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Vort last won the day on December 10

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About Vort

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  1. Victims of various forms of Baal worship would probably agree.
  2. Vort

    The signs of Christ's birth

    0) The whole super-bright-aurora-borealis-caused-by-a-nearby-supernova thing. You gotta admit, that one really rocks.
  3. Scott, I know that sometimes I come across in this forum as scolding or severe, or even petulant. But I usually don't mean to be that way. I admit that this particular subject matter bothers me, like discussions on Kolob or how women actually already hold the Priesthood or other such irritants. But I don't mean to put that on you. It's the ideas I find irritating, not the people discussing them. I'm not aware that I've been unkind in this particular series of exchanges, but if I have, I sincerely apologize. That has not been my intent. Now, to your point: "Henotheism" is a technical term. It was coined for a particular discussion and in reference to a particular belief set, which is described as "worshiping one god but believing in the existence of other gods." BUT THAT IS AN OVERSIMPLIFIED DESCRIPTION. It's a "shorthand" description. The word does indeed refer to people who worship only one god but believe in the existence of others—in a specific context. And that context is that of ancient Greeks and the evolution of their pantheon. Like many or most other ancient peoples, the ancient Greeks believed in all sorts of gods, some local, some more general. There was a god of fire, and a god of water, and a god of the hearth, and a god of the doorsill, and a god of hunting, and a god of growing grain, and a god of growing turnips, and a god of love, and a god of carnality, and a god of fertility, and a god of alcoholic beverages, and a god of conducting business, and a god of trees, and a god of clouds, and a god of thunder, and a god of stones, and a god of metal, and a god of woodworking, and so on and so forth ad nauseam. The Greeks were so afraid of leaving out some minor god and incurring his wrath that they built a special temple to "the unknown god", so that any overlooked god might assume that the temple was built for him. That way, the god of bad breath wouldn't curse the people for forgetting to worship him. Some of the very ancient Greek tribes (and others) worshiped what they thought was the most powerful god, or maybe the one they were most likely to get favors from. They did not deny the existence of all the other gods; they simply concentrated on the one they devoted themselves to. That is the meaning of "henotheism". LDS religious understanding is utterly alien to this. We believe in the Father, the Creator of all things including, in some sense, our very selves. We believe in the Son as being, in essence, the Father's hands in creation and government. We believe that the Son was called to be our Savior, and that he wrought an act of reconciliation between us and the Father, something we call "Christ's atonement". We don't understand the mechanics of the atonement, not at all, not even a little*. But that doesn't matter. We believe in the Holy Ghost, literally a spirit from God, a divine being who can dwell within us and reveal the Father and the Son to us, whose influence on us can cleanse us and make us worthy, able, and eager to stand in the very presence of God and bathe his feet with our tears of gratitude and love. And these beings are God, each of them and all of them. We also believe we have a Mother who is fitted for and equal to our Father, and to whom we therefore assign qualities like "perfection" and "omniscience" and "omnipotence". But we don't really understand what we're saying. Mostly, these are just words, and we use them because they are all we have. But if we have the Spirit, then the words might be revealed to us, and we have some actual understanding, not just words but real knowledge. *(I am convinced we never will understand the mechanics of it until far in our future, after our resurrection, both because it is so far beyond our comprehension of how spiritual mechanics work that we literally have no context to understand, and because the mechanics of the atonement are as irrelevant as the chemical mechanics of how we digest our food. The important point is that the thing works, not that we understand how it works.) So now, are we really going to use a word that was invented to describe an evolutionary state of primitive religion among ancient peoples three thousand years ago as a modern description of latter-day revealed truths? What possible sense does it make to say that Latter-day Saints are "henotheists"? Does it increase anyone's understanding of eternal principles, even a little tiny bit? Does it bring anyone to Christ? Does it create in the minds of people, Latter-day Saints or otherwise, an accurate picture of what it is to be a member of the kingdom of God? I submit it does none of these things. It does the opposite. It creates confusion and ambiguity. It adds needless complexity and obfuscates what it is supposed to illuminate, all for the sake of using a ten-dollar word. We are not "henotheists". Period. No way. I agree that the correct worldly term to describe us and our belief system does not exist, unless that word is "reality". But saying that we are "reality people" doesn't help anyone come to Christ. So if we're going to describe ourselves in the most truthful way possible using the inaccurate terms at our disposal, "henotheism" is the wrong choice. "Monotheism" is, without a shadow of doubt, the best available term. Whatever it lacks in nuance, it more than makes up for in creating an overall accurate and reasonable picture in the minds of the hearers. We are not henotheists or polytheists. We are monotheists.
  4. We don't need to worry or fret about who or how many gain exaltation. We don't need to theorize about any such thing. Here is the key: Christ's sheep hear his voice.
  5. I assure you, I am not being disingenuous, nor am I attempting to be clever or cute. This is fundamental to what it means to worship God. I don't pretend to have anything like a perfect understanding, but I know enough to know that we believe in One God. Not many gods (or Gods), but One. I am utterly unpersuaded by "space doctrine" that insists on a childishly naive interpretation of some of Joseph Smith's teachings and weaves out of it a heaven crammed full of Gods who managed to graduate from Earth University with their PhD in God. Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. I am perfectly well aware of the seminary-student-aged model of Daddy and Mommy God leading their unnaughty children to exaltation and coolness. I think there is some real truth in that model, perhaps even profound truth. But it is a vastly oversimplified model. It gives a badly distorted view of reality. And it is not justified by saying that we don't have any other model that's better, so we should go ahead and stick with it. We should not. If we want a model of truth, we should go before the Father and plead for our hearts to be softened and our minds opened, rather than cling to a model that softens the head and befuddles the heart. Those who insist on bringing so-called "heavenly Mother" into every discussion are very often the selfsame people who love to prattle on endlessly about the wonders of "deification". They would love discussing how many Gods there are, and many would say things about how cool it will be when we get our own planet. And they would probably think they were discussing things of spiritual solidity and depth. I blush even writing such absurdities, yet some of our fellow Saints actually think and talk like that. And not just the teenagers. Consider that when you think about whether this discussion, or others like it, provide any value.
  6. A discussion about whether Latter-day Saints are henotheists centers on two things: 1. What actual belief systems define those who are called "henotheists"? 2. To what degree do Latter-day Saint teachings comport with those belief systems? A discussion about whether men can become "'gods" centers on two things: 1. What exactly is meant by "gods"? 2. What is the process by which men might attain such a state? The discussions are very different. The former is purely a matter of definition; the latter is a complex, nuanced discussion of the ramifications of the plan of salvation, couched in inexact terms that we must use because we don't have anything better. Agreed. So then, why would you apply a term like "henotheism", which in your years of study you must have discovered was coined for a completely different purpose and used to describe a completely foreign belief system, to Latter-day Saint beliefs and pronounce it a close fit? It is nothing of the sort.
  7. Vort

    The signs of Christ's birth

    Very strong aurora borealis caused by the intense radiation from an immense supernova 40-100 light-years away that reached the earth at the moment of Jesus' birth. It was new. The Nephites and Lamanites had better vision that those in the Old World. Who says they didn't? Argument from silence is an especially weak basis from which to propound. "Jesus could not have had a beard, because the Bible doesn't say he had a beard! Jesus did not have two arms, because the Bible doesn't say Jesus had two arms! Jesus could not have had a wife, because the Bible doesn't say Jesus had a wife! Jesus must never have eaten quail, because the Bible never says that Jesus ate quail!" That the Bible doesn't mention anyone besides the wise men seeing the new star doesn't mean, or imply, or even suggest that no one else saw it. It means only that those who wrote the Biblical account saw fit to mention that the wise men saw the star, for whom it had deep meaning, and didn't see fit to mention that, by the way, any other human being with decent eyesight could also have seen the star if he looked.
  8. An utterly different discussion from whether Latter-day Saints are henotheistic.
  9. Go do a quick, 30-minute study on the history of the word "henotheism". Then come back and tell us if you think it's "the closest definition to our beliefs."
  10. But Vort, that is what our Church believes, even if it is ephasized as much anymore. Absolutely not. Not in any sense at all of any sort for which the term was coined. To argue otherwise is exactly like saying that, since political will is force, therefore sufficient political will can allow us to fly by flapping our arms. It's a confusion of terms. No, I do not believe that any other gods have existed or do exist or will ever, ever, ever, ever exist throughout the eternities, other than the God I worship. There is no other god. But wait! Didn't Jesus himself teach, "Ye are gods?" Indeed he did. But Jesus was not telling the liars threatening to stone him that they would sit on the Father's throne. No reasonable person could possibly believe that. Jesus was teaching a more subtle doctrine, and using it to show that merely calling himself God's Son, and thus in the Hebrew mind equal to God, was no capital offense, if even they (filthy. lying abominations that they were) could be considered as "gods". What does the term "henotheism" mean? Why was it invented? Was it used to describe monotheists who posit the existence of other realms of creation utterly aside from that of our Father? Of course not. How could such a speculative creation have any possible effect on us, even if it actually existed? All Christians who believe the Bible agree that those who follow Christ will inherit "all that the Father hath". So I guess you're stating that all Christians are henotheists? The whole argument is nonsense. The terms were invented with certain ideas in mind. Latter-day Saints are not among those ideas for which the terms were coined. We are not polytheists. We are not henotheists. I defy anyone to find a single example of what President Oaks called "official doctrine" that teaches any such thing.
  11. Irrelevant. I don't see it as irrelevant. It's a perplexing question. So far only one person has answered in this thread. It's not in the least perplexing. A Mother in heaven will obviously be a female counterpoint to the Father in heaven. That means that, like Eve to Adam, she will be perfectly fitted to him. He is perfect and all-powerful; therefore, so must she be. What could be more obvious? Nothing perplexing about it. But we don't worship her. That's the point. We worship only one God. Some might argue that the term "God" incorporates both the Father and the Mother, as it incorporates both the Father and the Son. But that's a silly word game. In some cases, it's probably true. But what of it? When we pray, we pray to the Father. When we covenant, we covenant with the Father. It is him whom we worship, and none else. If we worship the Christ—and we do, in some sense at least—we worship him as God, as a being who is one with the Father. One God. Not two, not many. One. Monotheism.
  12. I wish I were more friendly. IRL, I mean, though I could use an online upgrade, too. I'm friendly enough, and I enjoy the people that I like. But I tend by nature to be introverted. As I have tried to explore my extroverted side and give it some exercise, I have often found it very enjoyable, but on rare occasions quite horrible. It's always risky opening yourself up to others. But mostly, I have found it exhausting, wondering when we're going to be done so I can go home and read the TH forum or read a Latin primer or Google "Where do ducks sleep?" or watch Youtube videos about metalworking. Then I realize what I'm doing, and I realize that the social function I'm attending is actually far more useful and beautiful to me than those other things, as long as I really attend and pay attention. So I do. But it's often not a natural fit for me. It requires work. it's not that I don't care at all about what anyone thinks of me. Far from it. I want to be held in esteem by family and friends, by those I care about. I would like to be well-regarded by acquaintances, such as at work. Life is easier if you're not regarded with contempt. But I also had some formative experiences from childhood through about 25 years old that taught me in no uncertain terms that seeking for approval from the masses, or even from certain individuals, is foolish. So I quit trying. And insofar as my efforts to impress anyone else ceased with those to whom I'm unattached and whose good opinion of me is irrelevant to myself or my family or friends, I'm much better off for it. I get to live more authentically, and if people mock me for it, then whatever. That's all I really mean.
  13. I probably care too little about what others think of me. If I cared more, I would perhaps take better care of myself and comport myself with more decorum in various situations, such as on this forum. So I tend to fall easily into agreement with your above statement. But that's beside the point. We aren't polytheists, and we aren't henotheists. That is absurd. We are monotheists. All the hair-splitting in the world will not change that. Why was the term "polytheist" ever coined, anyway? Because people who did not believe in many gods used it to describe those who did. Why was the term "monotheist" coined? Clearly, to distinguish those who believed in God, but only one, from the polytheists. Why was the term "henotheist" coined? Because a couple of early 19th-century Freidrichs wanted to describe primitive Greek monotheists who allowed for the existence of other gods besides the one they worshiped. So here's the breakdown: Polytheism: I believe in Zeus, Apollo, Ares, Hera, Athena, and a bunch of other gods. Henotheism: I grant that Apollo might drive the sun chariot across the sky and that Ares and Apollo and Athena and the rest might possibly exist and do their thing. Whatever. Sure, they might have effect on me. But I only worship Zeus. Monotheism: There is only one God. He is supreme. He is almighty. The other gods that people worship are false gods. Apollo doesn't drive a sun chariot. Zeus doesn't hurl lightning bolts. The God we worship is the only one. If you have to classify our religion strictly based on the above categories, into which category does it sort? The answer is obvious. And if you think that answer is "polytheism" or "henotheism", then you are beyond my reach.
  14. Apparently, the prophets care. They have made it crystal clear that we believe in and worship one God.