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One of my favorite daily rituals is reading "First Things" a daily commentary on religion which I nearly always find to be thought provoking and sometimes even profound.
I found today's publication particularly interesting https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/01/the-catholic-church-doesnt-do-paradigm-shifts
It discusses Kuhn's idea of "paradigm shifts" and the relevance of that idea to Catholicism, and by extension, I would like to apply it to Mormonism as well. I will presume that most here are at least somewhat familiar with the notion of "paradigm shifts", and if you are not, just consult the article itself which gives a pretty fair if very brief explanation of the general idea of what a paradigm shift is.
The author makes the point that as thoughts and ideas about the nature of the world shift, Catholicism seems to be in trouble because it has no internal mechanism to account for altering doctrines to fit changes in beliefs among its adherents.
On the other hand, there have been a few threads touching on "objective truth" which does not change and how that is interpreted in Mormonism. It seems to me that in Mormonism we have a mechanism to allow for paradigm shifts- the belief that we have the "true and living church" which is based on personal revelation. We also have an open canon as most recently manifested by the Proclamation on the Family- a document which has not yet been canonized, but has certainly been treated as if it has been. We have other examples as well of changing doctrine found in shifts in the practices of polygamy and of African Americans holding the priesthood.
So it seems we are open to change whereas the Catholics are not.
But are we really? From the article regarding the Catholic view of doctrine:
And the article continues discussing the fallout from the use of the term "paradigm shift".
With our alleged "open canon" and belief in ongoing revelation are WE really ready for "paradigm shifts" or in practice are we having trouble with the idea just as Catholicism is??
SHOULD we be more flexible? We supposedly have the mechanisms in place, but do we really?
I'm a big fan of Pope Francis, and it seems like he keeps making statements and implementing policies that are so important and prophetic for our time. I really think he's an inspired leader, and sometimes he says something that just strikes me as so Mormon, its amazing. I was thinking about this quote from a recent speech and I'm contrasting this with the statements that we hear from some of our church leaders recently about doctrines that will "never change".
I think the Pope sounds more Mormon than many of our current leaders to, when it comes to espousing a foundational Mormon doctrine (Article of faith #9) about continuing revelation.
The Pope is leading the way in our troubled world. Thoughts?
By Mormons Talk
Question about the Temple. In your responses, please uphold the sacred nature of the temple, and guidelines from the Church and this forum for discussing temple related matters. My questions are:
(1) Is everything in the Temple ceremony "doctrine," or does doctrine "reside" in the temple ceremony much like it does in the scriptures (see Mormon Newsroom paragraph below)?
(2) In reference to the paragraph below, does ALL doctrine reside somewhere in (i) the 4 standard works; (ii) official declarations and proclamations; and (iii) the Articles of Faith? If not, can we create a list of things that DO contain ALL doctrine (recognizing that this list might also contain many non-doctrinal elements)?
My reference point is the article "Approaching Mormon Doctrine" found at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/approaching-mormon-doctrine. It states, in part, "Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency(the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted."
Interestingly, I do not find any mention of the temple in this article on Mormon Doctrine - perhaps it was omitted inadvertently.
I thought this was an excellent essay for those a faith crisis, and goes to the root of what many are learning here, and what many here have not yet learned, but should learn- that Mormonism is highly flexible in terms of acceptable "doctrine" and encourages us to find our own ways within the church.
I have been a member 36 years and have never felt pressured about my perhaps non-traditional views. Perhaps those raised as children in the church may feel differently, but frankly this essay captures precisely the feelings of those I know who have had a faith crisis and have returned. It's a gem.
I am a convert to the LDS church. I was agnostic in my teenage years and began investigating Mormonism while in college. I was very skeptical of organized religion. When approached by my religious family members, I would tell them,
"Why would God create me, and when I turn out to be defective or insufficient, He punishes me for not being good enough? It is nonsense for God to punish me for being who and what God created me to be."
Unfortunately, those who I said this to had no good answers for this logical response. I will explain in more detail why this argument was so convincing, but in the mean time, I wanted to enter the discussion by referring to an old article in the Harvard Theological review, which I am sure that many of you all will appreciate.
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THE LOGIC OF BIBLICAL ANTHROPOMORPHISM
In the Harvard Theological Review (Vol. 55, 1962)
This was followed up by another article, also written by Cherbonnier:
In Defense of Anthropomorphismhttp://rsc.byu.edu/archived/reflections-mormonism-judaeo-christian-parallels/9-defense-anthropomorphism
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This is not just about Anthropomorphism. It is about the nature of God. It is about the nature of existence, the nature of the Universe / Multiverse. It is about the nature of man and our relationship with God.