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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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There are also those who pretend to be doubters when they are solid in their disbelief.  And I wouldn’t see it as unreasonable given the foolishness of humanity that there has been a conservative member who has pretended to be  a doubter or less traditional member to make doubters or liberals or whomever look bad.  Then there are the nonmembers who pretend to be members. As far as I can tell these last two versions are rare, if ever seen here (back when I was a mod on a similar board and could see up addresses, it was easier for me to stop trolls).  My experience is these are outed quickly because they don’t know how to talk/write like the ones they are pretending to be, but present as the stereotype distortion of their critics. 

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, blackstrap said:

Has anyone besides me been told that we LDS worship a " different Jesus " than other Christians ? 

Yes, quite a few times on my mission in Houston 30+ years ago and occasionally on a non religious board 15-25 years ago.

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10 hours ago, Navidad said:

It has never dawned on me that folks might come on this forum to pose as members of the church to state the most radical positions and thus cast a negative light on the church. That is a fascinating concept. Has that happened before?

Yeah, I have driven off a few of them. Occasionally one will show up from another forum and I can recognize the posting style. Those are fun.

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15 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I completely disagree.  What you are calling "non-normative early beliefs" is a judgement call based on later developments in doctrine, because the doctrines I described above were not considered "non-normative" in early Christianity.  The teachings that men become gods and that there are other gods is a wide spread teaching among many early Christian fathers (I've documented that in separate threads, and can provide many examples of such).   The same with the teaching that Jesus is the "second God".  

One of the early Christians who taught that there are many gods and that Jesus is the "second God" and that Jesus was the "the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity" was Origen (185-254 AD).  At the time he wrote those things he was under examination by two councils of the church, not because of his doctrines or teachings, but because of his ordination to the priesthood, which was disputed by Demetrius (he was said to be jealous of his popularity).  And at the time of those examinations it was said of him (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia article:  Origen and Origenism), "St. Jerome declares expressly that he was not condemned on a point of doctrine":  So at the time his writings, his doctrines were considered to be orthodox.

And even the doctrine that God has a body has evidence to indicate it was an early belief widely held in the church.  And several studies have documented that the doctrine of creation ex-nihilo was first introduced at around 177 AD by Tatian and Theophilus of Antioch, and was developed further by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen.  It was a change introduced later, and the earlier teachings were of creation from unformed matter.

These things are at the core of the question on "apostasy".  It's easy to say many popular early teachings were "non-normative" when we are far removed from the environment of those teachings and influenced by later changes in doctrines, like those introduced at the First Council of Nicaea. 

I respectfully disagree. Citing examples and instances does not make the teaching normative. I can cite some pretty radical stuff from the voluminous writings of the early Anabaptists and ditto from the Seer. It doesn't mean that any of it was normative. Maybe as with other things, we have differing definitions of what is normal. We will simply have to disagree on this point. Many folks in religion have espoused a lot of beliefs over the years within every religious tradition, be it Islam, Baptist, or well-known gurus of this or that tradition. That doesn't make any of it normative. Many Baptists of the 1950s espoused Landmarkism to promote the concept of the crimson thread in church history. It was, and in some circles still is a popular belief, but over time never became normative. I think the burden is on you to demonstrate the Origen's beliefs on this or that were or became normative. I think things are often cited in church history for the very fact that they were to a certain degree idiosyncratic. Take care.

Edited by Navidad
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11 hours ago, Calm said:

For example, the brawls of church basketball are/were definitely part of church culture and lifestyle, but were, imo, contrary to the gospel.

That is an interesting point. I notice when folks from the two extant wards here in our area get together, they still argue about basketball games from the 1930s and 1940s. It is all good-natured, but the rivalry (now including volleyball and pickleball) is pretty funny.

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6 hours ago, blackstrap said:

Has anyone besides me been told that we LDS worship a " different Jesus " than other Christians ? 

Has anyone besides me been told that we non-LDS are a different kind of Christian than "LDS Christians?" 😀

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10 hours ago, Calm said:

You are ignoring the teachings of those with priesthood authority if you are claiming Saints are not Christians.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/christians?lang=eng

No ,I am not. For Navidad, I'm attempting to provide an example. We like to refer to ourselves as Christians, but what we really mean is that we are THE Christians, as we hold the view that for 1800 years the Christianity so beautifully depicted on the chart provided by incognito, all the colourful lines are influenced by paganism or satnism, and that the only way Jesus could restore his church was through a Christian denomination that was not present on Earth in that time. That is LDS teaching, and the chart exemplifies that perfectly.

Do you feel like members of LDS faith are equals with our other Christian brothers and sisters? 

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One phrase I really like from the LDS website article "Are Mormons Christians" that Calm posted is this: "The fruits of the restored gospel are evident in the lives of its faithful members." I completely agree with this. I also see the fruits of the gospel evident in the lives of faithful members of other churches, haven't you? Notice in the above statement that the fruits of the restored gospel are evident in the lives of faithful members. That is very important. It makes clear (to me at least) that the fruits of the gospel are evidenced in an individual's life, not in a church - whichever or whatever church.

I have said before on this forum that the most Godly Christlike people I have ever met have been individuals from the LDS Church, the Mennonite Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Anglican Church. The Holy Spirit indwells individuals and grants them gifts to enable them to learn, grow, and minister regardless of affiliation with any specific church. I would respectfully suggest that is undeniable. To me, the fact that these individuals come from four different institutions, settles that Christ-likeness is not an institutional trait. It is the faithfulness of an individual that reveals the Spirit's indwelling nature. Whatever "kind" of Christian you believe you are, it is when the fruits of the gospel are evident in your life that you show your true commitment to the Savior . . . and to His gift of eternal life with Him (sorry couldn't resist that). Take care everyone.

Edited by Navidad
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2 hours ago, John L said:

through a Christian denomination

Wow, a member of the LDS church finally actually acknowledges that it is a "Christian denomination." Never heard that before! Makes me wonder!

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1 minute ago, Navidad said:

Wow, a member of the LDS church finally actually acknowledges that it is a "Christian denomination." Never heard that before! Makes me wonder!

?  Please explain. 

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

?  Please explain. 

OK. My experience is that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bristle when it is deemed a denomination. I have never heard a member of the church use that term (denomination) to identify themselves. It is something I would say (I try not to because I don't want to make my friends bristle) , but not a member. So the use of that term by our new friend makes me wonder if he really is a member or not? Perhaps it was simply a slip of the keyboard.

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26 minutes ago, Navidad said:

OK. My experience is that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bristle when it is deemed a denomination. I have never heard a member of the church use that term (denomination) to identify themselves. It is something I would say (I try not to because I don't want to make my friends bristle) , but not a member. So the use of that term by our new friend makes me wonder if he really is a member or not? Perhaps it was simply a slip of the keyboard.

Perhaps denomination means something different to them than to me. For me, it simple means a religion, in our case a Christian religion. Others may be interpreting it as implying we are a Protestant break off sect or under the authority of another church though, I suppose. Hardly something to be offended about though, just correct any misunderstanding.  It isn’t used much, we tend to use “church” rather “denomination” in my experience. 
 

In the future, you could point out it is used by church leadership to describe us, not only the example provided above, but also this one:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/2002/11/news-of-the-church/lds-church-is-united-states-fastest-growing-denomination?lang=eng

 

Edited by Calm
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I wonder if this verse below has something to do with it.  If so, good that they are paying that close of attention to what scripture says, too bad they don’t understand what the term actually means.

12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

 

Edited by Calm
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36 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Makes me wonder!

As a result, you wonder if I'm really a Mormon since I use the word denomination? That's unfair; I'm not challenging whether you identify as a Christian; instead I'm only attempting to spark conversation about what a Christian is.

 I have a question for you. I've spent my entire life believing that The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church on earth with any authority from God.  Three or four times in my life I've seen a Christian male relative not be able to stand in a prayer circle to bless his newborn because we believe that he is unworthy even though he is a Christian. I spent my entire life trying to convince people that they will not be with me in heaven because they haven't accepted the Gospel of Christ, even though they are devout Christians. Last year, even though there was a Christian Pastor just next door,  I still had to wait an hour and a half for a qualified priestshood horder to arrive at a home so we could bless a child with covid. Why? Because the Christian pastor neighbor no priesthood authority. 

I'm a member of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm a Saint! I'm a Mormon! Why do I need to be considered myself a Christian?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Navidad said:

I respectfully disagree. Citing examples and instances does not make the teaching normative. I can cite some pretty radical stuff from the voluminous writings of the early Anabaptists and ditto from the Seer. It doesn't mean that any of it was normative. Maybe as with other things, we have differing definitions of what is normal. We will simply have to disagree on this point. Many folks in religion have espoused a lot of beliefs over the years within every religious tradition, be it Islam, Baptist, or well-known gurus of this or that tradition. That doesn't make any of it normative. Many Baptists of the 1950s espoused Landmarkism to promote the concept of the crimson thread in church history. It was, and in some circles still is a popular belief, but over time never became normative. I think the burden is on you to demonstrate the Origen's beliefs on this or that were or became normative. I think things are often cited in church history for the very fact that they were to a certain degree idiosyncratic. Take care.

I respectfully respect your disagreement :) 

It may be more rare to see early Christians teaching that Jesus is the "second God" or "another God" (like was taught by Lactantius, Origen, and Justin Martyr) and the doctrines on divine embodiment are definitely more subtle (although the Clementine Homilies teachings seem quite clear). 

But for the doctrine that men become gods and that other gods exist, it's difficult to claim that teaching was "non-normative" when it was taught widely by these heavy hitters (and in some cases with a lot of detail):   

Justin Martyr
Irenaeus
Clement of Alexandria
Origen
Hippolytus of Rome
Novatian
Theophilus of Antioch
Athanasius of Alexandria
Gregory of Nyssa
Augustine of Hippo
Jerome

These are not isolated one-off quotes from a secluded part of the world, but they are wide spread across all of the Christian world, and some of their writings on this topic are quite extensive (for example, see Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book IV, chapter 38 and chapter 39, or Hippolytus of Rome, Refutation Book 10, chapter 29 and chapter 30). 

I also noticed there is a Wikipedia page on Divinization (Christian) - (not to be confused with divination), that even has a section on Anabaptist teachings on this topic.  And the Eastern Orthodox church still teaches this doctrine as Deification or Theosis.   Consider, for example, this article from the "Orthodox Road" website:  Understanding Theosis.  

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12 hours ago, InCognitus said:

It's actually the other way around.  The Nicene Creed of 325 AD presented a modified version of the early Christian view of the Godhead (which sounds a lot like the LDS view of the Godhead), and the interpretation of that creed which prevailed eventually became the modern doctrine of the Trinity.  

I've said this (and documented this) in many other places on this board, but the Christians prior to 325 AD taught that Jesus is the "second God" or "another God" subject to the maker of all things.  Of course they also taught of the divinity of Jesus Christ, but this is described (by Origen, or similarly by Clement of Alexandria) as Jesus being the "first-born" and "the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity", and he "is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God", all of which sounds very much like the LDS view of the Godhead.

The LDS view of the Godhead is therefore a restoration of the original teachings on the Godhead.

Right, in early Christianity you have two powers - God the father and Jesus, who is in some sense divine, certainly exalted. But formulating the Godhead as three persons seems quite trinitarian, albeit with a twist (the trinitiarian formula is three persons, one God, one substance, the LDS Godhead is three persons, three Gods, and drop the bit about substance). 

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2 hours ago, John L said:

As a result, you wonder if I'm really a Mormon since I use the word denomination? That's unfair; I'm not challenging whether you identify as a Christian; instead I'm only attempting to spark conversation about what a Christian is.

 I have a question for you. I've spent my entire life believing that The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church on earth with any authority from God.  Three or four times in my life I've seen a Christian male relative not be able to stand in a prayer circle to bless his newborn because we believe that he is unworthy even though he is a Christian. I spent my entire life trying to convince people that they will not be with me in heaven because they haven't accepted the Gospel of Christ, even though they are devout Christians. Last year, even though there was a Christian Pastor just next door,  I still had to wait an hour and a half for a qualified priestshood horder to arrive at a home so we could bless a child with covid. Why? Because the Christian pastor neighbor no priesthood authority. 

I'm a member of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm a Saint! I'm a Mormon! Why do I need to be considered myself a Christian?

 

 

 

 

 

 

You certainly don't need to consider yourself anything. That is up to you whether or not you consider yourself a Christian. What one does or does not call himself, doesn't in any way change who he is. As for me, from a religious perspective, first and foremost I identify as a Christian. Second, I am an Evangelical. Third, I am a Mennonite. None of the last two have any salvific benefit; they are simply my preferred affiliation, nothing more.

I hold the Melchizedek priesthood as a royal priesthood as described in I Peter 2:5-9 and Hebrews 7. Melchizedek, as priest and king was a type of Christ. Then Christ via His sacrifice once for all took on Himself the Royal Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Then Christ as the final High Priest passed it on to His people as a Holy Nation and a Royal Priesthood. Why? So that we can proclaim His praises. The Priesthood is not to grant anyone any particular authority. It is to be used to proclaim the praises of God in Christ's perfect sacrifice.

You make the priesthood about authority; Peter made it about praise, being one of God's people and receiving His mercy. II Chronicles 7:14 says it a different way. It talks about God's people being called by His name, humbling themselves and turning from their wicked way. Nothing about authority there either. Granted, individual churches and/or denominations grant administrative authority to certain people based on their gifts, maturity and whatever qualifications set by the group. I had authority to marry people, baptize, lead the sacrament, etc. It came via authority given me by my church. Just as yours does. That authority has nothing to do with priesthood authority in the Scriptures. Apples and oranges. You have no authority to baptize in a Mennonite church. I have no authority to baptize in an LDS chapel. Same thing!

So if you choose not to use the term Christian, that is of course up to you. I simply think there is no higher calling or privilege in the world than being one of God's people, called by His name. Nothing that you or I do or do not call ourselves will change that. You take pride in being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of being a Saint, and of being a Mormon. Nothing wrong with that, but none of those three things in and of themselves will bring you eternal life with the Godhead, will it? I had many long conversations with a wonderful General Authority Emeritus who sat in front of me in our ward for years. I am pretty sure he would have agreed that in and of themselves, none of those three things of which you are so proud will qualify you to enter in into the eternal life and presence of the Father promised us in Scripture. Nor will any creed or ordinance.

Christ died for individuals, not for institutions. You will stand before Christ in judgment as will I - not as a member of any church, but as an individual who will give an accounting of your life, not your church affiliation. Methinks there will be many disappointed former Mormons and Mennonites at the end of that day. I also think there will be a lot of very happy former Mormons and Mennonites at the end of that day, but neither disappointment or happiness will depend on mortal life denominational affiliation. I have provisional certitude (the highest form of certainty I can muster) about that.  Take care.

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2 hours ago, John L said:

I'm a member of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm a Saint! I'm a Mormon! Why do I need to be considered myself a Christian?

You can call yourself whatever you want (that's the popular thing to do these days).  But members of the church have always considered themselves to be a restoration of the original Christianity, and therefore we are "Christians".

From Discourses of Brigham Young, p.350:

"We are Christians professedly, according to our religion. People have gathered to themselves certain ideas, and laid them down as systems, calling them religion, all professing to believe and obey the Scriptures. Their religions are peculiar to themselves—our religion is peculiar to God, to angels, and to the righteous of time and eternity. Why are we persecuted because of our religion? Why was Joseph Smith persecuted? Why was he hunted from neighborhood to neighborhood, from city to city, from state to state, and at last suffered death? Because he received revelations from the Father, from the Son, and was ministered to by holy angels, and published to the world the direct will of the Lord concerning his children on the earth. Again, why was he persecuted? Because he revealed to all mankind a religion so plain and so easily understood, consistent with the Bible, and so true. It is now as it was in the days of the Savior; let people believe and practice these simple, God-like truths and it will be as it was in the old world, they will say, if this man be let alone he will come and take away our peace and nation". 18:231.  (also Journal of Discourses, Vol.18, p.231 - p.232, Brigham Young, September 17, 1876)

John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, p.75-76:

"CHRISTIANITY WILL BEAR HONEST INVESTIGATION.—We call ourselves Christians, that is, we Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians and Mormons, we all call ourselves Christians. Well, perhaps we are, and then, perhaps we are not. It is a matter that would bear investigation, I think. And then I think . . . we should be honest with ourselves about all things, and especially in religion and the service and worship of God. "Well, but my father was a Methodist, and I am one." "My father was a Presbyterian, and I am one." "My father was a 'jumper,' and I am one." "My father was a Mohammedan, and I am one." "My father was a worshiper of Buddha, and I am one." And among us Christians we are Episcopalians, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, and members of the various professional phases descended from that remarkable man, Martin Luther, or Catholics or Greeks. Let us examine these things for a little while; or, at least, try to go to the foundation. Believing in the Bible, we will not go at once into these outside systems, but examine our own for a little while, and see how it stands, and how we stand in relation to it."

Edited by InCognitus
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19 hours ago, Navidad said:

Wow, after five years and achieving the highest level of something or other on this forum, I now must admit I am really a pantheistic, animistic, pagan shaman, or maybe some of you already guessed that?

It’s time for us to come clean and admit we’re the same person. 

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22 hours ago, John L said:

What you might be wondering in my opinion, is why I don't just agree with the other mormons. What is making you uneasy, I believe, is the fact that I would rather be seen as a Saint than a Christian. I believe it is dishonest for our religion to demand to be seen as "Christian" when we believe in multiple gods. Christianity has a rich and wonderful history. Additionally, we are requesting to be part of Christianity as a whole while simultaneously telling every other denomination in Christianity that we are the only denomination with power from God. 

The use of "the other mormons", no capital, our constant and consistent devotion the Christ, our Creator, Messenger and and Savior, referring to us as a "denomination"...

This reminds me asking a suspected spy during WWII "who won the World Series last year" to test his "Americaness" ;)

This dude ain't talkin' da talk. ;)

He got a funny accent.  🤔

Edited by mfbukowski
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