Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where God is

Among the singular claims made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that God dwells within our universe, not beyond it.

Perhaps that is hard doctrine for some. But, as Jesus once asked his disciples when some grumbled about His hard doctrine and left, "Wilt thou also go away?"

To believe that heaven exists within our universe does not change the omnipotence or the omniscience of God.

I have begun to read a little book entitled the Kolob Theorom, by LDS author Dr. Lynn Hilton. He goes so far as to assert - and is careful to note that he alone is responsible for his opinion -- that the dwelling place of God, Elohim, is in the center of our galaxy, a region of blazing stars that our probing technology has not been able to penetrate.


The concept of space, with its billions of stars and its unfathomable distances between them, and even the possibility of infinite worlds, is very exciting to me.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Of Clement

I have been reading this weekend the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.

It dates to about 90 AD and many scholars believe that it is older than the canonical Gospels of the New Testament. Scholars also believe, although he never names himself as the author, that it is the genuine work of Clement, third bishop of Rome.

It was accepted as scripture by several of the Eastern Christian churches, though it is not included in the canon today.

It has stimulated me to some thoughts: firstly, that as a Christian, I owe a great debt to these early Christians of Corinth and other branches of the Church. The persecutions they endured are unspeakable.

From a cursory bit of Internet research, I gather that there is no "Mormon" ward in Corinth (Korinthos) today; the reception of the people in modern Greece to the message of the LDS church is as resistant and rocky as the ground beneath their feet.

Something in me sorrows to read that; the same way that I sorrow to know that most of the progeny of the late Joseph Smith Jr., prophet of the Restoration, are not members of the Church that he restored.

But it is also sorrowful, to me, that I am nearly 40 years old and just discovering Clement for the first time. Are not the life and writings of this man just as important as that of Alma, or of Parley P. Pratt? I don't think even the most dogmatic of Latter-day Saints believe that the early Christian Church had fallen into complete apostasy that early in the era -- 90 A.D.

Clement was a brother in the faith, an exemplary brother. Whether I am Mormon or Baptist or Roman Catholic, he and others of his era are, or ought to be, part of my Christian heritage.

So maybe I won't light a candle on November 23, his feast day. But I will certainly think about him and re-read his impassioned letter, still ringing with conviction nearly 2,000 years later.