Follow-Up on Mitt Romney’s Speech

Like millions of others I made sure I didn’t miss what many were touting as Mitt Romney’s “JFK Speech.” I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear a whole lot about Romney’s Mormon faith. Thoughts of him standing behind the podium and saying, “Hi, I’m Mitt Romney, a normal guy running for president who hopes to one day become a God,” never entered my mind.

I personally thought this speech was a no-win situation. If Romney was totally forthright about his Mormon faith he would no doubt scare off many of his current supporters. If he was vague, he’d invite criticism from those who felt he was being evasive. He did, however, say some things that I’d like to follow up on. For instance, he said:

“When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God.” Salt Lake City LDS Temple

Will that presidential oath really supersede the one that Romney has often made in the LDS endowment ceremony? The one that states:

“You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in this, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.”

Are we to believe that this temple covenant will no longer rank as Romney’s highest promise to God? After all, when discussing those who would like him to distance himself from his faith, Romney said:

“They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it.”

If affirming a temple covenant is part of Romney’s belief, and he plans to live by it, how can his oath of office really be his “highest promise”? He also said:

“There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history.”

Yes, each religion has its own unique doctrines and history but when it comes to core beliefs of the Christian faith, the Mormon Church, for much of its history, has always proudly stood outside the long-accepted doctrinal norms of Christianity. How are voters to understand the above comment when right now on the official web site of the LDS Church it states:

“While the same terms are used by Latter-day Saints and other Christians for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost), Latter-day Saint understanding of the three members of the Godhead is significantly different from that of traditional Christianity” (“The Godhead”).

I can’t speak for everyone, but this is one Christian who is more concerned with how Romney (and other Mormons) define their terms, rather than the term itself. It does little to impress me when Mormons insist they believe in the “Son of God” when they won’t denounce the horribly blasphemous comments LDS leaders have made about Jesus.

Mr. Romney said other things that caused me to wonder, but at this point I’d be interested to hear what you thought of the speech.

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48 Responses to Follow-Up on Mitt Romney’s Speech

  1. pallathu says:

    I watched Mitt Romney’s speech from the beginning to the end. I felt Mitt is not going to help our country, but to fulfill the Mormon prophesy to become a president to lead the country into Mormonism. I live in Utah where the highest population is Mormons. The persecution against other faith by the Mormons is high in the area. As a Bible believing Christian, it is a heart breaking experience to listen their blasphemy against my fore-fathers faith in Christ. It is difficult to communicate with these Mormons, if you ask them questions about their false teachings about Jesus Christ, they will either say you are an ant-Mormon, or reading [filtered profanity or slur] literature. In effect, they will exclude you from the neighborhood completely – that’s what happened to me. I have heard from so many of my Mormon friends that they want Mitt to be the president. That was not based on his qualities, but he is a Mormon. In my opinion, after he becomes a president, the persecution against the Christians (non Mormons) will increase. You may see the polygamy becoming legal. You may see another Mountain Meadow Massacre. It is like giving back this country to Brigham Young or Joseph Smith.

  2. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Bill raises a concern I have, too. It seems to me to be a contradiction for Mitt Romney (or any Mormon) to say that he’s “true blue, through and through” and that he plans to live his Mormon faith, but that he is willing and will unseat the binding oath he took before God in the temple and supplant it with another as his primary obligation. Reporting an interview with Rocky Hulse (author of When Salt Lake City Calls) The Iowa Hawk Eye points out:

    Hulse bases his contention that the oath Mormons swear to the church holds precedence over those they take when assuming public office, in part, on a portion of scripture in “Doctrines and Covenants [84:41],” one of the books of the Mormon canon. The passage declares that a member of the priesthood, typically males 12 and older, who breaks the “covenant” of the priesthood “and altogether turneth therefrom shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.”

    That puts Mormons working in government in a “doctrinal vice,” Hulse said; should they fail to follow leaders within the priesthood, they “could jeopardize their very eternity.”

    But maybe not. This might be viewed by Mr. Romney in the same way Mormons understand Adam and Eve receiving contradictory commandments in the Garden of Eden. Mr. Romney might freely choose one covenant over the other and, notwithstanding LDS scriptural pronouncements to the contrary, believe his covenant-breaking will result in him being eternally blessed.

  3. pallathu,

    I doubt we’d see something akin to the Mountain Meadow Massacre with religious fervor as the backdrop. And Mitt Romney is no Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. It should encourage us that Mitt is FAR more moral and stable than Joseph Smith or Brigham Young.

    I don’t know your personal experiences, but I live in Utah too, and I’d have hard time saying I’ve been persecuted. I usually like to reserve that term for the the more serious things.

    Grace and peace in Christ!

    Aaron

  4. Jeff B says:

    I agree Aaron. In this day and age, violence by a major organization is VERY hard to cover up. It’s not the same this year as it was so many years ago.

    However, I think theres the possibility that we face even more danger if he’s elected into office. This danger however doesn’t come in the form of cold blood murder, it comes in the form of changing the minds of the majority of the United States on the fact that LDS beliefs completely contradict the traditional Christian doctrine. Like I mentioned before, the line between Mormonism and Trad. Christianity is constantly being washed away by the LDS Church.

    My view is that peoples mortal lives aren’t at stake (in fact they might improve as a whole if Romney gets elected).. It’s people’s eternity with their Savior is what’s at stake. The more acceptable Mormonism becomes, the more and more souls may be lost. Of course though, that is my own personal opinion and belief. :o)

  5. dj1989 says:

    Wow… I’m going to try to calm down for a moment, because some of what I’m reading doesn’t make sense to me as a Mormon.

    Pallathu… if you have in fact been “persecuted” in Utah, I apologize. I lived in Utah for 18 years, until moving away 1 year ago (in fact, I was probably really close to Aaron in Midvale). I have categorically NEVER seen a non-Mormon being treated differently. It is quite the reverse. I see Mormons being extra tolerant to non-Mormons. Additionally, there are other reasons people feel persecuted, and they find a scape goat for those feelings. For example, there are many socially awkward people that blame others for being stuck-up for not coming and making friends with them, when the awkward person hides in their house all day. The church is the scape goat in many cases (speaking of Utah, I mean).

    Second, both Bill & Sharon misunderstand the covenants that Mormons make, if you feel that a presidential oath, and temple covenant, are somehow exclusive of one another. You can fully live up to a temple covenant and presidential covenant with out breaking either one. You ask, “Are we to believe that this temple covenant will no longer rank as Romney’s highest promise to God?”. No, you are not. There’s not enough space to describe in detail, but trust me, you’re misunderstanding it, because you don’t understand the spirit in which that temple covenant is made.

    Finally, there is NO SUCH THING as a “Mormon prophesy to have a president lead the country into Mormonism”. I’m not saying that because I’m unaware of what you’re referring to and I blindly reject the notion. I do know what you’re referring to, and you misunderstand it. You misunderstand it in a big way, if you believe that the Mormon church has some sort of ulterior motive other than to preach what we believe to be God’s revealed word.

  6. dj1989, if in, say, 6 years, Romney is pressed to sign off on legislation cracking down on polygamy, legislation that as part of its text has as its premise that polygamy is immoral, unethical, and destructive to the country, would you support Romney in signing that legislation? How would openly endorsing something that denounces polygamy as immoral in principle be consistent with allegiance to the Mormon hierarchy and religion and heritage?

    Since Romney says he can’t think of anything worse than polygamy, I am encouraged because he is willing to implicitly speak ill of the traditional Mormon theology found in his heritage. That makes him more fit to be president, in my view. Practically speaking, I think Romney is more of a politician than he is a Mormon, and that his subdued Mormonism wouldn’t stop him from being a great president. But my question with its hypothetical stands.

  7. dj1989 says:

    Aaron-

    I think many EVs hope to get a short quick answer from Mormons when presented with questions like that. It’s not that simple. Your question asks me to take into account my opinion, Romney’s duty, Romney’s opinion, Mormon former practice, and Mormon modern practice, and spit something out quickly.

    First, it wouldn’t be contrary to Mormon beliefs for Romney to sign that piece of legislation. If Romney was signing the same thing 120 years ago, then it might be different. But, it is currently not the practice of the LDS church, and thus has no bearing on his decision. Whether or not that kind of legislation is constitutional in the first place, is something worthy of note. (BTW…The LDS church teaches that the Constitution is a divinely inspired document).

    But your question is, would I support it. I’m not sure. Most of that indecision is influenced by my PERSONAL belief that the banning of Mormon polygamy was unconstitutional in the first place. So, if I were to support it, I would be perhaps repressing freedom of religion (as was the case when the Mormon’s were forced to stop it). However, I live in the 21st century, and my church does not endorse polygamy in practice anymore. Additionally, my church DOES say that we are subject to kings, rulers, and magistrates, and that we should obey the laws of the land that we live in. As long as there are “laws of the land” that the church is bound to, I believe that it is right and good to continue not practicing polygamy.

    As an aside, Romney is 3rd on my list of candidates for the president. I’ll probably not vote for him, though his speech did elevate his status as a candidate for me.

  8. First, it wouldn’t be contrary to Mormon beliefs for Romney to sign that piece of legislation. If Romney was signing the same thing 120 years ago, then it might be different

    1. This smacks of moral relativism, particularly the kind that pivots on the Mormon hierarchy. 2. There are plenty of Mormons who believe that, even though it isn’t currently practiced, polygamy is a beautiful, eternal, divine principle. This position is consistent with early Mormon teachings as well as D&C 132. Also, while your church has suspended the practice, it has never officially declared polygamy to be immoral in principle.

    Additionally, my church DOES say that we are subject to kings, rulers, and magistrates, and that we should obey the laws of the land that we live in. As long as there are “laws of the land” that the church is bound to, I believe that it is right and good to continue not practicing polygamy.

    But this didn’t stop your church from fully endorsing polygamy pre-1890. The decisive turning point which brought about the Manifesto was government pressure, not criminalization. Indeed, even Woodruff married after the manifesto. It really took the Reed Smoot hearings (more government pressure) to get the Mormon Church to take the cessation of polygamy seriously.

    Yes, in practice the LDS Church today sees continuation of polygamy as a disaster. But in principle there is no reason to believe the church won’t fully endorse the effort to legalize polygamy if given the opportunity. And if that happens, what if Mitt vetoes such a bill? Are you telling me that in such a case Mitt wouldn’t, in principle, be opposing his own religious hierarchy, theology, and heritage?

    My observation is this: the Mormon Church has effectively bowed down at the altar of public pressure and opinion, at least to the degree that it stopped practicing an “eternal” principle it heralded as beautiful, divine, and holy—even necessary for deification. If Mitt is anything like his religion, he will see his oath to his country as supreme over the temple oath he made. And a practical outflow of that would be (in my hypothetical situation) publicly condemning polygamy as a morally repulsive thing both in principle and in practice. As he said, he couldn’t think of anything worse than polygamy. Good Mormons follow suit with their own religious hierarchy and compromise distinctive, historical, canonical, religious principles, particularly the kind that run against conservative American values. It’s a Mormon tradition to do so.

  9. falcon says:

    As far as governace goes, I don’t have any real fear of Mitt Romney acting in a manner that goes against the Constitution of the U.S. John Kennedy wanted to know where the people were that opposed his potential presidency on religious grounds when he joined the Navy in WWII. Mormons pay taxes, serve in the military where I’m sure many have given their lives, and hold all kinds of public service positions both elected and nonelected. As opposed as I am to the Mormon doctrines, and as vigorously as I defend orthodox Christian beliefs against what I see as Mormon heresy, it really does go against my grain that someone whould be disqualified from public office because of religious beliefs. There’s just something in it that doesn’t seem right to me. This is very tough for me because some how I feel like I’m not being true to my religious convictions, however I just don’t think it’s right to disqualify someone for consideration of my vote because of their religious faith. I won’t vote for Romney in the primary here in my state because I prefer another candidate, but if he is nominated I’ll vote for him for president.

  10. dj1989 says:

    Aaron-

    Lots to respond to, and thus my thoughts will probably be all over the place. I’m not sure whether to stay on topic (dealing with whether or not temple covenants and the presidential oath exclude one another), or to answer your hypotheticals. One thing that comes to the forefront of my thoughts, though, is that Mormons believe that our beliefs should NOT come in the way of another person’s beliefs. That’s pretty standard for us, and addresses both issues.

    It’s interesting though that you say that that church members are morally relative, and we compromise our principles. You say it’s our “tradition” to do so. I think that you have really only 2 cases for that (polygamy & the priesthood), while there are probably hundreds of cases that are contrary to it. But in both of the cases that you’re probably thinking of, I personally believe that there are sound reasons for doing what was done, that do not conflict with our beliefs, and support what we believe is our calling in the current state of the world.

    But, back to the topic at hand. Even if your hypotheticals became reality, if you think that the temple covenants would somehow be at odds with the presidential oath, then I don’t believe that you understand the spirit in which the temple covenants are made. There is no obligation greater than the ones that we make to God. Period. But, our commitments to God include respecting others’ freedom to believe how they may, and to defend that right for others if we must. It also includes serving our neighbors (including in public service) so that we may be an influence for good… not so that we may push some hidden motive that the church has. You’ve pegged us incorrectly, Aaron… you’ve pegged us incorrectly.

  11. Bill McKeever says:

    1989, Please help me with this. You say:

    “There is no obligation greater than the ones that we make to God. Period.”

    Romney says:

    “When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God.”

    If you are referring to your temple covenant, how can you not say the above comments are mutually exclusive?

  12. dj, note what I said with care:

    Good Mormons follow suit with their own religious hierarchy and compromise distinctive, historical, canonical, religious principles, particularly the kind that run against conservative American values.

    Did you notice the qualification I made? I’m not pegging Romney as one who would try to push hidden motives of the church. My simple points are that 1) in principle his temple oath could be quite at odds with an oath to the country as president, but 2) in practice—especially if Mitt follows suit with his religious tradition—it wouldn’t be a problem because Mormonism characteristically cowers in submission to American values.

  13. pallathu says:

    I come from a country where Christian missionaries are burnt to death. I know what is “physical prosecution”. I remember sleeping in a church having no roof in a cold winter – the roof was burnt by the locals who opposed to having people heard the good news. You may not see such kind of prosecution in Utah or other parts of this country – if it was some 180 years ago, things might have happened. The persecutions here in this state are manipulation of innocent people, hiding facts and emotionally hurting you or me because you don’t accept the Mormon religion.

  14. pallathu says:

    I’m not surprised by dj1989’s reply to my comment – that’s what every Mormon will say. I can provide you numerous examples of minority in this state are persecuted. Last year, a girl from India came to Utah to join her husband. This girl was born in a Christian family in India and grew up with Christian values. She was approached by two missionaries in her apartment in Salt lake City, told her that Book Of Mormon is true and Jesus visited the Americas. This poor girl was excited because she has not read Jesus has come to India, but he came to America. America is a rich country, a promised land – all these excited her. She was preparing to take baptism the next week. In the conversation, I asked her about many questions about the facts Mormons missionaries have not told her. The truth is she was 100% ignorant of the Mormon religion, she was manipulated. There is another incident where the parents of a friend of mine visited their son in Utah. They hardly speak or understand English. My friend got puzzled when the missionaries knocked at his door one day to take his parent to baptize – my friend was completely ignorant that the Mormon missionaries were seeing his parents when he was not at home. In another incident, my parents visited me in the US. When they were leaving for India, many friends came to greet them. One Mormon friend came with a gift and gave them. I was packing their luggage, and found his gift, out of curiosity I opened it to see. The gift was a picture of Joseph Smith. In another incident, I received a Christmas gift from a neighbor. I came home and opened it and found out an Indian version of Book of Mormon. There are so numerous incidents like these.

  15. pallathu says:

    There are so many religions. Everyone has the rights to share their beliefs, ideas with others. You are persecuting someone when you don’t tell the whole truth but someone wants to believe in your religion. To understand a religion like Mormonism will take months, but all the missionaries are hurrying to convert to Mormonism before they ask further questions about their religion. I asked many friends of mine whether or not they would practice polygamy. The answer I get from them is that they “don’t practice” polygamy. If you emphasize the question to “Will you practice polygamy if the law allows to”. All of them said “If God commands them and their prophet asks them to practice”. I don’t understand the truth behind a Mormon saying they don’t practice polygamy but they will if they want to.

  16. amanda says:

    It seems obvious to me that short of Romney denouncing his faith, he wouldn’t please any evangelical who has posted on this forum (so far). It’s about time that Bill, and others accept people no matter how much they disagree with their religion- who cares if Romney believes he will be a God—(you don’t actually know how Romney feels about that, Bill) that doesn’t make him anymore cuckoo than evangelicals who think innocent muslims who never accepted Christ in this lifetime are going to hell.

    I am pleased to inform my evangelical friends that their caring and compassionate attempts to bring people to Christ by mis characterizing LDS beliefs- is actually working. My father, serving in a unique church position, has learned of the many inquiries into the church because of all the attention evangelicals have raised. They have had record baptisms recently. So continue to do what you do so well 🙂

    My prediction is that Mike Huckabee (whom I like and respect), whose surge in Iowa can be directly linked to evangelical voters, will not hold a candle to Mitt Romney when it comes to fiscally and socially conservative principles. All you have to do is put the two in a room to debate the issues AMERICA cares about (not evangelicals exclusively)…Huckabee is running as a preacher in Iowa- this only works in Iowa…Mitt Romney is running as an insanely qualified American- this resonates more because it isn’t an alienating sentiment much like the “you’re going to hell if you aren’t like me” approach evangelicals think is so effective. He is the ONLY GOP candidate who has done well in all three early primary states.

    My point? This isn’t about a candidates religion…and pundits, candidates and voters who continue to hammer this issue and challenge Romney’s faith are going to look like half-wits who can’t accept a perfectly good answer when they hear it- and will suffer the consequences come nomination time.

  17. amanda says:

    Pallathu,

    If you are truly persecuted for not being LDS by LDS members, then they are certainly in the wrong and lack the wisdom that is found by the very gospel they claim to espouse. However, I doubt your experiences apply to every mormon in the SLC or Utah valleys. You can’t condemn all LDS because of the actions of a few…but if you do, then shame on those LDS for being a poor example of their faith.

  18. falcon says:

    Amanda,
    Take a deep breath, exhale, again….good. Romney is “insanely qualified”. Interesting concept when you think about it (insert smile decal). “You’re going to hell if you’re not like me”???? In psychology they call that projection. Simple terms, pot calling the kettle black (two smiles decals). “Only one who has done well in all three primary states”????? I don’t think the primaries start until the first week in January. No winners or losers yet. “Suffer the consequences”….I don’t get that. Record baptisms because of questions Ev. raised about Mormonism? Numbers please…..real numbers of people who have gotten baptized into the Mormon faith recently because Ev. have raised questions about Mormonism. That’s like me saying that I heard that Mormons are leaving the church in huge numbers because of the questions Ev. have raised regarding Mormonism. Anyway, good to have you back. Remember…slow breathing.

  19. Lancaster says:

    The following is found in Article 3 of the Utah Constitution, prefaced as “irrevocable without the consent of the United States and the people of this State”:

    “Perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. No inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.”

    I’ll add that only in Utah and Arizona have large-scale police raids been conducted against polygamist communities. At this juncture, though, no sane public official is going to stage a repeat of Waco. Still, I’d expect a President Romney to be far more disposed than a President Huckabee to signing anti-polygamy legislation (specifically as a flanking maneuver against gay marriage). Nixon going to China and all that.

    Romney would be about as successful “lead[ing] the country into Mormonism” as he was turning Massachusetts in a red state. He’s first and foremost a political chameleon, a Republican Bill Clinton, albeit with better impulse control and a better marriage.

  20. While I believe Mormonism is a cult, that is not my primary reason for not supporting him. It is his flip floping on social issues that is my main concern.

    Amanda saying that Huckabee is running as a preacher in Iowa is not quite accurate. Have you been to any of his events? I like his stand on issues that I care about.

  21. amanda says:

    Falcon,

    slow breathing? I’m not sure I got that one.

    “pot calling the kettle black (two smiles decals)”-

    This is another example of how evangelicals really do not understand the restored gospel…no, we don’t believe in hell the way evangelicals characterize/interpret it. We do not believe innocent Muslims, who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel before they die, will go to hell (or anyone else for that matter). This is why we have temples, to give EVERYONE a chance to chose the Savior…and if they don’t, we still do not believe in scorching hell for eternity –we believe in eternal damnation (which also means, lack of progression- if you understand the meaning of the word “damnation”)–we believe everyone who kept their first estate (premortal life-war in heaven-with the exception of sons of perdition), will be resurrected, at some point, to either the celestial kingdom, terrestrial kingdom or telestial kingdom. This is biblical, including baptisms for the dead, so I’ll just give you that reference now…I’m sure you’re aware of it. Read the whole chapter, it’s a good one.

    1 Corinthians 15: 40, 41
    40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
    41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

    Spare me the doctrinal differences and arguments against this restored doctrine- I am aware that they exist- but that is not my point, my point was to enlighten Falcon to what we actually teach rather than what many think we teach, and the biblical reference to back it up.

  22. amanda says:

    Shane,

    I understand that concern, and its’ a legitimate one–I think it’s unrealistic though to suggest that if someone has a change of heart about a pretty important topic, that they are merely politically motivated—he has a strong pro-life record as the governor of a blue state.

    Have I been to any of his events? No. Does this mean I cannot judge his political strategy based on the things that I’ve heard? I guess not anymore than you can judge mormonism as a cult unless YOU’VE been to a sufficient number of our meetings 🙂

    I like his stand on some issues that I care about, he’s not nearly as qualified on fiscal issues–and I believe that issue is second to terrorism (oh, another issue he isn’t very strong on). I happen to be for enforcing the border but changing our immigration laws to allow more to come and live in this country—but most conservatives are more hard-nosed on the immigration issue, and Huckabee isn’t very strong on this issue either.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Huckabee– I could support his candidacy if he is nominated (and stops sounding like he’s reading from Aesop’s Fables)–I just don’t think his surge in Iowa means anything other than what I suggested above–and I do believe Mitt Romney is more qualified to handle the issues we face as a country.

    In terms of me being a member of a cult (the notion almost makes me laugh out loud)– Well, I care more about where I find truth–and what God thinks about my decisions…So think what you will. I have to answer to God for my decisions, not anyone else. It wouldn’t be the first time the truth was unpopular, I mean, Christ was crucified because of what He taught. History has taught us that the truth requires sacrifice.

  23. dj1989 says:

    While it’s a warm topic, and like to follow up on Amanda’s post, which mentions 1 Corinthians 15:40-41.

    The scripture uses words that accurately describe the Mormon doctrine of different kingdoms after life, which doctrine is not accepted by EVs.

    Can I get some help from an EV? What do EVs believe the meaning of those verses are? I do not ask in a snide way. I am genuinely curious as to your interpretation.

  24. falcon says:

    dj,
    Celestial/heavenly……….terrestrial/earthly..if you read the passage from 1 Cor. 15:35 on you’ll get the drift of what Paul was talking about in regards to different “bodies”. It’s a series of analogies.

    Amanda, Amanda
    Here we go again with the “Ev. just don’t understand” routine. We Ev understand all too well what the restored gospel is all about. Studied it and rejected it. I think that Mormons have trouble understanding what their own gospel is all about judging from their doctrinal flip-flops and denials of their own prophet’s writings and history. And if you want to go to the temple and do your rituals from the Free Masons why not? The rituals are Biblical you know. Oh, and please do the deep breathing exercises I recommended(smile decal and wink decal).

  25. dj1989 says:

    Falcon, thanks for the response. Of course I would have already read the whole chapter and not just the 2 verses. So, I was hoping for more detail than just 4 words in regards to how it might be interpreted by EVs.

    Mormons believe that different people receive different glories after the resurrection. The scripture in Corinthians fits very well with that idea. Common sense also speaks of the fact that not all people are equally dedicated to Christ, and that not all people are fit for becoming a co-inheritor with Christ, while at the same time not being fit for sitting with Earth’s most despicable people in hell.

    That being said, and again emphasizing that the passage in Corinthians fits very well with this idea (specifically that “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead), I’d like to again ask:

    What do EVs believe the meaning of those verses are? Or perhaps you might answer how to justify a strict “heaven/hell” concept, in light of what Paul said. Again… not trying to be snide. I’m just looking to see what the EV interpretation is (in more detail)

  26. falcon says:

    dj,
    I guess we’re getting back to that basic Biblical interpretation principle called “context”. So simply put, “What is Paul talking about?” The subject here is the “doctrine of the resurrection”. The influence of the early believers on the resurrection came from either the Jews or the Greeks (depending on the believer). So in 35-50 Paul is (instructing)talking about the nature of the body that the believer will have after being raised from the dead. Paul is saying that we will have an etheral, spiritual body. We can contrast that a plant body is different from a seed body from which it grows. It’s not a case of different believers getting different bodies based on a reward system as a result of works. Paul is using various examples to instruct the believers regarding resurrected bodies. He’s doing this, again, because of the previous thoughts on the subject by Jews and Greeks. I can’t take anything here as relating to heaven/hell.

  27. Megan says:

    I did some searching online regarding 1 Cor. 15:40-41, and everything I found corresponds with Falcon’s last post. To be perfectly honest I am still kind of fuzzy on these 2 verses. I contacted someone I know who teaches at a seminary and I’m waiting back for his answer, so I’ll have to let you all know what I get when/if he replies. It would be really nice if Aaron, Bill or Sharon could provide some insight on this. (I know the LDS on here will explain what they believe about these verses, but I would also like an in-depth EV. view).
    I think I’ve already written on this issue twice before, but I just want to point out that Joseph Smith did not develop the 3-tier kingdom system on his own. In 1758 the book “Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell” was published by Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. The book details 3 kingdoms with the names of Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial, and contains other concepts such as “the veil”, “spirit prison”, and “celestial marriage”. Smith’s hometown library contained the book in 1817. Also, in 1826 the book was advertised for sale (37 cents) in the Canandaigua newspaper, 9 miles from Smith’s farm.
    As far as I know, it is not proven that Smith obtained a copy of this book. But the fact is that Swedenborg’s book really contains these concepts. You can buy “Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell” on Amazon. D. Michael Quinn details the possible relationship in “Early Mormonism and the Magic Worldview”. I think Quinn was excommunicated but he still claims to be a believing Mormon. His book may be viewed as “[filtered profanity or slur]” by some, but faithful Mormon and scholar Craig Miller wrote on this subject in a paper titled “Did Swedenborg Influence Mormon Doctrine?” Miller lists 19 unique similarites between Swedenborg’s fictional “Celestial Kingdom” and that of Joseph Smith.
    I don’t expect the LDS on here to be happy or thank me for sharing this info., or to even believe it. But that’s what we’re here for, to challenge each other, right?

  28. rpavich says:

    Like nailing jello to the wall…

  29. Jeff B says:

    I don’t know if I should comment anymore about Mormonism.. I simply do not understand it therefore I have no authority I guess to comment..

    Amanda,

    enough with the “evangelicals don’t understand.” That statement sounds like it just came out of an Ensign or New Era magazine. You know, the whole “all the information you get outside the church is completely inaccurate and most always hostile, so don’t believe a WORD! In fact, don’t even look for it.”

    Amanda, if you could answer this for me I would appreciate it.. Who in the Bible were being baptized for the dead?

  30. amanda says:

    Falcon,

    It is pretty easy to write off your comments simply because of how rude you are. If you cannot respectfully disagree, I have no desire to correspond with you. Which is a shame, I think you have a lot to offer any discussion.

    Jeff,

    Evangelicals really do not understand a lot of what we believe. I stand by that statement and easily do so by judging the comments made on this website. My statements weren’t meant to alienate evangelicals from stating what they believe WE believe, but I find it interesting that many here want to tell mormons what we believe–that’s a bit ridiculous. You could learn a lot about our actual beliefs, as many here sincerely attempt to do, by asking and believing our answers are the best answers we have (according to each individuals knowledge on any given topic). Falcon was way off the mark on our belief of hell.

    Who in the bible were being baptized for the dead? I’m assuming according to your knowledge, your point is that there are none–
    1 Corinthians 15:29
    29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

    Paul is either referring to his contemporaries, baptizing the dead, or to this dispensation–baptizing the dead…either way, there is a biblical reference of the practice. We do know there were temples—So do I have names for you? No. But that points to my lack of knowledge (revealed or not yet revealed), not validation of your point. I’m interested to research more on this topic…don’t let me forget (it’s a busy time of year).

  31. amanda says:

    Megan,

    “Joseph Smith did not develop the 3-tier kingdom system on his own”

    You are 100% correct! Joseph Smith didn’t do anything on his own…he was extremely limited in his capacity (to say the least)- so yes, Someone was certainly involved, God. That’s the beauty of His gospel, He can reveal it through whomever He choses because all of us are eternally limited in our knowledge. In comparison to God, philosophers of religion, preachers, and bishops were about the same as a 13 year old boy in terms of knowledge. All they needed was humility, and I guess that made Joseph more qualified (ironically) than his local pastors.

    Interesting information, though. Does it change my testimony of the gospel? No. But it would be interesting to find out, when everything is revealed, what context to place those writings in. I don’t look to any writings, however, other than scripture to find answers regarding my testimony or doctrine. I can rely on His word (including the words of prophets, which constitutes most of biblical teaching, book of mormon teaching and latter day prophets), anyone else is rendered irrelevant.

  32. Eric the Red says:

    The specific context for Paul’s discussion of celestial and terrestrial bodies is vs 35 “But some one will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” The idea here is that if the body decays after death, how can the resurrection body be anything but repugnant. The body gets worse after death, not better. The opponents of the resurrection thought they had Paul backed into a corner. It is important to understand this context when reading the subsequent verses. Paul refutes his opponents by referring to various things in nature that are different. The body of a man is different than the body of animals, birds, and fish (vs 39). True, they all have bodies, but their bodies are different. Why, therefore, should we be surprised that a resurrection body will be different than our present bodies? His second illustration is planetary and celestial creation. There are celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies (these words simply mean “heavenly” and “earthly”). The word “glory” can mean opinion, view, or splendor, brightness. Both work well here. Paul simply says that the brightnesses (sp*) of the sun, moon, and stars are all different. In fact, each star has a distinct splendor from all other stars (more than three, as a matter of fact). From these illustrations, Paul draws the following conclusion “So is it with the resurrection of the dead.” The body of the seed is different than the body of the full-grown plant. The body of a man is different than the body of animals. The body (or splendor) of the sun is different than that of the moon or the stars. All this should prove that the resurrection body will have a greater splendor then our present earthly bodies. There is nothing in this chapter that even remotely hints at the possibility of three distinct heavens prepared for people of varying degrees of faithfulness to God. I truly would be interesting in seeing a Mormon exposition of this text based upon its surrounding context.

  33. Eric the Red says:

    Sorry! I meant to say “I truly would be interested in seeing a Mormon exposition of this text based upon its surrounding context.” I’m a lousy proofreader!

  34. falcon says:

    Oh come on Amanda.
    I use a little sarcasm and you use smiley faces attached to your digs. We’re both big boys and girls. We can take it. Don’t go all hurt feelings on me.
    I don’t think I wrote anything about hell in my posts here. Could be wrong, but I don’t think so. And on the baptism of the dead, it wasn’t a practice in the NT Church. Pauls words described what some of the people he was writing to did i.e. discriptive not prescriptive as an acceptable rite of the Chruch.

  35. Jeff B says:

    It is amazing how many times that Corinthians (Celestial bodies) passage is quoted at my local LDS ward. What is also amazing is even a really great teacher in the ward who “knows” his scriptures is completely blind to the context in which Paul was writing.

    Amanda said, “You could learn a lot about our actual beliefs, as many here sincerely attempt to do, by asking and believing our answers are the best answers we have (according to each individuals knowledge on any given topic).”

    Amanda, I can listen all day long to what you personally believe about the LDS faith, but does that really matter? If you notice, we quote the teachings of the General Authorities and refute their claims using scripture/history/facts. If we were to quote Amanda, it would be futile because you can believe anything you want to. You can pick and choose what you want to believe (and I know you kind of have to with the constantly changing/adding/removing/contradiction of doctrine), but we prefer to examine statements of people that are considered “authoritative”. Why go after all the parts of a malfunctioning copy machine when you can just pull the plug?

  36. Eric the Red says:

    dj1989 said,

    “The scripture uses words that accurately describe the Mormon doctrine of different kingdoms after life”

    And later on,

    “The scripture in Corinthians fits very well with that idea… the passage in Corinthians fits very well with this idea (specifically that “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars…”

    Would dj1989 or any other LDS contributor be kind enough to explain how this text “accurately describes” and “fits very well” with the Mormon teaching of three heavens?

  37. amanda says:

    Jeff,
    Then why ask me, and other LDS on this site (or challenge, whatever you want to call it) to clarify or answer statements involving these “authoritative” entities and other various questions involving the LDS faith if there wasn’t some point to your asking?? You either want an answer, or you want to argue and simply create contention (which goes to the root of my initial point) with mormons who are bored enough to post here.
    These authoritative entities would disagree with your assessment of my beliefs being irrelevant (or yours for that matter)—but specifically members of the church…we are admonished on a regular basis to share the gospel…but not based on our knowledge…AH, there is the rub. We are asked to live lives worthy of the Holy Ghost, so that when those moments arise, the Holy Ghost can teach those who are willing to listen. So yes, if I have the Holy Ghost with me, you bet its’ relevant.

    So we are all blind to Paul’s context in Corinthians…wow, Jeff– such a statement without explanation…please, do us the honor of enlightening our understanding of Corinthians.

    Falcon,

    Thanks for your input. My feelings are really hurt, in my 27 years of living, I have never experienced pain like this…Hey, I don’t know if you noticed, but this forum has spell-check- just thought you’d like to know 🙂

  38. Eric the Red says:

    Amanda said,

    “So we are all blind to Paul’s context in Corinthians…wow, Jeff– such a statement without explanation…please, do us the honor of enlightening our understanding of Corinthians.”

    Twice in this thread the evangelical, and not to be arrogant, but only legitimate explanation of this passage has been given. I would really like to see the standard Mormon exegesis of this passage. What in this text clearly points to three different heavens as three eternal dwelling places for those of varying degrees of faithfulness? Seeing the general Mormon exposition fo this passage would be helpful.

  39. Jeff B says:

    Amanda,

    Just as Megan said earlier – “I did some searching online regarding 1 Cor. 15:40-41, and everything I found corresponds with Falcon’s last post.”

    I agree with Falcon’s post and Eric the Red’s post regarding the celestial bodies scripture. Both correspond with each other as well.

    And later in Corinthians, it makes even more sense with the verse 1 Corinthians 15:29.

    Just do this. Go to google, and type in 1 Corinthians 15:29. That will give you the enlightenment that you seek.

    Of course, why take anyone else’s word for it. That’s up to you. You will find that biblical scholars agree. But I guess you would rather believe Joseph Smith because your heart tells you hes a prophet.

  40. Jeff B says:

    Amanda, I found the answers I seek. The reason I ask you to clarify the General Authorities words is for you, not for me to “score points” if I find some sort of whole in your argument. If I could at least get you to do a double-take on a statement or doctrine that seems “not quite right”, I do that in hopes that it will correct your path. I think your going down the wrong path, as simple as that. And I’m sure you think I’m on the wrong path. Me debating with you doesn’t do anything in my favor nor with you, however if it gets you to look at the map (the scriptures and God) a little closer and I can help point out to you the dead-end your headed for, then I hope your own personal realization or revelation of where your at will help you choose the right path.

  41. Alien Chaser says:

    WOW! Where to start? I believe the basic, yet unasked, question is “Are Mormons Christian?” To which one can only answer “NO”. This is NOT to condemn them or to cast aspersions on them, only to set the boundaries of what seems to me to be the definitive question on this forum.
    How can one ascertain Mormon’s “Christianness”? By reading what they proclaim to be their own sacred documents, as presented by their holy leaders. In doing so, one finds basic, traditional Christianity to be anathema. The Mormon concept of God is totally different; Mormons assert that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers; Mormons disavow the biblical-based Trinity [NO, I am NOT Roman Catholic!]; Mormons believe current Christian theology is an apostasy–only the LDS have the truth. Mormons accept the Bible–so long as it agrees with LDS doctrine.
    I could go on and on, but to what point?

  42. Eric the Red says:

    Anyone interested in giving an LDS exposition of 1 Corinthians 15:40,41. This was given in this thread as a prooftext for the three heavens of Mormonism. Would anyone care to give a lucid explanation of how this text teaches this?

  43. amanda says:

    Eric,

    The best I can do with the time I have is to point you to a simple lesson given about these three kingdoms…You will have to accept reference to scriptures that you do not accept as scripture is part of our explanation because of our acceptance of that scripture being divinely inspired. You won’t accept it personally, I’m sure, but you must accept it as what we believe.

    [Link to LDS.org article]

    There are more resources on lds.org

  44. Eric the Red says:

    Thanks, Amanda, for the link. Although it explained the Mormon position on the three kingdoms it did not give any meaningful exposition of 1 Corinthians 15:40,41. This passage was alluded to once.

    “How did Paul describe the differences in the glory of the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom? (See 1 Corinthians 15:41).

    Every text of Scripture has a valid exposition based upon grammatical, lexical, and contextual information. In fact, an evaluation of this information is essential in understanding any text, and is a necessary pretext to teaching from that text. All I am asking for is some meaningful documentation that shows Mormonism’s exposition of this text. In other words, what in this text and its context shows that Paul was describing the differences of the three kingdoms (the three eternal states of mankind)? I am not asking for superimposed meaning, rather meaning derived from the text. Nor am I asking what Mormons believe. Rather I am asking for a Mormon exposition of 1 Corinthian 15:41. I just want to see some evidence that the LDS have spent some deliberate time exegeting this text. Does an exposition of this text support the Mormon doctrine of three heavens?

  45. amanda says:

    Eric,

    Yes, I know this passage was alluded to once. This is why revealed scripture, and prophets in these latter days give necessary context to these biblical scriptures. The only way to know if this context is actually revealed from God, is to ask Him yourself- In James, this process is referred to as PURE religion.

    James 1:5-7
    5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
    6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
    7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

    And this process is necessary in order to have a testimony of a restored gospel. If someone seeks to know God’s wisdom, it is necessary for them to set their own aside…and when you cling to what YOU believe the bible says, then there is no room for what GOD intended the bible to say. And that is true for EVERYONE.

    “I just want to see some evidence that the LDS have spent some deliberate time exegeting this text. ”

    In terms of this request, I’m sure there are, I am not one of them…Look into institute resources for the church. I’m sure this subject is discussed at length in institute classes at many universities (especially BYU)–I however, have not studied it and “proven” using your process…My “evidence” of any doctrine comes from an eternally wise source that I have come to depend on, and has served me well, the Holy Ghost.

    Can you imagine the followers of Christ telling Him to PROVE his message with evidence?? Read Luke 8-parable of the sower.

    What I would like you to explain is what scripture in the bible lays out YOUR standard for proving doctrine? I believe the scripture in James knocks your process out of the water, including Christ’s parable of the sower. Seeking “evidence” the way you do, will only limit your knowledge of Him.

  46. Daniel says:

    Amanda, the thing about truths that are revealed external to the Bible, is that they must line up with with what the Bible says. If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, if we believe that God doesn’t change or lie, then we know that if anything revealed external to the Bible must agree with what the Bible says. The evangelical position regarding one heaven and one hell line up with numerous passages in the Bible; the LDS position of three levels of heaven can be referenced by one verse, and our argument is that one verse does not, in fact, point to the evidence of three levels of heaven. I can pray about it all I want, but if I “feel” an “answer” that’s contradictory to scripture, then I know that the “answer” I received isn’t really an answer from God.

  47. Eric the Red says:

    Amanda, I am not seeking “evidence” that the the Scriptures are true. Rather I am seeking respect for the truth of Scripture by a clear an honest exposition of it. I find it ironic that you quote Scripture to mitigate the necessity of knowing Scripture. You attempted an exposition of James 1:5, so why not 1 Corinthians 15:41? So is James 1:5 telling me that I don’t need to have a grammatical, lexical, and contextual understanding of a passage of Scripture? That the logic and common sense which applies to all other fields of study does not apply to the Bible? That I just pray about it and close my eyes to what is actually written? You basically wrote off any interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:41 with a “If any man lacks wisdom” prayer. I agree that we need the Spirit’s enlightenment, but He wrote the Scriptures with grammar, definitions, and in a context. If He went to so much effort to write and preserve His Word then it behooves us to give diligence to a right understanding of it. It really shouldn’t take you all that long to read 1 Corinthians 15:41 and come up with a valid meaning. The Holy Spirit won’t confirm to you something as true, if you don’t even take the time to study and meditate upon it. The same Spirit that wrote James 1:5 also wrote 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

  48. Ralph says:

    From my understanding of what I have read and been taught, the doctrines of various subjects like the 3 degrees of glory, baptism for the dead, the Book of Mormon, etc are first and foremost from modern-day revelation, not directly sourced from the Bible. The Biblical scriptures we give in support of these various doctrines were found after the fact, thus if you want to put it in your perspective “forced” to fit the picture – in our perspective it fits quite nicely.
    As for the current scripture discussed in 1 Cor 15, it does not explicitly describe nor state 3 seperate degrees of glory, it describes the resurrection. However from the LDS perspective it says that in the day of resurrection, people will be resurrected into 1 of 3 types of bodies, that of the glory of the sun (Celestial), the glory of the moon or the glory of the stars. To us this IMPLIES that our 3 degrees of glory in which we believe from modern-day revelation, fits in with a Biblical teaching, as those who are resurrected with a body that has a certain glory will be confined to that glory in the afterlife. The part where it says about the differing of brightness between stars also fits in with our view as we believe that everyone is rewarded according to their works (note not resurrected or placed into a kingdom because of works, but after this they are rewarded according to their works). So even within the individual degrees of glory there are various degrees again. For example we believe that murderers will go to the lowest degree of glory. If someone only did one murder in his life but did not repent of it he would still go there, but he would be resurrected to a different ‘glory’ than someone who committed a dozen murders and did not repent.
    To be honest, I do have a small problem with the interpretation of one of the scriptures – the one about the Book of Mormon. But that’s a different story and does not in any way stop me from believing in it, I just think someone got it wrong.

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