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By Five Solas
On the “Mars Hill Church in Phoenix” thread, Vance responded to Pa Pa’s assertion that Calvinism constitutes “the most destructive cult that calls themselves Christian” with the following regarding Calvinists (post #120)--
They are found in the Book of Mormon!!!
(But they were called "Zoramites" back then)
For the uninitiated, Vance was referring to Alma Chapter 31 wherein a purported subset of the Native American population were “perverting the ways of the Lord” (v. 1). And as we delve into the chapter, we find this improbable clan giving thanks for the doctrine known over the past couple hundred years as double-predestination, these “Zoramites” describe it--
…and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell (v. 17)
Regardless of what one thinks of the Biblical merits of this particular doctrine (and I don’t care to debate it on this thread) there’s no debate the concept originated with John Calvin’s observation found in Institutes of the Christian Religion Book III, Chapter 21--
Of the eternal election, by which God has predestinated some to salvation, and others to destruction
In this “Zoramite” parody of Reformed theology in the Book of Mormon, we plainly have an anachronism. The purported episode takes place “about 74 B.C.” according to the LDS chapter heading. That not only predates Calvin, it predates any mention of the words “election” and “predestined” in the Bible (those words appear several times each in the New Testament, but not the Old). Here’s the rub: There’s no argument for any hypothetical Zoramites to make in 74 B.C.--because the basis for Calvin’s 16th century A.D. observation hadn’t yet been written into the Bible. But Joseph Smith, acquainted with the opposing doctrinal positions of 19th century Methodists (Arminian) and Presbyterians (Calvinist) and whose sympathies came to lie with the former, would certainly have been familiar and seemingly couldn’t resist a little dig at the latter in his own work.
Vance, I’m surprised you’d want to introduce BoM Zoramites into a discussion of Calvinism. Best case (for a defender of the LDS faith) Zoramites have nothing to do with adherents of Reformed theology. Worst (and likely) case—you’ve highlighted further evidence Joseph Smith was the principal author of that book.
Out of genuine curiosity for LDS on the board—how could a knowledgeable reader avoid the conclusion that Alma 31 contains a theological anachronism, undermining the LDS Church’s claims of origin?
For reasons I do not like to relate, the shrubs, trees and plants around my parent's home were neglected for about 6 years.
Rhododendron bushes grew up past the windows. Hemlock and Spruce soared way above the roof -- of an already rather tall house. Holly grew into an unruly mass without shape extending many feet from its original limits.
And then there were volunteer trees -- some of them quite large now -- growing in places where their roots would damage things and where they were not wanted.
The Hemlocks needed to be topped so that the vast majority of those trees are gone. They will have to be shaped like Banzai trees now. Holly was tamed, Rhododendrons unfortunately lost their flowering tips but now look like a plant someone cares about.
I felt bad topping the Hemlocks, even though it needed doing, but the utter cutting of the volunteer trees at ground level -- beautiful, strong, young trees, surviving when others had died and putting forth many beautiful branches for birds to dance and nest in -- were cut down and destroyed. I did not like that feeling even though it was really the right thing to do for my Mom and for the House.
As I did it, I remembered the talk by Hugh B Brown, which he gave in several different forms and titles. Here is one: http://margiesmessag...m/currantb.html. It is about God being the Gardner.
I thought about these trees that seemed to say "You wanted your home to be beautiful and shaded -- I am only doing what all the other trees around here are doing -- growing beautiful, bringing birds to sing and shading the home! I saw what you wanted and I did not wait for you to plant me where I was wanted or needed but volunteered myself where I saw I was bet suited to grow in the way I want to grow. I am only doing what has been one in other gardens! Why have you cursed me and destroyed me when I am really doing your will?
Well, the answer is that the Tree was NOT doing what the other trees were doing and was in the wrong place steadying the wrong ark so to speak. But it thought so.
This led me to two final thoughts. The first is that this whole idea, this parable, may seemingly give justification to the Calvinists. God raises up some trees and curses others -- all for his own good pleasure. To the tree, it seems capricious. But to God there is a plan.
(I think that this idea sort of distorts God and His Love for His Children, but I can see how it might be used)
The second thought though was different and I am curious to see comments.
We know that Jesus has said that Tares and Wheat together sown will grow together until some time of harvest, when the Wheat will be gathered in and the Tares burned in a hot fire.
Do the Tares think that they are wheat? Do they believe that they are helpful in the garden as perhaps the adversary claimed in the Garden before God? Do the trees that grow up and shove roots into the foundation to crack and destroy it -- do they think that they are doing right? Do they think that the Gardner is never coming -- that he delayeth is coming? Or do they anticipate his arrival even with possible eagerness? Do apostates and fellow travelers who want to direct or coerce the Prophets and Apostles to manage the Church the way that they prefer -- do they really think that they are doing God's work? Are they sort of secret atheists or agnostics, not believing in the divinity of the Church and thinking that the Church is a man-made and totally man-run organization that will bend to and twist and move in the winds of opposition?
That was my actual thought process as I cut the "innocent" trees down that were growing near my Mom's windows and foundations and I thought then, that I would post my thoughts to see how other people view this.
I don't expect definitive answers -- and I am not looking for fights -- but I am curious about how people see this sort of thing. I would think some Catholics would have interesting perspectives on this with regard to their Church and may sort of have an advanced view of how the LDS Church and its members will be in the future. So if there are Catholics reading this -- what are your views with regard to such things in your Church?
So.. what say you? What of the Tares?