Ask a Mormon, Part 4

Eran of Arcadia

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Well, when we speak of conversion it's not something one person can do to another - someone who is converted is converted themselves, through the Holy Ghost.

But yes, as a missionary, some of the people I taught joined the Church.
 
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We believe this (we believe that they are brothers in the same sense that we are all brothers and sisters of both of them) but again, don't see the need to bring it up. if people ask, we tell them.

Why? Does the Bible ANYWHERE support this?

Also, why do you believe in multiple Gods (Even if they aren't important) when the Bible says there is only one?

Also, do you consider God the Father omnipotent?
 

Eran of Arcadia

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Why? Does the Bible ANYWHERE support this?

Well, we have never claimed that all of our doctrine is derived from the Bible. But there is as far as I know nothing in the Bible that contradicts this.

Also, why do you believe in multiple Gods (Even if they aren't important) when the Bible says there is only one?

The Bible actually says (multiple times) that we should have no other gods BEFORE God; and we don't.

Also, do you consider God the Father omnipotent?

He is all-powerful in the sense that anything that can be done, can be done by Him, but that doesn't include everything imaginable.
 

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Are you saved? In my talks with a Mormon, he mentioned salvation as an event that hasn't happened yet. (He might have misspoke.) Can you detail a bit your beliefs concerning justification (who does it apply to), salvation (what exactly it is), and glorification? Which are events and which are processes? When do they occur? Thanks.

My personal belief is that Mormonism is fabricated and that part of its appeal is that difficult questions are answered. When a loved one is lost, you have a method to free them from spirit prison. All children go to celestial heaven. That's comforting. But the answers only lead to more questions. How do you reconcile all children going to heaven with the effect that most children would then be better off dead?
 

Eran of Arcadia

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Are you saved? In my talks with a Mormon, he mentioned salvation as an event that hasn't happened yet. (He might have misspoke.) Can you detail a bit your beliefs concerning justification (who does it apply to), salvation (what exactly it is), and glorification? Which are events and which are processes? When do they occur? Thanks.

Well, within Mormonism salvation can actually refer to lots of things, but in this case he was presumably referring to "salvation from the effects of death and sin", ie final resurrection and judgment, which of course hasn't happened yet. And no one's position, while on earth, is so secure that they can say they are guaranteed salvation, regardless of any future actions.

My personal belief is that Mormonism is fabricated

Sure, all that really means is that you aren't a Mormon.

and that part of its appeal is that difficult questions are answered.

Well, why not? That's part of its appeal to me - it doesn't have all the answers, but it has a lot of answers to a lot of tricky questions, that make sense to me.

But the answers only lead to more questions.

As many answers do . . .

How do you reconcile all children going to heaven with the effect that most children would then be better off dead?

Well, I am honestly not, myself, entirely sure how all of that works. But life is more than just a test, it is simultaneously a lesson. It isn't just a matter of sorting people into those who can get into heaven and those who can't, life itself changes us, helps us to grow and progress. Now, this growth can obviously occur on the other side, but presumably the process is different.
 

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Well, within Mormonism salvation can actually refer to lots of things, but in this case he was presumably referring to "salvation from the effects of death and sin", ie final resurrection and judgment, which of course hasn't happened yet. And no one's position, while on earth, is so secure that they can say they are guaranteed salvation, regardless of any future actions.

The notion that salvation is a future thing is actually a key element of at least some strands in the New Testament. If you read the letters of Paul you'll notice that he never talks about people as being already saved - he always thinks of salvation as something future. The rubric is: because you have been crucified with Christ, you will be raised with him, and salvation always seems to refer to the latter - at least for Paul.

If I may ask a question: I'm interested in what Mormons basically believe about God, what it means to say that God is divine, and where they think God came from. I didn't realise until recently that they have such a distinctive version of theism. As I understand it, Mormons believe that God is not fundamentally different from human beings, and is basically the same kind of thing, albeit on a larger scale. Is this correct? If so, what in your view are the basic similarities and differences between the Mormon understanding of God and traditional theism, and where did the differences come from?

(Apologies if this has already been discussed - feel free to give me a link.)
 

Eran of Arcadia

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If I may ask a question: I'm interested in what Mormons basically believe about God, what it means to say that God is divine, and where they think God came from. I didn't realise until recently that they have such a distinctive version of theism. As I understand it, Mormons believe that God is not fundamentally different from human beings, and is basically the same kind of thing, albeit on a larger scale. Is this correct? If so, what in your view are the basic similarities and differences between the Mormon understanding of God and traditional theism, and where did the differences come from?

(Apologies if this has already been discussed - feel free to give me a link.)

Well, I would say it is close to being correct. The difference in nature between God the Father and humans is a quantitative one, not a qualitative one - it's just a really, really big quantity. God is what humans can become, although they can really only ever become so through His grace - it's not something we have even the remotest ability of doing ourselves (which raises some ontological questions which I admit I am not really equipped to answer . . . )

What does it mean to be divine? Well, that's a good question. Applying it specifically to our case, it means that God's traits are perfect examples of those traits - He is perfectly morally good, so everything He does is intended to produce the outcome that is the greatest good (we, lacking His knowledge, may not recognize it as such). He has perfect knowledge - whether that means He actually knows how the future will unfold exactly, or whether that just means He can predict what will happen (if Person A does X, Y will result; if Person A does W, Z will result, etc.) which combined with His ability to influence events on Earth means that he can tell us what is actually going to happen. He is perfectly powerful - anything that can be done, He can do; there are some things he is not capable of doing, but that just means that the nature of the universe is such that those things can't be done by anyone.

I don't know the origin of the differences in belief between us and mainstream Christianity. I of course would attribute our beliefs to revelation - we believe this because that's what God told us to believe. Obviously non-Mormons wouldn't accept that as a useful answer, but I have never speculated on where Mormonism would have come from if it isn't what it claims to be. As for mainstream Christianity, we tend to attribute anything in it we don't like to Greek influence. I am sure you are better equipped than me to determine how accurate that claim is . . .
 

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Well, within Mormonism salvation can actually refer to lots of things, but in this case he was presumably referring to "salvation from the effects of death and sin", ie final resurrection and judgment, which of course hasn't happened yet. And no one's position, while on earth, is so secure that they can say they are guaranteed salvation, regardless of any future actions.
Hmm... During my discussions with the Elders, my biggest question was, "Where is the good news?" For salvation, you have to believe, "do the best you can do" here on Earth, perform ordinances, marry (even for all eternity!), etc... - you've traded the freedom of the gospel for false assurances and a life of slavery to law. (The assurances are false not (necessarily) by accuracy but by the nature of not knowing future events, thus your salvation is unknown, subject in part to your conditions at your death.) A more accurate, in my estimation, view of salvation would be that of a lost sheep, where you are the lost sheep and the Shepherd is Jesus. When you are reconciled to God (justified through faith), you have been found by the Shepherd. You haven't made it back to the pasture yet, but in the prescense of the Good Shepherd there is no doubt you will.

Consider this:

18 And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. D&C 42:18

What should happen to a Mormon who kills one self?

Also, why does Jesus use KJV english in revelations to John Smith? Does he switch to more modern english for revelations today?
 

Eran of Arcadia

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Hmm... During my discussions with the Elders, my biggest question was, "Where is the good news?" For salvation, you have to believe, "do the best you can do" here on Earth, perform ordinances, marry (even for all eternity!), etc... - you've traded the freedom of the gospel for false assurances and a life of slavery to law.

I don't see how it is a bad thing to do the best one can while on earth, and am unaware of any Christian religion that says that neither faith nor works are part of salvation. As for that last sentence, I have no idea how that is supposed to apply to Mormonism.

(The assurances are false not (necessarily) by accuracy but by the nature of not knowing future events, thus your salvation is unknown, subject in part to your conditions at your death.)

Huh?

A more accurate, in my estimation, view of salvation would be that of a lost sheep, where you are the lost sheep and the Shepherd is Jesus. When you are reconciled to God (justified through faith), you have been found by the Shepherd. You haven't made it back to the pasture yet, but in the prescense of the Good Shepherd there is no doubt you will.

Well, there are many analogies or metaphors that can be used to describe salvation, some better than others. It is obvious that you don't see salvation in quite the same terms we do, as I said there is no point in anyone's life where their salvation (as in, returning to spend eternity in the presence of God) is guaranteed regardless of what they do.

Consider this:

What should happen to a Mormon who kills one self?

That depends on the circumstances under which he does it.

Also, why does Jesus use KJV english in revelations to John Smith? Does he switch to more modern english for revelations today?

The Lord used the KJV because that was what Joseph Smith was most familiar with. We continue to use the KJV mostly because of tradition - we recognize that no translation is going to be perfect - and thus if God is going to quote the Bible to a prophet, He will use the version the prophet uses.
 

Stile

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I don't see how it is a bad thing to do the best one can while on earth, and am unaware of any Christian religion that says that neither faith nor works are part of salvation. As for that last sentence, I have no idea how that is supposed to apply to Mormonism.
Doing the best you can is good; having your salvation depend on it is bad. Faith (perhaps evidenced by works) required for salvation is good; faith, works, ordinances, and law required for salvation is no salvation at all. I showed one example of law given in your scripture. There are others. Later, Jesus says adultery will actually result in destruction. That is what I mean.

I was trying to differentiate false assurance (assurance for receiving x, when you are not actually assured of receiving x, even though x is presumed to be real) from what might be described fake assurance (assurance for receiving x, when you are not assured because x is a fiction).

That depends on the circumstances under which he does it.
I didn't think circumstances would be that crucial. Let's say he fell off a roof, broke his back, and didn't want to live if he couldn't walk. He used a bullet. What kind of circumstances do you think would affect the judgement?

The Lord used the KJV because that was what Joseph Smith was most familiar with. We continue to use the KJV mostly because of tradition - we recognize that no translation is going to be perfect - and thus if God is going to quote the Bible to a prophet, He will use the version the prophet uses.
I didn't mean Bible quotes, I meant original prophecy full of "verily" and "ye". I would expect conversational language to be the base for that, not the Bible choice. I just found it odd.
 

Eran of Arcadia

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Doing the best you can is good; having your salvation depend on it is bad. Faith (perhaps evidenced by works) required for salvation is good; faith, works, ordinances, and law required for salvation is no salvation at all. I showed one example of law given in your scripture. There are others. Later, Jesus says adultery will actually result in destruction. That is what I mean.

Salvation comes because of the Atonement of Christ; I am unaware of any Christian religion that doesn't consider it to be conditional on faith and/or works. So it is with us, we don't earn salvation, but considering that salvation consists partially of "growing and progressing and reaching one's divine potential", I don't see how "doing good things" is in any way unnecessary.

I was trying to differentiate false assurance (assurance for receiving x, when you are not actually assured of receiving x, even though x is presumed to be real) from what might be described fake assurance (assurance for receiving x, when you are not assured because x is a fiction).

What does that have to do with this, though?

I didn't think circumstances would be that crucial. Let's say he fell off a roof, broke his back, and didn't want to live if he couldn't walk. He used a bullet. What kind of circumstances do you think would affect the judgement?

Well, pain and despair tend to affect people's judgments.

I didn't mean Bible quotes, I meant original prophecy full of "verily" and "ye". I would expect conversational language to be the base for that, not the Bible choice. I just found it odd.

Presumably, just because that is what people were used to.
 
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Salvation comes because of the Atonement of Christ; I am unaware of any Christian religion that doesn't consider it to be conditional on faith and/or works. So it is with us, we don't earn salvation, but considering that salvation consists partially of "growing and progressing and reaching one's divine potential", I don't see how "doing good things" is in any way unnecessary.

The Protestants believe it is by faith alone, and many say that if you don't believe that you cannot be a Christian (I wouldn't say that, but I would say you are believing heretical teaching.
 

Eran of Arcadia

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If I remember right, Catholics say "Salvation by faith with works added," while most protestants say "Salvation by faith alone." I don't know what the Mormons think.

We believe in salvation by grace conditional on both faith and works. I think a lot of mainstream Christian denominations mean something like that - they say "salvation by faith" when they mean "salvation by grace, conditional on faith".

Is joining the church a good way to meet women? Sounds silly but it's a serious question..

I really don't recommend joining the Church just to meet women, it won't work out in the end.

However, the Church is a great place to meet women. They have congregations for young single adults (I met my wife in one), besides the Church-run schools, etc.
 

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Well, pain and despair tend to affect people's judgments.

I'm not sure why you are dodging this question. I'm trying to trap... I mean, see what Mormon thought is concerning salvation. The D&C, which I quoted earlier, clearly says murder is unforgivable, in this world and the next. Under that law, what would happen to a man who murdered himself in what must be his last act?

I am not sure that all Protestants say that . . . at any rate we don't believe in "salvation by works" as such.
Are we still talking about the same salvation? If murder and adultery according to your scripture results in destruction you are living under law, and to quote Paul if you live under law then Jesus died for nothing! I know murder sounds like an extreme example, but according to the rest of Christianity, God doesn't view sin on a sliding scale. All sins are equal (except for one).
 
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