Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

Archive for the ‘Apologetics’ Category

Honest Disagreement with Church Policy and Doctrine

Posted by Kerry on March 18, 2008

Last month, the Church released a statement regarding Peter Danzig’s (a member of the Church’s Orchestra at Temple Square in SLC) public disagreement surrounding same-gender marriage.[1] It appears that Peter and his wife were very active members of the Church, serving and attending in their local ward. But they disagreed with a 1st Presidency letter sent to local leaders back in 2006 “urging members to ‘express themselves’ on a forthcoming vote in the United States Senate relating to the definition of marriage.”[2]

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Posted in Apologetics, Church News, Faith, Mormon Culture, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 20 Comments »

How Mormons Are Buddhists & Vice Versa

Posted by Andrew on March 12, 2008

BuddhaFirst VisionA few months ago, I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting in which I discussed how studying other religious faiths and their scriptures had enriched my life. When the meeting was over, a couple approached me and said they wanted a copy of the talk to give their daughter because she described herself as a “Buddhist Mormon.” The couple said their daughter couldn’t decide whether to be a Buddhist or a Mormon, so she was trying to be both. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Book of Mormon, Inter-Faith Relations, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: , | 40 Comments »

The Unfinished Restoration: A Global Vision

Posted by Andrew on March 5, 2008

GlobeMormons tend to think of the Restoration as a discrete series of events that began with the First Vision and concluded with the Martyrdom. Because we tend to view the Restoration as something that has already occurred, we don’t seem to talk much about whether there is something more we can and should be doing to complete it. However, there is an aspect of the Restoration that is unfinished, and which seems to be largely overlooked.

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Posted in Apologetics, Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Mormon History, Restoration, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Parable of the Elephant

Posted by Andrew on February 28, 2008

ElephantSometimes I recall nuggets of spiritual wisdom but cannot remember when or where I picked them up. One in particular has increasingly taken on new meanings for me as I’ve wrestled with some of life’s tougher questions. You might call it the “Parable of the Elephant.” This is how it goes, as best I remember, with a few adaptations of my own:

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Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations | 2 Comments »

Why I Am Not a Disaffected Mormon

Posted by Andrew on February 25, 2008

DisaffectedThere seem to be a number of disaffected Mormons lurking the Bloggernacle these days.

I am not one of them.

Here is why.

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Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Celestial Navigation: Why Our Imperfect Guidance System is Perfect for God’s Purposes

Posted by Andrew on February 11, 2008

Imagine being an ancient mariner on an empty sea in the black of night with nothing more to guide you than a few distant lights in the heavens. Celestial navigation is an ancient skill that enables its practitioner to use the stars to determine where he is, where he wants to be, and which direction he needs to go. As a guidance system, it was woefully imperfect and had a high rate of error. Sometimes the heavens were obscured by clouds, and even when the skies were clear, the constellations were continually drifting. A sailor could easily misread the stars and end up hundreds of miles from his intended destination. Nowadays, modern mariners have GPS devices that make all the necessary calculations for them with virtually flawless precision at the push of a button. They always arrive at their intended destinations, but I wonder what would happen if one day the satellites and computers stopped telling them what to do and where to go. Would modern mariners have adequately learned in their previous voyages to guide themselves by the light of the stars?

I’ve been wrestling with the question of why God allows so much ambiguity and uncertainty to exist about him and his ways, and why he’s left us with such an imperfect guidance system to discover the answers to life’s most important questions. There are so many things that God could just come out and clearly say, so many questions he could easily answer, but he chooses not to. And I’m coming to the conclusion that the reason why has a lot to do with the above comparison of ancient and modern mariners. It has a lot to do with clouds, stars, moons, suns, and which of those heavenly bodies God wants us to become. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

“Our False Traditions and Foolish Notions”

Posted by Andrew on January 24, 2008

When it comes to the question of why we need “continual revelation,” one explanation I have heard (and given) most often is that our world circumstances are constantly changing, and therefore God needs to give us up-to-date revelation to help us adapt and adjust to our present-day situation. Good examples of these types of revelations are our “mini-temples” and additional quorums of the Seventy, which were designed to cope with new demands created by unprecedented Church growth.

Another common explanation for continual revelation is that we cannot understand greater truths until we first understand simple truths. “Milk before meat.” “Line upon line, precept upon precept.” It’s the same concept as why students start with simple addition and subtraction, then multiplication and division, etc. In other words, what’s keeping us from further light and knowledge is that we haven’t yet mastered the spiritual truths we’ve already received.

However, Brigham Young provided another interesting explanation for why we grow “line upon line,” and it might surprise you: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Mormon Culture, Mormon History | Tagged: , | 16 Comments »

MYTHBUSTERS: The “One True Church”

Posted by Andrew on January 21, 2008

There are a lot of myths both inside and outside Mormondom about the LDS claim to be the “one true Church.” That claim is difficult for people of other faiths to accept for obvious reasons. But it may also be difficult for many Mormons to reconcile that claim with their belief in a just and merciful God who loves all his children. I do not expect it will ever be “easy” to accept the “one true Church” claim. However, I think Church members sometimes make it more difficult to accept by drawing implications from the “one true Church” claim that do not necessarily follow from it.

In order to correctly understand what the “one true Church” claim truly means, we first need to understand what it does not mean. The following is my attempt to bust the myths surrounding the “one true Church” claim and its companion doctrines, the Apostasy and Restoration, using the words of Church leaders and Church publications. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Inter-Faith Relations | Tagged: , | 24 Comments »

Inoculation, Part Deux: Ancient Versus Modern Prophets

Posted by Andrew on January 6, 2008

One of my Primary boys said one of the darnedest things on Sunday, and it got me thinking again about Shawn L’s post from a couple weeks ago, where he posed the question of how we can best approach the task of “inoculating” our youth from aspects of Mormon history or doctrine that may seem difficult to understand. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Mormon Jeopardy Champ Responds to Anti-Mormon Mudslingers

Posted by Andrew on January 4, 2008

My friend Chris sent me an op-ed piece printed in the New York Daily News in which Ken Jennings, of former Jeopardy fame, pleads to the politicians and media pundits to stop slandering his Mormon faith.  You can read it here.  This line was my personal favorite:

“The truth, Huck, is that Mormons believe that God is the Father of us all, which does, I guess, in some sense, make Jesus and Satan brothers. And by the same logic, we also believe that Moses and Orville Redenbacher and Attila the Hun and Neil Diamond are brothers. Happy now?”

After reading his piece, tell us how you think he did.

Posted in Apologetics, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Defending the “Burning Bosom”

Posted by Andrew on January 4, 2008

If you Google the words “burning bosom,” you’ll find several websites and even a video that criticize Mormons for believing that God speaks to our hearts though his Holy Spirit. In LDS scripture, God tells us that when we have a question about something, “you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:8.) Thus, Mormons believe we need to: (1) use our minds and do research, such as scripture study (“study it out in your mind”); (2) pray to God for guidance (“ask me if it be right”); and (3) listen to our hearts for a confirmation of truth (“your bosom shall burn within you”). Mormons believe the burning in the bosom described in the scripture quoted above is God speaking to our hearts through his Holy Spirit.

To me, this approach to truth-seeking should not be controversial to anyone who has studied the Bible. However, apparently several people who claim to believe the Bible find the concept of the “burning bosom” to be a false and dangerous notion that can lead people astray. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Bible, Faith, Scripture | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Which God Should I Believe In?

Posted by Andrew on January 1, 2008

In the Old Testament, God is often doing things that seem grossly out of character for the God I believe I know. The God I believe I know doesn’t order “his people” to kill the elderly, women, and little children (Ezek. 9:6); he doesn’t order the death penalty for those who break the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15); he doesn’t strike someone dead for making a misguided attempt to help (2 Sam. 6-8); and he doesn’t send bears to tear children into pieces–not even for making fun of a prophet’s bald head (2 Kings 2:23-25). These types of stories in the Old Testament present me with a dilemma. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Scripture | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

A Case Study In Inoculation

Posted by Andrew on December 18, 2007

Submitted by: Shawn L

One of the issues that has had the Bloggernacle (ugh, I really hate that term) all a-twitter this year is “inoculation,” the notion of getting what may be controversial information to members sooner rather than later. I don’t want to open the “is inoculation a good idea?” can of worms again – the posts and accompanying commentary on that subject are legion. For purposes of this discussion, let’s assume inoculation is a good idea and one that should be put into practice in each of our own home wards (this is my own personal view). I am interested in how to make that process actually work, and my responsibilities as the administrator of the so-called “vaccine” in question. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics | 2 Comments »