Friday, April 27, 2012

What Are "The Basics" of Mormonism?

I believe God speaks to us (or we hear and/or feel God) in our own language according to our own understanding. I believe Christianity (and Buddhism and Islam and Shintoism and Judaism ad infinitum) are necessary simply because they are expressions of what has resonated with millions of people. They are inevitable. They simply "are". (Just like my favorite name for God: "I AM".)

Fighting the inevitable is something I've chosen not to do. Rather, I construct my own view of God within the broad parameters of what resonates for me (Christianity) - and the saving grace of Mormonism is that I am able to incorporate ANY good I find ANYWHERE into what I view as pure Mormonism.

I like something from Buddhism?  I want to think of Nirvana as an expression of the Celestial Kingdom? Fine.

I want to view Mother Theresa as a model of love and a saint in every sense of the word and picture meeting her in Heaven? Fine.

I want to disregard some of the best efforts of former prophets in any religion (anciently and in modern times) to make sense of the world around them? Fine.

I want to share many common beliefs with those who worship with me weekly but have many unique ones? Fine.

Mormonism allows that, even if some members and congregations fight it.

To me, that is "the basics" - that I personally must work out my own understanding of salvation and exaltation and exercise faith that God will not punish me for my best efforts.


LDS OCD Blogger said...

I like that we have the Spirit to guide us which means that, when we are in tune, we can detect truth and correct patterns but I feel safest in the comfortable water in the mainstream of the Gospel where I don't feel I need to look anywhere else. Thanks for the insights.

Matthew said...

As Joseph Smith said, "I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled."

larryco_ said...

.I personally find the 4 Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path of Buddhism - particularly the emphasis on non-attachment, mindfulness, and loving-friendliness - a powerful way of dealing with challenges in this life (although I do not accept either the concept of non-self or reincarnation).
.I believe that Mother Theresa is/was the absolute prototype of a Christian service and sacrifice, and a sister on the fasttrack to the Celestial Kingdom.
.I reserve the right to reject things in scripture - i.e genocide in the OT, certain doctrines of past prophets, etc. - which I see as out of harmony with my understanding of the mission and message of Jesus Christ.

now, with that said...

There is constant discussion on the LDS blogs as to what is "basic doctrine" for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fact is that there are basic doctrines for the 21st century LDS church and they are contained in the Gospel Doctrine manual taught in Gospel Essential classes, and Preach My Gospel. Are these as intriguing to read as, say, Sam Brown's current book that masterfully takes most of the esoteric doctrines from the statements of Joseph Smith and others, and molds them into a coherent thesis on overcoming death? Probably not. Has Mormon doctrine evolved over the past 180 years? Absolutely. Will it continue to do so? Inevitably. Is it okay for people to express concern that this prophet or apostle wrote this or did that in the 19th century that looks completely whacky to us now. Yup.

The point is that there are "core doctrines" at the heart of the restored gospel, and the writings mentioned above - plus the talks given in general conference - constitute what believing saints would call the "mind and will of the Lord" for the world of 2012.