Sunday, 11 March 2012

Mormon Doctrine-ing

during the teenage existential crisis that led me to the from my catholic/buddhist/atheist-self into mormonism was a deep spiritual quest to know if joseph smith's articles of faith were true.  i felt like if i could believe that part, the rest was all still a work in progress that could be fun to be part of.

the church was presented to me as a restoration of the broken catholic church.  i'd grown up with family members who had been abused by priests and all sorts of other authority figures.  my family love/hated "the Church".  i was supposed to go to parochial school, but my mom insisted i got to school in Guadeloupe so i could learn spanish and understand more about the world. etc etc etc ... my parents wanted me to know the world, others wanted to protect me from it.  but i just kinda ended up hit life head on and early.

my first god-related panic attack happened in 2nd grade in our first communion prep (catechism) class where the nun was explaining the godhead ... she was hard to pay attention to because she was scary, but she also was contradicting the basic arithmetic we'd just learned about how 1+1+1=3.  i wanted her to make it make more sense, she couldn't ... i got mad and left.  (well sent to the head father's until i cried and then humiliated (yes that can be a verb) my way home)

my family german-catholic family who fought for social justice had deep enmity towards mormons.

my clan are suffragists and social justice pragmatists both politically and theologically.  the church betrayed the family, but the values of the clan remained.  my mom clung to the church, but it failed her too; convincing her to stay in an abusive marriage...

mormon families seemed happy.  they were nice to each other.  they always had the best comfort food.  eating at a mormon's house is like getting a giant hug from your perfect grandmother.  i needed the hugs and the food and the happy.

i was concerned about the raciest/misogynistic history, but i was convinced that it was ancient history ... the church had grown.  the "gospel is perfect, not the church and not the people" often served with a side of, "that is why we need you to be part of us.  help us fix these negative aspects."

i always like a good fight.  insurrections are the most exciting battles.  the trojan horse is historic for its obvious silly genius.  that's the only kind of genius i have so ... why not dive in and be as good at it as you can be and see if that helps all of you?

first, can you believe the articles of faith? joseph's bulleted one page campaign platform.  church mission statement.  can you sign up for this?  again?

he wrote them to a reporter during his presidential campaign.  the reporter just wanted a concise statement of belief.  john wentworth -- who went on to be the mayor of Chicago, and long time congressman from the city -- was joseph's pen pal & editor of the Chicago Democrat.

i know all to well the thrill of having a chicago democrat reporter friend ... its brutal and exciting.  the world is your oyster and you are the star of a unique universe that is going somewhere. they help you tailor your message -- they believe in you enough to know you have one.

still sometimes you have to wonder whose team they are actually on.  i was lucky to be part of "team awesome" which i think might still be awesome 'cept we are working in different stratospheres right now ... for  john and joe, i'm not so sure ... i bet there are some historians out there who have ideas.

the story goes that joseph was responding to a request from john.  one of john's friends was working on a history of new hampshire and joseph's name and the church kept coming up so wentworth asked for a clear statement of belief and some history.

joseph, classic of all mormons, just turned it all over ... he wrote a full history of the "Latter-day Saint Movement" to date and then include a 13 point statement of belief.

the letter became known as the Wentworth Letter (can be found in the History of the Church 4:535-541) and was first published in the Times and Seasons in March 1842. "On 10 October 1880, the Articles of Faith were formally accepted as scripture by the vote of the members of the Church and were included as part of the Pearl of Great Price."

i'm revisiting that original question, do i believe these things?  i'm going to use my blog to explore this a bit.  i welcome your thoughts ...  i can't say yes or no just yet.  some yes, so no, some i just want to be sure we are interpreting things the same way, because i think we read these words differently !!

The Articles of Faithof The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

 We abelieve in bGod, the Eternal Father, and in His cSon, Jesus Christ, and in the dHoly Ghost.
 We believe that men will be apunished for their bown sins, and not for Adam’s ctransgression.
We believe that through the aAtonement of Christ, all bmankind may be csaved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
 We believe that the first principles and aordinances of the Gospel are: first, bFaith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, cRepentance; third, dBaptism by eimmersion for the fremission of sins; fourth, Laying on of ghands for the hgift of the Holy Ghost.
 We believe that a man must be acalled of God, by bprophecy, and by the laying on of chands by those who are in dauthority, to epreach the Gospel and administer in thefordinances thereof.
 We believe in the same aorganization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, bprophetscpastorsdteacherseevangelists, and so forth.
 7 We believe in the agift of btonguescprophecydrevelationevisionsfhealingginterpretation of tongues, and so forth.
 We believe the aBible to be the bword of God as far as it is translated ccorrectly; we also believe the dBook of Mormon to be the word of God.
 We believe all that God has arevealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet breveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
 10 We believe in the literal agathering of Israel and in the restoration of the bTen Tribes; that cZion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will dreign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be erenewed and receive its fparadisiacal gglory.
 11 We claim the aprivilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the bdictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them dworship how, where, or what they may.
 12 We believe in being asubject to bkings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in cobeying, honoring, and sustaining the dlaw.
 13 aWe believe in being bhonest, true, cchastedbenevolent, virtuous, and in doing egood to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we fhope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to gendure all things. If there is anything hvirtuousilovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Joseph Smith.

1 comment:

the flipflop fed said...

i'm interested in what you have to say.

i started following "raising dc" after a colleague at work, knowing that i was going through the same experiences, shared your blog with me.