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Did Dr. Mouw Get It Wrong? New Jets Essay Says Yes!


David Waltz

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Appealing to an obscure essay by an unknown student--did you have his permission to reproduce it? does not justify your false witness-bearing. You insist on telling our story, and refuse to let us speak for ourselves. Even if you were scrupulously trying to stick to the facts--and we both know you are not--such an approach is ipso facto false witness-bearing.

Pahoran, neigbor, it seems as though you have your fingers in your ears, and you're singing, "la la la!"

if you took 5 seconds to read the beginning of the paper, you would have noticed that it was by an LDS BYU professor. And yes, I received permission via e-mail to post the essay. Did you even read it?

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I do think that it is clear what official doctrine on this is-- it is NOT canonical and we "don't understand' what this really means.

I'm not sure to what extent I agree with that statement. Personally, I've seen a wide spectrum of beliefs about this within LDS ranks ranging from "God has always been God--just as He is now" to "God was once a man just like us." There are numerous statements from LDS leaders (including prophets) who have espoused the latter, but in the end, all such statements always boil back down to that single funeral discourse that was never canonized. As such, I think both camps feel pretty justified in their beliefs.

The vast majority of Latter-day Saints, in my experience, belong in neither camp, though. We (and I include myself in this category) believe that the origin of God is not understood, that what has been revealed about it is unclear, and don't have any strong opinions about it. (Note, I'm speaking exclusively about the origin of God here. The teaching that we can become Gods is clear and clearly documented in LDS beliefs, IMO).

So, while I'm not certain that one could accurately say that Latter-day Saints believe that God was once a man, it can certainly be said that they allow for that possibility. In the end, I think many evangelicals make little distinction between the two. I also think that many of them obscure that distinction deliberately for rhetorical purposes. I can't speak for Mouw, but I suspect that this is what he was referring to. It simply isn't fair or accurate to oversimplify complex matters just because it makes a better argument. After all, if all religions were to be held responsible for every opinion uttered by one of its leaders, I think God Himself might be tempted to become unreligious.

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Hi Pahoran,

You posted:

>>Mouw is certainly correct. Evangelical anti-Mormons have been bearing false witness against us for generations. His apology was correct, timely and appropriate.

However, I agree that the example he offered in support was perhaps not the best one to hand.>>

I found the following quote from Mouwâ??s address online (there are many sites that have it):

I am now convinced that we evangelicals have often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and practices of the Mormon community. Indeed, let me state it bluntly to the LDS folks here this evening: we have sinned against you. The God of the Scriptures makes it clear that it is a terrible thing to bear false witness against our neighbors, and we have been guilty of that sort of transgression in things we have said about you.

What is the false witness that Dr. Mouw is referring too? It sure seems to me the context pertains to â??seriouslyâ? misrepresenting â??the beliefs and practices of the Mormon communityâ?; hence my question: did Dr. Mouw actually misrepresent â??the beliefs and practices of the Mormon communityâ?? Once again, given many of the responses I have read here on the FAIR mb, he did not commit the sin he felt that he did...am I all wet on this?

Grace and peace,

David

If only that was the only instance of bearing false witness against the saints, I would hardily agree. But I make a habit of listening once or twice a week to the evangelical radio and many times I have been really shocked at how uneducated they are about our beliefs.

However, in their defense I would state that many of the exmos are as uneducated as the evangelicals about our actual beliefs.

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I do think that it is clear what official doctrine on this is-- it is NOT canonical and we "don't understand' what this really means.

I'm not sure to what extent I agree with that statement.

After reading your response I am not sure what you are not agreeing with. It is pretty much a re-statement of my position. Now perhaps you are considering the use of "official" as meaning that the Church released a statement saying the above? If so, let me clarify my position... I was quoting Mouw not church leaders and indicating we don't have an official answer to this. Therefore, many leaders and members have different views regarding this. As to the statement to not being canonical? I believe that is pretty self evident. Hopefully, this clarifies my position better. If not, I guess I can keep trying.

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How can anyone possibly say its unclear that we believe God became mortal? Again its the central element of the Atonement. Heck the New Testament and Book of Mormon revolve around this doctrine.

That isn't the problem. Notice you have changed God became a man just like us to "mortal". Remember that to an EV, man is debased...the "filthy rag" kind of thinking that original sin brings about. They would never say Christ became a "man" and have to turn to creedal statements to make sure the "just like us" part is obscured by his Godness...they have an almost docetic approach to his humanness. Thus, for them to continue to tell us that we think God was just like us is a pejorative. It doesnt' mean what it means to us because we don't devalue man. It is a very fine distinction but Mouw would know this...and his telling that to EVs is not sending the same message it sends to us.

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Hello Juliann,

You wrote:

>>They would never say Christ became a "man" and have to turn to creedal statements to make sure the "just like us" part is obscured by his Godness...they have an almost docetic approach to his humanness.>>

With the above, you certainly have me starching my head, trying to understand what you are attempting to convey. That God became man in the person of Jesus Christ is pretty much one of the few doctrines that Catholics and EVâ??s equally affirm.

I would also argue that it is a doctrine Mormons can, and do, equally affirm. The â??Eternal Godâ? of the BoM became man: â??knowest though the condescension of God?â? (1 Nephi 11:16)

Perhaps you can clarify a bit furtherâ?¦

Grace and peace,

David

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I only read the first third of the posts so far but I have to jump in. No connection between or relation to the couplet and AG? Wow. The ignorance on this board sometimes displayed by members is only surpassed by that which is sometimes displayed by the critics.

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William C, it is the height of absurdity to say that Adam-God doctrine was the core of Brigham Young's belief. It was talked about for a while, sure. But it was never pressed on the Church by BY or anyone else. And it was definitively shot down by Spencer Kimball, speaking as the Prophet, in the 1970s.

Regardless of one's view on AG, I think in order to reach "the height of absurdity" you claim, one would have to say "...Adam-God doctrine was the core of Brigham Young's teaching." I don't think you or anyone else can truly speak to the core of his personal beleif. Even so, it is not absurd to assert that there is certainly good evidence that BY believed AG completely! And even though, as you pointed out, he did not truly press it upon the Church as official doctrine, he did nonetheless press it to some degree.

And since it was brought up, I would refer anyone to Eldon Watson's account of the clarification Pres. Kimball gave him in private after his AG remark in conference:

"In a private interview President Kimball made the following clarifications: He said that he did not say that President Brigham Young did not make the statements which are attributed to him, nor did he claim that they were falsely reported. Neither did he say that Brigham Young taught false doctrine. What he did say and what he meant is that the Adam-God theory is false, and the Adam-God theory is that interpretation which is placed on Brigham Young's words by present day apostates and fundamentalists - their understanding of what Brigham Yong meant is false." (http://eldenwatson.net/7AdamGod.htm)

Switching topics slightly, I suppose my last post may come across as too harsh or in some other negative way, which I suppose I feel in a slight degree whenever I read a certain tone towards others--I'm still a friend, pahoran--so I will draw the connection as I see it:

1a. Snow: God (the Father by most interpretations) was once a mortal man

1b. Young: God the Father was once a mortal man

That, incidentally, is how the Snow couplet possibly has something to do with any "Adam-God" notions. In case it needs to be explained a little further:

2a. Snow: God (the Father by most interpretations) was once a mortal man on a previously created earth

2b. Young: God the Father was once a mortal man on a previously created earth

Now, if you consider Young's teaching that the Father as outlined in 2b above was also a mortal named Adam on this earth, it does not detract at all from the obvious connection shown above. And while there is nothing explicit in Snow's couplet to affirm AG, there is nothing in the couplet to discredit AG either. I realize this is a discussion only believers are interested in, but in any analysis of doctrine one has to consider what is being said and what is not being said, what is logically precluded and included in any pronouncment. To one who might study AG the Snow couplet should be seen as a connection even if only as a backdrop to the AG specific issues. If neither Joseph Smith or Snow had ever said that God the Father was once a mortal, then Young's ideas would be all the more unusual and startling.

If I am wrong on any of this, I would love to have it explained to me. If not, then perhaps I might suggest one more apology.... heh

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Hello Juliann,

You wrote:

>>They would never say Christ became a "man" and have to turn to creedal statements to make sure the "just like us" part is obscured by his Godness...they have an almost docetic approach to his humanness.>>

With the above, you certainly have me starching my head, trying to understand what you are attempting to convey. That God became man in the person of Jesus Christ is pretty much one of the few doctrines that Catholics and EVâ??s equally affirm.

I would also argue that it is a doctrine Mormons can, and do, equally affirm. The â??Eternal Godâ? of the BoM became man: â??knowest though the condescension of God?â? (1 Nephi 11:16)

Perhaps you can clarify a bit furtherâ?¦

Grace and peace,

David

Hi David, I probably don't have the terminology to be as descriptive as I need to be with someone who is the expert on his own beliefs. I am referring to the attempts to define the parts...how much god was man, man was god. LDS don't do that. That is why we kind of shrug at the "historical Jesus" trend (until it gets to the point of denying divinity, of course.) For most Mormons you can make Jesus as human as he can be made...to the point of marrying. Most of us don't care one way or another. In fact, I think the reaction to a married Jesus is a good gauge of how uncomfortable EVs are with his humanity. Whenever I have gotten into deification debates with EVs and they start making fun of the God is man...all I have to do is remind them that Christ was also man (which creates some serious issues with a "one substance" as well as pointing out the avoidance of the "man" part of Trinity if all of God isn't allowed to be "man".)

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And while there is nothing explicit in Snow's couplet to affirm AG, there is nothing in the couplet to discredit AG either.

There is nothing in there to affirm any number of things...does that make it true? I don't know many who don't think BY believed something...but to say it was his core belief when no one can even figure it out and even he wasn't consistent is ridiculous when BY had as many years and speeches as he did. Whatever it was....it certainly wasn't core enough to put out to the church membership as a whole let alone come up with anything coherent.

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Appealing to an obscure essay by an unknown student--did you have his permission to reproduce it? does not justify your false witness-bearing. You insist on telling our story, and refuse to let us speak for ourselves. Even if you were scrupulously trying to stick to the facts--and we both know you are not--such an approach is ipso facto false witness-bearing.

Pahoran, neigbor, it seems as though you have your fingers in your ears, and you're singing, "la la la!"

if you took 5 seconds to read the beginning of the paper, you would have noticed that it was by an LDS BYU professor. And yes, I received permission via e-mail to post the essay. Did you even read it?

Not only in his ears, but in his eyes as well, but most certainly not in his mouth. As for him saying you ipso facto bear false witness, I would say that is the pot calling the kettle black.

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And while there is nothing explicit in Snow's couplet to affirm AG, there is nothing in the couplet to discredit AG either.

There is nothing in there to affirm any number of things...does that make it true? I don't know many who don't think BY believed something...but to say it was his core belief when no one can even figure it out and even he wasn't consistent is ridiculous when BY had as many years and speeches as he did. Whatever it was....it certainly wasn't core enough to put out to the church membership as a whole let alone come up with anything coherent.

Hmm. Please take the following points kindly as they are truly kindly meant (a little wink and a smile) in the spirit of sincere dialogue:

â?¢ I gather that statements like "Some years ago, I advanced a doctrine with regard to Adam being our Father and God. That will be a curse to many of the Elders of Israel, because of their folly with regard to it. They yet grovel in darknessâ??and will. It is one of the most glorious revelations [concerning] the economy of heaven, yet the world hold it [in] derision" (8 October 1861, morning session) doesn't quite rise to the level of "core" in your estimation.

â?¢ Your thinking and declaring confidently that "no one can even figure it out and even he wasn't consistent" does not make it so.

â?¢ I gather from your remarks that bringing it up in a number of General Conference addresses--including one sermon entirely dedicated to it--doesn't quite constitute "putting it out the the Church membership as a whole" in your book. ; )

â?¢ And finally again, your assertion that he didn't "come up with anything coherent" (did you just call the prophet incoherent? heh) does not make it so.

To be very clear, it doesn't matter at all what your or my understanding or explanation of what BY taught is in order to show that your response is...unthoughful? Hrm, the right word escapes me. I don't mean that to be read as "inconsiderate." It just seems rather biased or uninformed or off-the cuff or something like that.

I really hope the above is not taken wrong. And I didn't mean to hijack the thread and turn it into an AG thread. I just simply desire a more informed and reasonable tone when AG is broached and I don't see it in responses like pahoran's (or yours, sorry).

Again, meant-kindly-in-the-pursuit-of-knowledge-and-in-the-spirit-of-good-faith-discussion,

-Me

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As for posters here at FAIR, I personally cannot count the number of times I have been chided (by both Mormons and non-Mormons) for asserting that the doctrines espoused by Joseph in the above two mentioned discourses (and Snowâ??s couplet) â??are not official doctrines of the CoJCoLDSâ?, and may in fact contain false doctrine/s.

For the record, this type of response is somewhat understandable but more disheartening or discomforting to me. You will find no such equivocation, foolishness, and shrinking from me. And I appreciated your review on the FARMS site. You--your unique position as an "inside-outsider" and your views--really intrigue me. :P

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â?¢ And finally again, your assertion that he didn't "come up with anything coherent" (did you just call the prophet incoherent? heh) does not make it so.

I don't find people smirking about "sincere dialogue" who resort to sematic dodges very sincere. BY's statements were contradictory. You know that. If they were clear, consistent and understandable this would not be a matter of controversy. Does that need to be said? You can pronounce a winner all you want...it does not make you right, either....particularly when all you are doing is making pronouncements.

June 11, 1892

" St. George -- Attended the High Council at which Pres. Woodruff presided. . . Showed that Adam was an immortal being when he came to this earth and was made the same as all other men. . . . and the Pres Cannon said that it was not necessary that we should [teach] or endorse the doctrine that some men taught that Adam was the Father of Jesus Christ . Counsel was given for the elders to teach that which they knew, not that which they did not." (Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, Vol. 2, pp. 740-41)

Unpublished Revelations, Volume 1, compiled by Fred C. Collier (Salt Lake City, Utah: Collier's Publishing Co., 1981), 173-75.

A little odd bit of advice from someone who should have known this "core" doctrine.

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Appealing to an obscure essay by an unknown student--did you have his permission to reproduce it? does not justify your false witness-bearing. You insist on telling our story, and refuse to let us speak for ourselves. Even if you were scrupulously trying to stick to the facts--and we both know you are not--such an approach is ipso facto false witness-bearing.

Pahoran, neigbor,

Against whom you continue to bear false witness,

it seems as though you have your fingers in your ears, and you're singing, "la la la!"

That is not the case.

And is an ironic assertion for someone so terrified of my views as to find it necessary to exclude them from your hate site.

if you took 5 seconds to read the beginning of the paper, you would have noticed that it was by an LDS BYU professor. And yes, I received permission via e-mail to post the essay. Did you even read it?

Why yes, as a matter of fact, I did. Here is a pertinent excerpt:

Latter-day Saints remain atheological, in other words, why they remain without an official or even semi-official philosophy that explains and gives rational support to their beliefs and teachings.

Note that this says essentially what I said: that the Church has no systematic theology. This is what Faulconer means by "atheological." By contrast, This article over at False Witness Bearers, Inc uses it to mean something quite different: namely, that Mormons don't care about doctrine. For instance:

An atheological tendency refers to a lack of concern for theology.

And I have no hesitation in stating that, as applied to that Latter-day Saints, that is a false witness. "Supporting" quotes from idiotic cartoons notwithstanding.

Regards,

Pahoran

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I don't find people smirking about "sincere dialogue" who resort to sematic dodges very sincere.

I guess since you don't know me and this is our first exchange that I recall, it is reasonable that you took my "heh" anf the "(a little wink and a smile)" as a smirk of insult or contempt or contention or something else in a negative vein when it in fact was not meant that way. Really. The wink and a smile were there so that perhaps you might not take offense at my what-is-to-me perfectly logical counter-points to your statements. As to the "heh," it was more of an ironic "heh" intended (in the way I almost always use it) in a friendly way. For instance, I might have added a "heh" at the end of the previous sentence to point out the irony of my ironic "heh" being taken as a smirk, but then that might be mistaken or rather taken as further evidence of some supposed smugness or smirkiness, so I respectfully (and gingerly!) choose to leave it out!

BY's statements were contradictory. You know that. If they were clear, consistent and understandable this would not be a matter of controversy. Does that need to be said?

I agree that most people think his statements were contradictory, but that does not make them so. I believe most people did not and do not know quite how to reconcile what he taught on a relatively very small number of occasions with his other more numerous teachings, but this does not mean he was wrong or contradictory. I believe he was a prophet and knew what he was speaking about. People other than Brigham Young are the ones who have created the controversy through misunderstanding, misinterpretation, etc. I believe he knew what he was saying and knew how it all fit together with everything else he knew about the gospel. That is the conclusion I draw from reading what is available from him on this. Of course I accept that you to believe otherwise, but the point I was making was that the such statements as you made might be given thought, be more considered and reflective. Again, Pres. Kimball's clarification on his views and statement as reported by Eldon Watson is very instructive; I personally would not go further than that and proclaim to be in contradiction to himself or the truth.

You can pronounce a winner all you want...it does not make you right, either....particularly when all you are doing is making pronouncements.

I'm not sure what exactly you are responding to here unless it is some reactive barb against a perceived attack or insult. I truly was (and am) trying to point out that merely because a person says X is true does not make it so. I realize this applies to me as well as to anyone else. My first response to you was no mere pronouncment; I provided some evidence that countered some rather absolute assertions that you made about BY's consistency, coherency, and the centrality of this idea in his thought. There's plenty more evidence that can be cited, but I'm not out to prove what he taught or my understanding of what he taught. Instead, I was merely attempting to show that your statements were not as sound as yo seemed to think.

June 11, 1892

" St. George -- Attended the High Council at which Pres. Woodruff presided. . . Showed that Adam was an immortal being when he came to this earth and was made the same as all other men. . . . and the Pres Cannon said that it was not necessary that we should [teach] or endorse the doctrine that some men taught that Adam was the Father of Jesus Christ . Counsel was given for the elders to teach that which they knew, not that which they did not." (Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, Vol. 2, pp. 740-41)

Unpublished Revelations, Volume 1, compiled by Fred C. Collier (Salt Lake City, Utah: Collier's Publishing Co., 1981), 173-75.

A little odd bit of advice from someone who should have known this "core" doctrine.

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From the source you cited I find no refutation of AG as being a core personal belief of Brigham Young (which was my assertion).

Now you are changing the terms...this is what you actually said.

I don't think you or anyone else can truly speak to the core of his personal beleif. Even so, it is not absurd to assert that there is certainly good evidence that BY believed AG completely!

So which is it? You and only you know the "core" of his personal belief or we can't speak to the core of his personal belief?

I'm not arguing that BY believed something that is called the Adam-God doctrine. He obviously made some pointed statements. But there is no agreement on what he meant let alone what he "believed". You have to account for the inconsistencies. A poster in another thread who was concluding JS wrote the BOM based on some random parallels ran for the hills when I reminded him of the same thing.

What I object to is your arrogance in announcing that you have it all figured out when those with more expertise and background than either of us have not come to any conclusions. You aren't Paul Osborne by any chance are you?

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(3) I disagree with Blake Ostler on this specific point. I agree with what I take to have been Lorenzo Snow's teaching, and I object when I see a few trying to back away from it.

Daniel - can you elaborate on this point? What is Ostler's view, and how do you understand Snow's teaching?

Thanks.

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Firstly, no, I am not Paul Osborne.

Secondly, this seems a bit picky (it may not be, but so it seems to me):

"Now you are changing the terms...this is what you actually said."

Do I have to be clinical in every statement? I will render the second statement more precise and expound on the first so there is less room for contention and misunderstanding.

I wrote: "From the source you cited I find no refutation of AG as being a core personal belief of Brigham Young (which was my assertion)."

I will explain the parenthetical statment "(which was my assertion)" to mean "(which is what my assertion is about/related to--AG as a core personal belief)."

I assert that your statment--that to view AG as BY's core belief is ridiculous--can be reasonably argued against from his own words. I assert that that your view that he was inconsistent and incoherent is a personal opinion not shared by all faithful persons (again, I'm not talking critics and apostates). Therefore, the passage you cited from GQC and WW does not adress my counter-assertion. That is what the above bolded sentence means. I am sorry you chose to take such umbrage at it.

Now let me be clear on something lest you harp on it again--I have not in this thread asserted any superiority of opinion or interpretation as far as AG is concerned.

I have been put off to on-line discussions of this topic (I wonder if you can see why in this thread, heh) and I was not trying to get into an AG discussion; however, when blanket statements are made like the one I was initially responding to, I will still sometimes jump in.

I don't care what interpretation you or me or anyone else favors for AG--I don't care if it is believed to be one huge misunderstand, or a misquoted teachings, or a speculative doctrine, or an outright mistake, or an inspired albeit enigmatic doctrine--that does not matter for my posts here; but the claims that you have made I argue go beyond scholarship and reason. I know individuals--the type you identified as "those with more expertise and background than either of us have" (though I can't imagine you know mine and I certainly don't know yours, especially on this topic)--I know such individuals who have indeed come to some tentative conclusions and they are not very similar to the ones you put forth. So I outright reject those statements because I know they are untrue.

You wrote: "You have to account for the inconsistencies."

I don't believe I do. I merely assert that not every faithful scholar views BY's AG teachings as some inconsistent, incoherent doctrinal hiccup or aberration. I know this is not true. They are in the minority for sure, but this is simply untrue.

You wrote: "But there is no agreement on what he meant let alone what he 'believed'."

Which is pretty much what I've been arguing! heh. To make such universal declrations as you have that BY teachings on this are inconsistent is one thing not all agree with. To say his ideas were incoherent is one thing not all agree with. To say no one understands what he meant is one thing not all agree with. And to say that it is ridiculous to view or suggest that Snow's couplet is pertinent is what not all agree with (me in particular in this case). So we are agreed (I hope): "there is no agreement on what he meant let alone what he 'believed'." So let's not repeat your initial assertions.

Again, without regard to what the differeing views are, let's not make such claims that our understanding is superior to another's. I have not made such a statement about my views; I have not even shared my views, and I don't intend to. I don't claim (and haven't claimed) to know BY's core personal beliefs, let alone to be the only one to know them. But because I reject that you can fully know them as well, I will always object to and reject the type of statments that I've responded to in this thread. It can be argued (with evidence and logic) that something or another was or was not core to his beliefs, but you have not done that here so far. I've cited his own words olny to show that such a disagreement is possible. (What I really wish right now is that civil disagreement would be possible here!)

You wrote: "What I object to is your arrogance in announcing that you have it all figured out...."

I have never announced that--here or any where else that I recall. I am comfortable with my own current understanding, and I feel I'm on the right track, but that's not what my posts here have been about.

Can you cite where I announced that I had it all figured out? You may have arrived at that conclusion by a skewed reading of what I have posted and thus become combatative, but from what I've read on other threads in the past two days, this is not the usual you.

So, please, don't take my disagreement personally. I don't know you; I'm sure you are an absolutlely lovely person. But unless there is something more to discuss in a reasonable and less accusatory fashion, I'm content to agree on your statement--"But there is no agreement on what he meant let alone what he 'believed'"--and leave it at that.

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But unless there is something more to discuss in a reasonable and less accusatory fashion, I'm content to agree on your statement--"But there is no agreement on what he meant let alone what he 'believed'"--and leave it at that.

I am also content with this. Perhaps you have forgotten that your first comment to the other posters was, "Wow. The ignorance on this board sometimes displayed by members is only surpassed by that which is sometimes displayed by the critics." That is just a tad unreasonable and accusatory. :P

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Hello Daniel,

You wrote:

>>(2) His apology was, however, very much justified. The anti-Mormon industry, from "Dr." Walter Martin through "Dr." "Dr." John Weldon to Bill Schoebelen and the immortal J. Edward "God Makers" Decker, has sprouted more distortions and misrepresentations of Latter-day Saint faith than can possibly be counted. Richard Mouw is an honorable man; he is right to distance himself from such charlatans and mountebanks, and I wish him well in his efforts to put daylight between the honorable tradition of evangelical Protestantism and the countercultist demagoguery that has flourished for too long at its margins.>>

Me: If Dr. Mouw had only the â??anti-Mormon industryâ? in mind when he said, â??we evangelicalsâ?¦have sinned against youâ?, then perhaps he should have a bit more clear. That this â??anti-Mormon industryâ? has plenty to repent over, I fully concur.

>>(3) I disagree with Blake Ostler on this specific point. I agree with what I take to have been Lorenzo Snow's teaching, and I object when I see a few trying to back away from it.>>

Me: I think that this is perhaps why Dr. Mouw, and so many of us non-Mormons, get it wrong. Dr. Mouw wrote the following in response to numerous emails he was receiving after his Tabernacle address:

On a more technical point, I have received emails in the past few days where evangelicals have said that Mormonism teaches that God was once a human being like us, and we can become gods just like God now is. Mormon leaders have specifically stated that such a teaching, while stated by past leaders, is something they don't understand and has no functioning place in present-day Mormon doctrine. Bob Millet has made the same point to many of us, and Stephen Robinson insisted, in the book he co-authored with Craig Blomberg, that this is not an official Mormon teaching, even though it can be found in non-canonical Mormon writings. The Ostlings, in their book on Mormonism, reported that Mormon leaders insist that the idea that God is omnipotent, omniscience-and much unlike what we are or could ever be-is more accurate than the simple notion that we are all becoming gods like God the Father is. A number of LDS writers have been formulating the "becoming God" theme in terms that are common in Eastern Orthodoxy: that "we shall be like Him" in the sense of I John, but that we will never be Him. (http://www.standingtogether.org/Responses_mouw.doc)

Particularly noteworthy is his statement: â??Mormon leaders have specifically stated that such a teaching, while stated by past leaders, is something they don't understand and has no functioning place in present-day Mormon doctrineâ?; and, â??Bob Millet has made the same point to many of us, and Stephen Robinson insisted, in the book he co-authored with Craig Blomberg, that this is not an official Mormon teachingâ?.

If the notion that God the Father was once a man who became God is not â??official Mormon teachingâ? then why do so many, including yourself, â??object whenâ? they â??see a few trying to back away from itâ??

And a question I personally must ask: if the above doctrine is â??â??official Mormon teachingâ? why has neither Snowâ??s couplet, nor Josephâ??s KFD been canonized?

Grace and peace,

David

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>>(3) I disagree with Blake Ostler on this specific point. I agree with what I take to have been Lorenzo Snow's teaching, and I object when I see a few trying to back away from it.>>

Me: I think that this is perhaps why Dr. Mouw, and so many of us non-Mormons, get it wrong. Dr. Mouw wrote the following in response to numerous emails he was receiving after his Tabernacle address:

On a more technical point, I have received emails in the past few days where evangelicals have said that Mormonism teaches that God was once a human being like us, and we can become gods just like God now is. Mormon leaders have specifically stated that such a teaching, while stated by past leaders, is something they don't understand and has no functioning place in present-day Mormon doctrine. Bob Millet has made the same point to many of us, and Stephen Robinson insisted, in the book he co-authored with Craig Blomberg, that this is not an official Mormon teaching, even though it can be found in non-canonical Mormon writings. The Ostlings, in their book on Mormonism, reported that Mormon leaders insist that the idea that God is omnipotent, omniscience-and much unlike what we are or could ever be-is more accurate than the simple notion that we are all becoming gods like God the Father is. A number of LDS writers have been formulating the "becoming God" theme in terms that are common in Eastern Orthodoxy: that "we shall be like Him" in the sense of I John, but that we will never be Him. (http://www.standingtogether.org/Responses_mouw.doc)

Particularly noteworthy is his statement: â??Mormon leaders have specifically stated that such a teaching, while stated by past leaders, is something they don't understand and has no functioning place in present-day Mormon doctrineâ?; and, â??Bob Millet has made the same point to many of us, and Stephen Robinson insisted, in the book he co-authored with Craig Blomberg, that this is not an official Mormon teachingâ?.

This is one of the elements in current evangelical/Mormon dialogue that worries me. I do not agree that the teaching that the Father was once like us "has no functioning place in present-day Mormon doctrine." I do, however, agree with President Hinckley's much-criticized comment that, by and large, we don't teach it. I've never heard a sacrament meeting address on the subject, for example. But it's there in the background. It's certainly a functioning part of my understanding of my theology.

If the notion that God the Father was once a man who became God is not â??official Mormon teachingâ? then why do so many, including yourself, â??object whenâ? they â??see a few trying to back away from itâ??

As I say, I disagree with the sentiments attributed to Bob Millet and Steve Robinson on this topic. I see the teaching as quite basic to Mormonism.

And a question I personally must ask: if the above doctrine is â??â??official Mormon teachingâ? why has neither Snowâ??s couplet, nor Josephâ??s KFD been canonized?

Personally, I find the notion of "canon" rather problematic within Mormonism.

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I am also content with this. Perhaps you have forgotten that your first comment to the other posters was, "Wow. The ignorance on this board sometimes displayed by members is only surpassed by that which is sometimes displayed by the critics." That is just a tad unreasonable and accusatory. :P

So, you are content to let the discussion stand...but then you bring up for the first time my initial post in this thread? Ok, new topic to defend I guess.

I haven't (and hadn't) forgotten what I first posted. I still feel that way. Don't you? I have a hard time accepting that you don't think the same thing. It's not unreasonable at all. Let me demonstrate the reasonableness of this claim. Which of the following do you believe:

A. Members of the Church never display ignorance on this site.

B. Critics of the Church never display ignorance on this site.

C. Ignorance is never displayed on this site by anyone.

D. Members display more ignorance than critics on this site.

E. An equal amount of ignorance by both members and critics is display on this site.

Or do you have another option in mind? I stand by my initial post.

In fact, I'll make another statement similar to it: The contenious spirit on this board sometimes displayed by members is only surpassed by that which is sometimes displayed by the critics. Feel free to say it's unreasonable, but I think I can find the proof in some over reaction or other which I seem to recall seeing somewhere on this site....

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