MrShorty

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About MrShorty

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  1. MrShorty

    How Wide the Divide?

    In the Salvation chapter, Robinson specifically explains (in response to Blomberg's observation that the language used in the book seems very different from one of Robinson's Ensign articles where he gives a "bicycle" analogy) that, in this book, he is using language that Protestants will hopefully better understand. In his Ensign article, he was using language that LDS would understand without being concerned about whether Protestants would understand. This was one of those sections where, like @mordorbund suggests, I wonder if Robinson was employing a little "spin" to make our thinking a little more palatable to Protestants. I see many Protestants accepting and teaching some variation of "works as an outgrowth of faith/grace" that Robinson talks about. I even recall some statements from apostles like Elder Uchtdorf that fit into this. I wonder, if Blomberg had really pressed him to a yes/no "Do you believe in Sola Fide and/or Sola Gratia?" (I have noted many times that I like to think of those as separate), would Robinson answer "yes" or "no". I don't know how Robinson would answer. I have noted that I could answer yes to one and no to the other (I believe in salvation by grace alone, but believe that it takes more than faith alone to get there), but that's just me. In this part of the discussion, the thing Robinson did that really stood out to me was framing it as similar to the Arminianism vs. Calvinism debate. It's probably not perfect, but I can see how Robinson sees Mormonism (if you have a better "ism" for this word, I'm open to suggestions) as leaning more towards Arminianism and Evangelicalism (as Blomberg concedes) leans more towards Calvinism. This page (https://www.learnreligions.com/calvinism-vs-arminianism-700526 ) notes that the Arminianism vs. Calvinism debate is potentially one of the most divisive in Christian history, so it should be no surprise that there is a significant debate between us and Evangelicals over these points. But, again, would we as LDS really classify ourselves collectively and unreservedly as Arminians? Maybe not. But, putting the debate into those terms should help Evangelicals, who would likely be more familiar with Arminianism and the different points in that debate, understand it.
  2. MrShorty

    How Wide the Divide?

    I am problem one of the frightened spectators, because I think fear is a big problem for me in having these conversations. Too many examples (a couple of my own experiences) where it wasn't handled well, and I find myself preferring to completely avoid the conflict rather than figure out how to work through the conflict in a good way like these two did. Assuming that it will ever be my place to fully enter this dialog (outside of the anonymity of an internet forum like this), I will need to get over that fear before I can make a meaningful contribution.
  3. MrShorty

    Suicide and the Law of Chastity

    I struggle enough with St. Paul's idea in 1 Cor. 7 that my sexual availability/unavailability might mean that I am at fault for my spouse's sin. I don't think that is right. I am even more uncomfortable with elevating that to the next level where my sexual availability/unavailability might be at fault for my fiancee's/spouse's very life. Any variation of "I will kill myself if you don't have sex with me" is all kinds of unhealthy and wrong -- even if I were to make concessions in the moral right/wrong department. I agree with NT, it is not fair to you to be yoked to someone whose very life depends on your sexual availability. If she is not currently in treatment for her suicidal ideation, then she needs to enter treatment. Get her emotional state back under control, then worry about how you are going to go forward -- including how you will deal with the moral right/wrong part of the question.
  4. MrShorty

    How Wide the Divide?

    @prisonchaplain Now that you mention it, that is another big take away from the book. How to have a respectful conversation about these religious differences. I think that model can even go beyond LDS-Evangelical relations into other denominational relations (perhaps even the big Catholic-Protestant divide). Just modeling the ability to "disagree without being disagreeable" is a valuable skill -- especially with a topic that can be as charged as religion.
  5. MrShorty

    How Wide the Divide?

    For some time now, @prisonchaplain has recommended Blomberg and Robinson's book. On one trip to the DI this summer, I came across a copy in good condition and decided I would pick it up and read it. Finished it this morning. A basic synopsis of the book: The book consists of 4 chapters (plus an introduction and a conclusion) that cover four topics: Scripture, God and Deification, Christ and the Trinity, and Salvation. Each chapter consists of a portion authored by Blomberg explaining the Evangelical beliefs on that topic and concerns with the LDS position, a portion authored by Robinson that explains the LDS beliefs on that topic and LDS concerns with the Evangelical positions. Each chapter includes a joint conclusion where they summarize the similarities and differences. We can talk about any of the chapters, if anyone wants to. A couple of overall impressions that stood out to me. I don't know if I was expecting some kind of ecumenical "bring us all together until we are singing Kum Ba Yah together by the end of the book", but my first impression was how neither author attempted to "gloss over" any of the main disagreements. Both authors, not in a mean spirited way, explained concerns and disagreements, while firmly explaining their convictions and their reasons for belief. For the most part, neither author made any concessions to the other in terms of belief, but neither did they attempt to misrepresent the others' arguments, either. I felt like each chapter provided a good opportunity for the reader to decide for him/herself just how different. The other impression that stood out to me was my reaction to some of Robinson's arguments. Maybe it is our inherent "mistrust" (or unwillingness to rely on or whatever this is called) of professional theologians/academicians, but I found myself occasionally wondering if the official Church leadership and publication people (correlation committees) would completely agree with what Robinson put into this book. Our Church is more "top down" authoritarian, and Robinson is not among those who are responsible for declaring and explaining doctrine in the LDS Church. He has been published in the Ensign and by Deseret Book, so he is certainly not a nobody in Church publication circles, but he kind of is a nobody. His opinion is just his opinion and carries no real weight. I doubt that anyone in the top councils of the Church would have serious misgivings over what he put in the book, though. When all was said and done, I thought he did a good job of summarizing LDS theology on those points as well as anyone else (especially considering that we don't really have a rigorous theology to refer to). Overall, I thought is was a good book. It does a good job, at summarizing each side of the chosen topics and how (most) Evangelical churches and the LDS Church can find agreement and disagreement.
  6. If it is too much of a threadjack, please ignore, but I am reminded of another board game I used to like that gave you some flexibility in choosing your "victory" conditions. It was a game called Careers. I forget many of the details, but you basically started the game by figuring out what combination of "love", "money", "fame", and maybe 1 or two other criteria would constitute your victory condition. Then you played the game, pursuing different career paths that would give you varying points in each category. The goal was to be the first to amass the correct number of points in each category and win the game.
  7. That sounds like a newer edition. The edition I am remembering did not have life tiles.
  8. Refresh my memory. It seems that there was an earlier version of the Game of Life that included number of children in the final "score" (if memory serves, each child was given a fixed dollar value when figuring your final worth)? I seem to recall winning one round in part because I had several children, which gave me a sizeable "bonus" at the end which pushed me over the top. I want to say that this was in the '80's maybe early '90's -- though the copy we were playing could have been older still.
  9. MrShorty

    Adamic Language

    I don't know if this will add anything to this discussion. Searching out other things, I came across this from FairMormon: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Question:_Can_Latter-day_Saints_have_a_non-literal_view_of_the_creation_story%2C_or_have_a_somewhat_more_mythic_view_of_the_first_five_books_of_Moses_given_the_Church's_teaching_of_a_historical_Adam%3F?fbclid=IwAR3_l8bDWFBcNWX9Yb7sGVS_OHgilTUs6hmGhRaeDykGESjNzUJQeuiki7g That includes a section (almost at the end) that discusses the Adamic language. It's mostly about how it might fit into different theories of creation. Perhaps for additional interest, note 4 on that page links to a page at the JSPP where some alleged samples of the Adamic language are given: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/sample-of-pure-language-between-circa-4-and-circa-20-march-1832/1
  10. MrShorty

    Figurative vs Literal

    I am reminded of something Dr. Henry Eyring said (quoting from Dan Peterson's blog -- not original sources https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2019/08/henry-eyring.html I tend to agree with Dr. Eyring. Yes, some have accepted scientific claims so dogmatically as to limit their spiritual growth. It also seems to me that some religionists -- including some of our apostles and prophets -- have been so dogmatic about their private interpretation of scripture as to limit our ability to discover the real truth. I'm not sure which side of this coin I fall on. Ultimately, I like Dr. Eyring's conclusion. I don't have to believe anything that is not true. I'm not sure if or how I will always, infallibly know what is true and what is not true -- as Vort says, this is where enough humility to accept that I don't really know the final answers.
  11. MrShorty

    Figurative vs Literal

    An interesting question. I expect that I am on the path towards something like Moe's viewpoint. Until I get there: One of the most contentious issues I see is the issues of a literal Adam and Eve (and no death before the fall and other cosmological questions). I have seen it suggested that a big reason Joseph Fielding Smith adopted young earth creationism and defended it so vigorously was this specific issue -- can you read the Bible as something less than literal history. He seemed to believe that anything less than literal history was an offense against scripture, so he taught young earth creationism. For whatever reason, the Church's response (members and curriculum writers, but not necessarily the official official position) was to adopt creationism as the semi-official position of the Church. We waffled a bit on young versus old, but we were decidedly creationists (but never quite officially). Donald Parry, in his Ensign article in the late '90's about Noah's flood, asserts that Mormons are among the few who take the Bible literally -- including a belief in a literal, global flood exactly as the Bible describes, with no room for a "local flood" theory or even an allegorical reading. As to the Book of Mormon, we have long adopted a kind of "all or nothing" approach to the Book of Mormon -- and Elder Callister's recent book doubles down on the idea. Either it is all true (including historically accurate) and therefore proof of the restoration, or it is all false and the entirety of our restoration narrative from Joseph Smith to Russel M Nelson is fraudulent. All to say that we have a history of insisting on literal readings of scripture -- more literal than I am comfortable with (but I'm just some internet nobody, so who cares what I think, right?). A few years ago, I started this thread asking what parts of ancient scripture must be historical and what can I tolerate as fictional/allegorical/less than history. At the time, I concluded (and mostly still agree) that the only thing I really need to be historical is about Christ and His atonement. I'm not too worried about whether He died on a cross or a pole (as the Jehovah's Witnesses like to argue) or whether he actually spoke to a woman at the well or not, or whether he was born in the spring, fall, or winter, or any of the details described by the evangelists. Something about him allowed him suffer and die to provide a substitiary atonement for me (and the rest of you, I suppose), and be raised from the dead (whether a part of three separate calendar days or 72 hours or some other time after, I don't care) so that I will also be raised to live with God and Christ again. I think I can tolerate a lot of ancient scripture being fictional/allegorical/ahistorical as long as that doesn't change. I think I can even tolerate less than literal historical readings of modern scripture. If I learn that details of Joseph Smith's First vision are not exactly as they are described in the 1838 account as canonized in the PoGP, I think I can be okay with that. If something about the way polygamy was taught and practiced under Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and on to Wilford Woodruff (and after) was not exactly how God intended to reveal it, I think I can accept that, too. If the Book of Mormon proves to be less than a history of actual people in this hemisphere, maybe I can be okay with that without losing all belief in the Restoration. Are these important questions? Like MoE, I'd like to say that they are not important. However, it seems to me that we frequently inflate their importance. Because of the theological relationship we usually draw between fall and atonement, many will argue that anything less than a literal, historical, physical interpretation of the accounts of Adam and Eve destroys the entire Christian narrative (more of that all or nothing thinking). Because of the importance of Joseph Smith to our restoration narrative, anything less than perfect, historical accuracy in his accounts of the restoration events and his understanding of what the Book of Mormon is destroys the entire restoration. Any chink in the "all or nothing" armor shatters the entire LDS paradigm. I sometimes think the importance of the literal versus figurative is in how it encourages and/or discourages people to remain as active participants in the Church. Perhaps this puts me in opposition to Fether's argument that figurative/ahistorical readings are a step on the road to apostasy, but I sometimes wonder if some of those who leave the Church would have stayed if there was more open tolerance for these figurative/ahistorical readings of scripture. That might be the real importance, in my opinion, for this discussion. How does the debate over literal vs. figurative figure into whether some accept or reject -- stay or leave -- the Church.
  12. MrShorty

    We can be Mormons again?

    Inerestingly, I came across a blog post over at one of those progressive blogs (that are often received with disdain here) that addressed this CHI update. The author compares the updated language to the language of an archived version from Oct. 2018, and notes only two edits -- the scripture reference in the first paragraph is changed from D&C 115:4 to Doctrine and Covenants 115:4 and to remove the reference to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the last paragraph. The blog author suggests that the edit to NT's highlighted text that will make referring to members as "Mormons" unacceptable is still in the works.
  13. MrShorty

    So sick of the peeping stone story

    I had an interesting reaction the first time I read the gospel topics essay on the four extant accounts of the first vision. Why canonize only one of the four accounts? Why privilege the 1838 account over the other accounts? Several reasons suggested themselves, each interesting, but I am still left trying to fully understand why we privilege one account over all others. 1) Yes! 2) Yes, but. Do I have to believe every single thing he said about it even where it appears that he contradicts himself? With ancient scripture (like Genesis), I am disinclined to believe that every event described literally occurred as historical fact. Can I believe that the Prophet brought forth the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God while accepting that maybe he and Oliver overstated the importance and role of the Urim and Thummim and understated the importance/role of the seer stone? 3) Yes! 4) Plead the 5th. Not going to testify against myself.
  14. MrShorty

    So sick of the peeping stone story

    This and so many other aspects of our history are interesting little problems. Since I am not an expert in such historical research, ultimately I have to take it on faith that the historians/scholars hired by the Church to synthesize all of this down into our "best" understanding have done their due diligence in judging which sources are good primary sources, good secondary sources, and not so good sources (but I do not have the time, expertise, or inclination to try to adequately verify that for myself). If the new narrative represents a change from the narrative I grew up with, what then?? As a scholarly endeavor, this should not be above criticism, if we feel those criticisms are justified. I don't know who follows Jeff Lindsay's Mormanity blog, but one of the recent bees in his bonnet is how he feels that the JSPP has been severely negligent in their choice of sources for the recent volume dealing with the Book of Abraham. Again, I can't possible judge what is truth and error in this debate, but the existence of the debate is interesting to me. Again, I ultimately have to rely on the final consensus of these historians/scholars to know what our best guess at the true history looks like. The study of our history is interesting. It also seems to be difficult in many ways. If your criticism has merit -- enough merit to override the consensus of the Church's historians/scholars, then I hope someone will take it up and publish those criticisms where they can do some good (thirdhour is an amazing forum with some amazing people, but I'm not sure a simple forum post even on this forum is going to gain much traction) in the debate.
  15. To borrow from someone else (who may have been mistranslated) -- "Almost thou persuadest me to become a Texan."