Steve Noel

A Different God?

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The problem does not lie in us worshiping different gods, but that we define God differently. The scriptures describe many of God's attributes, but not a complete description. This is true of LDS teaching too.

God does not change simply because one Christian thinks God loves all his children, while another sees him as angry and choosing to rescue only a select few. He is the same whether he is only spirit or embodied spirit. He is the same whether we believe he accepts gay relations or not. He is the same whether we think works are necessary or just simple belief.

Many Christians are often like the Pharisees that Jesus condemned for straining at gnats and swallowing camels. And when I say Christians, I include many Mormons.

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18 hours ago, Steve Noel said:

1) Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I have posted this on two different forums and thus far pretty much all Latter-day Saints have indicated that we believe in the same God. I suspect that most Evangelicals would say, as you have, that we do not believe in the same God. I believe Stephen Robinson may have diagnosed the source of this difference pretty well in How Wide the Divide? He says this, 

2) Apart from the comment that Evangelicals "get this backwards" I think we would agree. For Evangelicals the nature of God in contrast to the nature of humans is considered primary and essential to the gospel. Therefore, from a Latter-day Saint perspective, we believe in the same God because the difference between us is secondary, while, from an Evangelical perspective, we do not believe in the same God because the difference between is primary.

3) I did not create this thread to argue for or against either position. I am trying to understand the LDS perspective. That being said, you have made several mistaken claims about Evangelical belief here. I do not want to get into this though at this time. I would encourage you to do your best to make sure you are accurately describing the belief of others. I know how difficult it is and have often done this myself.

1) Thank you for starting this thread.  I've found your comments and questions to be respectful and meaningful.

2) Yeah, that's about right.

3) I hope you didn't misinterpret my intent.  I was not trying to argue about your belief or ours.  And I respectfully would accept any corrections to my assumptions about your beliefs if you offered them.  My motivation was to show that in some ways we are similar and in some ways we are different.  By placing the beliefs side-by-side would help focus on those ideas that I felt would be helpful in answering your OP.  If you gave me such corrections I'll do another compare/contrast with those, or you could do them as you understand them.

It seems that to answer this question (do we worship the same God) we cannot simply talk about what we believe.  We have to do a compare/contrast.  That would include discussing your beliefs as well.  Looking at them side-by-side helps us answer the question.  What we need to avoid is the justifications for the beliefs.  That is where we are going to differ.  We each believe we are right.  So, we'll think that our own reasoning is better than those who disagree.  That's to be expected.  So as we go into that realm, arguments begin to flare up.

But your question at its face can be answered without going into the justifications and reasoning behind the doctrines.  As long as it remains in the area of "what are the beliefs?" and "Let's compare them" that is the beginning.  We also need to define "what constitutes a different God?"  How much of it is just different perspective?  How much of it is because we just don't know all about God?  Where do we draw the line?

The answers to those questions, I'm afraid, are the reasons my earlier statement is obvious.  You believe we worship a different God.  We believe we worship the same God. (see #2 above).

Edited by Guest

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39 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

@Steve Noel,

I think I recognize you from Linkedin.  But you're not in the Houston area.  Did you happen to move out of Houston recently?

Nope, that's not me. I don't have a Linkedin account.

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Well, I just remember your face from somewhere...  In fact, I remember that exact photo.  Can't place it.

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On Saturday, April 02, 2016 at 7:27 PM, Steve Noel said:

I posted this on another discussion board and thought I would get thoughts here as well. I just read LDS scholar Stephen E. Robinson's "Introduction" in the book How Wide the Divide? (co-authored w/ Evangelical scholar Craig Blomberg). I am very impressed and, in all honesty, convicted by some of what Robinson writes about how Evangelicals have engaged the LDS community. That being said, I find the difference of perspective concerning the nature of God between Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints to be so significant that it is difficult to see how we can be talking about the same God. Robinson states, "We believe that God and humans are the same species of being..." (18). I cannot think of a more significant difference between Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints. For here the most basic of distinctions, the Creator - creature distinction, is erased. Blomberg calls this "the heart of traditional Christianity's disagreement with Mormonism" (96). For a point of comparison here is a representative Evangelical statement from respected Baptist theologian Millard J. Erickson. In his systematic theology book he makes a brief biblical case for the transcendence of God.*** He concludes that this is taught "throughout the Bible" (Christian Theology, 3rd ed., 283). A little later he lists some of the implications of this doctrine of transcendence. Here is the fourth implication Erickson lists,

"There will always be a difference between God and humans. The gap between us is not merely a moral and spiritual disparity that originated with the fall. It is metaphysical, stemming from creation. Even when redeemed and glorified, we will still be renewed human beings. We will never become God. He will always be God and we will always be humans, so that there will always be a divine transcendence. Salvation consists in God's restoring us to what he intended us to be, not elevating us to what he is" (289).

Given that this divide is very wide, would you say that Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints believe in, worship, pray to, etc. the same God?

NOTE: This post is not intended as a debate/argument over which view is correct. That is a worthwhile discussion, but that is not what I'm after here. I will not be arguing for or against your viewpoint.

 

***Erickson explains what he means by transcendence when he writes, "By this we mean that God is separate from and independent of nature and humanity" (282).

I will offer my perspective.  I am LDS only because I am also a scientist and engineer and find the LDS description of G-d the only possibility that I find consistent with the universe in which we live as well as scripture.  But I would, at this point, highlight the problem that is created when individuals interpret scripture to conform to their desire.  Please allow me to illustrate.  Most people of the world worship power and therefore seek to create G-d in their image as the most powerful being of the universe.  Since they desire they interpret scripture to define G-d in terms of superior power.

Why is the power of G-d not to be worshiped?  The reason is that power is what Lucifer worship and it caused him to become an enemy of G-d.  Why – because the attribute of G-d that is the purpose of worship is his love.  It is because of G-d’s love that the universe – and especially man was created – not because of his power.  Those that see the creation as a definition of G-d’s power will find the scriptures out of sync with the reality of the empirical universe.  The creation is not an act of power but an act of sacrifice and love – as is all things that G-d has done for man.  This is because in scientific terms power is a durative of love.  Love is not a durative of power.

Those that think and worship G-d for power – indeed worship a different G-d just as Satan and many other do.  They will quickly learn that only one being can be supreme.  But those that think and worship G-d for love will learn that it is possible and even necessary that we become like G-d and that all those that love – worship the true G-d and can and should be like him and in his image.  We can be like G-d through his love. 

I would add one other bit of information.  Jesus Christ is the singular example we have of G-d.  Jesus is proof that as man is G-d once was and as G-d is (the resurrection of Christ) man may become.  In short if you do not believe that G-d (Jesus Christ) is resurrected and resides so in heaven – and that when we will be resurrected that we will be like him – then indeed we do worship a very different G-d.

The Traveler

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4 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Well, I just remember your face from somewhere...  In fact, I remember that exact photo.  Can't place it.

Nope. Must be from someone similar. I just took this from my desktop camera when I joined here a couple days ago.

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4 hours ago, Steve Noel said:

Nope. Must be from someone similar. I just took this from my desktop camera when I joined here a couple days ago.

Don't worry about it. I look very familiar to almost everyone. People stop their cars on the street and get out to greet me. They get very embarrassed when they realize I am not their cousin Sally. I have a dreadful time getting through borders!

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Well, I'm taking a sick day and finally had time to read through this thread.  A lot of food for thought in this one.  Thanks, everybody.

@Steve Noel,

I'm about to ask a question that may seem argumentative.  But it isn't meant to be.  I'd really like to know why people do this.

Many times I've shared my beliefs with others (such as the topics shared in this thread) and, of course, they disagreed.  No problem there, that's to be expected.  But there were times that due to circumstances my identification as a Mormon never came up in the conversation.  It was after many iterations that I noticed a pattern.

Whenever I stated my beliefs and I was identified as a Mormon, the response was a variant of,"Well, we know that's not right because you're a Mormon.  That proves you're not a Christian."

Whenever I was not identified as a Mormon, the response was essentially,"I believe you have an incorrect interpretation, brother." But we parted with them still believing I was a Christian and calling me their brother in Christ.

Why the double standard?  It seems like the definition of Christian has nothing to do with our beliefs, but rather the label "Mormon".  What am I missing?

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

Well, I'm taking a sick day and finally had time to read through this thread.  A lot of food for thought in this one.  Thanks, everybody.

@Steve Noel,

I'm about to ask a question that may seem argumentative.  But it isn't meant to be.  I'd really like to know why people do this.

Many times I've shared my beliefs with others (such as the topics shared in this thread) and, of course, they disagreed.  No problem there, that's to be expected.  But there were times that due to circumstances my identification as a Mormon never came up in the conversation.  It was after many iterations that I noticed a pattern.

Whenever I stated my beliefs and I was identified as a Mormon, the response was a variant of,"Well, we know that's not right because you're a Mormon.  That proves you're not a Christian."

Whenever I was not identified as a Mormon, the response was essentially,"I believe you have an incorrect interpretation, brother." But we parted with them still believing I was a Christian and calling me their brother in Christ.

Why the double standard?  It seems like the definition of Christian has nothing to do with our beliefs, but rather the label "Mormon".  What am I missing?

This is a really good question. I don't know that I can adequately answer it, but I will share my opinion. I think that most Evangelicals are not really familiar with the teachings and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the most part, what the average Evangelical has heard about Mormonism is that it is a cult. Evangelical books on cults always include a chapter on Mormonism (e.g. Walter Martin's The Kingdom of the Cults or Ron Rhodes' The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions). So, in many instances, once you are identified as a Mormon, the Evangelical will instantly reject whatever you have to say. As you've noticed, this is often not because they are familiar with the teachings and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is based on the fact that they automatically associate Mormons as cultists. This actually happens to me often as well. I am a Pentecostal. Many Evangelicals have been told that Pentecostals are not theologically orthodox. Some would even view Pentecostals and Charismatics as largely non-Christian (e.g. John MacArthur's Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship). Many times I have been in great conversations with people about Scripture and they have mentioned "those loony Pentecostals" who twist the Bible. I usually don't tell them that I'm Pentecostal, because they don't really know what Pentecostals believe. They usually are only aware of some strange teachings and practices of prominent Pentecostals / Charismatics. They don't seem to be aware that we also reject much of this as well (see Michael L. Brown's Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur's Strange Fire). To be honest, I have often found this tendency in myself as well. We often have strong opinions about things we are only familiar with on a surface level. I think this is evidence of human depravity. Much more could be said here. I have limited my response here to trying to explain the specific kinds of situations you've described. This would not be the case with those who are more informed about Mormonism.

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2 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Well, I'm taking a sick day and finally had time to read through this thread.  A lot of food for thought in this one.  Thanks, everybody.

@Steve Noel,

I'm about to ask a question that may seem argumentative.  But it isn't meant to be.  I'd really like to know why people do this.

Many times I've shared my beliefs with others (such as the topics shared in this thread) and, of course, they disagreed.  No problem there, that's to be expected.  But there were times that due to circumstances my identification as a Mormon never came up in the conversation.  It was after many iterations that I noticed a pattern.

Whenever I stated my beliefs and I was identified as a Mormon, the response was a variant of,"Well, we know that's not right because you're a Mormon.  That proves you're not a Christian."

Whenever I was not identified as a Mormon, the response was essentially,"I believe you have an incorrect interpretation, brother." But we parted with them still believing I was a Christian and calling me their brother in Christ.

Why the double standard?  It seems like the definition of Christian has nothing to do with our beliefs, but rather the label "Mormon".  What am I missing?

 

Carborendum:  It is my opinion that you should not feel singled out for a double standard but rather a victim of a psychosocial self-defense mechanism.  In essence when others are threatened and cannot reconcile your position and do not understand it enough, that instead of debating the issue or even less considering any of the points, they will become accusatory.   

This is a very old tactic and did not start with the later day introduction of Mormonism.  Traditional Christianity has long labeled those so involved with threating doctrine they deemed as heresies as “Non-Christian”.  This despite the scriptural fact that Jesus specifically commanded that his followers be identified by their love or others – not doctrine.  I would also point out that Jesus himself was accused of being a Samaritan or non-Jew.   In essence I personally believe that such tactics are inspired by the same spirit that made hypocrites of the Pharisees.

Sometimes in order to understand another person’s ideas and why they differ from one’s own it requires introspection and an honest understanding of why we believe what we do.  It is my opinion that when faced with such consideration – it is just so much easier to accuse others of not doing what they are afraid to consider of themselves.

This is the long answer – the short answer is that they have failed, they are not able to address their failure, you have won the arguments and this is their last ditch fall back defense mechanism of a failure that they cannot deal with in any other way. 

 

The Traveler

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I think we take too long beating around the bush on this topic with Evangelicals, trying to avoid offending them.  The thing is, that the truth will offend any of them who sincerely believe in their Trinitarian doctrine, especially those who have spent time and money becoming "educated" in it.  Our early Mormon apostles were not so diplomatic.  They went right for the truth.

Our knowledge and understanding of the Godhead are based on modern prophets who have seen the Lord.  His nature is not a mystery to us.  We know from revelation, not some man's interpretation of scripture, who and what the members of the Godhead are.  The message of the First Vision is that Protestants and Catholics are wrong.  What they teach about God is an abomination to God himself.  

In answer to the question about whether we believe in a different God than Evangelicals, the answer is YES because the God their theology teaches does not exist.  Apostle Parley P. Pratt stated that there are two types of atheists.  One of them believes that NOTHING is God and the other believes that God is NOTHING. Sectarian Christians are the latter of the two.  Their abominable creeds teach that God is without body, parts, or passions and that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are of the same insubstantial substance.

Fortunately, most Evangelicals do not believe in the God presented in their creeds.  Any missionary will tell you that most Christians believe in the same God we do.  Ask a Christian who he prays to, he'll describe to you what we know to be true.  He'll tell you he believes in a Heavenly Father that has a Son.  The Son obeyed the Father and submitted himself to the Father's will.  Thus they believe in praying to the Father in the name of Jesus.  They serve the same Jesus as us.  They DON'T BELIEVE in what their theologians teach when it comes to personal faith.  The only ones who do are their clergy, who have been educated to teach a false, Trinitarian nature of God.

 We latter-day saints spend too much time pussyfooting around the issue.  What we need to do is take every single seeker and drag them (metaphorically speaking) to the Sacred Grove and tell them what happened there.  If they reject it, they are not the elect of God.  If they are moved by it, God's voice is calling them and they are his chosen.  The Lord's sheep hear his voice.  The ones that don't hear it will not be convinced by anything we have to say to them.

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On 4/2/2016 at 9:27 PM, Steve Noel said:

NOTE: This post is not intended as a debate/argument over which view is correct. That is a worthwhile discussion, but that is not what I'm after here. I will not be arguing for or against your viewpoint.

spamlds,

I appreciate that you share your thoughts with conviction and clarity. It is interesting to see the contrast between your view, and that of LDS scholars like Stephen E. Robinson or Robert Millet. The go out of there way to deny that what you are saying here is what Latter-day Saints believe. I am interested to know what you think of these different approaches.

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1 hour ago, Steve Noel said:

spamlds,

I appreciate that you share your thoughts with conviction and clarity. It is interesting to see the contrast between your view, and that of LDS scholars like Stephen E. Robinson or Robert Millet. The go out of there way to deny that what you are saying here is what Latter-day Saints believe. I am interested to know what you think of these different approaches.

It's really an argument that doesn't need to be had. We're generally more interested in what we have in common with other faiths when speaking with them. When bolstering up our own internally we might focus on our differences more. But the beliefs are the beliefs. We believe God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct personages, The Father and the Son with perfect physical bodies. One can make the argument that because that belief differs from the belief of traditional Christianity that we worship a different God, and factually that could be supported. But one could just as easily make the argument that the exact nature of God's physical (or not) being doesn't define the core of what we worship...that it is, rather, God's love or the like that matters, and therefore we worship the same God -- and that being mistaken, one way or another, about God having a physical body does not render the worship of Him otherwise null.

Does it really matter? When your pour your soul out to God to guide you I believe He is listening whether you are mistaken about his corporeal nature or not.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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Though I agree with much of what spamlds posted, in the end I agree more with The Folk Prophet. If a perfect knowledge of God, his attributes, and his true nature are necessary to worship him, then none of us -- not one -- worship God. No man ever has, except arguably Jesus. And even he may not have had a perfect understanding of his Father and himself until his resurrection, which would mean that even Jesus did not truly worship the Father. I reject this at its face value. Thus, I am forced to concede that one need not have a perfect, or even particularly accurate, conception of God in order to worship him truly. Thus, I am happy to allow that Trinitarians, and heck, Muslims and Jews, worship the true and living God.

Two examples to bolster this view.

  1. The brother of Jared, whom we know by non-scriptural sources to have been named Mahonri Moriancumr, was one of the mightiest of the prophets of ancient times, or of any time. He literally saw the finger of God, and then the Lord Jehovah stood before him in the spirit. Yet when he saw the finger of the Lord, he fell on his face in fear. He explained this action by acknowledging that he did not know that God had a physical body as man has. (Jehovah was yet in a premortal, pre-incarnated state, but the body of his spirit was after the likeness of his physical body.) Obviously, Moriancumr could worship God and become one of the greatest of all prophets, even without knowing a most basic fact about God, that he would be incarnate.
  2. The apostle Paul taught the Greeks on Mars Hill, among a people so deeply superstitious (if not particularly religious) that they were afraid of offending some "god" that they might have overlooked in their pantheon, so afraid that they actually built a shrine to "the unknown god." Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, proclaimed that this pagan "unknown God" was in fact the Lord Jesus Christ. He was teaching them that their worship of "the unknown god" was actually a worship of the true and living God. Few of us here would try to make that argument -- yet Paul thought it perfectly appropriate. Paul the apostle apparently believed that even pagans could approach God in worship, even if their conception of him were very wrong.

I realize that the Lectures on Faith count having a correct understanding of the nature of God as of primary importance in worshiping him. I do not dispute that as a fact, but I do dispute that that understanding must necessarily include a knowledge of his corporeal nature. I think the two examples above serve to illustrate this.

Edited by Vort

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On 4/3/2016 at 11:06 PM, Anddenex said:

Reality being missed, or simply building upon a common belief? Yes, there are "so-called gods." Joshua declared as for him and his house he would serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). After inviting a person to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ (a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim), should they refuse, my sentiments would be the same. I will serve the Lord.

When a Muslim prays and their prayer is answered, who answered their prayer? A false God or the true and living God? Of course, if the prayer was answered it could have only been answered by God, the true and living God, assuming the prayer was "good", for all things which are "good" come from the true and living God (Moroni 7:13, 3 John 1:11). A Buddhist that worships and through their manner of worship feels God speak to him/her and the intention was to serve their neighbor, who inspired them to serve their neighbor -- a good thing? God, the true and living God.

The Book of Mormon presents a wonderful lesson regarding building upon this common belief (Alma 18:24-30). In short, a King, by the name of Lamoni, believed in a Great Spirit, as one could easily define as a "false God," and was asked the question "Do you believe in God" (the true God)? His response was that he believed in a Great Spirit, by which Ammon, a servant of God, replied "This is God." This lead into other questions which allowed Ammon to teach Lamoni about the true and living God.  My mission experience taught me that when speaking with people of different faiths, different beliefs, different doctrines, to build upon what we both believe and then teach correct doctrines and principles pertaining to the true and living God.

This I know for sure, when a Christian prays, when a Muslim prays, when a Buddhist prayer, or when anyone of a different faith prays (meditates) and they are inspired by good and virtuous principles and to serve and do good to their fellow neighbors, that inspiration only comes from the true and living God, even if they believe in what one might say is a "false god," because a false God does not answer prayers.  

And as in the Bible sometimes, a false belief in the true and living God, needs to be outright confronted -- Elijah and the priests of Baal.

 

Thank you for the post; especially the Alma 18 citation. It makes events such as this(below) easier to understand:

http://www.mormonnewsroom.ca/article/multi-faith-founders-day-event-held-in-british-columbia

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On April 11, 2016 at 9:19 PM, lonetree said:

Thank you for the post; especially the Alma 18 citation. It makes events such as this(below) easier to understand:

http://www.mormonnewsroom.ca/article/multi-faith-founders-day-event-held-in-british-columbia

To be honest, even as a member of the Church, I didn't understand the purpose, nor reason, why these events were organized either. In my naivety, I assumed, the Church would "stand on that hill" and declare truth boldly, without excuse. A child's understanding I did have, and sadly still do in some respects.

These events remind me of a mission experience with a retired Lutheran minister in a small town I served in, and impacted my spirit as I witnessed the Master's teachings in the life/actions of this older couple. It was a hot summer day, temperatures of 105 (weather reports with humidity specifying 120). We knocked door to door on a long road, and eventually knocked on this couple's door. His first statement, "Hello young man, I am not interested in the message you have to shared, but I respect that you are doing what you feel is right, please come in and have a drink of water.  We also have cake baking which will be done in in a few minutes your are welcome to stay and have some with us." I have pondered that day, and I believe they had actually started baking that cake when they saw us on their street.

It is this Christlike love, Godly love, that is shared in these events...a mutual respect...offered by all parties involved as noted in the last paragraph, "A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of Mormonism"; although, this should be a hallmark of anyone professing belief in Jesus Christ. :)

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@Steve Noel

I disagree with @spamlds.  It may be a semantic issue, so let me explain.

Ammon came to King Lamoni

Quote

24 And Ammon ... said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
25 And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth.
26 And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is aGreat Spirit?
27 And he said, Yea.
28 And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?

Paul Went to the Athenians.

Quote

22 ¶Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said,Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
 24 God that made the world and all things therein...

While it is easy to simply say that this was a teaching device and an effort at finding common ground, I think it is also an attitude and perspective that we ought to adopt when answering the question in the OP.

I was in an apartment where the landlord was a non-practicing Muslim.  The others were a JW and an evangelical who was raised as a Catholic.  We described our different ideas of God to the Muslim.  And he really didn't understand it at all.  When I asked him whether he thought we were even the same religion (i.e. Christian) he said,"I guess so.  But you guys need to get your act together.  You can't even agree on what your god is like."

I'm not saying that we need to take our cues from Muslims.  But an outsider who doesn't have a dog in the fight, can sometimes offer clarity to an argument.  He seemed to think that we did worship the same God.  We just couldn't agree on who/what He was.

Here's a more important question:

If a Catholic prays (in whatever mode or method he's used to) or an evangelical, or a Mormon, or a JW, or a Jew - theirs, then who hears their prayers?  Who answers them?  I don't know what an evangelical or a Catholic or a JW, or a Jew will say about Mormons praying.  But I believe that if anyone of these prays to their god in righteous faith, then GOD will hear and answer as He would anyone who prays in real faith.  

In that way, we are all worshiping the same God.

On the other hand, I don't know if I can say the same about Muslims or any other faith.

Edited by Guest

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On 4/12/2016 at 8:21 AM, Carborendum said:

@Steve Noel

I disagree with @spamlds.  It may be a semantic issue, so let me explain.

Here's a more important question:

If a Catholic prays (in whatever mode or method he's used to) or an evangelical, or a Mormon, or a JW, or a Jew - theirs, then who hears their prayers?  Who answers them?  I don't know what an evangelical or a Catholic or a JW, or a Jew will say about Mormons praying.  But I believe that if anyone of these prays to their god in righteous faith, then GOD will hear and answer as He would anyone who prays in real faith.  

I recognize that Internet forums don't facilitate deep reading.  I believe some have misconstrued my remarks.  I didn't say that God does not hear anyone's sincere prayers.  I said that the Being to whom those prayers are directed doesn't exist, at least not as they perceive Him.  On the contrary, it is the sectarian Christians who tell us that our God does not exist because our understanding contradicts their creed.  

Let me refer to President Hinckley's statement from April 2002 General Conference:

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As a Church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient tradition, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They spoke to him. He spoke with Them. He testified openly, unequivocally, and unabashedly of that great vision. It was a vision of the Almighty and of the Redeemer of the world, glorious beyond our understanding but certain and unequivocating in the knowledge which it brought.

This citation has been widely disseminated by anti-Mormon sites in an out-of-context way, but President Hinckley is clear.  Revelation teaches us that the God of the sectarians does not exist.  There is no three-in-one Trinity to hear their prayers.  However, because God is filled with mercy for his children, he hears our prayers and seeks to direct us toward light and truth.

In "Lectures on Faith," Joseph Smith stated that having the correct understanding of God's nature is essential to being saved eternally.

 

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2 Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

3 First, The idea that he actually exists.

4 Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.

5 Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.—For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Emphasis added)

 

I believe that it is for this reason that our current gospel dispensation had to begin with a theophany in which the members of the Godhead were manifest to correct the old sectarian creeds and put mankind on track to inherit eternal life.  

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Guest
8 hours ago, spamlds said:

I recognize that Internet forums don't facilitate deep reading.  I believe some have misconstrued my remarks.

Spam,

I believe you may have minimized the statement:

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It may be a semantic issue,so let me explain...

And it seems like it was.

8 hours ago, spamlds said:

There is no three-in-one Trinity to hear their prayers.  However, because God is filled with mercy for his children, he hears our prayers and seeks to direct us toward light and truth.

Exactly.

Edited by Guest

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