Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Nature of the Godhead

In the January 2006 Ensign there is a good article addressing the nature of the Godhead. The introduction says;
The first in a series of article explaining basic beliefs of the restored gospel, doctrines unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I have read a few things lately where people a criticizing the Church for trying to be too mainstream. I haven't noticed such a trend, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. I wonder if the brethren have heard this criticism and are trying to emphasize a little more that we are a church with unique doctrines with this new series of articles.

I wanted to highlight a few passages in this article. The article opens with a quote from Dallin H. Oaks;

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many beliefs in common with other Christian churches, but we have differences, and those differences explain why we send missionaries to other Christians, why we build temples in addition to churches, and why our beliefs bring us such happiness and strength to deal with the challenges of life and death.

I agree with this emphasis. I think it's important to note that we do have many similar beliefs with other religions. This should be an important part of our dealings with other people. Rather than trying to contend with others regarding our differences, we should embrace our similarities. On the other side of the coin, while sharing similarities, we should always remember that we do have differences. We should not hide these differences, but we should proclaim them.

If Joseph Smith had restored the Gospel on the Earth, but had not received the Book of Mormon, how would we convert new members? If we went door to door with a Bible, people would have nothing to convert to, because they know that the Bible is true already.

The article emphasizes that the Church believes that the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. It also talks about the understanding that God has a body of flesh and bones. This doctrine is key to everything we believe. How can we truly have faith in a being that we don't have at least a rudimentary understanding of?

The last part of the article talks about the nature of man and has this quote;
In the theology of the restored church of Jesus Christ, the purpose of mortal life is to prepare us to realize our destiny as sons and daughters of God -- to become like Him.

Detractors of the church often attack us for the belief that we can become "Gods", fundamentally, this may be true, but this is probably not the most reverent way of talking about it. The important thing to remember is that the purpose of this life is to become "like him".

Monday, December 19, 2005

The three Nephites

I know that thinking about things like the three Nephites and who they were is pretty much a waste of time, but sometimes I like to think about them. I think it's ok to look at these kinds of things enough to be interested in them, but to make it a "hobby" is not such a good idea.

On that note, I wanted to share a theory I came up with as I was reading 3rd Nephi where the 12 desciples are named.

3 Ne. 19: 4
4 And it came to pass that on the morrow, when the multitude was gathered together, behold, Nephi and his brother whom he had raised from the dead, whose name was Timothy, and also his son, whose name was Jonas, and also Mathoni, and Mathonihah, his brother, and Kumen, and Kumenonhi, and Jeremiah, and Shemnon, and Jonas, and Zedekiah, and Isaiah—now these were the names of the disciples whom Jesus had chosen—and it came to pass that they went forth and stood in the midst of the multitude.

I noticed that Timothy had been raised from the dead, in my mind that automatically made him a candidate to be one of the three Nephites. Who better to have the desire to not want to taste death than someone who had already been dead? I immediately thought that perhaps Nephi, his brother, and Jonas, Nephi's son, were the other two. Let's keep it in the family right? I read further, and the text does mention Nephi's death, so I guess it wasn't Nephi. I still think that Timothy is a prime candidate.

I guess it doesn't matter anyway does it, if it did, we would be told who they were.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Racism in Church members.

I was reading a comment over at BCC http://www.bycommonconsent.com/ and there is a discussion on race in the church.

This discussion reminds me of my second companion on my mission. He was from Utah and was fairly well off and had a black and white (no pun intended) view of things. I remember that his jaw dropped when I told him that I once hitch hiked when our car broke down. "That's illegal" he said.

Anyway, this one time he told me a racist joke. I can't remember if it was against blacks or mexicans or what, but I said something like "Do you think Jesus would tell that joke." He said something like, "Do you think that Jesus would get his certification?" (for those of you who might not know, missionaries usually memorize scriptures and read specific books to get "certified").

Anyway, I really doubt that he was really racist, but it seems that this attitude is too rampant among people in the church. It makes me sick to my stomach to see people who claim to be so righteous, be so un christlike when it comes to racism. There is nothing funny about racism at all. There is nothing harmless about racist jokes. I suppose that it's ok for someone from that background to tell them. I suppose I could tell a white person joke.

A few months ago, I found out that the church has an organization specifically geared towards blacks in the church. It's really interesting. It is officially sanctioned by the church.


I have also been reading some arguements against the church folklore about the blacks being decendents of Cain and Ham etc. etc., while that is definitely not church doctrine, I have yet to be convinced that it's not true. Even if it were true, I think that in no way justifies racism. It in no way implies that the lord loves the decendents of Cain or Ham any less.

I grew up in Georgia and one of my best friends (because I didn't really have many friends) was very racist. His god father, my neighbor, was in the KKK. We used to buy wood from this family and they showed up on Sally Jessie Raphael because they were in the KKK. (needless to say we quit buying wood from them). I have seen it's evils, I did not like the things I saw growing up there.

The lord will do what he will do, but he does not condone racism or hatred for any of his children.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Man Who May Be 1000th Executed Sees Family


I just saw an article about this guy who may be the 1000th person executed. The whole idea saddens me really. I feel that the death penalty is not the right way to go. There have been numerous studies done that show that the death penalty doesn't deter would be killers.

In Biblcal times, the lord sanctioned capitol punishment (sometimes for seemingly lame things). I feel that capitol punishment is fine when it is sanctioned by the Lord, and is performed by the church. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that is what we will find in the Bible.

I think that while the Government is still ran by men not being directed by the lord, we should quit performing capitol punishment. There has been too much innocent blood shed to continue the practice in my opinion.