Sunday in Outer Blogness: No planet for you edition!
As cool as it was when the CoJCoL-dS dumped its racist doctrines, it was clear (even at the time) that there are disadvantages to giving the keys of defining Mormon doctrine over to the quorum of the anonymous website maintainers. Officially endorsing questionable apologetics on the Book of Mormon (like limited geography) was bad enough. Now they’re repossessing your planet.
Some say they never really wanted a planet anyway, but others (including me) are understandably disappointed. (We talked about this way back when they first started floating the idea of denying the “own planet” thing.)
I especially think it’s a shame because the doctrine of eternal progression is an interesting one (that the article could have expanded on), and it’s no more ridiculous than the doctrines of other religions. But it looks like the new church essays are determined to deny anything that could embarrass the CoJCoL-dS in any way. I just hope that in the next essay they decide to deny they ever claimed that masturbation is a sin. Hey, website prophets — remember how people were laughing at Mormons for that BYUI masturbation-as-war video (* hint, hint *):
And, while Mormons who are at least 30 generally remember learning in church that the purpose of this life is to learn to become Gods of our own worlds, it’s surprisingly tricky to find quotes to back it up. It’s a tribute to the effectiveness of the church’s strategy of disseminating doctrine through anonymously-authored manuals that are updated every year (and now in anonymous web pages). Maybe the CoJCoL-dS did openly teach us this doctrine 20 years ago, but good luck proving it!!
I can understand why the CoJCoL-dS may want to de-emphasize some of Joseph Smith’s more science-fictiony doctrines — after all, it’s right there in the Mormon scripture that the sun’s light comes from Kolob. The problem is that is you want to claim that you are getting information directly from an omniscient God, it’s hard to explain why that info is so often wrong. One strategy is to give up on having doctrines, which is great, but leaves some wondering why they should be obeying the church leaders. Other religions have consistency problems as well, but Tim made a valid point about how the new essay is unfair to Christians:
Iâ€™m happy for the church to clarify its own beliefs on this doctrine but found myself frequently frustrated by their justifications for the doctrine. On the one hand the church ask that its beliefs not be caricatured (having your own planet) but it has no problem creating a caricature of Eastern orthodoxy and the early church fathers for its own benefit.
Last week’s topic — the gay agenda — is still resonating. Just Jill helpfully posted her gay agenda, and Mormon X found a pro-mutant message in the film Frozen. Both J-G W and Joseph Broom explained that the existence of successful mixed-orientation marriages doesn’t mean mixed-orientation marriage is a viable option for everyone.
Then there were some more ripples of discussion about that Ensign article about “The Lord’s Standard for Morality”. Holly Welker wrote that it promoted rape culture (what else is new?), so Dan Peterson called on faithful women to tell Holly how wrong she is. Some rose to the challenge, but they also felt the original article had some major problems. (Tangential: Here are some interesting women.)
Now for scripture study!! In this week’s Book of Mormon readings, some ancient American prophets predicted Jesus’ life in some detail but failed to predict some Mormon doctrines that Joseph Smith didn’t think of until after translating the Book of Mormon. Daniel Midgely’s Old Testament lesson was about how the Old Testament is in fact a really terrible guide for morality, contrary to Dallin Oaks’ recent claim:
Those who have used human reasoning to supersede divine influence in their lives have diminished themselves and cheapened civilization in the process.
As a general trend, America is secularizing, including from moderate religions and the rest, largely because the Religious Right is so intent on making religion look rotten. (Plus the gospel of un-god is really convincing.) Not everyone, though — Thunderchicken wrote an elaborate allegory explaining some reasons for staying the the church. And church attendance may be increasing in some places!
In individual stories, Profet left the church largely for his kids’ sake. Andrea outlined some of the specific problems in the CoJCoL-dS. Aerin and Jen reflected on the role of Mormonism in their lives. And Knotty has had to move on from epinions.
Have a great week — and let’s all try to make this our paradise planet, since we won’t be getting our own new ones!!