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    Chihuahua, Mexico
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    I am very interested in the history of religious conflict, especially here in Mexico. I enjoy studying the history and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its offshoots. I am here as neither an investigator nor a critic, but as one who is intellectually and spiritually curious. I want to learn and perhaps add to the discussion and dialogue. OK?

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  1. I am of the "Evangelical" persuasion and I can assure you the phrase "born again" is a metaphor for new life in Christ. Nothing more.
  2. Thanks so very much Mark for your lengthy reply to my questions. I enjoyed reading your link to the encyclopedia, less so the gospel topics essays. The latter seem written to a non-LDS audience, partially for the purpose of presenting an ideal image, rather than the more candid and perhaps accurate (phenomenological) image of the Saints, as those on a spiritual journey and to some degree, struggling just like the rest of us. I did get some insight from the gospel topic essay in this phrase, "The teaching that human beings have a divine nature and future shapes the way Latter-day Saints view fundamental doctrine. Perhaps most significantly, belief in divine nature helps us more deeply appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ." The light bulb that went on for me from that is along the lines that perhaps my LDS friends may not, in reality have a "lesser than" perspective on the nature of Christ and the Father, as they are often accused of by non-LDS Christians. The more accurate statement might be that they (you) have a higher perspective of the potential of human nature as divine than we do. This makes it appear that you are lowering the status of the Godhead as divine, when in reality you may be instead, raising the status of the human as divine. They (you) have a different interpretation of humans being made in the image of God than we do. It is a higher view of human potential, rather than a lower view of the Godhead. To say that God the Father and Son are human, in my view makes them less than because of my lower view of humanity and the great gulf (gap) between the human and the divine. It is ingrained in me not to see the human and the divine as a continuum. They are two natures worlds apart. We strive and strive to be like God; knowing that we will never be as God. You see it as logically possible to progress to being as God, especially given your higher view of the divine spark within humanity. This difference in perspective on what it means to be human, might be more critical to understand than what it means to be divine. Our perspectives on this issue/difference are deeply ingrained in our respective understanding of humanity and the Godhead. Sometimes I am beginning to think, both sides enjoy getting lost in debates over things like the trinity and the concomitant debates about how the "oneness" of the Godhead works. We then don't spend enough time on the differences in our understanding of what it means to be human or fully human for each of us. Our focus is on depravity; yours is on potential. Perhaps that doesn't mean you think less than of God; but more than about humanity. If that is correct, the implications are great. I think both sides are guilty of the simplification of the complicated for marketing and border/boundary protection purposes. We can each be more interested in pushing the milk because it is easier to win converts (jewels in our respective metaphorical crowns) than digging deeper to understand the meat of our differences and similarities. Even the inter-faith guys are guilty of this. They are content all too often to be nice via mutual assistance in social issues and then pronounce with satisfaction and pride that something of an inter-faith nature has happened. Both sides do that. That isn't good enough for me. Each side already has thee "truth" so why bother to truly understand and receive the others' truth? We each have our mutual biases and stereotypes which we clutch to our bosoms. That is much easier than taking the time, effort, and energy to truly understand the other, especially if our primary motivation is the conversion, enlightening, teaching, etc. of the other. We each have a mortal fear of being enlightened ourselves, and egads, potentially being converted ourselves, so we block, defend, and rest comfortably and assuredly in our respective uncomfortable experiences, contacts, etc. with the other. The knock on the door by the guys in the white shirts and black name tags and the encounters at Temple Square, the Manti pageant, and various street corners with the dreaded "anti-Mormons" are sufficient to firmly establish our stereotypes and generalizations about the other. This defense mechanism keeps us from ever getting deeper and broader in our interactions. That takes time, effort, and thought and probably won't lead to jewels. Sorry, going on too long now. Thanks and best wishes.
  3. Mark: I think you and I are of the same nature! Here it is 2:55AM and I am on the forum. It is 1:55AM where you are and you are on the forum. Many of my mestizo friends here in Mexico have a programmed-in dread, bordering on fear of night owls. There is a feared progression in evidence - owl - lechusa - bruja. As for me, I enjoy sitting here in my office from which, with the door open I can hear the owls in the trees along the river. In their calling, I can almost hear them doing the equivalent of pecking on the keyboard as I am now with you. I think the owls and the doves communicate verbally more than any other birds in our little bit of paradise here on the banks of the Palanganas.
  4. Sorry, I don't have a copy of a Spanish hymnbook here at the house. The ward I go to is 90% English.
  5. I explained my response and perspective as being from my lived experience. Not exactly sure how you can disagree with that since you don't know me? I don't know what you mean by "the same baptism?" I have baptized many people, only by immersion and only after having at least six weeks of pre-baptism classes. I never stressed church membership, so that was not associated with baptism. We don't use the terms catechism or confirmation, but we certainly have a time of training (classes), observation, and Q and A prior to baptism. A meeting is held with all elders prior to baptism and the candidate must be approved as ready before baptism is done. The candidate must then provide a public witness in front of the entire congregation prior to baptism. The candidate was encouraged to make certain commitments or covenants, none of which had anything to do with the church - they were all Christ-centered. We certainly have a WOW. The one I lived and to some degree still live under was more lifestyle conformity, rather than food or drink (other than alcohol). No creeds. We have an extensive understanding of callings. We both ordain and in some cases license folks to different ministries. As a older youth (20 years old), I did a mission in west Africa. I was later licensed upon being called to a ministry of work with youth and music in several churches. Later I was ordained in certain callings after an extensive time of examination and training. Later I was licensed to serve, after being called as a headmaster of a Christian school. This license was valid as long as I was in that position and in good standing. I was paid just as the Director of the Juarez Stake Academy is paid. I am completely and adamantly against political games and racism. In fact I am opposed to isms of all kinds from racism to racialization, ableism, to credalisms, normalizing, generalizing, othering, classism, and on and on. I tend to be conservative theologically and liberal in social justice. I see no conflict whatsoever between the two. Almost every Evangelical I know would testify to a similar life experience and commitment. I am sure there are racist Evangelicals, just as there are racist members of the LDS church, Catholics, and Pentecostals. I would not associate with anyone of that ilk, regardless of the professed faith. I also have an insatiable need to know and understand, hence my wife and my full-time participation in an LDS ward for more than four years now. Having served in senior positions in, and worked with large urban public school districts, I probably have more leftist-leaning friends than conservative, but I have plenty of both. I am an equal opportunity friend. I am a Mennonite so I am pretty much opposed to all violence from wherever it originates. That is enough of my journey. Someday maybe we can meet and chat.
  6. Where I live, this attempt is rather fruitless. Among the Mexican mestizos, Mormons and Mennonites will always be Mormons and Mennonites. Each word refers to a religion, an ethnicity, a race, and a culture. It is also sometimes used in a pejorative sense because there remains a significant amount of ill will towards both groups over loss of land, water, class status, etc. It isn't really a religious thing, but it is definitely a cultural and class thing. I have often been told I can't be either Mennonite or Mormon because I am North American! Go figure! All cultures seem to need to divide people up into certain groupings.
  7. HI Mark: This is a post that I really need to make sure I understand. I need to know if your statements about Christ's nature(s) represent Markodoxy or LDS orthodoxy? I understand the idea of LDS emphasis on orthopraxy versus orthodoxy, but certainly when it comes to the nature of Christ, there must be an LDS clear and unambiguous doctrinal statement. I simply don't want to misunderstand you. No debate involved; this is all about my correctly and accurately understanding what is obviously a very important doctrinal belief. Are you saying that Christ has no more divinity that any other human - just divinity in potential? He may have reached a higher potentiality that the rest of us, or the highest potential that a human is eternally capable of, but He is still on a continuum just like all of us? Christ throughout his existence has undergone exaltation? He has achieved celestial exaltation or potential to actual Godliness in the same way that any human might? Is Christ more divine today (in September 2021) than Joseph Smith, Moses, Elijah, Peter, etc, or are they equals? Christ has no more of the spark (since you don't like the word nature) of divinity than any other human being - but has achieved a higher degree of worthiness (in your context) than most or any other might? If this is accurate, is it also the same for Heavenly Father? He is fully human, but perhaps not completely fully divine, or of a divine nature? Only one nature (human) with potentially greater degree of Godliness? You have consistently and regularly maintained that I don't understand LDS doctrine (such as you acknowledge that it exists). If I am interpreting your post correctly, and if what you have written represents what President Nelson would say about Christ, then you are probably right. Thanks.
  8. I am allowed to use a Spanish word - after all I do live in Mexico! Ha! I believe in this usage the word has much to do with its Anglicized twin - unique. I don't relate it to "one nature," but to the only unique - one of a kind - worthy one! I have never known worthy to be a word used to signify a continuum. I always have thought of worthy as either you are or you ain't. Christ is and we ain't ---- even after all we can do. It is with His worthiness that we are and will be clothed at the judgment seat. Thanks for interacting on this. Perhaps you are simply agreeing with me about worthiness - that we really aren't - but will be declared to be inspite of our shortcomings. I find these conversations stimulating. I hope I am doing better in expressing myself sans (not Spanish) rancor. Take care.
  9. You are a good person. I appreciate your good spirit as well.
  10. I don't know about this. I would love to believe this and agree with you. When you call someone who leaves the church an apostate, isn't that the ultimate marginalization? Do the brethren discourage the use of that term that basically started this whole thread? Or am I applying a more sinister meaning to the term than is meant by LDS folk? Perhaps they are simply seekers or searchers for another way to express their spirituality? Sometimes I think I am in better shape with my LDS friends who in some ways marginalize us for never having joined, than if we had joined and left.
  11. My guess is that in religious commitment and observation overall, that one of the great challenges in a Rogerian construct is that the ideal self and the phenomenological self don't match up. The larger the gap between the two, the larger the disaffection and challenge. Typically religious belief includes a good bit of blind spotism (I just made up that word). The greater the blind spots about one's own faith, the greater the gap may be between the ideal and phenomenological self as a powerful force in abandonment. We know this happens in individuals and families; I think it does in faiths as well. Franciscan Father Richard Rohr talks about the case for "living on the edge of inside" as being the best place to see into the realities of an organization. One isn't so committed that he or she cannot see; not so disengaged that one does not see. I think he is right in that.
  12. Not sure at all what this means? Living as a committed Evangelical is both spiritually and intellectually challenging and stimulating. It carries with it significant responsibilities and challenges to be a vital part of the physical and visible presence of God on earth in this dispensation. Easy? I think not. Obviously, just my lived experience and conviction.
  13. Good morning - Don't you think a committed Baptist or Catholic would say the same thing? My only question is what the "near impossibility of sanctification" means? You have stumped me on that phrase. I view sanctification as a necessity and as hard work, but completely possible to the committed believer. Oh, I have never experienced the gift of tongues, so I can't comment on that. I believe in everything else on your list.
  14. I have a couple of questions about the meaning and use of the word "apostasy" for my LDS friends: 1. What does the term mean for you? When is someone an apostate? Are there eternal consequences? 2. If someone converts from a Baptist church to the LDS church, are they an apostate? 3. If someone converts from the LDS church to a Baptist church, are they an apostate? 4. If someone converts from a Baptist church to a Methodist church, are they an apostate? 4. If someone loses all faith in religion and espouses no religion at all after leaving the LDS church, are they then an apostate? 5. Are there certain cases where all Christians would agree that this or that person is an apostate from the Christian faith? Is there such a thing as this concept in the LDS mindset? Thanks, I am simply trying to figure out the LDS thinking behind the use of such an inflammatory (maybe not the best word) adjective or noun.
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