Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Mormon for President: Mitt Romney

OK, I tried to hold off, but cannot resist chiming in on the inevitable—the 2008 Presidential election. (Hey, I held out longer than Framer or Tedski.) First, I will add myself to the list of those who consider it metaphysical certitude that Hillary Clinton cannot win. Folks can argue till the cows come home, and it does not change this.

Hillary Clinton will not win. If we nominate her, she will lose. Better to make her the VP, and if that’s not enough for her ego, she should stay in the Senate.

Now, that said, given the right opponent, anyone can win, so what I am really saying is that Hillary cannot win against a viable republican opponent, and as much as recent events have soured my taste for John McCain, he is clearly viable.

John McCain is viable. Rudy Guiliani is viable. George Pataki is viable.

Mitt Romney, Massachusett's Governor and devout Mormon, is not. Republicans had better do their homework regarding everything that will come out about Mormonism if this guy were to become their nominee for President. Who cares about the funny underwear, but the Mormon philosophy on gender is a show stopper. Enough literature has been published on the "secret" ceremonies of the temple and the belief that women cannot go to heaven except through their husbands. Google and there is plenty, and I'll spare you blood atonement and Mountain Meadows, but endowment is worth a glance and two books worth noting are Secret Ceremonies and The God Makers.

Male and Female are NOT equal in the eyes of the Mormon god, PERIOD. When Sonia Johnson spoke out in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Mormon Church excommunicated her. We can have elected Mormon officials from Utah forever, and maybe some can get elected in Arizona and various other communities like Romney’s heavily Catholic Massachusetts, but it will not fly for the White House.
In addition to their misogyny is the profoundly different Mormon cosmology which includes the belief that God has a physical body, that God was once a man just like us, and that what God is man may become. This notion sends Catholicism (well, those who know about it) into a tizzy.

A significant number of evangelical as well as mainstream Christians have strong reactions to this notion and its implications for monotheism. There is the Mormonism Research Ministry, which belongs to the Evangelical Ministries for New Religions, which had MRM’s Executive Director Bill McKeever write a review of BYU’s Robert Millet's 2005 book A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter Day Saints, which is seen as an effort to steer evangelical populations towards Mormonism by explaining away problematic statements of the prophets, including the notion of becoming God.

Let’s face it, if man can become what God is, what's so special about God, and what’s the state of affairs after a bunch of us become like Him? This shakes the very foundation of the divinity of Christ. It violates one of the deepest places in a Christian's heart, which feels God and Christ as infinite, divine, and sacred, unspeakably beyond our own limited comprehension. The drawing of their cosmology is a little hard to read (click again for a better view) but easier to understand than the image above and shows how it wreaks havoc with the whole Abrahamic scheme of things. And what about women? This is the 21st Century, and the failure to give women the respect they deserve is outdated, obsolete, and frankly, stupid.

Pardon my disrespect, but go to their own website and surf a little. Note the "His" and "Father" language throughout everything.

I cannot figure out why any self-respecting woman would go along with this stuff.

Religion became a big deal in 1960 when Catholic JFK ran for office and questions arose regarding the true nature of his allegiance. Recognizing his Catholicism might represent a problem, JFK delivered an eloquent September 12, 1960 speech on the separation of church and state, and he became America's first Catholic President.

The rift between the Protestant take on things and the Catholic take on things is NOTHING compared to this rift between Mormonism and the entire belief structure of Christendom.

Should John Travolta or Tom Cruise try for the White House, I’ll post on Scientology.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Liza....

Isn't it true that the Mormons have a prophet named Joseph Smith? I always thought that was funny given that prophets almost always have names like Isaiah or or Ezekiel or Muhammad.

I couldn't agree more that the Mormons are not very enlightened on women's issues. And, I do not believe that a practicing Mormon could be elected president.

12/13/2006 4:24 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Of interest:

MittAndMormonism.com

12/13/2006 4:41 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Aaron, thanks for the link, and if you are THE Aaron, then good job on that video. It captures the main ideas very well.

Always good to hear from you, Liza. I think blogger is going to force everyone to go to google sign ons.

Before, it was the beta folk that could not post to pre-beta sites. Now it is the pre-beta folk that cannot post to beta sites.

While I'm writing, will just add that my distrust of the Mormon hierarchy and financial empire extends far beyond the video.

I see the church as a very aggressive organization seeking to use every opportunity to expand its wealth and influence.

At my original post, I said nothing about the church's systematic infiltration of various organizations and corporations.

This ties to the earlier post, where I voiced the desire for a new religion that did not have a self-serving, financially motivated hierarchy.

12/13/2006 7:00 PM  
Anonymous sun spot said...

I actually think that Romney would do pretty well with independents and moderates if he we running against Hillary in the general. Dare I say this; the evangelical and Catholic votes are over rated. A portion of evangelicals have a habit of not voting if their candidate is not on the ballot. A lot of Catholics are liberal or at least Democrats so not an issue for Mitt.

Seriously, in a Romney Clinton match-up do evangelicals cross over to Hillary? No, they just sit this one out. Then it is a race for the middle, independents and moderates from both parties. Here, Romney would at least be competitive and against Hillary probably victorious. Plus a governor has a historically better chance of winning than a senator. It would at least be interesting. I think the McCain race would be boring.

12/13/2006 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Sirocco said...

Don't get me started on Scientology ...

Regarding Clinton, I respectfully disagree on her ability to win. I think it might be harder for her (she would get NO crossover vote, so has to do well among independents and, in particular, dominate among Indy women), but ...

The war was a big issue this past election, and two years from now it's just going to be bigger. If things somehow get turned around there, then that kills any shot for Clinton.

However, if things continue to devolve, this war is going to ruin any Republican candidate. It's already seen as a "Republican" war, and two more years of that is just going to create a moster-sized anchor any R candidate will have to drag behind him on the campaign trail. This holds particularly true for McCain.

12/14/2006 7:35 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

We could probably have quite a conversation about Scientology. For the record, they never got one thin red cent of my money.

That pathology would be a rich source of dissertation material, but real access would be show stopping frustrating, at least for me.

Yea, Sirocco, we will disagree on Hillary, and respectfully on my end as well. I just think there's too many folks galvanized into seething hysteria about the woman.

Depending on where you read, the number is high 30's all the way to mid 50's of folks who cannot stand her. What a ball and chain.

I like Gore. He has matured, mellowed, and acquired a certain humanity that makes him very appealing. There is also a certain "justice factor" because most of us know he won in 2000.

Concur with you completely with Iraq but I might be more pessimistic. You are right, of course, that if it's bad enough, the democrat will win, including Hillary.

12/14/2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger liza.oliver said...

x4mr,
I am in total agreement about Al Gore. He has used his time out of politics to do something that most people have respect for. Not only that, he's done it well. And, you are right on about the "justice factor" because many people will agree that the presidency was stolen from him in 2000. He's the right man for 2008, there is no question about it. The Democratic tickets that I like for 2008 are Gore/Obama or Gore/General Clark. I think that a Gore/Napolitano ticket would take it right out of the ball park, but, of course, no one is talking about Napolitano yet.

12/14/2006 12:10 PM  
Blogger liza.oliver said...

My new google account works here but the blogger account doesn't. I don't know what is going on. All of a sudden I couldn't do stock trades, I couldn't sign on here, and this AM I couldn't even connect to the Internet. Some days technology really sucks.

12/14/2006 12:17 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

An Al Gore / Wesley Clark ticket almost gives me goosebumps. I have extraordinary respect for both men and each ranks near the top of my list as outstanding leaders and terrific human beings.

They have proven themselves over and over in many ways. Wouldn't that be fabulous? Those two would set a new record in my enthusiasm for a ticket. Current record is Clinton/Gore in 92.

No doubt about it, Obama has that rock star charge, but it just seems too soon.

My latest information on the technical glitch front is that new google accounts should now be able to post anywhere, both beta and pre-beta blogs. Old blogger accounts are apparently locked out of beta blogs.

The IE7 issue on blogger dashboard (for those of us who host blogs) seems to be resolved, but it's too late. Now I use Firefox 2.0.

12/14/2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Mormon myself I just wanted to comment on the silley God Makers link you’ve cited. The God Makers film is a propaganda piece and even ex-mormons hostile to their former religion will admit that very little in the God Makers film and book is accurate of what really goes on in LDS temples. Frankly, it’s down right comical with the scary music and evil looks on the “actors” faces in the in film. The truth is, I’m afraid, much more boring. Please don’t be so naive as to trust everything you read on the internet.

12/14/2006 9:32 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

I can assure you that neither myself nor most of the folks that visit here trust everything they read on the internet, nor everything they read in the newspaper, see on television, or read in books.

I do, however, have a fair degree of confidence in publications produced within the rigors of academic discourse, and as I have posted, I think the folks at Wikipedia are doing a fabulous job.

Naturally a video will be more dramatic than the routines of reality, but what cannot be denied is the inherently misogynist outlook of Mormonism as well as its polythiestic cosmology.

I don't have a problem with polytheism. In fact, I think a hierarchy or the notion that there are levels of "divinity" makes sense. If "God" is the highest, this notion of an "altitude" of "places" of "existence" seems perfectly plausible. If I were a gambling man, I'd put my money on the dharmic folks and the Dalai Lama.

In my eyes, my limitations duly noted, compared to those folks, and not meaning to insult or offend, but just being frank, the idea that spiritual growth and one's relationship with God is based on group affiliation occurs as childish.

12/15/2006 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologize if I’m being obnoxious and don’t want to hijack your blog. I agree that we can have more confidence in “publications produced within the rigors of academic discourse” but please don’t pretend that “The God Makers” fits that description.

Gilbert Scharffs, PhD of History of Religion has pointed out the following kinds and numbers of errors in The God Makers:

Repetition of charges from once to several times 169

Statements that were not true 141

Unwarranted conclusions based on known facts 131

Misinterpreted statements 125

Exaggerated statements 119

Broad generalizations 48

Significant quotes or charges without documentation 47

Historical material quoted out of context which altered the meaning 39

Scriptures quoted out of context or paraphrased incorrectly which altered the meaning 18

Footnote references that were not where they were indicated 7

Wrong footnote because the source copied by the authors had the wrong footnote also 5

All in all there are well over six hundred errors in The God Makers. Dishonest people such as Ed Decker peddle such hit pieces because they know that most readers will not bother to corroborate their accusations or even check sources. Ed Decker is about is intellectually dishonest as they come and certainly not respected within academic circles. The God Makers is a propaganda piece and I’m puzzled as to why you can’t just admit that perhaps you didn’t do your homework on that one.

12/15/2006 10:02 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Anonymous,

First of all, comments such as yours are anything but obnoxious and are most welcome. You are raising valid objections and I am not inclined to disagree with you regarding your objections to Ed Decker. I won't attempt to engage you regarding the statistics you post, and they help us all become more informed.

I will return to my original theme, which is that regardless of the value of that particular publication, or any publication, the fundamental misogynist view that women are inferior in the Mormon theology is flat out unavoidable. The polytheistic view is also unavoidable, and as I said before, the polytheism doesn't really bother me, but if you click on cosmology link I posted, where it shows the celestial kingdom occupied only by those affiliated with the Mormon church, and further still, that the top level includes only those married in a temple ceremony, now we are at extreme odds.

Perhaps the God Makers is as problematic as you suggest, but consider that if I deleted it from my post, nothing really changes regarding the points I am making.

My opinion, and I acknowledge it as an opinion: any religion that regards a race or gender as spiritually superior has no place in the future, and again, this notion that God favors those who belong to "the right club" occurs to me as utterly absurd.

From my experience, there are terrific souls and awe inspiring individuals everywhere, tear jerking stories of mini-heros and heroines performing greatness for those around them. It could be a school teacher in Kansas, a social worker in San Francisco, or a Red Cross worker in Uganda.

A God worth worshipping sees them all and doesn't give an F about temple weddings.

12/15/2006 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In LDS doctrine, women are not held “inferior” to men, as you say. To quote 1 Corinthians 11:11: Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

Our doctrine merely states that in order to reach the highest level of God’s kingdom, what we call “exaltation” a person must be married. So when you say, “Enough literature has been published on the "secret" ceremonies of the temple and the belief that women cannot go to heaven except through their husbands.” You are technically correct, but you could also say the same thing about men. Since we believe temple marriage is required, men also therefore can’t be exalted except through their wives! There’s no inequality here.

God may or may not “give an F about temple weddings” as you so eloquently put it, and we could argue about that all day long but that’s just LDS theology and doesn’t have anything do to with gender inequality since both men and women are in the same boat!

Incidentally, are you aware that Utah was only the second U.S. territory to give women the right to vote, trailing Wyoming by just two months? Interestingly, it was actually the first in the nation to provide the chance to vote. Just two days after the act was approved, Seraph Young, a niece of Brigham Young, cast her ballot during municipal elections in Salt Lake City to become the first woman in the U.S. to legally vote.

12/16/2006 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other point:

LDS women are more likely to graduate from college than Catholic or Protestant women and are more likely to be employed in professional occupations than Catholic or Protestant women.

Source: Brinkerhoff, Merlin B., and Marlene MacKie. "Religion and Gender" Journal of Marriage and the Family

12/16/2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Anon,

Again, you raise valid points, and I am not suggesting that women in LDS communities are economically "oppressed" or systematically discouraged from attaining an education.

We’re drifting a little from the original post about the elect-ability of a Mormon president, but that’s ok. Like most of reality, the issue is not simple. There are LDS practices and aspects of its lifestyle that I see as very useful and healthy, in particular those that promote a healthy family life and effective relationships.

Also, the Mormon cosmology is no less crazy than the notion of a simple bifurcation of humanity, once dead, into two camps, heaven if they believe whatever, and eternal damnation if they don’t.

We could argue indefinitely, but I stand by my assertion that the LDS world view is inherently misogynist and paternalistic and provides leadership stature to men over women. Women are NOT equal. Yes, they are loved, nurtured, supported, cared for, treated well, but they are NOT equal, and hell will freeze over before the Mormon Church has a female president and females in positions of "true" leadership.

There can be no dispute, and I mean NONE that LDS ascribes a male gender to God. Yes, so do others. While my own spirituality doesn’t fit within an established religion, I do believe in God, and I think this entity transcends not only gender, but language itself.

From my perspective, and yes it’s just mine, anthropomorphic concepts of God occur as primitive. I believe in "as above, so below" but the "in his image" to me is anything but physical. This has profound implications for Christianity, for if Christ was indeed the physical incarnation of a Deity infinitely beyond human existence, then Christ becomes something extraordinary beyond description.

Christ being the remarkable incarnation of something beyond the beyond, sent here to suffer, bleed, and die, just like we do, is how I believe mainstream Christendom thinks. Christ also answers the question, "If God were on earth, how would He be?"

My main point is that this notion of God being "a man" who "has a body" and "a father" inside some hierarchy is a HUGE split from the rest of Christianity, and a Mormon running for President of the United States will bring this conversation into the public discourse. Mainstream Christians of all flavors are not going to like what they hear.

12/16/2006 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I see your point and agree that when it comes to mainstream Christianity accepting a Mormon running for President, Mitt will have a serious challenge but I don’t think the gender issue will be the problem. There’s just nothing in the LDS cannon of scripture to pick on. Yes, Mormons worship Jesus Christ, a male deity, but so does the rest of Christendom.

The challenge will be with the aspects of Mormonism that are different than standard Christianity such as temple garments (i.e Mormon underwear) and other aspects that people are ignorant about and will find weird. If people’s ignorance allows Mormons to be painted as freaks then Mitt doesn’t have a prayer. Ignorance and fear always help bigotry and intolerance flourish and that is what Mitt should be most worried about. When you use phrases such as “funny underwear” you’re perpetuating the intolerance and bigotry.

On a related topic, I’m curious as to why the new Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a former LDS bishop, seems to get a pass on his Mormonism. Perhaps it would be different if he was running for President but I suspect it also has something to do with his party affiliation.

12/16/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

OK, I get that you’re a decent respectable guy, but now you’ve actually hit a nerve and caused some anger. Using words like intolerance and bigotry towards Mormons occurs to me as laughable. You are prosperous, successful, and growing just fine and any notion that you are victimized in our society is just nuts.

Maybe amongst religious discourse conservative Christians speak poorly of you, but in terms of employment, business, economic participation, Mormons face nothing the likes of what African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities face when it comes to getting jobs, starting businesses, getting loans, buying cars, renting apartments, becoming members of golf courses and other social clubs, and so on. The LDS church is an extremely prosperous economic empire, and LDS individuals are accepted in our society in just about every way imaginable. Harry Reid and Mitt are examples of this. It’s just my opinion that a Presidential race will uncover the rocks we’ve been discussing, and this scrutiny will make the election problematic for Mitt. I could be wrong.

I consider relevant the horror stories I have heard about non-Mormons who attempt to set up shop in Utah, who face brutal ostracism, the boycotting of their businesses, the ridicule of their children at the schools, and so on. They end up having to leave. The LDS population exhibits the same dark "us and them" behavior as much, if not more, as the rest of the world, and there are many people, myself among them, who avoid Utah for that reason.

Some religions more than others exhibit an arrogant "we have the truth and you don’t" attitude. I would give the top award for this behavior to the Scientologists. Those pompous folks think they have the truth patented with copyright protection. While LDS stops short of that extreme, it has a healthy dose of that attitude.

12/17/2006 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The great thing about inserting anecdotes into an argument is that you can’t really argue against them. You’ve supposedly heard horror stories of Mormon’s boycotting businesses and other nefarious acts. We’ll… perhaps that’s all true. All I can do it point out a few facts… and perhaps a few anecdotes of my own…

Are you aware that only 45% of the residents in Salt Lake City are LDS? My sister and brother-in-law live in The Avenues, four blocks from the temple, and happen to be the only LDS family on the street. In my own Utah neighborhood there’s only one other LDS family in our cul-de-sac. So I’m not sure what to make of your wild anecdotal stories of boycotted businesses and ostracized neighbors. In fact, if I wanted to boycott non-LDS businesses I’m not sure how I would even go about it! How am I supposed to know what religion the owners of businesses belong to… drive around with a clipboard taking surveys? The whole idea is ridiculous.

Webster’s definition of bigotry:
1. intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own
2. the actions, beliefs, prejudices of a bigot

You seem to be under the impression that a successful or wealthy person or group cannot experience bigotry; that it only applies to minorities. I submit that there is a long history of bigotry and intolerance towards the LDS church.

Are you aware that the very reason Mormons originally settled in the Utah territory, outside the borders of the United States was because of bigotry and intolerance? Have you heard of Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the “Extermination Order” issued in 1838? It stated, “the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State” (the order was not formally rescinded until 1976). General Alexander Doniphan refused to carry out the order of death stating it was “cold-blooded murder”. Finally in exchange for the return of raped women and teenage girls, militia members forced Mormon property holders to sign over property deeds and ordered them to leave the state. Members moved to Illinois but their founder, Joseph Smith, was shot to death by a mob of 200 men with black painted faces while under the supposed protection of the State Governor and the members were driven from their homes once again. At that point they had no alternative but to leave the United States, cross the plains, and settle in the Rocky Mountains.

Yes, there’s a long history of intolerance towards Mormons. Of course, thankfully today, we live in different times. But the idea that just because a religion has grown and become successful it no longer experiences prejudice or bigotry is absurd. Are you aware that most Mormons live outside of Utah? In fact, there are more Spanish speaking Mormons than English speaking. Snide comments about Mormon “funny underwear” fit Webster’s definition of bigotry regardless of the success or the modern church. That is what Mitt should fear most.

Regarding your statement that Mormons have a “we have the truth and you don’t” attitude I can’t really argue with you. However, it was Jesus who stated that damnation awaits everyone not baptized. The justification to spread Christianity across the globe has been made on that basis. Most major world religions claim some sort of exclusivity.

Side note: I hope I haven’t come across too obnoxious. I’ve actually enjoyed our little debate and hope you take my comments as thought provoking rather than accusatory.

12/17/2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Anon,

You do not occur as the least bit obnoxious. On the contrary, your remarks are solid and intelligent. Note that my replies don’t really dispute your points. My view is that we are clarifying each other. Yes, I am familiar with Mormon history, the murder of Joseph Smith, the animosity that developed, the trek west, the hardship your ancestors faced, and the rather remarkable selection of the Utah "wilderness" as the place to settle. It was indeed a remarkable selection, and as I have already written, your "culture" (not sure what word to use, because "religion" seems to fall short of what I am trying to capture) includes many valuable practices and intelligent mechanisms developed over the course of your history.

The horror stories I refer to, as you might suspect, did not occur in Salt Lake City, and of course it is a gross oversimplification to regard Utah as solid Mormon and hostile to anyone of different beliefs. I do, however, stand by my horror stories. Real people are behind them, I promise. I also stand by my assertion about the "us and them" and "we know better" dynamic. What I didn’t say before is that I am sympathetic to it. The "us and them" (in my opinion) is a natural survival response to a threat, which certainly existed (and then some) at certain periods in the past. As you observed, the "we know better" applies to just about everyone.

You’ve referred to the "funny underwear" twice now in a way suggesting it struck a nerve, and for what little it’s worth I could not care less about this. If you look at the original remark, I said "Who cares about—". You might feel differently, but frankly I don’t see how those garments are problematic for any intelligent individual / voter. I could be wrong, but I regard those garments as a non issue. Anyone making a big deal about them occurs as ridiculous in my eyes. Jewish men wear yarmulkes or kippots. So what?

If I understand you correctly, we will have to agree to disagree on two fundamental items:

1. I stand by and will not retract my assertion that women are NOT considered equal, and of course common sense and science have shown that yes, differences exist between genders, but without trying to be too specific or prove anything, will leave it with the vague assertion that women have less stature in the Mormon world than men. I am not alleging abuse or mistreatment, but I will go as far as asserting that "wives" are regarded in a "possessive" context. A man "has" his wife. I won’t go so far as to say a wife is considered property, but it goes in that direction.
2. The notion of God also having a body and a father is a huge departure of biblical proportions from the rest of Christianity. Whether this enters political discourse remains to be seen. My original story is suggesting that it will if Mitt were to become a serious contender, and frankly, I don’t think the forces against him will be "lefties" like myself, but the religious right Robertson and Falwell types who feel threatened by Mormon ideas.

I’ve also enjoyed the exchange, and just feel like sharing that my spiritual background includes being raised as a midwest Protestant Christian but then included a search into the eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as the more middle-eastern Sufism, and the specific practices each involved. This has led to the conviction that there is definitely something higher, and whatever it is, it is gracious enough to respond to seekers arriving from many different angles. I have a reaction to the arrogant (speaking generally, not meaning to imply yourself) who boast that they have the best, or what I find really ridiculous, that they have the ONLY angle.

12/17/2006 8:12 PM  
Anonymous manaen said...

X4MR,

Opening disclosure: I’m a believing and practicing member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, the message of this gospel saved my life and then it healed my soul.

I’d like to share some information that may further distance the rest of Christians from mainstream Christianity (believing that we have the gospel and church that Jesus himself restored, I believe that we are mainstream Christianity).

RE: your comment, “There can be no dispute, and I mean NONE that LDS ascribes a male gender to God,” you’re right, but only half right. Eliza R. Snow, wife of Joseph Smith, wrote the following lyrics (worth reading to the end):

O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav'ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a mother there.

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.

Here’s where you can read and hear this hymn on the LDS Church’s official website:
http://www.lds.org/churchmusic/detailmusicPlayer/index.html?searchlanguage=1&searchcollection=1&searchseqstart=292&searchsubseqstart=%20&searchseqend=292&searchsubseqend=ZZZ

Erastus Snow expanded this concept in his remarks on 3/3/1878 (all following comments taken from same speech):

“In Gen. 5:1-2, we read, "This is the book of the generations of Adam: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him, male and female created he them, and blessed them and called their name Adam in the day when they were created."
(Journal of Discourses, 19: 266.)

“…in the language of these Scriptures was called Adam—male and female created he them, and called their name Adam, which in the original, in which these Scriptures were written by Moses, signifies "the first man." There was no effort at distinguishing between the one half and the other, and calling one man and the other woman. This was an after distinction, but the explanation of it is—one man, one being, and he called their name Adam. But he created them male and female, for they were one, and he says not unto the woman multiply, and to the man multiply, but he says unto them, multiply and reproduce your species, and replenish the earth. He speaks unto them as belonging together, as constituting one being, and as organized in his image and after his likeness.
(Journal of Discourses, 19: 269.)

“"What," says one, "do you mean we should understand that Deity consists of man and woman?" Most certainly I do. If I believe anything that God has ever said about himself, and anything pertaining to the creation and organization of man upon the earth, I must believe that Deity consists of man and woman. Now this is simplifying it down to our understanding, and the great Christian world will be ready to open their mouths and cry, "Blasphemy! Sacrilege!"
(Journal of Discourses, 19: 269.)

“I only repeat what he says of himself; that he created man in the image of God, male and female created he them, and he called their name Adam, which signifies in Hebrew, the first man. So that the beings we call Adam and Eve were the first man placed here on this earth, and their name was Adam, and they were the express image of God. Now, if anybody is disposed to say that the woman is in the likeness of God and that the man was not, and if vice versa, I say you are both wrong, or else God has not told us the truth.

“I sometimes illustrate this matter by taking up a pair of shears, if I have one, but then you all know they are composed of two halves, but they are necessarily parts, one of another, and to perform their work for each other, as designed, they belong together, and neither one of them is fitted for the accomplishment of their works alone. And for this reason says St. Paul, "the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord." In other words, there can be no God except he is composed of the man and woman united, and there is not in all the eternities that exist, nor ever will be, a God in any other way. I have another description: There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female.”
(Journal of Discourses, 19: 270 - 271.)

Full text may be read here: http://journalofdiscourses.org/Vol_19/JD19-266.html

Just a little more gas on the fire...

12/18/2006 10:49 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Manaen,

Enjoyed your post and do not dispute the material presented, per se. Clearly, the cosmology places great value on the female and her importance.

I stand by my assertion, and one could argue that this is not problematic, that women are not seen as EQUAL. Polygamy makes it a slam dunk, but even with a one wife, the "possession" arrows are not balanced. Further, I am rather sure that there is language where wives are instructed to obey their husbands.

There is not talk about husbands obeying their wives. I'm not saying that is necessary a problem. I certainly believe that if a wife does not RESPECT her husband, things will go badly.

You're entitled to these beliefs and the image of God you have described.

I still assert (that you will acknowledge you do not know is unclear, but I have no issue with acknowledging I do not know) that if we got to the end of it, we would find that God completely transcends gender, bodies, and perhaps thought and language itself.

Quantum Physicists are uncovering some very interesting stuff.

12/19/2006 8:44 PM  
Anonymous manaen said...

I noticed this link in my bookmarks and dropped in again. Here are comments about a couple things I noticed as I re-read your post.

Regarding our potential to become as our Father and your comment,

“Let’s face it, if man can become what God is, what's so special about God, and what’s the state of affairs after a bunch of us become like Him? This shakes the very foundation of the divinity of Christ. It violates one of the deepest places in a Christian's heart, which feels God and Christ as infinite, divine, and sacred, unspeakably beyond our own limited comprehension.”

Here’s a passage from the Doctrine & Covenants, one of our books of scripture and an authoritative source, about the Celestial Kingdom, the highest of God’s rewards:

50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given— 52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
[…]
92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
-- Section 76:50-62,92-94

Please note that, according to this scripture:
• Baptism is a gating ordinance (v. 51)
• Those in the Celestial Kingdom are dependent upon Christ (v. 59) so “let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.” (v. 61)
• This is where God the Father is (v. 92) and those in his presence “bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever” (v.93). This is “what’s so special about God” and this is the “state of affairs after a bunch of us become like him” – those in this kingdom bow to Him in humble reverence and give Him glory *forever*.
• The people who are there, receiving fullness of God’s glory (v. 56) become gods (small “g”) -- as Jesus’ first apostles could have been called, walking on water, healing sick, and performing many miracles – who worship our God (v. 93 again).

As for “When Sonia Johnson spoke out in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Mormon Church excommunicated her,” I remember those days. Sonia Johnson spoke in favor of the ERA without any action against her by the Church. However, in her efforts to pressure the Church to change its position, she tried a boycott: she started asking people to refuse to listen to the Church’s missionaries, which would keep them from being baptized. In the Church’s view, actively proselyting people not to be baptized, which would block a necessary step in our eternal progression (see again v. 51 above), was her right but not as member of the Church that Jesus restored on the earth so that we could be baptized with His authority. That is why she was excommunicated.

I hope this is helps to understand better our beliefs and our actions based upon them.

3/09/2007 10:23 PM  

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