Senate Mormonism

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darkside_Spirit, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    As I said above, Gospel Principles is one of the best places to start reading if you want to understand doctrines. It goes through Church teachings by topic. The online version directly links you to relevant scriptures and other sources, where possible.

    A good overview of Church history can be found in Church History in the Fulness of Times. It's the manual for the Church's college-level Church History class offered at Church schools and through the Church's Institute of Religion.

    From there, there are a variety of books you can look at, depending on what you want to focus on in Church history. There are several biographies of Joseph Smith (both positive and critical ones), accounts of the move across the plains, and so forth.

    Kimball Kinnison
  2. Nagai Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2010
    star 3
  3. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    The Quad helps to understand Mormon doctrines, but in many ways, the Book of Mormon is what we call a "retcon". What I mean is, according to the Book of Mormon, the Bible left certain things out, but the Book of Mormon is one of those things.
  4. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I've yet to read it, but I think Insider's View of Mormon Origins is one on the subject of doctrine and history that I'm very interested in. I've heard the author speak and was very impressed. I'm trying to think of one that covers the whole span, but I don't think there has been any faithful or critical book that covers all of the history. The LDS church history admitted that they just don't have a lot of information on the development of the church in the 20th century. Most of the interest on both ends is on the foundation of the church, and there isn't an audience for a general study of all of church history.

    Because the doctrines have changed, it depends on what point of history you want to know about Mormonism.
    If you want to understand 19th century Mormonism, you simply can't do so from a study of the most recent LDS published books on doctrine. 19th century Mormonism is very different in important aspects from the mainstream LDS church.
  5. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Also, a lot of Mormon apologetics claim that pre-Columbian archaeologists use the Book of Mormon as a source. If you think that--DON'T.
  6. SCOTSSITHLORD Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 2
    Mormonism....is a load of utter nonsense. It's as pointless as Seventh Day Adventism or a broken pencil.
    Even the Mormons don't believe in it. Their guru, for want of a better word though convicted 19th Century conman would do as well, preached that polygamy was the way forward. Yet it didn't take the Mormons long to re-interpret the legendary new new testament when it turned out that most folk thought that re-enacting the sexual lives of primitive nomad tribesmen was, well a tad primitive.
  7. -polymath- SFF:F/TV Trivia Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2007
    star 4
  8. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Depends on the definition of "troll". I personally find the idea of Indians being lost Jews to be colonizing the past.
    Dark Lady Mara likes this.
  9. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Well, it's General Conference weekend, and in the morning session today, a bit of a bombshell was dropped, changing one of the biggest programs in the Church.

    Effective immediately, young men will be eligible to serve a mission when they are 18, provided they have finished high school. Also, young women will be eligible to serve a mission when they turn 19. Previously, the ages were 19 for men and 21 for women. According to President Monson's announcement, they had previously allowed a limited number of young men from some countries to serve at 18 to accommodate military service requirements in those countries. After seeing the effectiveness of those younger missionaries, they decided to extend the policy worldwide. The official news release can be found here.

    This should be an interesting change to see as it goes into effect. We will probably see a lot more women serving, and less young women getting married during their freshman year, especially at BYU and the other church schools.
  10. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    I have a couple female LDS friends and they are really excited about it. One of them is 19 and just started her freshman year of college and is already re-evaluating her life plan.

    On another note, I read and finished Brodie's No Man Knows My History about a week ago. I read Richard Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling a few months prior. The contrast between the two books is interesting--Brodie's is more of a biography of the man, and Bushman's a biography of the movement, with Smith as its spearhead. Ultimately, regarding Smith, I tend to take the same viewpoint as Harold Bloom apparently does: I don't believe for a second that his teaching was divinely inspired, but one cannot help but marvel at what an elemental, charismatic, elan he must have possessed, and he had great insight into the fundamental questions of religion that make it such a compelling force, particularly the search for transcendence and the need to find order in the vastness of the cosmos and the human experience.
  11. Rox Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2000
    star 6
    It sure was busy at work today all the heathen Mormons skipping out on conference today. But in all seriousness the changes will be good for woman, they can get married and pregnant and have a thousand kids quicker.
  12. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2008
    star 5
    Not a fan of Mormonism. Personal issues between my family and the church and such.

    But of all the religions in the world....only scientology is more easily dismissed.

    I've come to the conclusion that Mormonism was started by Joseph Smith for no other reason than because he wanted a threesome but his wife said no.
    Rox likes this.
  13. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    That's a manifestly false conclusion. Joseph Smith's polygamous practices came relatively late in his career. If you read biographies of him, you'll discover that he had a wild imagination even as a child. As pure whimsy, he one day told his family he had discovered a "Golden Bible" buried underground and they believed him. He wouldn't show it to anybody but he produced a "translation" of it months later, which drew on both his own imagination and prevailing theories about the origin of the Native Americans, and the movement snowballed from there. I highly recommend the two biographies of Smith that I previously noted, Rough Stone Rolling and No Man Knows My History. The former is written by a practicing Mormon and the latter by an apostate. As such, the latter is sort of a deconstruction of Smith's claims, whereas the former is a biography of Smith as the LDS think of him. Both are very well written and worth reading.
  14. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    @Kimball_Kinnison,


    Since you invited us in the other thread to ask questions about LDS eschatology here, I'll take you up on the offer, although neither of my questions are really about eschatology(d'oh!)

    1. Are there any unique perspectives within the church on the State of Israel? Based on the literature I have read--again, mostly just Bushman and Brodie--Mormons are taught that they are the literal descendants of Israel. Did the creation of the State of Israel in 1947 cause this doctrine to be in any way re-evaluated? Is the State of Israel looked upon by the church to be in any way not "really" Israel, but rather just a polity that usurped the name?

    2. I understand that church doctrine holds that Adam and Eve lived in Adam-ondi-Ahman in Missouri after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. But Genesis rather explicitly states that the Garden of Eden itself was located near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. How is the trans-Atlantic discrepancy accounted for?

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by Condition2SQ, Oct 11, 2012
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    That's ok, I've always been willing to answer any sincere questions people ask. :)

    This one gets a little complicated, so I may have to provide an overview with some extra sources for reading, and then fill in more with later posts. I strongly recommend reviewing each link.

    First of all, when you talk about Israel, it's important to note the different contexts you are talking about. You can be talking about the descendants of Jacob (the son of Isaac), commonly referred to as the House of Israel, or the Twelve Tribes of Israel and also known as the Israelites. Related to that, you could also be referring to the Kingdom of Israel, ruled by Saul, David and Solomon. You could also be referring to the Northern Kingdom, ruled by a line of kings starting with Jeroboam, and consisting of ten of the Twelve Tribes. The Northern Kingdom stood in contrast to the Kingdom of Judah (which consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin), whose descendants we today call Jews. You could also be referring to the land that historically was controlled by these various Kingdoms, which is today called Palestine. Finally, you can be referring to the modern-day State of Israel created in 1947. In the rest of my posts, I will try to clarify which of these contexts I am using at any one time.

    In explaining the doctrine, it's probably best to start with a declaration of what that doctrine is. The simplest description (which also relates to eschatology) comes in our 10th Article of Faith:
    The literal gathering of Israel mentioned in there refers to the Twelve Tribes, of which only Judah and Benjamin (the Kingdom of Judah) are still known to survive today. When the Northern Kingdom (the Ten Tribes mentioned) was destroyed in about 720 BC, its inhabitants were carried off into captivity and there is no clear record of where they wound up. Both the Bible and modern-day revelation promise that they will one day be gathered together again.

    With regards to the modern-day State of Israel, LDS doctrine prophesied of its establishment over 100 years before it happened. In D&C 109:62-64 (which contains the text of the dedication prayer for the Kirtland Temple, dedicated in 1836) it says:
    Remember again, that the "children of Judah" are the Jews, and constitute a subset of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In 1840-1841, Orson Hyde, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was sent on a mission to Palestine and commissioned to dedicate the land there for the gathering of the Jews.

    The Church believes that both the Jews as well as the rest of the Twelve Tribes are being gathered together today. The establishment of the State of Israel is part of that, but so also is the proclaiming of the restored Gospel to the entire world. A large part of the purpose behind the gathering of Israel is to restore to them a full knowledge of their Redeemer and Messiah. All those who accept the Gospel become members of the House of Israel, and are eligible to have their lineage declared when they receive their Patriarchal Blessing. For those who are literally descended from members of the Twelve Tribes, the declaration of lineage is meant as a literal declaration. For those who do not have any Israelite blood in their ancestry, they are considered to be adopted into the House of Israel and an adopted member of the specified tribe.

    So, to sum up this initial answer to your question, the Church generally views the establishment of the State of Israel to be the fulfillment of both ancient and modern prophecy, and not a usurpation of the name Israel. The Church fully believes in the gathering of Israel, of which the gathering of the Jews in Palestine is a part, but not the whole.

    It's very simple, actually. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers listed in Genesis are the same rivers that we call the Tigris and Euphrates today. Remember that according to the Bible, the face of the Earth was changed after the Flood, and when Noah's family left the Ark, they wouldn't necessarily know where they were relative to antediluvian landmarks. There's a good chance that they named landmarks that they found after antediluvian landmarks, including rivers. You can see the same sort of thing happening historically when colonists come into new territory and name landmarks after locations in their homeland (such as Plymouth, Massachusetts or Norfolk, Virginia being named for cities in England).

    I wish I had more time to respond at the moment, but I do have to keep myself employed. ;) I'll try to check back later to see if my answer was sufficient.
  16. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    The response is certainly sufficient, thank you very much.

    A follow-up question...the Adam-Ondi-Ahman doctrine as well as the importance placed on Adam and Eve exercising their "moral agency" in the Fall certainly seem to leave little breathing space for members who believe in evolution and likewise believe that the story of Eden is allegorical. So, a two part question,

    1)What are your own personal beliefs on this issue?

    2)What is church policy regarding those who profess a belief in evolution?
    Last edited by Condition2SQ, Oct 12, 2012
  17. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    It's an interesting question, but I'm going to answer your second part first, so I can give some better context.

    The Church has said very little about Evolution in an official capacity, although various General Authorities have expressed an entire spectrum of personal views over the years.

    The only official pronouncements of the Church's position come from three statements from the First Presidency, in 1909 (reprinted about 10 years ago in the Ensign), 1910, and 1925. Essentially, those statements reaffirmed that we believe that mankind are literally created in the image of God, but specify that we don't really know how that was done. Those are the only official doctrinal statements to date. (Official statements of doctrine require the unanimous approval of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Any additional statements made by only some of them are considered personal views and not official doctrine.)

    Over the years, some General Authorities (including Apostles and even Presidents of the Church) have expressed personal views ranging from opposition of evolution, to full support of it. As a result, the Church has no policy regarding those who profess a belief in evolution.

    Personally, I tend to agree with the position of Harold B. Lee (President of the Church from 1971-1972) on the subject. He said:
    I developed this position in large part from an experience I had as a teenager. When I was a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to attend a monthly CES (Church Education System) fireside in person. (Usually the monthly firesides are broadcast the first Sunday of each month from BYU or BYU:Idaho, but this time it was broadcast from Washington DC.) The speaker was Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.

    For the hour prior to the broadcast, Elder Ballard arranged for a Q&A session, where anyone could ask him publicly any question they had. One of the young men who got up asked him simply, "What about the dinosaurs?" I'll never forget his answer: "I don't know. It's on my list of questions for the Lord to answer someday."

    For me, this was incredibly powerful. Here was someone who is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, who is set apart as a Special Witness of Christ, and he flat-out admitted that he didn't know everything on a question of doctrine. He still had a long list of questions that he wanted answered.

    For me, this fits perfectly with the 9th Article of Faith:
    We don't believe that the heavens are sealed, and God hasn't revealed everything to us yet. He also gave us the ability to think for ourselves, and encourages us to reason things out and come to our own conclusions. This is an important part in our ability to learn and grow in this life.

    I am content in my knowledge and testimony of the Gospel, and I have faith that the minor issues that may seem contradictory now have a perfectly reasonable explanation that simply hasn't been revealed yet. None of the apparent contradictions relates to something fundamental to my testimony, and so I really don't worry about them.
  18. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    So, I'm going to take you up on the offer to answer questions and ask something that's probably not very deep or meaningful :p Why was the missionary age changed? Why is there a difference for men and women? Why is there a set age?
  19. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Seeing as I was not a party to the discussions on changing the missionary ages, the best I can tell you for why is what they said when they announced the policy. The lower age for men had already been in place in some countries to accommodate military service requirements. (For example, South Korea requires all young men to serve in the military for a time once they turn 20.) Because they saw great success from these younger missionaries, they decided to extend this policy worldwide. If there are reasons beyond those, I don't know what they are.

    As for why is there a difference for men and women? I don't know, but I could guess at some possible reasons. Please remember that this is not the official reason, only my speculation. All young men who are able to are commanded to serve a mission as a Priesthood responsibility. (There are some exceptions, such as in the case of my father who was already engaged to my mother when he joined the Church.) Young women, on the other hand, are not commanded to serve a mission, but are allowed to do so if they feel the desire. The difference in responsibility may form some of the basis for the age difference. (It should be noted that women are allowed to serve multiple missions if they wish, with no upper age limit. Young men can only serve between the ages of 18 and 26, IIRC. Older couples can also serve, but not until they no longer have children living at home with them. Exceptions are occasionally made, such as in the case of mission presidents, but they are on a case-by-case basis.)

    Why is there a set age? Largely because it sets guidelines to help in planning and making sure that the prospective missionaries are mature enough and prepared enough for a very demanding program. Also, age limits help adhere to immigration/visa requirements in some countries.

    One of the important things to remember, though is that while missionary service is strongly based in doctrine, many of the details are merely policies that the Church has adjusted over the years as situations change.
  20. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Thanks! I don't know much about missions or missionaries, so I was curious.
  21. Rox Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2000
    star 6
    Can you complain about missionaries to anyone? I have repeatedly asked the two young guys who patrol my neighborhood to stop coming to my house but they keep knocking anyway. This situation here pretty much put me off on your religion. That and there are no bars here what so ever.
  22. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    About the only two things I can suggest are to contact either the local mission office and complain, or contact the Bishop of the Ward you live in. (You can get the Bishop's contact information by searching on your address at the LDS Maps site. It's primarily designed to help people find a local meetinghouse if they want to attend church on Sundays, but you can use it to get the contact information.)

    One thing to keep in mind is that it's probably not the same to young men every time. Missionaries are often moved all over the geographical boundaries of the mission. In my mission, we could be moved to a new location every 4-6 weeks. I was transferred to 8 different areas a total of 10 times (I served twice in two different areas) in the 22 months I was in the mission field (my first 2 months were in the MTC). What's probably happening is that new missionaries get assigned to your area and don't know that you asked the previous missionaries to leave you alone.

    If it's any comfort, the Church is really making a push to move missionaries away from tracting (knocking on doors) and street contacting. It's always been the least effective way to find people to teach.
  23. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    What are they moving towards in lieu? College campuses and the like?
  24. Rox Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2000
    star 6
    That makes sense, it's probably not the same people since you explained it like that.