“I don’t know that we teach it”

January 20, 2008
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In the latest LDS manual for priesthood and Relief Society sunday meetings, it features the teachings of Joseph Smith and will be in use for the next two years. Today’s lesson is on the topic of God the Father. There is a particular passage in the manual that I was surprised to see, especially in contrast to the famous comment quoted in this post’s title made by Gordon B. Hinckley in Time magazine.

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What Is “Mormon Doctrine?”

January 19, 2008
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In my first post I discussed why God was concerned with creating creeds and using them as a test of one’s allegiance to God. In my last post I explained what it means to not have creeds and gave examples of the LDS Church following that pattern. I am now prepared to tackle the question of “What is Mormon Doctrine?” To outsiders, our doctrines must seem slippery or downright fluid. It’s impossible to pin us down on anything that they care about! What informed (semi-informed?) outsiders want to know is what our specific teachings are on all the juicy subjects…

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God as Codependent

January 19, 2008
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God as Codependent

If there is something truly unique about Mormon doctrine, it is the image of God. I agree with Sterling McMurrin, that its not always easy to tell these days what the mainstream LDS church really teaches, or at least how much it actually resembles the church Joseph Smith founded. Nevertheless, there was a time in our past when leaders were much more willing to voice their opinions and theories, especially Joseph himself. The nature of God was no exception. Lately in General Conference, I get the impression that the canonized First Vision is the official standard for the nature of…

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Scientologists – The Only Ones Who Can Really Help

January 18, 2008
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This post is by Chris W.  You may have seen this video of Tom Cruise floating around the tubes. It’s a video from an award ceremony where Tom was given some kind of medal for being an upstanding scientologist. It’s jargon-ridden, so it’s hard to follow what’s going on most of the time, but there are some priceless gems of Maverick wisdom. Money quote: “When you’re a Scientologist, and you drive by an accident, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you’re the only one who can really help… We are the way to happiness.…

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Is there a cause for which you are prepared to kill? Ghandi vs. Henry V

January 18, 2008
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Defending the Faith

January 17, 2008
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I’ve never been very political. It’s not that I’m a total slacker – I always read the platforms of both parties and I keep up on presidential candidates’ basic positions. I have preferences about who should win. Mostly, though, I’m disgusted by the divisive nature of our partisan system and my interest is politics is a casual affair. That’s all changed. This year, I am a political junkie. I watch all the debates and follow the polls the same way the wealthy follow stock prices. I have strong opinions on the merits of the major candidates and I know the…

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As Christ Noted

January 17, 2008
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The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I thought I’d also note that the same is true of the Church. The Church was made for man, not man for the Church. The purpose of the Church is to support us in seeking God. I guess it is easy for people to forget that, but in approaching the Church it is important to realize that it is only a support structure, a tool, designed to help us become Saints. I’ll do my second half on polygamy next week, but in the context of a number of posts,…

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McConkie In Action

January 16, 2008
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Today’s post is by Wade Nelson.  I hope this doesn’t come across as a slam on Elder McConkie. While I disagree with many of his teachings and writings, I respect him for his devotion, integrity, and commitment. What follows is an anecdote from my family history that exemplifies how that devotion and commitment became action.

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“Sorceries, and Witchcrafts, and Magics”

January 16, 2008
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By about 325 A.D. the Nephites had reached this point: “And it came to pass that there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land” (Mormon 1:19). On the scale of depravity, this condition seems to be worse than having the land overrun by robbers and secret combinations, though not as bad as the human sacrifice and cannibalism that later arose among the people. So, what does this mean? Something along the lines of our modern-day astrology, Ouija boards, and Wiccanism, or something deeper and darker?…

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The Only Truly Creedless Church on the Face of the Whole Earth

January 15, 2008
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“[Unlike the Latter-day Saints] Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled [sic]. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” - Joseph Smith (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 288) In my last post I explained why I believe the creeds of Christendom were an abomination in God’s sight. To summarize: I believe the content of the creeds are, for the most part,…

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Why I Voted for Mitt in Today’s Michigan Primary

January 15, 2008
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Why I Voted for Mitt in Today’s Michigan Primary

I just got back from my neighborhood polling place, where I voted for Mitt Romney in the Michigan primary. Let me tell you why… Mitt Romney is a terribly weak candidate. He comes off as a phony, primarily because he is a phony. The charge of being a “flip-flopper” has stuck to him (because it’s true) and Romney’s counter message — that he’s legitimately changed his mind and become a true believer in regressionism — has gone no where because it’s not genuine. Ultimately, even if Romney eventually is the last man standing in the Republican primary season and becomes…

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Family Concerns

January 15, 2008
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Today’s post is by Wade Nelson.  Apart from a brother who has been inactive for many years, I come from a family whose members have been active and faithful their entire lives. I am something of an oddity (read: black sheep) with my concern and interest in the intellectual side of the gospel. My siblings evince little if any interest in the things that matter to me about the church. Over the holidays I spoke to one sister about the Delbert Stapley letter to George Romney. While she was not hostile, she believed that his attitude was common for people…

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Polygamy, What it Really Implies (Part One)

January 14, 2008
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Polygamy gets a fair amount of attention from time to time, but very little thought of what it means or what it implies as far as what kind of species humanity might be and how relevant men are or just what is to be expected in the next life from eternal relationships. My own thoughts are influenced strongly by just how irrelevant it is easy for a man to become when there are long term female house guests who fit in well, a situation we had when a friend’s husband got transferred and she had one semester left to finish…

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The Continuing Crisis

January 14, 2008
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Well folks, this is my first post in this community.  I’m glad to be here.  Those who know me will recognize the title of this entry — it’s an ongoing series of posts I’ve sent over the years, documenting the angst of a Jewish fellow living hip-deep in Mormondom. I plan to post once a week, with a new column on The Continuing Crisis.  I do look forward to seeing many of you here, commenting, criticizing, etc. Best.

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I’m Right and Everyone Else is Wrong!

January 14, 2008
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Today’s post is by Zane Chartrand.  When I was a missionary I once knocked on a door and after I had introduced my companion and I and identified us as missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints he welcomed us with open arms and invited us to come into his house and talk to him. We were thrilled because everyone else that morning had rejected us. We went in and were invited to sit in some chairs in his living room and he told us that he was really excited to meet us. I became curious…

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Do You Happen to Know So and So….

January 14, 2008
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Have you ever noticed how small the LDS Church world is? It is not uncommon to run into people who know people you know. I’ve had several incidents in my years in the Church, some of which I considered kind of strange, in how and where I encountered Church members and found out we knew people in common. The first time it happened I was in Geneva, Switzerland on business and because I often drove into France from there, I would see the Geneva Stake Center on the way. Well, on this one particular weekend at the end of May,…

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Bookends #1: The Screwtape Letters

January 14, 2008
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Today’s post is by Terry Foraker.  Welcome to Bookends, a new column where I give you a peek over my shoulder at what I am currently reading and hopefully toss out a quasi-thoughtful question or two.  The other night I finished listening to the audio version of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  (There are actually two or three audio versions floating around; I recommend the one read by John Cleese of Monty Python fame.  He brilliantly brings out both the pomposity and the sinister humor in the work; this recording won the Grammy award for best spoken word recording…

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10 Things Every Mormon Needs to Know

January 13, 2008
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In my view, the needed changes in Mormon culture do not require Church members to depart from their leaders’ counsel. To the contrary, I believe the most needed changes in Mormon culture will occur when Church members “catch up” with what the General Authorities have already told them. In my opinion, one of the most needed changes in Mormon culture is to eliminate Church members’ tendency to elevate the Church, its leaders, and its doctrines to a mythical state of perfection and completeness. The following is a list of ten things I believe every Mormon needs to know to avoid…

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What’s Wrong with the Creeds of Christendom?

January 12, 2008
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After nearly 1800 years of silence, the heavens at last reopened. The boy prophet knelt before God the Father and the Son, who told him to “join [no Church], for they were all wrong.” (JS-H 1:19) And why are they wrong? I suppose Jesus could have mentioned any number of reasons for considering no Church His own. The loss of priesthood authority comes immediately to mind. The loss of the Gift and powers of the Holy Ghost is another contender. But Jesus’ condemnation of Christendom was instead rooted in their creeds: “all their creeds were an abomination in [God’s] sight…”…

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Snack Time

January 12, 2008
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My favorite time in the nursery was snack time. Oh, it’s not what you might think. I didn’t love snack time because I could snitch a stray goldfish cracker or vanilla wafer, although those were attractive benefits, especially on fast Sunday. But I liked nursery snack time because it gave me something to do. Something official and concrete. A noble purpose and goal. During snack time, I took the shiny silver pitcher and plodded to the drinking fountain. If I timed it right, and walked really slowly, that could last a good three or four minutes. If I was lucky,…

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“Preach My Gospel” and the Ripple Effect

January 12, 2008
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“Preach My Gospel” and the Ripple Effect

In 2004, the Church released the long-anticipated “Preach My Gospel” manual, replacing the six discussion manuals and the pink “Missionary Guide.” This was a major development that dramatically changed processes and procedures for full time missionaries. With it, there were many shifts in emphasis and priority, the authorized Missionary Library was altered, and in many aspects, the way missionaries study and obtain information was reformed.I think it is crucial that we understand the role that this manual will have in the Church’s future leaders. In about 10-15 years, the local leadership of the church will be filled with a wave…

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The Delbert Stapley / George Romney / Negro Letter, and Modern Applications

January 11, 2008
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A friend just forwarded to me this letter written by LDS Apostle Delbert Stapley to then Michigan Governor George Romney dealing with Negroes, race, the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, civil rights, etc. I know that Delbert Stapley was a very good man — so I’m not interested in piling on (now that we all have the benefit of hindsight). My questions are the following: Do you find it interesting that so much importance was placed on exact obedience to the teachings of Joseph Smith by Apostle Stapley? It seems like today we’re much more willing to discount a past teaching…

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The Mormon Times: Uncorrelated Mormon News from Deseret News?

January 11, 2008
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What do ya’ll think? More steps towards openness in the church? If so, hooray!!!!!

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Planet Kolob to Mormons: It’s not our weird beliefs, it’s our credibility

January 10, 2008
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We know there’s a problem. Here’s how the bulk of us as Mormons see the problem: SYMPTOMS: Americans have an anti-Mormon bias which manifests itself on the right with Evangelicals who call Mormonism “non-Christian” (and who cost Mitt Romney the Iowa Republican Caucus) and on the left with secularists and atheists decrying Mormonism’s foundational stories as an obvious “fraud.” DIAGNOSIS: Mormons are “persecuted” by non-Mormons for their “weird” beliefs. RECOMMENDED TREATMENT: De-emphasize (or eliminate) weird beliefs. Explain Mormonism using highly-nuanced language, which we (as Mormons) believe will satisfy non-Mormon ears (“milk before meat”). We keep going back to the doctor…

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Yet Another John

January 9, 2008
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I don’t know what the prevalence of the name John on Mormon Matters says about this site or our parents’ predilection for monosyllabic British boy’s names, but here is yet another John weighing in on John Dehlin’s invitation to turn this site into the mother of all Mormon blogs: Great idea! In fact, I began thinking that perhaps John’s ground rules for participation might not be bad to extend to active LDS Church participation as well. Imagine a liberal Mormon as Gospel Doctrine teacher, a fundamentalist in charge of the food storage committee, orthodox Mormons as nursery leaders, ex-Mormons as…

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Greetings from Stevo/Steve/Stephen from the UK….

January 9, 2008
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Hey there everyone,

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Looking to turn Mormon Matters into a Group Blog

January 9, 2008
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As an act of obedience to Elder Ballard, I’m looking into the option of turning Mormon Matters into a group blog (like T&S, BCC, the Cultural Hall and FMH). Our slant would be:

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Huckabee is Changing His Tone: Won’t Go Negative on Romney

January 9, 2008
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This is great.

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Episode 020: An Analysis of Mitt Romney’s ” Faith in America ” Speech Pt. 2

December 9, 2007
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In Part 2 of this series, review the “Mormon angle” of Mitt Romney’s much anticipated religion speech entitled ” Faith in America “, delivered on December 6, 2007. Panelists include: John Fowles, John Hamer, Tom Grover, Russell Walker and John Dehlin. All music from my podcasts are provided by Clayton Pixton and Skye Pixton.

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Episode 019: An Analysis of Mitt Romney’s ” Faith in America ” Speech Pt. 1

December 7, 2007
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In this episode, we review Mitt Romney’s much anticipated religion speech entitled ” Faith in America “, delivered on December 6, 2007. Panelists include: John Fowles, John Hamer, Tom Grover, Russell Walker and John Dehlin. All music from my podcasts are provided by Clayton Pixton and Skye Pixton.

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Audio Replay / Podcast of Mitt Romney’s ” Faith in America ” Speech

December 7, 2007
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This is a replay / podcast of Mitt Romney’s ” Faith in America” Speech.

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