December 18, 2007

An Artful Dodge

Browsing the morning on-line news ran across this Q&A concerning Mormonism. Interesting that the LDS church took a pass on seriously coming to grips with some of its most nagging questions. Funny reading their responses. Sounds like they've been listening to Collin Raye's "That's my story (and I'm stickin' to it)".

Let's face it, Mormonism, no matter what kind of socially acceptable dress you put it in, is still a very different theological animal than biblically orthodox Christianity. I've posted on this topic before and will likely post again because it will continue to come up with Mr. Romney's run for the Oval Office. (For the record, I have ZERO problem with him as a candidate for president because of his Mormon beliefs. "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (The Constitution of the United States of America) Still exploring the field to see who I like.)

Mormonism is like a birthday cake I once had the pleasure of eating. A "friend" baked a pone of cornbread and then covered it in wonderful butter cream icing and completed it with candles and birthday wishes. To all outward appearances it looked like a birthday cake but one bite quickly dispelled any notion that this was birthday cake. Mormonism looks like a Christian religion, but alas, it is not.

One question I would enjoy hearing the Mormon church come to grips with is the absence of archaeological evidence for this grand civilization which they purport existed in the western hemisphere. To my knowledge not one of the cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon has ever been discovered.


Paul said...

Brother John! Thanks for the encouragement and the many blog visits. It is so great to know that we are connected through the love of Christ and I do hope that you will have a blessed Christmas with all the people you love and may 2008 be great! Be blessed.

Mike said...

Yes there is a huge absence of archaeological edivence. This should be strange consideringthe amount of research and effort that has been put in attempting to locate these sites. I don't think this has ever been addressed by the LDS.

Carol L. Douglas said...

Joseph Smith received his peculiar revelations 22 miles to the east of me, in Palmyra, NY. Upstate New York was a hotspot of 19th century religious revival, abolitionism, and the origin of the women’s movement. It has been called the “burned-over district” because of the religious fervor in this area during the Second Great Awakening (1800-1830) and after.

But in addition to the mainstream movements that have swept our area, there have been some religious curiosities. The most famous of these are the LDS, but in addition there were the Millerites, the first séances, the spiritualists at Lily Dale, and utopian societies like the Skaneateles and Oneida Communities.

In the 19th century there was intense speculation that the mounds of the Adenas, Hopewells, etc. were not built by the Indians who lived there but were remnant foundations from extinct, great cultures—variously Vikings, the ten lost tribes of Israel, Greeks, Chinese, or even, directly, God Himself. Hoax artifacts were made to support these claims, and coincidentally, the “extermination” of these lost civilizations by Native Americans was a justification for the Trail of Tears. These myths were not definitively put to rest until the turn of the 20th century.

There are some Adena mounds in the town of Palmyra where Joseph Smith grew up. My guess is that he was an intuitive, associative thinker and projected what he heard about the mound-builders into the religious fervor of the time.

What interests me is how real revival often leads to odd backwashes like the ones that sprouted after the Second Great Awakening. The spiritualist community at Lily Dale is a fascinating example. It is about 20 minutes down the road from the original Chautauqua Assembly, and five years younger (1874, 1879). What happens to revival that twists it so?

I also think that the LDS thing ought to be a good warning about making science a handmaiden to religion. Scientific facts change, but religious truth is immutable. Backing up religion with convenient scientific facts is dangerous business.

A blessed and merry holiday to you and yours!