Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Last Post

This will be my very last post. Of the year 2009, anyway. (I've got a deadline of two hours before 2010 rolls around). In reality, however, and independent of Urban Meyer, I actually have considered taking a "leave of absence" from blogging. Life has been a bit cluttered lately. Blogging time has been reduced. But I'm not quite ready to start printing the "How's it going to end?" buttons.

I've now been blogging here for two years--though to me it seems much longer than that. Notwithstanding, it has been a very rewarding two years. My motto remains "Whatever I am...trying to be a good one". But that's probably the only thing that hasn't changed in two years. I still can't say for certain what it is I'm becoming or all the ways I've changed.

Perhaps one of the ways I've changed the most is that I'm much less certain in general. The more I learn the more I realize how little I actually "know" for certain. My personal faith has certainly evolved. I've become more and more philosophic and less and less dogmatic.

More and more I find myself relating to the sentiments expressed by Benjamin Franklin at the close of the Constitutional Convention: "I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others."

Thus, the end of 2009 finds me not quite jumping at the opportunity to write an Oprah-like "What I know for sure" type of post. As it stands now, I'm still questioning what it is I know for sure.

Maybe I'll feel more up to it next year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reading Abraham 3:22-28 through new eyes

Abraham 3:22-28 is a narrative which clearly involves multiple persons. Yet readers often unwittingly place Christ into all roles simultaneously. The following is my attempt to identify and make sense of them all. I especially look at verse 27 differently now:

Verse 22, Abraham as narrator: Now the Lord [Jesus/Jehovah/God the Son] had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

Verse 23: And God [the Father, or "Head God"] saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: ["]These I will make my rulers["]; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he [the Lord or God?] said unto me: ["]Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born["] [on earth].

Verse 24: [Abraham as narrator] And there stood one [Lord Jesus] among them that was like unto God [God the Father], and he [the one like unto God/Jesus/God the Son] said unto those who were with him: [Jesus as narrator now] ["]We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

Verse 25: And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God [doesn't matter to me if here he's referring to himself in the future in the third person or the Father, either one works for me] shall command them;

Verse 26: And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.["]

Verse 27: [Abraham again, briefly, as narrator] And the Lord [Jesus/Jehovah] said: ["]Whom shall I send?["] [to be the first to experience the next estate] And one [Michael/Adam] answered like unto the Son of Man [Jesus, Son of Man or Son of God]: ["]Here am I, send me["]. And another [Lucifer] answered and said: ["]Here am I, send me["]. And the Lord [Jesus] said: ["]I will send the first.["]

Verse 28: And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.

This reading seems to be more in line with the fact that God the Father delegates much of the responsibility for the work on this earth to the Son/Jesus, and that Jesus is usually the one giving all the revelations. It's also in line with Hugh Nibley's insight below (particularly the bolded part in the second paragraph):

"Our temple drama began like the book of Job, the Gospel of John, and Goethe's Faust, with the 'Prologue in Heaven.' In the temple today the prologue is spoken offstage, that is, in another world far removed from our present one. We hear the council in heaven discussing the plan to organize a world like other worlds that have been formed. They will 'take of these materials, and . . . will make an earth whereon these may dwell' (Abraham 3:24). The definite pronoun these plainly points to or indicates something, showing that the drama is in progress. Then they appoint two others from among those who stood 'among those that were spirits' (Abraham 3:23). Again the definite pronoun that calls our attention to parties who are not mentioned but are obviously indicated by gesture—these are stage directions.

"Things being thus decided, the Lord said 'Whom should I send?' Here we should note that thirty-three of the forty-two verses in Moses 1 begin with the word and. This in our narrative is the so-called wåw-conversive in Hebrew, which converts the past to a future tense, giving it the sense of stage direction: 'The Lord shall say.' To his question, 'one answered [or one shall answer] like unto the Son of Man,' obviously stepping forward: 'Here I am, send me' (Abraham 3:27). The action is clearly indicated, but why 'one like unto the Son of Man'? Why not simply the Son of Man? Because plainly this is not the real character but an impersonation of him, one taking his part: 'like the Son of Man'"
(Abraham's Temple Drama).

This reading also gives new insight to the fact that Michael (whose name in Hebrew means “Who is like God”) serves as a "type" of Christ, or shadow of things to come. And in my opinion, what a significant way to get this mortal drama kicked off!

Christmas Lights "Ditto"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Make a Heaven out of Hell

Last week I read The Blind Side — mostly a true story. (While I haven't yet seen the movie "The Blind Side", I'm looking forward to it.) Turns out that there's an interesting BYU/Evangelical Christian connection that wasn't mentioned in the film:

"In the film, "Oher needs a 2.5 grade-point average and ekes out with 2.52. The part about a 2.52 is correct, but in fact he needed a 2.65 average. He was able to raise his grades to that average by getting high school credits through a remote-education program sponsored by Brigham Young University. 'The Mormons may be going to hell. But they really are nice people,' Sean Tuohy is quoted as saying in the book excerpt."

Yesterday I read the following quote by Joseph Smith and couldn't help but think of Sean Tuohy's statement. The two fit quite nicely together! It also happens to be the ultimate of "turning lemons into lemonade":

..."let me be resurrected with the Saints, whether I ascend to heaven or descend to hell, or go to any other place. And if we go to hell, we will turn the devils out of doors and make a heaven of it. Where this people are, there is good society.” ("Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith", Chapter 45, quote #21)

So there you have it, Sean. We'll simply make a heaven out of hell!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Kind of Christian

I recently came across a blog run by a Christian man who said that the book "How Wide the Divide?" was "key" in changing the way he related to Mormonism. I was impressed by his newfound understanding of the importance of talking "with individuals about their faith, rather than relying exclusively or even mostly on what their denomination 'believes'".

But I was even more impressed with a beautifully written and wonderful statement in his "About Me" profile introduction:

"First and foremost, I am saved by God's grace as manifested most clearly through the atoning death of Jesus Christ-- and thus, adopted into His family. As a result, I increasingly seek to extend His grace to others in my daily life."

My heart truly resonates with that statement. It also causes me to have a little bit of "holy envy." I wish I could hear, and experience, more of this kind of talk (and conviction) in my own ward and greater LDS Christian/Mormon tradition.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

[Mormon] Faith in the Public Sector

On, David Frum has written an excellent and intriguing article entitled: "Should Romney's faith be an obstacle?"

Obviously I don't think his faith should be a big deal, but I understand the concerns of those who think it is. It certainly seems to complicate things. But should complexities matter?

I believe a healthy and robust dialogue becomes imperative to reach better mutual understanding--especially when it involves religious nuances. People must also be willing to suspend their own personal biases and strive to see things from the "other" perspective.

While I think most people tolerate a little faith in the public sector, it's vexing to see religious bigotry come out (whether soft or hard) when Mormonism is made an issue. Somehow, it then becomes a different ball-game.

I recommend people judge Romney as an individual and not by his Mormonism--what does that even mean anyway? Take him on his own terms. At least that's what I would want for myself.