Notes From All Over

February 20, 2009 | 23 comments
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23 Responses to Notes From All Over

  1. Rob Perkins on February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Chris Buttars does more for the gay rights agenda than ten thousand provocative pride parades possibly could. Maybe if he resigns, they won’t have him to kick around anymore.

  2. Sgarff on February 20, 2009 at 10:41 am

    The American Conservative article quotes John Schroeder as saying, “We Evangelicals must thank our Mormon cousins. …… They, along with our Catholic brethren, were better organized than us and that provided a base from which we could all work together to get this job done.”

    Interesting that he uses the word “cousins” for Mormons and “brethren” for Catholics.

    Intentional?

  3. Ivan Wolfe on February 20, 2009 at 11:39 am

    GetReligion has an excellent post about that mythical abortion bill y’all are talking about over there:

    http://www.getreligion.org/?p=8049

    The thesis is “there are some basic problems with the reporting.”

    It’s a pretty complete takedown of the Time article. I figure, Adam, at the very least, will enjoy it.

  4. Marc on February 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Hmmm… not sure you posted the right link Ivan.

    [Ed.-- fixed. Thanks.]

  5. Adam Greenwood on February 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    For the love of all that’s holy! Here’s the right link:

    http://www.getreligion.org/?p=8049

    I’ll fix it in Ivan W.’s comment.

  6. Adam Greenwood on February 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Sgarff,
    probably. And since Mormons are brothers with Satan, that means EVANGELICALS THINK THEY’RE COUSINS TO SATAN. Frickin’ cultists.

  7. Ivan Wolfe on February 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    What did I link to earlier? Now I’m curious. Did I accidentally misspell the URL to some NSFW site or something?

  8. Adam Greenwood on February 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Nope. You linked the wrong Get Religion post.

  9. Ben Pratt on February 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Adam, you linked to Vox Day’s article on Black Gate. Are you one of the Dread Ilk?

    FWIW, I thik I am, though I hardly ever comment on VD’s blog.

  10. Rob M on February 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Re: #2
    I have less of a problem with the brother/cousin distinction than I do with the term “co-belligerence”. At least the former is a familial reference. The latter is a (more honest) recognition that our evangelical “cousins” wouldn’t hesitate to tear us down if we weren’t on the same side in another fight already… kind of like the Americans and Soviets, circa 1944.
    Kum-bay-yah, everyone!

  11. Bookslinger on February 20, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Suggestion for sidebar: Larry Miller in the Spirit World,
    http://www.sltrib.com/ci_11751470

    Diplomacy appears not to be Mr. Buttars’ strong suit. However, if he had said that the gay agenda is “the greatest threat to America”, though exaggerated, would be more to the point. The gay agenda being the normalization of homosexuality in our society.

    I would agree with him if his point is that the normalization of homosexuality, and the consequent effect on future generations, would be the destruction of one of the foundations of American society.

    When a future generation is raised without any taboo towards homosexuality, then homosexuality will become, or appear to them to be, a seemingly legitimate lifestyle choice for those who aren’t born homosexual.

  12. Bridget Jack Meyers on February 21, 2009 at 4:03 am

    I think that the cousin-brethren analogy is quite apt. I’m happy to see more evangelicals opening up to the idea that Mormons are in fact a part of the big umbrella family of Christianity, even if they are more distantly related to us than Catholics and other types of Christians.

    I also don’t see a problem with the “co-belligerence” label. When you cut through all the hemming and hawing and niceties of the current interfaith dialogue movement, it’s a fact that Mormons don’t think evangelicals are practicing true Christianity. You don’t accept our baptisms as valid, you don’t believe we feel the Spirit’s constant influence in our lives, and you think you have special access to God that we don’t. You wouldn’t hesitate to pull a convert from our ranks and you know it, and the same is true for us.

    I’m all for polite interfaith dialogue, but sometimes the equivocating of our more painful differences exasperates me. Couldn’t we just frankly acknowledge the areas where we are in fact enemies so that we can move on to being friends?

  13. Bookslinger on February 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    1. You don’t accept our baptisms as valid,

    Agreed.

    2. you don’t believe we feel the Spirit’s constant influence in our lives,

    Maybe some bigoted individual Mormons feel that way, but I don’t. The phrase “constant influence” has often been taken out of context, and often repeated without the many attendant exceptions. Too many LDS try to lump Spirit-following Evangelicals in with the more common Spirit-denying branches of Protestantism.

    There are some Mormons who don’t feel the Spirt at all, and many more who don’t feel it constantly. Some Mormons, for whom finding and receiving the Spirit never kicked in, actually find the Spirit on their way _out_ of the church, sometimes due to an Evangelical explaining something in a way that resonates with them, whereas their LDS parents and teachers were never able to flip that switch in them.

    I had left the LDS for 15 years, partly due to failing to grasp some concepts. It was the Stoic philosopher Epictetus (who was not a Christian) who explained some Christian concepts in a way that finally resonated with me, and prepared me for coming back into activity in the LDS church. Those concepts already existed in the LDS church, but his wording or presentation was what finally made them understandable to me.

    There _are_ pockets of Mormonism that practice “churchianity” (going through the motions of the “programs”, which I sometimes call “checklist Mormonism”) more than Christianity, which is the same problem in many Christian faiths. And it is the same beef that you devout Evangelicals have with the whitebread milquetoast stultifying Spirit-denying branches of Protestantism.

    There’s another common thead between Mormons and Evangelicals, our common beef against most of Protestantism.

    3. and you think you have special access to God that we don’t.

    At the basic levels no, but at some levels, well, yeah, kinda-sorta. But it’s analogous to how you, as an Evangelical, have greater access to God (than many milque-toast Protestants) due to your greater understanding of how the Spirit works. You have more information, and you’re acting upon it, and that gives you greater access.

    You already know (intellectually) what the LDS have that goes beyond Evangelicalism. However, you haven’t assented or bought into yet. When you finally “turn the key” and both mentally assent to and then act upon that knowledge, then you’ll also reap the greater access.

    The Lord pours out his Spirit upon whom he will. Or, as one scripture says “The wind(Spirit) blows where it listeth.” The scriptures promise blessings to _all_ who believe, not just some who believe. But the scriptures also promise _additional_ blessings/access to those who believe _and_ make and keep “official” covenants.

    There is a degree or point where the “official-ness” of the Melchizedek priesthood and the “official” Gift-of-the-Holy-Ghost goes beyond the blessings of faithful seekers of God who haven’t made the “official” covenants yet.

    Even within the LDS church, there are additional blessings that result from sincerely entering into and righteously keeping temple endowments/covenants. (But again, those blessings are not usually available to those who merely go through the motions in a perfunctory manner without the necessary level of faith.)

    There is sort of a “church within a church” or “inner circle” among the endowed members of the LDS faith. Those who sincerely make and faithfully keep temple endowments/covenents “get” (as in understand) something that the outer fringe members or just-going-through-the-motions members don’t get. (A lot of members have “gone through the temple, but the temple has not gone through them”.)

    This may be analogous to the Evangelicals being sort of an “inner circle” or sub-set among the larger set of Protestants. Spirit-filled and Spirit-following Evangelicals “get” (understand) things that the milque-toast Spirit-denying Protestants don’t. No matter how often the latter attend church, no matter what good deeds they do, no matter how “nicey-nice” they are, they just don’t get what you do. They haven’t crossed a spiritual threshhold that you have.

    And with much love, and a feeling of “boy, I’ve been where you’re at”, I’m trying to tell you that there are more threshholds to cross, more levels, more learning, more line-upon-line, more precepts, etc. And it never ends.

    Please believe that I understand your frustration, because the most powerful (not the most important, but perhaps the most overwhelming ) spiritual experience I had in my life was 10 years before I was baptized LDS.

    That experience was so powerfully overwhelming, I couldn’t imagine anything greater or additional. I thought that was the zenith. But greater things really do lie beyond what the evangelicals teach, and what many of them experience.

    The overwhelming nature of the experience I’m referring to was mainly the shock of crossing some boundary, or having the barrier/veil between the temporal and the eternal dropped for a few moments. Subsequent experiences were “greater” but not as much a shock or surprise to my system. And later on I read some teachings of Joseph Smith that explained how that is.

    4. You wouldn’t hesitate to pull a convert from our ranks and you know it, and the same is true for us.

    Correct.

    —-

    Bridget, when you finally do “see the additional light” of the restored church (and you will, because you’re on that road), you’re going to be amazed at how many LDS don’t live up to the glorious spiritual possibilities that you learned in the Evangelical faith.

    In some ways you’re already at a higher grade level than most LDS, but there are just some points that haven’t clicked with you yet. When you eventually join you’re going to have to watch out for mediocre Mormons who are going to tend to pull you down to their level because they haven’t experienced the level of spirituality that you have. They may have the “book learnin’”, but you have some “something” that many LDS do not.

    You’re going to be perhaps even more frustrated at the bigoted LDS individuals who not only denied your experiences, but don’t experience such things themselves. And hopefully, you’ll realize that God is merciful to those bigoted LDS individuals when they don’t see the bigger picture, just like he’s been merciful to you when you haven’t seen the bigger picture either.

    And, I want to apologize for all those mediocre-Mormon individuals, and the bigoted individuals who have been stumbling blocks for you. Please don’t judge the whole religion based on them. Every religion, every church, even yours, has their duds. We’re all a work in progress.

    Some day it will all “click” for you, and you will be one on-fire Mormon!

  14. Rob Perkins on February 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I won’t put things the way Bookslinger has; there is all the possibility in the world that a lecture like that will make Jack more stubborn about not investigating the Church.

    Re: 1 — We don’t accept non-LDS baptisms as valid, but that is no obstacle to accepting them as sincere.

    Re: 2 — Yes, the Spirit is at work everywhere. Mormons who don’t see that need to get out more.

    Re: 3 — Special access to God? He’s not a vending machine…

    Re: 4 — Do we have to consider conversions between the two as pulling people from ranks? The metaphor is somewhat inappropriately martial, it seems to me.

  15. Bookslinger on February 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Rob, Bridget (Jack) graduated from BYU, and is married to an LDS husband. From reading her blog, I’d say that she knows more about the restored-gospel and the church than most full-time LDS missionaries. Having come from an evangelical background myself, I understand most of her positions, sympathize with her frustrations, and agree with her on several points of false Mormon ideas that get passed on by some bigoted LDS individuals.

  16. Bookslinger on February 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Oops. Just checked your blog. You knew all that. Sorry.

  17. Rob Perkins on February 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    No problem. Anymore I simply refuse to “work on people” is all, aside from saying what I know is true.

  18. Bridget Jack Meyers on February 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I’ll get back to you guys later tonight.

  19. Bridget Jack Meyers on February 21, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Bookslinger ~ Regarding #2, what I’m getting at is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the gift of the Holy Ghost is a privilege reserved exclusively for members. There’s no if, ands or buts on that; non-members cannot have the gift of the Holy Ghost. I can see (from the LDS paradigm) Latter-day Saints neglecting said gift so that evangelicals who are merely very in tune with the Spirit are getting more from it, but bottom line, I think you have to admit that at a bare minimum, the church officially teaches that potential access to the Spirit is greater within Mormonism than without.

    On #3, does the Church not teach that prophets and apostles have access to Jesus Christ and God the Father directly? Are there not accounts of prophets and apostles seeing Christ in person in certain temples? If that isn’t special access to God, I don’t know what is. In fact isn’t that one of the selling points of the church, that you consider your leaders to be directly guided by God?

    I know that I’ve been very personal and candid on my blog, and I know (being former evangelical yourself) you feel a certain degree of empathy with me, but I’m not crazy about being treated like an evangelical proto-Mormon. In fact your post kind of makes my point for me; why is it that you as the ex-evangelical Latter-day Saint are the enlightened one and I’m the one who’s still on the path? Why is it that I’m the one who needs to “see the light”? Can you not see the condescension in that?

    I hope that doesn’t sound harsh, because I do like you and the last thing I want is to be rude.

    Rob P. ~ Hopefully my reply to Bookslinger makes what I’m saying clearer for #2 & #3. Regarding #4, yes my perspective is martial but I wouldn’t call it inappropriately so. I’ve never seen a Latter-day Saint react positively to the news that a fellow Mormon has left the church for evangelical Christianity. When Adam’s Road was getting publicity last August, the SLTrib’s online article was dripping with nasty comments from Mormons remarking on how stupid it was that they’d left Mormonism for EV Christianity; I’d show you, but the SL Trib copy of the article seems to have been taken down.

    My point is, we each consider our faiths different enough that we lament losing members to the other. I don’t think this can be helped; it’s simply my desire that we not sugar-coat it.

  20. Ugly Mahana on February 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Of course, there is a fine line between not sugar-coating and over- or misstating. While it is an article of faith in mormonism that God has authorized only the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, we do not claim to be the exclusive recipients of the gifts of the Spirit identified in scripture.

  21. Bookslinger on February 23, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    I can see (from the LDS paradigm) Latter-day Saints neglecting said gift so that evangelicals who are merely very in tune with the Spirit are getting more from it, but bottom line, I think you have to admit that at a bare minimum, the church officially teaches that potential access to the Spirit is greater within Mormonism than without.

    I assumed you were aware of the exceptions available for non-LDS noted by Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie. But your above implies that you’re not. The “gift (singular) of the Holy Ghost” does not mean exclusive access, and it should not be confused with “gifts” (plural) of the Holy Ghost. Many people receive impressions, influence, inspiration, comfort, guidance, gifts (prophecy, healing etc), of the Holy Ghost who don’t have the “gift (singular) of the Holy Ghost.”

    Once the “gift (singular) of the Holy Ghost” has been given, there is something extra in terms of consistency and degree that goes beyond the still marvelous and miraculous things that the Holy Ghost does for righteous seekers who have not joined the church.

    On #3, does the Church not teach that prophets and apostles have access to Jesus Christ and God the Father directly? Are there not accounts of prophets and apostles seeing Christ in person in certain temples? If that isn’t special access to God, I don’t know what is. In fact isn’t that one of the selling points of the church, that you consider your leaders to be directly guided by God?

    You’re either conflating different points, or unaware of related doctrine that states that no blessing is reserved for Apostles and Prophets that isn’t available to all. It also sounds again like you’ve absorbed too much false information from some bigoted LDS individuals.

    Even McConkie, is on record, at General Conference, ==== “There is no blessing available to prophets and apostles that is not available to every member.”

    Point of LDS doctrine: EVERY human being has access to God the Father directly. The only difference is scope. The rule is that everyone has the right to personal revelation for their scope of authority or influence. No one has a right to personal revelation to tell someone outside their scope what to do. One bishop doesn’t have the right to tell another bishop how to run his ward, etc. But a bishop has the right to receive revelation (access to God) for his ward. Just as parents do for their family, or a stake president for his stake.

    Also, seeing Christ in person is a blessing available to ALL members. There are two names for the event: 1) Christ as the 2nd comforter, and 2) having one’s calling and election made sure. I believe it possible for non-LDS to see Christ in person too. In the New Testament, Jesus states that he and the Father will, or can, visit us.

    And, “directly guided by God” does not require in person visits. It pretty much means inspiration through the Holy Ghost. If the Lord wants to give Thomas S. Monson instructions, and wants him to take dictation, He doesn’t need to appear in person. Most communication is done through the Holy Ghost.

    Everyone can be “directly guided by God”. I believe I was guided by God in a certain matter today.

    And, sorry for the condescension. But can you see my point about Evangelicals being so overwhelmed by blessings and spiritual insight that it might be inconceivable that there is more out there? When your “meter is pegged”, it’s hard to see that there could be more.

    When our meter is pegged, and our cup runneth over, we are literally unaware of the quantity of the excess that we’re missing. This is true for both LDS and non-LDS.

    why is it that you as the ex-evangelical Latter-day Saint are the enlightened one and I’m the one who’s still on the path? Why is it that I’m the one who needs to “see the light”?

    Because, even though you already know so much, have experienced so much, have felt so much of the Spirit, and have seen so much light, there is more to know, experience, feel, and more light to see.

    You haven’t experienced and felt the holy ecstasy of realizing that there is more scripture than the Bible. You haven’t gone through the holy esctasy of having the Holy Ghost confirm that Section 76 of the doctrine and covenants really did happen. You haven’t “seen” _new_ scripture open up to you by the power of the Holy Ghost, as you have seen the old scripture opened up.

    Can you not see the condescension in that?

    Sorry. I don’t mean to denigrate what you have by saying that there is additional. The same is true for every LDS too. None of us have experienced _everything_. There is always more, for everyone, LDS as well as non-LDS.

    Telling a student that there is college after high school is not intended to denigrate the high school. Yeah, high school is true, but so is college. Nothing you’ve learned that is true will you have to give up.

    You HAVE the key of access to all truth. If you know how to receive personal revelation via the Holy Ghost then you HAVE the key! Just like every Evangelical-turned-Mormon.

    Your main problem is that you’ve tried to _intellectually_ discern whether LDS doctrine is true or not. And the secondary problem is that you’ve listened to too many mediocre (and/or arrogant condescending Utahan) Mormons who think the Holy Ghost is nothing more than warm-fuzzies, care-bears, and rainbow-brites.

    If you know from personal experience (not just study) that the Holy Ghost is like a burning fire, then you HAVE the key!

    All you need to do is turn that key towards finding out if a) is the Book of Mormon true, and b) was Joseph Smith really a prophet? Once you know those two things, then every point of doctrine that you’ve been scrutinzing, and especially the mediocre utahan culture, pales into insignificance.

    You’ve done an EXCELLENT job at high school. Would you please ask God to tell you through the Holy Ghost if the LDS church is “college” to your Evangelical “high school” ?

    Do you have the guts and confidence in God’s personal revelation to you, to tell Him that if He tells you that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet that you’d join the LDS church?

    If that’s too big of a leap at once, ask Him if there’s _anything_ beyond Evangelicalism that you should investigate at this point. If the answer is “yes”, then ask….

    Oh well, you HAVE the key. You know how to pray and receive answers on the spot. All that’s lacking is for you to ask the right questions.

  22. Bridget Jack Meyers on February 24, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Bookslinger (& Ugly Mahana),

    I never meant to imply that the LDS church teaches that non-members can’t have access to gifts of the Spirit. I was referring strictly to the church’s teaching that only members can have the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Bookslinger, I will take your perspective on the access to God available to non-members and non-LDS churches into account, but I’m not so quick to write off what I’ve learned as merely the teachings of Utah Mormons and LDS bigots. If I can’t come away with an accurate idea of LDS doctrine from BYU religion courses, I’m not sure where I’m supposed to go.

    Regarding your insistence that evangelical Christianity = high school to Mormonism equaling college, I’d like to quote something that I wrote in my journal when I was a junior at BYU on Friday, October 18, 2002:

    But I grow so tired of this place. The whole non-member thing. … And the endless baptism jokes. I wish they would just stop it.

    The entire first presidency plus Dallin Oaks had lunch with Pastor Dean [Jackson] over the summer, and that wasn’t the first time they’d met. I don’t know what those men talked about, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t spent the lunch hour making baptism jokes about my pastor and trying to convince him of the truthfulness of their beliefs. They respect him, and it’s because they don’t see him as an investigator or a non-member who needs to be converted. They see him for what he is: an evangelical Christian who has made a very conscious and deliberate choice of his religion.

    If their own prophet can have that relationship with my pastor, why can’t they have that relationship with me?

    My point is, I’m not an investigator and I’m not in evangelical high school heading for Mormon college. I’m aware of what Mormonism offers, I’ve sought to test it both spiritually and intellectually to the best of my abilities, and I’ve cleanly rejected it and chosen to stick with evangelical Christianity. I don’t see one as a high school and one as a college. If anything they’re both colleges, each claiming to be the finest college on the planet, and I’ve chosen to attend one over the other. If you want a more cynical view, perhaps one of them is a university and one of them is an unaccredited degree-granting school that tries really hard.

    You can keep treating me as an evangelical who’s doing so well but just doesn’t get it if you want, but you’ll get much further with me if you treat me the same way your prophet treated my pastor.

  23. Ugly Mahana on February 24, 2009 at 7:09 am

    # 22 well stated.

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