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On a just-closed thread, there was this exchange, which I would like to explore further here:

On 7/17/2016 at 2:43 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

 Mormonism is a humanistic and universalist religion, even though most people don't realize it.

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TheSkepticChristian replied:

Mormonism to you, most LDS don't agree with you, especially the missionaries. Most LDS missionaries believe that all the other religions teach apostasy. 

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Mark Bukowski and I have discussed this on this board in recent years, and we each agree with each other for substantive reasons.  It may be that TheSkepticChristian doesn't know (1) what humanism and universalism are, or (2) doesn't actually understand Mormonism.  Most Mormons understand neither, and are quite happy to live an LDS-style of life -- regardless of what the theological underpinnings might be.  There is nothing wrong with that, and he has no doubt missed the crucial point that Mormonism is about orthopraxy, not orthodoxy.

Mormons and humanists unite!  You have nothing to lose but your Neo-Platonic chains!

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I said previously on this board, at http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/62842-poll-regarding-our-view-of-where-the-non-spiritual-evidence-leads/page-6  ,
My own perspective on this question is that the LDS religion is uniquely humanistic and rational at base, thus sharing with many atheists the notion that natural law prevails everywhere in the universe, and reject God as an uncaused Cause as just plain irrational -- not that it matters to a believer in the supernatural and miracles, but rather that LDS religion posits creation, humans, and God who are all organized but uncreated.  Not contingent, but coeternal. 

mfbukowski replied:
I could not agree with you more, and I am pleased to know there is at least one other human out there in this world who sees this point fully.
 
Indeed when Neitzsche proclaimed the "death of god" (I have substituted a small "g" intentionally) he was precisely right- from a Moron perspective.  What he was speaking of is the death of the "Transcendent" god of the sectarians, the god without body, parts, or passions.  I see indeed this statement as paralleling Joseph Smith's revelation that all religions were an "abomination".  When seen in this context, both statements are virtually equivalent.
 
Rorty discusses Nietzsche at length, including this very point, but of course Rorty like Nietzsche is left without an understanding that the God of Mormons is an immanent, glorified human being.

Rorty bemoans the fact that he could worship a God who is a "friend" as opposed to the transcendent being manufactured by Greek philosophy mingled with scripture.  Indeed, the D&C repeatedly documents the Lord speaking to Joseph and early church members as "friends".

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In his lengthy and well-informed comments at http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/67765-the-state-of-the-evidence/?page=20#comment-1209639620   , Nevo sees the BofM as anti-universalist while falsely stating that “the Bible, it should be noted, contains no language about this life being a ‘state of probation’ or mercy ‘satisfying’ God's justice . . . .”

The BofM does portray this life as “a state of probation” (2 Nephi 2:21); “this life became a probationary state” (Alma 12:24); “a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God” (Alma 42:4,10,13); “days of . . .  probation” (1 Nephi 10:21, 15:31-32, 2 Nephi 9:27, Helaman 13:38, Mormon 9:28);  “the last days of . . . probation” (2 Nephi 2:30);  “end of the day of probation” (2 Nephi 33:9).  But so does the Bible, which refers to a period of temptation, trial, testing, and proving oneself, as in obedience to the commandments (1 Kings 3:14, 9:4-9 conditionals), or in the testing suggested by Jesus' parables (Matthew 25:10-30, Luke 13:6-9, 16:1-12, 19:12-27); or the testing of God, as in Malachi 3:10 "prove me now herewith" (Hebrew bāhan); or of people, as in Ezekiel 21:18(13) "a trial" (bôhan = dedikaiōntai). Daniel 1:14 "proved them ten days" (Hebrew nāsâ = Greek peira; cf. Numbers 14:22), and Deuteronomy 13:3 "the LORD your God proveth you" (nāsâ = perazei), etc.; “trial(s)” (2 Nephi 5:3,Mosiah 29:33, Alma 1:23,25, 36:3,27, Ether 12:6) = Greek dokimē, dokimion (2 Corinthians 8:2, 1 Peter 1:7), or peira (Hebrews 11:36).  Cf. NRSV “in a time of testing” (Luke 8:13); “the day of the testing” (Hebrews 3:8); “testing” (Deuteronomy 8:2, Ecclesiasticus /Sirach 2:1, 6:7); “tested” (Genesis 42:15-16, Psalms 66:10, 81:7, Proverbs 27:21, Isaiah 48:10, Wisdom 3:5, 11:10, Ecclesiasticus 2:5, 44:20, 1 Maccabees 2:52, 2 Esdras 16:73); “test” (Exodus 15:25, 16:4, Deuteronomy 8:16, Judges 2:22, Job 7:18, Psalms 7:9, 26:2, Jeremiah 9:7, 17:10, Zechariah 13:9, Ecclesiasticus 27:5, 2 Corinthians 2:9, Hebrews 11:17, James 1:12); “tempt” (2 Nephi 17:12 = Isaiah 7:12 nāsâ = Greek peira).

Moreover, even though none passes the test (Psalms 5:9, 10:7, 14:1-3, 140:3, 143:2, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 59:7-8, Romans 3:10-18), still God renders to every man according to his works (Psalm 62:12, Matt 16:27, Romans 2:5, 2 Tim 4:14).  How?  Due to grace made possible through the atonement – both here and hereafter.  The Plan of Salvation is universal.  All are resurrected to eternal life.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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I have to admit I wouldn't have known what any of that meant, until I just looked it up, so I wouldn't have realized it before now. I happen to agree now that it is both a Humanistic and a Universalist religion. I also feel, though, that Mormonism is a mix of Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy, in things like everyone has to be baptized in order to enter God's kingdom, but by and large we are able to be guided and directed by the Holy Spirit, and don't need to do things in an exact set of rules regarding issues that don't pertain to other peoples' personal lives, outside of the set rites we must do in this life, or have done in proxy if they couldn't get done during our lives.

I don't know what is meant by, "all other religions teach apostasy." I feel like any seeker of truth, will eventually be led to that truth, if they are willing to obey that truth, once it starts to get revealed. There are many who will turn away from it once it is found because of other reasons, like pride, or ego, etc.. Kind of like the people in Lehi's vision of those who partook of the fruit (The love of God) and then turned away because they saw that they were being scorned, and so decided instead of staying with that, they in turn tried to get in with the crowd that was mocking, in order to fit in and start mocking as well, even while many of them drowned in the depths trying to do so. I just feel there are some people who are too scared to follow truth wherever it will lead them, but instead don't want to be seen as the, "peculiar people," that actually embrace the truth. Anyone who is willing to, will eventually be led to Jesus' church and into God's presence, whether in this life or the next.

The thing that most people don't seem to realize about us Mormons, is that we actually believe that The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints truly is set up and run by Christ Himself. It doesn't compare to the other religious sects that are either fallen away from the truth that they once held, or splintered off by the logic of man in an effort to get back in line with the truth that was lost. We only want to add to the truth that others have gotten already, not tear down someone else's beliefs. Just my two cents worth anyway.

Edited by waveslider
mispell
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44 minutes ago, waveslider said:

I have to admit I wouldn't have known what any of that meant, until I just looked it up, so I wouldn't have realized it before now. I happen to agree now that it is both a Humanistic and a Universalist religion. I also feel, though, that Mormonism is a mix of Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy, in things like everyone has to be baptized in order to enter God's kingdom, but by and large we are able to be guided and directed by the Holy Spirit, and don't need to do things in an exact set of rules regarding issues that don't pertain to other peoples' personal lives, outside of the set rites we must do in this life, or have done in proxy if they couldn't get done during our lives.

I don't know what is meant by, "all other religions teach apostasy." I feel like any seeker of truth, will eventually be led to that truth, if they are willing to obey that truth, once it starts to get revealed. There are many who will turn away from it once it is found because of other reasons, like pride, or ego, etc.. Kind of like the people in Lehi's vision of those who partook of the fruit (The love of God) and then turned away because they saw that they were being scorned, and so decided instead of staying with that, they in turn tried to get in with the crowd that was mocking, in order to fit in and start mocking as well, even while many of them drowned in the depths trying to do so. I just feel there are some people who are too scared to follow truth wherever it will lead them, but instead don't want to be seen as the, "peculiar people," that actually embrace the truth. Anyone who is willing to, will eventually be led to Jesus' church and into God's presence, whether in this life or the next.

The thing that most people don't seem to realize about us Mormons, is that we actually believe that The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints truly is set up and run by Christ Himself. It doesn't compare to the other religious sects that are either fallen away from the truth that they once held, or splintered off by the logic of man in an effort to get back in line with the truth that was lost. We only want to add to the truth that others have gotten already, not tear down someone else's beliefs. Just my two cents worth anyway.

That about sums it up.  You don't have to be a theologian to be a Mormon.  And being a theologian might just get in the way.

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The first paragraph on Wikipedia, where many people will go to first to find the definition of humanism, has we LDS matching up very well with humanism until the last sentence:

"Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it.[1] The term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century. Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. In modern times, humanist movements are typically aligned with secularism, and today humanism typically refers to a non-theistic life stance centered on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world."

I would have to say that we are not quite universalist because there are those who will not ultimately be reconciled to God (sons of perdition), but indeed salvation is available to all who come to earth in our doctrine.

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Great topic Bob.

The key point here is that if the world could see us this way, we could and would become the "stone cut without hands" and fill the earth.

More to come later- just wanted to get in on the beginning of the thread, it is a very busy time for me right now

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The BofM does portray this life as “a state of probation” (2 Nephi 2:21); “this life became a probationary state” (Alma 12:24); “a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God” (Alma 42:4,10,13); “days of . . .  probation” (1 Nephi 10:21, 15:31-32, 2 Nephi 9:27, Helaman 13:38, Mormon 9:28);  “the last days of . . . probation” (2 Nephi 2:30);  “end of the day of probation” (2 Nephi 33:9).  But so does the Bible, which refers to a period of temptation, trial, testing, and proving oneself, as in obedience to the commandments (1 Kings 3:14, 9:4-9 conditionals), or in the testing suggested by Jesus' parables (Matthew 25:10-30, Luke 13:6-9, 16:1-12, 19:12-27); or the testing of God, as in Malachi 3:10 "prove me now herewith" (Hebrew bāhan); or of people, as in Ezekiel 21:18(13) "a trial" (bôhan = dedikaiōntai). Daniel 1:14 "proved them ten days" (Hebrew nāsâ = Greek peira; cf. Numbers 14:22), and Deuteronomy 13:3 "the LORD your God proveth you" (nāsâ = perazei), etc.; “trial(s)” (2 Nephi 5:3,Mosiah 29:33, Alma 1:23,25, 36:3,27, Ether 12:6) = Greek dokimē, dokimion (2 Corinthians 8:2, 1 Peter 1:7), or peira (Hebrews 11:36).  Cf. NRSV “in a time of testing” (Luke 8:13); “the day of the testing” (Hebrews 3:8); “testing” (Deuteronomy 8:2, Ecclesiasticus /Sirach 2:1, 6:7); “tested” (Genesis 42:15-16, Psalms 66:10, 81:7, Proverbs 27:21, Isaiah 48:10, Wisdom 3:5, 11:10, Ecclesiasticus 2:5, 44:20, 1 Maccabees 2:52, 2 Esdras 16:73); “test” (Exodus 15:25, 16:4, Deuteronomy 8:16, Judges 2:22, Job 7:18, Psalms 7:9, 26:2, Jeremiah 9:7, 17:10, Zechariah 13:9, Ecclesiasticus 27:5, 2 Corinthians 2:9, Hebrews 11:17, James 1:12); “tempt” (2 Nephi 17:12 = Isaiah 7:12 nāsâ = Greek peira).

Thanks for compiling this list (although you left out my favorite, Deut. 8:2). I am aware, of course, that the Bible speaks of testing and trials. But I don't think we see anything analogous to the Book of Mormon's frequent descriptions of this life as a "state of probation"/"probationary state," a time of testing/proving preparatory to meeting God. Perhaps Deut. 8:2 and Psalm 95 (// Heb. 3) come closest if we read them according to later theological understandings, but I think the parallels with nineteenth-century sermons are much stronger. 

But to return to the topic of the thread. You write: "Mormonism is about orthopraxy, not orthodoxy." I've seen you and mfbukowski make this claim before but I don't think it's correct. Perhaps I won't be kicked out of the Church for having heretical views—provided I keep them to myself and don't attempt to influence others—but I certainly won't be allowed to participate fully. The first four questions of the temple recommend interview are all about ensuring right thinking. Right behavior doesn't come into it until question five.

 

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Mormonism is a... universalist religion ...

Very interesting.

Could you elaborate on how and why you see Mormonism as a univeralist religion? 

Thanks. 

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It may be that TheSkepticChristian doesn't know (1) what humanism and universalism are, or (2) doesn't actually understand Mormonism.  Most Mormons understand neither, and are quite happy to live an LDS-style of life -- regardless of what the theological underpinnings might be.  There is nothing wrong with that, and he has no doubt missed the crucial point that Mormonism is about orthopraxy, not orthodoxy.

Please don't insult my intelligence, of course I understand LDS doctrine. Of course I understand humanism, I am a Mormon Transhumanist! but agnostic. 

What is said is true, most LDS don't believe  that everyone is going to be saved in the celestial kingdom or that all religions will take you to heaven. Most believe that if you are not baptized in the church, you will go to spirit prison, to get out of spirit prison you will have to accept the LDS gospel. 

3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There is nothing wrong with that, and he has no doubt missed the crucial point that Mormonism is about orthopraxy, not orthodoxy.

I never said that true doctrine is what most believe! I never said anything about orthodoxy. 

Edited by TheSkepticChristian
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11 hours ago, Nevo said:

 

But to return to the topic of the thread. You write: "Mormonism is about orthopraxy, not orthodoxy." I've seen you and mfbukowski make this claim before but I don't think it's correct. Perhaps I won't be kicked out of the Church for having heretical views—provided I keep them to myself and don't attempt to influence others—but I certainly won't be allowed to participate fully. The first four questions of the temple recommend interview are all about ensuring right thinking. Right behavior doesn't come into it until question five.

 

Well I see this point as more semantics than anything else.  Your tacit presumption seems to be that there IS some kind of dichotomy between thought and action, and I do not accept that dichotomy.  We all act on our beliefs- action is really the only objective measure we have of beliefs, and actions include declaring our beliefs and going on  forum to defend them.

The speaking of words is itself pure action, and what is thought without speech?  Ask Helen Keller I suppose.  In that context even thought itself is social and not totally interior and subjective - in that context thought is social activity.

The doctrinal questions about the nature of God etc are very vague.  "Do you believe in God" as a question leaves open the nature of God, the nature of the Savior and all those fine details we usually ascribe as Mormons, alone.   It does not ask if God has a body, for example.  One could probably be an Evangelical and answer that question truthfully and still pass the "test"

Was Joseph a "prophet"?  What does "prophet" mean?  Are we not all to some extent prophets?  Did Joseph "restore" the church?  Again, highly ambiguous. Technically how are we supposed to answer that?  What is the standard of what was and what was not practiced in the church as founded by Christ?  Baptism for the dead?   The endowment?  Even polygamy?  Did blacks have the priesthood in the primitive church?  Where is the standard for "restoration"?  

Of course the basis comes down to testimony- feelings within the heart, which I think are non-verbal.  But then we are in a verbal situation which puts us in front of the bishop speaking words and characterizing all those vague internal feelings into concrete words, turning emotions into stone.  

Then we come back into the problem of Mormon doctrine in general- who defines it, where it is found, and the standards.

I know BC has his pat answer on this- good for him, but the pat answer - the infamous Newsroom quote- even is ambiguous.  And of course we have the infamous book "Mormon Doctrine" which is not doctrinal

Alma 32 says we try out beliefs in ACTION, we put them into our lives and see if they lead to "good fruit" which is "sweet"

That is straight pragmatic philosophy- before pragmatic philosophy was invented- which William James would later clarify.   And William James was part of a movement which stared with Kant who knew that men "organize matter from matter unorganized", another idea prominent in Mormonism.

So we could debate whether or not we have "orthodoxy" or not but I won't bother with that question.

For me, thought IS practice or it is nothing.  If we do not live our beliefs....  where's that scripture, all you "scriptorians" out there-  about the "tinkling cymbal" ? ;)

Words are words until you act on them.

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10 hours ago, Eek! said:

Very interesting.

Could you elaborate on how and why you see Mormonism as a univeralist religion? 

Thanks. 

"Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ"

 

Quote

Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all people will be resurrected. After we are resurrected, we will stand before the Lord to be judged according to our desires and actions. Each of us will accordingly receive an eternal dwelling place in a specific kingdom of glory. The Lord taught this principle when He said, “In my Father's house are many mansions” ...

....Telestial Kingdom

Telestial glory will be reserved for individuals who “received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:82). These individuals will receive their glory after being redeemed from spirit prison, which is sometimes called hell (see D&C 76:84; D&C 76:106). A detailed explanation of those who will inherit telestial glory is found inDoctrine and Covenants 76:81-90, 98-106, 109-112.

https://www.lds.org/topics/kingdoms-of-glory?lang=eng

Edited by mfbukowski
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11 hours ago, Gray said:

When I was first introduced to humanism, I thought, here is the gospel message!

Of course, if you look up the word "humanism" on LDS.org, you'll find a pretty steady stream of criticism against it. 

That is justified by the usual atheistic bent of humanism today, but if you look at its principles, it is all about human beings living to their fullest potential and so is the gospel.

To a truly intellectually honest humanist, there is as like that God exists as that he does not

At the core of humanism is the belief also that mankind has constructed the world as we know it- known as "social constructivism".  THAT is the core of the atheistic tendency of humanism.  If mankind has created reality as we know it - through science and linguistic characterizations- then there is no need to postulate the existence of God

Think about that- it is saying that all we know is... what we CAN know as human beings. Our perceptions and everything we know comes "through" our human minds

But where did we get our human minds?

Maybe we will get into this but that is a long story, imo.  But then we have the notion that HUMANS ORGANIZE what we call "matter unorganized"

Sound familiar? ;)

Add then to humanism the idea of a Father in Heaven who also "organizes matter unorganized" as we do, and we have a God who is some sense is the same kind of being as we are, but much more intelligent- infinitely more intelligent than we are.

James thought of God as a "master chess player" - a being LIKE us but infinitely intelligent 

Think of how a master chess player who is infinitely intelligent would organize the world.  If you are a chess beginner, any chess master would know every possible move to turn the tide in his favor no matter what move you made!  Though he was not omniscient but a human like you, he would STILL know enough about chess to turn everything you did to his purposes.

Now apply that to God

A human God could do just that- and adjust everything that happens in his world to suit his circumstances, even though he was not omniscient or all powerful, or transcendent, or any of those false characteristics the sectarians ascribe to Him.  If Adam took the fruit, he could adjust.  If he didn't- there is ALWAYS a plan B and C and.... to infinity.

But without omniscience, allowing agency to his children to do whatever they could possibly do- he could always "make a move" to change circumstances in his favor to take care of his children.

THAT is a humanist God, for those who have stirrings in their hearts that such a God could exist.   Looking out at the universe, it is hard to imagine that someone like that does not exist

But this is only a story, only an explanation for someone who needs to answer questions.   God dwells in our hearts and is unknowable except through testimony experiences, but the logical explanations help.  That is one possible way of seeing Him, according to James.

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

"Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ"

Do you think this is necesssarily a voluntary confession? 

If so, or if not, what are the implications for the confessor?

1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

...Telestial Kingdom...

"These are they who are thrust down to Hell."  How does that fit into a universalist paradigm? 

*  *  *  *

Pardon my inability to master the arts of editing and quoting, but in a reply to Gray you wrote:  

"James thought of God as a "master chess player" - a being LIKE us but infinitely intelligent 

"Think of how a master chess player who is infinitely intelligent would organize the world.  If you are a chess beginner, any chess master would know every possible move to turn the tide in his favor no matter what move you made!  Though he was not omniscient but a human like you, he would STILL know enough about chess to turn everything you did to his purposes.

"Now apply that to God.

"A human God could do just that- and adjust everything that happens in his world to suit his circumstances, even though he was not omniscient or all powerful, or transcendent, or any of those false characteristics the sectarians ascribe to Him.  If Adam took the fruit, he could adjust.  If he didn't- there is ALWAYS a plan B and C and.... to infinity."

I really like that!   I think you are right on the money.  We may not know what Plans B and C are, but that's okay, He has long since figured them out. 

If Christ's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality (resurrection?) and eternal life (exaltation?) of man, to what extent do you think He will succeed? 

Edited by Eek!
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13 hours ago, Nevo said:

........................................................

........... You write: "Mormonism is about orthopraxy, not orthodoxy." I've seen you and mfbukowski make this claim before but I don't think it's correct. Perhaps I won't be kicked out of the Church for having heretical views—provided I keep them to myself and don't attempt to influence others—but I certainly won't be allowed to participate fully. The first four questions of the temple recommend interview are all about ensuring right thinking. Right behavior doesn't come into it until question five.

I just don't see the sort of creedal or theological questions which characterize normative christianity.  The first question is indeed about belief, but quite innocuous -- to the point that any evangelical could easiily say "yes" to the first half of #1.  Virtually all the other questions are about action (praxis), including sustaining leaders.  No theological mumbo jumbo at all.  This might not be the Church as defined by the late Elder McConkie, but the LDS faith is actually a prime example of belief in actu.  That is how sociologists and anthropologists see it.

1. Do you believe in God, the Eternal Father, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost; and do you have a firm testimony of the restored gospel?

2. Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator; and do you recognize him as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?

3. Do you sustain the other General Authorities and the local authorities of the Church?

4. Do you live the law of chastity?

5. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?

6. Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?

7. Do you earnestly strive to do your duty in the Church; to attend your sacrament, priesthood, and other meetings; and to obey the rules, laws, and commandments of the gospel?

8. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?

9. Are you a full-tithe payer?

10. Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?

11. Have you ever been divorced or are you now separated from your spouse under order of a civil court? If yes, (a) - Are you current in your support payments and other financial obligations for family members, as specified by court order or in other written, binding commitments? (b) Were there any circumstances of transgression in connection with your divorce or separation that have not been previously resolved with your bishop?

12. If you have received your temple endowment -- (a) Do you keep all the covenants that you made in the temple? (b) Do you wear the authorized garments both day and night?

13. Has there been any sin or misdeed in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but has not?

14. Do you consider yourself worthy in every way to enter the temple and participate in temple ordinances?
 

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13 hours ago, Gray said:

When I was first introduced to humanism, I thought, here is the gospel message!

Of course, if you look up the word "humanism" on LDS.org, you'll find a pretty steady stream of criticism against it. 

Correct.  That is because there is an automatic association of humanism in the minds of many with atheism.  Even for TheSkepticChristian, who is Transhumanist, there is a lack of understanding that Mormonism is humanist.

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1 hour ago, Eek! said:

 

If Christ's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality (resurrection?) and eternal life (exaltation?) of man, to what extent do you think He will succeed? 

So you think that the Master Chess Player with plan B, and C and D....... to infinity.....  will fail?

I don't think it is a possibility.   I mean here we are postulating from the beginning that such a Being does not fail and then you bring this up?

To me the whole idea is self contradictory.  By definition, God does not fail or he would not be God

Of course that does not mean we will all be exalted- just that we will all have our place in the Plan according to our faithfulness.   THAT is what the plan IS.

Universalism is the idea that all will be "saved".   In order to NOT be "saved" one would have to be a son of perdition, which means that that individual would have to look God in the face and deny his plan.

How many people even get the opportunity to see his face?

Other than those, all will be "saved" to some kind of glory

Edited by mfbukowski
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16 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

 By definition, God does not fail or he would not be God

There you go again, quoting Joseph.

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

So you think that the Master Chess Player with plan B, and C and D....... to infinity.....  will fail?

Not in the slightest!   “The works and designs and purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.”

1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Of course that does not mean we will all be exalted- just that we will all have our place in the Plan according to our faithfulness.   THAT is what the plan IS.

Universalism is the idea that all will be "saved"...

Do not lose sight of the marvelous implications of your Chess Master analogy!

IF God's “work and glory” includes the Eternal Life of man, and/or IF God wants us to return and be with Him, and IF He WILL NOT FAIL... THEN... does a “Heaven with gated communities”, wherein many if not most of God's children are separated from Him and from others whom they love, make sense as the end result of God's best efforts?

What I'm saying is that universalism doesn't need to stop at a definition of “salvation” that leaves God's children split apart and many (if not most) separated from Him. In my opinion, universalism properly includes what the LDS church would call “Exaltation”, or Eternal Life, or return to the presence of the Father.

Is that not the will of the great Chess Master? And just because we don't know Plans B and C and D, does that mean He hasn't already figured them out?

Heaven is not a place where the law of scarcity applies.  More Heaven for me does not equal less Heaven for you, nor vice-versa.  Heaven becomes Heaven (or the Celestial Kingdom becomes truly Celestial) when everyone God loves, and everyone we love, are all there together.  It may take a while, but the Chess Master has the moves.  He is on our side and we are on His. 

 

Edited by Eek!
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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I just don't see the sort of creedal or theological questions which characterize normative christianity.  The first question is indeed about belief, but quite innocuous -- to the point that any evangelical could easiily say "yes" to the first half of #1.  Virtually all the other questions are about action (praxis), including sustaining leaders.  No theological mumbo jumbo at all.  This might not be the Church as defined by the late Elder McConkie, but the LDS faith is actually a prime example of belief in actu.  That is how sociologists and anthropologists see it.

I believe these are the current questions: 

  1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?
  2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
  3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
  4. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

The first three questions are clearly belief questions. The fourth question is a combination of belief and "praxis"—you need to believe that Thomas S. Monson is "the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and . . . the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys."

It doesn't matter if you're faithful to your spouse, pay a full tithe, don't beat your kids, don't affiliate or sympathize with polygamists, attend all your meetings, and otherwise keep your covenants. If you don't have a testimony of the reality of each member of the Godhead, of the Atonement, of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and angelic priesthood restoration, you can't get a recommend. Your good behavior isn't enough.

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3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Universalism is the idea that all will be "saved".   In order to NOT be "saved" one would have to be a son of perdition...

In the spirit of being consistent with my post above, and in not simply drawing my exclusionary line at a different place, I'm going to make a case that universalism even includes the sons of perdition.  Let's take a look at the best-known son of perdition, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the original twelve apostles, eye-witness to many of Jesus' miracles, and probably Jesus' close friend.  He betrayed Jesus to the Romans who subsequently crucified Him.  Judas apparently then committed suicide.

Maybe Judas was angry with Jesus.  Maybe Judas really wanted the thirty pieces of silver.  Maybe Judas thought he could manipulate Jesus into doing a mighty public miracle that would prove who He was.  Maybe Judas decided he loved Satan more than God.  Maybe Judas truly wanted to do the most hateful and destructive thing he possibly could.  We don't know what went on in Judas' mind, but it really doesn't matter.  He screwed up bigtime, really bigtime.

So Judas is the poster boy for what it takes to be a son of perdition.  And we have statements to the effect that a son of perdition can never be forgiven.  I think those statements are intended to teach the seriousness of turning against the greater light, rather than being the highest level of truth on the subject.  I think that the infinite and eternal nature of the Atonement can save even a son of perdition, and I think the Chess Master has already figured out how.

Judas cannot undo the consequences of his betrayal... that would take a miracle.  Well let's look at what happened.  Yes Jesus was crucified, but he rose from the dead, so that consequence of Judas' betrayal was undone.  Yes Judas shattered the Twelve Apostles, but later Matthias was selected to take his place and the power the Twelve had previously was restored, so that consequence of Judas' betrayal was undone.   Hmmm.

It doesn't stop there.  God went on to actually use Judas' betrayal to help bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.  God found a way to turn a great evil to actually being beneficial.  Wow!  If THAT isn't the move of a divine Chess Master, I don't know what is!!

So when Judas has a change of heart, and I would argue that an eventual change of heart is inevitable for everyone who was created a son or daughter of God, is there any purpose served by keeping him locked out?  At that point all of the consequences of his betrayal will have been undone.  The only thing lost will have been time, and time is temporary.  I think the parable of the Prodigal Son would apply to Judas as much as to any of us.

From that point, the principle of eternal progression dominates, and I do not believe eternal progression has limitations and exclusions either.  

Mormonism being (to the best of my knowledge) the only Christian religion that explicitly includes the concept of eternal progression, the only kind of universalism I could embrace would be one with a distinctly Mormon leaning in that regard.   Hence my interest when I saw the title of this thread.

 

 

 

Edited by Eek!
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2 hours ago, Eek! said:

In the spirit of being consistent with my post above, and in not simply drawing my exclusionary line at a different place, I'm going to make a case that universalism even includes the sons of perdition.  Let's take a look at the best-known son of perdition, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the original twelve apostles, eye-witness to many of Jesus' miracles, and probably Jesus' close friend.  He betrayed Jesus to the Romans who subsequently crucified Him.  Judas apparently then committed suicide.

Maybe Judas was angry with Jesus.  Maybe Judas really wanted the thirty pieces of silver.  Maybe Judas thought he could manipulate Jesus into doing a mighty public miracle that would prove who He was.  Maybe Judas decided he loved Satan more than God.  Maybe Judas truly wanted to do the most hateful and destructive thing he possibly could.  We don't know what went on in Judas' mind, but it really doesn't matter.  He screwed up bigtime, really bigtime.

So Judas is the poster boy for what it takes to be a son of perdition.  And we have statements to the effect that a son of perdition can never be forgiven.  I think those statements are intended to teach the seriousness of turning against the greater light, rather than being the highest level of truth on the subject.  I think that the infinite and eternal nature of the Atonement can save even a son of perdition, and I think the Chess Master has already figured out how.

Judas cannot undo the consequences of his betrayal... that would take a miracle.  Well let's look at what happened.  Yes Jesus was crucified, but he rose from the dead, so that consequence of Judas' betrayal was undone.  Yes Judas shattered the Twelve Apostles, but later Matthias was selected to take his place and the power the Twelve had previously was restored, so that consequence of Judas' betrayal was undone.   Hmmm.

It doesn't stop there.  God went on to actually use Judas' betrayal to help bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.  God found a way to turn a great evil to actually being beneficial.  Wow!  If THAT isn't the move of a divine Chess Master, I don't know what is!!

So when Judas has a change of heart, and I would argue that an eventual change of heart is inevitable for everyone who was created a son or daughter of God, is there any purpose served by keeping him locked out?  At that point all of the consequences of his betrayal will have been undone.  The only thing lost will have been time, and time is temporary.  I think the parable of the Prodigal Son would apply to Judas as much as to any of us.

From that point, the principle of eternal progression dominates, and I do not believe eternal progression has limitations and exclusions either.  

Mormonism being (to the best of my knowledge) the only Christian religion that explicitly includes the concept of eternal progression, the only kind of universalism I could embrace would be one with a distinctly Mormon leaning in that regard.   Hence my interest when I saw the title of this thread.

Judging individuals is a hazardous occupation. ;)

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