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Author Topic: truth vs spin
Alexa
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quote:
Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?

A: I wouldn't say that. There was a little couplet coined, ``As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.'' Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about.

Q: So you're saying the church is still struggling to understand this?

A: Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the Resurrection. Knowledge, learning, is an eternal thing. And for that reason, we stress education. We're trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest, best, brightest people that we can.

I was really bored last night, and so I broke out the Sunday School manual from the 70s. There was a full page quote by Joseph Smith that said the first principal of the gospel was to understand man's relationship to God. Part of that relationship is that God was once a man like us and we can become a God like our Heavenly Father. It was very poetic and very clear. I can post it when I get home if anyone wants.....

My question: Do you think Hinckley....

lied?

didn't want to cast pearls before swine?

is rescinding the church's belief in the nature of God?

doesn't want to give the meat before the milk?

What do you think of the prophet saying this...I remember the interview and remember being bothered.

Or is this too minor to consider?

quote:
Here is the relevant excerpt from President Hinckleyís interview with Time:
Q: Just another related question that comes up is the statements in the King Follet discourse by the Prophet.

A: Yeah

Q: ... about that, God the Father was once a man as we were. This is something that Christian writers are always addressing. Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?

A: I donít know that we teach it. I donít know that we emphasize it. I havenít heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I donít know. I donít know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I donít know a lot about it and I donít know that others know a lot about it.



[ April 06, 2004, 10:48 AM: Message edited by: Alexa ]

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Storm Saxon
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quote:

Q: Now, how would that compare to the Catholic Church? Do you see yourself as Catholics would see the pope?

A: Oh, I think in that we're both seen as the head officer of the church, yes.

You know what I just realized the head of the Mormon church is missing? A really good hat. You know, something that says 'head of a world-wide religion'.
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Alexa
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I found the quote I read at home on the internet.

quote:
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!...........It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God........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...."

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A Rat Named Dog
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President Hinckley was describing, accurately, how those doctrines are taught and applied in modern Mormon life and study. We treat those quotes as things we do not fully understand, and believe that more clarification will be given sometime in the future. We don't typically discuss them at all in Sunday School classes, because anything we taught would be hopelessly skewed by personal speculation.

See, we've got a few quotes, but there are still a lot of holes and a lot of missing pieces between those quotes and the rest of our doctrine. It's fun to try to figure out how it all fits together, but until we have something more solid, we can't pretend that we really understand the subject yet.

Ultimately, the attitude is, that stuff is cool, but it has very little to do with your moral choices or your salvation, so if you're interested in it, study it on your own time.

Meanwhile, the Church will strive to teach us how to be better people, a far more worthwhile pursuit.

So, I guess it's a kind of spin, but it's a spin we also use on ourselves, to keep ourselves focused on what really matters [Smile] So his statement was certainly honest.

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TomDavidson
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"it has very little to do with your moral choices or your salvation, so if you're interested in it, study it on your own time."

I can't see how believing that God was once mortal, or that mortals could become gods, is irrelevant to a religion.

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Alexa
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Especially since it seems to be tied to the first principal of the gospel. The nature of God, as it seems to be a defining aspect of how we view eternal progression, is not just an interesting topic like 'where is Kolob?'.

If we don't talk about doctrine because it has holes in it, I don't think anyone would be spiritually qualified to discuss the atonement in Sunday school.

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Storm Saxon
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Actually, I find this bit of Mormonism pretty cool. It kind of ties into the whole Teliard omega point thing Dan Simmons wrote about.
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Zalmoxis
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Geoff didn't say it was irrelevant.

----
It's not clear to me, at least, that this is 100% canonical doctrine. I would like to think that it is, but there are extra-scriptural pronouncements by early church leaders -- including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young -- that are either unknown, in debate, or even probably wrong.

The quote that Alexa has posted is from the King Follett Discourse -- a sermon that Joseph Smith delivered at a funeral for a church member named (naturally) King Follett. The text of the King Follett discourse has not been accepted as "canonical" -- although most Mormons accept what it says as doctrinal.

The same is true of the Lectures of Faith which represent the Godhead (trinity) in a way that isn't completely consonant with other teachings on the nature of divinity by other church leaders.

This is all to say that there are levels of doctrinal certainty in Mormonism. I don't think you can blame President Hinckley for emphasizing the more canonical stuff -- which is still quite controversial -- esp. considering the beating we take from other sources.

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Zalmoxis
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Incidnetally, for a rather dense but not *too* techinical discussion of what I mean by differing perceptions of the nature of divinity see Eugene Englands The Weeping God of Mormonism.
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advice for robots
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In response to Alexa's original set of questions. I don't think President Hinckley was either lying or dumbing it down. He was straightforwardly stating that this is not understood doctrine, that we haven't been given very much knowledge about it, and that we're not speculating at this point.

President Hinckley is a very savvy newsman who isn't about to put the Church into a bunch of trouble by starting wild speculation about doctrine.

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Alexa
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quote:
This is all to say that there are levels of doctrinal certainty in Mormonism. I don't think you can blame President Hinckley for emphasizing the more canonical stuff
That takes away what was bothering me. Thanks.
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