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Flag Maurices5000 April 13, 2008 1:59 AM EDT
Ok, this forum is for Mormons. I read the sticky but it did not tell me how to get to the forum for nonMormons with questions.

Here is my question.

Did you guys see the Momment of Truth contestant, Angela Ciemny? How will the Church deal with such a person after the show?

Thanks!
Flag moksha8088 April 13, 2008 2:40 AM EDT
I had never heard of the show so I googled this episode.  I read several reviews and even watched a Youtube clip.

This reminded me of having watched the Jerry Springer Show in the past.  I was never certain whether the guests were just plain stupid or whether they were in on some hoax.  If real, the woman in question has really put herself in a predicament in regards to her personal life.

The part that floored me was her answering yes to whether she would leave her husband if he left the Church.  My guess is that point is moot now.
Flag Maurices5000 April 13, 2008 3:11 AM EDT
So you were able to find a clip? I was not able to find one. I did a google search. I think it might be helpful in comments. How does the Church handle such situations? I remember too what happened to that girl who was on Real World who was Mormon. Her parents came on the show and disapproved of her behavior.

I'm just wondering how it is that these people feel so comfortable coming on TV saying they are Mormon and showing their questionable mormon views and conduct. How is this viewed?
Flag ProfitOfGod April 13, 2008 10:21 AM EDT
Based on the church's history, yours is a fair question.

There likely won't be any 'official statement' specific to this event from Salt Lake City, in large part because of the fact that the members have all been admonished not to participate in activities that are not 'uplifting' or good for the spirit and that would include viewing - or taking part in - shows like this.

I tried to watch the first episode, but found it boring and painfully slow.  I could care less whether it's uplifting - it's just not entertaining enough to hold my interest. 

They do have this nifty little tool for those who like seeing train wrecks, though:

http://fox.com/momentoftruth/

You have to temporarily allow pop-ups, but if you go to that site, you can view an entire episode of this show in about 2 minutes.
Flag bytebear April 14, 2008 12:35 AM EDT
On the other question on this topic:  You can go to the Welcome board and there is an LDS forum there.  But you are welcome on either board.
Flag MMCSFOX April 14, 2008 12:43 AM EDT
Did you guys see the Momment of Truth contestant, Angela Ciemny? How will the Church deal with such a person after the show?
**
Why should I, or anyone else, worry about how the church deals with another member when I have enough trouble just keeping myself in line?

Now here I go and do a little fault finding my self. (I will repent later)
I really find it sad that people are so quick to find fault and put blame on others that they do not know or have the responsibility for. I find it even sadder that so many people waste time nit picking instead of bettering themselves.

I guess that is now called entertainment.

Jesse F.
*
It is better for my enemy to see good in me than for me to see evil in him.
- Yiddish proverb
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 15, 2008 6:04 PM EDT
[QUOTE=Maurices5000;429814]Ok, this forum is for Mormons. I read the sticky but it did not tell me how to get to the forum for nonMormons with questions.

Here is my question.

Did you guys see the Momment of Truth contestant, Angela Ciemny? How will the Church deal with such a person after the show?

Thanks![/QUOTE]

There was a girl at BYU who appeared on MTV's The Real World and ended up getting in trouble with BYU, but the reason for her issues were more technical than moral.  I don't think you can find a single passage in any book of scripture that says it's immoral to go on MTV, or even that co-ed housing, by itself, is some kind of abomination.

Mind you, from a Mormon perspective, it's not too bright if you're trying to live Mormon standards of chastity.  Just living under the same roof with folks of the opposite sex does not mean you're going to have sex with them - and it's the "having sex" part that matters - but why make it easy to fail?  That's like working at a liquor store when you're an alcoholic.

What got that girl into trouble was a clause, in the BYU Student Code of Conduct, that says BYU students, while attending BYU, must live in approved housing.  BYU does not approve co-ed arrangements for obvious reasons.  As the Church's flagship school, it knows it has parents expecting BYU to be a safe environment where they can send their kids, a place where their kids are less likely to end up with moral issues. 

When this girl went on "The Real World," she was still a student at BYU - albeit on summer break.  I doubt seriously whether her arrangement - with cameras in every room - would have made her more likely to have premarital sex, but it was technically in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.  I say "technically" because, in almost any universe, a student going home during the summer, shouldn't have to check in with BYU to see if their housing arrangements are acceptable to some bureaucrat in the Standards Office.

I didn't watch the show (I find MTV a snore) but it was my impression that the girl hadn't done anything wrong, certainly nothing immoral.  The Standards Office was simply bruised about her appearance on the show because it presented their people with a dilemma: How could they find fault with freshmen trying to live in questionable housing arrangements, while students at BYU, and let this one go WHEN IT HAD BEEN SEEN BY HALF OF AMERICA?

The Standards Office issued her a letter, demanding an apology.  She found it offensive, as would I.  (Although I never took a break from BYU - pulling 18-credit semesters straight through), if I had returned home to Florida, I'd have considered myself on my own recognizance during the interim.  If I'd had a moral issue, I'd have expected my bishop to worry about it, not some wingtip at BYU, but let's face it: When millions of people are presented with someone calling themselves "a Mormon," it invites an uncomfortable level of scrutiny.  That's not so much an LDS thing as a "fact of life" thing.  As a public school teacher, I know that if I create a certain level of scandal - whether it's getting arrested or becoming a male stripper - that kind of thing could track back to my employer and I could end up having to explain myself.

BYU considers the status of "BYU Student" to be potentially disastrous to the school if one of its students throws caution to the wind and does something harmful or scandalous - especially if that student ends up in the papers over it.

I, personally, didn't think appearing on "The Real World" in a co-ed living arrangement was all that scandalous, though I can see why the girl's parents would have objected to it.  I also thought it was invasive and stupid for the Standards Office to get involved in something that had happened off-campus during the summer, and which never resulted in anything immoral at all.  The girl was on a TV show!  Big deal!

When BYU demanded a letter of apology, the girl did what I would have done.  She blew it off.  When she did that, it created a public conflict that could only go badly for her status at BYU, but she had already thought it through and was unwilling to demean herself publicly in order to pacify some bureaucrat at BYU.  Considering her own dignity of greater worth than her status as a BYU student, she transferred to a different school and gave the Standards Office the metaphorical finger.  I applaud her in doing so.

(Of course, that's assuming that she had any dignity left after appearing on The Real World or that BYU's little spanking was more demeaning than being used by a reality show whose subjects usually act like cranky first graders in need of a nap.)

On the other hand, the situation could have been handled better by both parties.  BYU could have handled this in a less public way, and she could have made a "whoops" level mea culpa, and life could have gone on.  I think both parties wanted some kind of showdown.  Somebody at BYU wanted to play district attorney and she wanted to play Galileo.  It was a tempest in a teapot.  It had no bearing on her status in the LDS Church.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 15, 2008 6:04 PM EDT
[QUOTE=Maurices5000;429814]Ok, this forum is for Mormons. I read the sticky but it did not tell me how to get to the forum for nonMormons with questions.

Here is my question.

Did you guys see the Momment of Truth contestant, Angela Ciemny? How will the Church deal with such a person after the show?

Thanks![/QUOTE]

There was a girl at BYU who appeared on MTV's The Real World and ended up getting in trouble with BYU, but the reason for her issues were more technical than moral.  I don't think you can find a single passage in any book of scripture that says it's immoral to go on MTV, or even that co-ed housing, by itself, is some kind of abomination.

Mind you, from a Mormon perspective, it's not too bright if you're trying to live Mormon standards of chastity.  Just living under the same roof with folks of the opposite sex does not mean you're going to have sex with them - and it's the "having sex" part that matters - but why make it easy to fail?  That's like working at a liquor store when you're an alcoholic.

What got that girl into trouble was a clause, in the BYU Student Code of Conduct, that says BYU students, while attending BYU, must live in approved housing.  BYU does not approve co-ed arrangements for obvious reasons.  As the Church's flagship school, it knows it has parents expecting BYU to be a safe environment where they can send their kids, a place where their kids are less likely to end up with moral issues. 

When this girl went on "The Real World," she was still a student at BYU - albeit on summer break.  I doubt seriously whether her arrangement - with cameras in every room - would have made her more likely to have premarital sex, but it was technically in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.  I say "technically" because, in almost any universe, a student going home during the summer, shouldn't have to check in with BYU to see if their housing arrangements are acceptable to some bureaucrat in the Standards Office.

I didn't watch the show (I find MTV a snore) but it was my impression that the girl hadn't done anything wrong, certainly nothing immoral.  The Standards Office was simply bruised about her appearance on the show because it presented their people with a dilemma: How could they find fault with freshmen trying to live in questionable housing arrangements, while students at BYU, and let this one go WHEN IT HAD BEEN SEEN BY HALF OF AMERICA?

The Standards Office issued her a letter, demanding an apology.  She found it offensive, as would I.  (Although I never took a break from BYU - pulling 18-credit semesters straight through), if I had returned home to Florida, I'd have considered myself on my own recognizance during the interim.  If I'd had a moral issue, I'd have expected my bishop to worry about it, not some wingtip at BYU, but let's face it: When millions of people are presented with someone calling themselves "a Mormon," it invites an uncomfortable level of scrutiny.  That's not so much an LDS thing as a "fact of life" thing.  As a public school teacher, I know that if I create a certain level of scandal - whether it's getting arrested or becoming a male stripper - that kind of thing could track back to my employer and I could end up having to explain myself.

BYU considers the status of "BYU Student" to be potentially disastrous to the school if one of its students throws caution to the wind and does something harmful or scandalous - especially if that student ends up in the papers over it.

I, personally, didn't think appearing on "The Real World" in a co-ed living arrangement was all that scandalous, though I can see why the girl's parents would have objected to it.  I also thought it was invasive and stupid for the Standards Office to get involved in something that had happened off-campus during the summer, and which never resulted in anything immoral at all.  The girl was on a TV show!  Big deal!

When BYU demanded a letter of apology, the girl did what I would have done.  She blew it off.  When she did that, it created a public conflict that could only go badly for her status at BYU, but she had already thought it through and was unwilling to demean herself publicly in order to pacify some bureaucrat at BYU.  Considering her own dignity of greater worth than her status as a BYU student, she transferred to a different school and gave the Standards Office the metaphorical finger.  I applaud her in doing so.

(Of course, that's assuming that she had any dignity left after appearing on The Real World or that BYU's little spanking was more demeaning than being used by a reality show whose subjects usually act like cranky first graders in need of a nap.)

On the other hand, the situation could have been handled better by both parties.  BYU could have handled this in a less public way, and she could have made a "whoops" level mea culpa, and life could have gone on.  I think both parties wanted some kind of showdown.  Somebody at BYU wanted to play district attorney and she wanted to play Galileo.  It was a tempest in a teapot.  It had no bearing on her status in the LDS Church.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 15, 2008 6:47 PM EDT
With respect to the woman on the Fox TV show, this is what one anonymous poster said about it:

"She admits that she had slept with a married man prior to her current marriage, admits that she fantasizes about her girlfriend, admits that she slept with one of her girlfriend’s boyfriends, admits that she would pose nude in a magazine for 100,000$, she admits that it is hard to stay faithful to her husband, one of the questions hint that she has cheated on her current husband, etc. She doesn’t ever look ashamed or embarrassed, but proud of what she is saying, like it is normal. Then she says that she is “VERY RELIGIOUS” “MORMON” and that she would leave her husband if he ever considered leaving The Church!"

Here's my take:

1.  That show is crap.  You don't have to be Mormon to figure that much out.

2.  If you're going to go on a TV show and tell everybody how "Mormon" you are, there are lots of LDS people who'd appreciate it very much if you didn't embarrass them.  They have people they're trying to introduce to the Church.  They also have people at work who view them through the lens of religion.  The last thing they need is for someone calling themselves a "Mormon" to go on TV and play the part of a skank.

3.  It is not an excommunicable act to go on TV and embarrass yourself by revealing every stupid indiscretion you've ever committed - including your lesbian fantasies, your old sins, or your weakness for money (to the effect that you'd sell your nude image to Playboy if they paid you enough).  Publicizing all this, however, might get the woman called in by her bishop for two purposes: (1) To counsel her that such disclosures are not consistent with the dignity of a Latter-day Saint; and (2) to check to see if there's any unresolved issue that might need to be addressed.  Mormons don't go out of their way to excommunicate each other, and the process of resolving conflicts - especially old ones - is not all that hard.  But if somebody goes on national TV and says, "I'm a Mormon and a tramp," it's the kind of thing that local ecclesiastical leaders would want to address and resolve.  Otherwise, this woman could end up out of the Church.

4.  It's important to distinguish between old sins and new sins.  The fact that a person has done things in the past that were not up to basic Church standards does not, in itself, affect a person's status in the Church.  When people get baptized, they repent of their old sins and take up a new life.  Even if a person were a member of the Church and got into some trouble, the process of repentance is fairly mechanical and straightforward.  The real issue is not what someone has done in the past but how one is living now.

5.  It's also important to distinguish between serious sin and indiscretion.  In the view of most Christians, adultery is a much bigger deal than a person's idle fantasies.  By the same token, posing nude for Playboy is a bigger issue than admitting you'd be tempted to do so if the money were right.  Mind you, such disclosures are likely to make this woman the loneliest sister in Relief Society, and possibly the one they gossip about the most.  While it's not considered a sin to be so open about your past failings, it's not very Mormon to do so.  Mormons are taught to preserve their dignity.  They're supposed to confess their sins to God and to those injured by them, not to every pair of ears in the chapel.  Doing so is practically a sin against oneself, since it begs others to look at you, not as you would want to be seen, but as a series of trainwrecks.  Confession is not an excuse to wallow, nor is it an opportunity to celebrate.  The idea is to wash the dirt off and move on, not save it for a rainy day.

6.  There may be a problem with airing your dirty laundry in an openly unrepentant way.  Going back to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that he who breaks one of the least of the commandments - and teaches men to do likewise - will be least in the kingdom, while he who obeys all of the commandments - and teaches men to do likewise - will be greatest.  I don't care so much about the comparison (Jesus spoke in running hyperbole) so much as the idea that people should strive to live up to the highest standards not go about justifying exceptions.  If this woman is pleased with the fact that she has managed to get away with one major sin after another, her attitude is likely to raise red flags.  The Church, at the highest level, won't stop what it's doing to go after her, but her local bishop will be hard pressed to call her in.  Even then, if she takes a repentant posture, regretting any harm done, it's unlikely she'll find herself run out on a rail.  More prominent Mormons than her have gotten into trouble for now-infamous screw-ups, including Paul H. Dunn's made-up stories, told at firesides and on tape.  In his case, a lot of damage was done because this guy was selling books and tapes with inspirational stories that turned out to be hilariously wide of the facts.  But once exposed, Dunn apologized and showed remorse for letting the desire for attention and popularity get the best of him.  He didn't brag about what he'd gotten away with.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 15, 2008 6:47 PM EDT
With respect to the woman on the Fox TV show, this is what one anonymous poster said about it:

"She admits that she had slept with a married man prior to her current marriage, admits that she fantasizes about her girlfriend, admits that she slept with one of her girlfriend’s boyfriends, admits that she would pose nude in a magazine for 100,000$, she admits that it is hard to stay faithful to her husband, one of the questions hint that she has cheated on her current husband, etc. She doesn’t ever look ashamed or embarrassed, but proud of what she is saying, like it is normal. Then she says that she is “VERY RELIGIOUS” “MORMON” and that she would leave her husband if he ever considered leaving The Church!"

Here's my take:

1.  That show is crap.  You don't have to be Mormon to figure that much out.

2.  If you're going to go on a TV show and tell everybody how "Mormon" you are, there are lots of LDS people who'd appreciate it very much if you didn't embarrass them.  They have people they're trying to introduce to the Church.  They also have people at work who view them through the lens of religion.  The last thing they need is for someone calling themselves a "Mormon" to go on TV and play the part of a skank.

3.  It is not an excommunicable act to go on TV and embarrass yourself by revealing every stupid indiscretion you've ever committed - including your lesbian fantasies, your old sins, or your weakness for money (to the effect that you'd sell your nude image to Playboy if they paid you enough).  Publicizing all this, however, might get the woman called in by her bishop for two purposes: (1) To counsel her that such disclosures are not consistent with the dignity of a Latter-day Saint; and (2) to check to see if there's any unresolved issue that might need to be addressed.  Mormons don't go out of their way to excommunicate each other, and the process of resolving conflicts - especially old ones - is not all that hard.  But if somebody goes on national TV and says, "I'm a Mormon and a tramp," it's the kind of thing that local ecclesiastical leaders would want to address and resolve.  Otherwise, this woman could end up out of the Church.

4.  It's important to distinguish between old sins and new sins.  The fact that a person has done things in the past that were not up to basic Church standards does not, in itself, affect a person's status in the Church.  When people get baptized, they repent of their old sins and take up a new life.  Even if a person were a member of the Church and got into some trouble, the process of repentance is fairly mechanical and straightforward.  The real issue is not what someone has done in the past but how one is living now.

5.  It's also important to distinguish between serious sin and indiscretion.  In the view of most Christians, adultery is a much bigger deal than a person's idle fantasies.  By the same token, posing nude for Playboy is a bigger issue than admitting you'd be tempted to do so if the money were right.  Mind you, such disclosures are likely to make this woman the loneliest sister in Relief Society, and possibly the one they gossip about the most.  While it's not considered a sin to be so open about your past failings, it's not very Mormon to do so.  Mormons are taught to preserve their dignity.  They're supposed to confess their sins to God and to those injured by them, not to every pair of ears in the chapel.  Doing so is practically a sin against oneself, since it begs others to look at you, not as you would want to be seen, but as a series of trainwrecks.  Confession is not an excuse to wallow, nor is it an opportunity to celebrate.  The idea is to wash the dirt off and move on, not save it for a rainy day.

6.  There may be a problem with airing your dirty laundry in an openly unrepentant way.  Going back to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that he who breaks one of the least of the commandments - and teaches men to do likewise - will be least in the kingdom, while he who obeys all of the commandments - and teaches men to do likewise - will be greatest.  I don't care so much about the comparison (Jesus spoke in running hyperbole) so much as the idea that people should strive to live up to the highest standards not go about justifying exceptions.  If this woman is pleased with the fact that she has managed to get away with one major sin after another, her attitude is likely to raise red flags.  The Church, at the highest level, won't stop what it's doing to go after her, but her local bishop will be hard pressed to call her in.  Even then, if she takes a repentant posture, regretting any harm done, it's unlikely she'll find herself run out on a rail.  More prominent Mormons than her have gotten into trouble for now-infamous screw-ups, including Paul H. Dunn's made-up stories, told at firesides and on tape.  In his case, a lot of damage was done because this guy was selling books and tapes with inspirational stories that turned out to be hilariously wide of the facts.  But once exposed, Dunn apologized and showed remorse for letting the desire for attention and popularity get the best of him.  He didn't brag about what he'd gotten away with.
Flag MMCSFOX April 15, 2008 9:54 PM EDT
Bill is so right here but I really thought that everyone knew that these shows, though not actually scripted, do have guidelines that the people have to follow. These people are picked at auditions and guided through what they are to say and do before they are picked to go and “entertain” the masses.

If one gets the chance to audition for any show one should do it as it is a real eye opening experience just watching the people.

Jesse F.
*
...Yes, the lectures are optional. Graduation is also optional.
-Professor Brian Quinn
Flag moksha8088 April 16, 2008 1:29 AM EDT
[QUOTE]
I, personally, didn't think appearing on "The Real World" in a co-ed living arrangement was all that scandalous, though I can see why the girl's parents would have objected to it. I also thought it was invasive and stupid for the Standards Office to get involved in something that had happened off-campus during the summer, and which never resulted in anything immoral at all. The girl was on a TV show! Big deal.
[/QUOTE]

Bill, I did follow the story.  This girl was the goody-goody of the show.  She drew comments of praise throughout the country from people who saluted her insistence on good moral behavior.  She was seen as a positive roll model.

One must not overlook the influence of bungling self-righteousness in describing her subsequent troubles with BYU.  The last I heard, this girl was the host of a local TV program in California.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 17, 2008 7:17 PM EDT
I had a professor at BYU who said he remembered coming back from summer vacation one year, while a student at the Y, and being accosted by a middle manager type for growing a beard while on vacation.  The issue was not that he had come back with a beard but that he had grown one while "still" at BYU.  Apparently, his accuser felt that once you begin school at the Y, you're bound to BYU standards - including dress and grooming - until you graduate.  Going home wasn't an excuse.

I don't think most at BYU would consider that a reasonable position, but you'll find people like that.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 17, 2008 7:17 PM EDT
I had a professor at BYU who said he remembered coming back from summer vacation one year, while a student at the Y, and being accosted by a middle manager type for growing a beard while on vacation.  The issue was not that he had come back with a beard but that he had grown one while "still" at BYU.  Apparently, his accuser felt that once you begin school at the Y, you're bound to BYU standards - including dress and grooming - until you graduate.  Going home wasn't an excuse.

I don't think most at BYU would consider that a reasonable position, but you'll find people like that.
Flag MMCSFOX April 18, 2008 6:40 PM EDT
So now I understand as a seventeen-year-old, why I only lasted one semester in 1955 at BY High school. My beard. Here I always thought it was some of the poems I wrote for an English class that didn’t meet the standards.
:-)
Thankfully one does eventually grow up but some things are always remembered. Yet as I take classes at our local colleges these days I am sometimes awed at the very lack of standards among the students.

Jesse F.
*
When they are young, Boys are full of pestosterone.
- Pat McManus
Flag bytebear April 18, 2008 7:53 PM EDT

BillThinks4Himself wrote:

I had a professor at BYU who said he remembered coming back from summer vacation one year, while a student at the Y, and being accosted by a middle manager type for growing a beard while on vacation. The issue was not that he had come back with a beard but that he had grown one while "still" at BYU. Apparently, his accuser felt that once you begin school at the Y, you're bound to BYU standards - including dress and grooming - until you graduate. Going home wasn't an excuse.

I don't think most at BYU would consider that a reasonable position, but you'll find people like that.



That's why I went to the U.  That, and they had a better engineering department, and they were closer to home, and all my friend were there.

Flag Maurices5000 April 19, 2008 2:31 AM EDT
Thanks Bill for the long reply. That was insightful. You answered both questions. Great.  But what if this person was a male with some "privileges" as we call them in my congregation?  What if the woman had serious past sins she had not confessed? What is an "old" sin? Can a person get away with a sin just by letting time pass?

I'm a Jehovah's Witness--the other True Religion--like pork, the other white meat, as i say.  Except we are bona fide of course. :-) 

In our congregation, a male with privileges might lose these as this is unbecoming. It is not exemplary conduct. Since it doesn't seem that any one of them actually committed a sin, I don't see  a reason for reproof. The elders would probably just unofficially not let them do much. But it depends on his level of activity.

If a person is say a regular publisher, he will likely not be able to carry the mikes, or microphone. For those unfamilar, Jehovah's Witnesses comment at their meeting to give public praise and declaration of the faith that is within them --- Heb 10:24. He would not be prevented from commenting based on the basic memory of the information provided by these shows.

Now, if he/she has past sins that he has not confessed, then these will be dealt with anew. Time has little bearing on serious sins. Fornication from 20 years back can get a person disfellowshipped--unless he is repentant--and after 20 years i would hope they would find him as such but that depends on the elders and the person.

If a person with a "position" within the congregation say a Ministerial Servant (deacon) or elder does something like this but he commits no serious sins that have not already been confessed, he may be deleted which means he loses his privileges in an official way.  The standards for elder or ministerial servant is a bit stricter because they are to be "irreprehensible, with nothing to be ashamed of" according to Paul's letter to Timothy. They also have to exhibit "soundness of mind."  Now I"m not looking back at the Scriptural requirements at the moment, but I'm sure there is something that covers exemplary conduct for those "taking the lead."  Depending on the elders and the counsel they get from the Traveling Overseer, they may just brush it under the rug. I'm not an elder so I'm not sure.  Even so, it is likely he will not give talks or do much of anything for some time.

Of course, if he has committed any unconfessed sins he will lose everything and risk being disfellowshiped from the Christian Congregation.  If he is reproved, it is likely he will not even comment at the meetings. He can talk to fellow believers, as he is not disfellowshiped, but he can't comment. He is NOT in good standing.

Thanks
Flag Maurices5000 April 19, 2008 2:38 AM EDT
From talking to my ex-gay Mormon friends, the LDS Church is a little more leniant than we are, but I'm not sure that is why i ask.  There was an exgay Mormon on a retreat i went on who had committed fornication several times as a teen and was not excommunicated. I found that shocking. He said it was because he was under age. This certainly would not happen to Jehovah's Witnesses. We don't care what age you are!
Flag MMCSFOX April 19, 2008 4:49 AM EDT
Maurices5000, Bill may give you a longer and more detailed answer than this short note.but here are my thoughts.

“We don't care what age you are!”

There are many LDS that would agree with this but my own personal answer and opinion is that most of us feel we are a hospital for sinners and we do our best to nurse them along, if they are willing to work with us. Many need to be disfellowshiped or excommunicated to help them but also many would feel anger over this, thus each sinner might need a different path to return.

It is never easy but it is always worthwhile.

"Can a person get away with a sin just by letting time pass?"

I don't think anyone can get away with anything. We will all have to answer at sometime. If not to the proper authority on Earth then later. Better here than later, of course.

Jesse F.
*
"The objective is not counting the sheep but feeding them."
   --Marion D. Hanks
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 19, 2008 2:45 PM EDT
I like Jesse's response.  I think he's right.  There's a general conception, outside the LDS Church, that Mormons are very strict and that Church courts are punitive.  People think Mormons spy on each other and that the elders have ways of keeping tight control over the membership.

Ha.

The LDS Church definitely has higher standards than those of churches that pander to the public's desire for painless absolution and holy entertainment.  But those are standards.  That doesn't mean that Mormons live up to those standards, nor does the Church have an SS squad patroling the perimeter to make sure every Mormon toes the line.

I like Jesse's reference to the Church as a "hospital for sinners."  At any given time, a bishop may be quietly working with somebody who is seriously struggling with basic issues - like chastity, the Word of Wisdom, a crisis of faith, anger management, etc.  On any given Sunday, ward members are exercising patience with each other's weaknesses as talks are botched, discussions get snippy or attitudes need adjusting.

For churches that take Christian living seriously - including our friends at the Watchtower - it may be difficult to take standards seriously without imposing penalties for noncompliance.  It may seem like a church's dilemma - to either take the standards seriously (and become some kind of leviathan) or go warm and fuzzy (and become little more than Sunday entertainment).  The LDS Church has a few more options, because it's multi-layered.  Church membership is not the pinnacle of spiritual success.  Being listed on a membership roster is not the same as being written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  Baptism is considered the starting gate, not the finish line, of a spiritual marathon that stretches beyond mortality.

In those churches where membership is the holy grail - dividing the saved from the damned - an enforcement dilemma emerges.  To not enforce the rules of membership is to tell people that God doesn't have standards or that his standards don't matter.  If being a "member" means being saved, then you either make people toe the line or you're just going through the motions.  But one reason for this dilemma is the "all or nothing" mentality of telling people they're damned if they don't meet the standard, then making the achievement of that standard a Sunday, primetime, event.  Calvinism has the reputation of being a stern daily and weekly crucible, where one is constantly at risk of falling from grace.

In my experience, people can only take so much of this before they snap.  Inexplicable disasters like the Salem Witch Trials and the tragedy at Jonestown are at least partly the result of people wigging out under the pressure of dancing on the razor's edge.  Not surprisingly, there are other options that have produced a softer, if somewhat less motivated, approach.  When I was a Baptist, we believed in instant salvation and a doctrine of "once saved, always saved."  It didn't really motivate people to reach beyond the initial "come unto Christ" and a resulting baptism (though it was also good for calling folks to repentance where they'd "recommit their lives to Christ" - usually after backsliding produced nightmarish consequences in the real world).  There are also modern, liberal, churches that preach universal salvation, with a focus on loving one's neighbor and doing justice (UUs, United Church of Christ, some Episcopalians and Lutherans).

Traditional Catholicism seems focused on trying to have it both ways.  In Catholicism, you have to have all seven sacraments, spread out across the length and breadth of life.  Everything you say, do or even think matters - in terms of an eventual judgment of your soul - but unlike some Protestants, Catholics don't reduce it all to a daily or weekly crucible, where your salvation is being decided here and now.  This makes Catholicism less intense and more laid back.  You are being judged for the sum total of your life, not on the quality of your latest moment.

The real fight, as far as I can tell, was about spiritual independence from a central religious empire based in Rome.  It's not a coincidence that Protestantism, which might have developed anywhere in the Christian world, really flowered across the Alps in Northern Europe, which wanted more autonomy.  Protestantism really tracks the rise of the nation-state.  France remained Catholic (though, during the Avignon period, it actually kidnapped the Pope).  It had to remain Catholic because its monarchy used Catholic orthodoxy as a justification for grabbing the lands of Albigensians and Hugenots.  But further north, Protestantism was the best means for establishing stronger kings and a stronger nation-state.  This north-south civil war, echoing an east-wide divide five centuries before, was about power.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 19, 2008 2:45 PM EDT
Luther and Calvin represent an interesting pair of twists on the theme of independence.  Luther's message, embraced by Germany and Scandinavia, was that Catholicism had added too many sacraments - to tie the individual to a controlling and parasitic franchise.  This led to national repudiations of "the Church in Rome."   Northern Europe developed independent national churches that were "Catholic Lite."  Calvin's message originated among communities that couldn't expect the nation to simply repudiate Catholicism in favor of a separate, independent, national church.  Calvin's message was more intense and narrowly focused.  It called for true believers to withdraw from a larger community that was plugged into a false Christianity.  This gospel of separatism would create smaller, more defiant, more cliquish groups.  It drew the kind of criticism and persecution that would force Calvinists to flee to protective enclaves, like Calvin's Geneva, where they could create whole new communities under their control.

That's an important point.  Calvinism started in places where dissenters were a minority.  They couldn't expect the king to repudiate a foreign church and nationalize Christianity under a home-grown flag.  Therefore, they never had the relaxing sense that they were part of a larger community that had done "the right thing" in asserting its own independence.  Calvinists had to assume that the king would remain loyal to a fallen faith, making it necessary for local churches, themselves, to withdraw from a system at work all around them.  As this would make these elites stand out, as targets for persecution, their only options were to: (a) separate themselves, even if it meant becoming expatriates; or (b) seize control of the government, where possible, to force a changing of the flags.  America's history involves the Pilgrims, who were exercising "option a" by getting out of an England whose Protestantism hadn't gone far enough to suit them.  It also involved the forced migration of Puritans, who had stayed in England, to pursue "option b" but had been slapped down by Protestant kings who preferred "Catholic Lite" to some kind of Calvinist revolution.

Not surprisingly, America's Calvinists were in favor of localized theocracy while bristling at the idea of control from above.  It was New England that drew the lion's share of royal efforts to put down insurgents.  Yet it was Virginia, that bastion of Episcopalianism, that formed the nexus of home-grown nation building.  General - and later president - George Washington came from Virginia, as did Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (respectively, the patriot who championed home rule, the chief drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the Father of the Constitution).  As the northern - or Federalist - candidate, John Adams made a good "ticket balance" as Washington's vice-president.  His next-man status gave him an edge in the Election of 1796, to make him Washington's successor.  But as the nation's issues turned from separation to expansion, Jefferson's Republicans won the next seven presidential elections.  Seven in a row!

But, as usual, I digress.

Mormons are in an interesting position when it comes to the relationship between the individual and the community of believers.  We've seen the spectrum play out.  Catholicism requires the individual to obtain the "seven sacraments" - which requires the individual to remain plugged in to a centralized system of clergy and ritual, from cradle to grave.  At the opposite end are the UUs who believe in universal salvation.  There's no right church and no saving ritual.  In-between these polar positions are a variety of tinkerings.  Lutherans adopted a "national church" model, but repudiated the need for anything beyond faith.  Anglicans adopted an episcopalian approach, repudiating the Papacy but endorsing a national church founded on the authority of bishops.  Calvinists repudiated the need for bishops, with Presbyterians placing church governance under the hands of local elders while Congregationalists left church governance in the hands of the membership itself.  But in Britain, this led to a showdown between Puritans and the king (with Parliament eventually gaining supremacy).  In America, it led to localized theocracy that was eventually overrun by diversity.  The Anglican model (reflected by the Episcopalian Church) became the new American orthodoxy.  But in a country that had formally endorsed individual conscience, what was created was a marketplace of faith.  Cue the Methodists, Baptists and Mormons.

Is salvation a general thing (Catholicism), a onetime thing (Lutheranism) or a daily affair where a person can fall from grace (Calvinism)?  Mormonism has an added dimension to it because it argues that life didn't start at birth nor does the road to salvation end at death.  Mormonism imagines an extremely generous plane of progression.  Everyone who is here is here because of choices made "before the beginning" of mortality.  Our birth into this world is, in some sense, a death from another existence - the so-called pre-earth life.  Those who are here, but not here physically - the devil and his demons - are those who rebelled during the pre-earth life.  Even in this life, there are so many conditions, privileges, stations and situations.  Looked at from only the perspective of this life, life is clearly not fair.  Some are born rich while others are dirt poor.  Some are born into loving families while others are abused from day one.  While it is an egregious oversimplification to suggest that the fortunate were more righteous while the unfortunate were somehow less so (a conclusion that has sometimes led Mormons to say, do and believe some pretty stupid things), fairness cannot be imputed to God if all you're looking at is this life.

The Apostle Paul tried to justify God by comparing him to a potter.  He asked his readers whether the clay had any right to judge the potter, who has every right to use some clay to make a fine bowl of pottery while throwing other clay away.  To Paul, this may have worked.  I'm not so impressed.  I've never felt the need to justify bad ideas - even when offered by good people - so I can say, with no sense of guilt or anxiety, that Paul was wrong.  His conception of God, swallowed whole by the Calvinists, is an imperfect one.  Paul was using the doctrine of predestination to explain why some Jews accepted Christ while others rejected him.  If salvation is in Christ, wouldn't that mean that most of Israel had missed the mark?  Sure.  If so, didn't that mean that bulk of the community would be damned for their failure to accept Jesus as the Christ?

Paul needed to justify God, and explain why so many of Jesus's contemporaries had rejected him, so he compared God to a potter.  That worked for Paul, who needed to at least believe that Jesus was the Christ, even if doing so meant that most of the Jews of his day were damned for their failure to believe.  But there's a big difference between understanding what Paul was struggling with and accepting his ideas as the truth.  Paul may have been a very successful missionary but his conception of God, at least in this respect, was barbaric.  Anybody who thinks that God is on par with a potter, making some pieces beautiful for his own purposes, while thoughtlessly trashing the rest of the clay, is committing a form of mental blasphemy.  To impute God with evil, even while trying to justify him as God, is to darken one's mind.  If there is a God, there's no way he can be evil and be God.

Mormonism doesn't fill in all the holes, but it offers a big-tent suggestion that God isn't evil; we just need to look at the big picture.  That big picture isn't that everybody will be saved (look at the Devil and his demons) but that everybody will have a fair opportunity to be saved, or as Mormons put it, "exalted."  True salvation/exaltation (I don't really accept the legitimacy of the distinction) is progressive.  It's not like turning a light on or off.  It's like taking a walk.  An eight-year-old, dripping from his recent baptism, may be innocent but common sense will tell you he's not perfect.  There is so much life experience to be gained just to bring that eight-year-old up to adult standards of behavior. 

Mormonism's broader view of the plane of salvation (stretching out in both directions) is also reflected in a tiered structure of worship.  We can debate the pecking order between firesides, Family Home Evening, Sunday School, Priesthood and Relief Society, and various church activities.  Less subject to debate is the status of these meetings when compared to Sacrament Meeting, where the sacrament is prepared and taken.  For Mormons, the sacrament is a weekly renewal of baptismal vows and baptismal blessings.  If one approaches it right, the taking of the sacrament is like getting baptized again.

But Mormonism's broader worship includes temple work.  This added ritual imagines eternity and the promises that stretch beyond this life.  It's an invitation to think cosmically.  In that cosmic view, there's a vast sea of time that brought us here.  There's also a continuation of things beyond this veil.  Sealing makes more sense, in terms of not getting lost in a giant airport of eternity, than one poster's threat that our children will be "ripped from" us as a punishment for lack of faith.  As Americans find themselves living across the country, and across the world, from their parents, children and grandchildren, there's an oddly new sense that you have to maintain the ties of family or the love will wax cold and a kind of curse will replace the blessing of family.  Lonely people, lost from their family connection, are this life's reflection of a very Mormon idea about the preciousness of family.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 19, 2008 2:46 PM EDT
It's within this larger, multidimensional, context that the Restored Gospel (as Mormons call it) bridges the gap between an uninspiring universalism and a panting daily or weekly crucible - where salvation is like a football game, played hard in the here and now, until the time runs out.

Mormons believe that "now is the time to prepare to meet God."  They believe that no opportunity should be wasted, that mortality is a limited gift, that men will be accountable to God for the time they spent, but that this life is not the full picture of existence.  Mormons also believe that worship and service take place at a variety of levels, each with their own big-ticket concerns.  A non-member, struggling to make sense of the Gospel, will not be hassled the way Bruce R. McConkie was hassled when he published Mormon Doctrine, as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.  McConkie's misstatements of doctrine, in a book published to the world, got him rebuked by the President of the Church, for misleading and insulting millions of people.  That kind of attention is not likely to be visited upon the newbie who walks into church with a truckload of old ideas and mixed-up doctrine.

You can't treat an apostle and a new convert the same way.  You have to be fair to both, but the expectations of each are scaled to their situation.  David O. McKay once told a neighbor that the Church would have him, even if he puffed his last cigarette on his way down the steps of the baptismal font.  The Church would not, however, have taken it lightly if David O. McKay had been found puffing away on a cigarette of his own.  McKay's somewhat liberal attitude toward the Word of Wisdom, for that man, was based on the belief that the Holy Ghost would help him finally kick the habit.  But as the leader of the LDS Church, David O. McKay was expected to walk the walk.

Where people get into more trouble than perhaps their situation may otherwise require is when their publicized indiscretions create confusion about the standard.  That dingaling who played in the Church Orchestra and mouthed some silly banter about ecclesiastical dictators - because he was mad about Jeffrey Nielsen's firing at BYU - may have gotten more attention than he deserved, but it didn't help that he was playing in the Church Orchestra on Temple Square.  Honestly, I don't give a fig about the convictions of a tuba player, even if he plays for the Church Orchestra.  All I care about is whether he can blow the right notes at the right time.  But the fact that he's playing in the Church Orchestra on Temple Square gives this person a status that other musicians don't generally hold.  It quietly creates a connection between him and the LDS Church.  When he speaks out, and his status is discovered (particularly where he discusses it in public), he's blundered his way into some kind of endorsement.  Like it or not, he's dragged the Church into a situation where it has to distinguish between this guy's private thoughts and the official message it is trying to convey.

I, personally, thought the guy should have been brought in and told of the damage he had done and asked, in all fairness, whether he wanted to help the Church resolve the conflict so that others would not be further injured by his outbursts.  Instead, some nonsense about "enemies within" caused at least somebody in middle management to take a hard, judgmental, attitude toward him.  When he lost his place in the Church Orchestra, the guy had a conniption fit and lashed out against the Church.  Unfortunately, that will likely mean that he and his wife will be lost to the influence of the Church, because - at least for the present - the guy will think of the Church as his persecutor.  Feeling burned, he will not take any responsibility for his actions. 

Where possible, it's a good idea to avoid such debacles.

With respect to this silly woman who appeared on network TV and told an audience of millions that she was a "good Mormon" but that she had lesbian fantasies, various indiscretions and possibly had sex before she married her current husband, her appearance on this show is not, in itself, a sin.  Her performance, however, has caused damage.  It does not reflect the standards or image of a Mormon in good standing.  If she grinned through such revelations in a way to indicate that she was unrepentant, she did the faith a disservice.

Should she be excommunicated or disfellowshipped?

I would not be surprised if her bishop called her and her husband in to ask about how things are going.  I would not be surprised if the TV show came up.  I would not be suprised if other members of the ward and stake to which she belonged were more frank about their disapproval.  People at church do talk, and they are not always very diplomatic.

The more serious question would focus on whether there's an unresolved transgression that needs to be addressed.  If she said or suggested on TV that she'd been around the block, she might be frankly asked whether there was something she wanted to talk about.  If she said there wasn't, particularly if she offered some sort of explanation ("I had no idea what they were putting me up to"), she would be counseled about maintaining her dignity and protecting her reputation, but if there's no issue, there's no issue.  There have been times when members have been accused of sexual misconduct, and have denied it, where the bishop had to decide the truth.  If a bishop thinks the member is being evasive or unrepentant, he can take appropriate action anyway.

But the real issue is not whether someone has ever done something wrong, but whether someone is continuing to do something wrong.  Time, by itself, is not a purger of iniquity but almost any sin can be resolved if it's acknowledge, sincerely regretful, restitution has been made, confessed and forsaken.  Someone who committed a sexual transgression years ago but has since lived in a clean life may be called on the carpet for going so long before resolving the matter but the original issue, if forsaken, should not be treated with a scarlet letter.  It's a bigger issue that someone has lied about the transgression, in interview after interview.

I can't say what every bishop is going to tell every person or couple who come to him about an issue, but I've known enough bishops - and enough people who felt like sharing - to construct an idea of what goes on behind closed doors.  Sometimes, the atmosphere is one of love and forgiveness, with a genuine desire to help the sinner get beyond the sin.  Sometimes, in all frankness, the question is asked, "Why didn't you come to us with us sooner?  Why did you wait so long to resolve something that could have been behind you years ago?"

There's a general conception that Mormons don't drink, don't smoke and certainly don't fool around.  While this is a caricature, entertained by non-Mormons, it's also an assumption made by most Mormons.  One reason for this is the attitude, among Mormons, that such things should be kept quiet and resolved behind closed doors.  Mormons are encouraged not to talk about their indiscretions, except to a bishop or stake president.  This is done to avoid sending the message that it's okay to violate the covenants of baptism.  But some things can't be hidden, such as when someone's child comes back from school with a child but no spouse.  In my local ward, there have been a number of obvious trainwrecks, of men leaving their wives, of women sleeping around, of good people turning to drugs.  Everybody knows more than they should.  I can honestly say that such spectacles have been greatly discouraging.   But the attitude has not been one of basnishment and ostracism so much as sadness and concern.  In my ward, there have always been a few snippy people who could have passed for the Church Lady, but most people are less outraged by hypocrisy than saddened by loss.  I have met far more Mormons who have shed tears for those who have fallen away than outrage for Mormons who don't live up to their covenants.  People are more likely to rag on each other for being rude than flawed, though a bad Gospel Doctrine teacher will get scoffed at for boring his class to death.

Even before the series of scandals that rocked my ward, I knew a counselor in a bishopric who would turn to me for support.  Without revealing any confidences, he'd lean on me for a little spiritual relief, as if I were his blind bishop.  The lines on his face would tell the story.  This guy had been counseled to death.  He'd heard it all.  He'd dealt with it all.  He'd trodden over ground he wished he'd never had to cross.  One time, without going into any details, the man said to me, "There are things out there you don't want to know about.  You go to Church every day.  You pray.  You enjoy the good company and spirit of your fellow members.  But some of the stuff I have to sit in on makes me wish I'd never been born."

Because Mormons believe in working with people, excommunication is reserved for people who engage in serious sins and won't give them up, or for people who go out of their way to lead a revolt.  But because Mormons also believe in privacy - and in being a good example - there's what must be a subterraneous world of sin and confession that would make your hair curl, of people quietly trying to rise above the funk of the Jerry Springer trash culture.  What if you woke up one morning and could see every sin, spot every subterfuge, see past every false front?  I have a feeling that there are bishops out there who see far more than they want.  Maybe that's why so many of the General Conference talks are on the basics.  Nobody thinks they need to hear this stuff, but obviously somebody needs to hear it - because it never goes out of style.

Mormons are probably not as strict as Jehovah's Witnesses, which is one reason to speak of the Church as a "hospital for sinners."
Flag Maurices5000 April 19, 2008 10:30 PM EDT
Talk about the Great Digression!  Is that in the Bible? I think I just surmounted it. :-)

Nevertheless, being the sad person i am, i read all of it.

Ok... Ok again.  THere are so MANY things to talk about.

First, thanks for shedding some light on a few things.  FYI, I was raised baptist too. I became a JW at 13, although with much persecution. I live in the Bible belt and my step father was both abusive and opposed. That tells you the extent of my dedication.

So basically you said all of this to mean that a "saint is a person who falls and gets back up" as the Christendom (ebonics for Christian-dumb) song goes.  So a person who is resolved to wallow in his bad habits will be excommunicated. If this is so, I think i understand you.

For personal reasons, I'll come back to this later.

Ok. Now how much of what you said is actually official. It is one thing to be an apologist and speak on behalf of the Church yet the Church says, "WHAT???"

Does the Mormon Church really take into consideration this history of apostasy when trying to strike a balance? Or is this just a personal apologetic?

I understand John Calvin to be a predestinationist, how is it that people felt on verge of falling away. I thought it was from this concept the Baptist developed the "Once saved always saved" non-biblical phrase. In fact the save do not sin at all--some teach. Sin the claim is a manifestation that they are not indeed saved--that is according to them.

Some of what you say is insulting and arrogant. You state here: "I've never felt the need to justify bad ideas - even when offered by good people - so I can say, with no sense of guilt or anxiety, that Paul was wrong. His conception of God, swallowed whole by the Calvinists, is an imperfect one. Paul was using the doctrine of predestination to explain why some Jews accepted Christ while others rejected him....Paul may have been a very successful missionary but his conception of God, at least in this respect, was barbaric. Anybody who thinks that God is on par with a potter, making some pieces beautiful for his own purposes, while thoughtlessly trashing the rest of the clay, is committing a form of mental blasphemy. To impute God with evil, even while trying to justify him as God, is to darken one's mind. If there is a God, there's no way he can be evil and be God."

So Paul is wrong, was committing blasphemy, and ascribing evil things to God? Paul who had greater access to Jesus than you and I do?  This view of Paul's about predestination may indeed be blasphemy. Could it be what you claim Paul meant is indeed NOT what he meant? Why would an inspired apostle blaspheme?

The words of Paul are actually the words of Jeremiah the prophet found at Jeremiah 18:1-10, which  says:

"The word that occurred to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying:  “Rise up, and you must go down to the house of the potter, and there I shall cause you to hear my words.”

And I proceeded to go down to the house of the potter, and there he was doing work upon the potter’s wheels. And the vessel that he was making with the clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand, and he turned back and went making it into another vessel, just as it looked right in the eyes of the potter to make.

And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying:  “‘Am I not able to do just like this potter to YOU people, O house of Israel?’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘Look! As the clay in the hand of the potter, so YOU are in my hand, O house of Israel. At any moment that I may speak against a nation and against a kingdom to uproot [it] and to pull [it] down and to destroy [it],  and that nation actually turns back from its badness against which I spoke, I will also feel regret over the calamity that I had thought to execute upon it.  But at any moment that I may speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build [it] up and to plant [it], and it actually does what is bad in my eyes by not obeying my voice, I will also feel regret over the good that I said [to myself] to do for its good.’"

So unless Jeremiah was a false prophet and lying, this illustration came not from Paul but Jehovah God himself. So maybe you should correct your views bro.

Now does this "blaspheme" necessitate predestination?

I have to go but I'll be back to further this discussion and ask more questions.

Hey, don't take anything personally. I just have a way with words. No offense intented.
Flag MMCSFOX April 20, 2008 12:17 AM EDT
“I have to go but I'll be back to further this discussion and ask more questions.”

Hmmm, there seem to be more statements in argumentation than questions.
*
“Hey, don't take anything personally. I just have a way with words. No offense intented.”

Yes we hear that a lot from people correcting us and arguing their own cause.  I believe that the ability to read whatever one wants into the scriptures was given us so that we may study and choose for ourselves which way we will go. This is a requirement of agency, which is why we tend to not argue points of doctrine. We just tend to present our case and allow the spirit to guide.

As seen in many posts here we are all at different points of progression in our understanding of Fathers will and requirements, thus our understanding of many things is also different.

I do hope that you find peace within yourself with your own beliefs.

Jesse F.
*
"The religion of Christ itself is not so much a set of ideas as it is a set of activities."
--Sterling W. Sill
Flag Maurices5000 April 20, 2008 12:55 AM EDT
Thanks Jesse. Now that i have instant notification on. It is almost midnight here but I've come back to finish my post although i should be in bed.

I really appreciate your sarcasm and imputation of wrong motives. Those comments you could have kept for yourself. You are not God nor can you read minds. Please stick to your own business. thanks you.
Flag Maurices5000 April 20, 2008 2:13 AM EDT
Bill, I've read the account of Pauls letter to the Romans found in the 9th chapter that you referred to. I read it from several versions--the English Standard Version, New American Standard Bible and New World's Translation. Now my question is does your Church teach that this verse is flawed or mistranslated? Does your Church offer an explanation of this Scripture aside from what you have provided?

I ask because many people do upon looking at the Scripture come to the conclusion that it supports predestination. However these are some verses that i noticed. (Now I'm not really interested in delving into predestination. it is just not a subject I'm interested it. However, i just wanted to provide an alternative view.)

22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Notice he concludes:

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Upon reading these scriptures it does suggest that they had a choice. Now it could be the Paul used obscure wording. Or maybe he did say just what he meant. Kind of like when we are explaining a hard subject we hope or  assume that people don't think we "Really mean we want to KILL the boy."  So some scriptures may be interpreted as supporting predestination but it may not necessarily be what he is saying.

It is obvious that Paul was not trying to explain that God was somehow INJUST. But rather that he was just. He was further trying to show how it is that the Jews, his brothers, lost the hope to Gentiles.

Now the Jehovah's Witness take on this is that God did not literally harden anyone. He allowed them to become obstinate (or harden themselves). It could be said that he hardened them meaning that he allowed situations or circumstances to come upon them that will test their faith. As the potter, Jehovah allows people to be molded for an honorable use or a dishonorable use. If they allow themselves to be molded by his laws and principles, then he has molded them by means of his Word, his teachings, and principles into an honorable vessel. But if they reject his teachings then they are molded into a dishonorable vessel. He hardens them or allows them to become so hard that they break. Look at how he constantly put Pharaoh to the test. Pharaoh was extremely mad at the end. God did harden him, but it was not God but results of their own hard heartedness.

It reminds me of a child, "You thank you are mad?" "Let me give you something to get mad about!" So the parent made the child mad. But it really wasn't the parent, it was the child's bad attitude.

Now look at the Jews, the Jews were not being rejected because of their hard work. Here it is they were working so hard and then God changed the rules in the middle of the game. He said, "They think they will get saved by working so hard. Well I'm going to show them this. It is by faith not works." that is not the case. The Jews were thinking that by works they will be saved. But IT WASN'T THAT THEY WERE WORKING HARD It was that they WEREN"T REALLY WORKING AT ALL!  My point, they were only half hearted. The Jews were really just doing enough to get by. If they had really appreciated the Law, they would have reconciled the principles such as love and would have lived by those principles rather than legalistic loopholes.

Now to discredit myself none of this is official JW interpretation. But we do not view God as causing the hardening but only indirectly rather than directly. The rest is my example and my interpretation.

My personal belief (however unorthodox) in the matter is that God causes things to happen according to him purpose. That does not mean that the individual involved had no choice. However, he has fore knowledge to ensure that what things happen just as they needs to. In other words he makes sure that the cards fall into place. He allowed Pharaoh to rise, or he raise Pharaoh up at teh appointed time for his destruction so that his name would be made known. Jesus was destined to die. He still had free will however. He could have died at his birth or not long afterwards. Satan wanted the Child dead. But he could only do it at God's appointed time.

Jehovah's Witnesses also take the stance that foreknowledge does not equal predestination.  Just because God forekknows something doesn't mean that he caused it to be that way. it just means he knows.

The bible also says that he anointed Cyrus and calls him his servant. This Servant was not a true worshiper of Jehovah. It is what we would call today "sloppy language" or figurative speak, coded, or obscure. So things aren't to be taken literally. He used Cyrus to accomplish his purpose when that time came. Now Cyrus could have destroyed Babylon before the 70 years were up or afterwards. But he allowed events to take shape based on his time table. (My point his that these people were going to be the people they turned out to be. He just adjusted the circumstances a little to accommodate his purpose.) Remember these are my person views mixed with my JW indoctrination.

So rather than Paul being wrong, maybe we just misunderstand Paul. Nevertheless, it is Jehovah that originated this illustration about the Potter not Paul.

If the Jews had been paying attention to the Law, loving the law with all their hearts, they would have been able to identify the Messiah and become Christians. They did not so they were rejected. Why because they were fleshly. They lacked genuine faith. So God hardened them, or allowed circumstance to come upon them so that they revealed their true colors.

James 1:13-17 says:

"When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone. But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.

Do not be misled, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the [celestial] lights, and with him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow. "


1 Co 13:13 says:
"No temptation has taken YOU except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let YOU be tempted beyond what YOU can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for YOU to be able to endure it."

Galatians 6:7, 8
"Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap;  because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit."

I must admit some of these scripture are hard to explain every facet. I need to review certain parts more closely. The one about Esau and Jacob have always been the hardest for me. But i do believe that there is substantial proof that the Bible teaches free will and not presdestination adn that the Bible has to be read from that perspective.

Again it was not Paul but Jehovah who used the illustration. And rather than boldly say Paul was wrong i think it is better to just say we might not understand his jargon.
Flag Maurices5000 April 20, 2008 2:46 AM EDT
"Less subject to debate is the status of these meetings when compared to Sacrament Meeting, where the sacrament is prepared and taken. For Mormons, the sacrament is a weekly renewal of baptismal vows and baptismal blessings. If one approaches it right, the taking of the sacrament is like getting baptized again."

While I've been baptist, i've never been Catholic so what is a Sacrament?

"With respect to this silly woman who appeared on network TV and told an audience of millions that she was a "good Mormon" but that she had lesbian fantasies, various indiscretions and possibly had sex before she married her current husband, her appearance on this show is not, in itself, a sin."

Not negating your explanation, or ignoring it. It does seem she meant that she had an affair during the marriage. it is just unclear whether this had been publicized or not. She also accused him of cheating and made it seem as if she had strong proof that he had cheated on her.  Indeed it was a mess leaving many questions unanswered. that is why i wondered how this would play out in your Church.

"Mormons are probably not as strict as Jehovah's Witnesses, which is one reason to speak of the Church as a "hospital for sinners.""

This is a real eye opener. I really appeciated much of what you say. The only thing i do notice is that Mormons seem to attack the bible a lot to justify a stance they make. Not that i feel you did but you kinda gave his words less then inspired status.

As for the Saint being a person who falls down. I thought that was interested considering you call yourselves Latter-day Saints. I said i would come back to this.

I'm an exgay as they are called. Now I've never been gay. I'm a virgin. Believe that people can change their orientation. There is a Mormon organization called Evergreen if you've ever heard of it.

Well, our elders can be so intolerant that i've been charged with "justifying homosexuality".     When that is clearly not the case. All i ws doing was quoting the Watchtower itself. I do wish our Organization was more open like a "hospital for the sick." Because their lack of tolerance sometimes makes it impossible for some.  True worship is changing though and i hope that more attention will be given to these issues. I wonder sometimes how often people are disfellowshiped prematurely just because of the impatience of the elders. I mean how many times does a person sin before he is unrepentant? Just once can be teetering on being disfellowshipped. You can also be disfellowshipped for numerous lesser crimes even while seeking help.

Thus JWs with same-sex attraction find that even in seeking help they are walking a thin rope.  Some elders say it is all just of the devil and forget about it rather than trying to learn how they can be of assistance. Instead of listening they are quick to take offense.

There are reasons for this.
Heb 12:15-17 says:
"that no poisonous root may spring up and cause trouble and that many may not be defiled by it; that there may be no fornicator nor anyone not appreciating sacred things, like E′sau, who in exchange for one meal gave away his rights as firstborn. For YOU know that afterward also when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected, for, although he earnestly sought a change of mind with tears, he found no place for it."

I just think they go overboard and in areas of conscience don't always give people thier just due but judge based on their own limitations.

Now, Bill, if you can find an ultra motive or some agenda please point it out because i see none as Jesse was so eager to point out.

I've appreciated your frank discussion. Finding that balance is quite hard. I don't think JWs should swing as wide as Mormons have, but they do need to loosen up a bit.  In some places 3 times, not much more and maybe less will be given for a person to correct his problem. We all know that in the real world a person with a drug problem such as smoking or who is trying to find their way through therapy like a gay person, or any other problem that will not be resolved over night will likely need more time than just 2, 3, or 4 chances. Indeed, if they have 4, they have some patient elders indeed.

But things are changing and maybe elders will be given counsel on how to be more sensitive to the needs of their flock rather than quickly discarding them as wicked and unrepentant.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 21, 2008 5:19 PM EDT
Maurices5000, I've had some trouble accessing this site, so I missed an earlier opportunity to read your words, and I don't time at the moment to reply, but here's the quick word: I like the way you think.

I'll be back with more, but hopefully less as well.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 21, 2008 11:52 PM EDT
"Ok. Now how much of what you said is actually official. It is one thing to be an apologist and speak on behalf of the Church yet the Church says, 'WHAT???'"

I'll try to be clear where the LDS Church speaks and where I speak.

"Does the Mormon Church really take into consideration this history of apostasy when trying to strike a balance? Or is this just a personal apologetic?"

No.  I didn't offer that bit of history to suggest, in any sense, that the LDS Church takes into account "this history of apostasy when trying to strike a balance."  You misunderstood my point but that's my fault.  I should have been clearer.

I only brought up the differences between Mormons, Catholics and various types of Protestants to point out how Mormonism's perspective is different.  In Catholicism, salvation has traditionally had to do with receiving "the Seven Sacraments" which spanned the lifetime of the believer.  Luther's Protestantism based salvation on faith, which means that you don't need seven sacraments.  This opens the door to more immediate moments of salvation - either when you first professed faith in Christ, or were baptized, or were "born again."  In some faiths, you can fall from grace, in others you can't, in still others, your fall merely proves that you weren't among the elect to begin with.

The only reason I brought up these diverging views about salvation was to show the difference in the Mormon perspective.  Catholics take a fairly long view (salvation as a final judgment on the totality of your life).  Protestants tend to take a short view. (Were you saved or not?  Did you stay saved?)   In terms of how they view salvation, Mormons are more like Catholics (salvation doesn't happen in a moment) but for Mormons it's even longer (a path that began before this life and continues beyond the grave).  For Mormons, it's also vertical as well as horizontal.  Whether Catholics and Protestants focus on the chapel as the locus of worship, Mormons also worship in the temple.  In fact, in a faith where the functions of a professional clergy are largely performed by lay members, there are different degrees of commitment and different expectations of members depending on their level of maturity and/or their responsibilities toward other members.

Long story short, there are churches that don't care how you act as long as you show up and throw some money in the plate.  There are churches where you can't fall from grace.  There are churches where you can, some of whom take seriously the job of making sure every member is toeing the line.  The Mormon Church is one where standards are definitely set and where people can, indeed, be kicked out for serious transgressions.  But, because it is a Church based on the idea of eternal progression, as long as a person is meeting the minimum standards for membership, it's pretty hard to get kicked out.  And even if someone has fallen from grace, there are procedures through which people can resolve their issues.

"I understand John Calvin to be a predestinationist, how is it that people felt on verge of falling away. I thought it was from this concept the Baptist developed the "Once saved always saved" non-biblical phrase. In fact the save do not sin at all--some teach. Sin the claim is a manifestation that they are not indeed saved--that is according to them."

When I was a Baptist, the "once saved, always saved" doctrine was based on Christ's saying in John 10:28-30: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

Protestants who believe in salvation by faith are more inclined to hold to this doctrine on the belief that salvation is not of works, which, to them means that you can't lose salvation for failing to have the requisite degree of works.  Since Mormons don't hold to this view, I'm merely discussing it because it has come up.  Mormons believe you must endure to the end, a doctrine consistent with eternal progression.  To Mormons, it's a bigger mistake to quit than it is to fall down and get back up.
Flag MMCSFOX April 22, 2008 12:12 AM EDT
“I really appreciate your sarcasm and imputation of wrong motives. Those comments you could have kept for yourself. You are not God nor can you read minds. Please stick to your own business. thanks you.”
*
Wow, Maurice5000  did you now just tell me that I can not post on this Mormon forum?

Sounds more like a little guilt there and the use of one of the standard tricks to silence anyone with a question one doesn’t want to answer. I wonder who taught you that trick?

But forgetting all else I would like to know just why you feel you have the right to tell anyone, especially LDS, to not post here on an LDS forum. It seems that you are the one that is out of place yet we have allowed you to express your opinions in our Mormon forum.

I guess that you are just so much smarter than us simple LDS and we need to have you save us in our sins of ignorance.

Or not.

Jesse F.
*
The divine test of a man's worth is not his theology but his life.
- Morris Joseph, "Judaism as Creed and Life"
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 22, 2008 12:30 AM EDT
"Some of what you say is insulting and arrogant."

I hear that a lot, usually from other Mormons. 

"So Paul is wrong, was committing blasphemy, and ascribing evil things to God? Paul who had greater access to Jesus than you and I do? "

Sure, though I hope you sense the more liberal sense of the word when I speak of predestination as a "mental blasphemy."  To attribute evil to God is to "mentally blaspheme."  By that, I don't mean that Paul meant to blaspheme.  I'm just comparing bad doctrine to something outrageous.  Men wouldn't think to throw rocks at God but they'll carry around ideas about God that cast God as evil. 

To me, it doesn't matter whether Paul "had greater access to Jesus."  Mormons aren't Catholics.  They don't believe in prophetic or apostolic infallibility.  They believe that God reveals certain things to certain men.  That doesn't mean those same men are walking oracles.  They are as capable of error as anybody else, though one would hope that, with the Spirit, they would be more careful.  According to Genesis, the great patriarch Isaac was fooled into believing his son, Jacob, was his other son, Esau.  You'd think that Isaac, in the process of giving a great patriarchal blessing, would have had it revealed to him that Jacob was pulling a fast one, but Genesis says otherwise.

Mormons get slammed for some of the goofy things reportedly said of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  Sometimes they try to question whether such things were said, or whether they were reported accurately.  But sooner or later, it becomes necessary to distinguish between those statements which appear to have been inspired by the Spirit and those which were simply ideas being entertained, explored or assumed as true by Church leaders.  Sometimes you can make a "Thus saith the Lord" distinction, but on other occasions, you have to use your own best judgment.  In the end, it matters less what Joseph or Brigham actually said than what I, or the Church as a whole, intend to take from the words of such men.

Protestantism, which rejects Papal authority, has had to decide where to place its confidence.  For many Protestants, that faith is transferred to the Bible, which many Protestants hold up as the "final authority."  Of course, two people can read from the same Bible and come up with differing interpretations - which says something about the role of hermeneutics (the "science" of interpretation).  For many of my Protestant friends, there is such a strong tradition of using the Bible to solve disputes that biblical interpretation has taken on a kind of legalistic tone.  Those same Protestant friends would find it shocking, if not repugnant, to suggest that apostles and prophets of old could have been fallible, ordinary, sometimes racist, sometimes sexist, human beings - whose opinions and inspirations danced between the same set of ears.

If you're going to use the Bible as a law book, if you're going to use it as ammunition with which to blow away a rival, it's neither expedient nor convenient to imagine that your authorities don't always know what they're talking about.  It's a lot easier to assume that every word in the book was dictated by the hand of God.  From God's mouth to the prophet's ear, truth was revealed and written down.  Except the prophets and apostles don't always agree with each other.  Peter, James and John not only wrote in different hands.  They thought differently.  They were a community of real men with real opinions, and it's a lot more realistic to accept them as such.

So, could Paul - who had greater access to Christ - entertain errors?  Sure.  Through a sort of hero worship, half the Bible contains the writings of Paul, whose writings were intended to be taken seriously but who was still a man writing on the cuff to a rough and primitive flock of early Christians.  Paul believed that women should be quiet in the Church.  He believed that women were immodest if they didn't have their hair covered.  He told Philemon to remain in slavery, which indicated that he didn't quite share the revulsion for slavery that we have (where escaping from slavery would be more important).  Paul took a certain manly pride in telling Peter off, when Peter hesitated to eat with the uncircumcised Gentiles in front of his Jewish buddies.  Paul had a running argument with James, who thought "faith without works is dead."  Even Peter made an under-the-radar potshot at Paul when he warned his readers that some of Paul's writings were "hard to be understood" and that if they weren't careful, they'd end up damning themselves.

These were real people with their own set of imperfections.  I don't engage in hero worship, not for Mormon prophets and not for the ones in the New Testament.  I don't even give a complete pass to the prophets of the Book of Mormon.  Jacob, it seems, was something of a racist and elitist.  Nephi was overly ambitious.  On various occasions, both Lehi and Sarai indulged themselves in self-pity and whined about their circumstances.  The Book of Mormon is full of imperfect characters whom most Mormons are incapable of seeing as such because they're engaged in the same hero worship that other Christians reserve for the characters of the New Testament.  Oddly enough, as Gentiles, most Christians (including Mormons) are capable of seeing the flaws in Hebrew prophets - such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc.

"This view of Paul's about predestination may indeed be blasphemy. Could it be what you claim Paul meant is indeed NOT what he meant? Why would an inspired apostle blaspheme?"

If it is blasphemy, it's of the type I've described above, the unintentional attribution of evil to God.  If you think that Paul did not mean what the Bible has him saying, you and Joseph Smith have something in common.  To Joseph Smith, it was hard to imagine that somebody like Paul would have gotten something so wrong as predestination, so Joseph Smith set out to write an "Inspired Translation," not unlike your Pastor Russell.  He would read a passage and pray about it.  Sometimes, he felt God had revealed to him the true meaning of the passage, which he would write down as scripture.  Joseph never attributed errors to the original authors.  He believed, instead, that intervening parties - like monks and translators - had mistranslated or intentionally altered the words of scripture.  He believed that this was one reason for the Great Apostasy.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 22, 2008 12:50 AM EDT
"The words of Paul are actually the words of Jeremiah the prophet found at Jeremiah 18:1-10, which says:

'The word that occurred to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying: Rise up, and you must go down to the house of the potter, and there I shall cause you to hear my words.

And I proceeded to go down to the house of the potter, and there he was doing work upon the potter’s wheels. And the vessel that he was making with the clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand, and he turned back and went making it into another vessel, just as it looked right in the eyes of the potter to make.

And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying: “‘Am I not able to do just like this potter to YOU people, O house of Israel?’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘Look! As the clay in the hand of the potter, so YOU are in my hand, O house of Israel. At any moment that I may speak against a nation and against a kingdom to uproot [it] and to pull [it] down and to destroy [it], and that nation actually turns back from its badness against which I spoke, I will also feel regret over the calamity that I had thought to execute upon it. But at any moment that I may speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build [it] up and to plant [it], and it actually does what is bad in my eyes by not obeying my voice, I will also feel regret over the good that I said [to myself] to do for its good.’"

So unless Jeremiah was a false prophet and lying, this illustration came not from Paul but Jehovah God himself. So maybe you should correct your views bro."

Nice work, but you missed something.  That Paul could have been quoting from Jeremiah is a valid point.  Well spoken.  But what Paul said and what Jeremiah said are two different things.  Both spoke of the potter and the clay, but if you'll look at the two different contexts, you will see that each was using this allegory for distinctly different purposes.

When Jeremiah spoke of the potter and the clay, he was telling Israel that they were in the Lord's hands.  The Lord was capable of leading them to victory or defeat, of giving them good times or bad, and it was about time they realized that.  They also needed to know that if the Lord put them through a difficult period, it was for his own purposes.  This latter point has less to do with free will than with a greater purpose.  In fact, in life, we don't get to choose everything that happens to us.  Bad things do happen to good people.  People do find themselves in circumstances that are clearly not of their own choosing.

But still, this is not predestination.  As you know, the emphasis of the Old Testament is the salvation of the nation.  We care about Adam and Noah and Abraham, as well as Isaac and Jacob, because they have to do with the lineal descent and succession through which the nation of Israel would eventually be formed.  We care about Moses because he redeemed Israel and brought her out of Egypt.  We care about Joshua because he brought Israel into the promised land.  We care about David because he won the final victories necessary to the establishment of Israel.  We care about Solomon because he built the temple.  We care about a host of prophetic figures - including Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel - because they decried the iniquities of Israel and Judah, and prophesied their destruction and eventual redemption.

The New Testament is all about individual salvation.  Jesus gives his Sermon on the Mount and tells people, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven."  The Christians are noteworthy for their conception of the Kingdom of Heaven/Kingdom of God as "within you" and for their view that the soul is more important than the homeland.  It's not that the Christians didn't look forward to the day when the Jews could reclaim their land.  It's just that the New Testament is focused on more important issues - namely the salvation of the world.  So many of the Old Testament heroes - including Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Gideon, David, Solomon and Ezra - were national heroes out to save God's people from external threats.  Their version of "salvation" wasn't that different from ours, when we look to the President or the Army or the police.  But when Jesus "saved" the world, "salvation" meant something very different.  It meant forgiveness.  It meant overcoming sin and death.

Jeremiah's point is that Israel is in the Lord's hands.

That's a very different message from Paul's.
Flag moksha8088 April 22, 2008 1:58 AM EDT
[QUOTE]
So, could Paul - who had greater access to Christ - entertain errors?
[/QUOTE]

Should we assume a metaphorical rather than a literal meaning to this use of the word "access"?
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 22, 2008 2:04 AM EDT
PAUL'S VERSION OF THE POTTER AND THE CLAY

1I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

2That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

Translation: Boy, am I sad.  But why?

3For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

4Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

5Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Translation: Paul loves his Jewish brothers so much, he almost wishes he weren't a Christian, because of this wedge that has developed between his people and Christ.  He has great respect and admiration for his Jewish brethren and it hurts to see this great divide.

6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Note: Here is where Paul begins to sort things out in his mind.  He is rationalizing in the most generic sense.  He is trying to make sense of the fact that God's chosen people have rejected Christ, forcing him to choose between his people and his savior.  Paul's first comment is that it's "not as though the word of God hath tkaen none effect."  Paul then says, "They are not all Israel which are of Israel."  He says that not all of Abraham's seed are the "children," meaning the children of the covenant, "but , in Isaac shall thy seed be called."  Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac.  Ishmael was actually older than Isaac, making him "firstborn."  But Ishmael was the son of the maid, a woman who became Abraham's concubine.  Isaac was the son of Abraham's wife, making him the heir.  But notice how that decision precedes the birth of these two children.  What separates them is not their actions but something decided before they were born.

9For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

10And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Boom.  There it is.  Do you see it?  Do you want to see it?  It was "the word of promise."  Prophecy had already decreed their status.  As the Muslims say, "It was written."  Paul is very plain here.  "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not works, but of him that calleth."

Paul's point is plainly this: God has already decided who stands where.  Paul points to Ishmael and Isaac as examples of God's "election," something decided "not of works but of him that calleth."

12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Boom, boom.  It was already decided that the elder would serve the younger.  It wasn't something left up to their respective work histories.  These guys didn't earn their lot in life.  God decided that before they were even born.

14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Notice how Paul has already anticipated our moral judgement.  "Is there any unrighteousness with God?"  He's asking us straight up: Do you think God is unfair?  His response is that God cannot be unfair.  He's God.

15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Can the passage be any clearer?  Forget about whether you like what it says or not.  What does it appear to say?  What is the most obvious, uninflected, unspun black-and-white message here?  What do you think Paul is getting at when he quotes God, through Moses, as saying, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy?"  When it comes to God's mercy and compassion, it's "not of him that willeth, nor him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." 

Translation: God decides who to love, who to hate and who to forgive.  Period.

17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Joseph Smith would have fed this passage through a filter.  He, in fact, translated the passage in Exodus as God allowing Pharaoh to harden his own heart.  But that's not what the passage said.  It's what Joseph Smith felt it must have said in the original, because to read it otherwise was to attribute evil to God.  To Joseph Smith, it was blasphemous to imagine that God would treat somebody this way.  God is morally perfect.  He is all loving.  He doesn't wish any of his children to fall from grace.  He would never cause anyone to sin.  He would certainly not harden someone's heart just to "shew my power in thee," that his "anem might be declared throughout all the earth." 

Joseph Smith attributed such language - and dark motives - to negligent and sometimes conspiring translators.

But if you're not Joseph Smith, and you're one of those Protestants who reads the Bible like a law book, you have to let the words mean what they appear to mean.  Some passages are obviously meant to be read figuratively, such as when Christ speaks of gouging out offending eyes and cutting off offending hands.  But there's nothing figurative about this passage.  God has mercy "on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth."

19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

Boom, boom, boom.  There it is again in black and white.  Paul has anticipated the most obvious objection: How can he then find fault with someone?  Who can resist his will?  Paul has anticipated the most basic moral objection to predestination, which is that if men lack free will, they can't be held accountable, especially when God has decided, in advance, what they will do.

20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

Here is Paul's reply: Who are you to judge God?  If God has made you a certain way, who are you to complain?

21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

And here is how Paul is using the "pottery and the clay" analogy.  He is not saying, as Jeremiah did, that Israel is in his hands.  He is not warning them to submit to his will or encouraging them to have faith, because he's got them in his hands.  Paul is telling his hearers that the potter is always justified in whatever he chooses to do with his own clay.  If he wants to "make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour" that's his business.

Translation: God can save or damn whoever he wants, and he can do it in advance.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 22, 2008 2:08 AM EDT
22What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Here, Paul softens it up a little.  He still speaks of God "willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known," but adds the possibility that he's already "endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction."  That's a shift.  Earlier on, he took a harder line.  Whether he was speaking of Ishmael and Isaac or Esau and Jacob, Paul was arguing that God could predestine one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor.  It's God who gets to decide what to do with his own clay.  But here, Paul slides in that little phrase, "endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction."  This suggests that the damned deserved what they got.

But then, in the next verse, he's back to talking about God's foreordained purpose, "that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory."  It's a hard doctrine that Paul is serving up, and though he's slipped in some possible justification based on merit, he doesn't elaborate in that direction.  Instead, he quickly goes back to talking about the theme of deciding whom to save and whom to damn.

And now, he's finally bringing the point home.  He's not speaking of whom he's judged, observed, evaluated, or approved, but who he's "called."

25As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

26And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

As Paul sees it, God had already decided, well in advance, that these people would be saved. 

27Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

28For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

29And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

Here's Paul offering the corollary.  If God could call a people who were not his people, he could also decide in advance to cut loose a people who had been called his people.

30What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

Here is the kicker, and the very reason Paul is musing on this very subject.  "The Gentiles which followed not after righteousness have attained righteousness" while "Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness."  How can that be?  Paul says the Gentiles have attained to righteousness, "even the righteousness which is of faith."

32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

33As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

And here is where Israel stumbles, "Because they sought it not by faith."

Personally, I'm not sure Paul's argument stands.  He starts out saying that God can call and elect whomever he wants, reserving one vessel to honor and another to dishonor.  He compares us to clay and says we have no right to judge what the potter does with us, that if God wants to show mercy or compassion, he can; if he wants to harden our hearts, he can.  It's his call, particularly if he wants to show what he can do.  But by the end of the chapter, he's talking in terms of a great irony - that Israel, which sought righteousness, failed to obtain it, while the Gentiles, who didn't seek righteousness, obtained it.  How can that be?  Paul says the Gentiles sought it through faith while the Jews "sought it not by faith." 

But isn't this a judgment?  Isn't this a judgment based on actions?

Not necessarily.  Paul's point, earlier on, was that God can harden whom he will.  And in the case of Israel, there's a lack of faith because God has hardened their hearts.  Does this make God unjust?  Not according to Paul, who can make one lump of clay unto honor and another unto dishonor.  God had already decided in advance - just as he did in preferring Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau - that he would call the Gentiles to be his people and leave the Jews to languish, except for a remnant.

It's getting late, so I'll hit the sack before writing more.  But I think this chapter speaks for itself.  Paul did, in fact, believe in predestination, and did so as a way of explaining how God could find mercy on the Gentiles while turning his back on the Jews.  But Paul wasn't completely sold on his own argument, because he also wants to argue that the Jews did it to themselves by not exercising faith.

I reject Paul's argument.  Even if Paul saw Jesus on the Road to Damascus, that wouldn't make Paul immune from mistakes.  In this case, he's trying to make sense of how the Jews could reject Christ when the Jews had so much more going for them than the Gentiles.  How could the Chosen People of God not see in Jesus what the Gentiles could clearly see?  Paul comforted himself in imagining that God had planned this all along, and that you can't blame God, because God is God.  He can do what he wants.

Mormons typically interpret this passage by replacing predestination with foreordination.  Predestination assigns salvation and damnation to people before they've had any chance to choose what they're going to do.  Foreordination says that people are reserved certain blessings and opportunities, which are available to them but only if they're worthy.  Certain paths maybe held in reserve, to allow a person to obtain a certain blessing, but unless that person keeps the commandments, follows the Spirit and otherwise reaches for that blessing, it will not be forced upon them. 

For most Mormons, if it comes down to a question of blaspheming God (through bad dogma) or blaming the translator, they'll bag the translator.  That's safer.  It preserves faith in scripture, faith in the prophet or apostle speaking, and it allows a little bit of interpretation to smooth out the kinks left in an ancient passage.

For me, such parsing is unnecessary.  While it may offend some, I have no problem seeing the flaws in scripture.  I'd rather forgive the ancient writers their imperfections than whitewash the scripture so that I can't see what's obviously right there before my very eyes.  People ask me, from time to time, how anyone can have faith in an imperfect book of scripture.  My answer is that inspiration is not a transcription from on high.  It's a personal discovery of some spiritual truth, by somebody who lived in a certain day and time, and who had flaws of their own. 

When, for example, I read Numbers 31, I don't make up some excuse for genocide.  I don't say the Midianites deserved it and that the Israelites had good reason to kill every man, and every woman who had been with a man, while saving the virgins for themselves.  I consider it what it appears to be, which is a genocide justified by attributing it to God.  This is stuff I know about.  Look at the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Spanish Conquest, the Hundred Years War, the War of the Roses, the "troubles" in Northern Ireland, the Salem Witch Trials.  Look at what people did to the Mormons.  Look at what some Mormons did at Mountain Meadows. 

I don't try to justify Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo or Mountain Meadows.  This stuff happens.  If I justify it, I'm tainting myself.  As I see it, it's not my job to justify scripture.  It's my job to study it and learn from it.  Sometimes I'm inclined to "go and do thou likewise."  Sometimes, I'm left to exclaim, "Never again!"
Flag Maurices5000 April 22, 2008 9:46 AM EDT
Bill, I appreciate the time you've taken to read and reply to my post. I'm at work so I'll reply as soon as i have an opportunity.

Jesse, the Holy Scriptures say: " Do not fabricate against your fellowman anything bad, when he is dwelling in a sense of security with you.  Do not quarrel with a man WITHOUT CAUSE, if he has rendered no bad to you. " Proverbs 3:29, 30.

Romans 12:18 also says: "If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men."

There is a difference between being PEACEFUL and being PEACEABLE. A peaceABLE person PURSUES peace or PROMOTES peace.  Bro, you are doing neither one.

All of us are guests of BeliefNet. All I'm trying to do is have a constructive conversation with Mormons interested in answering my questions. You are clearly not doing that. All i said what that you can keep your negative attitude to yourself. All the other stuff, is from your own head.

Is it NOT a reasonable thing to ask of another Christian to be able to have a PEACEFUL CONTRUCTIVE conversation with another Christian?

Best wishes dude!
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 22, 2008 10:58 PM EDT
I don't want to get in the middle of a conflict between two other people.  I just want to say how much I appreciate both these guys, even if they've gotten off to a rough start as pen pals. 

Maurice, you're relatively new to this forum so let me tell you that Jesse sometimes rubs folks the wrong way (we've even gone at it from time to time) but he's a decent guy, somebody you'd probably like under different circumstances.  He's usually the first to remind us all to keep a sense of perspective and to seek the high road of productive discourse.  His bark is clearly worse than his bite.  Almost everybody who has ever grumbled from an exchange with him has later chuckled from one of his comments, which are generally genial, witty and warmhearted.

I hope the two of you get a chance to work out your differences because I think you'd both enjoy the resulting dialogue.  This forum is not monolithic.  It is full of characters, including yours truly.  We don't always get along.  Sometimes we enjoy not getting along, but most of the time, it's more like a family dispute than anything else.

I have a few people on this forum who think I'm the antichrist, but even they and I sometimes agree, and on more than one occasion, we've managed to laugh together.  That may or may not be your experience here, but give it some time.  You may be pleasantly surprised.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 22, 2008 11:48 PM EDT
[QUOTE=Maurices5000;446399]Now my question is does your Church teach that this verse is flawed or mistranslated? Does your Church offer an explanation of this Scripture aside from what you have provided?[/QUOTE]

Offhand, I don't think Joseph Smith lived long enough to attempt an inspired translation of Romans 9.  He did, however, offer alternate versions of Exodus 4:21, 7: 3, 13; 9: 12; 10: 1, 20, 27; 11: 10; 14: 4, 8, 17 and Deuteronomy 2:30. 

Ex. 4:21 And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: and I will prosper thee; but Pharaoh will harden his heart, and he will not let the people go.

Ex. 7: 3 And Pharaoh will harden his heart, as I said unto thee; and thou shalt multiply my signs . . .

Ex. 7: 13 And Pharaoh hardened his heart . . .

Ex. 9: 12 And Pharaoh hardened his heart . . .

Ex. 10: 1 . . . for he hath hardened his heart, and the hearts of his servants, therefore I will show these my signs before him;.

Ex. 10: 20 But Pharaoh hardened his heart . . .

Ex. 14: 4 And Pharaoh will harden his heart . . .

Ex. 14: 8 And Pharaoh hardened his heart, and he pursued . . .

Ex. 14: 17 And I say unto thee the hearts of the Egyptians shall be hardened, and they . . .

There's no Inspired Translation coverage for Romans 9 except for verse 18, which looks like this:

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 

I wouldn't worry too much that Joseph Smith didn't offer an alternative version dealing with the KJV statement that God had hardened Pharaoh's heart.  Efforts at producing an inspired translation were not consistent.  Joseph Smith turned to the project as often as he could, but since he already had a lot on his plate, it was catch as catch can.  With the alternate accounts in Exodus, it's clear that Joseph Smith would have offered the softer view - that God ALLOWED Pharaoh to remain hardened in his heart - rather than the harsher view that exists in the KJV.

Mind you, Mormons get slammed just for imagining that the KJV Bible - which they like more than any other - could have some rough spots in translation.  If he were here, I've no doubt Joseph Smith would have preferred to think of this as an imperfect translation rather than an error that originated with Paul, or to which Paul was subject because of what was written in his own scriptures.  The Church, like Joseph Smith, would prefer to honor Paul and blame the translator.  I have no compelling reason to do so.  Reading the entire chapter, it appears utterly clear to me that Paul was willing to justify God, even if his reasoning involves an odd assertion inolving predestination.

In this respect, I'm out of sorts with most Mormons, not because I wish to be an apologist but precisely because I refuse to engage in apologetics - whether it's Mormon apologetics or Paul's apologetics.  I'm not frightened by the idea that something in the Bible could be wrong.  If anything, I find my own stance healthier.  Even if Paul met Christ on the Road to Damascus, I fail to see how that would make Paul infallible.  While the book of Acts records a few appearances, they're to instruct Paul to "go here, do this," et cetera.  I don't remember any passages where Paul is musing over an issue and Christ shows up to teach him Sunday school.

I rather like the idea that people in biblical times also struggled with theological issues.  I realize that it complicates the picture to imagine that Paul could have written something in error, but whose idea was it to turn his letters into scripture?  The New Testament isn't a monolith.  It's an artifact reflecting a community whose members may have agreed on the big stuff but who also had their disagreements.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 23, 2008 1:35 AM EDT
"29. What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"

When I look at a passage like this, I am not overwhelmed by any sense that Paul was clarifying the predestinationist drift of his previous comments.  In fact, I find the above passage frighteningly clear and predestinationist in tone.  Let's really take it apart.

What if God
desiring to show his wrath
and to make known his power
has endured with much patience
vessels of wrath prepared for destruction
in order to make known the riches of his glory
for vessels ofmercy
which he has prepared beforehand for glory
even us whom he has called
not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Oh my.  You're reading the part where God "has endured with much patience," a comment suggesting that the damned have gotten what they deserved.  I'm looking at the next line, "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction."  Imagine all the bad guys of the Bible, including the Pharaoh God would eventually ruin.  We'd like to think that they got theirs after God had "endured with much patience" their sorry character and choices.  But Paul is calling these "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction."  Prepared for destruction?  Groomed for damnation?  That doesn't sound like bad people getting theirs.  It sounds like God putting up with bad people whom he has already "prepared for destruction."

And why has God endured them?  Why has God deemed them "vessels of wath prepared for destruction?"

Paul says it's "in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy."  In other words, God needed somebody to slap around.  He needed to "make nown the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy."  But it gets worse.  These "vessels of mercy" are those he has "prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom he has called."

This isn't a case of God responding to good with good and evil with evil.  It's a case of God "calling" his "vessels of mercy" which he has "prepared beforehand for glory."  It's equally a case of God enduring with patience his "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction."  That's clearly the language of predestination.

"Notice he concludes:

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.

Upon reading these scriptures it does suggest that they had a choice. "

Let's take another look at this passage, parsing it again for clarity:

What shall we say then?
That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it,
that is, a righteousness that is by faith;
but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness
did not succeed in reaching that law.
Why?
Because they did not pursue it by faith
but as if it were based on works.
They have stumbled over the stumbling stone.
As it is written,
They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
as it is written,
Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.

This isn't observation, then reaction.  It's more of a twist on Paul's dichotomy of faith and works, as fed through a predestinationist angle.  Israel seeks righteousness and loses it while the Gentiles don't seek righteousness and gain it.  How?  Israel is relying on works.  The Gentiles are relyng on faith.  Look at the structure of those two choices.  Works are about what you have done.  Faith is about what God will do.  The former involves the individual gaining or losing salvation on the basis of individual effort.  The latter involves God's will - you know, vessels of mercy prepared beforehand and vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.

"Now it could be the Paul used obscure wording. Or maybe he did say just what he meant. Kind of like when we are explaining a hard subject we hope or  assume that people don't think we "Really mean we want to KILL the boy."  So some scriptures may be interpreted as supporting predestination but it may not necessarily be what he is saying."

If it were an obscure passage, like the ones in Exodus, where Joseph Smith rewrote "God hardened Pharaoh's heart" to "Pharaoh hardened his heart," that would be an easier claim.  But given that this is a chapter-long argument, it's harder to claim a misrendering of a word or two.  Why, for example, does Paul bring up Isaac and Jacob if not to show predestination at work?  Isaac was the heir, not by means of any works he had performed, but because God had prepared him to be such before he was born.  Likewise, "Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated" was presented as another indication of a divine will at work before either child could have performed any works.  It was determined, before they were born, that the elder would serve the younger.

It wasn't of works (past behavior) but of faith (a promise determined in advance by the will of God).  Paul is arguing this as the best explanation for why God chose the Gentiles over the Jews, what to him and other Jews would be an unlikely occurrence given the cultural differences between the groups.

"It is obvious that Paul was not trying to explain that God was somehow INJUST. But rather that he was just. He was further trying to show how it is that the Jews, his brothers, lost the hope to Gentiles."

Paul was definitely trying to justify God.  He even asks whether God can be called unjust.  But he asks that question precisely because he's suggesting that God has prepared beforehand vessels of mercy as well as vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.  He anticipates that any sensible person will consider it unjust for God to judge those "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" because no man can withstand God.  But his argument is not that they deserved it because they blew it.  It's that God, as the potter, can do whatever he wants with the clay.  So what if he decides to use some clay to show his glory while using other clay to show his wrath?  That's God's business.  Who are we to judge God?

To me, this attempt at justifying God - by attributing to him a motive that is anything but noble - is an unintended blasphemy.  It may be Paul's attempt to understand something bothering him (like the Jewish rejection of Jesus's claims as messiah) but if he weren't "St. Paul" writing as a biblical authority, his arguments would be shredded as barbaric.
Flag Maurices5000 April 23, 2008 9:31 AM EDT
Thanks for your reply Bill. I've read only part of it so far. Please be patient with me. A group of exgays are going camping this weekend--starting Friday and a lot of changes are being made. So, I'm doing a lot of last minute shopping to prepare. It is 7 hrs away and in the mountains so... I need to make sure all is right. But be assured that i will reply as soon as i get a chance.

Thanks for the explanation of Jesse. I know we are all human, but some of us, some times are just antagonists. It is good to know that Jesse isn't so. So thanks for the explanation.

I have one quick question while i thinking about this. Do Mormons fall into the "KJV ONLY" crowd? Do you use other versions of the Bible?

Best wishes.
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 24, 2008 7:51 PM EDT
[QUOTE=Maurices5000;453464]Do Mormons fall into the "KJV ONLY" crowd? Do you use other versions of the Bible? Best wishes.[/QUOTE]

Yes and No.

The LDS Church endorses the KJV.  When it cites to the Bible, it specifically cites to the KJV.  At various times, Church leaders have gone so far as to state that it's the best version, or at least the version for LDS.

One reason for saying so may be just what some "true blue Mormons" will tell you: that the KJV is, without a doubt, the best translation out there.  These folks will point to other translations and say they don't like how some of them paraphrase the meaning of scripture rather than going for a more literal word-for-word translation.  They may even point to certain translations as the product of political or cultural pressures to make the Bible support, or appeal to, their crowd.

I'm not a big fan of that explanation.  To me, it seems too simplistic.  Maybe I'm not as trusting but I've also dealt with the KJV's weak side.  The KJV is 400 years old.  It may represent the best knowledge of Greek and Hebrew to be had among the English four centuries ago, but I'd like to think we've learned something since then.  In fact, I've encountered plenty of KJV translational errors as well as wordings that are simply obsolete.  I've also used other translations and found them superior in certain instances.

I think the best reason for the LDS Church to endorse the KJV is that it's the version of the Bible that Joseph Smith knew.  The Book of Mormon is intentionally written in Jacobean English, making it more useful to correlate the Bible and the Book of Mormon if you're using the KJV.  Often, the Book of Mormon contains material that feels like a commentary, so it's nice to have the original KJV material to compare with.

I think the most likely reason for the LDS Church to endorse the KJV is the climate in which the KJV has been held for much of LDS history.  For years, Mormons have taken it on the chin when it comes to the simple statement, "We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly."   That single common-sense qualification has earned Mormons a surprising amount of derision, mostly from folks for whom the idea of mistranslations is unthinkable.  Ironically, Mormons have clung to the KJV, in an effort to avoid further scandal (since many Christians only read from the KJV) but the existence of other translations is, in itself, a reflection of the fact that the Bible is capable of multiple translations.  There's no single way to interpret the language.

So, the LDS Church simply uses the KJV when it cites the Bible, but Mormons are free to inspect other versions and study materials sometimes quote from other translations, particularly in dealing with a KJV passage that is either obscure or misleading.  In the LDS edition of the KJV, the footnotes will periodically contain the abbreviations HEB or GR to indicate alternate renderings from the Greek or Hebrew.  Obviously, if Mormons were "KJV only" enthusiasts, there'd be no reason to speak of alternate renderings.
Flag Maurices5000 April 24, 2008 10:31 PM EDT
I'm reading. I've still not read everything. Tomorrow I will be going camping until Sunday. SO i will be away from civilization.

I thought the Inspired Version was copywritten by the Reorganized Church the Community of Christ? Does the LDS publish this also? Or is it considered out of print so that anyone can copy it?
Flag BillThinks4Himself April 25, 2008 2:41 AM EDT
[QUOTE=Maurices5000;454439]I'm reading. I've still not read everything. Tomorrow I will be going camping until Sunday. SO i will be away from civilization.

I thought the Inspired Version was copywritten by the Reorganized Church the Community of Christ? Does the LDS publish this also? Or is it considered out of print so that anyone can copy it?[/QUOTE]

The Inspired Version, as a stand-alone version of the Bible, is published by the Community of Christ.  While the LDS Church has incorporated the same information into footnotes and an appendix to the LDS edition of the KJV, Joseph Smith never finished his work and the consensus in the LDS Church is that it would be misleading to publish what Joseph Smith did accomplish as a completed work.

There's also a concern that, in using the JST as a replacement of the KJV, it would simply add fuel to the fire of those who think Mormons don't read the Bible, just the stuff written by Joseph Smith.  Put another way, Mormons have enough problems as it is.  They don't want to give anyone an excuse to say they don't read the Bible.
Flag winter84 July 18, 2008 8:31 PM EDT
[QUOTE=Maurices5000;429864]So you were able to find a clip? I was not able to find one. I did a google search. I think it might be helpful in comments. How does the Church handle such situations? I remember too what happened to that girl who was on Real World who was Mormon. Her parents came on the show and disapproved of her behavior.

I'm just wondering how it is that these people feel so comfortable coming on TV saying they are Mormon and showing their questionable mormon views and conduct. How is this viewed?[/QUOTE]

LOOK...IT IS FRICKIN GAME...NO MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONOPOLY OR RISK OR STRATEGO..

it is THEIR free agency to do as they wish...if I was their bishop , I couldn't care any more about that game than if they were on Price is Right and kissed bob barker...who the freak cares..and WHY do you care? I am more worried that you care than that woman giving an answer to a bogus hypothetical question...

there are a LOT of women who would leave their husbands if he left the church...until it happens...it is nothing more than a rhetorical question being answered....

same thing as me saying, if I was not a member ...where would I be? in jail? dead? whatever...

we place a lot of importance on things that do not have anything to do with OUR salvation or that of our families.
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