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Saint Bonaventure

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  1. So I'm tangled a little in LDS theology, and am hoping for perspectives: I have come to understand that for Latter-day Saints, intelligences have always existed and will always exist. They are eternal. For a point of reference, in Catholic theology, only God is eternal. At some point (in time and/or space?), some intelligences became/become/will become spirits (an incarnation or embodiment of sorts?) and that some of these spirits are children of Heavenly Parents, and are subsequently born on earth, receiving physical bodies. Are these spirits still intelligences in a sense? Are spirits a more advanced form of intelligences? Was Jehovah (who would be known, once incarnated on earth, as Jesus), the first intelligence in a generation of intelligences to become a spirit, i.e., is Jehovah an elder brother because he was the first intelligence born as a spirit to this particular set of Heavenly Parents? Are humans going through the same process as Jehovah to become Heavenly Parents themselves, and to keep this process going perpetually? Was Lucifer also an intelligence born as a spirit to these same Heavenly Parents, and that is what people (often critics) are getting at when they say that for Latter-day Saints, Jesus and Lucifer are brothers? I've wanted LDS notions of intelligences and spirits to map onto my notion of angels, but it isn't fitting. I apologize if these questions are ridiculous or just demonstrate how ill-informed I am. I've been doing some reading and am trying to put pieces together.
  2. That makes sense. At some point, a person could become overly scrupulous about such things, but I do appreciate piety. Here's a fun article on foods with trace amounts of alcohol: Common Foods With Hidden Alcohol: Are They Safe For Pregnancy? — Baby2Body
  3. Good coffee is wonderful. I drink coffee ground by monks in Wyoming that is just heavenly. During the Crusades, some folks though coffee was evil because the Muslims drank it. But heaven intervened with Pope Clement VIII, who said "it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it." As far as alcohol in sauces.....you're getting a little bit in there, but it probably isn't very much. Anyone who gargles with Listerine probably gets as much alcohol in their system.
  4. "Lo here" and "Lo there" is the cry of the subjectivist. St. James did not teach Joseph Smith that if he lacked wisdom, he should ask a critic or apologist. The instruction is not, if any of you lack wisdom, go ask John Dehlin. When Joseph went to the forest, wisdom was already speaking to him through the sounds of the animals, through the rustling of the wind in the leaves, through natural law, through creation's witness of it's creator. I don't know what happened to Joseph Smith in the forest, or in many of the other situations I've read about in the Rough Rolling book. I'm not trying to make any claims about any of those. I believe that no man has seen the face of God, as per Exodus 33:20, because, according to reason, there is no subjective position that can withstand the objective truth of God. This is attested to in the Bible, from Adam and Eve hearing God walking in the Garden and hiding from his face, all the way through Revelation. This is a consequence of The Fall and the Indiana Jones movie has this right (I referred to this in the thread about the gold plates). A man much wiser than me taught that it was a mistake to divorce reason from reality, to reduce it to a subjective map of the mind wherein we "impose" meaning upon an unknown and unknowable reality. That's the path of Kant, and it winds up with Nietzsche and the foolish, subjective, narcissistic, postmodern proclamation that one is god. No, reason has foundations in objective reality. There are foundational principles such as the law of noncontradiction, and these principles point to natural law, objective reality, and God. As I think about the Book of Mormon's gold plates, and about the many miracles about which we just don't know (Catholic, Mormon, and many other purported miracles), I'm reminded of the words of a wise fellow. He said: He's identified three flavors of fanatic: A rationalist who lacks doubt. Descartes, I'm looking at you. A sceptic who lacks faith. Montaigne, you needed to spend time with Father Abraham (Romans 4:13). A naïve who lacks reason. He or she should have a pint with Socrates, Aristotle, Aquinas, and, of course, Bonaventure. Surely there's a Latter-day Saint with a balanced, reasoned approach. I apologize for not knowing whom that could be. He's also identified vices of deficiency and excess: And also: There's an Aristotelian Golden Mean here, but there's also some St. Thomas Aquinas in that Aquinas taught that: So there's no need to be beholden to subjectivism's "Lo here" and "Lo there" or to the ceaseless demands to submit to obedience and to a particular narrative from academic, apologetic, and critical authorities. In the circumstance of the gold plates, and in many other circumstances, one can always follow St. James and seek wisdom. When one does that, one can then 1) chalk them up to a mystery that cannot be disproved, faithfully awaiting the heavens to proffer them in a supernatural manner that obliterates the critics and apologists (think of everyone dying before the Ark in the Indiana Jones movie), or 2) Attempt to articulate objective proof (this seems unlikely in the case of the gold plates, just as it is in some other religious circumstances. I'm not trying to pick on the plates here). Thanks for letting me share my thoughts while I take in the lovely sunrise this morning.
  5. Let's see if we can have an enjoyable conversation about these Church Fathers and related issues. It's Sunday afternoon, I burned my beard in the votive candle this morning, and I've pulled some of my books on the Church Fathers off the shelf. First of all, I want to give gentle, good natured pushback on this form of argumentation in that I don't see any invested belief for Latter-day Saints in any of the teachings of Saint Irenaeus, Saint Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria (formerly considered a Saint), or Origen. When Latter-day Saints are confronted with an out-of-step quote from Brigham Young they dismiss it as not being "Church Doctrine," but I'm supposed to believe that appeals to Saint Irenaeus, even when I believe he is being misunderstood, are persuasive? When other quotes from these Church Fathers are on the table, assertions of Great Apostasy and pagan Hellenization are inevitable. LDS folks will move the Great Apostasy goalposts forward and back, proffering criteria and ideas that fit the current conversation but that contradict and ignore other conversations and assertions. The Great Apostasy happened when the last Apostle died? The Great Apostasy happened during the Great Persecutions? The Great Apostasy happened at the Council of Nicaea? Constantine is condemned for being both too skinny and too fat, and Catholics will see the whole thing as a shell game worthy of Fremont Street in Las Vegas. I appreciate that LDS see it differently, but for Catholics (specifically, this Catholic) this sort of thing just isn't persuasive. Moreover, this may not be intended on your part, but please consider that an unstated implication of the argument you've made is that the Catholic Church has hidden, ignored, forgotten, or otherwise obscured these quotes. And never mind that there are shelves of Catholic tomes discussing these quotes--and that's just in English. So from the jump, I'm just going to lay it out the form of argumentation being put forward by dumping quotes from these Church Fathers is nothing more than a big helping of confirmation bias. We all do this to some degree at times, and it sure looks to be confirmation bias to me, literally, cherry-picking quotes that are thought to confirm already held beliefs. There is an opportunity here, though. When LDS folks begin to really engage the Church Fathers (and Mothers--a post for another time) they'll discover incredible truths. They'll also find themselves having a different seat at the theology and church history table. So, a little about these particular Church Fathers: I respect all of these Early Church Fathers, but I don't consider them especially broad on this issue. I'll say why in a moment, but anyone who wants a foundational introduction to the Church Fathers should get a copy of Jimmy Akins' The Fathers Know Best. You can get a copy here: The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church: Akin, Jimmy: 9781933919348: Amazon.com: Books Get a copy of Akins' book, and you'll start crushing it in the Sunday School. To get down to it.... Saint Irenaeus would be near the top of any list of Church Fathers who would be considered as antagonistic to LDS theology. He is a strong advocate of Apostolic Succession, and dedicated much of his life to confronting the Gnostic heresies. If Latter-day Saints were going to try to argue that their teachings were in the Church somewhere in the first three centuries, the Gnostics are one of the places to try, and you'll find Irenaeus refuting them on point after point. Clement of Alexandria confronted Gnostic heresies too, and he famously used Greek philosophy to do it. Where are the apostasy-by-Hellenization arguments? Clement of Alexandria is one of the easiest targets here. And never mind that he's no longer a Saint, and is a little marginal because of some dodgy teachings. The book cited by Saint Hippolytus is one of those whose authorship is disputed. Nevertheless, what's written there and attributed to him looks like theosis to me. There are no categorical issues between Creator and creatures, which is at the core of differences between Catholic theosis and Latter-day Saint notions of exaltation. Hippolytus, by the way, is another Early Father who is very hard core and orthodox. He was especially hard on the lapsed folks who wanted to re-enter the Church. Origen is forever interesting, not authoritative, and also a little dodgy. The Church Fathers who could be cited on this topic are well-known. Pick up the Akin book I mentioned, or Rod Bennett's The Four Witnesses or The Apostasy that Wasn't. I don't have any problems with these quotes, and don't see them as going beyond theosis. I disagree with any assertion that they're The implications teaching an LDS notion of God, or of heaven. Anyway, thank you for the enjoyable conversation on this Sunday afternoon in early autumn.
  6. I think it's all there in my responses to Smac and Stargazer....
  7. Please consider the possibility that you are misreading Iraneus, Clement, Origen, and Hippolytus. I shared this in the Trinity thread, and will share it here too: A Word That Every Catholic Needs to Know | Catholic Answers
  8. I think you may be misunderstanding me. It's not my intention to criticize the plates.
  9. Yes, you seem to understand what I'm saying. If Raiders never showed the Ark, and we only had a film of people talking about the Ark, gesturing the the Ark off-screen, the story being fitted around the audience never seeing the Ark--yes.
  10. This is pretty much what I'm getting at, with the addition that the "lo here" and "lo there" of both critics and apologists "melts" when God enters history. By his words, Joseph Smith Jr. prayed in the forest because of the "lo here" and "lo there" of the Protestant preachers of his day, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sprung forth from belief in his account of God entering history. It seems to me that the way to overcome the never ending and always subjective "lo here" and "lo there" of apologists and critics is through what Joseph Smith says he prayed for--the undeniable, sophistry-melting intervention of God. St. Paul encouraged the Colossians to "be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" and taught them to "See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit." (1:9; 2:8)
  11. Please tell me all about my thoughts.
  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Smac. As regarding the witnesses--sure. Anyone who believes in the New Testament believes in the power of witnesses (and I do). I think what I find fascinating is the distinctive process by which the Book of Mormon came forth. Some textual critics question authorship of New Testament documents and such (although I think the critics, Bart Ehrman included, overplay their hands, but that's for another thread on another day). Joseph Smith's processes with the plates are just stunning in my world. As a medium, the gold plates of the book of Mormon seem distinctive in all of Abrahamic religion. I'll add that I certainly appreciate an emphasis on the message of a religious book, and not just an emphasis on its historicity, or on it's existence as an artifact. What I'm trying to illuminate with the comparison to Raiders, but without the Ark appearing to the audience, is the objective power of God's intervention in history. Apologists, critics, a deacon on a bad day, all of these folks can get caught up in subjectivity, and it seems like nothing short of an incontrovertible, objective witness from heaven will settle the fact of the Book of Mormon's gold plates. It's not like the next book, stream, post, or article about the gold plates will settle everything. What someday will settle things is God's objective reality, just as in Raiders where no one could look at the open Ark, and the power of the Ark overwhelmed any and every subjective position that tried to look upon it.
  13. I didn't realize you are Catholic, BG. I'm certainly glad to hear your point of view.
  14. From my limited perspective, the situation is very much like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, except the audience never sees the Ark. People are on-screen describing the plates, claiming they've seen them, trying to steal them, mortgaging a farm for them, telling translation stories, and laying claim to what they must be. But the plates themselves? Those former business partners of Joseph Smith Jr. wanted them on the level of treasure. "Thar's gold in them thar hills!" Apologists can't have them be gold. Golden, maybe, but not gold. Gold is much too heavy. But maybe not, because what purity was the gold? Cue the amateur metallurgists, weighing in on tin, copper, barrel rings, and what Joseph Smith could/couldn't have been doing behind the barn on an erstwhile afternoon. Critics need them to be gold, for the same reasons apologists can't let them be gold. The critics are all-in on the wealth motivation, for Joseph Smith Jr., for his former business partners, and, don't look behind the curtain that they carefully draw between their readers and the plates, for themselves. All these folks have their faces positively buried in Joseph's hat. And the plates, well, they aren't even in the room. The only way the plates can show up is with the force of heaven, incontrovertible, unmistakable, and melting everyone's face. It's a case of Joseph Smith Jr. and the Raiders of the Lost Plates....
  15. From my perspective, the gold plates thing seems like one large MacGuffin.
  16. I am emphasizing that, through theosis, we become partakers of the divine nature. This issue with paragraph 460 arises once in a while, and particularly regarding what St. Athanasius was saying in the Greek. The entire article is here: Are We Gods? | Catholic Answers Here's an excerpt: Jesus is quoting Psalm 82:6, where God himself refers to the “princes” of Israel as “gods” inasmuch as they represent God to his people: “I say, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince.’” “Gods” by proxy The Hebrew word used for God here is Elohim, which is the most common word used for God in the Old Testament. Indeed, in Exodus and elsewhere in the Old Testament, we have multiple examples of people of God, judges in particular, being referred to as “gods” (see Exodus 22:8, twice in 22:9, and Psalm 82:1). The idea here is that rulers in Israel wield God’s authority as judges and as such are “gods.” In the New Testament Christians are joined more radically to God through Jesus Christ so that they share even more profoundly in prerogatives that belong to God alone in a strict sense. Here is a brief list of only some of them: Those who participate in that which belongs to God alone in a strict and infinite sense do not take away from God; they participate in God through a gift of grace. The same can be said for us Christians as “sons of God.” Christ alone is the “only begotten Son” according to John 1:18; 3:16, etc.; yet Christians are called “sons of God” and “born of God” in Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 8:14-17, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:18, etc. In fact, even in the Old Testament angels are referred to as “sons of God” in Job 1:6, and sons of Seth were called “sons of God” in Genesis 6:4—obviously via participation and not by nature. The New Covenant reveals Christians to be sons of God not only through participation but even more intimately and radically via adoption. Christ alone is “Son” by nature, but it is entirely proper and biblical to refer to all of the above as “sons.” With all of this as a backdrop, we can see how texts of Scripture that proclaim there to be only one true God—John 17:3, 1 Cor. 8:5-6, etc.—do not contradict a text like John 10:34 where Jesus himself refers to the people of God as “gods.” The latter are “gods” via participation; God alone is God by nature. Concluding thoughts We do not speak often of the truth that the people of God are “partakers of the divine nature,” probably because of the confusion it causes for those who do not know the Faith or the Bible well, but that is a shame. If Jesus Christ revealing himself to be “the Son of God” was one of the most profound ways he revealed his divinity in the New Testament—and it was—then our being “sons of God” reveals our participation in divinity as well. Are we “God” by nature? Of course not! But we are partakers of the divine nature. And this is extremely significant for us to know. In the words of Pope St. Leo the Great, written more than 1,500 years ago (and found in CCC 1691): It is this biblical principle of theodosis that is the basis for our understanding of how we can accomplish anything of eternal value in this life. “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” Jesus says in John 15:5. But we can do “all things in [Christ] who strengthens [us],” according to St. Paul (Phil. 4:13). It is because of the Christian’s participation in divinity that he possesses spiritual gifts in accord with God’s will that empower him to perform miracles and all manner of actions beyond his natural capacity. It is because of this participation that his prayers can be efficacious and—most importantly—he can merit eternal life, as Paul makes clear: And, again: When the Catholic Church speaks of “meriting,” it means simply that we will be rewarded for what we do in cooperation with God’s grace. And as Paul says above, part of what we merit, or are rewarded with, because of God’s grace working in us, is eternal life. But we cannot accomplish this on our own. Not only did Jesus say we could do nothing apart from him, Paul also made clear that any works done apart from Christ are worthless as far as eternal reward is concerned (cf. Eph. 2:8-9, Rom. 3:28, Gal. 2:16, etc.). However, because of our union with Christ through faith and baptism, it is no longer us but “Christ who lives in [us]” who accomplishes all things (Gal. 2:20). Through Christ and in union with Christ we have truly become “sons of God” and “partakers of the divine nature” whereby we are empowered to do what our own natures could never do. As Paul intimated in Romans 2, we can merit “glory” and “immortality.” We can merit “eternal life.” I hope I'm helping sort this one out....
  17. I'll try to give you some bullet points to work with: Theosis (or deification) is taught in 1 Peter and 2 Peter. It's affirmed in the Catechism too (in paragraph 460). Theosis is the reconciliation of the creatures created in God's image with God. An important difference between the Catholic teaching of Theosis and what I believe to be LDS teaching is that in Catholic teaching: God is the eternal creator and humans are creatures in his image, and were created in space and time (so humans are not eternal in the sense that God is because humans were created, in space and time, by God) There is not a notion of multiple Gods. Theosis is the reconciliation of creatures with the creator, but there is not a sense of multiple, eternal creators. The specifics of theosis aren't known. This article might help: A Word That Every Catholic Needs to Know | Catholic Answers
  18. On this site and other places, I've encountered Latter-day Saints who seem to be confusing the Trinity with Sabellianism/Modalism (a cluster of teachings that were deemed heretical in the 3rd-4th centuries). I think that maybe this is a bit like LDS encountering people who think the Book of Mormon is the "Mormon's Bible." So I googled Latter-day Saints and Sabellianism, and these popped up: Modalism - MormonWiki.org Modalism | Theopedia What do you think? If you want a solid foundation from which to discuss the Trinity, two chapters in this classic work will get you started. They are written for non-experts, and are very Catholic (the Trinity is not merely being supported from the Bible), but they are excellent. This book is now in the public domain: 2015.58569.Theology-And-Sanity.pdf (archive.org)
  19. Between Scylla and Charybdis....The crucifixion imagery is strong.... The photo is of the Nephi prophet in the Book of Mormon
  20. So the LDS temple in Rome has multiple statues on the inside? Is that a usual feature? They will certainly fit with locals' expectations about finding statues in a cathedral, basilica, or church.
  21. At least some of the LDS community have a serious, semi-conscious thing going on with a Book of Mormon passage and the crucifixion. I know, Latter-day Saints do sometimes have fairly restrained paintings of the crucifixion, but if you all can just bust through the cultural constraints:
  22. What you've written, MiserereNobis, resonates with my experiences with my Latter-day Saint family members (the adults, anyway). We're all trying to be very open to the good that one another brings, but it can just feel too narrow sometimes. I think my SiL has been alluding to the quote you mention, as she's said she's glad for the good I can add to the family, but....yeah....that good doesn't include me offering a prayer at meals at her home (something about the sign of the cross and an electric chair), and she's made it clear that she doesn't want me talking religion when her children are within earshot. She did accept herbal tea from me, so maybe that's a start. My BiL, has been different, though. He's come to Mass a few times and has apologized for the "Church of the Devil" stuff. He drinks Mountain Dew and listens to Aerosmith when his wife isn't around, and those are "good" things in their own way. Life's just messy, and while a mixed-faith family isn't the same as a convert to a church, I couldn't help but notice the parallels. I hope my in-laws don't feel that I'm rejecting the good they're trying to bring. Something to mediate on during Adoration this week.
  23. I think I'm understanding this Word of Wisdom thing. An LDS member of my extended family stopped in this morning with veggies from the farmer's market. I was drinking coffee (made by monks in Wyoming, no less), and I offered my LDS family member some tea. I did not offer black tea or even green tea. I just offered herbal tea. She looked at the k-cup, saw that it was herbal tea, and said "yes."
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