"Eternity In Their Hearts"


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For decades now, my local library has accepted donations of used books and other media which they sell in order to finance their summer reading program. 

Recently, I picked up two copies of the "revised edition" of the work "Eternity In Their Hearts" by Don Richardson, a Protestant author noted for his work among the Sawi people of New Guinea. 

The premise of the book is that many peoples in even far-away lands like Papua New Guinea, India, and Africa have theological traditions that in some way, shape, or form mirror elements of Judaism or even Christianity, while others have traditions that lend themselves well to Christian elements. This leads to the author's thesis, the claim that these various incidents of missionaries finding such peoples is proof that God has, indeed, created all people and that these theological and cultural elements represent fragmented memories of God's teachings to the world. 

On one hand, his thesis fits quite well with church teachings about Heavenly Father having other sheep and how one day the gospel will be restored to them. 

On the other hand, it's almost hilarious how often the author drops everything to deny the prospect of angelic visitation, either then or now, outside of what the Bible talks about, as some clumsy attempt at drawing a line in the sand to keep from drifting too far into inadvertently confirming what we've been saying despite never mentioning us by name. 

I wonder how many other mainline Christian writers out there have noted something that seemingly backs us up but couldn't get out of their own way long enough to ask that question. 

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15 hours ago, Ironhold said:

I wonder how many other mainline Christian writers out there have noted something that seemingly backs us up but couldn't get out of their own way long enough to ask that question. 

I recall the following:

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It has been related of Henry Ward Beecher that he said, if a literal rendering of the Scriptures was to be accepted, then "Mormonism" was correct. In line with his sentiments on this subject, it has been reported that he delivered a lecture in Nashville, Tennessee, his subject being, "What Christianity Has Done to Civilize the World," in which he said: "What has Africa done for the world? She has never produced a sage, a philosopher, a poet nor a prophet, and why not? Because the name of Christ and the influence of Christianity are scarcely known in her dark regions. Millions of her children have lived and passed away without hearing the truth. What will become of them? Will they be forever damned? No, not if my God reigns, for they will hear the gospel in the spirit world." He then proceeded to show by irrefutable evidence that salvation for the dead is a scriptural doctrine.

... (A) Latter-day Saint elder was present, and, at the conclusion of the lecture, stepped up to the platform and said: "Mr. Beecher, I have been much interested in your lecture and would like to ask you a question. Jesus said to Nicodemus, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Now, how is it possible for a man to be baptized in water when his body has already crumbled in the earth?" The great preacher looked at the interrogator for a moment and then said: "Young man, where do you hail from?" "From the West." "From what part of the West?" "From Salt Lake City," answered the Elder. "Oh," said Mr. Beecher, "you may answer your own question. Good evening," and walked away. Mr. Beecher probably had read enough on the subject of baptism for the dead to know that such a doctrine must be coupled with preaching to departed spirits, but he did not wish to be accused of teaching "Mormonism," so he stopped short of that. He said enough, however, to verify the words of Joseph Smith, and also those of the Savior, when He said that if men put new wine into old bottles it would break them to pieces; in other words, new doctrine into old systems.

They will always be willing to believe correct doctrine when it is really considered.  But they will stop short of saying anything correct originated from a Mormon.

Edited by Carborendum
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I saw Lee Strobel ("A Case of Christ") teach marriage in heaven on James Robinson's show, and read a months long debate among Catholics about the same subject in New Oxford Review in 2023.

Do you think any of them will admit that we may have been right all along? 🙄 Nope, just "but not to be confused with what those crazy Mormons believe" type "clarifications".

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You have touched on so many things in this relatively short post.  Rather than attempt to bring all points together – I will start with a few and if there is possible discussion interest expand this thread.  To begin, I do not intend to describe what anyone else or any other religion believes or teaches because I do not want to speak for anyone but myself.  I will make some references in general with no specifics intended.  My generalizations could include some LDS.

Many seem to believe that scripture is a direct link to the divine and inviolate truth containing all the light, truth, wisdom and guidance needed for all of mankind.  I will not go into all the flaws I believe this brings only to quote the actual narrow focus of scripture as testified in scripture.  John 5:39

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39 ¶ Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

 

But there is another problem.  Scripture has not unified religious thinking but as we learn from history, the more individuals study scripture the more disagreement there is in its message.  Printing of the scriptures and literacy of the world had produced a divergence and not a consensus.   For the most part, once someone has developed and interpretation of a specific scripture the less open, they seem to become to possible deeper spiritual meanings.  I believe this is the problem that arises from tradition verses divinely sent prophets (or even divinely inspired) – as exemplified by the tension between Jesus and the Pharisees and Scribes.

My last point for this particular post deals with the concept that G-d is the G-d of all humanity – thus there are elements of divine law in every nation, kindred, tongue and people.  At the same time there is the deceiver (Satan) that corrupts all truth and creates doubt, chaos and confusion.  So that over time, without constant update, not just by inspiration but a constant singular living source to divine truths as a continuing purifying perfect unification to counter the constant threat of corruption.   Thus, even though there are threads of truth woven into every society – once broken off from the living vine of Christ – all that not directly connected to Christ become divergent – even if by some very small difference.

 

The Traveler

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