Sunday, August 19, 2012

Offspring (or something less)?

“Just thinking.” “Let my people think.” These are watchwords of an organization of powerful and thoughtful Christians (RZIM) who are striving to make a positive difference in the world. But, like almost every soul who has ever lived, have they attached themselves to assumptions that are stalling further enlightenment? How often do we all carry forward the mindsets of our families, cultures, religious beliefs, secular understandings, etc. to the point of being unable to think or even reason beyond them? Can we not take a lesson from the Apostle Peter and his vision of the clean and the unclean?[1] Shouldn’t we be open to the entire scriptural texts as well as enlightenments of the spirit? Do we not sometimes need to rethink our assumptions—test our presumed knowledge?

I ask these questions because of recent publicity and comment relating to Mormon teachings about the identity and destiny of man. So much criticism have been levied without apparent awareness of text and history supporting the Mormon view that man is the offspring of God; that his mortal identity and destiny have revealing parallels to his eternal identity and destiny.

I intended, when time allowed, to research and write an apologia of the Mormon view, but today I encountered a devotional address that says it all far better than I could have done. Here then, for the inquiring mind, is the reason why Mormons believe that identity and destiny are eternal concepts.

Devotional address given at Brigham Young University on August 14, 2012 by Tad R. Callister, entitled, “Our Identity and Our Destiny” found at

[1] New Testament Acts 10 & 11

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Suffering in Silence

Where is the tipping point between silence and open questioning?

In listening to a recent TED talk* (“Dare to Disagree”), I wondered about our churches. I wondered whether the faithful (on all levels, in all faiths) do a disservice to themselves and their congregations by silent acceptance and obedience to things/decisions/practices that distress their spirit. How many faithful have found continued affiliation so painful or dissonant that their only recourse seemed to be to withdraw? If we spoke our concerns, would we find them shared? Would it make a difference?

In the 30s A.D., were there faithful Scribes, Sadducees, Pharisees (and common folk, too) who kept silent because potential conflict was to untenable in their culture of hierarchy and submission? Was Nicodemus one of those?** Is the choice between silence and conflict one of the persistent déjà vus of this life experience? What choices are we making? Are they for the best?

** Like Joseph of Arimathaea (New Testament John 19:38; see also 12:42)