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Gospel Topics Chapter 2 Sherlock Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
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April 18, 2021 9:23 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 2 Sherlock Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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April 18, 2021 9:23 pm

This week Bill and Eric cover chapters 2 and 3 of the book Gospel Topics Series. These are important essays and it’s interesting to see how these are looked upon by a variety of different scholars from different backgrounds.


Prepared to engage Mormon missionaries would knock on your door. Perhaps the book is a 101 will help Mormonism 101. Published by Baker look at your favorite Christian bookstore .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a perspective view .1 Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM.

The LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement.

It's a book that came out towards the end of 2020. Edited by Matthew L. Harris and Newell G. Bringhurst. The reason why we want to take a look at this book is because for one it allows us the chance to look again at the gospel topics essays which were a series of essays produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and posted over a period of time between the years 2013 and 2015. If you are interested at all in engaging your latter-day St. friends. I would strongly recommend that you read the gospel topics essays because they are much more transparent and we've use that word a lot when talking about the essays they are more open, more honest, I would say then a lot of the statements coming out of the LDS church in years previous. They were forced to. We talked about that when we looked at the introduction of this book, but whether they were forced to or they did it really totally voluntarily.

I don't care because they do have a lot of good information and because you can find them on the official website of the LDS church. Church of Jesus that makes it for me for Eric and those of us who were trying to reach Latter Day Saints. This becomes goal for us because we can point them right back to their own material and it doesn't have to go to a source that a latter-day St. could easily brush off as being nothing more than critical of the church and we talked about this a couple of weeks ago about how many people have had a huge turnaround when they read these essays. Many people have left the church. Many of them leaving for atheism and agnosticism are nothing at all, but many of them also considering Christianity.

So these essays have had an impact on the total church numbers in these past few years. And so anytime like you said Bill we can talk about these and bring up the information that the church is now allowing to be put onto their website I think were to take advantage of that. This chapter that were looking at today's chapter 2, becoming like God. A critique and it was written by a gentleman by the name of Richard Sherlock now at the bottom of page 51. He explains his background very briefly in one sentence he says I converted to Roman Catholicism from the LDS church in 2010 Eric, you did a little bit of research into Richard Sherlock. And so the question I want to ask you is from what you read.

Do you get the impression that when Mr. Sherlock was a member of the LDS church that he would come under the category of what we call here in Utah TBM were a true believing Mormon.

I wouldn't think so and just from the limited research I did do. He is a professor at Utah State University in philosophy seems to be very popular. Students seem to really like him but he had been LDS for many many years and in fact he had some Catholic education including teaching at Fordham University, which is the Catholic school so he had a Catholic background in 2010 he went to Rome for conference and ended up going to a mass had a huge experience spiritually that caused him to become a Catholic and two years later he gets confirmed into the church but I would not say, as you mentioned Bill that he would be a true blue Mormon from before 2010. His wife died a few decades before and that she was apparently very LDS, and for him to have left the church during her lifetime probably wouldn't of worked so well in his marriage but he did eventually convert so he writes this as a Roman Catholic, but at the same time I did not find a whole lot that I would disagree with him on this issue because we are talking about the doctrine of men becoming gods and of course the chapter title is becoming like God and he tends to take exception with that phrase as we have to that when a Mormon usually is confronted with this doctrine of becoming gods in the next life.

Some apparently in an effort to show their embarrassment for this doctrine will tend to back off and see what we believe you can become like God but not necessarily become God's which of course is not true. And I think Mr. Sherlock does a very good job in this chapter showing why that is not true.

He cites a lot of primary sources which tends to prove his case and for that I commend before the show started here today.

I mentioned that we could have written this chapter and you mentioned, we really have because we talked about the gospel topics essays we talked about this particular one. But what's interesting some of the quotes that he uses many of them. We have used on the show before so that's kind of fun to see that this guy seems to be on the same page as we are, let's begin on page 52 he starts off the first paragraph with in recent years, the LDS church is sought to confront its more controversial beliefs in essays designed to present them in their most favorable yet still honest light continues. Other contributors to the present comp violation assess the credibility of others of the churches recent gospel topics, essays, the subject of this chapter, the gospel topics essay becoming like God, however, is in my opinion a misleading remake of one of just dismiss. Most important, and for Christians. Most heretical documents, the so-called King Follett sermon. The sermon was given orally on April 7, 1844, two months before mob murdered Smith and his brother Hiram and has been published officially by the LDS church twice since 1970 in the churches magazine for adults. The end sign in 1971 Smith sermon was called quote one of the classics of church literature." Let's go back and explain for listeners. What is the King Follett sermon King Follett was an individual who died.

His name was King. It was not an office that he held, but that was his name Smith gives this sermon and this is a message that he gives where I'm sure many of the people listening to this sermon, even if they were LDS, which I'm sure all of them probably were when they were listening to Smith speak. I would venture to say most of them were probably shocked by some of the things that Joseph Smith said so when Mr. Sherlock says that for us as Christians it's probably one of the most heretical documents I would tend to agree. Joseph Smith said a lot of off-the-wall things, but the King Follett discourse was certainly I think one of his worse when it comes to the LDS truth claims, but as he says it was given on April 7, 1844 and it would be two months before he would die so this is one of the latest of his messages before Joseph Smith's demise. An interesting part that he gives in this paragraph that I think needs to be emphasized because a lot of Latter Day Saints that we have spoken with tend to look at the King Follett discourse, or the King Follett sermon as not being doctrinal and this is always a stumbling block that we face when we talk with Latter Day Saints.

If it's not in the standard works. The Bible book of Mormon doctrine and covenants are prove a great price. You have some Latter Day Saints that are quick to dismiss something like the King Follett discourse because it's not a part of the standard works, but he brings out a good point at the end of this paragraph uses in the churches magazine for adults. The end sign. He says in 1971 Smith sermon was called one of the classics of church literature. So Latter Day Saints could still argue it's not a part of Scripture.

But if it's a classic of church literature does not really matter if Latter Day Saints are encouraged to believe what's in it. Wouldn't that be important. I would think it would be in any continues and says the problem with the gospel topics essay begin with the title becoming like God.

There is a long Christian tradition articulating the telecasts or deification of human existence as quote unquote uniting with God, or in another vocabulary quote unquote becoming my God, this may be what the LDS church wants members and nonmembers to believe that they teach. If so, they should at least admit that this is not what they have taught for over a century. To quote Joseph Smith in the King Follett sermon quote. You have got to learn how to become God's yourselves."

There is no hint here that humans only become quote unquote like God. The LDS tell us is to become a God just as all gods have done know what is going to do is he's going to give some examples that are found in the essay becoming like God produced by the LDS church and one of them happens to be. Genesis 126 and 27 what is a say about that at the bottom. 53 the foundational passages Genesis 126 or 27 where God is said to create man in his own image, the LDS interpretation of this passage is grounded in the deep preference of Mormons for a univocal understanding of language used to describe God and humanity.

Some in the Christian tradition have preferred an equivocal use of language in these cases, such that when we refer to God's qualities. These cannot be anything like qualities. We understand the temporal world God's goodness.

For example, cannot be anything like any goodness we recognize in this world.

In this chapter he loves that word univocal. He uses it over and over, which basically means one meaning and what is trying to emphasize here is that many times the LDS church will look at a word or phrase and they will stick with this more literal understanding of it and that's one thing that Mormons often brag about that Joseph Smith reads the Bible more literal than others because I've been asked that question myself.

You believe the Bible literally us as well. The verses that are to be taken literally, should be understood literally.

The verses that should be taken figuratively should be understood figuratively. It all depends on which verse you're talking about. Unfortunately, Joseph Smith tends to make literal things that we would argue, can be understood little bit differently but when he says the foundational passages Genesis 126 and 27 that is actually one of the first arguments that is used in the gospel topic essay becoming like God. Several biblical passages, it says intimate that humans can become like God. The likeness of humans to God is emphasized in the first chapter of Genesis, God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So God created man in his own image in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. Personally, I think you have to do an awful lot of ISA Jesus or reading into that passage to come up with the idea that this means that man can become gods more often Mormons use it to try to imply that God has a body of flesh and bones. The argument that we have often used whenever a Latter Day Saints brings up Genesis 126 asked Latter Day Saints who was involved in this conversation because it is a conversation let us make man who, speaking, who is the individual speaking to, and how do we understand it. Based on that Joseph Smith himself said that it's the father speaking to the son of Elohim, the Godfather, Mormonism is speaking to Jehovah, the son asked the Latter Day Saints. If Jehovah at that time had a body of flesh and bones.

They will have to say no if Jesus did not have a body of flesh and bones at that time, then it would be erroneous to assume that when it talks about let us make man in our image that that's referring to a body of flesh and bones. It's a very simple way of showing that this argument is not a good argument when using Genesis 126 and seven tomorrow were going to continue looking at this chapter by Richard Sherlock, becoming like God. Thank you for listening.

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