Thursday, November 8, 2018

Unity and the Christian Church: Part 6 - identifying the unnamed lecturer


As promised in Part 1 of this series, the time has come to reveal the unnamed lecturer quoted in that post—B. H. (Brigham Henry) Roberts.

B. H. Roberts is probably the most prolific author that has emerged from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Back in 2011, Deseret News published a list of the "Top 10 LDS 'Intellectuals'" (link), and B. H. Roberts was #1 in that list, attesting to the high level of his contributions.

Truman G. Madsen, in his biography Defender of the Faith - The B. H. Roberts Story, had the following to say concerning Roberts massive, literary output:

Roberts total literary output included well over thirty books, three hundred articles in such publications as the Improvement Era, the Millennial Star, the Juvenile Instructor and the Contributor, and over a thousand sermons and discourses. Not included in this count are numerous tracts, pamphlets, and sermons published in various newspapers and magazines. (Page 441)

To my knowledge, I have in my possession all of Roberts published books; plus a good portion of his "three hundred articles", dozens of his discourses/lectures and sermons, and some of his tracts and pamphlets. Included in my collection of Roberts' contributions was the discourse which is the source of the excerpt I provided in Part 1 of this series. Titled, Mormonism and Christianity,  the discourse was delivered by Roberts at Salt Lake City, Utah, January 23rd, 1898. This discourse is included in volume 5, of the 5 volume Collected Discourses Delivered By President Wilfred Woodruff, His Two Counselors, The Twelve Apostles and Others—Compiled and Edited by Brian H. Stuy, First Edition, 1992—pages 376-388 (the excerpt being from the opening of the discourse, pp. 376. 377).

The selection published in Part 1 ended with the following:

This was the great question [i.e. Is Christ divided?] which the Apostle of the Gentiles propounded to those Saints in Corinth, among whom divisions began to appear. These divisions, however, were incipient as compared with those which exist in Christendom today; and if those divisions existing in the primitive Church at Corinth called forth this stern reproof from the great Apostle of the Gentiles, I sometimes wonder what he would say to torn, distracted Christendom of today! Would he not with increased emphasis demand of this Babel that exists now in Christendom, an answer to the question, Is Christ divided?

The plain inference of this Scripture, of course, is that Christ is not to be divided; that men are under condemnation who say that they are of Paul, or of Cephas, or of Apollos. It plainly declares that the Church of Christ is to be one.

Roberts then continued with:

Yet, as men look upon Christendom in its divided condition today, they very naturally find themselves somewhat perplexed with this confusion that exists concerning the Christian religion...(Page 377)

Now, the "divided condition" that Roberts correctly discerned 120 years ago, was more pervasive in his day than in Paul's; and the "divided condition" in our day, is significantly greater than in Roberts'. (Does not reason demand that Paul's "great question" has even more relevance in our day?)

The rest of Roberts' discourse is devoted to what he believes is the most consistent solution to Christendom's "divided condition"—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Roberts' support for his view begins with the affirmation of a Great Apostasy. Though all non-Apostolic See churches—i.e. churches which are not direct descendants of those great churches founded by Christ's apostles and historically perpetuated via apostolic/episcopal succession—hold to some variant of a Great Apostasy, Roberts' understanding is one of a TOTAL APOSTASY, which in turn demands a restoration rather than a mere reformation to correct.

After affirming this TOTAL APOSTASY, Roberts provides his interpretation of the four marks/notes which have been used throughout the history of Christianity to identify the Church that Jesus Christ founded—apostolic, one, holy, universal. Roberts' interpretation of what constitutes a church as 'apostolic' is unique, in that he believes his church actually has living apostles. He then goes on to link the issue of 'oneness' with those who follow the direction and guidance of those living apostles.

And so, though some commonality exists between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints view of 'unity and the Christian Church', with other interpretations, ultimately, their view remains unique.


Grace and peace,

David

61 comments:

Ken Temple said...

The LDS cannot be apostolic because they do not hold to apostolic doctrine, period.

They are polytheistic, more removed from Biblical Christianity than Islam is.

They are a theological cult and false religion.

They are not Christian at all.

They have many abberations - like the Adam-God theory and God having sex with Mary to procreate Jesus.

Men evolving into Deities and becoming gods on their own planets with multiple wives. Come'on!

Nuts!!

TOm said...

Hello Ken,
There are about three words in your diatribe that I recognize as part of my church (Men … becoming gods). The rest I only recognize as that which is said about my church by those who reject it.
“There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which is, of course, quite a different thing.” – (quote modified by me -not Newman BTW).
Cardinal Newman observed that if a church is declared, “folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance suffices to judge of it, and that careful examination is preposterous,” this is a mark of a true church. You see the Christian Church as lead by Jesus Christ and St. Peter the apostle was viewed precisely as you view my church. Untrue things were said about them, they were declared ridiculous, and on and on.
I suggest such things are a product of a great insecurity on the part of the prevailing religious leaders in Jesus’s day. There was something missing and they knew it. There was something to this divine initiated Christianity and they knew it. But, if they could convince those who would uncritically listen that Christianity was included cannibalism, was all “nuts,” or …; their insecurities would be salved and their power preserved. I am not sure if you are among those who possess the insecurities I mention or merely one who listens to those who possess the insecurities.
So, Ken you are welcome to paint my faith as “nuts” especially with ideas that LDS will not recognize as those we believe and teach. The majority of Jews in Jesus’s day rejected their savior because many wished to “protect” them from Christianity by painting it as “nuts.” You will likely protect some modern Christians from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but as Gamaliel told your ancient counterparts, “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hello Ken and Tom,

When I examine the doctrine/teachings of any group/sect/paradigm, the first thing I attempt to do is distinguish official doctrine/teachings from personal opinion/speculation. Ken, I do not think you have done this, for you wrote:

== They have many abberations - like the Adam-God theory and God having sex with Mary to procreate Jesus.==

The so-called "Adam-God theory" is for sure NOT official LDS doctrine, for it has been repeatedly denied by many LDS authorities. Brigham Young did teach the doctrine but it was NEVER officially adopted by the LDS Church. Clearly, Young's view on this matter was nothing more than personal speculation. The following from Joseph Smith Jr. must be kept in mind when dealing with such personal speculations:

"…I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such." (Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church, 5.265.)

"…if anything should have been suggested by us, or any names mentioned, except by commandment, or thus saith the Lord, we do not consider it binding." ( Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church, 3:295.)

As for, "God having sex with Mary to procreate Jesus", note what one President of the LDS Church had to say on this matter:

>>You asked about…the birth of the Savior. Never have I talked about sexual intercourse between Deity and the mother of the Savior. If teachers were wise in speaking of this matter about which the Lord has said very little, they would rest their discussion on this subject with merely the words which are recorded on this subject in Luke 1:34-35: "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Remember that the being who was brought about by [Mary's] conception was a divine personage. We need not question His method to accomplish His purposes. Perhaps we would do well to remember the words of Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Let the Lord rest His case with this declaration and wait until He sees fit to tell us more.>> (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde E. Williams, 1996, p. 14 - bold emphasis mine.)

As for what constitutes official LDS doctrine, the same Harold B. Lee related:

>>All that we teach in this Church ought to be couched in the scriptures. It ought to be found in the scriptures. If we want to measure truth, we should measure it by the four standard works, regardless of who writes it. If it is not in the standard works, we many well assume that it is speculation, man’s own personal opinion; and if it contradicts what is in the scriptures, it is not true. This is the standard by which we measure all truth.>> (Improvement Era, Jan. 1969, p. 13.)

Before ending, I would like to suggest to everyone reading this thread that they consult the following article from www.mormonnewsroom.org:

Approaching Mormon Doctrine


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

TOm and David:
Are you guys denying that Mormonism is polytheistic?


Dennis said...

Hi Guys

I found this good article that examines a Mormon-Evangelical dialogue https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2016/04/20/mormons-developing-toward-greater-orthodoxy/

Problem is that there is a fundamental error where there is no distinction between creation & Creator. This goes against Judaism and early Christianity. The whole case for early Christianity revolved around Jesus being Divine and human, both. If humanity can grow into gods, there is no distinction between divine and human.

Cheers
Dennis

David Waltz said...

Hi Dennis and Ken,

First, thanks Dennis for the link to the cogent and germane article, which interacts with Mouw's First Things (post).

Mouw's contribution is but one many that First Things has published on Mormonism. In my "Is Mormonism Christian?" thread (link), I provided and shared some thoughts on 4 more First Things posts on Mormonism.

Second, Ken asked:

==TOm and David:
Are you guys denying that Mormonism is polytheistic?==

Your question is a complex one. As you well know, Muslims and other Unitarians label Trinitarians as tritheists/polytheists. Many Western/Latin Trinitarians have accused the dominant position of the Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Trinity as tritheistic; while many EO theologians level the charge of modalism against their accusers. When one throws Mormonism into the mix, it gets even messier.

With that said, I feel compelled to work up a new post to adequately explore the complexity of your question. Will start working on it immediately, but it may take a couple of days to finish.


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...


Hello Ken,

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CoJCoLDS). I do not consider myself a polytheist and I do not consider the CoJCoLDS to be polytheistic.

A SIMPLE thing I can say is that I believe God is one, but that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three persons. I suspect you agree. If that does not make you a polytheist, then I do not think you should claim I am a polytheist.

Charity, TOm

Dennis said...

Hi David,

I read your previous links, but if this article is accurate, most Mormons arent moving ground http://mit.irr.org/are-mormons-approaching-orthodoxy-response-richard-mouw

Without an understanding of God as trinity and where Jesus fits into that, as per St Athanasius, salvation is works and law. There is no Divine Spirit that can transform.

Cheers
Dennis

TOm said...

Hello Dennis,
It would seem that you are suggesting the Robert Bowman who I have spoken with in person is a better witness to what LDS believe than is Richard Mouw (who I actually have never met in person). I do not agree. Furthermore, in the specific point of discussion, God the Father’s purported existence as a mere mortal, I embrace Richard Mouw (and Robert Millet’s, and Blake Ostler’s, and …) view that this is not something LDS typically believe today. Furthermore like Millet and Ostler, I have considered whether I specifically believe it and I do not.
Robert Bowman presents a hostile witness of what a LDS believe openly condemning the beliefs and claiming that they result in damnation. Richard Mouw’s witness is born of over a decade and a half of dialogue? Robert Bowman may be sincere in his assessment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is clear that he is not interested in letting LDS explain what we believe. It is also clear that Richard Mouw has concerns about the actual beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and specifically of his friend Robert Millet; but he is willing to listen and believe that what someone claims to believe they actually believe.
Do you believe that Robert Bowman is a better witness for the beliefs of the CoJCoLDS than Richard Mouw? If so, why?
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the link. I genuinely try to be objective with all my research and studies, but alas, when it comes to Robert Bowman, it is very difficult for me remain objective, for I am currently convinced that objectivity is non-existent in his apologetic methodology. I truly wonder why it is that I can find a good deal of commonality between official LDS teachings and the early Church Fathers, and Bowman cannot.

Anyway, I am working on a post that identifies this commonality in detail—for now, I would like to recommend that you read the following essay:

Re-vision-ing the Mormon Concept of Deity


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Hi Tom.

God is one and God is three. (Newman hymn) Divide it how you will. I have other differences with you. I await to see how Ken will not appear as a polytheist to Muslims who are absolutely monotheistic compared to him, who is like you and me, a little more loose in that area.

Dennis said...

Hi David,

I read the link and some good discussion here:

https://forums.catholic.com/t/catholic-responses-to-blake-ostler-mormon-apologist/318851/7

He does a good job as an apologist, but so did Arius. He & Tom cant get around God being a different species to us therefore everything has to be evaluated by human logic. A good dose of EO apophatic theology should assist in remedying the arguments.

Even Marcion couldnt stomach a view of God that seemed too opposed to love. (Too bad Greg Boyd or Copan werent around at the time.) The issue is that God has always been identified with a different essence to us, there is no way around it from the ECF onwards.

Cheers
Dennis

David Waltz said...

Hi Dennis,

Thanks much for taking the time to comment, and the link. I noticed that Tom (a frequent poster here in LDS related threads) participated in the thread. Like Tom, "I have read about everything I can get my hands on from Ostler."

My studies have brought me to the conclusion that the greatest difference between Catholic/EO and LDS thought on God is the issue of creatio ex nihilo. Catholic/EO thought has mitigated the divide between Deity and man via a healthy view conerning the creation of man in the image of God, and deification—i.e. 'God became man that man may become God' (Athanasius and others - see THIS THREAD).

As for creatio ex nihilo, in the past I was of the opinion that one could 'prove' creatio ex nihilo via sola scriptura. However, I no longer hold that view. Like the doctrine of the Trinity, creatio ex nihilo must turn to tradition and the development of doctrine for solid support. For those you would like to explore this issue more deeply, I would like to recommend the following book by Gerhard May:

Creatio Ex Nihilo In Early Christian Thought


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Dave,

Do you think 2 Maccabees 7:28 is inconclusive? Of course, only Catholics and EO have recourse to this text. I was wondering which canon you were considering in regards to your comments about ex nihilo and solar scriptural.

David Waltz said...

More online resources concerning creatio ex nihilo

Thought I should provide more links that are germane to the issue of creatio ex nihilo. The first three links are pro, with the fourth being con:

Is Creatio Ex Nihilo A Post-Biblical Invention

Creation ex Nihilo or ex Materia

Creatio ex nihilo-A Critique of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation

Out of Nothing - A History of Creation ex Nihilo


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Good question. Gerhard May in his book that I linked to above demonstrates that the same language used in 2 Maccabees 7:28 is found in some classical Greek philosophers who held to creation via the use of eternal matter. So yes, the passage is inconclusive—i.e. it can go either way.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Hi Dave.

Thank you for your reply on the 19th.

As always, the Scripture is written in such a way that it cannot function as a sole authority. I agree with you that the Scripture does not positively prove creation out of nothing. In my interactions over the years,

Latter-day Saints and Protestants seldom seen to appreciate the importance of how they need to use Scripture in their apologetics against the Catholic faith. They both seem to think that if Catholics cannot positively prove from Scripture any particular article of faith, they have demonstrated the teaching they oppose is disproven! On the contrary, the Catholic Church has always denied that apart from Apostolic tradition, the Scriptures alone lead to the truth. Only Mormons and Protestants can argue about a Bible which they think clearly affirms what they believe.

The ironic fact that you raise in your last post is that Greek philosophy often disagrees with Catholic teaching while it corresponds with Mormonism. Mormons seem to me to depend much more heavily on philosophy than faith for their certainties about creation. I have heard that if things were the way Catholics believe, that our God could not really "love". I have also had it affirmed to me that our view would preclude prayer. They insist that such "mysteries" are absurdities. I think that is also a rash judgment that is not founded in Scripture, but rather in philosophical speculations.

It seems to me that the typical Latter-day Saint has been taught to have a closed mind about how the early church and the Fathers at Nicea arrived at their doctrinal conclusions and biblical interpretations. The usual LDS accusations against the Fathers is they rejected apostolic revelation because of an attachment to Greek philosophy. I find this to be an extremely easy judgment that I could never approve for at least two reasons:

1) Greek philosophy was all over the place. Whichever way the Fathers went, they would be in agreement with Greek philosophy. There is no reason to assume that they are in disregard for the admonition of St. Paul, to "Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and gain deceit; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ..." (Col.2:8)

They could not help but agree with philosophies that were in some points "according to Christ."

2) The generation of bishops that emerged at the Council of Nicea had emerged from nearly three centuries of continuous persecution from pagan Rome. Many of the bishops had the scars of torture on their bodies. Some of these heroes had lost an eye or fingers rather than deny Jesus Christ. Others of their brother bishops were dead. Why must it be unthinkable that they had learned the doctrine of creation ex nihilo from the two sources of revelation? Why would men who had endured so much suffering for God, compromise when the world became Christian?

Mormon apostasy theory demands that we have some reason that as they see it, the Former-day Church failed. It is with filial affection and generation that a Roman Catholic tours the streets and churches and the very catacombs of the saints who have us our faith, by shedding their blood, enduring the most brutal tortures. I consider the result of the sacrifices of these apostates with invalid priesthood, and I wonder about two hundred years of religious liberty, a valid priesthood, and living apostles for the so-called Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The historical comparison compels me to reject the sincere LDS claims which would make one renounce the most glorious victory of the reign of Jesus Christ. It would be a grave injustice indeed to make villains out of heroes to millions of souls for the sake of a theory that cannot stand the test of ancient or modern history.






Rory said...

The types are because of a tablet that guesses.

generation should be veneration.
have should be gave.
easy should be rash.

Ken said...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WzXazxES4mk&t=0s&list=PLBby84KboLbHVrmtKq4n9e2Eb1CCyhk8P&index=8

Ken said...



https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=a1BLR4rufYA&index=2&list=PLBby84KboLbHVrmtKq4n9e2Eb1CCyhk8P

“As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be.”

Lorenzo Snow

Lorenzo Snow: Fifth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”,

Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion:

“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.

In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.

These ideas are incomprehensible to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.”
Joseph Smith
From the King Follet discourse





Rory said...

The King Follet discourse, is, if I am not mistaken, a sermon, and not Scripture.

I do not know if the couplet is obligatory. A recent president seemed unwilling to endorse it. Perhaps it represents a school of thought, like Adam-God that is going out of vogue?

Ken said...

22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

Doctrine and covenants, 130:22 ( one of the four Scriptures of Mormon religion)

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/130.18-19?lang=eng

Ken said...

-Joseph Smith taught that God had sex with Mary...

"President Young spoke of the first organization of this school by Joseph Smith the Prophet. The Word of Wisdom was given in this school. President Young said Adam was Michael the arch angel and he was the father of Jesus Christ and was our God and that Joseph taught this principle." Wilford Woodruff Journal, Vol.4, p.288, September 17, 1854

-There was nothing figurative about His paternity...

“And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events,...Christ is the Son of Man, meaning that his Father (the Eternal God!) is a Holy Man.” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 742

-He was concieved in the normal way...

"Their testimony is that Mary's son is God's Son; that he was conceived and begotten in the normal way; that he took upon himself mortality by the natural birth processes; that he inherited the power of mortality from his mother and the power of immortality from his Father-in consequence of all of which he was able to work out the infinite and eternal atonement." Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, p.472

-The Son of God in the literal sense...

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father!" President Ezra Taft Benson, Come Unto Christ, p. 4

-Heavenly Father was the Father of His body...

"Now, we are told in scriptures that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God in the flesh. Well, now for the benefit of the older ones, how are children begotten? I answer just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father ... Jesus is the only person who had our Heavenly Father as the father of his body." Prophet Joseph F. Smith, Family Home Evening Manual, 1972, pp.125,126

-The result of a natural action...

“as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of His Father, as we were of our fathers" (Ibid., vol. 8, p. 115) President Ezra Taft Benson

-There was nothing unnatural about it...

"...I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it." Journal of Discourses, Heber C. Kimball, 8:211

Ken said...

Same way mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers...

“These name-titles all signify that our Lord in the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine,1966, pp. 546-547

-Not begotten by the Holy Ghost...

"When the virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost" Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50

-Instead of letting any other man do it...

"When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits." (Ibid., vol. 4, p. 218)

-Associated together in the capacity of husband and wife...

"It was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called 'the Only Begotten of the Father;' that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father.. The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure: He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself, or to prescribe rules for His own conduct. It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give her to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of His own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity" Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 158

-He was not born without the aid of man...

"Our Father in heaven is the Father of Jesus Christ, both in the spirit and in the flesh..I believe firmly that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh..not as the Son of the Holy Ghost, but the Son of God..Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!" President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1. p. 18

Steven Dillon said...

David I'm eager to read your next post! I'm a Pagan apologist, and polytheism is a subject very dear to my heart. Followed your blog for years, big fan of your work.

Ken said...

-As you and I are the sons of our fathers...

"We believe absolutely that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten of God, the first-born in the spirit and the only begotten in the flesh; that He is the Son of God just as much as you and I are the sons of our fathers.” President Heber J. Grant, Millenial Star, p. 2

-Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband...

"The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband." Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:268

-He was actually, literally, biologically the Son of God...

"Jesus Christ was willing to make payment because of his great love for mankind, and he was able to make payment because he lived a sinless life and because he was actually, literally, biologically the Son of God in the flesh." Messages for Exaltation, pp.378-379

-Adam was the father of Jesus...

"Another meeting this evening. President B. Young taught that Adam was the Father of Jesus and the only God to us." Diary of Hosea Stout, April 9, 1852, vol. 2. p. 435

-God as the literal father of the human family...

"Latter-day revelation confirms the biblical account of God as the literal father of the human family." Bible Dictionary back of the Book of Mormon, under the heading God, 1990 printing, p.682

-Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost...

''When the Virgin Mary conceived Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost...'What a learned idea' Jesus, our elder brother was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven." 'Now Remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. I will repeat a little anecdote. I was in conversation with a certain learned professor upon this subject when I replied to this idea-

"If the son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children to be palmed off on the Elders by the people, bringing the Elders into great difficulties."...But what do the people in Christendom, with the Bible in their hands, know but this subject? Comparatively Nothing."—Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1:50-51

-That first man sent his own son to redeem the world...

"I have learned by experience that there is but one God that pertains to this people, and He is the God that pertains to this earth- the first man. That first man sent his own Son to redeem the world." Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 1

-Was begotten of his father, as we were of our fathers...

"The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. (Adam) He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, 8:115

Rory said...

Ken. Hi. Pretty sick to me. But are they obliged to believe that? It might qualify as child abuse.

Let's be fair. That was, relatively speaking, a long time ago. They are still younger than the United States of America. I guess old Mormons deny the Virgin birth? Do you think that stuff is obligatory on Mormons?

Ken Temple said...

Those teachings are repeated by Mormon leaders (see all the names, Joseph Smith (founder and prophet of Mormonism), Brigham Young, Lorenzo Snow, Orson Pratt, Bruce McConkie, etc.

They believe in ongoing prophesy and their leaders are considered prophets and apostles.

It is only recently that they are attempting to whitewash / ignore/ revisionist history / distinguish between opinions and official books, etc. what they have always believed.

Watch and listen to the videos by James R. White.

Rory said...

Ken,Hey.

I am not LDS...for different reasons. Relatively speaking those names you give are old timers. If Mormons now reject those guys, why should we insist that they defend what they disagree with?

If the church became apostate, like you and Mormons believe, I wouldn't have any reason to insist on the Nicene Creed anyway. In fact, I would expect that everything was whackadoo as soon as the Apostles died. If I believed in an apostasy, like you do, I would be open to other crazy ideas.

Rory said...

Mormons are too young to have an Augustine. They have a thousand years before they have their Aquinas. If you believe in an apostasy, like they do, that is the main point. You and the LDS agree about the most important point.

Ken said...

They cannot reject their own prophet and founder, Joseph Smith.

Bruce McConkie is not that old. (Died in 1985) an apostle

Joseph Fielding Smith is not that old either. (Died in 1972) the main leader/ apostle before McConkie.

Ken said...

There are different degrees of false doctrine and apostasy.

David Waltz said...

Hello Ken and Rory,

Wow, you guys were certainly busy over the extended Thanksgiving weekend! (I was too, but with family and their new puppy).

There is a lot to cover; I have about an hour before my workout with my wife, so here goes...

The King Follet discourse/sermon -

There are four different accounts of the discourse (see THIS LINK).

Because none of the accounts are identical, varied interpretations of the discourse/sermon have been suggested by LDS authorities and scholars—NONE OF WHICH ARE OFFICIAL DOCTRINE. Any critique of the LDS church which implies that one of the interpretations is official is highly suspect.

The Virgin Birth -

Any discussion of this topic must begin with what the unique LDS scriptures have to say; note the following:

>>13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.>> (1 Nephi - see also Alma 7:10)

The narrative begins with "a virgin", and ends with "the virgin...bearing a child in her arms"—i.e. Mary is a virgin before the conception of Jesus and a virgin after the birth of Jesus.

Now, have some LDS authorities contradicted the above? Yes, some have, but the personal opinion/s of LDS apostles do not constitute 'official doctrine'. Please take note of the quotes I provided above in THIS COMMENT. I personally take issue with anyone who attempts to construe personal opinions as 'official doctrine', and urge everyone to reflect on the following quote that I provided in above linked comment:

>>All that we teach in this Church ought to be couched in the scriptures. It ought to be found in the scriptures. If we want to measure truth, we should measure it by the four standard works, regardless of who writes it. If it is not in the standard works, we many well assume that it is speculation, man’s own personal opinion; and if it contradicts what is in the scriptures, it is not true. This is the standard by which we measure all truth.>> (Improvement Era, Jan. 1969, p. 13.)

Now, I would like to urge anyone who reads this post to closely examine the answer given to the following question:

Do Mormons believe that Mary was still a virgin when Jesus was born?


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...

Hello Rory!
I have my Kevlar underwear on how about you?
Rory:
Latter-day Saints and Protestants seldom seen to appreciate the importance of how they need to use Scripture in their apologetics against the Catholic faith. They both seem to think that if Catholics cannot positively prove from Scripture any particular article of faith, they have demonstrated the teaching they oppose is disproven! On the contrary, the Catholic Church has always denied that apart from Apostolic tradition, the Scriptures alone lead to the truth. Only Mormons and Protestants can argue about a Bible which they think clearly affirms what they believe. 

TOm:
NO!
I regularly point out to anti-Mormon Catholics on the Catholic Answer board that the CoJCoLDS is based on the same thing the Bible is based on, “The revelations of God delivered to God’s choosen servants.”
If you have spent much time with Catholic apologetics, be it that anti-Mormon type or the anti-Protestant type you would see a RADICAL reliance upon scripture. You would see Catholics make claims like the perpetual virginity of Mary is supported by the Bible. You would see a lot of things. John Martignoni is a prominent Catholic apologist who is hard to distinguish from a Sola Scriptura Christian in his USE of the Bible.

I suspect you didn’t mean to say, “apart from Apostolic Tradition, the Scriptures alone lead to the truth.”

I would say, “apart from the God given authority to lead God’s church on earth and to receive divine revelation from God concerning the leading of His Church, the scriptures do not lead to the truth.” It is quite clear that the Catholic Church has placed a HUGE emphasis upon true and irreformable doctrine. To reform former doctrine is to acknowledge that in the past error was taught. And yet …

I believe John Martignoni needs to be more upfront about HOW MUCH Tradition must be used to interpret scripture, but I understand why he does what he does. If he can “prove” the Catholic Church is right, contra some Protestant position using the Bible only, then the Protestant has already accepted the Bible and the discussion is basically over. I do not know which LDS you follow that left you with the view that we must prove our doctrine from the Bible. I believe that the Bible is a wonderful point of shared scripture and dialogue utilizing the Bible can be very fruitful. But, I do not believe the Bible teaches that those who are sealed in a Temple by God will be married for an eternity. I do not think the Bible properly understood denies this truth, but it does not make this truth clear in any way.

Rory:
The ironic fact that you raise in your last post is that Greek philosophy often disagrees with Catholic teaching while it corresponds with Mormonism. Mormons seem to me to depend much more heavily on philosophy than faith for their certainties about creation.

TOm:
LDS embrace revelation from God that denies creation ex nihilo. LDS have discovered that Clement of Rome AND St. Justin AND a few other of the VERY EARLY ECF did not believe God created ex nihilo. LDS have discovered that Biblical scholars usually claim the Bible does not teach creation ex nihilo. Do not make the mistake you have made. God delivered revelation to Joseph Smith AND then LDS found such truths in the ECF.

Rory:
I have heard that if things were the way Catholics believe, that our God could not really "love". I have also had it affirmed to me that our view would preclude prayer. They insist that such "mysteries" are absurdities. I think that is also a rash judgment that is not founded in Scripture, but rather in philosophical speculations.

TOm:
You have mostly heard that from me I suspect. We are called to “love one another” God loves us, but if God is imutable/impassible/exist a se how can we love like He does and would we want to do so?
Also, LDS leaders do not have a history of utilizing philosophy to explain and outline our doctrine.

cont...

TOm said...

Elder Maxwell suggested that God was timeless, Truman Madsen sent Blake Ostler to see Elder Maxwell to address this, Elder Maxwell responded with a letter to Ostler that encouraged him to continue to advocate as Ostler had and that Elder Maxwell’s point was merely that we could have ABSOLUTE FAITH in God. Later, Elder Maxwell continued to teach that God was timeless.
Arius and Athanasius wrote using some sophisticated philosophical ideas. Thomas Aquinas did the same times 10.
I am a fan of Ostler. He is a philosopher. I appreciate his ideas and use his arguments. Such is hardly common in the pew (or from the pulpit). Ostler’s place is not currently and seems unlikely to ever be analogous to Athanasius, Augustine, or Aquinas. LDS do not have “doctors of the church,” we have Prophets and Apostles.

Rory:
Mormon apostasy theory demands that we have some reason that as they see it, the Former-day Church failed. 

TOm:
Actually, what necessitated the restoration is all speculation. In addition to this, I do not consider the “Former-day Church” a failure. Authority 1. developed or 2. didn’t pass. Doctrine 1.developed or 2.changed. The ability to receive Revelation and write scritpure was 1.completed or 2.didn’t continue and would be restored. Sacraments/Ordinances were 1.Primarily vehicles of grace or 2.Primarily two-way covenants. I see much in these 4 things that leads me to speculate as to what necessitated a restoration.
But, it is my inability to explain the Book of Mormon and the Restoration from a non-supernatural perspective that makes it clear I must seek God’s will concerning the CoJCoLDS. While I think there is much evidence in the exploration of ancient Christian history, I have acknowledge and will continue to acknowledge, I would not be a “restorationist in waiting.” BTW, I am not sure I mentioned this to you, but I would worship with the SSPX if I ceased to be a LDS.

I can respect, even venerate those you call Catholic Saints. I think Thomas Aquinas’ theology was hopelessly flawed, but I believe he loved God, saw God, and is now with God. There are villains, but you and I probably agree on most of them. Augustine introduced a new and flawed understanding of original sin because he couldn’t read Greek and used a poor Latin translation. That does not make him a villain.

From Elder Maxwell:
In all this, there is great cause for hope and even gratitude. Moroni prescribed:
“Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, … but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Morm. 9:31.)
And Lorenzo Snow practiced:
“I can fellowship the President of the Church,” he said, “if he does not know everything I know … I saw the … imperfections in [Joseph Smith] … I thanked God that He would put upon a man who had those imperfections the power and authority He placed upon him … for I knew that I myself had weakness, and I thought there was a chance for me … I thanked God that I saw these imperfections.”
From Elder B. H. Roberts, who loved the Prophet dearly, there were these words:
“Joseph Smith … claimed for himself no special sanctity, no faultless life, no perfection of character, no inerrancy for every word spoken by him. And as he did not claim these things for himself, so can they not be claimed for him by others. …
“Yet to Joseph Smith was given,” said Brother Roberts, “access to the mind of Deity, through the revelations of God to him.” (Comprehensive History, 2:360–61.)

If Elder Maxwell and I can be quite taken with the wonderful job done by Joseph Smith who was God’s prophet, I think we can celebrate Augustine and Aquinas too.
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

In your November 25, 2018 AT 10:38 AM, 10:40 AM, and 10:41 AM posts you provided a number of quotes concerning the conception of Jesus from various LDS folk. I suspect those quotes may have come from THIS POST.

I take issue with the opening quote:

>>-Joseph Smith taught that God had sex with Mary...

"President Young spoke of the first organization of this school by Joseph Smith the Prophet. The Word of Wisdom was given in this school. President Young said Adam was Michael the arch angel and he was the father of Jesus Christ and was our God and that Joseph taught this principle." Wilford Woodruff Journal, Vol.4, p.288, September 17, 1854>>

The so-called 'Adam-God theory' is mentioned above, not the human conception of Jesus. Brigham Young believed that Adam was the father not only of Jesus spirit, but every mans spirit. Though Wilford Woodruff wrote that Young stated he got "this principle"—the Adam-God theory—from Joseph Smith, there exists nothing in the writings and recorded sermons of Smith which supports this.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

A very interesting response to Rory; much for this beachbum to ponder over.

With that said, one small correction concerning the following you wrote:

==Augustine introduced a new and flawed understanding of original sin because he couldn’t read Greek and used a poor Latin translation.==

Modern scholars of Augustine are coming to a new consensus concerning his knowledge of Greek. Though certainly no Jerome, Augustine's knowledge of Greek was better than most think it was. Check out the following online contributions:

How Bad Were Augustine's Greek Skills?

1311 greek language

From the latter link we read:

>>In later life he became much better at Greek, and was at least able to check Latin translations competently against their Greek originals. At this stage, Augustine listed in his Retractions some the mistakes that he made in his early works through his ignorance of Greek.>>


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...

Hello David,
I read both of your links thank you. I didn’t mean to unfairly disparage Augustine’s Greek skills. My point seems to have been acknowledged and referenced by both authors. Augustine’s error concerning Romans 5:12 could have been avoided if Augustine was better at Greek AND it has had far reaching theological consequences.
The second article suggests that Greek teacher Augustine had as a youth has had a huge impact upon theology in that many in the West followed Augustine in his dislike of learning/using Greek, leading to some of the difficulties that hounded theological dialogue for centuries. This personally reminded me of the tortuous history of the theologically significant word “homoousian” another place where LDS (at least this LDS) think there is much “hay” to be made.
It is my position that the Eastern and LDS view of “original sin,” “ancestral sin,” or “the fall” are very similar and that the LDS view is a rejection of the view Augustine introduced into the Latin West. Furthermore, I would suggest that the Catholic Church has been running from Augustine’s teaching regarding “Original Sin” for centuries, especially the 20th and 21st. Aquinas (or someone around his time) introduced “Limbo.” Limbo during the 20th century became a bad word (it was always theological speculation, but it was a softening of Augustine’s teaching). Today Limbo is the theological speculation that is rejected by the compassionate modern who finds In 2007 the Vatican offered a bit of “theology” that is either a repudiation of 1500+ years of Catholic theology or is merely the hope of unsophisticated non-theologians elevated to a document that purports to offer theology.
I think that is enough for now. I interact with Greek in the same way Augustine did, and I am sure he is/was better than I am and at least he had SOME formal training and I have had none. I hope to see Augustine in heaven one day and I currently expect that my views on original sin will be his views when we met. Flawed theologian in my opinion does not make one a villain. Not receiving “public revelation” from God does not make one a villain.

BTW, I have become a fan of this article. It provided an answer to a question I have always asked and never had ANYTHING satisfactory. It also rounded out a great deal of other questions AND contributes to the “they were not villains” narrative IMO.
https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/a-mormon-theodicy-jacob-and-the-problem-of-evil/
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Ok David,
You have a lot of material to think about and I confess I don't have time to go that deep on this issue.
I don't see how the LDS or Mormons can now claim that they don't believe all those statements (of former leaders), when it was all taught for so long and it all had to do with plural marriage and the males becoming gods, temple marriage ceremonies (a lot was kept secret for the good part of the last century since it's founding) and getting a planet in the celestial kingdom and having many wives, etc.

It was only after the US government forced them to outlaw polygamy that they changed; and they were able to change because of their belief in ongoing prophesy of their leaders. That, and also the former position against Blacks as being able to be in leadership (the priesthood), does not pass the smell test, IMO.

How can you and other Mormons just totally dismiss Joseph Smith's words, since he was the founder of this religion (he created the whole thing, and Brigham Young build upon that, etc. ) and first prophet, etc. ?

So, are you are a secret Mormon (adherent to the doctrines of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints")? (you just have not confessed it publicly yet)

When I asked you whether Mormonism is polytheistic or not, you wrote that is complicated. It does not seem that complicated to me.

I put links up to 2 videos by James White.

You need to comment on the content of those and his two books, "Is the Mormon my brother?" and "Letters to a Mormon Elder". (A lot of those quotes are provided in those books, but I don't have time to type them all out; so I used that website.)

Also, the only reason I used that web-site with all the quotes (you are right that I got my information from there), is that I don't have time to research and type it all out.

Those quotes are so extensive all throughout Mormon history of Mormon leaders, that is seems disingenuous for them to suddenly start saying that those things are just private opinions, etc. given the nature of their original beliefs by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and their understanding of ongoing prophesy, and more than one historical Scriptural text, in addition to the KJV of the Bible, etc.

TOm said...

Ken:

How can you and other Mormons just totally dismiss Joseph Smith’s words, since he was the founder of this religion (he created the whole thing, and Brigham Young built upon that, etc. ) and first prophet, etc. ?

TOm:

I do not “totally dismiss Joseph Smith,” I just treat him as if he is a man who received revelation from God not as if he is an infallible creator of Mormonism.

If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s Church, and I believe the evidence suggests it is, the way you interact with it will never allow you to determine how the evidence points.

If you want to determine how strong the case is for the CoJCoLDS, you will need to take your eyes off James White and look into what educated LDS think and believe about our church. This sincere investigation has produced many LDS converts. I am one as I had very little “testimony” for many years after I became a member.

For the less academically minded, one can pray to know with sincere intent and follow God’s guidance. This sincere prayer has produced many LDS converts.

What one cannot do is trust James White. One will not discover the truth or truly see the falsity of the CoJCoLDS by reading James White. If your exploration of a faith is done through hostile sources who present imbalanced pictures, your exploration is not capable of determining truth (if the hostile sources don’t already have the truth, and even then you might arrive at truth, but not through a robust method).

I doubt you have the time or desire to do the investigation. And I doubt you have a willingness to tell all your friends, “I prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet, I received an affirmative answer, and I will be baptized next month (even though I have no idea how or why all the crap I once believed about the CoJCoLDS doesn’t preclude God from calling me to be a LDS).” Without doing either, you will be a disciple of James White and I will find your screeds against my church of little value.

When David tells me why he is not a LDS, it changes me some.

When Rory tells me how he loves his Catholic faith, it changes me some.

I know the church James White criticizes is not the church I attend so he is irrelevant.

Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hello again Tom,

Thanks much for your constructive response. Sincerely hope my following musings come up to your level. You wrote:

==Augustine’s error concerning Romans 5:12 could have been avoided if Augustine was better at Greek AND it has had far reaching theological consequences.==

I don't understand how a better knowledge of Greek would have influenced Augustine to read Rom. 5:12 differently. Most English translations of the verse are virtually identical. I just now pulled Bruce R. McConkie's Doctrinal New Testament Commentary - Vol. II off of the shelf, and his reading of Rom. 5:12 (and the surrounding verses) does not seem much different than Augustine's. McConkie places great emphasis on Adam's fall, and that through his fall both spiritual and physical death passed on to ALL mankind—hence the need for Christ's infinite atonement, "to ransom, reconcile, expiate, redeem, reclaim, absolve, propitiate, make amends, pay the penalty." (Page 242) To which he adds: "Thus the atonement of Christ is designed to ransom men from the effects of the fall of Adam in that both spiritual and temporal death are conquered; their lasting effect is nullified." (Ibid.)

The Book of Mormon contains a number of passages which correspond to the English translations of Rom. 5:12:

1 Nephi 10:6 Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.

Mosiah 3:16 And even if it were possible that little children could sin they could not be saved; but I say unto you they are blessed; for behold, as in Adam, or by nature, they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins.

Alma 12:22 Now Alma said unto him: This is the thing which I was about to explain. Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people.

Moroni 8:8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

And from the Pearl of Great Price:

Moses 6:54, 55 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world. And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.

Have I missed something ???


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

It is interesting that David is quoting from Bruce R. McConkie. (for his views of Romans 5:12)

So why do you dismiss the quotes from him about how Jesus was conceived? "in the same personal, real and literal sense";
"in the same way that mortals are conceived and begotten", etc.


“And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events,...Christ is the Son of Man, meaning that his Father (the Eternal God!) is a Holy Man.” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 742

-He was concieved in the normal way...

"Their testimony is that Mary's son is God's Son; that he was conceived and begotten in the normal way; that he took upon himself mortality by the natural birth processes; that he inherited the power of mortality from his mother and the power of immortality from his Father-in consequence of all of which he was able to work out the infinite and eternal atonement." Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, p.472


“These name-titles all signify that our Lord in the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine,1966, pp. 546-547


in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.”

Doesn't that mean "by sex", since that is how mortals are begotten ?

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I see that Tom, just a few minutes ago, responded to a number of the issues you raised in your 7:04 AM post. I would like to add a few of my own musings...

You wrote:

==I don't see how the LDS or Mormons can now claim that they don't believe all those statements (of former leaders), when it was all taught for so long and it all had to do with plural marriage and the males becoming gods, temple marriage ceremonies (a lot was kept secret for the good part of the last century since it's founding) and getting a planet in the celestial kingdom and having many wives, etc.==

First, plural marriage is not the same thing as God the Father having actual, physical intercourse with the Virgin Mary to conceive Jesus—something which cannot be found in any of Joseph Smith's teachings (written or spoken).

Second, a number of speculations by Brigham Young and his associates were later denied by subsequent LDS apostles and authorities. I find it more than a bit interesting that only one teaching of Brigham Young was canonized (section 136), even though he served as President of the CoJCoLDS longer than anyone else. Further, even during his Presidency, opposition to some of his teachings were being opposed.

Third, one should never equate non-canonized interpretations/speculations with Scripture. LDS members (including apostles and authorities) have disagreements over a number of passages. But, such disagreements do not give cause to faithful LDS folk to create multiple churches as one finds in the Protestant paradigm.

As for non-canonized personal interpretations/speculations that exist for a long period of time, and then are jettisoned, the historical understanding of what the Bible teaches concerning slavery comes to mind. For centuries, the vast majority of Christians believed that the Bible endorsed slavery. I know for a fact that your own denomination had bitter debates with fellow conservative, Protestant Christians who began to oppose the centuries old interpretation. I think us non-Mormons need to be even-handed when dealing with such issues.

== So, are you are a secret Mormon (adherent to the doctrines of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints")? (you just have not confessed it publicly yet)==

I have been asked this question a number of times since the late 1980s, and my answer was and is: no, I am not a Mormon, and I have never been one.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's . . .

That is in the official Scripture of the LDS church.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/130?lang=eng

Originally, Mormonism taught that God (Elohim) was once a man from a planet revolving around a star or planet named Kolob.

The secret marriage ceremonies for many years had the connections between God as a former man who evolved into a god and that Mormon males can evolve into gods and have many wives and populate other planets. (Elohim had a wife and procreated Jesus and also Lucifer - they were spirit brothers.

This was standard Mormon doctrine until recent attempts to change their doctrines and hide their traditions.

Ken Temple said...

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/132?lang=eng

Section 132 about plural marriage and males evolving into gods is official Scripture and is also based on Joseph Smith's King Follet discourse and the other statements of LDS leaders.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Took a break for lunch and a walk—back to your morning post. You wrote:

==When I asked you whether Mormonism is polytheistic or not, you wrote that is complicated. It does not seem that complicated to me. ==

Modern Trinitarians state that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Ghost is God, but then, that they are not three Gods. Unitarians and Muslims say that is illogical—if three divine persons are each God, then you have three Gods, which is polytheism.

Many pre-Augustinian Trinitarians stated that the Father was the one God, and the Son was 'another God', a 'second God', a God 'in the second place'; with the Holy Ghost 'in the third place'. Many of those same pre-Augustinian Trinitarians condemned the Greeks of polytheism while denying that they were polytheists. Many of those same pre-Augustinian Trinitarians taught that redeemed mankind would become 'Gods'.

Augustine himself stated that the Father was "God only", and that the Son was "God from God". Unitarians and Muslims ask: how is that not at least two Gods?

The Eastern Orthodox scholar, Laurent Cleenewerck wrote:

>>Paul Owen is correct when he notes that the Western tradition tends to the conclusion that each Person is autotheos, but it should be clear that this has never been the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. This heresy of tri-theism was only proclaimed by John Calvin who denounced the eternal generation of the Son as “an absurd fiction”.>> [See THIS THREAD for references.]

If Cleenewerek is correct, Calvin was a polytheist.

I can literally provide dozens of other examples of Trinitarians accusing other Trinitarians of polytheism.

Now, LDS theology teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost "are one God" while also teaching that they are "three Gods"—i.e. three divine persons who are each God. As such, I maintain that the issue of whether or not Mormon theology is polytheistic is a complex one; just as I believe that whether or not Trinitarians who teach that the Father is God, and the Son is God and the Holy Ghost is God are truly monotheistic is a complex one.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Ken,

I am a bit confused by your 1:32 PM and 1:39 PM posts, for I know of no member of the CoJCoLDS who denies that their church teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, and/or that their church practiced plural marriage for a number of years. I thought we have been dealing with the issue of private interpretation/speculation vs. official/canonized doctrine.

Could you clarify what you are trying to convey in those last two posts?


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Hi David,

That God has a body of flesh and bones is connected to the Mormon theology that God was once a man. (per all those statements by leaders, including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Lorenzo Snow, Pratt, McConkie, etc.

The plural marriage issue is relevant because of the secret temple marriage ceremonies and the printed materials of the ceremonies that explain how a male becomes a god by first being blessed in the Mormon temple and anointed at the marriage ceremony and if he continues in good works, family, etc. he will go on to god-hood and someday have his own planet with celestial wives and procreate another planet just as Father God / Elohim did by procreation and populating our planet, etc.

I don't have time to track down all the quotes and / or type them out; but I have read enough in James White's two books:
"Letters to a Mormon Elder"
and
"Is the Mormon my brother?"

to know that Mormonism is polytheistic, not Christianity, and that the living prophets at the time of their statements are part and parcel of the religion. Many of them made statements that their Mormon religion is much more than just the texts of the 4 canonical books - the voice of the living prophets / apostles is also relevant to understanding just what Mormonism is.

So, you cannot legitimately ignore or dismiss the statements of leaders like the King Follet discourse of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Lorrenzo Snow, etc. and claim "those were just their private opinions", etc.

Dr. White shows that Joseph Smith's theology developed and changed from the time of the "revelation" of the book of Mormon to his later speculations / living revelations at the end (King Follet discourse and other statements after that).


Ken Temple said...

Here is another relevant article:

https://americanvision.org/6549/the-real-issue-with-mormonism-god-is-an-exalted-man/

Ken Temple said...

All the things mentioned and quoted in this article and others and the other statements of leaders(that you dismissed as private opinions, etc.), demonstrate that Mormonism is not good nor true nor Christianity at all.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-mormonism/

4. The Book of Mormon teaches that only fools say the Bible is sufficient and that other scripture is not needed (“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.” (2 Nephi 29:6)). The Book of Mormon contains many linguistic similarities to the King James Bible, including entire passages duplicated word-for-word. For example, the Book of Mormon contains 19 chapters of the King James translation of Isaiah in their entirety.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Yesterday, you wrote:

==I don't have time to track down all the quotes and / or type them out; but I have read enough in James White's two books:
"Letters to a Mormon Elder"
and
"Is the Mormon my brother?"

to know that Mormonism is polytheistic, not Christianity, and that the living prophets at the time of their statements are part and parcel of the religion.==

If your knowledge of the CoJCoLDS comes primarily from White's two books you are pretty much 'bringing a butter-knife to a gun battle'. I own, and have read, Is the Mormon My Brother, and both editions of Letters to a Mormon Elder. I also own, and have read, more than 100 additional anti-Mormon books. Of those 100+ plus books, I can in good conscience recommend only a half dozen of them—White's two books are not among them.

Two extended reviews of Letters to a Mormon Elder (one of the first edition, one of the second) are available online in html and pdf formats. Below are the links:

L. Ara Norwood's review

McGregor-Shirts review

Sincerely hope you can find the time to read both reviews...


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

I will try to read as I have time. You have the advantage of having read so much more than me, I will grant you that.

But, who has time to go as deep as you do? (same for all your church history and historical theology material - not many people can grasp that much info in 20-30 years (with all the nuance and and efforts you make - and being JW, dispensational, Presbyterian, RC, and now, what ? - I mean, I am not trying to be "mean", but you have jumped around a lot over the years, and you are very positive towards Islam and Bahai'ism also, which is strange to me), much less in a 3 or 4 year seminary education.

But, as time allows, I do enjoy learning from you and I appreciate your mostly good demeanor and fairness.

But your unwillingness to acknowledge that Mormonism is polytheistic is amazing to me.

I have learned a lot from you, since when I first came across your blog in 2009 - about church history and historical theology.

But, in all honesty, it seems weird to me that you are willing to be so gracious to such a polytheistic cult (theological) and false religion that originally claimed that all other forms of Christianity were false from the beginning - I suppose sometime after John wrote Revelation or whichever NT book the Mormons will admit was the last book written in the first century.

There is a lot more info than just Dr. White's books. Walter Martin was also basically right; even though you found some problems. Sandra (and her late husband, Jerald) Tanner, Richard Abanes ( One Nation under gods?) , CARM, Ron Rhodes, Robert Bowman (whom someone linked to earlier in this thread), and there are several others that don't come to my mind immediately, but I will try to remember, etc.

Did you read Richard Abanes "One Nation Under gods?" and what did you think?

Seems like Joseph Smith was a charlatan, a false prophet, IMO.

Ken Temple said...

But does not Mormonism think the King James Version is the only credible translation/version of the Bible?

What kind of goofy religion is that?

Does that not diminish their credibility, along with all the problems of the historical truthfulness of their claims, the book of Abraham, and the character of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (murders, blood atonement, the "Mountain Meadows Massacre", etc.)

Ken Temple said...

Bill McKeever is another Evangelical apologist who has written a lot on Mormonism

www.mrm.org

TOm said...

Hello again David,

It seems very unlikely that you are not better versed in this question than I am, so perhaps I just need to better understand.

It could be said that LDS embraced Augustine’s view of original sin, but placed Christ’s atonement over this fall in a way that Augustine and those who have embraced his theology refuse to do. If I understand the term, this might be a form of “prevenient grace.”

I however usually look at this as LDS embrace a fallen nature, original sin, ancestral sin, … such that infant death does not equal damnation. Christ is essential for all absence of damnation period, but that ancestral GUILT is not present in the baby. Instead, the fall results in humans born without the intimate relationship with God that existed in the garden. Because this relationship is absent, sin is inevitable. Thus all have sinned and fall short and only through Christ may we be saved.

I personally (And I think I shared this with Blake Ostler once … I recall that he offered tepid approval) believe that we are born as infants unable to conceive that ANYONE exists outside of ourselves. When we recognize that we are called to be loving neighbors, we have always already failed because of our inherent selfishness. This failure is sin. Christ’s love allows us to stop making excuses for this sin (I grabbed the toy truck from him because it was in my play circle or …) and face it without being overwhelmed by the sense of being unworthy.

Anyway, here is an article by one of the EO scholars you follow, David Bentley Hart. It explains what I think was Augustine’s error.

[quote]

Take, for example, Augustine’s magisterial reading of the Letter to the Romans, as unfolded in reams of his writings, and ever thereafter by his theological heirs: perhaps the most sublime “strong misreading” in the history of Christian thought, and one that comprises specimens of all four classes of misprision. Of the first, for instance: the notoriously misleading Latin rendering of Romans 5:12 that deceived Augustine into imagining Paul believed all human beings to have, in some mysterious manner, sinned “in” Adam, which obliged Augustine to think of original sin—bondage to death, mental and moral debility, estrangement from God—ever more insistently in terms of an inherited guilt (a concept as logically coherent as that of a square circle), and which prompted him to assert with such sinewy vigor the justly eternal torment of babes who died unbaptized.



I have to say that, as an Orthodox scholar, I have made many efforts over the years to defend Augustine against what I take to be defective and purely polemical Eastern interpretations of his thought, in the realms of metaphysics, Trinitarian theology, and the soul’s knowledge of God (often to the annoyance of some of my fellow Orthodox). But regarding that part of his intellectual patrimony that has had the widest effect—his understanding of sin, grace, and election—not only do I share the Eastern distaste for (or, frankly, horror at) his conclusions; I am even something of an extremist in that respect. In the whole long, rich history of Christian misreadings of Scripture, none I think has ever been more consequential, more invincibly perennial, or more disastrous.

[/quote]

Anyway, I lean towards the idea that LDS look at “original sin” and the “fall” like Eastern Orthodox do.

Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks much for your informative response. I was able to track down David Bentley Hart's full article that you quoted from: TRADITIO DEFORMIS.

Turns out, I had actually read this interesting article back in May 2015 when first released, but had completely forgotten about it. When I read the article back then, the LDS understanding of the issue at hand did not come to mind, for I focused on the difference between the EO and Western views. Before sharing some musings on the LDS position, I would first like to comment on the following from Hart:

>>the notoriously misleading Latin rendering of Romans 5:12 that deceived Augustine into imagining Paul believed all human beings to have, in some mysterious manner, sinned “in” Adam>>

If Rom. 5:12 was the only passage that Augustine relied upon to support his view of original sin, then I would immediately embrace the EO understanding. However, that is not the case. Arminians, Calvinists, Anglicans, Lutherans and others all support the 'traditional' understanding of original sin without appealing to the "Latin rendering of Romans 5:12". Literally thousands of pages supporting the Western view have been written—one of the most exhaustive was penned by Jonathan Edwards:

The Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended

Moving on to the LDS position, I would say that it has much more in common with the Western view than the EO view. The LDS view retains the guilt/imputed ramifications of Adam's original sin, but differs from Catholic and majority Protestant position in that that guilt has been removed for all mankind via Christ's infinite atonement. What the LDS view has in common with the EO position is a consistent answer to why unbaptized babies who die before the age of accountability are not consigned to hell.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Dave.

Hell needs some definition. Just as most Christians ignore the beatific vision, and see "heaven" as lack of pain with immortality, so they misconstrue "hell". In reality, everything that is not the beatific vision is to be damned in the true hell. Part of hell, is for those who have never actually committed sin. They will never suffer sense pain and will live forever. Call it whatever you want, limbo or something else. No unbaptized can get less than what amounts to heaven for most non-Catholics: immortality, without sense pain. They are only "deprived" of what Mormons, Muslims, and most other Christians don't even want.ll needs some definition. Just as most Christians ignore the beatific vision, and see "heaven" as lack of pain with immortality, so they misconstrue "hell". In reality, everything that is not the beatific vision is to be damned in the true hell. Part of hell, is for those who have never actually committed sin. They will never suffer sense pain and will live forever. Call it whatever you want, limbo or something else. No unbaptized can get less than what amounts to heaven for most non-Catholics: immortality, without sense pain. They are only "deprived" of what Mormons, Muslims, and most other Christians don't even want.

Rory



Rory said...

It should read "no unbaptized INFANT can get less than what amounts to heaven for most non-Catholics..."

Rory said...

Sorry for the double post. 500 miles to Tulsa on country roads and back. But we got there before 4. The wire went through. Long story, great day. Big relief. Closed on our house. Lighting sit) flashing. Maybe the lightning? Maybe the tonic and gin (Billy Joel). anywhack. Gnite

R

Ken Temple said...

David,
What do you think of Richard Abanes book, "One nation under gods." ?

It clearly exposes Mormonism as a false relgion, and Joseph Smith as a false prophet, a charlatan.

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

Hope you had a great weekend. You asked what I thought about Richard Abanes', One Nation Under Gods. I would give the first edition a D minus and the second edition a D plus. Rory, Tom and myself dialogued at length with Abanes on message boards back in 2003/4. His knowledge of the Church Fathers and the development of doctrine was quite poor. Despite having authored two editions of the above book, he was unprepared to address a good number of the questions posed to him.

A lengthy critique of his One Nation Under Gods is available online via THIS LINK.

The same site also delves into Abanes' Becoming Gods: LINK/.


Grace and peace,

David