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Kevin Christensen

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About Kevin Christensen

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    Separates Water & Dry Land
  • Birthday 04/28/1954

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    Canonsburg, PA

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  1. The relevance is that no one in this thread sees the relevance, from HBO on. That is my point. Sex addiction is a significant factor in why the discussion is even taking place, and in the shape the discussion has. No one is talking about something that makes the discussion what it is. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  2. In politics, one of the most important goals is to "control the narrative" and to do so in such a way that no one reflects upon the fact that they are following a narrative that does the paradigmatic controlling. And from my perspective, one of the most obvious things about the dominant narrative is that it completely avoids the issue of sex addiction as a potential factor in individual behavior. Of course, if a person is "born that way", and therefore has no options but to behave that way, then their narrative is going to be constructed to support the narrative that they are born that way and have no other options. On the other hand, if a person has been sexualized from an early age, and views the world and their experience through the lens of addiction, and therefore assume that "this is just the way I am," then it also happens that two basic behaviors will also be obvious. A key diagnostic factor in addicts is the utter conviction that "sex is my most important need." Another, relevant to the discussion of "controlling the narrative" is that addicts characteristically justify themselves through the medium of constant grievance: From the SA Whitebook, page 54. So, if it happens that there were a community that was heavily populated with addicts, it would follow that such a community would be characterized by a focus on protecting their own sexual behavior above all other considerations, and doing that by telling grievance stories about someone else. And that protection of their own sexual behavior would include an avoidance of the topic of addiction. Because one of the characteristics of recovery from addiction is that sex becomes subjectively optional, no longer the first and greatest need, to which all other values and loyalties must bow. And one of the characteristics of addiction recovery involves the demonstration of a spiritual awakening, a willingness to serve other people trapped in addiction, helping them to see that "this is not just the way you are," but that there are options. Now even if you don't believe that you personally are addicted (despite the obvious life-defining priority given to sexuality and the constant recourse to grievance stories to justify one's self), think about the consequences of not telling an person who (even if they were born that way, and not, say, groomed and initiated when young and lonely and vulnerable) that they may actually have options. The last thing an addict needs to hear is that this is just the way you are, your grievances are completely justified, and you have no option options but to let your desires rule your life. A recovered sex addict still has desires, but they don't have to act on them because they can see past momentary desires and base their choices on preferred consequences. Sex becomes optional, not the first and great commandment. On the other hand, the possibility that sex addiction could account for behavior in a significant portion of any social group turns out to be a threat to the supply of dopamine and seratonin and such, so addicts prefer to avoid even mentioning the existence of the line of thought. http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleChristensenRashomon.html FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  3. Discussing temple stuff online

    The whole business of Joseph having gotten the idea of the endowment from Masonic rites (rather than, as Bushman proposed, some pedagogical language) always ignores the presence of explicit and detailed temple rites in the Book of Mormon. John Welch's material in from this 2012 conference is the best and most detailed presentation so far with respect to 3 Nephi. http://www.templestudy.com/2013/08/26/mormonism-temple-2012-conference-proceedings-pdf/ And that does not consider Mosiah, and Alma 9-13, and Jacob's Day of Atonement discourse. FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg
  4. Discussing temple stuff online

    Well, there is this: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Temple/default.htm And of course, this: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/SecretTradition.pdf FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  5. Discussing temple stuff online

    There is a lot we can do to improve our temple experience, particularly along the lines of reading the kinds of things that open our minds to what is going on. I think of Jesus in 3 Nephi telling the audience that the were weak and could not understand all his words, and that they should go home, and prepare their minds. A friend on mine in California is a well-known scientist. He admitted that he was embarrassed by the temple until he watched the PBS series on The Power of Myth, where Bill Moyers interviewed Joseph Campbell. That totally changed the way he thought about the experience. I've got the book and the DVDs. I also second Clark's recommendation of Eliade as amazingly helpful particularly since he knows nothing about our temples, and at the same time, everything. There is Nibley, of course, offering a range of eye-opening talks and books. And Margaret Barker. One of her website essays is called "Belonging in the Temple" and I think it would go well in a LDS Temple Prep or Temple Appreciation class. My wife and I went to see Margaret in Yonkers when she spoke to the Orthodox school there a few years back. After the talk on "The Great High Priest," Shauna was overcome, and told Margaret, "We have no idea what we have!" Shauna meant specifically, what we have in the Temple. Margaret, for her part, told us that when she arrived, she said to them, "If you are serious about the temple, you'll have to swallow your pride and ask the Mormons, because they have the best scholars on the topic." She would be referring to Nibley, Tvedtnes, Welch, and several others. (I once sent her a big box of books with LDS volumes on the Temple, Nibley, Welch, and collections of Temple essays by BYU scholars.) One of the things she does in her workshops is to show a model of the Holy of Holies. A gold foil-lined cube, into which she puts a miniature menorah, with the candles lit, and she turns off all the other lights. One of her mental exercises is to imagine the experience of the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies in Solomon's Temple, with the walls all reflective gold sheets, and the Tree of Life with the 9 candles burning, and the arc of the covenant, representing the throne of God. What would a person see but themselves surrounded by numberless concourses of angels (for the priest himself is dressed in white, in the garb of angels), amid the everlasting burnings created by the countless reflections of the lights from the Tree of Life? Welch's books (and ongoing work) on Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount was particularly eye-opening for me. That and Eliade got me away from thinking about a particular set of words, and on the ideas and imagery and structure and symbolism behind and above and through and behind and beyond the words. And Ostler in BYU Studies on "Clothed Upon" and Nibley on "Sacred Vestments," both essays overlapping in sources and insights, but helping me appreciate the significance of what we do. And there are the many presentations that have emerged from the Temple Study groups in London and Salt Lake and Provo over the past several years. I must admit that I find this kind of scholarship on the temple, both LDS and otherwise, far more helpful than frustrating vague though earnest piety larded with emotional but abstract superlatives. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  6. Buried Texts and Treasure Finders

    From my "A Model of Mormon Spiritual Experience" essay: http://oneclimbs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/model_of_experience.pdf Citing Craig Miller's Sunstone letter quoting. Satyananda Paramahansa, Four Chapters on Freedom, ―A Mystical Joseph Smith, in Sunstone 12/2 (March 1988): 4 FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  7. 1829-32 Doctrine of the Nature of God

    In The Great Angel, page 4 in a key chapter where she surveys Biblical texts that refer to sons of El and sons of Yahweh, Barker observes a telling distinction: So it helps to consider not just the word Father, but to consider how that title applies in a particular context. I found that it makes all the difference in my reading of the Book of Mormon. For instance, a section of Paradigms Regained here: https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=2694&index=4 And Brant Gardner, here: https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2003/monotheism-messiah-and-mormons-book And in considering the possibility of just letting "a text speak for itself", Barker notes: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/TextAndContext.pdf If we don't contextualize consciously, we tend to do it unconsciously, defaulting to our own cultural preconceptions of what a word means, as though words have an inherent meaning, the same to all observers and without regard to context and culture and ideology, without any self awareness that we are doing so. And there is, from Paulson and Bruening on the Modalism hypothesis and contextualization. https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1454&index=12 FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  8. Another Faith Crisis Letter

    For instance: And this: Most of his problem comes from his ideological stance, and so most of my answers involve unpacking his ideology, can't distill down to little numbered sound bites like these. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/eye-of-the-beholder-law-of-the-harvest-observations-on-the-inevitable-consequences-of-the-different-investigative-approaches-of-jeremy-runnells-and-jeff-lindsay/ FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  9. Another Faith Crisis Letter

    Regarding Stephenson, he is a friend of Jeremy Runnells who responded to my Interpreter essay in response to the CES letter. In turn, I wrote a response to Stephenson's defense for Interpreter which I quoted here. They paint me as offering schizophrenic arguments and as dishonest, so, if you want to take their word for it... Well I do find Matthew Brown's case that Cowdery used the 1832 account in producing his history very well argued. And I am an English major, and professional technical writer, and a published scholar, so I do know something about how writing and influence work even with differences. Overall, I find him to be an enlightening source of information and fresh insight. (I like his argument that the "firstly he receiving the testamony from on high" passage in the 1832 account refers to the Father introducing the Son). Not my only source on the topic. So we differ again on what is persuasive. It happens. But I would encourage people to who have not, to read Brown's books and FAIR presentations for themselves. Very carefully. I think the story did come up at times. But various people have made the case, for example, Lawrence Foster (a non-LDS scholar), writing in Sunstone on "First Visions", that since conversion theophanies were not uncommon at that time (See Bushman's essay on "The Visionary World of Joseph Smith), though not popular or respected by most of the enlightenment-thinking clergy, that vision was not really what set Joseph Smith apart. Rather, it was the story of the angel and the book that were unusual and merited the most attention. And it was the angel who said God had a work for Joseph to do. The First Vision message had a promise of future information, not of a formal calling. Again, the angel story is when things become directed and specific and formal. https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/041-39-43.pdf And there is that very important essay I linked by Tim Barker on the Vision in the Formative Years, showing that despite the lack of emphasis, there are more accounts that we typically recognize. He includes the February 14 1831 account that Smith (they affirmed) had seen God frequently and personally. So the notion was around and not unique to Joseph Smith. And while Lucy doesn't mention it in her account, I notice that neither does she complain about any fabrication. And Joseph Smith's own account reports that when he got back, all he told his mother was “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” So while it might seem natural for Lucy to have shared Joseph's fresh account, his history does not point that direction. William Smith's report points to “a more elaborate and accurate description of his vision, however, will be found in his own history.” Lucy's account is her history, what she saw, experienced and understood, and transmitted. But even with Barker's neglected essay on the Vision early on, there is the equally important essay in Journal of Mormon History, "The Emergence of a Fundamental: that showed that the pedagogical use of the 1838 account began only in the 1870s. And it was only then that people in the church began using it as though it were the source of various formal teachings. https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/exploring-first-vision/6-emergence-fundamental-expanding-role-joseph-smith-s-first-vision So I see a significant cultural shift that started in the 1870s that we ought not treat it as though people in Kirtland or Palmyra who heard the vision would make the same pedagogical use of it in the 1830s that later Mormons did in Utah and after. The situation is an exact fit for what Thomas Kuhn describes as entirely typical in his chapter on "The Invisibility of Revolutions". A chapter I quote at length in a forthcoming Interpreter essay. Regarding "Also, what do you think about my comment that Joseph's pattern for sharing other visionary experiences was completely open, that he frequently shared a plethora of experiences and didn't hold anything back." I see the problem in "completely open" and "didn't hold anything back" as both being absolutist phrases that never apply in human practice. It is simply impossible to communicate completely everything, holding nothing back, producing a chunk of communication that contains everything, holds nothing back, serves every subsequent occasion, and will therefore never be subject to change in details, understanding, or meaning. Social context, time, preparation, audience, circumstances, memory and interpretation, all color every human event. Open, yes. Sharing experiences, yes. But no one ever holds nothing back because words can't contain everything. I say that as someone who has taken and passed five polygraphs. I had to be as completely honest and open as human possible in the circumstances in order to pass. Stakes were high, honesty essential, and failure was not an option. But everything does not fit in "Yes" or "No." We tell what we know and believe using the language and understanding we have at our disposal in addressing the specific audience under the specific circumstances. But language, and understanding, and audience and circumstances all have effects. And I do not agree at all with Grant Palmer and do not regard him with the best LDS historians. When I read his book, I found that every page annoyed me. He overlooks important scholarship and primary sources chronically and characteristically. Mark Ashurt McGee (one of the best LDS historians) did give Palmer this much credit in his essay in the Review: See Mark Ashurst-McGee, “A One-Sided View of Mormon Origins,” FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 352. Joseph Smith's authority, it seems to me was something that he grew with, and it took some time to sort out, learn for himself, and also to explain, over time, to a growing and diverse community that brought differing views and changing circumstances. It wasn't all settled in the First Vision. Lots of people have had visions. Even before the Book of Mormon was published a man knocked on the door of the Smith home and as Hyrum opened the door, asked "Is this a visionary house?" And he produced a pamphlet with his own vision. And Hyrum produced some off prints from the still unbound Book of Mormon and thereby converted a visionary. The main source of authority for Mormonism from the first and to the present, remains the Book of Mormon. Which is why people like Palmer want to undermine it. That also removes its authority, and thereby Joseph Smith's. And thereby the meaning of the covenants that bind members to the community. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  10. Another Faith Crisis Letter

    Hope says: In my response to Stephenson, I had this: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/image-is-everything-pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain/ So there is very good evidence that Oliver used the 1832 account in composing his 1834 history. I also cite Don Bradley's presentation: Bradley’s conclusion is that: As our examination shows, the First Vision fits its reported 1820s context hand in glove. The argument that Joseph Smith crafted the First Vision narrative to address church problems of the 1830s thus fails … The original context that gave rise to Joseph Smith’s First Vision was not the church he created but the family that created him. And the First Vision was not a product of his prophetic role, but the source of that role. Joseph Smith entered the Sacred Grove a boy and left it a prophet and seer.79 The supposition that if Joseph had an experience in 1820 he would have immediately blabbed it to all and sundry does is itself testable against the experiences of many people who have had profound spiritual experiences and who did not and do not immediately blab them to all. And while a rare person may write them down immediately many do not. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson did not write about his mystical experience in his diary on the day it happened. The time it takes for a person to share a profound spiritual is something I have had personal experience with thanks to the years when I was doing NDE research, and talking about it, and having people share personal and intimate accounts that they do not typically share. And I have had four different people, my wife, my sister, a mission companion, and a friend I have known from high school, all share profound spiritual accounts that were remarkably similar in terms of the emotional precursors, the physical environment (each climbed to a high place to pray). and the personal theophany they reported. None of them immediately shared their experience with anyone, but only later in a moment when sharing was apt. In three of these cases, the sharing came after years of knowing the person, the exception being a mission companion, who shared only after we'd been together a while. They treated it as something sacred, to be treated with care and shared only when the moment to share was bounded by both earned trust and a shared moment of personal intimacy and vulnerability. In my essay I reported another experience where a man who had a profound NDE while in the military in the early 1960s, had been scoffed at by the first few he told it to, and sealed it up until decades later. He had his experience before Moody's books came out and he did not have a supportive environment to interpret or share it. When he heard me talking about my research, he got me alone and told me. A week later, he told the quorum. And the next Sunday, he spoke about it in Fast and Testimony meeting. So if and when a community supports accounts, we can hear them more often. And there are more accounts of Joseph telling his story to consider, along with no accounts by anyone who knew him before the publication of the 1838 account complaining that he had made it up or changed it. http://lds-studies.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-vision-in-formative-years-of.html FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  11. The 1832 First Vision Account: Needed to be Hidden?

    But nowadays, anyone can find most of the stuff that I had to physically search for, traveling to bookstores, libraries, bound periodicals at the University of Utah and BYU, with a few clicks of the mouse. Growth is a processes, and has stages. that everyone has to go through. Instant mature development is not something that can be bottled and institutionalized. (See the Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth). When I got to the point that I started seeking and finding, I was not just seeking answers to questions, but finding more questions. And I had to go through developmental stages along with learning processes. Another part of my point involves the role of narrative in determining what counts as a valid question and a valid answer. So telling my narrative that differs in essential ways from the "How come no one told me this?" narrative should raise some awareness that the narrative in which we frame our questions crucially affects how we explore and interpret the questions poised by that narrative. The interpretation of facts depends crucially on the narrative, so people ought to consider the role that narrative inescapably plays in interpretation. And in which questions get asked, or ignored. That is one of the underlying points of Dehlin's whole Mormon Stories experience. It's not just "let everyone tell their own stories," but rather, a community that adopts and enforces a particular Meta-narrative framing that assigns victimhood and the associated bitterness and entitlement on one side, and perps and "apologists" as villains to the other. It's not just objective facing of facts, but subjective choosing of which narrative frames to adopt and which community then to align with. Facts are subject to community meta narrative. So it pays to have some awareness of the significance of such things, and available choices, rather than to blithely go along with the currents without awareness of their effects. I've used the example of Othello strangling Desdemona. Sure, Othello feels betrayed, hurt, angry, and such. He interprets what he sees in terms of the narrative as he sees it. But is he working withing the most enlightened of narratives in making his interpretations? Is Othello an innocent victim, or is his own pride a crucial factor in his vulnerabilities? Should I stand back and say, "Well, that's his truth, what is true for him. He needs to follow his own feelings." And what about Desdemona? Do her feelings count or is it all about Othello? Does it matter that Iago has been influencing the construction of a misleading narrative frame for Othello? FWW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  12. Faith in what?

    Regarding this question: Consider this definition of "sustain": The overall range of meanings here brought me a huge moment of enlightenment about our formal covenant with God to "sustain" one another. Basically it means, for the sake of the community, be willing not only comfort those who stand in need of comfort, but also to put up with the crap. If no one in a community has any tolerance for any disagreement or difference or conflict with any other member of the community, how long will that community last? It means letting go expectations, letting go my pride, and letting God be in charge, and to assume that, as Isaiah 55 points out, God's thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and specifically involve a higher, long-term, process moving toward a distant goal, rather than, focusing on the my personal discomfort and frustration in the here and now. Regarding this: Your contention here is not something I contend with. Rather, it has been the air that I breath for decades, with the caveat that I ought not be so sure that I know it all and am fit to not only judge those leaders, but to speak for and as God. It's one of the reasons I keep citing and using the Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth. Perry’s Position 9: Commitments in Relativism further developed, has this: The person now has a developed sense of irony and can more easily embrace other’s viewpoints. He can accept life as just that “life,” just the way it is! Now he holds the commitments he makes in a condition of Provisional Ultimacy, meaning that for him what he chooses to be truth IS his truth, and he acts as if it is ultimate truth, but there is still a “provision” for change. He has no illusions about having “arrived” permanently on top of some heap, he is ready and knows he will have to retrace his journey over and over, but he has hope that he will do it each time more wisely. He is aware that he is developing his Identity through Commitment. He can affirm the inseparable nature of the knower and the known—meaning he knows he as knower contributes to what he calls known. He helps weld a community by sharing realization of aloneness and gains strength and intimacy through this shared vulnerability. He has discarded obedience in favor of his own agency, and he continues to select, judge, and build. To me, taking God's advice to "seek out of the best books wisdom, by study and by faith" is not just asking God, but accepting the way God answers. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  13. The 1832 First Vision Account: Needed to be Hidden?

    I recall Jesus saying in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7): "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Back in 1975, just back from my mission, I was browsing through some thick stacks of Ensigns and Improvement Eras, looking for all things Nibley that I had, up to that point, had not asked for, not sought, and not had opened for me, I found the November 1970 issue of the Improvement Era, which had a Nibley essay, but also the cover story was on the different first vision accounts. James Allen wrote that one, and it very good. So once I asked and sought in various libraries and bookstores, and I soon found the BYU Studies publication of all the accounts, discussions in back issues of Dialogue, and not even hidden in a library, but for sale at the Deseret Book across from Temple Square Bachman's The First Vision, which also had all the accounts, and discussions of the contexts, debates, and provided all the versions. Since that initial flurry, I've also read all sorts of things, ranging from Tanners to Richard L. Anderson to Brode, and Matthew Brown's insightful books and FAIR presentation, Michael Quinn's dialogue essay, and at least three addition Ensign articles. I found the Journal of Mormon History articles on the literary form and on the history of the pedagogical use of the 1838 account as starting in the 1870s. Many good essays, and all sorts of grousing as well, none of which has persuaded me to join in. One thing notably missing from my experience was any sense of betrayal or being lied to. My thought process was, "Oh.. that's interesting. I did not know that. I wonder where I can go to learn more?" One of the things that supported that lack of crisis was my own realization that I had just picked up a 1070 Improvement Era that had been in the house for years, and I hadn't been interested enough to look. Another was that I was not an unusual Mormon in that regard, that is, that most people didn't know much, or read much or know better. I'd been a teacher and so I knew something about teachers not being omniscient. And I intuited that the same went for those who wrote manuals. The institution church was an an assembly of people ( the Greek "ekklesia" for church has the primary meaning of assembly). So it's a bunch of very human people with limited time and means and resources, and bound by those limits, as well as those of paradigm and culture and such. The church, the assembly of people, could be expected to behave like people, rather than God's sock puppets, doing only and exactly what he permits. I have noticed a law of the harvest regarding seeking and finding. I've also noticed the chapter on "The Invisibility of Revolutions" in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and noticed how neatly it applies to the differences in 1960s LDS text books and the Joseph Smith papers. Kuhn pointed out that paradigm shifts don't happen all at once for institutions, but take generations at times. While getting involved in addiction recovery over the past decade plus, I have learned about the relationship between expectations, and resentments and a sense of entitlement. Recovery involves letting go expectations, resentments, and that sense of entitlement. "It's not what I would do! if I were there" does not demonstrate empathy or perspective. I've noticed that none of the people grousing about the first vision tell me that in the 1832 account, about the above the line editing of the passage, "the ^Lord opened the heavens to me and I saw the Lord." If the inserted "Lord" had been "God", we'd have no controversy. Allen noticed that in his 1970 Improvement Era article. And there was Matthew Brown's brilliant insight that the first paragraph of 1832 account likely references the Father witnessing the Son. (See his FAIR presentation or his book.) Joseph Campbell notes that a function of Myth is to sustain a social order. In politics, among competing social orders there are always rival attempts to control the narrative, the myth, the social order. So how we tell stories, how read them, had consequences. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  14. Faith in what?

    If you think that the basis of faith is absolute certainty, based on irrefutable evidence that has been certified by skeptics, then perhaps, the real problem is your conception of what faith is. Alma 32 aptly describes faith as something that is grown through process that takes time, nurture, experiment, continuing growth, expansion, enlargement, and ongoing evaluation. Alma aptly contrasts open-ended "cause to believe" (which is not perfect knowledge, not proven beyond doubt, and is therefore not built on coercive pressure, but on what a person finds inviting and promising) against, closed, coercive absolute, proven knowledge. That sort of thing is not faith. He starts with a seed, even a portion of the word (and he leaves it to the planter/experimenter to select the portion), and on that portion, an experiment, that takes time, and expressly does not quickly provide "perfect knowledge." And he expressly includes "a desire to believe" as a necessary ingredient. Rather, the process continues, and the encouragement comes in form of an expanded mind, and an enlarged soul, rather than say, doctrinal stasis. So, I cannot personally tell anyone to start with the same portion of the word that I did, nor can I unconditionally suppose that anyone who reads my work will come to the same conclusions. But one thing that I have seen ever more clearly over the past several decades, is that Jesus was insightful in noting that the same seeds (words) can produce vastly different yields, all depending on soil, and nurture. And that no matter where we start, that the great obstacles to greater knowledge of things as they were, are and will become, are what we currently think is correct, and what we desire to the point that we will not offer it up as a sacrifice. It's all about Fear and Desire, which also turn out to be the way that Maya, God of Illusion tempted Buddha under the Bo tree. What do I now think? What do I now want? My God wants to invite and persuade us rather than to coerce our unwilling submission. I have encountered a great deal that I personally find inviting and persuasive with respect to my ongoing faith in a loving God. That is the basis of my faith, as the time and nurture and experiments on a wide range of topics, and the subsequent expansion of the mind, and enlargement of the soul, and delicious taste, and the ongoing promise I see. It's not the same thing as absolute certainty and proof, and positivism and all that. It's faith. If I face the choice of holding out for a different God, one who is finally going to coerce my unwilling submission so that I know at that moment of crucial confrontation that I have no alternative but to submit to the violent destruction of my preconceptions, and the simultaneous imposition of forced restrictions and immediate boundaries on my desires, I ought to consider which God is a more appealing figure of worship and which one is going to be the most pleasant to encounter and know? FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  15. Is the Book of Mormon Satan anachronistic?

    For starters, try this, and take note of the role of Asael/Azazel in the fallen angel traditions and the Day of Atonement rituals. http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/Atonement.pdf Then consider the antiquity of both the Day of Atonement rituals and the antiquity of the Fallen Angel mythology. Notably, Nibley's comparison of several Ancient Near Eastern mythologies here, in The Enoch Figure: https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1102&index=3 And there are things like this, an early Christian writing, but one with obvious ties of old Egyptian traditions, and reminiscent of our Book of Moses. http://thinlyveiled.com/abbaton.htm FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA