Nicene Creed Challenge

Ronan brings up over at BCC regarding President Hinckley’s ‘challenge’ this past General Conference for us to read the Nicene Creed. I was going to post my thoughts there, but the conversation has long since gone the way of talking about the mechanics of the creed, and I wanted to bring up a different point unrelated to the text itself.

I invite you to read that definition and compare it with the statement of the boy Joseph.

How many members of the Church took up President Hinckley’s invitation? How many ward and stakes initiated programmes to help their members meet this goal? How many members of the Bloggernacle blogged about it (beside Ronan of course)?

Which is kind of odd when you think of it. The Nicene Creed has three paragraphs; the Book of Mormon has several thousand. Or maybe it’s not that odd after all. Maybe were more like Naaman than we care to admit.

Calamities and Wickedness

Hurricane Katrina reminds me of a post I wrote last year partly regarding Hurricane Jeanne.

In one person’s “testimony”, he made mention that God’s hand is evident in the recent barrage of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. He made particular reference to Hurricane Jeanne and God’s hand guiding it wherever it goes.

My response was as follows:

Naturally, I have a problem with this thought. I have a problem believing that God directed a hurricane to the poorest countries in the western hemisphere in order that one and a half thousand people would be killed. What horrendous sins could these 1,500 men, women and children committed that would warrant God sending a relentless hurricane to a country already reeling from thousands killed this spring in massive floods and February in civil war.

I’ve been thinking about this concept; the idea that God punishes the wicked with natural disasters. It seems that many ancient prophets foretold of a future time where people would be more wicked and there would be more calamities.

I have a thought though. What if all these calamities are not a direct result of our wickedness?

Presumably, God can see all things past, present and future. One can assume then thousands of years ago, he knew that a day would come where the earth would be plagued by earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and the like. He also knew that the inhabitants of the earth would be more base and more willing to turn their backs on Him.

Perhaps, however, He told the prophets of these calamities not because he Was going to use them to punish us, but to use them as a sign. Perhaps all these calamities are not divinely created or guided. Perhaps they are all natural. Perhaps he saw them happening and told the prophets about them so that we, in the future, could use them as an indication that we need to be more righteous.

Male Defenses

Men are simply more intelligent than women. You can read this article here:

Reading Sally’s article on male Primary teachers sent me off on a tangent that I thought I had left behind a number of years ago. It seems that all men have been relegated to the role of insignificant slugs (a little hyperbole doesn’t hurt here) with little more value than as breeding stock (Mary’s experience with Kim aside) (ask the Swedes).

What are we to make of men? Do television ads portray them in any positive way? Do news stories portray them differently than women when identical crimes are committed? What about how men are treated in the Church?

We talk of quorum unity, but where is it exhibited? Could the experience of others be like someone I know, where the Bishop and High Priest group leader assigned one High Priest to go into his home 3 days after his wife kicked him out, because she didn’t want to be married to him anymore?

We now see from Sally’s blog that men are to be highly supervised when called to the Primary and other callings.

The point is: What is man and why bother with him?

My beginning statement regarding men was put there to attract attention to a ridiculous argument. We all know that it is ridiculous on its face. However, could the comment made by this man have been triggered by some negative experiences with women, or the role that men now seem to fill in todays society? (I’m not trying to excuse his remarks…just trying to figure out why a supposedly intelligent person would make such a stupid statement.)

Are we beginning to see a burgeoning men’s movement that discounts reason in the vain attempt to give men some credibility? Are we feeling the consequences of the denigration of men as men?

Take a look at the number of single adult young men, who are marriageable age, who are not even dating. Take a look at the age at which people are getting married today. The average age is substantially higher today than it was 30 years ago.

There is a serious problem with young men going inactive in the Church after they return from their missions. Why?

Where are the male role models? Those that we often look to as models spend half their time criticizing men instead of building them up. Where do they turn for identity, because there is a crisis that exists today?

How do women portray men? What are their expectations of them?

In short…where are the answers?

Male Primary Teachers

I belong to a Primary message board site and last couple of days there has been this huge hoopla about male teachers in Primary. Somehow some presidents are saying that in the “guidelines” it states that if a male is called to teach Primary then it has to be as a couple (husband/wife team) or 2 males, doors are to remain always open and that any member of the presidency can walk in unannounced at any given moment. When I posted the question of where this so called guidleline is no one seems to know. I also pointed out that males were being dumped on (on this site regarding this particular post) and that men aren’t the only ones that are abusers of children.

I also pointed out that if the church (according to the Utah wards that were posting) had set these guidelines to protect the children then how is it that men can teach in Young Men or in Scouts where the chances are greater for risk factor as they meet a lot away from the actual building (camps etc).

Has anyone actually seen this guideline set out by the church?

Adam as Our Father

It is well known among Mormons that critics of the church accuse Brigham Young of teaching a doctrine that stated Adam, the first man, was the god of our spirits. Often we hear that Brigham Young was misquoted or the quotes were taken in context.

I came across a number of quotes today by Brigham Young regarding this doctrine. If it was a single quote, I can see how members of the Church could use the defence that is was misquoted or out of context. Given the number of references to the principle, it would seem that this was something Brigham Young believed and taught. Not only that, but he claimed it to be true doctrine.

How much unbelief exists in the minds of Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me – namely that Adam is our father and God ..Then he said, ‘I want my children who are in the spirit world to come and live here. I once dwelt upon an earth something like this, in a mortal state. I was faithful. I received my crown and exaltation…I want my children that were born to me in the spirit world to come here and take tabernacles of flesh that their spirits may have a house, a tabernacle…’ (Brigham Young, Deseret Weekly News, June 18, 1873, page 308)

Who was the Savior begotten by?….Who did beget him? His Father, and his father is our God, and the Father of our spirits, and he is the framer of the body, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who is he? He is Father Adam; Michael; the Ancient of Days. (President Brigham Young, Feb. 19, 1854, Brigham Young Addresses, 1850-1854, Vol. 2, by Elden J. Watson, sheet 179 (in chronological order), Historical Dept. Church, Ms d 1234, Box 48 Fd. 11 )

Some have grumbled because I believe our God to be so near to us as Father Adam. There are many who know that doctrine to be true. (Brigham Young, October 7, 1857, Journal of Discourses 5:331).

Some years ago I advanced a doctrine with regard to Adam being our Father and God…It is one of the most glorious revealments of the economy of heaven… (President Brigham Young, in the Tabernacle, General Conference, October 8, 1861, 10:30 a.m.; Brigham Young Addresses, 1860-1864, Vol. 4, by Elden J. Watson, sheet 134 (in chronological order), Historical Dept. Church, Ms d 1234, Box 49 fd 8 )

I tell you more: Adam is the father of our spirits. He lived upon an earth, he did abide his creation and did honor to his calling and priesthood and obeyed his master or lord, and probably many of his wives did the same, and they lived and died upon an earth and then were resurrected again to immortality and eternal life. (Brigham Young, October 8, 1854, Brigham Young Addresses, 18509-1854, Vol. 2, by Elden J. Watson, sheet 221 (in chronological order), Historical Dept. Church, Box 49 fd 12)

These aren’t all statements made in an interview with Mike Wallace or Larry King; some are statements made by the president of the Church during General Conference.

So, why was it dropped? President Kimball declared it a false doctrine in the October 1976 General Conference.

We warn you against the dissemination of doctrine which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.

If President Hinckley came to General Conference and announced a doctrine that was not in the scriptures, would we be able to use President Kimball’s admonition to denounce it as false doctrine? This isn’t like revealing a new practise (such as plural marriage) or stopping an old practise (such as withholding priesthood from Blacks); this is revealing a new doctrine.

Book of Mormon Challenge Redux

President Hinckley issued a challenge to the world in the August issue of the Ensign and through a letter to all wards and stakes. His challenge was for everyone to read or reread the Book of Mormon.

I offer a challenge to members of the Church throughout the world and to our friends everywhere to read or reread the Book of Mormon.

Nowhere in this sentence does he give timeframe or suggest that the challenge consist of reading a specific amount each day. Later on in his message, does point out the following:

If you will read a bit more than one and one-half chapters a day, you will be able to finish the book before the end of this year.

It is not clear, however, that this information is strictly part of the challenge or simply FYI.

So, strictly speaking, I guess I am meeting President Hinckley’s challenge after all. Nevertheless, I didn’t stop reading the Book of Mormon and start over; I simply kept going where I was already.

Propets old and new alike

The scriptures give us many examples of prophets in the Old and New Testaments. Then the keys were removed off the earth not to return until the “present” time of Joseph Smith. As I have been studing the Book of Mormon as well as the Doctrice and Covenants this past while, the same thought keeps cropping up. Why is it that the keys were not returned until Joseph Smith? Was it planned this way in the pre-existance? I mean the righteousness of the people was not any less great in say the 1700’s as it was when Joseph was 14. There have been many great men that have walked the earth in between the last prophet and Joseph. Why not any of them? And why a boy of 14? I mean I have 4 sons and if I were to think back at their life at 14, well let’s just say, getting them up in the morning to get to Seminary was enough of a struggle in their life. I remember when President Kimball died and President Benson was called. It floored me as a very young adult, that they would pick just as aged a man as the previous Prophet. I remember asking why on earth the church did not pick a young man who would live for a few more years and the reply always came back “cause by their age, tempation has long left them and they have proven themselves to the Lord.” Well Joseph hadn’t proven anything at 14.

Are the answers in the scriptures and when I get to that part of my reading, my head is nodding too much to have absorbed it? Christ knew from a very very young age what his mission in life was to be. He knew of his life with his Father. Did Joseph as well? He saw many many visions in his short life but did he ever see his life in the pre-existance? Was there a time when he stepped forward, as Christ did, and said pick me Father? Or would our Father just have chosen him instead of asking for volunteers?