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Author Topic: Misconceptions about Mormons tainting Mitt Romney
King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
But no doubt Mormons believe they are doing this when they elect their modern prophets
We do not elect prophets, presidents, or any other leaders. They are called.
And just how does this 'calling' manifest itself in what we might delicately call the non-spiritual realm? I would assume that there is not an actual halo of light around the correct candidate, so it seems you would need some sort of human agency to make the calling bureaucratically real.
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Scott R
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Through prayer and fasting, men who hold the responsibility for various congregations receive revelation for who to call to what duty.

Members of the church who will be affected by this person's call are asked to sustain or object to the call. This isn't like a vote; it is a show of support. A single objection is cause for investigation by those in authority.

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Occasional
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quote:
If I'm understanding the difference correctly, it's that Jesus is not the same being/substance. But he has always existed with God and was the means by which Creation occurred. (Could someone please confirm this for me?)
Exactly. Why non-LDS Christians continue to not understand this point is beyond me. There are differences to be sure, and even a few beyond just the being/substance issue. However, as for Jesus as Christ/God (although different than the Father)/Creator and other such things that any Christian (Protestant or Catholic) recognize as his role there really isn't any difference beyond what might be found between other denominations.
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Dagonee
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I think the differences are far bigger than you seem to, Occ, and generally much bigger than the differences between the denominations that accept the Nicene creed (which includes Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and the majority of Protestants). But it's still annoying to see someone repeatedly asserting that his knowledge of your faith is more accurate than your own. Reminds me of a certain comic book creator.
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Occasional
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What would you say are those differences? I know there are, and acknowledged that, but just wondering what you think they are.
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pooka
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Jesus is the creator. Jesus, according to the Restored Gospel (Mormon doctrine) is Jehovah, the Lord. Pentecostals believe Jesus is Jehovah and there is no god but Jehovah (If I understand this right). When I had this discussion with someone this summer, I prayed about it and gave much thought to Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane: Not my will, but thine be done. I before believed that Jesus was the begotten son of God and not God incarnate, because people I trusted told me so, but now I believe it for myself.

On the question of Muslims, I believe Muhammed founded a dispensation of the gospel, and that Islam is as correct as many Christian sects. But to call him a founding prophet is a little dicey, since the doctrine that arose was that he was the seal, or last of the prophets.

An extension of an insight that came to me on page 4 of this thread is found in the following conference address.

quote:
As we "talk [more] of Christ,"1 the gospel's doctrinal fulness will come out of obscurity. For example, some of our friends can't see how our Atonement beliefs relate to our beliefs about becoming more like our Heavenly Father. Others mistakenly think our Church is moving toward an understanding of the relationship between grace and works that draws on Protestant teachings. Such misconceptions prompt me to consider today the Restoration's unique Atonement doctrine.
quote:
But grace is not cheap. It is very expensive, even very dear. How much does this grace cost? Is it enough simply to believe in Christ? The man who found the pearl of great price gave "all that he had"12 for it. If we desire "all that [the] Father hath,"13 God asks all that we have. To qualify for such exquisite treasure, in whatever way is ours, we must give the way Christ gave—every drop He had: "How exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not."14 Paul said, "If so be that we suffer with him," we are "joint-heirs with Christ."15 All of His heart, all of our hearts.
I don't know that I'd use the word "qualify" that appears in this segment, but it is a very good summary.

P.S. Another thing I would add is that to be a joint-heir with Christ is not just to suffer with him, but to forgive with him, to love with him and to rejoice with him.

[ February 27, 2007, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: pooka ]

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pooka
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This kind of goes in a different direction, but I'm really into this quote from C.S. Lewis today. Of course C.S. Lewis wasn't Mormon, but he seems better able to explain a lot of our beliefs than we are:
quote:
"People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, 'If you keep a lot of rules, I'll reward you, and if you don't I'll do the other thing.' I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."

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Dagonee
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quote:
What would you say are those differences? I know there are, and acknowledged that, but just wondering what you think they are.
I think Rabbit's modified version of the creed highlights them. What I'm saying is that I think those differences are more signifcant than you seem to think they are.

In fact, the "one in being with the Father" difference, in and of itself, is hugely significant to me. Remember, it was considered so important 300 years after Christ's death that it was one of a very few aspects of the faith put into the creed - a fact that highlights the importance of the doctrine and it's centrality to the faith.

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Puppy
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From what I can tell, here are what seem to be the core differences and similarities between the Mormon concept of Christ and the traditional Christian concept of Christ. Just to provide a starting point for actually understanding one another:

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is uncreated, and has existed for all eternity. Traditionals also believe this. The difference is that Mormons believe that EVERYONE is uncreated, on the most fundamental level. Our belief in absolute free will is rooted in the fact that we believe that all people are uncreated, and therefore, their choices are determined neither by God, nor by chance, but by their own fundamental, eternal desires. This is a belief that, to my knowledge, is not shared by most other Christians. So, in Mormonism, Christ is eternal and uncreated, but this is not a feature that makes Him unique.

To Mormons, Christ is a completely separate being from God, but shares a spiritual unity with Him, much like the unity that all Christians strive to achieve with God and with one another. We believe that the Biblical scriptures which indicate a distinction between Christ and God are literal, while the scriptures that indicate their unity are meant in the sense I described above. Most Christians, on the other hand, accept the Trinitarian view described by the Nicene Creed, which emphasizes a literal unity.

Mormons do not view God's eternal, omnipotent, "godlike" state as a unique condition. It is perfectly possible for God to have all these common godlike attributes, AND for Christ to have them all, too, despite their being separate individuals. Thus we can say that Christ is "fully divine" without simultaneously suggesting that He is the same person as God. I get the impression, however, that most Christians see most of God's attributes as entirely unique to God, and thus, for an individual to be "completely divine", that individual would have to literally BE God. There isn't another way to do it. Am I right about that?

Essentially, Mormons separate the idea of being godlike in nature from the idea of actually BEING GOD (ie, being our Father in Heaven, the individual whom we worship). We actually consider human beings to be of the same basic nature as God (though immature and flawed), and to have much of the same potential. From a Mormon's perspective, having the potential to develop godlike attributes doesn't make us God's equals. God is God, and is worthy of worship, not because He is omniscient and omnipotent, but because He is our Father, to whom we owe everything we have. That is a unique position that no one else can ever fill. Thus, our belief that Christ possesses all of God's divinity does not make Christ a "second God" the way that polytheistic religions worship multiple gods. We will always worship only one God, our Father. Yet we recognize Christ as being fully divine, and possessing all of God's glory.

I assume I don't need to explain how that differs from traditional Christianity [Smile]

I guess my point is that, yes, obviously, we're different. We follow the same teachings, which were brought to us by the same Christ, and we have a lot in common, which in my mind, makes us all a part of the same Christian family. But the more esoteric concepts are very different from one another. That makes it easy for us to talk past each other, using the same words to describe very different ideas. There isn't anything insidious about this ... it's just part of the way language works.

So I'd appreciate it if some folks would give us the benefit of the doubt and actually try to seek clarification, rather than accusing us of deception simply because you don't understand what we're saying.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Through prayer and fasting, men who hold the responsibility for various congregations receive revelation for who to call to what duty.

Members of the church who will be affected by this person's call are asked to sustain or object to the call. This isn't like a vote; it is a show of support. A single objection is cause for investigation by those in authority.

I must say that the difference between this procedure, and appointment by a central authority with a right of veto by the congregation, seems to me rather thin. I'll grant you that it's not an election, as such; but I see no need to dignify this particular variant of administrative procedure with the name 'calling to duty', especially in the context of a discussion with people who do not believe that it is a god doing the calling.
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katharina
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That you do not wish to call it such does not change what it actually is.
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Puppy
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The reason to assert the use of inspiration, King, is to underscore the important belief that IF we claim that our Church belongs to God, THEN we need to base our leadership decisions on His will. Regardless of whether or not you accept that the inspiration we seek is actually being delivered, the fact that we seek it is critical to our theory of how our Church should be run.
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Dagonee
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quote:
But the more esoteric concepts are very different from one another.
I'm not sure why it bugs me so much, but this (and the suggestion that our beliefs don't differ that much) definitely touches a nerve with me.

I think it's because it strikes me as a form - a much milder and unintended form - of what Ron has been doing when he tells Mormons what they believe. The difference I've been focusing on and which you touched on in the post above isn't esoteric - it's in the creed, which makes it basic, fundamental, and central, at least from our perspective. One of my beliefs is that the nature of the relationship between God and Christ is profoundly important to my beliefs.

When the differences are made to appear less minor or when they are described as esoteric, it seems to say to me, "You don't really believe that the nature of the relationship between God and Christ is profoundly important to your beliefs."

I want to emphasize that I don't think you or Occ said anything wrong, rude, or offensive on this page. It bugs me, and that's as close to "why" as I can get right now. If you feel moved to consider this aspect when posting about the differences - not to say that the you consider the differences major or central, but to acknowledge that we do and clarify that you're not saying otherwise - I'd appreciate it.

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King of Men
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quote:
That you do not wish to call it such does not change what it actually is.
That you do wish to call it such does not change what it actually is.

However, I was not making an argument about what it really is, which would only take us into faith territory we've hashed out many times before; I was pointing out that for purposes of the discussion at hand, to say 'calling to duty' is not very useful. It doesn't tell Ron, or me, anything about what the procedure of your church actually is; and it is highly unlikely to convince either of us that your leadership is any more godly than what would be produced by elections, since we don't believe in your god. I can only conclude that you meant it for a trumpeting of territory, a way of saying "Our church has leaders chosen by God, and yours doesn't."

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katharina
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It isn't a trumpeting of anything - it is a description of what it is happening. Other religions don't even enter into it. More details can be had, if requested. Details were requested and supplied. That you want to disbelieve it is your perogative.
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Occasional
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Perhaps to be more accurate you should have used the word "choose" rather then "elect," without having to bring God into it. There is a distinction.
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Dagonee
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quote:
I was pointing out that for purposes of the discussion at hand, to say 'calling to duty' is not very useful. It doesn't tell Ron, or me, anything about what the procedure of your church actually is; and it is highly unlikely to convince either of us that your leadership is any more godly than what would be produced by elections, since we don't believe in your god.
Actually, it was a way of responding to the assertion by Ron that their prophet was elected rather than chosen by God. Scott clarified that the process referred to by Ron as "election" was actually the process by which they believed God chose their prophet.

Obviously, Ron disagrees with Scott and the others about whether the prophet was actually called by God. But there's a significant difference between the concept "the members choose the leaders" - a concept used by many churches who do not believe there is special divine guidance involved - and the concept of an inspired selection process that involves input from the members.

The underlying intent is very different, and it's this intent that is relevant to the theological discussion that was taking place.

A discussion, by the way, that presupposes the existence of God.

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Ron Lambert
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quote:
Originally posted by BaoQingTian:
I've been lurking this thread, but Ron, I'm really interested in your response to a question that has been asked of you by a couple people. You mentioned that all non-Mormon Christians have always condemned polygamy. In an earlier post, you referenced the unchanging nature of God. Being a Biblical literalist, how do you reconcile God's apparent sanctioning of polygamy in the Old Testament with Christian condemnation of the act?

BaoQingTian, the principle involved was stated by Jesus in regard to the issue of divorce in Matthew 19:3-9:
quote:
"The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
The Bible is not a public relations document, only setting before us good examples, and showing the heroes of faith only in a good light. The Bible tells what the Patriarchs did, including Abraham taking Hagar for a second wife, and then all the dire consequences that followed. It tells us what Solomon did, in marrying hundreds of wives and taking hundreds of concubines, and how by his own confession the many pagans among these women turned his heart away from faithfully following the Lord, until he recovered his senses in old age.

What God allows, especially what He allowed when the human population was low following the Flood, is not the same as what He desires. The Ten Commandments clearly spell out God's will. Although God said He chose to make His covenant with Abraham "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws," this does not mean Abraham never violated any of the precepts of God's law. Indeed the Bible says that "all have sinned." (Romans 3:23.) Hebrews 11:8-11 tells us that Abraham was accounted righteous by faith. God imputed obedience to Abraham because of the promised Seed, who would be the Righteousness for all humanity, and because Abraham demonstrated the sincere inclination of his heart to obey God. Had he lived long enough, he would have come into perfect compliance with God's Law, and like Enoch would have been translated to Heaven without seeing death. Abraham was required by God to offer his son on an altar, as a test of his faith. When Abraham showed he was willing, God said it was enough, and Abraham did not have to go through with it. Also Hebrews 11:11 tells us: "By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised." This is credited to Sarah, despite the fact that when she first heard God's promise that she would have a son in her old age, she laughed.

----------------------------------------------

Occasional (and others who spoke about the nature of Christ), I find it a little exasperating how apologists for Mormonism keep redefining words so they can say they mean the same thing we do when we talk about the nature of Christ. Most Christians (non-Mormon Trinitarians) hold that Jesus Christ is God. Same in substance with the Father (if substance is the right Word). When we say we believe Jesus is the fully divine Son of God, this is what we mean. This is what the Christian church has always meant throughout the ages. But Mormons apparently redefine what it means to be divine, and claim we are misrepresenting them when we say they don't believe Jesus is the fully divine Son of God.

How we understand this has an enormous impact on soteriology, the doctrine of how it is that Christ saves us, because no one less than God Himself can atone for our sins and redeem us. Anyone of less standing would not have sufficient merit even to save Himself, when the sins of humanity were imputed upon His head. Only One who is truly and completely and fully in every sense God, could show us how our sin is dealt with in the heart of God, that He must reject it and refuse to embrace it, and that the punishment for sin must be carried out or else God is no longer righteous, and that the transaction is carried out in God's own heart, where God Himself must submit Himself to unimaginable self-sacrifice in order to obtain our redeption. Jesus dying on the Cross is God sacrificing Himself for our salvation. Had the plan of salvation that was decided upon before the creation of earth specified that it would be the Father instead of the Son who would be Surety for our race and come to earth and live among us and die for our sins, the salvation history we have in the Bible would be exactly the same. But it was Jesus, the Son of God, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and who wrote the Ten Commandments on tables of stone with His own finger, and who became incarnated as a man, fully taking part in our human nature and becoming the New Adam for our race, and dying on the Cross to pay for our sins, and rising again to affirm our new heritage as a race redeemed in Him, with Him as the new Head of our race.

Jews balk at the idea of God being three and yet one. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons also back off from embracing the full historic doctrine of the Trinity. JW's are more blatant, in claiming Jesus was actually a created being upon whom the Father endoweed Sonship. Mormons try to avoid the extreme to which JW's go, but they still cannot bring themselves to fully embrace the idea of God truly being a trinity, three Persons who are totally equal and always have been, and yet One God.

Here is my personal probably very flawed attempt at explaining the Trinity: God is too big to fit in the universe, too eternal to fit within time. This God who exists outside of time and space we call the Father. God who permeats all of space and time, upholding every atom, quark, and second of time, who gives every living creature their very lives and keeps them living from moment to moment, we call the God, the Holy Spirit. God who projected Himself into space and time in the form first of an angel to be the Brother of angels, then as a man to be our Brother, and who joined Himself permanently to human nature to become our Saviour, we call God the Son.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Occasional (and others who spoke about the nature of Christ), I find it a little exasperating how apologists for Mormonism keep redefining words so they can say they mean the same thing we do when we talk about the nature of Christ.
None of them have said they mean the same thing when they talk about the nature of Christ. Occ EXPRESSLY confirmed on this very page that Mormons have a different belief about the nature of Christ. Rabbit made a pretty good post about it, and Puppy discussed it at length.

Not one Mormon on this thread has claimed that Mormon beliefs about the nature of Christ are the same as trinitarian beliefs about the nature of Christ. They have been expressly clear about this multiple times.

quote:
Most Christians (non-Mormon Trinitarians) hold that Jesus Christ is God. Same in substance with the Father (if substance* is the right Word). When we say we believe Jesus is the fully divine Son of God, this is what we mean.
The italicized portion is, indeed, what we (non-Mormon Trinitarians) believe about the nature of Christ. "The fully divine Son of God" without additional language does not fully express this belief - it is accurate yet incomplete. When we say it amongst ourselves, it is understood that the rest comes with it. But the language for the attributes not expressed in "the fully divine Son of God" is well-documented and easy to use. If you said, "Mormons do not believe that Christ is the fully divine Son of God who is one in being with Him" you would be accurate.

This is basic, basic stuff and at this point it looks as if you are trying to be offensive.

*It's the right word for a very particular usage of substance. What most people think of "substance" today would be inaccurate.

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Puppy
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quote:
I'm not sure why it bugs me so much, but this (and the suggestion that our beliefs don't differ that much) definitely touches a nerve with me.
Sorry, Dag ... I wasn't trying to say that the differences are unimportant. In fact, I think that, while it isn't discussed all that much, the fact that Mormons consider all people to be uncreated is a huge deal that makes us unique among Christians, and is a big part of why the faith resonates with me. I have trouble conceiving of another way to view the origin of man that doesn't, in one way or another, invalidate our free will.

BUT, while on a spiritual and philisophical level, the difference is critical, on a "let's get along and live in the same country together, and elect each other to political office" level, the day-to-day teachings of Christ are far more important, in my estimation. And on that score, we're largely in agreement about what is right and what is wrong. That's the main reason I was downplaying the difference.

I understand why acceptance of the creeds would be critical to someone who views the first several centuries of traditional Christianity as a developmental period that culminated in the creation of their religion. For someone outside your faith to come in and say, "I accept everything up to THIS point, but then nothing afterwards," probably sounds weirdly invalid, like they're just trying to cherry-pcik their favorite beliefs, and manufacture something that doesn't include much of what you consider to be part of the foundation of Christianity.

But then, at the same time, you have to understand OUR position ... that the traditional Christian church has changed over time, and a lot of doctrine was in flux in the centuries before the creeds. To us, it seems as though there are many different directions that Christianity could potentially have gone in the years following the ascension of Christ, and the fact that the one nailed down in the Nicene Creed became the successful one doesn't necessarily make it the only possible version of Christianity. We see the idea of Christianity as having started much earlier, and as having encompassed a broader range of doctrines in the intervening years. So for us to reach back in time, and attempt to branch from an earlier, pre-creed point in Christian history seems perfectly valid from our perspective. We think that if the people following Christ's teachings in 70 AD were Christian, then we are also Christian, even though neither of us has ever recognized the Nicene Creed [Smile]

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dkw
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Puppy, while I agree with almost everything in your post, I'm with Dagonee in his distaste for the word "esoteric." The Creator/Creation distinction and monotheism and homoousia are not esoteria to creedal Christianity, they are absolutely central foundational beliefs.

It's roughly equivalent to saying that since we all believe that Joseph Smith lived in New York, wrote (or at least transcribed) the Book of Mormon and founded the LDS church we believe basically the same thing, excepting that Mormons believe he was a prophet of God and non-Mormons don't.

Edit: wrote this before your last post.

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Dagonee
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Some misconceptions need to be cleared up, Puppy:

quote:
I understand why acceptance of the creeds would be critical to someone who views the first several centuries of traditional Christianity as a developmental period that culminated in the creation of their religion.
We don't consider those centuries "developmental" in the sense you seem to mean. There were no new doctrines created at Nicea. Existing doctrines, in existence and followed from the time of Christ, were expressed and formally recorded.

quote:
We see the idea of Christianity as having started much earlier, and as having encompassed a broader range of doctrines in the intervening years.
We see the Christian Church as being founded on Pentacost (edit: this might be more emphasized among Catholics), with Christianity having started even earlier. When you say you see Christianity having started much earlier, do you mean prior to the incarnation? If you don't, then this is inaccurate insofar as it deals with our beliefs.

(no longer clearing up misconceptions)

quote:
So for us to reach back in time, and attempt to branch from an earlier, pre-creed point in Christian history seems perfectly valid from our perspective.
From our perspective, there is no pre-creed point in Christian history except in the mundane sense that it hadn't been written yet. All of Christian history is post-beliefs-embodied-in-the-creed, even though 300+ years predate the authoring of it.

quote:
We think that if the people following Christ's teachings in 70 AD were Christian, then we are also Christian, even though neither of us has ever recognized the Nicene Creed
And we think that the people following Christ's teachings in 70 AD believed everything expressed in the Nicene Creed.
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Puppy
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quote:
Mormons try to avoid the extreme to which JW's go, but they still cannot bring themselves to fully embrace the idea of God truly being a trinity, three Persons who are totally equal and always have been, and yet One God.
That's an interesting way to express that idea. It sounds almost like your saying that Mormons "really" know that you're right about the Trinity, but for some reason, we're unwilling to believe it, despite its obvious truth.

I'm sure you can imagine that this isn't how we see it, from our perspective [Smile] To us, it seems as though you have accepted an idea that is both counterintuitive and unnecessary, given the text of the scriptures. The Trinity is one way to reconcile some of the apparent contradictions about God in scripture, but it isn't the only way, and it isn't even the simplest way. It's just the way that some of our Christian brethren have chosen to interpret the word of God.

However, looking at the scriptures themselves, and our own sources, we find a different explanation that, to us, seems not only more true (in terms of generating faith), but also more plausible (in terms of hanging together and making sense to us, philisophically).

Obviously, everyone is different, and there is nothing wrong with the fact that you and I have been better persuaded by different sets of ideas. While my beliefs resonate very strongly with me, I can accept the fact that yours resonate with you, and that you aren't likely to find my beliefs terribly persuasive.

I do wish, however, that you could afford my people a bit more respect when it comes to the way we view and express ourselves about Christianity. We are doing our best to be clear, and to bridge the gap between our faiths, but this isn't an easy task. Especially when the other side utterly denies us the benefit of the doubt.

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Puppy
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quote:
And we think that the people following Christ's teachings in 70 AD believed everything expressed in the Nicene Creed.
Okay, I think we've hit upon something, then. THIS is probably the source of our disagreement. Mormons typically believe that there was a lot of variance of opinion among Christians about the unity of Christ with God, and other core doctrines, and we view the Council at Nicaea as being the moment in history at which belief in the Trinity was formalized, and the discussion was finally settled for the first time. Thus, when we consider ourselves to have branched off at an earlier point, what we're suggesting is that we accept a version of early Christianity in which the doctrine formalized in the Nicene Creed was not universally believed, and in which many (if not most) Christians believed things that were more compatible with our doctrine.
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BlackBlade
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Ron: If polygamy was universally wrong according to the law, why is there not statue saying so within the law itself? I myself do not agree with your interpretation of Jesus' point in the scripture you quoted. He seems to be discussing divorce or in their terminology "Putting away wives" unjustly, rather then saying, you may have one but no more. If you marry a second wife you do not "put away" your first wife, you continue to love her and ideally she loves you just as much.

Your explanation does not mesh very well in light of 2 Samuel 12:7-9 where Nathan rebukes David for setting Uriah the Hittite up to die.

"7 ...Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. (in other words, more of what he had already been given)
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon."

Nathan does not condemn David for polygamy, in fact he states that God has awarded David his wives.

Solomon did not sin in marrying many wives until he started marrying wives from the nations of Canaan.

-----

Mormons completely accept the Godship and divine nature of Jesus Christ. We believe he is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the one who wrote the 10 commandments. He created this earth. He literally took upon himself a human body and lived among us, he was begotten by "His father."

quote:

Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons also back off from embracing the full historic doctrine of the Trinity.

Well from our perspective you are drawing conclusions inappropriately from Christ's simple admission that He and "The Father" are One. One being one in purpose and of one mind. Two perfect beings would undoubtedly draw completely identical conclusions from the same set of knowledge, and could quite accurately be described, "As One."

We reject the "One in substance" insofar as it means they are the same being; of the same substance is completely acceptable. The problem Mormons have with the traditional doctrine of the trinity is,

1: We believe our interpretation is the more traditional and more correct, and that the Nicean creed is a departure from that original, true doctrine.

2: Joseph Smith not only stated that he saw two distinct personages in his first vision, he received subsequent revelations from Christ where He literally spells out the unified but distinct nature of the 3 beings that comprise the godhead.

Mormons are not "balking" or "backing off from embracing the full doctrine." We simply believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and were we to accept your doctrines, we must by necessity reject Joseph Smith as a bone fide prophet of God. Any Mormon who receives a testimony of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon MUST reject the doctrine of the trinity as you have described it.

But I will agree that I do not think it is correct for Mormons to say, "We REALLY believe the same thing!" It does our entire church a disservice, as we believe God formed it, so from our perspective God must have thought our differences were great enough to warrant creating a new church. If differences were slight he could have simply operated within an existing church and reformed it.

I think what Mormons WANT is for other Christians to stop setting us apart as some sort of cult, or non Christian religion. We earnestly believe in Jesus Christ, just as much as you do. And often other Christians try to label us as, "Non Christians" as a way to undermine our position. "Your church is not true because it is not Christian." "You do not really believe in salvation through Christ, you believe you need Joseph Smith."

If Mormons are not Christians, what are we? Our church belongs to Christ, we worship Christ, we testify of Christ, we accept no substitutes for Christ, what then is our church? What is our religion if not Christ? If then it is Christ, do we need another word to describe it so that Christian does not "lose" its meaning?

"Smithian Christians?"
"Neo Christians?"
"Reformist Christians?"

There are good reasons why we balk at not being identified as Christians. If we are not Christ's, then to who do we belong?

edited for clarity and grammar.

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Dagonee
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Puppy, to clarify:

I'm not saying there wasn't dissension amongst early Christians. But there was an authoritative Church body for resolving such conflicts and such resolution represented accepted and established doctrine. The Council of Jerusalem in Acts is the first example of this.

In one sense Nicea did "settle" the trinity issue. However, the belief is that this was a positive statement of what the beliefs already were in the face of dissension - not that there was no dissension.

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Ron Lambert
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Blackblade, the Bible frequently sets forth things involving God in the sometimes quaint manner and custom of common human speech. Saying God gave or would give David multiple wives is simply the way the prophet chose to work it. But what God allows is not necessarily the ideal tht He would prefer.

The best example I can give involves the death of King Saul, as reported in 1 Chronicles 10:

Verse 4 says Saul killed himself: "Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it."


Verse 11 implies the Philistines killed Saul: "And when all Jabeshgilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul...."

Verses 13-14 say that the Lord killed Saul: "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse."

All three statements, of course, are true in their own way. Saul literally killed Himself. The Philistines caused his death in a more general sense. And God "slew him." This latter shows us that God takes responsibility for the things that He allows, even if it is not His fault, and not necesarily what He would prefer.

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katharina
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Ron, are you saying that the old testament prophets did not, in fact, have more than one wife? or if they did, it was against the Lord's wishes?
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Ron Lambert
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No katharina, I am saying that people in the Old Testament, even patriarchs and prophets, did not always do things the way God would have preferred. And though God may have indulged them in certain situations, they still suffered the consequences.

There is an ancient Chinese system of writing using pictographs. The pictograph for a garden is a cross-hatch design. The pictograph for home is a garden with two stick figures in it, a man and a woman. The pictograph for unhappiness shows a garden with a man and two women in it. [Smile]

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dkw
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I'm having a hard time of thinking of any OT prohphet that is recorded as having more than one wife. Patriarchs, yes; kings, yes. Is this an example of our differing use of the word "prophet" again?
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Occasional
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What does a Chinese pictograph have to do with the Bible or God?
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katharina
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quote:
that people in the Old Testament, even patriarchs and prophets, did not always do things the way God would have preferred.
Are you saying that when the old testament prophets (patriarchs) had more than one wife, they went against what God preferred?
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BlackBlade
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Ron: Thats pretty shaky ground if you ask me. God is listing all the things He has done for David and then he interjects something he "allowed" in the middle and continues listing more gifts?

God most certainly DID slay Saul in that Saul had descended into sin and God no longer protected nor gave him advice as to what to do. God allowed Saul to get himself in a position where the Philistines could kill him. It is exactly the same as how David "slew" Uriah. Neither David nor God delivered the stroke, they both allowed circumstance to accomplish their aims.

quote:
Saying God gave or would give David multiple wives is simply the way the prophet chose to work it.
And who are you to judge how the prophet "meant" to phrase it? I could just as easily argue that the prophet was directly saying that David had been given so much at God's hands and had spit in God's face figuratively by slaying Uriah so he could marry wife. The parable of the ewe lamb that Nathan preceded these comments with further describes a situation where David has been given much by God

If it was not right for David to take multiple wives God would most likely have commanded David not to as plenty of righteous men were monogamous. David in his early days was very open to listening to God, why should we assume that God simply understands cultural differences and lets things slide? I know of no culture where God has been so accommodating, if I remember he is no respecter of persons.

Again where in the law can you identify a rule against polygamy?

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
Puppy, to clarify:

I'm not saying there wasn't dissension amongst early Christians. But there was an authoritative Church body for resolving such conflicts and such resolution represented accepted and established doctrine. The Council of Jerusalem in Acts is the first example of this.

In one sense Nicea did "settle" the trinity issue. However, the belief is that this was a positive statement of what the beliefs already were in the face of dissension - not that there was no dissension.

This is a good clarification. I have been reading along and up til a couple of posts have been nodding along, "Oh good. Dag's got it covered."

My understanding is that, once Christianity became the "state religion" it became important to write down and codify our beliefs and that the beliefs laid down in the creed, especially regarding the nature of God/Christ. But I don't want to minimize that there was dissent. Bishops did have to be convinced. The authoritive church body for establishing doctrine meant a lot of discussion and consensus building. Dagonee is correct that the creed when he states that the Council at Nicea recorded what the Church already believed and even more correct when he notes that coming to an agreement about what that meant was not without controversy.

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Ron Lambert
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Blackblade, when knowledge of God has become darkened, and God seeks to lead a people back into a full appreciation of His truth, He never demands of them total reform all at once. He leads them step by step, as they are able, saying, "Today this is the truth you must focus upon. Tomorrow some other truth will become a testing truth to reveal your faithfulness to Me."

God did not say anything to Abraham about taking the pagan idols with him when He started out for the Promised Land. But later He did encourage various people to put away their idols, and finally He absolutely required this of Israel, allowing them to be carried away captive because of their continued refusal to put all the vestiges of idolatry away from them.

The seventh commandment says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Exodus 20:14)

How do you define adultery?

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Dagonee
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quote:
This is a good clarification. I have been reading along and up til a couple of posts have been nodding along, "Oh good. Dag's got it covered."
I didn't realize that my 4:08 post could be taken to mean everyone agreed about everything until Puppy's last post.

This is why precision is important!

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Amanecer
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quote:
All non-Mormon Christians have always condemned polygamy
This is false. There are many Christian Polygamy sects. Here's an example. The numbers don't compare to Mormon Polygamy sects, but they certainly exist.
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katharina
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Ron, in order to say that polygamy has always been disapproved of by God, you have to stretch quite a few things in the Bible, at the very least.
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kmbboots
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I'm a non-Mormon Christian and I don't condemn polygamy. Under the right circumstances.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Blackblade, when knowledge of God has become darkened, and God seeks to lead a people back into a full appreciation of His truth, He never demands of them total reform all at once. He leads them step by step, as they are able, saying, "Today this is the truth you must focus upon. Tomorrow some other truth will become a testing truth to reveal your faithfulness to Me."

God did not say anything to Abraham about taking the pagan idols with him when He started out for the Promised Land. But later He did encourage various people to put away their idols, and finally He absolutely required this of Israel, allowing them to be carried away captive because of their continued refusal to put all the vestiges of idolatry away from them.

The seventh commandment says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Exodus 20:14)

How do you define adultery?

1: Could you cite where Abraham took his idols with him? I have no recollection of this. I do agree that God reveals his word gradually as the full import would be too much for most people. But God in your scripture said, "Moses" allowed you to put away your wives, but not "God." God distanced himself from saying he ever sanctioned or even allowed divorce as the Jews were then and previously doing it.

2: Adultery? Thats a difficult question, as you may or may not separate fornication from adultery. But engaging in sexual intercourse with somebody who is not your lawfully wedded wife/husband most likely constitutes adultery. If neither party is married I call it fornication. Adultery to me is more serious then fornication.

Hence if a man divorces his wife and marries another woman, outside of his wife fornicating with another man, he commits adultery in the eyes of God and His laws. The 2nd woman he has sex with is also committing adultery as the man in the eyes of God and His laws is still married to the first woman, even if civilly the divorce has taken place.

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pooka
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I think the most dangerous misconceptions for Mitt Romney are those held by Mormons about themselves.
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Ron Lambert
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BlackBlade, I have been unable to locate a text that indicates Abram took with him out of his father Terah's house some household idols. There is an occasional mention that such existed, such as when Jacob told his household to get rid of them: "Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you....And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand...." (Genesis 35:2, 4) There is an earlier mention of household idols in Genesis 31:19: "And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's." Jacob said nothing about these idols for some time, until he finally told his household to put them away.
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Scott R
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quote:
Jacob said nothing about these idols for some time, until he finally told his household to put them away.
There may be more than just one reason for this, you know.
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Puppy
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quote:
I think the most dangerous misconceptions for Mitt Romney are those held by Mormons about themselves.
Not sure what this meant, pook.
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BlackBlade
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1: Jacob telling his household to put away their strange Gods is certainly well within moral grounds. It does not say Jacob worshiped the idols, and its doubtful that his man/woman servants were not Canaanites and they certainly had idols. I am sure Abraham's "household" probably has NO overlap with Jacob's "household."

2: Again, Rachael's motives for taking the images are not given any explanation in the biblical account. Perhaps she knew by taking them her father would pursue Jacob and they would be forced to reconcile their differences. Lets say she took them with the intent of worshiping them when Jacob took her home, does that mean Jacob himself was worshiping idols?

Idolatry (idol worship, not laziness) is given ALOT of treatment in the old testament. God did not tolerate it at all from the beginning. It may interest you that in the extended account of Abraham's life that Mormons accept, it is revealed that Abraham was almost sacrificed by his own father to the pagan idols of Egypt, and that God saved him and slew the priest the was poised to slay Abraham. It was from there that Abraham wandered until he reached Canaan. I was always interested that Abraham took his father with him even after that event, though ultimately according to the account Terah temporarily repents of his wickedness but turns back to idol worship and abandons Abraham.

The fact Abraham himself was nearly sacrificed by his own father to idols adds a powerful dynamic to when Abraham himself was asked by the one and true God to sacrifice his own son.

Ron, perhaps we should focus on polygamy's treatment in the Old and New testament. We already agree that God slowly reveals his word, but my point was that God still has some standards that have always been in force. Idol worship has never been tolerated amongst his people.

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Mr.Intel
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I just wanted to add something to the thread that Puppy/Dagonee/et al were discussing regarding the Nicaean Creed. Fair disclosure: I am a practicing Mormon.

Mormon doctrine claims that after Christ was resurrected, he left his kingdom (church) in the charge of Peter (with the help of the other Apostles). It further attests that all of the Apostles were killed and that when they died, the kingdom that Christ established -- the organization of the church was killed with them. Finally, (and here is the part that is missing from all the discussion so far) Christ gave specific authority to his Apostles to govern the church. This authority is called by Mormons "The Priesthood".

The Priesthood, according to Mormon belief, is the defining aspect of our creed. To quote the current president of the church, “[The priesthood] is a delegation of divine authority, different from all other powers and authorities on the face of the earth. … It is the only power on the earth that reaches beyond the veil of death. … Without it there could be a church in name only, [a church] lacking authority to administer in the things of God.”

So, it is the lack of priesthood at Nicaea that makes the Creed less than inspired. It doesn't matter what they decided should be included or how they came about it. Even in an historical/fact gathering capacity, they simply didn't have the authority to speak for God. Therefore, the Nicaean Creed holds no water for Mormons because it happened during the "Apostasy" wherein there was a famine in the land "of hearing the words of the Lord".

Non-Mormon Christians seem to believe otherwise. They (according to my discussions with friends and relatives of various sects) believe that the priesthood is a body of inspired men/women that are called by God to teach His word. On its face, it sounds remarkably like Mormon belief. But in practice, the calling of Mormon leaders is done by Articles of Faith "the laying on of hands by those who are in authority" (traceable back to Christ). For non-Mormon Christians, I believe, calling in the ministry is obtained by seeking God's will and then devoting time and effort to gospel study (correct me if I am wrong). The distinction here is not that what non-Mormon Christians are doing wrong, but that one gives people the authority to act in the name of God and the other gives people a greater closeness to God. This distinction is important, as the speaker in the first link I gave (Elder Jeffery R. Holland) said, "Clearly, acting with divine authority requires more than mere social contract. It cannot be generated by theological training or a commission from the congregation. No, in the authorized work of God there has to be power greater than that already possessed by the people in the pews or in the streets or in the seminaries—a fact that many honest religious seekers had known and openly acknowledged for generations leading up to the Restoration."

The defining difference between Mormons and non-Mormon Christians (and the one that will likely never be aired in a political debate) is divine authority.

Edited to clean up some punctuation issues.

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Dagonee
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Mr.Intel, you are very mistaken concerning your characterization of non-Mormon Christians and callings to ministry, especially in the contention that Mormon beliefs regarding "'the laying on of hands by those who are in authority' (traceable back to Christ)." For example, many Christians believe in the Apostolic Succession.

quote:
The Catholic Church (including its rites), Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Independent Catholic, Anglican Communion and some others hold that apostolic succession is maintained through the consecration of their bishops in unbroken personal succession back to the apostles. In Catholic and Orthodox theology, the unbrokenness of apostolic succession is significant because of Jesus Christ's promise that the "gates of hell" [2] would not prevail against the Church, and his promise that he himself would be with the apostles to "the end of the age".[3] According to this interpretation, a complete disruption or end of such apostolic succession would mean that these promises were not kept as would an apostolic succession which, while formally intact, completely abandoned the teachings of the Apostles and their immediate successors; as, for example, if all the bishops of the world agreed to abrogate the Nicene Creed or to repudiate the Bible.

Both Orthodox and Catholics believe that each of their teachings today is the same as or is in essential harmony with the teaching of the first apostles, although each might deny this about the other, at least where the teachings of each are in conflict. This form of the doctrine was formulated by Irenaeus of Lyons in the second century, in response to certain Gnostics. These Gnostics claimed that Christ or the Apostles passed on some teachings secretly, or that there were some secret apostles, and that they (the Gnostics) were passing on these otherwise secret teachings. Irenaeus responded that the identity of the original Apostles was well known, as was the main content of their teaching and the identity of the apostles' successors. Therefore, anyone teaching something contrary to what was known to be apostolic teaching was not, in any sense, a successor to the Apostles or to Christ.

Roman Catholics recognize the validity of the apostolic successions of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Old Catholic, and some Independent Catholic Churches. The Eastern Orthodox do not recognize Roman Catholics nor any other group as having Apostolic Succession, examples of economia such as the reception of Catholic priests by "vesting" rather than by re-ordination, notwithstanding.

Further, ecumenical councils such as the Nicean Council are not seen as "a body of inspired men/women that are called by God to teach His word." They are seen by Catholics as possessing infalliable authority given by Christ himself.

I'm sure those denominations not mentioned here have their own views on the authority of such councils, but I doubt your summary is accurate for most of them, either.

So, it is the lack of apostolic succession and the rejection of the line of authority from Christ through the Apostles, the Bishops at Nicea, and subsequent person by person succession lasting through today that makes the Mormon teachings on this subject less than inspired.

This just goes to show that the misunderstandings aren't one way.

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katharina
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Fun facts I learned last night:

In 1904, Reed Smoot (how's that for a Mormon name) was elected to the Senate. The Senate was not going to let him take his seat because he was Mormon and some Mormons were still practicing polygamy, although Reed Smoot in particular did not. President Teddy Roosevelt intervened and Reed Smoot took his seat. He was an apostle at the time. He was in the Senate for the next thirty years.

Yep, there was a SENATOR who was a member of the QUORUM OF THE TWELVE at the same time. Forget about whether or not he gave credence to the leaders back in Salt Lake - he WAS one of the leaders back in Salt Lake.

Incidentally, he used to go back to Utah to campaign for the Republicans, which upset some of the other apostles such as Lorenzo Snow because they were Democrats. Which is understandable. Considering there was about thirty years of this, Matt thinks this is part of where the idea that to be a good Mormon one must be a Republican came from. I can see how that would appear.

B.H. Roberts, a great Mormon theologian (wrote all sorts of books in the last part of the nineteenth century) was a Democrat and he was elected to the House of Representatives from Utah. The House did not let him take his seat because he was Mormon. That stuck, and Roberts was sent back to Utah. B.H. Roberts was practicing polygamy at the time, so considering the laws at the time, I kind of think the House had a point

[ February 28, 2007, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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sweetbaboo
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I just wanted to say that I'm learning alot from this discussion and I appreciate the way that it is taking place.
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Dagonee
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Constitutional side note: the Senate and House have essentially unfettered authority to refuse to seat members. Even if it is unconstitutional to do so because of religion,* the courts have said there is no remedy for such a violation. That is, the House could get away with this today and nothing short of political action could stop them.

*There's good reason to think that the religious tests clause might prohibit this. However, since there's no remedy, there's no precedent. Without question, it would be grossly violative of the spirit of the Constitution.

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