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RSP Book Club


My third book recommendation is another examination of my LDS faith.

A Different Jesus?: The Christ Of The Latter-day Saints by Robert L. Millet

This book was written in answer to the common assertion that the LDS church worships a different Jesus than that of Christianity generally. It arose specifically out of the authors interaction with other Christian scholars. It is forewarded and afterworded by Richard J. Mouw who is a friend and colleague of the author and is a non Mormon Christian.

I think that the presentation of the book is geared toward a Protestant Christian but is a good introduction for any Christian who cares to understand better what Jesus the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints worships.

The book strikes me as rather scholarly and should appeal to those among us here that have that perspective on Christianity. It is dense with references to various schools of Christian thought as it presents the LDS message. I recommend it to anyone who has heard or thought that Mormons don't believe in the Christian Jesus.
 
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The only good mormon book is...
an O.S. Card book
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Wray, how did you hear about the book originally?
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DCAnderson wrote:
I always thought Mormon Jesus was the same as regular Jesus, but with extras.
That is about right from my point of view. Would you mind expanding on that a little bit from your point of view?
 
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
Wray, how did you hear about the book originally?
My wife and I found it at the local Deseret Book store. It appealed to me as I am interested in learning about how other Christians think or the LDS Church. It also caught my eye being written by a familiar author. Robert L. Millet has some renown as a scholar of the Bible and of LDS doctrine.
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DCAnderson wrote:
Wrayman wrote:
DCAnderson wrote:
I always thought Mormon Jesus was the same as regular Jesus, but with extras.
That is about right from my point of view. Would you mind expanding on that a little bit from your point of view?


It isn't a particularly deep thought. The Mormons just have the same stories about Jesus, plus some unique ones of their own in addition to what the Bible has.

Though, from that point of view, the Mormon Jesus is similar to the Muslim take on Jesus, at least as far as being "Jesus the extended director's cut".
I am not terribly familiar with the Muslim view of Jesus. If I am not mistaken, he is viewed as the equivalent of Mohamed. Are you at all familiar?

I think you roughly have the right idea about the LDS understanding of Jesus. It is the unique stuff that makes it hard for many Christians to accept us as truly Christian.

If it is not clear at this point, Mormons believe that we are all believers of the same Jesus.
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DCAnderson wrote:
Oh, and I can understand why from a Christian point of view, it would seem that the Mormon Jesus is different.

To most Christians, the information on Jesus in the New Testament is the truth and carries a lot of weight, while the information in the Mormon books would be Apocrypha. It's much newer Apocrypha than things like the Gospel of Judas or the various other Gnostic texts, but it is still Apocrypha to them.

So to a Christian, the Mormon Jesus would be one who has been diluted and corrupted by false texts, and thus would be a "false" Jesus.


What he said.shake
 
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DCAnderson wrote:
I always thought Mormon Jesus was the same as regular Jesus, but with extras.


Sort of Special Edition, The Prophet's Cut, now including unpublished deleted scenes from the Scripture?
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Mormon Pros:

1.) The 2 years of missionary work each Mormon is supposed to do.
2.) The traditions of the Morman service.
3.) The friendliness of Mormons.

Mormon Cons:

1.) They believe that their way is the only way.
2.) The agressiveness of their recruiting.
3.) Some of the teachings of Smith directly contradict the teachings of Jesus.
 
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BFoy wrote:
Mormon Cons:

1.) They believe that their way is the only way.
2.) The agressiveness of their recruiting.
3.) Some of the teachings of Smith directly contradict the teachings of Jesus.


Those are Cons for any monotheist religion, aren't they?
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HeinzGuderian wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Mormon Cons:

1.) They believe that their way is the only way.
2.) The agressiveness of their recruiting.
3.) Some of the teachings of Smith directly contradict the teachings of Jesus.


Those are Cons for any monotheist religion, aren't they?


Nope. 1.) is common though not universal. But Mormons believe that everyone but themselves are damned, which is more unusual. 2.) isn't common. And for most Christians, the teachings of Jesus are everything (even if some churches don't understand those teachings).
 
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BFoy wrote:
.
3.) The friendliness of Mormons.


Unless you're gay.
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BFoy wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Mormon Cons:

1.) They believe that their way is the only way.
2.) The agressiveness of their recruiting.
3.) Some of the teachings of Smith directly contradict the teachings of Jesus.


Those are Cons for any monotheist religion, aren't they?


Nope. 1.) is common though not universal. But Mormons believe that everyone but themselves are damned, which is more unusual. 2.) isn't common. And for most Christians, the teachings of Jesus are everything (even if some churches don't understand those teachings).
If I may be so bold, you are interpreting thing incorrectly.

1.) We do not believe that our way is the only way. We believe that Christ is the only way. I understand that every Christian believes the same. The difference is in the details of our understanding of Christ.
2.) What you call aggressive I call energetic. Certainly some missionaries overreach inappropriately but it amounts to no more than an invitation. There is no compulsion. Besides, this is the great commission that I understand is common to all Christians. We are more organized about it but our effort is not fundamentally different from what any Christian reads in the Bible.
3.) You are quite incorrect to say that Joseph Smith taught anything that contradicts what Christ taught. Would you mind expanding on what you mean here? I think there is an interesting conversation to be had. Thanks.
 
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rcbevco wrote:
BFoy wrote:
.
3.) The friendliness of Mormons.


Unless you're gay.
This isn't fair. Gay men and women are active members of the Church. The message that Mormons want to share is for all people, homosexual or otherwise. I am personally friendly with gay men and women.
 
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BFoy wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Mormon Cons:

1.) They believe that their way is the only way.
2.) The agressiveness of their recruiting.
3.) Some of the teachings of Smith directly contradict the teachings of Jesus.


Those are Cons for any monotheist religion, aren't they?


Nope. 1.) is common though not universal. But Mormons believe that everyone but themselves are damned, which is more unusual.


That is completely and totally false. Mormons believe in three levels of heaven:

The lowest level -- which is still a million times better than earth -- is where almost everyone goes.

The second level, which is a million times better than the first level, is for non-Mormon Christians and highly virtuous members of non-Christian religions. And possibly backslid Mormons.

The third level, which is a million times better than the second level, is for faithful Mormons who go through the temple, do all the ordinances, wear the underwear, etc.

The only people who are "damned" in Mormon theology are those who are so evil and depraved that, if Jesus came to earth again, and they knew he was the holy son of the pure and living God, they would STILL torture him to death on a cross or some other creative method.

I am not a Mormon and I think all of the above is a silly fantasy, but you could at least do them the favor of properly representing their beliefs.
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chiddler wrote:
Wrayman wrote:
DCAnderson wrote:
Wrayman wrote:
DCAnderson wrote:
I always thought Mormon Jesus was the same as regular Jesus, but with extras.
That is about right from my point of view. Would you mind expanding on that a little bit from your point of view?


It isn't a particularly deep thought. The Mormons just have the same stories about Jesus, plus some unique ones of their own in addition to what the Bible has.

Though, from that point of view, the Mormon Jesus is similar to the Muslim take on Jesus, at least as far as being "Jesus the extended director's cut".
I am not terribly familiar with the Muslim view of Jesus. If I am not mistaken, he is viewed as the equivalent of Mohamed. Are you at all familiar?

I think you roughly have the right idea about the LDS understanding of Jesus. It is the unique stuff that makes it hard for many Christians to accept us as truly Christian.

If it is not clear at this point, Mormons believe that we are all believers of the same Jesus.


I accept you as truly Christian - you're just another, slightly more entertaining, version of wrong.
You make me blush. blush

Are you sure that you aren't mistaken about Christians? Can you be sure?
 
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dysjunct wrote:
BFoy wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Mormon Cons:

1.) They believe that their way is the only way.
2.) The agressiveness of their recruiting.
3.) Some of the teachings of Smith directly contradict the teachings of Jesus.


Those are Cons for any monotheist religion, aren't they?


Nope. 1.) is common though not universal. But Mormons believe that everyone but themselves are damned, which is more unusual.


That is completely and totally false. Mormons believe in three levels of heaven:

The lowest level -- which is still a million times better than earth -- is where almost everyone goes.

The second level, which is a million times better than the first level, is for non-Mormon Christians and highly virtuous members of non-Christian religions. And possibly backslid Mormons.

The third level, which is a million times better than the second level, is for faithful Mormons who go through the temple, do all the ordinances, wear the underwear, etc.

The only people who are "damned" in Mormon theology are those who are so evil and depraved that, if Jesus came to earth again, and they knew he was the holy son of the pure and living God, they would STILL torture him to death on a cross or some other creative method.

I am not a Mormon and I think all of the above is a silly fantasy, but you could at least do them the favor of properly representing their beliefs.
This is roughly correct but off in its detail. We can't say who will end up in which degree of glory. Judge not, lest ye be judged and all of that. That is not for us to say. Also, the concept of damnation is misunderstood here as it generally is. Damnation is typically thought of as utter and complete punishment and misery. That is not correct. Damnation is simply a stop in ones progress, just like a dam stops the progress of a river. It is often a matter of degrees, not an absolute matter. Damnation affects everyone in some way. Dams can be built but they can also be broken. Regarding damnation and the three degrees of glory that are referenced here, only those in the uppermost portion of the uppermost kingdom will experience eternal increase. Everyone else will eventually reach an end to their increase, or in other words, will be damned. That is absolutely not to say that those folks will be be in eternal torment. They simply will not be able to progress any further.
 
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Wrayman wrote:
Also, the concept of damnation is misunderstood here as it generally is. Damnation is typically thought of as utter and complete punishment and misery. That is not correct. Damnation is simply a stop in ones progress, just like a dam stops the progress of a river. It is often a matter of degrees, not an absolute matter. Damnation affects everyone in some way. Dams can be built but they can also be broken. Regarding damnation and the three degrees of glory that are referenced here, only those in the uppermost portion of the uppermost kingdom will experience eternal increase. Everyone else will eventually reach an end to their increase, or in other words, will be damned. That is absolutely not to say that those folks will be be in eternal torment. They simply will not be able to progress any further.


Ahhh, that would explain my misunderstanding. I was at a LDS service and there was scripture read about non-Mormons being damned (it was 5 years ago and I don't remember the exact quote). I shrugged and thought 'That explains some of Card's books'.
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Wrayman wrote:
BFoy wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Mormon Cons:

1.) They believe that their way is the only way.
2.) The agressiveness of their recruiting.
3.) Some of the teachings of Smith directly contradict the teachings of Jesus.


Those are Cons for any monotheist religion, aren't they?


Nope. 1.) is common though not universal. But Mormons believe that everyone but themselves are damned, which is more unusual. 2.) isn't common. And for most Christians, the teachings of Jesus are everything (even if some churches don't understand those teachings).
If I may be so bold, you are interpreting thing incorrectly.

1.) We do not believe that our way is the only way. We believe that Christ is the only way. I understand that every Christian believes the same. The difference is in the details of our understanding of Christ.


I am skeptical that the Mormon understanding of Christ is superior than anyone elses understanding of Christ. That said, anyone who believes that Christ is the son of God, is a Christian.

Wrayman wrote:
2.) What you call aggressive I call energetic. Certainly some missionaries overreach inappropriately but it amounts to no more than an invitation. There is no compulsion. Besides, this is the great commission that I understand is common to all Christians. We are more organized about it but our effort is not fundamentally different from what any Christian reads in the Bible.


You are reading connotations into my words that were not intended. Aggressive and energetic are basically the same. My church doesn't actively recruit new members. We educate and do missionary work.

Wrayman wrote:
3.) You are quite incorrect to say that Joseph Smith taught anything that contradicts what Christ taught. Would you mind expanding on what you mean here? I think there is an interesting conversation to be had.


I am talking about the multiple wife issue. Jesus has very high standards concerning marriage.
 
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dysjunct wrote:
I am not a Mormon and I think all of the above is a silly fantasy, but you could at least do them the favor of properly representing their beliefs.


Relax! I am not insulting Mormans. I might be mangling their terminology but thats a different matter. This whole thread is about how other Christians perceive the Mormon church.
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BFoy wrote:
Wrayman wrote:
3.) You are quite incorrect to say that Joseph Smith taught anything that contradicts what Christ taught. Would you mind expanding on what you mean here? I think there is an interesting conversation to be had.


I am talking about the multiple wife issue. Jesus has very high standards concerning marriage.

Ah, I see. That is probably the single most contentious element of LDS doctrine. It is not at all clear that Jesus taught against men marrying multiple women. Are you aware of any scripture to that effect? There are clearly scriptural accounts of Prophets of the Lord who had multiple wives. That alone makes the appropriateness of the practice debatable. We believe that at certain times and in certain places, it is appropriate and even commanded that righteous men take multiple wives. It is not for general practice however. It is not for selfish interests either. It is not practiced now, for good reason as near as I can tell. I imagine that it may be called for again in the future. We will see. Those non LDS "Mormons" that are still practicing plural marriage are doctrinally myopic.
 
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A man will take a woman forsaking all others.....Ummm... The lack of plurals? Not selfish Har har har. I'm more of an athiest than religious person and find this a laughable explanantion. How about a certain place (my house) and a certain time (now) when the call is made (by who...by ME!).

Why can't one woman take multiple husbands?
 
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DCAnderson wrote:
rcbevco wrote:
Why can't one woman take multiple husbands?


Wild guess:

Mormons believe that the main function of marriage is making children, (see also: arguments against gay marriage) and a single wife, multiple husbands marriage is a rather inefficient way of making children.
I think that is about right. I have no reference for my opinion on this, only my own speculation. I could also answer by saying that woman+man+man arrangement has never been commanded whereas man+woman+woman has been.
 
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If god loves us all the same why the double standard? What if the man was infertile... Oh I forgot most (pre modern medicine) religious dogma would blame the woman...yeah....that's it. Mysoginistic crapola. Keeping procreation in mind is this "doctrine" a theological way to grow your customer base? (Kind of like the rythm method as the ONLY form of birth control.)
 
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rcbevco wrote:
If god loves us all the same why the double standard? What if the man was infertile... Oh I forgot most (pre modern medicine) religious dogma would blame the woman...yeah....that's it. Mysoginistic crapola. Keeping procreation in mind is this "doctrine" a theological way to grow your customer base? (Kind of like the rythm method as the ONLY form of birth control.)
I am not sure if you want a response. Your tone seems rhetorical and argumentative. Let me know if I am wrong about that.

There is no double standard regarding sexuality in LDS doctrine. There is one very consistent standard. Around the standard are numerous individuals and points of view.
 
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