Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Celestial Marriage Paradigm

In the first pages of his classic work on human behavior, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey talks about paradigms -- how we see the world -- and the enlightenment that can result from adopting positive new paradigms.

Although Covey is LDS, and thus his book is anethma to certain rabid Mormon-haters, Seven Habits is a secular work, meant for the general public. Perhaps if it were directed towards a specifically LDS audience, or with the intent to bear testimony of the Restored Gospel, he might have used the following splendid example of a paradigm shift:

The Apostle Parley P. Pratt, a companion and follower of Joseph Smith, recounted in expressive detail what a transforming influence it was upon him to learn the doctrine of celestial marriage from the Prophet Joseph. He wrote:

“[Joseph Smith] taught me many great and glorious principles concerning God and the heavenly order of eternity. It was at this time that I received from him the first idea of eternal family organization, and the eternal union of the sexes in those inexpressibly endearing relationships which none but the highly intellectual, the refined and pure in heart, know how to prize, and which are at the very foundation of everything worthy to be called happiness. . . .

“It was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity; and that the refined sympathies and affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the fountain of divine eternal love. It was from him that I learned that we might cultivate these affections, and grow and increase in the same to all eternity; while the result of our endless union would be an offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, or the sands of the sea shore. . . .

“I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved with a pureness an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this groveling sphere and expand it as the ocean. I felt that God was my heavenly Father indeed; that Jesus was my brother, and that the wife of my bosom was an immortal, eternal companion; a kind ministering angel, given to me as a comfort, and a crown of glory for ever and ever. In short, I could now love with the spirit and with the understanding also.” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Revised and Enhanced Edition, 2000, pp. 361-362)

Societal paradigms also seem to be part of the intriguing theory of heresies, as described by Hillarie Belloc, about which I blogged a few years ago: http://mymormonworld.blogspot.com/2008/10/arianism.html

"[Belloc] makes another great point: the religious beliefs of a people shape their entire societal outlook. This is why he states that the study of heresy remains so important: a Protestant-based society will of necessity always be very different from a Catholic-based or a Muslim society."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Like a Trumpet

"Thus saith the Lord God, the Mighty One [Heb. abiyr] of Israel: Behold I say unto you, my servant Edward, that you are blessed, and your sins are forgiven you, and you are called to preach my gospel as with the voice of a trump." -- D&C 36:1.

Thus spake the Lord to Edward Partridge, a faithful early Latter-day Saint, calling him to missionary work, echoing the words to Oliver Cowdery earlier that same year of 1830.

Isaiah, the poet-prophet, may have first recorded this divine metaphor:

"Cry aloud
spare not
lift up thy voice
like a trumpet."
-- Isaiah 58:1

When I think of a trumpet, I think bold, compelling, clear ... and beautiful. Such should be our witness.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

500 reasons

Somebody on some sad site somewhere scribbled out "500 reasons" to leave the Mormon Church.

Surely there are more productive uses for one's time.

I skimmed the list the other day. Some were the dusty detritus of old critics, to which answers have long ago been provided, answers which are stubbornly ignored by each new generation of axe-grinders. Some were as thin and weak as watered-down soup. Some simply didn't make sense.

Perhaps I could scribble out 500 refutations of 500 reasons to leave the Mormon Church (aka the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). But I only need one. The restored Gospel is true.