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Mormonism And Classic Protestantism:


cksalmon

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Hi folks:

I'm just going to throw out a proposition I've been mulling over for any discussion it might merit.

Mormonism tends to have a "manward" focus, whereas classical Protestantism tends to have a "Godward" focus.

With very broad brush strokes, I'd defend this proposition as follows:

(1) The Mormon worldview, traditionally, seems to focus intensely on the plan of Eternal Progression--God's gracious plan for elevating those who are worthy, ultimately, to the status of godhood--to be like, albeit inferior to, Himself.

(2) The classical Protestant worldview, traditionally, seems to focus on declaring the utterly unique, unequivocal glory of the single God of all the entire universe.

I surely hope this won't degenerate into an endless discussion of the Trinity.

I'm just throwing it out there. Feel free to disagree vehemently with my assessment, but please do tell why.

Best.

CKS

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cks:

I'd modify #1 to indicate "subject to, but partaking of the same life" rather than "inferior". This would be consistent with Moses 1:39 in the PofGP.

Rather than phrasing it as a "manward" focus (because our doctrine is that both God and humans are the same ultimate species), I'd also phrase it as "family" focus. Hence, God's emphasis on bringing the family (His family) together in eternity.

I'll take your word for the phrasing of #2; it seems to be consistent with my understanding.

Otherwise, you are correct. There is a fundamentally different perspective on that relationship with God that you speak of. And I do think that the emphasis in LDS doctrine is on ultimate, eternal relationships.

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I would also agree, in a general sense. This core difference is why Protestants (or mainstream Christians in general, really) really get shocked at statements like Moses 1:39--

39 For behold, this is my work and my gloryâ??to bring to pass the immortality and eternal elife of man.

It seems all backwards and troubling, at least to this evangelical Protestant.

Good basic thought, ck. I like these kinds of general "big picture" comparisons, since they can get into more fruitful discussions of the particulars.

Take care, everyone :P

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cks:

I'd modify #1 to indicate "subject to, but partaking of the same life" rather than "inferior". This would be consistent with Moses 1:39 in the PofGP.

Hi J--

Your point is well-taken. I was attempting to present as accurately as possible a shorthand version of what I take to be a foundational Mormon claim.

Best.

CKS

(And it's "Chris," structurecop! I don't even know how to pronounce "C****.")

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Hi folks:

I'm just going to throw out a proposition I've been mulling over for any discussion it might merit.

Mormonism tends to have a "manward" focus, whereas classical Protestantism tends to have a "Godward" focus.

With very broad brush strokes, I'd defend this proposition as follows:

(1) The Mormon worldview, traditionally, seems to focus intensely on the plan of Eternal Progression--God's gracious plan for elevating those who are worthy, ultimately, to the status of godhood--to be like, albeit inferior to, Himself.

(2) The classical Protestant worldview, traditionally, seems to focus on declaring the utterly unique, unequivocal glory of the single God of all the entire universe.

I surely hope this won't degenerate into an endless discussion of the Trinity.

I'm just throwing it out there. Feel free to disagree vehemently with my assessment, but please do tell why.

Best.

CKS

Well, is it okay for me to agree vehemently with your assessment? I would re-write these:

"(1) The Mormon worldview, traditionally, seems to focus intensely on the plan of Eternal Progression--God's gracious plan for elevating those who are worthy, ultimately, to the status of godhood--to be like, albeit inferior to, Himself.

(2) The classical Protestant worldview, traditionally, seems to focus on declaring the utterly unique, unequivocal glory of the single God of all the entire universe."

In the simplest form as:

(1) Mormonism elevates man

(2) Protestantism elevates God

Running for cover,

Jersey Girl

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God elevates man

vs.

God elevates Himself only.

I think LOaP has added a very important though subtle detail.

Let me try:

LDS: God created man for both God's and man's glory.

Protestant: God created man for only God's glory.

How's that?

Sargon

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So how does God elevate himself without mans eternal salvation?

:P

Hi J--

I'm not attempting to be obtuse. But, I don't understand the force of your question. If I refer to God's elevating himself, I don't mean that he raises himself in some sense ontologically or some such. I just mean that he is jealous for and consistently hammers home his own infinite glory.

Can you clarify your question?

CKS

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CK:

you're right. I always thought that any "how wide the divide" type discussion had to start with the pre-mortal existance and plan of salvation (based on the eternal intelligences teaching). The one does have God being glorified while the other sees man being exalted (as the major tenets)

By the way LoaP God's glorification as the center point of all existence does not exclude the thought that someday the creation will have a more glorified body

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I think LOaP has added a very important though subtle detail.

Let me try:

LDS: God created man for both God's and man's glory.

Protestant: God created man for only God's glory.

How's that?

Sargon

Hey Sargon--

I'd agree with your rewording as well.

Best.

CKS

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So how does God elevate himself without mans eternal salvation?

Actually, this is a pretty good observation.

According to protestant doctrine, it would appear that God is totally self-fulfilling in all His needs.

According to LDS doctrine (and perhaps because it really is lonely at the top), God takes the greatest joy and glory in bringing others to be like Him. LDS perceive this as a necessary part of being God.

It certainly is a matter of perspective on where your doctrinal background is. To phrase the difference another way, perhaps, is the LDS concept of God more personal and more able to relate to us than the protestant concept of God?

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I'm not attempting to be obtuse. But, I don't understand the force of your question. If I refer to God's elevating himself, I don't mean that he raises himself in some sense ontologically or some such. I just mean that he is jealous for and consistently hammers home his own infinite glory.

You may have hit on another difference. LDS doctrine does not characterize God as "jealous" of His glory. Instead, He is intensely interested in sharing it with us.

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Hi J--

I'm not attempting to be obtuse. But, I don't understand the force of your question. If I refer to God's elevating himself, I don't mean that he raises himself in some sense ontologically or some such. I just mean that he is jealous for and consistently hammers home his own infinite glory.

Can you clarify your question?

CKS

My question is the obvious, I disagree with protestanism. I dont understand why god would even want

himself to be glorified in infinite glory, And that being the only purpose for us even being hear, is to

glorify him. I beleive we are hear to not only worship and glorify him but that his plan includes us

to gain glory as well, not his glory, but glory. God cares about us, he loves us, and he wants us to

progress in eternal glory as well. His plan is not simply for us to glorify him and nothing else, This is

part of his happiness is helping us become better. Maybe were on the same page, i dunno?

Anyway, thats what i meant.

:P

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My understanding:

1) Mormon--God's glory comes from uncreated non ex-nihilo man becoming like him.

2) Protestant--God created ex-nihilo man so that man could worship him and thereby glorify him.

I would agree that 1) is God mostly focusing on man, whereas 2) is man focusing on God alone.

I think 2) is unbalanced. In 1) God created man for his glory, man is his focus, and thereby man's focus becomes God (in order to achieve that end). So it's two ways. However, number 2) is only for God's glory and has nothing to do with man. Therefore, it is only one way.

Mormonism: God<---->Man

Protestantism: Man---->God

EDIT: Number one is a selfless God/Father.

Number two is a self-centered God/Master.

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I think LOaP has added a very important though subtle detail.

Let me try:

LDS: God created man for both God's and man's glory.

Protestant: God created man for only God's glory.

How's that?

Sargon

CKS agrees with this because he is Reformed, but I think it's worth pointing out that there are probably a number of Arminians and open theists who would disagree.

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My understanding:

1) Mormon--God's glory comes from uncreated non ex-nihilo man becoming like him.

2) Protestant--God created ex-nihilo man so that man could worship him and thereby glorify him.

I would agree that 1) is God mostly focusing on man, whereas 2) is man focusing on God alone.

I think 2) is unbalanced. In 1) God created man for his glory, man is his focus, and thereby man's focus becomes God (in order to achieve that end). So it's two ways. However, number 2) is only for God's glory and has nothing to do with man. Therefore, it is only one way.

Mormonism: God<---->Man

Protestantism: Man---->God

EDIT: Number one is a selfless God/Father.

Number two is a self-centered God/Master.

Very Good!

:P

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CKS agrees with this because he is Reformed, but I think it's worth pointing out that there are probably a number of Arminians and open theists who would disagree.

Hi Chris--

I'd say, not just "a number," but instead, the vast majority. I think that Arminians are just weak-kneed Open Theists. Folks can get some perspective on the issue by downloading the following:

Ostler, Blake T. (as respondent), and others. "It's All in Arminius: Mormonism As a Form of Hyper-Arminianism." Sunstone Salt Lake Symposium [Audio Recording: July 29, 2005]. Available from here. (fee for download); Internet; accessed September 5, 2007.

If I'm not misremembering, I think this is the presentation in which Ostler equates the Calvinist God with the LDS Satan. Interesting listening.

Best.

CKS

Edited to add: Okay, that link just gets you to the main Sunstone MP3 download page. Search for "Blake Ostler" as speaker and hunt for the title given above ("It's All in Arminius: Mormonism As a Form of Hyper-Arminianism"). You can download the session for $2, if I remember correctly.

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In the simplest form as:

(1) Mormonism elevates man

(2) Protestantism elevates God

Running for cover,

Jersey Girl

The concept that God is primarily concerned with helping those bellow himself rise to His stature does nothing but elevate God.

The concept that God is primarily concerned with his own elevation only diminishes Him.

It doesn't only diminish him, but it seems to endow Him with the basest of human qualities.

I've never quite understood this means of "elevating God", perhaps some of you folks could help me appreciate your beliefs a bit more. I would really like to understand this better.

Best to you,

Jd1

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The concept that God is primarily concerned with his own elevation only diminishes Him.

Hi John--

In what sense?

Ex hypothesi, if God is the most uniquely, spectacularly important being in the entire universe, why would his concern for his own Glory diminish him? Per your understanding, would you say that my belief is that God is really more important than he deserves to be? Perhaps he's a megalomaniac and should be more concerned with exalting others than with exalting himself? Perhaps we're just as important as he is, and he should give us our propers?

This is the sort of thing I had in mind when I suggested that Mormonism is focused "manward." You seem to believe that God can only exalt himself by exalting man--or perhaps that he desires to give his glory to man. Classic Protestantism proclaims nearly the opposite: that God will be exalted no matter what.

I as take it, God is not interested in exalting any being other than himself. See, for example, Isaiah 48:11.

Best.

CKS

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Hi John--

In what sense?

Ex hypothesi, if God is the most uniquely, spectacularly important being in the entire universe, why would his concern for his own Glory diminish him? Per your understanding, would you say that my belief is that God is really more important than he deserves to be? Perhaps he's a megalomaniac and should be more concerned with exalting others than with exalting himself? Perhaps we're just as important as he is, and he should give us our propers?

This is the sort of thing I had in mind when I suggested that Mormonism is focused "manward." You seem to believe that God can only exalt himself by exalting man--or perhaps that he desire to give his glory to man. Classic Protestantism proclaims nearly the opposite: that God will be exalted no matter what.

I as take it, God is not interested in exalting any being other than himself. See, for example, Isaiah 48:11.

Best.

CKS

Where is he going to be "exhalted" too?

:P

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Hi John--

In what sense?

Ex hypothesi, if God is the most uniquely, spectacularly important being in the entire universe, why would his concern for his own Glory diminish him? Per your understanding, would you say that my belief is that God is really more important than he deserves to be? Perhaps he's a megalomaniac and should be more concerned with exalting others than with exalting himself? Perhaps we're just as important as he is, and he should give us our propers?

This is the sort of thing I had in mind when I suggested that Mormonism is focused "manward." You seem to believe that God can only exalt himself by exalting man--or perhaps that he desires to give his glory to man. Classic Protestantism proclaims nearly the opposite: that God will be exalted no matter what.

I as take it, God is not interested in exalting any being other than himself. See, for example, Isaiah 48:11.

Best.

CKS

I don't know if I understand what you are saying. But here goes: you claim that 1). Because God is so spectacularly important that 2). Him being concerned with his own glory should not diminish him. I don't see how 2 follows from 1.

Does it follow that if A person is more important than X person than it is justifiable, for A person to be more concerned for himself than X person?

What makes God important? His power? That may make Him important but I just don't see how that makes him worship worthy. Stalin and Hitler had power too. A God with primary concern with his own power and glory makes him resemble these characters more than He resembles one like Jesus, for example. It is God's perfect character that makes him worship worthy in my book. Jesus used His power to bless the lowest of the low out of genuine love. He proclaimed himself "meek" and "lowly" of heart. I think it diminishes God to make Him unlike Christ, and that is what the "classical" view seems to do.

To me it has less to do with the greatness of man, but rather with the greatness of a being who desires to lift lowely creatures like man. I’d like to hear more in depth explanations on the classical view (for example what of the love of God? What of the humility of Christ? Why does God's power make it okay for Him resemble Hitler and Stalin in character? Is it just a matter of, he can kick your trash so you better give him the glory? In particular, why do you find this view of God meaningful and satisfying?). It seems to me like a case of "he who has the most guns wins." Is that so?

Best,

Jd1

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