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  1. @Traveler Plato believed there was a preexistence. This notion was widespread in ancient times. Origen believed in a preexistence; and he was therefore condemned, for heresy, because preexistence was associated with Platonism. I agree with you that preexistence solves the free will debate, such as between Calvinism and Arminianism; but I disagree that Joseph was the one who conceived of a great resolution to the problem. The resolution was already present, and Joseph merely gave it support. Where in the Scriptures does Joseph ever suggest that things were created beyond the realm of our universe, as you suggest? The very idea of Kolob seems to suggest otherwise. Creatio ex materia, also. They paint the picture that all of God’s work is done within the universe. You have made some very persuasive points over the course of our conversation. I do not want you to think that I keep coming back with a response only to set out to prove that I am right. There are some lingering points which lead me to believe that Joseph‘s notion of God is incorrect. I am responding, with the hope that you can prove me wrong; that you can satisfy my doubts. And maybe you will not be able to. But I appreciate your time and effort. I look forward to hearing from you now, about this topic, as well as in the future, about other topics.
  2. @Traveler Roger Penrose is the name. I happened to locate the interview on YouTube. He goes into a theory which he is working on, called, Conformal Cyclical Cosmology (CCC); which posits that the universe advances into another universe such as our own, albeit, perhaps, slightly different. The part of the interview which I was referring to — about the disc — was where Penrose figures the singularity as being flat, through a “trick of mathematics”, but which he supposes is essentially the reality of things. But regardless of whether Penrose is correct, the problem it would seem is that Joseph Smith imagined a universe that was eternally static. The universe itself did not come into being by God, for the gods are themselves of the universe. God merely happened to form this planet (solar system; galaxy) within the universe; within his own sector of space. Hence, Kolob. In other words, the universe does not expand or contract; and it cannot cease to exist. That is the notion which Joseph Smith presented to the Church as a revelation of doctrine. But such cannot possibly be true, scientifically speaking. As I mentioned before, I find it fascinating that Penrose is supposing the singularity is flat. Because the author(s) of Genesis suppose that God’s Spirit was hovering over a flatness, that was the surface of the waters; before things began to be divided. I have always felt that Mormon cosmology would be so much more plausible if God’s Spirit was understood to be the force and potency of the gods: the God of the gods. Unfortunately the present doctrine holds that God’s Spirit is a mere spirit child of the Heavenly Parents, who has yet to receive a body. Uff da. Regarding the transcendental nature of God, I would not characterize it as being supernatural or magical. Rather, simply, as beyond the scope of our comprehension. Mysterious — yes. But not supernatural; et cetera. A transcendental God is as natural as the universe itself; they go together. I am curious to know the reasons that make you regard a transcendental God (creatio ex nihilo) as being “supernatural” or “magical”. Below are some statements by Penrose, made in the interview: When you do not have mass, you do not have this scale. So very near the Big Bang the universe did not know how big it was, you see. So you have to extend Einstein's equations in such a way that they do not -- You know, what do they do when you do not worry about big and small -- They are equivalent. Now when you do that, you find that the Big Bang is not this horrible singularity, it is just a nice smooth surface. And it is that very nice sort of -- You imagine a space, and it stops there, you see; with a nice smooth surface. So you might say, well, maybe there is something on the other side of that smooth surface. And you just need a little extension of Einstein to be able to treat this conformal boundary to the spacetime. And the fact that it is a nice smooth surface is actually a way of looking at the problem I was just mentioning. You stretch out the Big Bang, and then it is nice and smooth; and you can extend it to something behind it. Now there is the big question; what was behind it? I would have normally said there is nothing behind it; that is just a nice way of characterizing it. But it is very tempting to think, if you can extend it -- and this is just using a mild extension of Einstein -- to something on the other side, what was on the other side? You could talk about inifinity. You may say it is a mathematical trick. And that is what we did for a long time. It is a very useful way of talking about radiation, when you want to know what is the ultimate measure of the strength of that radiation. So you go out to infinity. How do you do that? Well, the trick is to squash infinity down so it is a finite place, so that you can see where it is. Just a mathematical trick. But, now I am saying -- These tricks are, in a sense, real. That is what the real world is doing. And so it has forgotten how to measure time in this mass way. And you have this finite boundary, and you can talk about infinity in a perfectly coherent way.
  3. If you would, please expand on this. I am almost certain that I know what you mean to say, though I could be mistaken. I understand you to be saying that, God must be a "restored" man because of the nature of his will. That, the nature of God's will is human, and so, it necessarily follows that he is human, and of physical form. And your question is, How can we join with God, and marry him in a manner of speaking, when he is transcendental; considering that one can only join together with another, to an absolute degree of harmony, when they are of the same kind? Am I correct in this? ======= Some time ago, I watched the interview of a renowned physicist (forgetting his name); who happened to discuss at one point, the present consensus among physicists concerning the origins of the universe. He described the singularity that existed prior to the Big Bang as being—if one is inclined to picture it, he remarked—in the shape of a disc; and, that, the universe is projecting out of one face of the disc. He went on to theorize about the reality that exists on the other side of the disc. Now this makes sense to me, for it is reminiscent of the primordial waters, mentioned in Genesis; and, symbolically, the veil of the temple in Jerusalem. There seems to be quite literally a dividing curtain, behind which the physical world is unable to seep; where our Father’s mind happens to stir. It is as though our Father was hovering above the face of a watery, malleable disc, before he created the world; like the mind, thoughts and feelings of a person, hovering in the tissue of the brain; moving and stirring therein, above the plane of body — shaping the body. And it was the spirit and character of our Father’s mind and soul that had stirred him to impress upon the face of the singularity disc, thereby producing Creation; outwards, from the other face, on the other side of the disc. Whereas one dimension above the face of the watery, malleable disc is marked by light and repleteness, the other dimension above the other face is marked by darkness and vacuity; materially void, but harboring the mind of our Father. I tend to think of our Father as a transcendental human mind, who, for eons, had entertained those spirits (essences; moods; convictions; characters) that he perceived were present, with him, in the darkness of the vacuity and material void. And, that, our Father rejected the spirits; all but one: the holiest. Therefore, Creation happens to suffer because God is suffering the unholy spirits. It is those unholy essences that existed above and beyond the one face of the singularity disc, that are being tolerated here, too, above any beyond this face of the disc, in Creation; all so that humankind might become one, in their choice to suffer the unholy spirits with God, for the sake of knowing and loving the holiest of them; the one our Father calls his very own. Life is not about glorifying our Father per se, but rather about glorifying our Father's spirit; as per his wishes. As you can see, according to my beliefs, I am but an inch away from believing that God is an exalted man. What is behind the curtain? I do not know. There might be an exalted man there. Perhaps there is some piece of information out there that would make things click; that would make me understand. I am seeking this out. I agree that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. However, I think it is unreasonable to expect me to believe in something which all but one person testified to; especially since the Bible states that facts are to be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. I believe that something remarkable happened, in the coming of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration, but I cannot accept (at this point) that the doctrine of exaltation was it. There are far greater, more convincing interpretations of what has happened, in my humble opinion.
  4. Greetings to you, too. Considering how this conversation might be quite tense at times, I would like to offer my sincerest ἀγάπη. The way I see things, we are two early Christians of the first century, arguing about the finer points of a truth; but subjects of Christ, nonetheless. Please do not think that I wish to mock you; quite the contrary. I feel that I must, figuratively speaking... take the brigantine to her limits, to find out the truth in what she is capable of — the conversation, that is. Yes, that is the point which I was trying to make. That is the premise of Matthew 18:18, "Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and so whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven." In a very real sense, this life is Judgment Day. Resolution happens here, now. One deals with Jesus Christ. This is why Paul said that Jesus is the image of the invisible God; because Jesus is the physical impression of God upon us; that persona of God which one knows, understands and intellectually interacts with, on the same level so to speak. Exalted, sanctified men worship Christ as the Father, and they pray with Jesus (who is the eldest of the brethren) to the Father. I fail to see a breakdown in logic here — This is in complete harmony with the seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel. Holding the notion of an eternal, transcendental God requires us to be eternally humble. There is a mystery in the role of the parent, that—as a child under their care and charge—one never comes to understand; and when we do come to understand, we cease to be under their care and charge. Moreover, there is not a single passage in the Bible where the prophets have explicitly revealed to us that we could opt out of God’s care and charge, at any point during our eternal existence. Hence, the mysterious, transcendental notion itself is what creates the humility, and sustains it. Secret combinations, for example?
  5. You make a valid point. So please excuse me, if I offended you at all. You see, my approach to this topic is rooted in certain conclusions that I have reached, after researching the history of the Church and examining certain documents. It was my desire to speak with a number of you about these conclusions, but in another forum, in a closed setting perhaps; yet it seems that I have been gradually transitioning the conversation to that end. My apologies. It would not be appropriate for me to bring up the root of my approach, here, as some might deem the conversation offensive. And indeed, for some, it would be. I do not wish to disturb the faith of someone who is in genuine need. God bless.
  6. A major reservation of mine, concerning the doctrine of exaltation, is that we do not know God to be an exalted man, presently. He does not come down and speak with us and then ascend elsewhere. He is spirit to us, here and now. So when any prophet promises me that things will be different at the Resurrection, I am naturally cautious. For the Resurrection is supposed to be a restoration, unto the way that things ought to have been: the New Creation. A prime example, as to why we must be cautious when considering whether scenarios of the afterlife are actually true, is Mohammed. Here is a man who sold to the poor the idea of an eternal pleasure garden, so that he could raise an army, and expand the empire that called him a prophet. Mysterious.... For mystery demands humility. Moreover, when the physical nature of God is concluded to be eternally unfathomable by the believer, it then becomes the aim of the believer to perceive the truth which is contained in the spiritual nature of God; and because the Spirit of God is perfect love and grace unto our eyes, we are thus afforded the means to become reborn in spirit; acquiring a perfect, loving and graceful disposition. In other words, we acquire God's disposition because we happen to ponder the one side of the truth and not the other. I would imagine that if Jesus met an atheist physicist time-traveler in Galilee, he would be unable to carry on a conversation in physics. But if the physicist constructed a piece of technology—based upon the vast understanding he has about the physical world—which provided some benefit to the locals, Jesus would exceed the physicist and provide an even greater benefit to the locals, despite his ignorance of the truth that lies in physics. This is the truth and power of faith and ignorance, IMHO. A man who is full of faith is lowly, and yet he is verily a god, performing miracles through the presence of the Holy Spirit within him. I understand the concept of having dominion, or reigning with Christ to mean something quite different. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the power and dominion to transgress the physical side of the world and the laws that govern it, for the purpose of sustaining the powerless creatures who are incapable of faith, such as the animals which are beset by the rapacious brutality of evil.
  7. The wise and powerful king that wanted his children to become wise and powerful kings and rulers too. I would say that God wants your own heart to burn with love just as much as his heart does. He wants you to progress in that way... in spirit. Sure, I would. But if my son were to tell me that he wanted to be just like me some day, saying, "One day I am going to marry mommy, like you did," I would tell him that he can only ever be like me... in spirit.
  8. I was investigating a certain religion some years ago. The leader of the religion, who is believed to be morally perfect by his subjects, was allegedly having an extramarital affair. Now the evidence was quite strong in my opinion, that he was having an affair. But the believers that I spoke with refused to even consider the idea. How can a morally perfect man commit adultery? Impossible. Obviously the leader is being falsely accused. You see? I do not start with a conclusion and then work my way backwards, towards an hypothesis. I start with an hypothesis and work my way forwards, to a conclusion. So, in a manner of speaking, I must believe that the leader of the aforementioned religion is morally perfect... because that has been asserted to be truth?
  9. I totally agree. Joseph Smith was not a Trinitarian. I think you misunderstand my approach.
  10. Trinitarianism asserts that God has three faces by which a person may recognize him; three personas. And so, we can (1) peer into the heavens, at the mysterious Lord, controlling the cosmos; all the while (2) standing in the very presence of Christ; all the while (3) feeling a burning in the heart —of love—that is the Lord’s Spirit. Three impressions in a single moment — three personas (masks), all of whom share a single nature: Love. The persona that is the Father impresses upon the mind; the persona that is the Son impresses upon the body; and the persona that is the Spirit impresses upon the soul. Each of these impressions is unique, but, together, they are being applied on us with one, downward press. From a Trinitarian perspective, one should not desire to become a mysterious lord, controlling a cosmos; nor should one desire to become a messiah. One should only desire to become a holy soul. We become like the Father in the sense that, our heart comes to burn with the same fire and spirit as his own. We become like the Father in the ways that matter... here, in this life.
  11. Yes. Without parts. Passions, as in, tugs of emotion? The Holy Ghost is tugging on the heart of God the Father, which has produced the world and God the Son. “In the beginning was the Word....” I would say that God has passion. There is one thing, which has three faces. In a manner of speaking. I am not saying the faithful have not doubted. Not at all. But I do recognize there is a need that certain people have, to obtain the truth that religions can provide. There is the doubt of the one who desperately needs the truth, and the doubt of the one who does NOT need the truth. I happen to appreciate the first kind of doubt. That is all. I would not be quick to judge. Things are more complicated than they appear : Romans 7 14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do, I know not. For what I would do, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law, that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
  12. I am a child of the womb that is the Creation; which is the womb of our Father. Why must I forsake this notion? I am already believing that I am quite literally the child of our Father in heaven. So I have to ask — How would the belief, that our Father has a body of flesh and bone, more efficaciously propel me towards acquiring a perfect, loving disposition?
  13. Perhaps both possibilities are true. After more than a decade of committing my faith to various religions, even becoming a true believer at times, I have finally reached the end of my journey and embraced Christianity. Now the question I have is, which community should I support and join? After much prayer and studying I am convinced that the LDS Church is that very one; by the affirmation of the Holy Ghost. However, there are so many things that trouble me about the Church, its teachings and culture, that I am reluctant to participate; to bring my family into the fold. I do not want my children to be disparaged, or discouraged in any way, or even denied a chance at missionary work, simply because they believe differently; nor do I want my grandchildren to hold certain beliefs, ones which I expect would cause them harm, down the line. Moreover, I am dismayed at the thought of participating in one community all the while yearning to be among another. So my hope was that some brethren, here, could encourage and edify me, even comfort me as to the issues which I find to be troubling. I happen to believe many of the critics’ conclusions about Joseph Smith and the early history of the Church, insofar as those conclusions are based on good judgement and supported by historical records (contemporary journals; personal letters; publications; et cetera). Nevertheless the critics’ conclusions, while arguably true, do not determine whether the Church is true: No matter how wayward Israel became, they never ceased being the target of God’s affections. And that is how I see the Church — As a church among the “seven” of Christ’s churches; that one among them which is pleasing to God, being the target of God’s warmest affections. Therefore—wayward or not—a nation was formed and a promise was made; and God intends to keep his promise. I agree with you for the most part. However, I have a very hard time believing that our Father has a body. Sure, I agree that love is the one thing which we hope to obtain, through our worship. But I do not see how the image—that of the sons of the most high God, reigning over the New Creation—is less efficacious than the image of, the Gods eternally increasing. If committing belief in the first image has been enough to justify me, and perhaps even sanctify me, and send me down a path of love in the way of Christ, then what do I need the second image for? Has our understanding of true religion not advanced according to the doctrines which are the most efficacious when it comes to acquiring a loving disposition? How does the image of “the Gods eternally increasing” sanctify me and further transform my disposition?
  14. I perfectly understand what the basics are. But, for various reasons, I happen to disagree with the basics. Maybe I am a doubting Thomas, or maybe my reasons are rationally legitimate. If you are a person who does not doubt, then, I think, this conversation is not for you. My hope is that God has brought me here to meet some good Christian brethren, who had themselves doubted, but have worked things out in their mind... and came to an understanding.
  15. I am not ignoring you @estradling75 or anyone else. In fact, I am in the process of responding to you, and others. It can take me a while to formulate a response. If someone feels that I have ignored them, please send a PM and let me know. 😊 I am curious to know what all of you think, as to my purpose in being here and asking questions. Perhaps I have no use for youthful responses from youthful missionaries, or the like. That I am needing to explore a deeper and more mystical side of things.