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Daniel2

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Posts posted by Daniel2

  1. 19 hours ago, Calm said:

    Would you please explain your position in detail so we can better understand it because if the above is not an accurate portrayal at least in part, I am having a hard time seeing how you identify the interactions that occur in your marriage.

    Perhaps starting by telling us if you see yourself having a sexual identity at all and if so, what is it and if not, what is your alternative way of identifying or if that is not the appropriate word in your view, than how do you describe yourself in terms of sexual behaviour and relationships.

    I asked very similar questions 12 pages ago, but Smac seems to simply ignore questions he doesn't wish to answer... Per my unanswered post back on page 10, dated 03/31/2024 @ 7:36 a.m.:

    Quote

    Interesting. 

    This post (and the rest of yours in this and other threads) indicate to me that you definitely spend a LOT more time and energy centered around  “sexual identities” than I do. 

    The more I read your words and how you frame things, the more I’m convinced that by your definitions, I’m actually NOT gay or homosexual, because those you describe as having chosen to identify as having “a sexual identity” don’t resonate with me or describe my life at all. 

    According to how you see and define yourself and your wife, I’m just a non-sexually-identity-self-identifying guy that simply happens to be happily married to my husband.

    Two genuine questions:

    If you don’t believe you have/have accepted or embraced any socially-constructed sexual-identity yourself, what DOES it specifically look like/mean when someone accepts/embraces having a socially-constructed sexual identity—either straight, gay, or bi?

    Conversely, what specifically does it look like/mean to reject accepting/embracing any of these allegedly “socially constructed sexual identities”? From what I understand, you don’t self-identify with any sexual identity, even though you’re happily married to your wife. Is that right?

    Seems like twelve pages later, we're back to the same/very similar unanswered questions to where we were, back then.

  2. 18 hours ago, smac97 said:

    Again, I do not "identify" myself to others based on my sexual orientation/preference.  I don't go around saying "Hello, my name is Spencer Macdonald, and I am sexually attracted to the following category/categories."  For most of human history, human beings simply did not "identify" themselves by their sexual preferences/behaviors, as evidenced by "homosexual" and "heterosexual" being relatively recently-created terms....

    Conversely, I am an adult biological male, an American citizen, a Latter-day Saint, a husband, a father, and I "identify" myself to others in these ways.

    And once again, based on your way of framing the issue, I actually don't "identify" myself to others based on my sexual orientation/preference, either.  I don't go around saying, "Hello, my name is Darin Burton-Adams, and I am sexually attracted to the following category/categories."  What an absurd thing to think people actually do.  It certainly makes me wonder how often you've interacted with LGBT individuals on a regular day-to-day basis.  Even most of the ones who do define themselves as LGBT that I've met rarely introduce themselves by saying, "Hello, my name is XXXXX, and I am sexually attracted to the following categories..."  Seems like a really unaware characterization of what most LGBT individuals are like in reality.

    Conversely, I share several (though not all) of your same self-identifiers: I'm also an adult biological male, an American citizen, a husband, a father, and (unlike you, so far), a grandfather, a great grandfather, and a culturally-Mormon Unitarian Universalist."  I do go around saying, "Hello, I'm Darin... this is my husband, and these are our kids and grandkids."  My sexual orientation never comes up. 

    Based on how you've redefined what it means to have/not have a "sexual identity," I'm not really "gay/homosexual," either.

  3. 1 hour ago, MiserereNobis said:

    Just a small quibble. If it was clearly there, then it would be a part of non-LDS Christianity. Otherwise you’re saying we’re too obtuse to recognize something that is so clear. 

    Throughout history, there have been other Christian theologians, including Catholics, who have discussed the idea that the pinnacle of human salvation encompasses the co-heir deification of humanity. 

    In his book, "Are Mormons Christian?," LDS author Stephen Robinson gathers several such historical quotes in a chapter on Deification, as well as the Biblical passages regarding such.  There are several gathered on a website by Jeff Lindsay:

    Quote

    Doesn't historical Christianity contradict the idea that there can be multiple "gods"? arrowUp2.gif

    (This question and related ones are addressed in more detail on my LDSFAQ page about the divine potential of human beings.)

    If we fully follow Christ, we can become "joint-heirs" with Him (Romans 8:14-18), becoming like him (1 John 3:2) by putting on the divine nature (2 Peter 1: 4-10). Such Christ-centered beings are sons and daughters of God (Acts 17:28; Heb. 12:9) who can become the kind of beings that Christ called "gods" in John 10:34-36:

    Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
    If he called them gods, unto whom the word of god came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
    Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

    Such beings are "gods" in a limited sense, called so because they can represent God and serve Him with power. They could be called heavenly servants, but the Bible uses the term "gods" (the Hebrew "elohim") several times to describe non-ultimate beings who are still subject to God.

    In Latter-day Saint theology, we are here on this earth as part of a divine process that can - if we follow Christ and fully accept his grace allow us to become one with Christ, as Christ is one with the Father (John 17:20-23); to sit with Christ on His throne (Rev. 3:21); to receive a glorified, immortal body like the body that Christ has (Philip. 3:21); and to partake of the divine nature and be given all things pertaining to life and godliness, receiving glory from God (2 Peter 1:3-4). All this adds to the glory of God, just as a parent is pleased and "glorified" by the success and happiness of his children.

    In 1 Corinthians 8:5,6, Paul notes that there are many gods (in the small "g" sense), but these are not beings that we worship, for to us, there is only one God, the Eternal Father. We believe that there may be and will be many resurrected beings who have become joint-heirs with Christ and can thus be called "gods," but they are not our Savior, our Creator, our Lord, and our God. To us, there is and always will be but one God, that Being who is properly called the "God of gods" (Deut. 10:17), the Almighty God, even Elohim, the Eternal Father. We will always worship and follow Him.

    Are these views non-Biblical? No. Do they contradict the views held in early Christianity? No. The widely respect ancient Christian saint, Clement of Alexandria, expressed this view:

    "Those who have been perfected are given their reward and their honors. They have done with their purification, they have done with the rest of their service, though it be a holy service, with the holy; now they become pure in heart, and because of their close intimacy with the Lord there awaits them a restoration to eternal contemplation; and they have received the title of 'gods' since they are destined to be enthroned with the other 'gods' who are ranked next below the savior." (Stromata 7:10 (55-56), in Henry S. Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, London, Oxford Univ. Press, 1969, pp. 243-244.)

    Likewise wrote Saint Jerome:

    "'Give thanks to the God of Gods.' The prophet is referring to those Gods of whom it is written, I said 'ye are gods;' and again: 'God arises in the divine assembly.'" ("Homily 47 on Psalm 135," in The Homilies of Saint Jerome, ed. Marie L. Ewald, 2 vols., Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America Press, 1964, 1:353.)

    Even the great John Chrysostom (A.D. 407) wrote that "man can, by his own efforts, attain the likeness of God by mastering his passions." (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, Rev. edition, Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1978, p. 348, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, Offenders for a Word, Aspen Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1992, p.79.)

    Though less widely respected than Clement or Jerome or other early saints, the early Christian writer, Origen, was hardly engaging in non-scriptural or apostate doctrine when he wrote the following comments on the Gospel of John while serving as head of the Christian Church in Alexandria, Egypt:

    "There are some gods of whom God is god, as we hear in the prophecy, 'Thank ye the God of gods,' and "The God of gods hath spoken, and called the earth.' Now God, according to the Gospel, 'is not the God of the dead but of the living.' Those gods, then, are living of whom God is god. The Apostle, too, writing to the Corinthians, says, 'As there are gods many and lords many,' and so we have spoken of these gods as really existing. Now there are, besides the gods of whom God is god, certain others." (Origen, "Commentary on John, in Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1886-1890, reprint, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978-1981, 10:315.)

    Are these views incompatible with modern mainstream Christianity? Many churches are appalled with our doctrine, no doubt, but consider this quote from that wonderful Christian, C.S. Lewis:

    "The command Be ye perfect [Matt. 5:48] is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and he is going to make good His words. If we let Him - for we can prevent Him, if we choose - He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said."

    (Mere Christianity, Collier Books, MacMillan Publ. Co., New York, 1943; paperback edition, 1960, p. 160 - it's the last paragraph of Chapter 9, "Counting the Cost," in Book IV)

    As further food for thought, recent studies of ancient Judaism and early Christianity have identified the doctrine of "theosis" - the idea than man can become divine or godlike - as an important theological element, one which has been largely abandoned in recent centuries. The earliest Biblical occurrence of this idea is in Genesis 3:22, for when Adam partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, God said, "the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." Adam became godlike - in a sense - through the knowledge that he gained (cf. Psalms 82:6). This concept is prevalent in Biblical and post-Biblical Judaism, according to a recent scholarly, non-LDS work by Peter Hayman ("Monotheism - A Misused Word in Jewish Studies?," Journal of Jewish Studies, 42: 1-15, Spring 1991, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, p.78), who writes:

    The theme of 'becoming like one of us' reveals itself as the lurking subtext of Judaism from Adam to Nachman of Bratslav. But how does this material square with the supposed transcendental monotheism of Judaism from the post-exilic period on? Not at all, as far as I can see!... [Many Jewish mythical texts] presuppose that humans can become divine and dispose of the powers of God." (Hayman, pp. 4-5)

    Extensive literature, for example, deals with human ascension to heaven as deification, with Enoch as a common example. Evidence for this from early Christianity and the Enoch literature is treated by Alan F. Segal in Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (Yale, New Haven, CT, 1960, pp. 22, 34-71, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, p. 78).

    In addition to the quotes above from Jerome, Origen, John Chrysostom and Clement of Alexandria, the possibility of human deification was held by that "champion of orthodoxy," Athanasius (e.g., see Keith E. Norman, "Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology," Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 1980, pp. 77-106; and Clyde L. Manschreck, A History of Christianity in the World, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1985, p. 62, both as cited by Ricks and Peterson, p. 78). We find it in early Orthodox tradition as well, for the 'chief idea of St. Maximus [who died in 662 A.D.] as of all of Eastern theology, [was] the idea of deification" (S.L. Epifanovic as quoted by Jaroslav Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). The Christian Tradition, vol. 2, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1974, p. 10, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, p. 79).

    So what does all this mean in terms of LDS doctrine and our relationship to "historic Christianity"? The German Protestant church historian, Ernst Benz, speaks of this doctrine as a Christian doctrine, and says:

    "One can think what one wants of this doctrine of progressive deification, but one thing is certain: with this anthropology Joseph Smith is closer to the view of man held by the Ancient Church than the precursors of the Augustinian doctrine of original sin were, who considered the thought of such a substantial connection between God and man as the heresy, par excellance."

    Ernst W. Benz, "Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God," in Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed. Truman G. Madsen, Religious Studies Center, BYU, Provo, UT, 1978, pp. 215-216, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, p. 80.

    The LDS belief that man can become more like God (theosis) is commonly said to prove that we have departed from the Bible and historic Christianity, but this attack is patently unfair. It is found in the Bible, in early Jewish and Christian writings, and in a direct quote from Christ himself (John 10:34). It is an important concept in the writings of C.S. Lewis. Does acceptance of this doctrine make one a pagan? Some say so, but they are not quite being fair. If "historic Christianity" is taken to mean modern Protestant fundamentalism, then I'll admit we have departed in a big way. But who has really departed from what? Now I think you'll never hear a Latter-day Saint saying that Protestants aren't Christian because they don't accept our views, but if we were as nasty as some say we are, we could make the old sword of exclusion swing both ways. But we accept all as Christians who sincerely believe in Christ, regardless of how well we think they interpret the Bible or how well they heed the words of past and living prophets of God.

    Actually, when it comes to God, we are all infants and know almost nothing. Latter-day Saints especially must be very cautious in how they interpret and understand the doctrine of becoming more like God. It is too heavy and ponderous for us to understand or contemplate, and should only be treated reverently and cautiously. In any case, all glory is to the Father, whom we will forever worship and adore. May we learn to know Him and His Son (John 17:3), for that is eternal life.

    Are we Christians? Absolutely. We are different in our views from many modern Churches, but it is Christ through whom we gain salvation, Christ that gives us hope, Christ that breaks the bands of sin and death for us and offers us eternal life in His presence with the Father. Through Christ, we can become more like Him and even become joint-heirs of the Father. May we learn to fully accept Christ and follow Him with all our hearts.

    2003 Update: The strong relationship between early Christian teachings and LDS doctrine on the divine potential of human beings was explored in a recent master's thesis by a Roman Catholic Dominican monk, Father Jordan Vajda, at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2003, after publication of his thesis, he took the missionary discussions and became LDS, but he was a faithful Catholic when he wrote his thesis. I discuss a couple aspects of his work on my new page of questions for LDS critics, "My Turn." The work in question is Jordan Vajda, OP, "Partakers of the Divine Nature": A Comparative Analysis of the Patristic and Mormon Doctrines of Divinization, master's thesis, Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley, 1998, published under the same title as Occasional Paper No. 3 by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (Provo, Utah, 2002).

    Father Vajda's conclusion (pp. 56-57) contains this interesting passage, referring to the critics who published the lurid anti-Mormon film, "The Godmakers":

    Yet what was meant to be a term of ridicule ["godmakers"] has turned out to be a term of approbation, for the witness of the Greek Fathers of the Church, described in chapter two, is that they also believed that salvation meant "becoming a god." It seems that if one's soteriology cannot accommodate a doctrine of human divinization, then it has at least implicitly, if not explicitly, rejected the heritage of the early Christian church and departed from the faith of first millennium Christianity. . . . And the supreme irony is that such persons should probably investigate the claims of the LDS Church, which proclaims that within itself is to be found the "restoration of all things."

    Father Vajda was a faithful Catholic who, at the time of his writing, saw Catholicism as a viable dispensation of original Christianity that can be consistent with early Christian teachings. He did not agree with the LDS view on the Trinity at that time, but recognized that there are significant parallels between early Christian doctrines on "becoming a god" and what we claim to be the restored doctrine of exaltation, and correctly pointed out the fallacies of our critics who charge us with being non-Christian for having such truly Christian doctrines. And I agree that our evangelical critics would do well to consider how far they have departed from early Christianity and to investigate the Restoration found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Now that Father Vajda has become Brother Vajda, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, critics will use that as an excuse to ignore the scholarly work that he published as a Catholic. However, the fact that he eventually converted after examining the LDS position ought to weigh heavily in the thinking of those who are sincerely seeking truth.

    And several more here:

    Quote

    Actually, there have been some rather surprising changes in "mainstream" theology over the centuries, especially in terms of doctrine about the divine potential of human beings. In fact, many early Christians believed in theosis, the Greek term meaning deification, conveying the concept that Christians can become like Christ and like God. An excellent review of several early Christian writers on the topic of theosis is given by Stephen Robinson in Are Mormons Christians?, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991, pp. 60-70. Robinson begins by discussing modern reactions to Lorenzo Snow's statement ("As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be"). I quote from pages 60 and 61:

    It has been claimed by some that this is an altogether pagan doctrine that blasphemes the majesty of God. Not all Christians have thought so, however. In the second century Saint Irenaeus, the most important Christian theologian of his time, said much the same thing as Lorenzo Snow:

     

    If the Word became a man,
    It was so men may become gods. [1]
    Webmaster's note (update by Jeff Lindsay, Dec. 16, 2006): This quote from Irenaeus is actually incorrect, having been taken from a secondary source that had it wrong. The quote from Irenaeus can be seen at in the English translation at NewAdvent.org of Book V, Adversus Haereses, where the closest thing to the passage given by Robinson citation is this:

     

    [T]he Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.

    Critics are correct in noting that Irenaeus in this passage is talking about the Incarnation of the Son rather than any mortal history of the Father. I agree that early Christian discussions of theosis generally do not point to any mortal history of the Father, but compare the path of the Son to the path that mankind can take: the path from mortality to the divine nature of the Godhead.

     

    Indeed, Saint Irenaeus had more than this to say on the subject of deification [Webmaster's note: see a slightly different translation of this excellent passage for yourself at https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vi.xxxix.html, where it is in Chapter 38, paragraph 4]:

     

    Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, "I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High." ... For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality." [2]

    Also in the second century, Saint Clement of Alexandria wrote, "Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god." [3] - almost a paraphrase of Lorenzo Snow's statement. [Note: An alternate translation available at CCEL.org is "the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God."] Clement also said that "if one knows himself, he will know God, and knowing God will become like God.... His is beauty, true beauty, for it is God, and that man becomes a god, since God wills it. So Heraclitus was right when he said, 'Men are gods, and gods are men.'" [4]

    Still in the second century, Saint Justin Martyr insisted that in the beginning men were "made like God, free from suffering and death," and that they are thus "deemed worthy of becoming gods and of having power to become sons of the highest." [5]

    In the early fourth century Saint Athanasius - that tireless foe of heresy after whom the orthodox Athanasian Creed is named - also stated his belief in deification in terms very similar to those of Lorenzo Snow: "The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods.... Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life." [6] On another occasion Athanasius stated, "He became man that we might be made divine" [7] - yet another parallel to Lorenzo Snow's expression. [An alternate translation is available at CCEL.org: "He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God."]

    Finally, Saint Augustine himself, the greatest of the Christian Fathers, said: "But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. 'For he has given them power to become the sons of God' [John 1:12] If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods." [8]

    Notice that I am citing only unimpeachable Christian authorities here - no pagans, no Gnostics. All five of the above writers were not just Christians, and just orthodox Christians - they were orthodox Christian saints. Three of the five wrote within a hundred years of the period of the Apostles, and all five believed in the doctrine of deification. This doctrine was a part of historical Christianity until relatively recent times, and it is still an important doctrine in some Eastern Orthodox churches.

    References cited above by Robinson:
    1. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, bk. 5, pref.
    2. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4.38. [Alternate translation available online at NewAdvent.org. See also CCEL.org.] Cp. 4.11 (2): "But man receives progression and increase towards God. For God is always the same, so also man, when found in God, shall always progress toward God."
    3. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks, 1. [Alternate translation available online at CCEL.org - search for "the Word of God became man".]
    4. Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, 3.1. [Alternate translation available online at CCEL.org.] See also Clement, Stromateis, 23.
    5. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 124. [Available online at CCEL.org.]
    6. Athanasius, Against the Arians, 1.39 [alternate translation available online at CCEL.org], 3.34.
    7. Athanasius, De Inc., 54. [Alternate translation available online at CCEL.org.]
    8. Augustine, On the Psalms, 50.2 [Alternate translation available online at CCEL.org.] Augustine insists that such individuals are gods by grace rather than by nature, but they are gods nevertheless.

    Robinson also quotes from the non-LDS Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology from the article titled "Deification":

    Deification (Greek theosis) is for Orthodoxy the goal of every Christian. Man, according to the Bible, is 'made in the image and likeness of God'.... It is possible for man to become like God, to become deified, to become god by grace. This doctrine is based on many passages of both OT and NT (e.g., Ps. 82 (81).6; II Peter 1.4) and it is essentially the teaching both of St. Paul, though he tends to use the language of filial adoption (cf. Rom. 8:9-17; Gal. 4:5-7) and the Fourth Gospel (cf. 17.21-23).

    The language of II Peter is taken up by St Irenaeus, in his famous phrase, 'if the Word has been made man, it is so men may be made gods' [Webmaster's note: the quote should be "[T]he Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself" - see my note above] (Adv. Haer V, Pref.), and become the standard in Greek theology. In the fourth century St Athanasius repeats Irenaeus almost word for word, and in the fifth century St Cyril of Alexandria says that we shall become sons 'by participation' (Greek methexis). Deification is the central idea in the spirituality of St Maximus the Confessor, for whom the doctrine is the corollary of the Incarnation: 'Deification, briefly, is the encompassing and fulfillment of all times and ages',... and St Symeon the New Theologian at the end of the tenth century writes, 'He who is God by nature converses with those whom he has made gods by grace, as a friend converses with his friends, face to face.'...

    Finally, it should be noted that deification does not mean absorption into God, since the deified creature remains itself and distinct. It is the whole human being, body and soul, who is transfigured in the Spirit into the likeness of the divine nature, and deification is the goal of every Christian."

    (Symeon Lash, "Deification," The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, ed. Alan Richardson and John Bowden, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983, pp. 147-148.)

    Recently, while reading the works of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, an early Christian bishop, I encountered this fascinating quote from his Prologue to the Catechetical Lectures:

    When thou shalt have heard what is written concerning the mysteries, then wilt thou understand things which thou knewest not. And think not that thou receivest a small thing: though a miserable man, thou receivest one of God's titles. Hear St. Paul saying, God is faithful. Hear another Scripture saying, God is faithful and just. Foreseeing this, the Psalmist, because men are to receive a title of God, spoke thus in the person of God: I said, Ye are Gods, and are all sons of the Most High. But beware lest thou have the title of "faithful," but the will of the faithless. Thou hast entered into a contest, toil on through the race: another such opportunity thou canst not have. Were it thy wedding-day before thee, wouldest thou not have disregarded all else, and set about the preparation for the feast? And on the eve of consecrating thy soul to the heavenly Bridegroom, wilt thou not cease from carnal things, that thou mayest win spiritual?

    As further food for thought, recent non-LDS studies of ancient Judaism and early Christianity have identified the doctrine of "theosis" - the idea than man can become divine or godlike - as an important theological element, one which has been largely abandoned in recent centuries. The earliest Biblical occurrence of this idea is in Genesis 3:22, for when Adam partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, God said, "the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." Adam became godlike - in a sense - through the knowledge that he gained (cf. Psalms 82:6). This concept is prevalent in Biblical and post-Biblical Judaism, according to a recent scholarly, non-LDS work by Peter Hayman ("Monotheism - A Misused Word in Jewish Studies?," Journal of Jewish Studies, 42: 1-15, Spring 1991, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, 1992, p.78), who writes:

    The theme of 'becoming like one of us' reveals itself as the lurking subtext of Judaism from Adam to Nachman of Bratslav. But how does this material square with the supposed transcendental monotheism of Judaism from the post-exilic period on? Not at all, as far as I can see!... [Many Jewish mythical texts] presuppose that humans can become divine and dispose of the powers of God." (Hayman, pp. 4-5)

    Extensive literature, for example, deals with human ascension to heaven as deification, with Enoch as a common example. Evidence for this from early Christianity and the Enoch literature is treated by Alan F. Segal in Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (Yale, New Haven, CT, 1960, pp. 22, 34-71, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, 1992, p. 78).

    The possibility of human deification was held by that "champion of orthodoxy," Athanasius (e.g., see Keith E. Norman, "Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology," Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 1980, pp. 77-106; and Clyde L. Manschreck, A History of Christianity in the World, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1985, p. 62, both as cited by Peterson and Ricks, 1992, p. 78). We find it in early Orthodox tradition as well, for the 'chief idea of St. Maximus [who died in 662 A.D.] as of all of Eastern theology, [was] the idea of deification" (S.L. Epifanovic as quoted by Jaroslav Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). The Christian Tradition, vol. 2, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1974, p. 10, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, 1992, p. 79).

    In fact, the concept of theosis was so widespread that Athanasius AND his archenemies, the Arians, subscribed to that doctrine. And Origenist monks in Jerusalem debated "whether all men would finally become like Christ or whether Christ was really a different creature" (Clyde L. Manschreck, A History of Christianity in the World, 2d. ed., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1985, p. 52, as cited by Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks in "Comparing LDS Beliefs with First-Century Christianity," Ensign, March 1988). And many early Christians were "were invited to 'study' to become gods" (P. Barlow, "Unorthodox Orthodoxy: The Idea of Deification in Christian History," Sunstone, Vol. 8, Sept./Oct. 1983, pp. 16-17, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, 1988).

    So what does all this mean in terms of LDS doctrine and our relationship to "historic Christianity"? The German Protestant church historian, Ernst Benz, speaks of this doctrine as a Christian doctrine, and says:

    "One can think what one wants of this doctrine of progressive deification, but one thing is certain: with this anthropology Joseph Smith is closer to the view of man held by the Ancient Church than the precursors of the Augustinian doctrine of original sin were, who considered the thought of such a substantial connection between God and man as the heresy, par excellence."

     

    (Ernst W. Benz, "Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God," in Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed. Truman G. Madsen, Religious Studies Center, BYU, Provo, UT, 1978, pp. 215-216, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, 1992, p. 80.)

    Not only did early mainstream Christians understand the Bible to teach deification, but some modern mainstream Christians have as well. The indisputably Christian author, C.S. Lewis, who is also highly respected in LDS circles, wrote, "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship." (The Weight and the Glory and Other Addresses, rev. ed., New York: Macmillan, Collier Books, 1980, p. 18.)

    Question: if Athanasius, Augustine, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Cyril, Saint Maximus the Confessor, Saint Clement of Alexandria, and others, including C.S. Lewis in modern days, can teach the doctrine of deification and still be accepted as Christians, why are Latter-day Saints said to be non-Christian for such beliefs? To me, the evidence is consistent with our claim that the original Church of Jesus Christ has been restored. Our doctrines are clearly at odds with mainstream churches of the day, but that's not because Joseph Smith was making up ludicrous doctrine. In my view, it's because long lost but true doctrines were restored through him as a divinely authorized prophet. Is there proof for such a wild claim? Yes - the Book of Mormon is proof that begs to be examined. But that's another story - and another web page.

    For further insights into early Christian statements related to theosis, see "Nature of God/Deification of Man" at FairMormon.org.

    While I'm no longer a believing Latter-day Saint, the concept that we are children of heavenly parents who can become like them and should aspire to be so is one of the doctrines I truly love and find both inspiring and empowering.

  4. Music Times published a new interview with Archuleta that sheds quite a bit of light on several of the comments, accusations, and conjecture that's been discussed in this thread:

    Quote

    David Archuleta on Controversial Coming-Out Song ‘Hell Together’: ‘If This Is Causing a Bit of a Stir, So Be It … If It Saves Someone's Life’

    By Lyndsey Parker
    Apr 01, 2024 06:04 PM EDT
    David Archuleta, then and now. (Photo : Shaun Vandella) David Archuleta, then and now.
    When David Archuleta became an overnight American Idol sensation at age 17, he also became a default "ambassador," like it or not, for the Church of Latter-day Saints, in which he had been raised his entire life. So, when he made the high-profile decision to come out as LGBTQ+, and eventually leave the church, at age 30 — after years of trying to come to terms with his sexuality and, like many closeted LDS kids, even considering taking his own life — he feared a public backlash to the bombshell announcement. But he was even more concerned about how his devout mother might react.
     
    Much to Archuleta's surprise and relief, his mother, Lupe Marie Batholomew, told him, "I don't want to be somewhere that my children don't feel they're accepted and loved. So, if you're going to Hell, we're all going to Hell with you." In a show of solidarity, she even chose to leave the Mormon faith as well. That experience inspired Archuleta's brand-new, gospel-tinged anthem, "Hell Together," in which he croons, "If I have to live without you/I don't wanna live forever/In someone else's Heaven/So let 'em close the gates."

    While much of the response from  Archuleta's fans, friends, and peers to "Hell Together" — and to his coming-out journey in general — has been positive, the singer admits to Music Times that "a lot of people [in the Mormon community] have been upset with my song coming out. But you know what? I'm just telling my story about what my mom said to me. I'm not teaching doctrine here! ... Even though I've said I've left the church, people still look at me as this ambassador for the church that I grew up in. I'm trying to make a point that that's not my responsibility anymore. I'm a different person now. ... It's not my job to represent the church. I already said I walked away from it. And they're like, 'Well, then stop talking about it!' But how can I not talk about something that was a part of my life?"

     

    Three years after coming out, Archuleta still "can't shut up" about his truth. And he won't shut up — because, as he notes, "I was never told to be quiet about what I believe," plus he knows his story might help others in the church who are struggling. "That's why I say if this [song] is causing a bit of a stir, so be it, because I think it needs to happen," he asserts. "If I can make it visible and if I take a bunch of blows for it, then I'm totally fine. I'm prepared for it and it's fine, if it saves someone's life because they feel like they can exist and they can be seen. ... I think this song is helping create that space, and I'm glad."

    David's forthcoming, sure-to-be-page-turning memoir will delve even deeper in the life stories that he is currently telling through song, but in the meantime, the recent GLAAD Media Award winner and Queerty Award nominee candidly speaks with Music Times about "Hell Together"; the current Archuleta family dynamic; and how he's finally living his truth, living his best life, and experiencing the adolescent freedom he never got to enjoy before. And for you fans of American Idol's famous David-vs.-David season, there's even a cute Idol in-joke. Hell yes!

    I love the new song "Hell Together." I love the story behind it. What was the initial conversation with your mother that inspired it?

     

    DAVID ARCHULETA: I announced that I was stepping away from the church... after being a very public figure in the church, which is why I felt it was [important] to let people know. People were still associating with me and looking up to me, which is why it was such a big shock, including to my family and to my mom. I didn't hear from her for a few days, so I thought, "Oh, she must be really upset." But then when she texted me back finally, she said, "Hey, I've decided to step away from the church as well," which was totally unexpected. My mom was very devout. She was very faithful, even when I was not going to church anymore. If I was visiting Utah at her home on Sunday, she'd be like, "Hey, do you want to come to church with us?" But it got to a point where I just said, "Mom, I'm just going to stay home." And so for her, for that to be the first thing she says after I've announced it, I was just like, what? And that's when she said, "I don't want to be somewhere that my children don't feel they're accepted and loved. So, if you're going to Hell, we're all going to Hell with you." I thought that was really sweet.

    The Mormons, Latter-day Saints, they're trying to go through a "rebranding," so there's not necessarily a Hell in the sense that most Christian religions look at it. It's not like this place of burning and fire. It's just kind of like tiers: There's a higher glory of Heaven, a middle glory of heaven, and then a lower glory of heaven. And they're all supposedly good, but you're not at the top one...

    That kind of sounds like VIP sections at a concert.

    Yeah, like you're still able to enjoy the concert, but one of them is in the very tip-top of the stadium, the other one's in the midsection, and then the other one's up front-row-center. So, it's different experiences, and it's actually very much like that [concert analogy], because the VIP sections can go up and visit the people in the back, but the people in the back can't come up and visit the people in the front. They don't have access. And that's very much how the Heaven is that Latter-day Saints believe, so there's still a separation of family. So, a lot of people have been upset with my song coming out. But you know what? I'm just telling my story about what my mom said to me. I'm not teaching doctrine here! I'm not teaching church doctrine to everybody. I was inspired because what my mom told me touched me, and that's literally what she said. So, I wrote a song about it.

     
     

    I'm curious about the rest of your family. Obviously you come from a religious family in general, and obviously they were grappling with the idea that you were leaving the church. And now your mother, the matriarch of the family, is doing the same. How did they react to her making such a bold move?

    I feel like everyone just was surprised as well, but in a pleasant way, I guess. I think we were all just like, "Is Mom OK? We don't want her to do anything irrational. We know this is really important to her." We just wanted to make sure she was really doing something that she felt was right for her as well. And now looking back, it really was a positive thing for her in her life, just like it was for each of us as we each decided to step away from the church. Because at this point, no one in my family practices the religion anymore.

     

    David Archuleta in 2024. (Photo : Nick Spanos) David Archuleta in 2024.

     

     

    You mentioned that you've had mixed reactions to "Hell Together" — some, I assume, quite positive, but then other people have been angry about it. Can you tell me about both sides? What arguments are you getting as a reaction to the song?

    I was actually thinking about making a response on a TikTok, so I could just clarify to people. I was literally thinking about it this morning just to kind of be like, "Hey, I know there are mixed opinions, but I'm telling my story." This is part of the point that I'm trying to make to people — that even though I've said I've left the church, people still look at me as this ambassador for the church that I grew up in. I'm trying to make a point that that's not my responsibility anymore. I'm a different person now. I'm just talking about the changes that I have that I've grown. This is my personal experience I'm talking about. I had never had a drink of alcohol before. This is what a drink of one cup of coffee does to me. And I used to wear the undergarments before and now I don't. And it feels weird sometimes, but these are things that are so normal for everyone else, but it wasn't for me. And a lot of people in the church that I grew up in, they're like, "How dare you talk about this in such a disrespectful way!" And I'm like, "Well, why do you feel like it's disrespectful? This is my life I'm talking about, and you're peering into my life." I think they feel like, "You're misrepresenting what we all believe in the church." It's not my job to represent the church. I already said I walked away from it. And they're like, "Well, then, stop talking about it!" But how can I not talk about something that was a part of my life?

    I was working on my book this morning and talking to the editor I've been working with, and she was like, "It's like someone saying you can't talk about your ex after a divorce. You've been married to them for 30 years and now you can't talk about them anymore. It doesn't really make sense. It was such a big part of your life, but it also affects who you're becoming now." But if it's shaking the conversation up, especially in Utah... I was looking at the numbers of my new song and the biggest percentage of where people are listening to it is in Salt Lake City, by a huge margin, and then all these other places within Utah. And I know it's causing a lot of conversation. I wasn't expecting it to have that much of a conversation, but so be it. That's what needs to happen, because this is a conversation that everyone has avoided having. I made a point about it on my Instagram where someone was like, "Why can't you just leave, and leave quietly?" Just basically saying, "Shut up and don't talk about it anymore." But I was told all my life to talk about it. I can't just shut off. I was told I need to always talk about what I'm going through and what I believe. And just because what I believe has changed doesn't mean that I shut off. I was never told to be quiet about what I believe, and that's what Mormons taught me. So, it's really: "Be quiet if the majority of us don't like what you're saying."

    But it's like, the LGBT experience is a minority, but it affects a certain percentage of the population. I think there are more out there that would [like to] feel comfortable opening up about it, because it's still not safe to open up about it. There are a lot of people, whether they're gay, whether they're bisexual, whether they're pansexual, who don't have a space to talk about that, because everyone's like, "Just shut up, because we want to keep our heteronormative view of things." I can't shut up about it, because you're not going to listen to anyone else who's in your own church buildings going through this, and they don't feel safe to talk about it, to be vulnerable, to share their experience, because you don't make it a safe space for them if you just dismiss them. Even if they have the courage to [talk about it], they're dismissed. That's why I say if this is causing a bit of a stir, so be it, because I think it needs to happen. And if I can make it visible and if I take a bunch of blows for it, then I'm totally fine. I'm prepared for it and it's fine, if it saves someone's life because they feel like they can exist and they can be seen. I think we all just want to be seen and understood, and for other people to understand us. So, I think this song is helping create that space, and I'm glad.

    It's interesting that because you were such a public figure, you were thought of as an "ambassador" for the Mormon church. Do you now feel a responsibility be an ambassador of sorts for people who've left the church?

    I guess that's unintentionally happened. I didn't have the strategy of this is why I'm releasing this song. It was just like, my mom said this to me it really touched me, I want to write a song about it, and let's go from there.

    How did she react to "Hell Together"?
    We had had a heavy conversation, before I showed it to her, about family. I was actually trying to understand a little bit more about our family history for the book I'm writing. And she was so worn-out about it. She was like, "I'm just used to moving on. I don't really like to think about things that happened in the past." And I'm like, "This is still affecting all of your kids! Things that you've been able to move on, your kids haven't been able to." And that was really hard for her. And then after that heavy conversation I had her over for dinner, and I was like, "Hey, Mom, remember when you sent this text to me? I wanted to show this song to you." I think she was just so drained that she wasn't fully there to really comprehend what the song was saying. She was just like, "Yeah, it sounds good."

    That's it?

    Yeah. And I'm like, "Wait, wait, remember when you said this to me? I wrote it off of that!" She's like, "Oh, OK." [laughs] But now that she's been able to sit with it and look at the lyrics, I've seen her posts and she was like, "I've been in tears playing this song for hours on repeat. This is so touching for me."

    Is this song, or your coming-out journey in general, drumming up any trauma your mother has suppressed about her own life?

    I don't know. I feel like my experience is different from my mom's, so I don't know. I feel like she is processing a lot. She talks about it in her social media posts. She says, "I'm reconstructing what faith is for me," what Jesus means for her and all these things. And I feel like I've deconstructed a lot more about religion. I've separated myself a lot more from religion than she even has. So, I guess it's different for both of us, but she is still trying to make sense of it. She's trying to find her sense of community. But what's so interesting is my mom has connected with people so much more now that she has left her religion than when she was in it. ... I think it was just always hard for us to personally connect with people on a human level at church. ... Once she was able to leave and find herself again and who she was without having to put up this front of, "I'm a good member of the church, I read my scriptures every day, I pray, I go to church, I say hi to the other brothers and sisters there, check if they need anything, and then I go home" — and then she's drained and exhausted — I think she's able to connect with people by truly being herself.

    It seems like you're living your best life right now. I follow you on social media. I see how you've had this glow-up, always in some fabulous outfit, attending all these cool events, winning awards.

    It's really fun. I feel like I relate to what I was saying about my mom, like it's OK to be myself. I didn't know what that was exactly. So, now it's time for me, instead of, "Am I behaving in a way that will get approval from my church leaders?" or "Am I behaving in a way that get approval from my dad, or from my parents in general?" I was always looking for approval from other people to be OK. Now I can try a more flashy outfit and not be like, "Oh, but that's not modest!" I used to think that way: "That's immodest" or "That's not appropriate." Or, "If I say this, then I'm not being the example that I was told I'm supposed to be." Things like that. I can just be whoever the hell I want to be.

    You were on American Idol when it was one of the biggest shows on TV. Was that hard for you — being in the public eye and adored by all these Archies, but you didn't actually like yourself? How did you deal with that, then and now?

    Yeah, I think that's the biggest thing. It was hard for me to enjoy an experience when you don't know yourself and you don't like yourself. Everything else could be happening around you externally, but when you're not OK inside, it's hard to process everything. It's hard to enjoy everything because even if there are good things happening to you, you don't feel like you deserve them. That was a really hard thing for me to get through, for that very reason. And a lot of the people around me... a lot of people referred to just my dad [Jeff Archuleta, who was David's manager], but there were other people externally during that time that try to make sure that you stay in a way that you don't like yourself, so that you're easier to be whatever they want you to be. I feel now I'm in a place where I'm so used to being told what to do, it's hard for me to be OK being the one calling the shots and deciding who I'm going to be. It's very uncomfortable, but it's also very freeing experience. It's hard to be OK with making mistakes, and it's a lot to process, but it's also a beautiful time. I feel like it's a time where I can really, truly grow.

    The next song I'm releasing does deal with a lot of the internal struggle of being OK with yourself after. [coming out] Sometimes I'm like, 'Oh, 'Hell Together' is such a triumphant song; do I want to release this next song that's more vulnerable and not as triumphant?" I wrote it before "Hell Together," so I was in a slightly different place as well. But I do want to release it just as Mental Health Awareness is coming up in a couple months. I write about the whole process and trying to figure myself out and learning how to be OK with yourself and feeling like you deserve love and feeling like you deserve to be happy. That's what this next song talks about — how it's difficult to accept that sometimes. It's just another thing that I just want to get out. I like the song and I want people to hear it.

    I can't wait to hear it, and to read your memoir when it comes out next year. I am sure your book will cover a lot of your time on American Idol. It was an interesting era, because no one was really out on Idol then. Now now we have openly gay contestants. We've had a trans contestant on this current season. Have you ever thought about how that experience on Idol would've been different, either better or worse, if you'd been living your truth all that time?

    I haven't thought about it, because for me, that was the truth I knew at the time. I wasn't aware of my sexuality the way I am now. I was still young. I grew up very religious. And at the time, even then, it wasn't talked about. Prop 8 was going on. My church was very vocal about being not supporting Prop 8, not supporting gay marriage in California. It was just a very different dynamic for the whole topic, and that's just the time I grew up in, so that's the time I lived. I guess I would be a completely different person if I was being raised in my teenage years right now. But I just have no idea what it would be like.

    Have you ever wished you came out sooner? Maybe you were still figuring it out and you came out at the right time for you in the end, but now that you're living such a wonderful life and seem really happy, do you ever think, "Man, I should have done this five years earlier," or anything like that?

    Sometimes I think, "Oh, man, I could have had that experience with other people around me at the same time," experiencing the growth that everyone goes through in high school, junior high, college — this time of life where you're just exploring and discovering yourself and discovering other people and what life has to offer. But I mean, that's what I'm doing now! I feel like it's a little delayed, so it's not with my peers necessarily, but in that sense I feel like it keeps me young. It's kind of weird: When I was younger, I felt older than I am now, because I was a lot more dutiful. I was a lot more disciplined. I was just about business and work. It wasn't about having fun. And now I'm kind of backtracking. I can have fun, and it's OK to have fun, and I'm enjoying it and discovering myself. I just feel like it's slightly different in order.

    You still look so young, not that different from your Idol years, even if you're 33 now.

    A lot of people that I'm meeting, they'll think I'm in my twenties, and that helps me enjoy without people being like, "Wait, why are you here having fun? Why are you out here on the dance floor? Why are you here at the festival? You're too old to be here!" [laughs] People don't say that, so I'm glad that I can just blend in. I'm just there to have a good time and enjoy and experience this for my first time, just like a lot of other people are. People on the dance floor and at festivals are of all ages too, but it's just nice to be partying hard and people aren't like, "Wow, that old guy's being weird over there!" Or maybe they are, and they just haven't said it! [laughs]

    I'm sure not, but who cares if they do?

    Right. I'm having the time of my life, as David Cook said famously.

    This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity. Watch David Archuleta's full video conversation with Music Times in the split-screen video above.

    If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

     

  5. On 3/31/2024 at 7:36 AM, Daniel2 said:

    Interesting. 

    The post (and the rest of them in this thread) indicate to me that you definitely spend a LOT more time and energy centered around  “sexual identities” than I do. 

    The more I read your words and how you frame things, the more I’m convinced that by your definitions, I’m actually already NOT gay or homosexual, because those you describe as having chosen to identify as having “a sexual identity” don’t resonate with me or describe my life at all. 

    According to how you see and define yourself and your wife, I’m just a non-sexually-identity-self-identifying guy that simply happens to be happily married to my husband.

    Two genuine questions:

    if you don’t believe you have/have accepted or embraced any social construct of being a straight/heterosexual man yourself, what DOES it specifically look like/mean when someone accepts/embraces having a socially-constructed sexual identity—either straight, gay, or bi?

    Conversely, what specifically does it look like/mean to reject accepting/embracing either of the above said “socially constructed sexual identities”? From what I understand, you don’t self-identify with any sexual identity, even though you’re happily married to your wife. Is that right?

    Smac, based on the sheer volume and detail of your posting habits, as well as the pattern and timing of such, I wonder—do you get paid or otherwise compensated to post here as some outreach program of the Church, FAIR, or some subsidiary or similarly-related endeavors? I believe you’re too young to be retired…  I struggle to imagine how someone can be as prolific as you in the timing and density of your posts and still have time for even a fraction of a paid regular 40 hour work week.

    I certainly respect your privacy should you wish to abstain from answering-I’ll just remain in awe of how much content you are able to search for, compile, and churn out. 

  6. Archuleta’s song about his mother reminds me of two songs I heard years ago from a musical called “Out!,” written and performed by The Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus. The songs were based on choir members own lives and coming out stories and reflected their experiences with friends, family members, first loves, and faiths. One member named Michael co-wrote a song with and about his own mother, MaryJane, a deeply faithful Catholic woman, and her reaction to his coming out after his father passed away.

    The autobiographical song is written from MaryJane’s perspective, but actually song by her son, Michael (all the songs were sung by the members of the Gay Chorus). It takes place as if MaryJane, an now older woman wearing an apron, has been baking in her kitchen, and turns to the audience to share with us her story. (note: there is one milder swear word in the song)…

    After “MaryJane” finishes singing her song in the musical, a heavenly light fills the room, and another actor portraying Christ himself appears and has the following exchange with “her”:

    Both songs still affect me whenever I hear them, as MaryJane never waivers in her love and support for her son nor her faith in “her Jesus,” as she calls Him. I imagine Archuleta’s mother may relate. 

  7. 3 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

    Ok.  Just watched the video.  It's a touching tribute to dude's mother's love.  I can appreciate it on its merits, while still disagreeing with the overall message.

    It makes me think about my totally a-religious father, who went his entire life utterly uninterested in religion.  I've done his temple work, but absent some other-side-of-the-veil mighty change of heart, he's off organizing a poker game in paradise.  Looking for the postmortal version of beer, chortling over some risque thoughts about what girl angels have under their robes.  I loved and love the guy, and have spent a lifetime seeking to emulate his more desirable characteristics.  But I won't be abandoning my faith because he may not be exalted.  He would think less of me if I did.  Plus, I have no clue where I'll end up.  Plus, I do have hope and trust that all will be well, and the eternal perfect blend of justice and mercy will work in favor of both me and my dad.

    The notion that "I'm built in a way that excludes me from heaven" is one that our church rejects strongly, and often preaches against.  Sorry to hear another one is buyin' the lie.

    Thanks for the link to the lyrics video. I found it even more moving. It’s also clear to me based on the imagery, used that David Archuleta wrote this as a far more universal reflection of many’s religious/LGBT experience then just Mormonism, as is also evidenced by the diversity of religions represented in the comments on the YouTube site.

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