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About TOmNossor

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Hello Rory! I find the insistence on naturalistic explanations from the bulk of Catholics with whom I dialogue to be in a way evidence of their departure from Christianity. As you and I have discussed, were I Catholic I would see demonic action in the production of the BOM. If I burn in endless fire for an eternity because I no longer partake of the Eucharist and because I cannot go to absolution, the Devil will have won a soul I suspect would have been a committed and informed Catholic who took his faith seriously (and spent time in the confessional regularly because it is important). Now as we have also discussed, it is my position that if God allows the devil to make a faith that has adherents like me who worship God through His Son Jesus Christ. Who believe that Christ died for my sins and rose on the third day. Who believe all that I believe and strive (imperfectly) to follow Him… AND who tried with all their might to pray to know if God wanted them to be a LDS, then that appears to be saying something ugly about God in my opinion! (I do recognize that my opinion is of little consequence in God’s universe-wide plans and that self-deception is possible). I have long felt that the “pray to know” is a valid way of seeking God’s will in one’s life. But, if God lets the devil counterfeit Christianity in the way that you, Rory, must believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is and the Devil carries out this counterfeiting because it wins souls for him (which again it seems you must believe), then surely prayer is the ONLY recourse. Having said that prayer is the only recourse, I suggest to you that the LARGEST Catholic apologetic apostolate (in the world I think, but certainly in the English speaking worlds) has a document (with lies or at least falsehoods about the Book of Mormon and an Imprimatur, which attempts to demonstrate that the divine authority of the Catholic Church has certified it) that says, “it would be wrong of me to pray about the Book of Mormon.” BTW, I know that the Imprimatur certifies that there is no error in the Catholicism (doctrinal or moral) present in that flawed document, but I submit it is further evidence of deception (from the father of lies) for this document to have an Imprimatur when it is almost entirely about the Book of Mormon and has little or no Catholic (doctrinal or moral) content in it. I submit that the council not to pray is not JUST a Catholic Answers thing as I have heard it from many Catholics (those folks that seem quite non-Christian in how they address my church). I submit that the faith that councils one to not pray about the Book of Mormon, or not pray if the Eucharist is Transubstantiated is probably the faith with more solid demonic connections. Now two more things: 1. It is not lost upon me that what we call the occult was part of Joseph Smith’s life. I think a handful of things about this. First, Joseph Smith and those around him considered what they did that appears occultic to us to be allowing God and those who follow Him to give supernatural aid. Second, the Bible is full of positive occultic things like casting lots for the replacement of Judas or staffs that become snakes, so I reject the idea that there is some clear line between that which is occultic and that which is from God. Finally, the Catholic Church is full of pagan symbols, rites, and festivals. Cardinal Newman tells us that God’s Church takes these things and turns them for His purposes. This is very similar to Richard Bushman’s words about Joseph Smith preparing to be a prophet through what some might call “magical thinking.” 2. I hope it was clear that I think if virtually all faithful and fully committed Catholics will burn in hell or virtually all faithful and fully committed LDS will burn in hell, I think there is very good reason to believe it is the Catholics. But, imputing this horrible condition upon God and His plan for the world is something that the Catholic is strongly inclined to do. It is not something the informed LDS has any inclination to do. If the CoJCoLDS is God’s church, most LDS believe faithful committed Catholic will be beside us in heaven. I would even say that most informed LDS believe there will be no barriers to Celestrial Marriage and the greatest rewards God wishes to bestow upon our Catholic brothers and sisters. And burning in hell for eternity is not something LDS believe anyway. Rory, I responded as aggressively as I knew how because I am quite certain I will not offend you. You didn’t offend me of course. May God guide us to Him and if I choose to be with God for an eternity in the highest heaven, I fully expect to see you and your family (and even that son of yours out teaching heresy). Charity, TOm
  8. I can tell you that “to determine vaccinations are good” or “to decide the germ theory of disease is correct” takes either a PhD or faith in (acceptance of / deference to) the scientific consensus. To suggest otherwise is to misunderstand epistemology and/or history. A testimony is SUBJECTIVE evidence of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We trust SUBJECTIVE evidence everyday for all kinds of stuff. Furthermore, I would suggest when it comes to divine questions, evidence from prayer is particularly germane. To evaluate the OBJECTIVE evidence concerning the truth claims of the Church does in fact require years of study, complicated by the radical polarization in the source material (there is no such thing as unbiased reporting, but there are more and less biased sources and most material on the CoJCoLDS is in the more biased category). This volume of study if applied to achieving a PhD would achieve a PhD, so yes Robert Smith’s comment is correct. I do not know much about Scientology, but I have been studying Catholicism for more than 25 years. The OBJECTIVE reason I am not a Catholic is because I cannot explain the OBJECTIVE evidence associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without appealing to the supernatural. Now, if you randomly picked 25 Catholics, I am quite certain I could provide >20 of them objective evidence that something they thought was true of Catholicism was in fact not true (and I think it likely for all 25). But, there are Catholics who know all and more PROBLEMS with Catholicism than I do and are rationally Catholic. I could not prove with OBJECTIVE evidence that the Pope is not the Vicar of Christ (and if the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, we should all be Catholic). I wish LDS who discover true things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would believe the true things and not reject the truth claims of the CoJCoLDS. “May we all become disillusioned because who would want to be illusioned.” Charity, TOm
  9. I think your real question is, "When the missionaries teach that God will answer their questions concerning the Book of Mormon and the Chruch, is that valid." I have and continue to enjoy looking at and discussing the types of arguments critics of the Church make, but I believe that these activities are much less important than things like praying, reading the scriptures, .... They MAY be more worthwhile than watching TV or playing video games, but sometimes I am not sure. My conclusion and the conclusion of many LDS here is that the objective evidence concerning the CoJCoLDS supports its truth claims. But ...I I think the Bible is clear that when the missionaries ask the investigator to read the Book of Mormon and PRAY to know if it is true, this is a valid (even preferred) way of knowing. In this context, "studying it out in your mind" is the reading and pondering done by the sincere investigator. I have never discouraged folks to dig into the history and the doctrine and the ..., but instead, I ask that they devote the time necessary to see both sides. I think the below is DCP's model: Three types of LDS history: A. What is taught in Sunday School in LDS chapels around the world. This is a faith-promoting history. It is taught for the purpose of teaching valid morale lessons not for presenting an unbiased perspective of what "really" happened. The history part of this takes little time to learn. B. What critics of the Church teach. This is a collection of facts (not always but often) and explanations of those facts, custom chosen to present the CoJCoLDS in the worst light possible. Things that do not work to destroy faith are discarded over the years. This is not an unbiased persepective either. The history part of this takes little time to learn. C. What is discovered as one digs into B history with the aid of informed LDS and/or primary/secondary historical material. This takes lots of time. There will always be biases in all the peices of data, but if diligently pursued the biased nature of all source material will be canceled out by viewing these issues from both sides. When this is said and done, there are problems with the truth claims of the CoJCoLDS. Most of these have good solutions, some have fair solutions, and one (the ORIGINS of the BOA) has only a poor solution. But, most of the people I have seen who evidence they have taken the time to dig into all of this remain members of the Chruch because "C history" more often than not communicates the same ultimately solution as A history. So, praying to know is valid, but we should "fear no data" IMO. Charity, TOm
  10. It used to bother me a little that as a LDS I was taught this was the LAST dispensation and unlike all the previous dispensations it would not end before the second coming of Christ. I know enough of the history that two things are clear and taught in almost ANY time in history. 1. Christ will return in our lifetime, 2. We (Catholics, ...) have staying power. Anyway, this article uses a section in the Book of Mormon and a few different scholarly perspectives to form an argument about today that enables the church to continue without tipping (my word) out of existence. It is complex, but I am no longer much troubled by the idea that this is the "last dispensation." https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/a-mormon-theodicy-jacob-and-the-problem-of-evil/ Charity, TOm
  11. I suspect that Socrates and Plato were better men than I am in more ways that one. I hope to BECOME better though! Nietzsche perhaps was not a better man than I am in as many ways as Socrates and Plato were. You might enjoy reading him. Charity, TOm
  12. Hello, I am enjoying this topic, but soon back to work. I do not think the ONLY reason "God may give inconsistent answers" is "because every person is an individual with their own path." I have experience that is approximated by this: I have not followed God while I tried to follow God and later realized that I was in rebellion. I understand folks more self aware than I am (and more secure because they have grown more than I have) would be willing to leave out the "approximated" qualifier. So what I am saying is that in every communication between God and man there is one flawed imperfect being (the human). When I communicate with those around me, I do not hear what they say, I hear some form of what they say filtered through my mind. This has certainly been part of my experiences (no need to say approximated by ...). I see no reason to believe that the sincere individual who wants to know about his marriage and hears God communicate xyz and the other sincere individual with a similar question that hears abc; means that God is giving different messages. God could be giving the same message and the two folks don't "hear" it the same. ... I think you would/might assert that either there is no ABSOLUTE truth or our pursuit of it is futile. I am suggesting that I still hold out hope that God's truth is the absolute truth and we can move closer to it as we align our will with His will. Charity, TOm
  13. I have no desire to convince Atheists that they should shun the "light of Christ" that guides them in their life, but ... If we are but a collection of evolved atoms, I submit the Atheist who has shed his/her INHERITED morality is better/smarter/more evolved. If I could shun the inner voice and I didn't believe in God, I would advocate that we ALL follow our conscience; but when nobody was looking, I would do whatever benefited me. If I could do the calculations, I would evaluated every action and ignore societal conventions, compassion, inner voice, .... My calculation would be about how I could benefit. I see no moral reason I should feel an obligation to the carbon atom above the silicon atom and I am perfectly willing to buy/sell/assemble/destroy brilliant collections of silicon atoms (such as the one I am using with no consideration of its feelings right this very moment). Charity, TOm
  14. Fixed. My mistake. Thanks. Charity, TOm
  15. Have you read Kevin Christensen article associated LGBT responses to the church? I can relate to much though not all of the things described in it and it rings true. When I was at school someone dove 5 stories to land head first on the brick patio falling past my room. I was told they tried to stand for about half a second before they died. I remember reflecting back upon my struggles with the non-academic nature of my unique college experience. I would have walked out the gate and been done with it all. Many LDS walk out the gate and are done with it all. A number of LDS live with the tension of their desires conflicting with what they have been taught. Others relieve this tension different ways. "Any causality" is perhaps a low enough bar to clear, but profound causality is not. You are an emotional fellow. I tend to be more cold and rational. I am not one to condemn your emotional engagement with the gospel, but I will call it out. There are many many other responses than to blame God or believe God is absent in the church when things happen in ways that feel bad to us, seem wrong to us, or ... I have thought about inspiration when it comes to establishing a policy and then removing a policy 3-4 years. My personal assessment of this issue and of God's foresight is that God would not do it this way. It is quite possible that I am wrong and God would in fact "do it this way." I am definitely creative enough to explain what MIGHT be involved in God doing it this way. But, I do not need to do this. I have already acknowledged that when I hear the voice of God, there is at least one fallible human involved in the conversation. I have long extended such a recognition to leaders of the church. But, if the production of the Book of Mormon is, "a level of genius that puts him (Joseph Smith) in the maybe the top 3 or 4 most incredible acts of intelligence and cohesiveness" I have seen (or you have seen, or more rarefied IMO than this - oh, and my 14 year old daughter is reading Shakespeare she has seen enough genius to make such a statement very POWERFUL), my intellect must make a choice as to how to handle things that are done by God, or God's Church, or some men; that are not consistent with how my intellect would do them. At the end of the day, until I have a good reason to believe that God was not involved in the production of the BOM and/or God is not still involved in the teaching and spread of the gospel through the CoJCoLDS, my intellect will need to deal with things that I would do differently (if I had perfect foresight and ... or just in general). I still do not agree with the positions embraced by Jim Bennett, but they are at least a rational response to the messiness he (and I) perceives in the church AND the existence of the Book of Mormon. As Kevin's article should make clear to folks who think deeply about it, this issue is complex. I place little weight upon what a society that believes sex is a tool to sell me shampoo reasons about the proper relationship between love, sex, and families. That being said, as I stated in my first post on this thread, I expect more changes in the future. Until I have good reason to reject the divinity of the Book of Momron, I will need to use my fallible intellect to integrate future changes into my understanding of God and His Church. Oh, and while I am not the most spiritually in tune fellow, I do not wish to neglect such things either. Charity, TOm
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