their believes."
    Every person born into this world has access to the tutelage of the Holy Ghost. Moroni 10:5 says that "By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of ALL things."
    However, truth can't be learned all in one intellectual or spiritual bite. It has to be learned in increments.
    The function of the Holy Ghost is to help us climb the ladder a step at a time. Or as Paul so aptly says in ICor 3:2, "I have fed you with milk and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it."
    One of the goals of the Holy Ghost is to lead us to baptism. After baptism, the Holy Ghost also functions as the access door to the saving and enabling grace of the atonement of the Savior. This process is referred to as the refiner's fire or the baptism of fire.
    The Holy Ghost testifies to our spirit as to each and every forward step we take in our journey to higher and higher truths.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    May 16, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    All this bickering about doctrine reminds me of the Pharisees in Christ's day who were more concerned about what they knew and following the right rules, rather than what kind of people they were.

    Life is tough enough. Why do you non LDS and skeptics beat up on others who are trying to live a good life same as you are? Why do some of you LDS quote scripture to put someone down who doesn't believe the way you do? Christ only condemned the hypocrites. Let's try working together to better the world rather than bickering!!

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    May 16, 2013 1:42 p.m.

    If indeed we are to become like God someday, it means we will have to learn how to serve, sacrifice, allow others the freedom to choose, love without expecting love back, appreciate that the deepest learning often comes from sorrow and sadness, etc.

    Christ's edict that "he that is greatest among you will be your servant" is the way God lives and loves us.

    How many of you who are concerned about the idea of "having-your-own-planet" realize what real ownership involves??

    This is why Christ said the meek will inherit the Earth...

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 16, 2013 12:58 p.m.


    One of the essential points of modern Christianity may be the Triune God, but Christ did not preach or teach it to any significant degree. He always spoke of God as a separate person and addresses Him as such. If anyone could have made such a complex doctrine clear, it would have been Christ. He took a pass. Either because he thought it unimportant or because he thought the reality was simpler and clearer.

    Also, if other Christian denominations agree so much, what was all that killing of Catholics and Protestants about during the reformation?

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    May 16, 2013 11:18 a.m.


    With changeability and God, consider that God only reveals His works according to the degree of faith that is on the earth at any given time. It is not God's Works or Church that changes, but the authority, doctrine, and eternal truths that can be known.

    The Israelites of the Old Testament spent 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promise land because they were slow to follow God's laws and will. Because they continued to sin while Moses was on the mount, God chose to give the lesser authority of His Priesthood to them. The strict carnal commandments in the Law of Moses was given because faith was lacking, and it pointed the way to Christ as a type or shadow of Him.

    In the meridian of time during Christ's mortal ministry, the greater Priesthood authority was given to the Apostles who then administered those ordinances and God's Church in that day until this church also fell away in unbelief.

    When Joseph Smith was called to be the prophet of the restoration during the "fullness of times", God revealed more works according to the faith of the people in the Americas at that time.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    May 16, 2013 11:06 a.m.


    Consider all who ever walked this earth are literal spirit children of God. They possess His immortal substance in their spiritual DNA much like physical DNA is made from earthly materials.

    We are a conduit for receiving divine communication. This is given by decree of Heaven according to God's will and choices we make in this life. God communicates to our spirits regularly, which is experienced through the physical body by subtle means.

    The important concept to understand, and the answer to your question, resides at a juncture when our mind is ready to align with God's will. This is when we are sufficiently prepared with humility, intent to follow God, and conviction to look away from the world for a greater truth.

    Or as the scriptures say, when our hearts are set upon the world, we cannot know God for His word is foolishness. But, when we humbled by life experiences to seek God over all the riches of the world, then we can receive eternal truths from the Holy Ghost. Like a radio signal trying to find a receiver, this never means God does not communicate. Rather, the question is, are we prepared to receive?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 16, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    RE: Eternal progression applies to God, too, right? Wrong,
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God(John 1:1).

    “I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and “three Gods” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370)

    And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is ‘one God’, without end. ( 2Nephi 31:21).

    RE; Twin Lights,[No]mis-characterization of the Church and doctrine as non-Christian.

    One of the essentials of the “Pale” of Christianity is the Tri-une God.

    The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one (**heis) these three agree as one(*en) (1John 5:7,8 KJV translation & JST) 3 persons one God. "one in substance”.

    (*en 1722, Preposition) But (**heis,1520=the#1) different Greek words.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    May 16, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    Dear sharrona:

    If God is unchangeable then please explain the hateful God at Noah's time and the loving God of Jesus vs the resurrected God with a body going to Heaven vs the God is a spirit thing. Seems like Jews are the only ones that understand what unchangeable really means.

    If God is unchangeable then he is a statue, right?

    My opinion, I agree with Bill Clinton, depends what the definition is, or in other words, God does change and is not unchangeable. Even God's laws have changed. Eternal progression applies to God, too, right?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 16, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    Your post brings up the question, Is the Holy Ghost also American and exclusive to Mormons. If not how does one explain the millions of different religious believers around the world who feel they obtain spiritual confirmation of their believes. Are they all wrong, or are there contradictory truths, how can that be. Please explain.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    May 16, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    Joseph Smith wrote 13 Articles of Faith. Growing up Mormon we memorized them. They are still at the core of our beliefs today and are still being taught to the young children growing up. It isn't fair to say things like "Mormons believe..." this or that strange doctrine that isn't remotely related to our core beliefs, especially when those 13 Articles of Faith are not even considered.

    Mainstream Christianity is composed of various denominations, most of which have split off from the Catholic church due to some differing interpretation of what the Bible says. So if someone disagrees with what other churches think is important they can go out and form their own.

    There are changes within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as there have been in Biblical times. Sometimes the changes are a result of current needs and sometimes to correct human misunderstandings. The prophet Nathan first told King David he could build a temple, then came back the next day and said, (paraphrasing) "No. The Lord doesn't want you to, but your son Solomon is supposed to do it later." That almost seems like the Lord was being changeable, but not really.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 16, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    I really do not understand HOW there can be this much confusion on something as big as this.

    It would seem to me that the church tries to ignore or walk back those aspects of teachings that outsiders find very unusual.

    I have LDS friends and family that absolutely believe that , " after a long long time, the most worthy will get their own planet"

    How did this confusion come about?

    Why would church leaders have not clarified this point many years ago if it was in error?

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    May 16, 2013 5:11 a.m.

    The responses to this article typify differences on religion as defined by worldly viewpoints and those enlightened by the Holy Ghost to know of eternal knowledge, or things as they really are.

    Does enlightenment mean all questions are answered? Is there no room for error with interpretation of personal revelation? Do certain words spoken historically destroy faith in what has not been seen by those alive today?

    Simply put, if you want to know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is what it claims to be as the only true and living Church of Jesus Christ with His authority, you must sincerely look for yourself with firsthand investigation. Words are fickle things of human engineering when they are predicated upon doubt for the works of God.

    Many here and on other forums across the internet use minutia as counterarguments, but demonstrate very little truth. Rather they exist as clear provocation to dissuade members or investigators away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They redirect and distill God's truths with worldly knowledge. Such may draw some away, but they know not truth beyond what the world gives.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 15, 2013 8:12 p.m.

    GeoMan is correct. It is not about mainstreaming the LDS Church, it is about resisting marginalization and mis-characterization of the Church and doctrine as non-Christian.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 15, 2013 5:35 p.m.

    Mormonism is live Legos, it can be whatever one wishes to make it to be. If one is not satisfied with the work, then one needs oly to change it to what is desired.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    May 15, 2013 4:54 p.m.

    Brahmabull: Joseph taught us the basics of what God wanted us to know and the leaders today tfollow-up on the same principles.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 15, 2013 4:47 p.m.

    Re: getting your own planet. I've never heard this taught in any official capacity. One can certainly find quotes if one does enough searching. Personally, I think the idea both badly understates the ultimate scale of human potential, and completely misses the point of God's relationship with us in LDS theology.

    Re: changing doctrines. Some see this as a weakness. I think it's Mormonism's great strength (though sometimes frustrating in practice). The Church teaches that we can learn greater truths over time. Truths lead to change. I think we shortchange ourselves (individually and collectively) if we're afraid to embrace the change that greater light and knowledge bring.

    Re: mainstreaming Mormonism. Bad idea. American religious history repeatedly shows that mainstreaming a religion inevitably leads to its decline.

    "When the brethren have spoken the thinking is done."

    That statement was explicitly condemned by President George A. Smith when it first appeared in a church publication. It has not ever been considered doctrine, no matter how determined some Mormons I know seemingly want it to be. If you are going to play that card, you have to address many, many statements that completely contradict your accusation.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    May 15, 2013 3:59 p.m.


    Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.
    (Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton, p.156)

    It was not God that changed in 1844.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 15, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    RE:The mainstreaming of Mormonism?

    Mormon historian Thomas G. Alexander , “Much of the doctrine that early investigators found in Mormonism was similar to contemporary Protestant churches.”

    Christians agree with, Moroni 8:18, “God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” Psalm 90:2,… from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.”

    J S preached his famous King Follett Discourse in 1844. He taught, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. “Here, then, is eternal life,to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you...”

    Lorenzo Snow , “As man is God once was, and as God is man may be.”

    The only way to reconcile the 1844 JS with the 1830 JS is if the definition of unchangeable has changed.
    God is American now,He’s Mormon.” Christians believe God (the father) is Spirit (John 4:24)

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    May 15, 2013 2:49 p.m.

    "On the other hand, seeing the word “Mormon” sprinkled all over the media today like popcorn salt means members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to have a good sense..." of humor!

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 15, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    Max - the doctrine of the church is ever changing. What the current leaders consider doctrine and truth vary vastly from whay Joseph Smith revealed. That cannot be disputed.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    May 15, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    Mormons are Christians

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    May 15, 2013 1:43 p.m.


    "The 'get your planet' stuff may be more folklore than doctrine, however, I joined the church in 1969 and definitely heard that taught at the time, along with the constitution hanging by a thread and that one day we will all have to walk back to Independence, Missouri. Lots of stories are told, some of them more folklore than doctrine. We members need to be able to distinguish between the two."

    No the member's do not need to distinguish between the two. They need to listen to what the current mainstream LDS Inc. says is doctrine and is folklore. When the brethren have spoken the thinking is done.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    May 15, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    Good afternoon Dennis,

    You obviously didn't read my post carefully. I am speaking ONLY about the notion that we will have our own planets. You also did not notice that the entire second paragraph was cut and pasted directly from a document called MORMONISM 101 FAQ from the Church's website. Those are not my words or my opinions, they are from the leadership of the church! So don't quibble with me, quibble with them. Google MORMONISM 101: FAQ NEWSROOM and it will pop up. At the very bottom there is a list of common questions, most of which are designed to deal myths about the church. I suggest you read all of them.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    May 15, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
    And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
    And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
    (D&C 84:36-38)

    That might include our own planet but paraphrasing Bill Clinton it depends on how you define the word "all"

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    The LDS church does believe in eternal progression so that the spirit children a righteous person now would have would continue some sort of cycle, that's roughly as far as any doctrine on the matter goes. The planet thing is a really simplistic (and arguably insultingly simplified) take on it.

    There are a lot of unanswered questions involved. For instance, if it were to end up being like a new cycle, would those spirit children then need to get bodies on some world and need Jesus (or some replacement for Jesus in which case who would that be?) for salvation of their own? It's kinda fun to think about but the church doesn't make any claims about answering any of those rambling questions I just threw out there.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 15, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    Both JS and BY are ordained and set aside to be Kings here on earth, that is pretty good entry position. You pay your dues, you get your ticket punched.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 15, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    The church has a long, hard history of stating things as doctrine and then retracting them when things get a little tough, or questions get asked. Members will take one statement from a previous prophet as fact, or doctrine. In the next breath they will say another statement was only opinion and it doesn't matter because only what the the current prophet says matters. So there is a history there of not knowing what is actually doctrine, opinion, both, neither, etc. It gets perpetuated because members pick and choose what statements are doctrine and which are not.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 15, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    Dennis, as a lifelong member I know just where you're coming from. That said, Max is correct: He didn't make that quote up - it is directly published by the Church, itself, after doctrinal review - and the Church has no *official* doctrine stating that even the most righteous among us will definitely have responsibility for our own worlds/planets.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    May 15, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    Misconception usually results from lack of knowledge. If anyone has questions or concerns about planets or gods or Christianity or walking to Missouri then one needs to do more indepth study. It's all there but some effort needs to be included. If we choose to rely on short statements from others then we'll never have the complete picture.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    May 15, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    I think the planet thing sounds trite. Why limit it to a planet? Why can't I have my own universal reality?

  • tomof12 Provo, UT
    May 15, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    "Loose, alert, and resilient" sounds about right. Sadly it is easy to buckle under the pressure. While the world is in some ways more pluralistic, it is no more tolerant. There are so many voices with their opinions. Like mine right here.

  • Carson Provo, UT
    May 15, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    If Mormonism believes that mainstream Chrisiianty is Apostate, Why then are they trying so hard to be seen as just another mainstream Christian Church?

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    May 15, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no desire to be in "the mainstream of Christian religion." Nor does the Church of Jesus Christ wish to be marginalized by being mischaracterized and misrepresented.

    Rather, members of the Church of Jesus Christ consider themselves to be Christians and simply object to being labeled as "not Christian" because taking His name upon themselves is part of the Baptismal Covenant they have made.

    Conversely, those that try to label members of the Church as "not Christian" are doing so because they wish to marginalize and demonize the members of the Church. While they are free to do so, it doesn't make it true or accurate.

    Standing our ground while turning the other cheek is not the same thing as trying to be "mainstream."

  • DonP Sainte Genevieve, MO
    May 15, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    The 'get your planet' stuff may be more folklore than doctrine, however, I joined the church in 1969 and definitely heard that taught at the time, along with the constitution hanging by a thread and that one day we will all have to walk back to Independence, Missouri. Lots of stories are told, some of them more folklore than doctrine. We members need to be able to distinguish between the two.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    May 15, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    "We are a peculiar people" is no longer their marching order. That doesn't work in today's world so they have to change to mainstream.
    And yes, getting a planet is part of the deal, Max.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 15, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    Mainstream is where the political power is. Southern baptists know that.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 15, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    The LDS church is determined to push Mormonism into the mainstream of Christian religion. It will never work, it is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. Mormons and traditional Christians are two very different religions. The LDS church would do better being true to its self and stay out of the main stream.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    May 15, 2013 7:30 a.m.

    Good Morning Max,
    I don't know which part of Mormonism you've grown up with but having been in the Church for over 60 years I don't where you get this particular notion.
    Slightly quoting "As man is God once was, as God is man will become". Living in Utah my entire life the teachings of the Church have expounded that we "will" become Gods and have our own "planets" and human family to look after based on obedience.
    Granted this is a very complex issue but I dare say that a good 80%+ of the current generation of devout LDS men believe this doctrine.
    The funny thing about the Church mainstreaming is the likelihood of it's loosing it's identity within the mix of Christianity. This is a dangerous step for the Church and one that must be tread lightly.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    May 15, 2013 6:02 a.m.

    The author probably should have mentioned that the "get your own planet" stuff is something Mormons actually do not believe. There is a lot in the Book of Mormon Musical that Mormons do not believe. Repeating it here without explanation simply perpetuates the error. This is what Mormon 101 from church's website says:

    Do Latter-day Saints believe that they will “get their own planet”?
    No. This idea is not taught in Latter-day Saint scripture, nor is it a doctrine of the Church. This misunderstanding stems from speculative comments unreflective of scriptural doctrine. Mormons believe that we are all sons and daughters of God and that all of us have the potential to grow during and after this life to become like our Heavenly Father (see Romans 8:16-17). The Church does not and has never purported to fully understand the specifics of Christ’s statement that “in my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2).