Personal Online Journal

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Exaltation or Theosis

I have a good friend investigating the LDS church.  She had a concern about our teachings about becoming like God.  Here are a few thoughts that I am bringing together for her.

Some references in the Bible to becoming like God.

"Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together." (Isa 41:23)

"I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." (Ps 82:6)

Jesus used this very scripture when accused of blasphemy, "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34)

Here are a few resources that I trust to give an accurate representation of LDS beliefs on exaltation.

LDS topic, "Becoming Like God"
"The Divine Potential of Human Beings: The Latter-day Saint Perspective" by Jeff Lindsay
"Mormonism and the nature of God/Deification of man" at

A quote from C.S. Lewis about becoming "gods"
The command “Be ye perfect” is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creatures, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to Him perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said. (Macmillan, 1952, p. 174)
 One of the main objections I have heard to this teaching is that we are elevating ourselves to be like God. In April 1989 our prophet Ezra Taft Benson taught us to "Beware of Pride. This talk has been taught and re-taught many dozens of time since then.  We are taught that to gain our lives, we are to lose them in the service of our God by ministering to our neighbors.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ("Citizenship In A Republic" Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910)

I love this quote. I love Brene Brown. She is my vulnerability hero.

I also love this talk from her, "The power of vulnerability"

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Two Trees

An interesting view on the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.  And how it relates to the relationship between men and women, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers.
I think we know this part of the Great Plan of Happiness very well. We believe that Adam will give the gift of the fruit of the Second Tree to the children of God, those who are worthy to receive it, just as Eve and her daughters give the fruit of the First Tree in the Garden of Eden to all who are worthy to partake of it. And that fruit of the Second Tree, as we know, are the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. Just as the veil into this life is guarded by the women, the daughters of God, so the veil that brings us home, is administered and guarded over by the sons of God. And those that have accepted the gift of the Second Tree form the hands of the sons of God will pass through that veil and back to that celestial place where they can be with their Parents once more.
That means that gender equality is not some “politically correct” ideal to the Latter-day Saints; it is not some maraschino cherry placed last atop a Zion sundae. No, relationships of gender equality are the bricks of Zion, without which you cannot build Zion, because gender equality is how Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father live.
Where in the world can be found a group of men dedicated to a single standard of chastity and marital fidelity? Where can we find a group of men dedicated to marriage—getting married and staying married? Where can we find a group of men dedicated to upholding the safety, flourishing, and equality of women? Men who want to have children, and take part in raising them? Men who value their daughters as much as they value their sons? Men who abhor abuse, pornography, and neglect? Men who embrace burden-sharing with their wives, including the burden of housework? Where we can find a group of men who covenant these things as part of their duty to God? They are right here in this room. You are a special covenant brotherhood unlike any other on this planet. Thank God for the restoration of the priesthood, that restores a vision of how God wanted his daughters treated by his sons!
That means that priesthood is not some extra given to men and denied women. Priesthood is a man’s apprenticeship to become a heavenly father, and I believe that women have their own apprenticeship to become like their heavenly mother. The ordinance—and they are ordinances—of body and of agency—pregnancy, childbirth, lactation—the spiritual ordinances of the First Tree are not less powerful or spiritual than the ordinances of the Second Tree. Women have their own godly power. And a truism that holds fairly across the board is that those religions that despise the body tend to be those religions that devalue women. ("The Two Trees", Valerie Hudson Cassler, Fair Conference, Aug 2010)

A Simple Set of Rules

The opening scene of  Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (2014) starts with this beginning of this quote.
The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us -- there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries. (Carl Sagan, "Cosmos (1980)")
Neil deGrasse Tyson tells us that Carl Sagan started us on a great adventure.
This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules 
- Test ideas by experimentation and observation
- Build on those ideas that pass the test
- Reject the ones that fail
- Follow the evidence wherever is leads.
- Question everything 
Accept these terms and the cosmos is yours.
These rules fit perfectly well into the rules of spiritual exploration too. As I experimented on Alma's word I observed the Good Word of God swelling in me.

I have come to see that not all of my childhood suppositions seem to actually be real and I am OK with that.

I love the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5. The tree is dunged and pruned to remove the most bitter branches, according to the strength of the roots.

Line upon line we learn, live and become the Good we receive from God.

And science has been a gift of God to us. And is part of the great whole of good and truth.

You can watch it on Fox Now.
Episode List

Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Sexy Lie

"We raise our little boys to view their bodies as tools to master their environments. We raise our girls to view their bodies as projects to constantly be improved." ("The Sexy Lie", Caroline Heldman, Tedx Youth San Diego, Jan 22, 2013)

Ample Provision

“The great Jehovah … knows the situation of both the living and the dead, and has made ample provision for their redemption.”

“The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever ‘the morning stars sang together’ for joy; the past, the present, and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal ‘now;’ He knew of the fall of Adam, the iniquities of the antediluvians [those who lived before the Great Flood], of the depth of iniquity that would be connected with the human family, their weakness and strength, their power and glory, apostasies, their crimes, their righteousness and iniquity; He comprehended the fall of man, and his redemption; He knew the plan of salvation and pointed it out; He was acquainted with the situation of all nations and with their destiny; He ordered all things according to the counsel of His own will; He knows the situation of both the living and the dead, and has made ample provision for their redemption, according to their several circumstances, and the laws of the kingdom of God, whether in this world, or in the world to come.” (Joseph Smith Jr., Apr. 15, 1842, History of the Church, 4:596–97)

Found by Mormon Musings

Friday, March 07, 2014

Learn to be Patient

"There will be times when it may appear that things are going badly for the truth of God, that the evidence of the world contradicts God’s utterances. For my part, I have learned to be patient, knowing that, in the end, things will work out." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf. BYU Church History Symposium Mar 7, 2014)