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Is the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992) a Publication of the Church and a Valid Source for Understanding Mormonism?


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I am interested in your thoughts on this. I have the set and refer to it quite often. Thanks so much.

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It is not a publication of the church. Daniel Ludlow, the editor of it, said, "Lest the role of the Encyclopedia be given more weight than it deserves, the editors make it clear that those who have written and edited have only tried to explain their understanding of Church history, doctrines, and procedures; their statement and opinions remain their own. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company, and its contents do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. lxii."

Wikipedia

 

As for my feelings of it about it being a good source I have none since I've not used it.

 

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I get confused sometimes when reading it. Of course that may be because I am easily confused or perhaps the topic itself is inherently confusing. For example on page 270 under the article on Christians and Christianity, it clearly states "Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions." Then on page 271 it quotes President Kimball, "We are true followers of Jesus Christ and we hope the world will finally come to the conclusion that we are Christians, if there are any in the world."

I find those two statements, paragraphs apart, to be confusing - not necessarily contradictory, but confusing. Perhaps it is not the document (Encyclopedia of Mormonism) itself that is confusing, but the stance of the members of the church towards "distinguishing themselves from" and the "hope" to be included as, indeed in and of itself is confusing. I have another thread where this issue in and of itself might be discussed. I want to keep the focus on this thread on the Encyclopedia itself as a valid source (albeit somewhat introductory) to all things LDS. Thanks.

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3 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I find those two statements, paragraphs apart, to be confusing - not necessarily contradictory, but confusing.

Those two statements may represent sentiments separated in time by as much as a century and a half.

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46 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Is the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992) a Publication of the Church and a Valid Source for Understanding Mormonism?

There are, in my view, two broad categories of inquiry here: the "secular" aspects of the Church (its history, leadership, structure/organization, practices, culture, etc.) and the "doctrinal" aspects (its scriptures, doctrines, religious rites, etc.).

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism addresses both, though only in surface-level ways.

46 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I am interested in your thoughts on this. I have the set and refer to it quite often. Thanks so much.

I think it is fairly reliable, though still a secondary/persuasive (rather than primary/authoritative) source.  It's just a starting point.  From Wikipedia:

Quote

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a semi-official English-language encyclopedia for topics relevant to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church, see also "Mormon"). The five-volume texts have been digitized and are available for free online via the Harold B. Lee Library's official website.

Published in 1992, the Encyclopedia contains nearly 1,500 articles, including several short unattributed entries in four volumes. The text is approximately one million words, and over 1,850 pages including pictures, maps, charts, index, and appendices. The title for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism was chosen by Macmillan, the secular publisher that initiated the project. 
...

There were over 730 contributors from a wide variety of fields, most of whom had LDS and academic backgrounds. A large number were professors at Brigham Young University (BYU), the LDS Church-owned university. Most individuals contributed only one article, and few submitted more than three or four. Notable contributors include Mormon historians Leonard J. Arrington and Thomas G. Alexander, former Salt Lake City mayor Ted Wilson, noted non-Mormon LDS historian Jan Shipps, authors Steven R. Covey, Gerald N. Lund, and Richard Eyre, respected scholar and apologist Hugh Nibley, and a few general authorities, such as Jeffery R. Holland and H. David Burton.

The editor of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Daniel H. Ludlow, states that he strove to make the volume as professional as possible. Most articles are written by PhDs in their respective fields. LDS Church general authorities wrote little of the Encyclopedia; indeed, most contributors from church hierarchy were only tapped to write articles on the publications or institutions they directly administered or led. For impartiality and perspective, several non-Mormons were asked to write important articles. For example, Shipps wrote on the outsider's interpretation of Mormonism, and Richard P. Howard, a historian of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now the Community of Christ), wrote on his branch of the Latter Day Saint movement.
...

Role of encyclopedia relative to the LDS Church[edit]

Although the LDS Church cooperated in the production of the book, particularly by setting aside BYU resources, the Encyclopedia was meant to be independent and unofficial in the church. Ludlow highlights that in his concluding preface remarks:

Lest the role of the Encyclopedia be given more weight than it deserves, the editors make it clear that those who have written and edited have only tried to explain their understanding of Church history, doctrines, and procedures; their statement and opinions remain their own. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company, and its contents do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. lxii.

The LDS Church also noted the position in official publications.[1]

It is not, however, without its detractors:

Quote

Views of contents[edit]

In addition to established scholars like Nibley, many other LDS scholars who were then less known also contributed, including John Gee, William Hamblin, Louis C. Midgley, Daniel C. Peterson, Noel B. Reynolds, Stephen D. Ricks, John L. Sorenson, Melvin J. Thorne, and John W. Welch.

Critics had mixed reviews. Sterling M. McMurrin said that "the articles on social issues and church structure and the biographies are the most useful" but also felt that "the work is a carefully sanitized partisan affair that, while having many strengths, is quite uneven in quality and, though it appears to face many difficult issues head on, clearly omits, distorts, and compromises wherever necessary to advance and protect a positive image of Mormons, Mormonism, and the church."[2] George D. Smith praised the Encyclopedia "As a 'religious encyclopedia' that addresses a goal of preserving a body of belief," stating it "impressively fulfills its mission." However, he criticized the Encyclopedia's treatment of Book of Mormon scholarship for not being comprehensive and instead being "a statement of LDS orthodoxy" which "presents only a portion of important background and issues concerning the Book of Mormon" and "lacks the scope and diversity necessary to qualify it as truly encyclopedic."[3] The introduction to Sunstone's review of the Encyclopedia mentioned that Lavina Fielding Anderson "pointed out 'pitfalls in the treatment of women's issues, but revealed a few surprisingly positive moments that otherwise might have been overlooked-and probably were by some editors.'"[4]

Much has been said in recent years about Richard L. Bushman's call for the Church to "reconstruct" its "narrative" (see, e.g., here).  He perhaps got the process started with his 2005 biography of Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling.  Since then, the Church has made significant strides in doing this.  As I recently summed up here:

Quote

I must respectfully disagree somewhat with your comment that "{w}here the improvements are really needed are in Church," and that "unless the average member goes looking for the scholarship the problem of an uninformed membership remains."  I think the Church has been working hard to provide members with meaningful and substantive resources which provide a considerably improved "narrative" of our history.  The resources Bushman has specifically credited as reconstructing the narrative (Saints, Volume 1 ("The Standard of Truth, 1815–1846"), Volume 2 ("No Unhallowed Hand, 1846–1893") and Volume 3 ("Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955"), the Joseph Smith Papers Project, the Gospel Topics essays - 14 in all) are freely available to the world online.  Additionally, the "Church History" section of the Church's website includes many other resources that I think Bushman would construe as even further reconstructing the narrative:

Moreover, the Church also maintains https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/, which includes all of the foregoing historical resources plus many more:

Way back in the 1990s, I returned from my mission and found that my dad had purchased "LDS Infobases," a collection of Church history/doctrine publications and materials originally published in 1993 (with perhaps other iterations published earlier than that).  I was amazed at having access to something like 1,800 books on these discs, all searchable!  Back then individual members really did have to go "looking for scholarship," but for the last many decades there has been a huge improvement in readily-available resources, including various free resources published by the Church which - as Bushman put it - "reconstruct" and improve past recitations of our history.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism preceded this process by many years, and in any event was intended to be an introductory resource, not an exhaustive compendium, regarding the Church.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, Navidad said:

 "Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions." 

To distinguish oneself from Christians of other traditions is not to say that we don't want to be seen as Christians. 

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4 hours ago, pogi said:

To distinguish oneself from Christians of other traditions is not to say that we don't want to be seen as Christians. 

Thanks. I understand that, but please also understand that confuses me. I have nothing in my background or doctrine that tells me that there are different kinds of Christians.

I have told hundreds of non-LDS Christians that I believe that my LDS friends are fully Christians as I and they (non-LDS Christians) would understand the term. Now I am not sure if I should continuing doing so. I thought I was aiding the cause of my LDS friends to be better understood my non-LDS Christians. So what do I say now? "I believe my LDS friends are fully Christian, but they believe you and I are Christians in a forever sense, but absent eternal life with the Godhead unless in that eternity we achieve LDS exaltation, which is a status beyond the Christianity we have right now." That will go over real well, won't it? So yes, I am confused.

I am not even sure now how much confidence my LDS friends actually have that they will indeed achieve the necessary LDS exaltation to experience eternity in the presence of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

I simply don't understand why it is so important for my LDS friends to be different from or to need to distinguish themselves from the rest of us, especially when I can't discern any significant difference between our Christian living in this mortal life. That isn't a criticism. I simply don't understand.

Edited by Navidad
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4 hours ago, Navidad said:

"Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions

First, from what I understand, one must be baptized by a male LDS priesthood holder in order to become a true Christian. Apostle Bednar outlined the requirements for becoming a Christian in 2016. He said the following. Three conditions must be met in order to enter the baptismal Covenant, the willingness to take on the name of christ, the promise to constantly remember him, and the promise to uphold the Commandments. When we formally agree to accept the name of Christ upon us (through the baptismal covenant) we have a new name, CHRISTIAN! 

 Our baptismal covenant is what sets us apart from all other denominations that claim to be Christian. 

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The Encyclopedia of Mormonism was written for a secular audience.   And lots has happened in the 20+ years since it was published by a secular press.  It authors were chosen mostly upon their secular qualifications.    And I think it is a very useful book for anyone interested in an encyclopedia length and focus take on any Gospel topic.     I don't think it is useful in parsing Church doctrine or teaching all the ins and outs of any doctrine, nor complete in history (we know a whole lot more because of the josephsmithpapers project).

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40 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Thanks. I understand that, but please also understand that confuses me. I have nothing in my background or doctrine that tells me that there are different kinds of Christians.

I have told hundreds of non-LDS Christians that I believe that my LDS friends are fully Christians as I and they (non-LDS Christians) would understand the term. Now I am not sure if I should continuing doing so. I thought I was aiding the cause of my LDS friends to be better understood my non-LDS Christians. So what do I say now? "I believe my LDS friends are fully Christian, but they believe you and I are Christians in a forever sense, but absent eternal life with the Godhead unless in that eternity we achieve LDS exaltation, which is a status beyond the Christianity we have right now." That will go over real well, won't it? So yes, I am confused.

I am not even sure now how much confidence my LDS friends actually have that they will indeed achieve the necessary LDS exaltation to experience eternity in the presence of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

I simply don't understand why it is so important for my LDS friends to be different from or to need to distinguish themselves from the rest of us, especially when I can't discern any significant difference between our Christian living in this mortal life. That isn't a criticism. I simply don't understand.

You're overthinking this.  Or rather, you're thinking about this way more than a typical LDS person would.

References to "kinds of Christians" is not a doctrinal position or statement.  It's just an informal reference to a religious taxonomy that seems to be in standard use.  Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis, and President Nelson are all Christians.  But it should be fairly obvious that their beliefs, doctrines, and practices are fairly divergent and diverse.  Thus, there are manifestly different kinds of Christians in the world.

The LDS people want to be included in the family of Christianity, but we don't want to be included in the taxonomy under an existing label.  Obviously, we have neither the history or tradition to be labeled as Catholic or Orthodox.  But (and this point IS based on doctrine, I think), neither do we want to be labeled as Protestant.  Our professed origins do not have us protesting and breaking off of a mother Church.  Instead, we are restorationist.  We believe that our place in the Christian taxonomy should reflect our belief in our divine origin.    

 

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Thanks. I understand that, but please also understand that confuses me. I have nothing in my background or doctrine that tells me that there are different kinds of Christians.

Do you not believe that Catholics and Evangelicals want to be distinguished from each other?  You have made it an important point many times to distinguish yourself and Evangelicals in general from Fundamentalists, etc.  So, I am confused as to why you say that there are not different kinds of Christians.   I think your concern is not that we want to distinguish ourselves from other Christians, but that we claim to be the only Christians who hold authority of the priesthood to baptize, etc.  That is a whole separate issue all together.  Last I checked Catholics don't accept our baptism, so we are not the only ones who have exclusive criteria for priesthood authority and it shouldn't be that foreign of an idea to you within Christianity.  

1 hour ago, Navidad said:

I have told hundreds of non-LDS Christians that I believe that my LDS friends are fully Christians as I and they (non-LDS Christians) would understand the term. Now I am not sure if I should continuing doing so. I thought I was aiding the cause of my LDS friends to be better understood my non-LDS Christians. So what do I say now? "I believe my LDS friends are fully Christian, but they believe you and I are Christians in a forever sense, but absent eternal life with the Godhead unless in that eternity we achieve LDS exaltation, which is a status beyond the Christianity we have right now." That will go over real well, won't it? So yes, I am confused.

Navidad, I agree that from your Christian paradigm it doesn't make much sense, and you are right, it won't go over well with many non-LDS Christians - especially given their heaven/hell dichotomy and taken out of context of our entire belief system.   But for many Christians, what we offer does make sense when presented in context of our doctrines and with the confirmation of the Holy Spirit.       To be frank, Navidad, unless you convert and become a member missionary for our church, I don't think your efforts will go over well and will not make much sense to you or anyone else.  You are trying to fit us into your box of Christianity.   We don't belong there.  It is a futile effort that will only result in confusion and frustration to keep trying to fit a circle Christian peg into a square Christian hole.   

1 hour ago, Navidad said:

I am not even sure now how much confidence my LDS friends actually have that they will indeed achieve the necessary LDS exaltation to experience eternity in the presence of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

One major problem that you keep running into is that you seem to want to equate Christian salvation with Mormon exaltation.  Those are NOT even remotely close to being equivalent ideas.  Our understanding of premortal existence and post-mortal existence make any attempt to make any equivalencies impossible.   We have been taught not to judge (that is in reference to the state of a soul after death), so we do our best and let God be the judge and don't pretend to "know".  

1 hour ago, Navidad said:

I simply don't understand why it is so important for my LDS friends to be different from or to need to distinguish themselves from the rest of us, especially when I can't discern any significant difference between our Christian living in this mortal life. That isn't a criticism. I simply don't understand.

Navidad, with a proper grasp of our belief in the role of prophets and modern revelation, a proper reading of the Doctrine and Covenants in relation to the restoration of the priesthood authority and order in the church will better help you understand that we are the way we are because we believe these are God's words and that he restored the priesthood under a specific order. 

 

Edited by pogi
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3 hours ago, John L said:

First, from what I understand, one must be baptized by a male LDS priesthood holder in order to become a true Christian. Apostle Bednar outlined the requirements for becoming a Christian in 2016. He said the following. Three conditions must be met in order to enter the baptismal Covenant, the willingness to take on the name of christ, the promise to constantly remember him, and the promise to uphold the Commandments. When we formally agree to accept the name of Christ upon us (through the baptismal covenant) we have a new name, CHRISTIAN! 

 Our baptismal covenant is what sets us apart from all other denominations that claim to be Christian. 

Thanks, but I am not so sure about your last sentence. I am one of those who claim to be a Christian. I come from a non-Protestant, non-Orthodox. and non-Catholic Christian community known as the Mennonites or Anabaptists. I underwent baptism by immersion. During that process which took more than six months, I agreed to take on the name of Christ, I promised to constantly honor Him by faithful living of the Christian life in a way that would honor Him, and to uphold the standards (commandments) as we knew them to be in our community. I was baptized by immersion by one with his arm to the square and one with significant authority! My father! I never met anyone, LDS or otherwise who had more authority than that man! He was an ordained elder, pastor and commended worker in our group. I have known a number of current and former LDS bishops, stake presidents, managing directors, and current and former general authorities. Not one of them had any greater spiritual authority that I could discern in my father. When I partake of the sacrament in our ward, I do so in remembrance of Christ and recommit myself to those covenants I made, lo those sixty-five years ago. Perchance we are not so far apart, even though your doctrine teaches otherwise. Best wishes.

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2 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

You're overthinking this.  Or rather, you're thinking about this way more than a typical LDS person would.

References to "kinds of Christians" is not a doctrinal position or statement.  It's just an informal reference to a religious taxonomy that seems to be in standard use.  Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis, and President Nelson are all Christians.  But it should be fairly obvious that their beliefs, doctrines, and practices are fairly divergent and diverse.  Thus, there are manifestly different kinds of Christians in the world.

The LDS people want to be included in the family of Christianity, but we don't want to be included in the taxonomy under an existing label.  Obviously, we have neither the history or tradition to be labeled as Catholic or Orthodox.  But (and this point IS based on doctrine, I think), neither do we want to be labeled as Protestant.  Our professed origins do not have us protesting and breaking off of a mother Church.  Instead, we are restorationist.  We believe that our place in the Christian taxonomy should reflect our belief in our divine origin.    

 

I understand most of what you are saying. Please keep in mind that I too, am neither Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic. My community, the Mennonite community was persecuted by both Catholics and Reformers. We see ourselves as a restorational church, 300 years prior to the COJCOLDS. I would suggest that while Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis and President Nelson all have differing, divergent, and diverse beliefs, doctrines and practices, none of those differences center on what makes them Christian. They are the same kinds of Christians by their faith and belief in the atonement of Christ, the only kind of Christian I know. They then also hold divergent beliefs on a whole host of not-quite-so-important or salvific things. I have a belief in foot-washing as an ordinance. That doesn't have anything to do with my being a Christian or what kind of Christian I am. You believe in three levels of eternal kingdoms. I believe in one. That difference doesn't make us different kinds of Christians. It make us the same kinds of Christians with differing appendages as Joseph Smith said.

Oh, and you are so right! I overthink everything. I have very high needs to know and understand! It is a blessing and a curse! Best wishes.

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3 hours ago, pogi said:

Do you not believe that Catholics and Evangelicals want to be distinguished from each other?  You have made it an important point many times to distinguish yourself and Evangelicals in general from Fundamentalists, etc.  So, I am confused as to why you say that there are not different kinds of Christians.   I think your concern is not that we want to distinguish ourselves from other Christians, but that we claim to be the only Christians who hold authority of the priesthood to baptize, etc.  That is a whole separate issue all together.  Last I checked Catholics don't accept our baptism, so we are not the only ones who have exclusive criteria for priesthood authority and it shouldn't be that foreign of an idea to you within Christianity.  

Navidad, I agree that from your Christian paradigm it doesn't make much sense, and you are right, it won't go over well with many non-LDS Christians - especially given their heaven/hell dichotomy and taken out of context of our entire belief system.   But for many Christians, what we offer does make sense when presented in context of our doctrines and with the confirmation of the Holy Spirit.       To be frank, Navidad, unless you convert and become a member missionary for our church, I don't think your efforts will go over well and will not make much sense to you or anyone else.  You are trying to fit us into your box of Christianity.   We don't belong there.  It is a futile effort that will only result in confusion and frustration to keep trying to fit a circle Christian peg into a square Christian hole.   

One major problem that you keep running into is that you seem to want to equate Christian salvation with Mormon exaltation.  Those are NOT even remotely close to being equivalent ideas.  Our understanding of premortal existence and post-mortal existence make any attempt to make any equivalencies impossible.   We have been taught not to judge (that is in reference to the state of a soul after death), so we do our best and let God be the judge and don't pretend to "know".  

Navidad, with a proper grasp of our belief in the role of prophets and modern revelation, a proper reading of the Doctrine and Covenants in relation to the restoration of the priesthood authority and order in the church will better help you understand that we are the way we are because we believe these are God's words and that he restored the priesthood under a specific order. 

 

Thanks. You are always so kind, yet firm in your replies to me. I appreciate that so very much. I studied Greek and in Greek there are words that imply differences in kind and others that apply differences within the same kind. I think that Catholics and Fundamentalists are different within the same kind. Dogs and people are different in kind. Catholics and Fundamentalists are Christians of the same kind with differences. I have always thought of, especially after years in the ward that members of the COJCOLDS and Mennonites (for example) are Christians of the same kind with differences - Like two hamburgers, one with catsup and pickles and one with catsup and mustard. It seems like you folks are telling me that I am a hot dog (interesting metaphor) and you are a hamburger. Difference in both substance and kind. That is what I can't get my head around.

Oh, and I am not the one equating Christian salvation with Mormon exaltation. Have you read all the posts? I am a semi-Christian missing the final stage of salvation which is LDS exaltation. That is what I have read here posted by your fellow church members. I have moved beyond my complaints about LDS exclusivity. I am willing now to simply quietly say to myself that you are wrong, as do other non-LDS Christians on this forum. I have let that one go.

I think you are saying that you and I are Christians of a different kind. It will take me some time to get my head around that. I only know of Christians who are such by their commitment to the atonement of Christ, which I know you and I share. All other differences don't make us Christians of a different kind - they just make us Christians with differing practices, beliefs, and doctrines about how to live out that Christianity. My Catholic priest friend here in our village kind-of, sort-of believes in the vision of the Virgin Mary as represented in the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe from the hill in Tepeyac. He is Italian trained and a bit of a skeptic about such things. My LDS friends believe in the vision of Joseph Smith as a fourteen year-old boy in the Sacred Grove. My early Anabaptist forebearers had visions that led them to raise a militia to take the city of Muenster, Germany. I am reasonably agnostic on all three. Having said all of that, I am confident my Catholic priest friend, my LDS friends, and I are all 100% Christians of the same kind by virtue of the same shed blood of the same Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sin and repentance in the same name - that of Christ. My fundamentalist friends and I are Christians by the same process. We are very different in other ways, none of which makes us Christians of a different kind! See, I told you I can't get my head around this. Blessings on you.

Edited by Navidad
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2 hours ago, Navidad said:

I am reasonably agnostic on all three. Having said all of that, I am confident my Catholic priest friend, my LDS friends, and I are all 100% Christians of the same kind by virtue of the same shed blood of the same Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sin and repentance in the same name - that of Christ.

You will not find any disagreement from any Latter-day Saint on that point.  This proves we are of at least the same Family, or Order, or perhaps, Kingdom that we call "Christianity", but we are very different on the level of Genus, which is where the discomfort for you, I think, is coming from.  We are not that alike in many regards, but we will all be saved by the same blood of Christ and all claim him as our Savior.  

2 hours ago, Navidad said:

Thanks. You are always so kind, yet firm in your replies to me. I appreciate that so very much. I studied Greek and in Greek there are words that imply differences in kind and others that apply differences within the same kind. I think that Catholics and Fundamentalists are different within the same kind. Dogs and people are different in kind. Catholics and Fundamentalists are Christians of the same kind with differences. I have always thought of, especially after years in the ward that members of the COJCOLDS and Mennonites (for example) are Christians of the same kind with differences - Like two hamburgers, one with catsup and pickles and one with catsup and mustard. It seems like you folks are telling me that I am a hot dog (interesting metaphor) and you are a hamburger. Difference in both substance and kind. That is what I can't get my head around.

Oh, and I am not the one equating Christian salvation with Mormon exaltation. Have you read all the posts? I am a semi-Christian missing the final stage of salvation which is LDS exaltation. That is what I have read here posted by your fellow church members. I have moved beyond my complaints about LDS exclusivity. I am willing now to simply quietly say to myself that you are wrong, as do other non-LDS Christians on this forum. I have let that one go.

I think you are saying that you and I are Christians of a different kind. It will take me some time to get my head around that. I only know of Christians who are such by their commitment to the atonement of Christ, which I know you and I share. All other differences don't make us Christians of a different kind - they just make us Christians with differing practices, beliefs, and doctrines about how to live out that Christianity. My Catholic priest friend here in our village kind-of, sort-of believes in the vision of the Virgin Mary as represented in the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe from the hill in Tepeyac. He is Italian trained and a bit of a skeptic about such things. My LDS friends believe in the vision of Joseph Smith as a fourteen year-old boy in the Sacred Grove. My early Anabaptist forebearers had visions that led them to raise a militia to take the city of Muenster, Germany.

I agree with the Greek approach with distinguishing between different kinds of...kinds.   I actually think that looking at it from that perspective might help, and perhaps you are not taking the division of kinds far enough.  To me, dogs and people are different in kind on one level, but also the same in kind on another level.  Christianity, is a much deeper level of kind where dogs and squirles can exist. 

In the taxonomy of biology there are many different layers of "kind" for example.  If you think of religion in general, and Christianity specifically, like biological taxonomy, that might help to grasp how we see ourselves and how to properly frame us in the larger taxonomy of Christianity. 

 Taxonomic rank - Wikipedia

 

 

I would categorize "Species" as specific sects within Christianity.  We can then divide "kind" further by Genus.  Within Catholicism specifically, the Genus divisions would probably be Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic etc., on the level of Family all of those would just be classified as Catholic.  Other Families groups might include Protestant and Restorationism.  Way, way, way back on the level of Order, or perhaps further divisions could take us back to Class, we can all be called Christian.   When thought of in that perspective being Christian is like being a mammal.  To help visualize that, we can be as different as the kangaroo is from the whale and still be of the same Class called Christian.    It seems that you are trying to make us all fit into the same Family (Canidae, for example - of which there are thousands of different kinds), but we are not Canidae at all.  

This graph might help:

 

File:Christianity major branches.svg - Wikimedia Commons

 

I think you are making the same problem that this graph is making.  It wants to link Restorationsim and Protestantism in the same family branch.  Restorationists will simply never view themselves that way though.   The next graph is a little better in that it shows a connection to the Early Christian Church, but it doesn't really take us seriously and instead uses a non-solid line there, with the solid line connected to Protestantism.  Until people see us as we see ourselves with a solid line connected to the Early Christian church with ZERO connection or relation to Protestantism or Catholicism except through our common Christian roots at the level of Order or Class, then we will continue to be misunderstood and attempts to make us the same on other levels will be frustrated. 

What Makes Jesus Happy?, Part 3: Unity | The Jesus Question

It is as if you are trying to make rabbits be accepted as dogs, but they are not the same at that level, yet they are both mammals.

Perhaps the biggest difference and source of frustration/confusion is here:

For you, Class is the qualifier for exaltation.  For us the word of God states that Species very much matters to God if we are to be ONE with him in an exalted state of divinity.  We are talking about becoming God, after all.  We have to be of the same kind on every level of being for that to be possible.  This isn’t your general Protestant “salvation”.   We are talking about becoming Just. Like. God.  Unity of of priesthood order is one of those things necessary to do that.

Edited by pogi
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Having highlighted our vast differences, I also want to highlight that the heart matters in the end.  We can be of the same heart.   It is the heart that will bring about the necessary adoption.  I firmly believe that though we may be different species and Order, etc. we can still be of the same heart and that same heart will lead us to the same place in the end, when all the filters have been lifted from our mind and our eyes.  

Edited by pogi
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5 hours ago, pogi said:

This graph might help:

 

File:Christianity major branches.svg - Wikimedia Commons

 

I think you are making the same problem that this graph is making.  It wants to link Restorationsim and Protestantism in the same family branch.  Restorationists will simply never view themselves that way though.   The next graph is a little better in that it shows a connection to the Early Christian Church, but it doesn't really take us seriously and instead uses a non-solid line there, with the solid line connected to Protestantism.  Until people see us as we see ourselves with a solid line connected to the Early Christian church with ZERO connection or relation to Protestantism or Catholicism except through our common Christian roots at the level of Order or Class, then we will continue to be misunderstood and attempts to make us the same on other levels will be frustrated. 

Somewhere on this board we had a similar discussion, and I posted this correction to the graph:

362718686_RestoredChristianity1.jpg.0742252600185b4e04215abc793bf446.jpg

"Restored Christianity" is a reestablishment of the original gray line on the graph through divine means, and not a branch of one of the existing lines.

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10 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Somewhere on this board we had a similar discussion, and I posted this correction to the graph:

362718686_RestoredChristianity1.jpg.0742252600185b4e04215abc793bf446.jpg

"Restored Christianity" is a reestablishment of the original gray line on the graph through divine means, and not a branch of one of the existing lines.

I like that better

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10 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Somewhere on this board we had a similar discussion, and I posted this correction to the graph:

362718686_RestoredChristianity1.jpg.0742252600185b4e04215abc793bf446.jpg

"Restored Christianity" is a reestablishment of the original gray line on the graph through divine means, and not a branch of one of the existing lines.

So the apostasy happened during the great schism of 1054? I mean, that’s where the gray line originally ends 😉

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16 hours ago, pogi said:

 

File:Christianity major branches.svg - Wikimedia Commons

 

I think you are making the same problem that this graph is making.  It wants to link Restorationsim and Protestantism in the same family branch.  Restorationists will simply never view themselves that way though.   The next graph is a little better in that it shows a connection to the Early Christian Church, but it doesn't really take us seriously and instead uses a non-solid line there, with the solid line connected to Protestantism.  Until people see us as we see ourselves with a solid line connected to the Early Christian church with ZERO connection or relation to Protestantism or Catholicism except through our common Christian roots at the level of Order or Class, then we will continue to be misunderstood and attempts to make us the same on other levels will be frustrated. 

The restorationist movement, and from it the LDS tradition, does in fact spring from the protestant tradition. It didn't just spring up out of nowhere. While the LDS tradition does have unique beliefs, it also shares many beliefs with Catholicism and Protestantism that don't appear in the first century, and conversely, first century Christianity had many characteristics that don't appear in LDS tradition or mainstream Christianity. I would say this graph is fair and accurate. In fact in many ways first century Christianity doesn't exist anymore. 

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10 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Somewhere on this board we had a similar discussion, and I posted this correction to the graph:

362718686_RestoredChristianity1.jpg.0742252600185b4e04215abc793bf446.jpg

"Restored Christianity" is a reestablishment of the original gray line on the graph through divine means, and not a branch of one of the existing lines.

Are the Seventh Day Adventist part of "Restored Christianity"  gray line?

The SDA church was founded sometime around 1860 and their membership has far surpassed ours. 

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10 minutes ago, John L said:

Are the Seventh Day Adventist part of "Restored Christianity"  gray line?

The SDA church was founded sometime around 1860 and their membership has far surpassed ours. 

What does total membership have to do with anything?

And no, just because this chart doesn't include religions like the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists (and hundreds of others) that were established after the restoration, it doesn't mean they are part of the restoration.

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On 11/22/2022 at 9:58 AM, Navidad said:

I am interested in your thoughts on this. I have the set and refer to it quite often. Thanks so much.

When I worked for the church, we edited the Encyclopedia of Mormonism on church time according to church doctrine. Although it's not copyrighted by the church, it is as close to "official" as you can get.

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