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About TOmNossor

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    Seasoned Member: Separates Light & Dark

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  1. I joined the church seeing within the church a truth that was, "Joseph couldn't do it and the devil wouldn't do it." It was many years before I had what folks would call a testimony. Daniel Peterson offered a construction a long time ago that I will probably butcher. 1. History / Doctrine A is taught by missionaries and in Sunday School. It is simple and takes little time to convey. It presents the church as clearly true. It is not some intricately designed piece of logic that demands our consideration. It is preposterous and we are asked to pray about it. 2. Histoy / Doctrine B is taught be our critics. It is simple and take little time to convey. It presents the church as clearly false. We are asked to not pray about such a ridiculous thing (Catholic Answers has a document whose sole purpose is to convince anyone reading it to not pray about the BOM or the CoJCoLDS). 3. History / Doctine C is taught by LDS scholars and apologist (oh the horror, "apologists." Dan Vogel is an apologist). It presents all the data of History / Doctrine B, but its conclusions are that the church is true (or at least possibly or likely true). We are occasionally asked to discard our wrong ideas about infallible prophets or everyone has a black or white hat on. And it takes a long time. I think many folks join based on A. Many folks leave or refuse to join based on B. Few folks who have rejected the church based on B every pursue C. It is folks who embraced A who pursue C and find it compelling. Some who leave return, some never leave, but few put in the time to join based on C. That is what I think. Charity, TOm
  2. We know little about Shakespeare, but Dostoyevsky showed many early signs of genius and gradually grew into the extraordinary author he was (though I would not say he was a universal genius). This is not Joseph Smith. There is nothing to suggest Joseph Smith was on the same path at 4 years of age (when Dostoyevsky was reading and writing). His first works (mid-20's were impressive, but not the extraordinary productions that he produced in his forties after decades of honing his craft). So, the type of genius Bill Reel and you think Joseph Smith was does not life as Joseph did and then explode upon the scene with the BOM. Goethe was not a normal kid like Joseph. Dostoyevsky was not a normal kid like Joseph and took decades to hone his craft before he produced Crime and Punishment AND/OR Brothers Karamazov (unlike Joseph who we are asked to believe produced the BOM at 24 or so). I do not believe the BOM belongs in the same class as Brothers Karamazov, but this thread (and some of the links from this thread) give us aspect of the BOM (it is "Preposterous" ) that are tough to explain with Goethe genius or aged Dostoyevsky genius and are totally out of place for 24 year old Joseph Smith who evidenced nothing like these men UNTIL he purportedly began interacting with angels. The desire to lift up our homosexual brothers when Bill Reel concludes they are hurt by his former church is perhaps a solid compassionate response, but I do not see how I can be asked to take leave of reason and believe Joseph Smith could and did produce the Book of Mormon. I often struggle to understand the rational case for Joseph Smith did it. The emotional case (ala Bill Reel), I get. The weight of being a "peculiar people," I get. I even get folks who find the coming forth of the Book of Abraham radically problematic. I just cannot reason my way out of embracing the Book of Mormon as an act of extraordinary genius so radically out of character for Joseph Smith that all the other problems pale (even the BOA) in their evidenciary strength. Charity, TOm
  3. This thread has touched upon the intellectual case for the BOM. Then you mentioned Bill Reel. Perhaps I am nothing but a Bill Reel stalker, but ... Bill Reel as a critic and non-believer said, “If the BOM is not historical then what Joseph pulled of was a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness that I have every seen.” He is absolutely correct that the BOM if from Joseph Smith and not some divine/historical source is evidence of extraordinary genius. That he thinks Joseph Smith was capable of this indicates he knows little about genius and/or little about Joseph Smith. This is a big part of the intellectual reason I embrace the BOM and then move from that to finding the case for the prophethood of President Nelson to be the most reasonable extension. Maybe the BOM has divine sourcing and the rest of the church is man-made, but I think that less likely that the BOM has divine sourcing and the rest of the church retains this divine mandate. Dan Vogel is just as wrong about the BOM as the others on your list, but Dan Vogel is a first rate scholar who I don't usually see as being radically inconsistent. Charity, TOm
  4. Hello, I am a large fan of this essay: https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/a-mormon-theodicy-jacob-and-the-problem-of-evil/ Before this essay I was always uncomfortable with the idea that "this is the last dispensation." I read once that since Christ came there has never been a generation of Christians that did not include a group of rational Christians who thought the second coming was in their lifetime. In addition to this, there are no OBVIOUS markers in history where a group of rational Christians said, "We are God's people on earth, but a couple of decades or centuries from now a Restoration will raise up new leaders to supplant our position." So, as a hopefully faithful LDS I believed this was the last dispensation because the Prophet told me it was and I truly believe that he has communications with God for my benefit. But, intellectually I had no reason to understand why God makes a dispensation only to let it fall into apostasy OR why I should believe that today's LDS are better, smarter, more holy, ... than yesterday's Catholics. Larsen in his article gave me some tools to answer this question (and I think he largely answered it for himself too). Christ came at a unique time in history when God's people would rise up and kill God, not for any questionable behavior like Polygamy or ... but because He claimed to be who He was. But, a side-effect or feature of this time was that humanity's understanding of itself and its relationship to God was such that Kings and Priests were encouraged by followers to exercise unrighteous dominion. As soon as a Christian leader opened the door a crack for pride or other sinful (but common and natural) thoughts this was magnified by society. Unique men who received revelation for ALL of the world would not long resist the corrosive influence of the adoration they received. The gift of Supernatural Public Revelation for the leading of God's Church and the World would be removed. And the most important aspect of all dispensation would end, no more Public Revelation. Over time as Christians (Catholic and Protestant thinkers) guided humanity to truly believe that God is "no respecter of persons," the strength of humanity and the resistance to unrighteous dominion (both from the internal compass present in leaders AND from the external presence of an enlightened citizenry/church) became sufficient to allow continued Public Revelation without too much corruption of pride. Thus, this is the last dispensation not because our leaders are better than any leaders ever in history; not because God intercedes more aggressively in the workings of His church and His leaders; but because the BRANCHES and the ROOTS from Jacob 5 are sufficiently balanced today after centuries of Christian/divine interaction with God's children. Anyway, this is my intellectual (or attempt at an intellectual) reason for believing this is the last dispensation. Charity, TOm
  5. Are there interpretations of EPR that still allow for a "hidden variable?" I was able to explain this to the satisfaction of others recently, but not to the satisfaction of myself, so I need to refresh my understanding. But, I remember reading about "spooky action at a distance" and being convinced that if a "hidden variable" existed the ratios would be different. Did you think I misunderstood and/or do you still hold hope for a hidden variable that makes sense of quantum entanglement? Charity, TOm
  6. It is not often that I am accused of being some modernist trying to change the church. Tastes salty! <grin> Ostler's point is that the KFD definately did not teach that God the Father had a Heavenly Father and that the Sermon in the Grove likely didn't either (though it is fragmentally recorded in 3 non-agreeing sources). If he is right, that means God the Father's Heavenly Father is a post Joseph extrapolation that is not supported by any scripture. We as LDS cannot embrace all such extrapolations. You like me surely reject Adam-God. You must reject either post-mortal progress between kingdoms or no progress between kingdoms. You like me likely embrace truth within the teachings of Heavenly Mother. So we have made some similar choices and some different choices. I will acknowledge that you are in the MAJORITY when it comes to God the Father having a Father. I am not sure I can say that my interaction with non-LDS Christianity has zero impact on my general rejection of this teaching, but I can say two things. There are many LDS-centric reasons to believe as I do. And my rejection of creation ex nihilo, my belief God the Father like God the Son has a body of flesh and bone, and my insistence that when Christians (LDS and early Christians) say we can become Gods they mean it; leaves me solidly at odds with most of non-LDS Christianity. Oh and my general rejection (of God the Father having a Heavenly Father) means that I think it is not the best view a LDS can have, but I am fine with those who do and I don't think God is offended. Tastes salty! Charity, TOm
  7. I agree there is a problem with turtles all the way down! I am not sure why creation ex nihilo solves the problem. As one who rejects creation ex nihilo, I suggest our Christian friends believe God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; but ONE God) is the uncaused cause. I merely assert that Eternal Intelligences within the framework of unorganized matter and with God the Father as "the greatest of them all" is the uncaused cause. Charity, TOm
  8. Most or all of the below comes from Blake Ostler: I generally reject the idea that God the Father had a Heavenly Father. I also reject Creation ex Nihilo as being problematic for many reasons. It IMO is not Biblical or originally part of Christianity. The "problem of evil" is less or non-solvable within a Creation ex Nihilo framework. I don't think Libertarian Free WIll is possible within Creation ex Nihilo. I generally believe that God the Father is the one who is "more intelligent than them all" (from the BOA) and that the Son and the Holy Spirit were essentially always or effectively always united with Him (not sure I would say eternally, I really have no strong opinion on this). Our mortal probation is essential to our deification, but this is a product of our eternal starting point NOT a necessary condition of divinity as such. LDS must acknowledge that the Son and the Holy Spirit were divine before they were mortal, I merely assert that God the Father was the fount of divinity before he was mortal too. Concerning this question and the Sermon in the Grove and Ostler's thoughts... here is an EXCELLENT thread: http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2006/05/the-father-has-a-father/253/ Enjoy! Charity, TOm
  9. First, let me say that I know what you are talking about. I am occasionally tired and bored during the endowment. Today, I participate in vicarious ordinances out of duty and love. Sometimes the love is more intense than other times. Somebody may have touched on this, but this is what I think will be different. In the future, we will love those we act for in a way that makes our love from parents and spouse today seem less. In John 17:21, Christ prayed that His disciples would be One as He and the Father are One. If we knew that the vicarious ordinance we were performing in the temple was potentially or truly salvific for someone who we love more intimately than we can now understand, would that change things? If we felt their joy as if it was our joy because we are so connected to them, would that change things. This is the communion we are called to. This is the Oneness Christ and the Father have. Charity, TOm P.S. I think I may have seen folks who have approached figuring this out in the temple, but I, unfortunately, am not them.
  10. I am unable to properly represent @3DOP thoughts here and I think this thread will make it more difficult for him to offer his thoughts in any case. But ... I wanted to start by saying that 3DOP doesn't agree completely with what I am about to say. Also @MiserereNobis can offer agreement or correction. Catholics do not believe that TODAY God's Church on earth is lead by Public Revelation from God to be delivered to the body of the Church. In the 3rd Century brilliant and at the time Catholic scholar Tertullian still believed God's Church should be lead by revelation. Tertullian embraced a group of folks who claimed to receive this revelation. The authority that survived (not Tertullian who claimed to be a priest, but this is disputed or others who agreed with him that were probably clergy, but this is unknown) responded to "the New Prophecy" by claiming not only that it was not true, but that there would be no new prophecy until Christ returned. They didn't receive it and nobody other than them could. Over time it became the position of Catholic Church that there job was to preserve the faith once delivered to the saints (see Jude 1:3). High Church Anglicans and other Protestant scholars beat the crap out of Catholics with evidence from the Early Church Fathers that SOME of what Catholics teach and believe was not delivered to the Church by scripture or Tradition, but instead came later. One of these High Church Anglicans was John Henry Newman. As Newman studied the ECF he discovered that some of the UNIQUE Catholic beliefs (the primacy of the Bishop of Rome for example) DEVELOPED (let me say again DEVELOPED) alongside things like the Trinity and the Eucharist and the Dual Nature of Christ and ... Newman RIGHTLY recognized that it was untenable to be a High Church Anglican who believed that a big pile of developments was valid all the while another pile of developments were being defined at the same time by the same people that High Church Anglicans REJECT. Newman became Catholic and brought his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine with him. Rome was initially suspicious of his ideas. It had been clearly taught for years that the deposit of faith was complete. It was contained in Scripture and Tradition. It was the Catholic Church's responsibility to GUARD the deposit of faith, not change it (not develop it which is a soft word for change). Some American Bishops asked Orestas Bronson to respond to Newman. This is what he produced: Newman's Development of Christian Doctrine and I think one other essay I read long ago. But, Newman won the day. Vatican II was called "Newman's Council.' When Pope John Paul II was the Pope it SEEMED to me that the strongest Catholic position was that Public Revelation had ended. Somehow the councils and the Pope were protected from error as they DEVELOPED Christian doctrine (from the acorn to the oak) and such was a valid part of Christianity. Newman's "marks of a true development" were indicators of what was a real development and what was theological speculation or heresy. Much of the "spirit of Vatican II" was theological speculation or heresy, but it was possible to read Vatican II in a very conservative way and not view it as anti-Newman innovation. With JPII as the Pope, I still thought the amount of development necessary and the absence of what I considered "early anticipation" created PROBLEMS for the truth claims of the Catholic Church under JPII, but it was the best with which I would compare Best to Best. I think it is important to point out that CHANGE in the Catholic Church is not viewed as revelation because CHANGE is impossible and Public Revelation ended. So I made this post. I would like to offer my understanding of a Catholic response to part of the above. Public Revelation ended because all revelation from the Old Testament to the New Testament was pointing to the self-revelation of God in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the completion and culmination of Public Revelation and thus there is no need for further revelation. ALSO, Private Revelation is still part of the Catholic Church. God can still speak to leaders and members. It is not that God no longer speaks it is that this communication is not Public Revelation. I know 3DOP has some thoughts beyond this. I even tried to find something I thought was associated with Catherine of Siena or something that he suggested was prophesy. Anyway, I submit that 3DOP and MiserereNobis know Pope Francis is not changing the Church because of revelation because such is not part of the Catholic Church. The CoJCoLDS is much more messy in this area. Charity, TOm
  11. I am sad for serious Catholics. During the Pontificate of John Paul II, I determined that the objective evidence favored LDS truth claims over Catholic truth claims. Catholic truth claims are weaker today because Pope Francis does not believe the Catholic Church is what previous Popes believed the Catholic Church was. I determined that the strongest pro-Catholic position was that of John Paul II when he was Pope. The position of the SSPX (Vatican II was not the 21st EC), the Sedavacntists (there is no Pope) and the radical liberals (Vatican II opened the door for radical reforms) were all weaker. Pope Francis has changed this. He has weakened the position that was strongest previously and added a non-commensurate bit to the other three positions. Today, if God told me the Book of Mormon was from the devil, I would worship with SSPX Catholics. But, no pro-Catholic position is as strong as the pro-Catholic position I evaluated during John Paul II pontificate. I am sad for serious Catholics. It IMO is not inappropriate for LDS to recognize the impact to Catholic truth claims produced by REAL issues (not just men disagreeing. Pres Hinckley councilled “Let us never act in a spirit of arrogance or with a holier-than-thou attitude. Rather, may we show love and respect and helpfulness toward them [not of our faith]. We are greatly misunderstood, and I fear that much of it is of our own making. We can be more tolerant, more neighborly, more friendly, more of an example than we have been in the past.” I am not teatering between the CoJCoLDS and the Catholic Church. If I was, Pope Francis would have a more profound impact upon me. Charity, TOm
  12. I don't try to explain spiritual experiences (LDS, Catholic, NDE, mediums, ...) with some harmonizing rule. You and I would probably agree that God can't be put in a box. Furthermore all numinous experiences have an imperfect human that is an integral part of them. Concerning those who go off the rails, I think it sufficient to endorse this statement from Joseph: "a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” What we need is more grounded good folks such as yourself to leaven the whole. Charity, TOm
  13. Hello Tacenda, I think you and I have a different view of our church (my church? I get confused). 1. I think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is correct in a qualified way. 2. I think the CoJCoLDS is the only Church in a qualified way. 3. I do not think other churches are wrong except in a qualified way. 4. I think the CoJCoLDS has done some harm, but mostly because we are all wounded folks banging into one another (hurt people, hurt people). #1 I believe post mortally non-LDS will be faced with the truth that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is scripture. LDS are correct. I believe post mortally Brigham Young discovered that black people were not really less valiant in the pre-existence, he and the CoJCoLDS (generally) were not correct. #2 IMO God leads the CoJCoLDS through President Nelson in a unique way. That being said, God does not neglect other Christians and even guides their leaders if their leaders are willing to listen. I have told Rory that PERHAPS he might be a luke-warm LDS and is better as an on-fire Catholic. Also, as I said above I believe when Rory and his family arrive in heaven and stand next to President Hinckley and John Paul II, Rory and JP2 will realize that President Hinckley was God’s leader on earth in a way that JP2 was not. I lean towards the view the President Hinckley will not be surprised in the least to see JP2 and Rory. #3 Other churches are wrong when they say that the CoJCoLDS is not a Christian Church, when they say that President Nelson is not a prophet, when they say that they possess all truth or more truth than the CoJCoLDS. That being said they are right when they say that Christ died for our sins, or God loves you. Some church was right when it said that black people were not less valiant in the pre-existence too (though if they denied the pre-existence, I think they were wrong in this). #4 I think there has been harm done. I am SURE I lack the ability to do the calculus required to determine when, how, and by whom. Telling the truth about pre-marital sex can cause folks to be hurt. Expressing too much compassion when dealing with hundreds of folks who participates in pre-marital sex can cause folks to be hurt. I do not believe God can make a number that is >2.9 and <1.1 at the same time and perhaps there will be hurt because of this. But, I am certain that humans, even those who receive inspiration, hurt people in ways God could avoid. I lean toward the view that you Tacenda, would be TOO tolerant. Tolerance is the last virtual of a totally depraved society. The CoJCoLDS IMO is not as likely to be too tolerant as you are, and God is not TOO tolerant. Tacenda, does the Book of Mormon come from God or from the devil? If it is as Bill Real says a rarefied act of extraordinary genius and history demonstrates Joseph Smith was not capable of such genius, what does that mean you should do? Charity, TOm
  14. To the extent you really mean Bill Reel's position is a "faith in things unseen" I agree. But Bill Reel is trying to claim he has a position based on EVIDENCE that is 100% certain. He is wrong IMO. The evidence that he once used to "strengthen the feeble knees" is the same as it was before. He claims that due to his certainty concerning the morality of same sex marriage and the hurt the church "causes" folks who might enter same sex marriage. The certainty he describes is pure emotionalism. Charity, TOm
  15. Tacenda, It is not that the data COULDN’T change my mind. Instead, it is a degree of consistency that I bring to this question that Bill Reel IMO just refuses to do. As I have been fond of saying Bill said, “If the BOM is not historical then what Joseph pulled of was a level of genius that puts him in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness that I have every seen.” It does not matter if Bill believes that folks who want to marry someone of the same sex are right and the church is wrong. Joseph Smith was not that type of genius. To believe such was possible is to be ignorant of genius or of Joseph Smith. And yet Bill’s emotions are the straw that broke the camels back. This is not reason. This is not “I have read and studied every problematic issue in Mormonism (99% of which is not shared with general membership) and I am 100% absolutely certain Mormonism is not true.” This is emotionalism pure and simple. C.S. Lewis warned us against it. Bill’s statement well illustrates why I am at PRECISELY the same place he once was. I hope to strengthen the feeble knees. I hope this because the only BIG unsolved problem for LDS truth claims (the origins of the Book of Abraham) cannot overcome the existence of the Book of Mormon. I was once happy I was not a California LDS because I didn’t want to feel the need to choose how fervently I would deal with Prop 8. The issue on that day long ago was something I would have decided differently without the Church, but it was still not a simple issue. If Bill thinks it is as simple as loving one another, he is not informed on this issue and probably much less informed in other areas than he beliefs himself to be. Charity, TOm
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