“Neo — Anything That Has A Beginning Will Have An Ending” — Mr. Smith (Summer Review)

While browsing the Millennial Star I came across this thing from an amateur missionary-philosopher. This is 1882 and shows how far theological drift had come from Joseph Smith among the rank and file. I think you might have heard parts of this in a mid-20th century general conference address. It demonstrates a bit of “lived theology” if you will. Anyway, I liked it for that and some other reasons — see the title. Enjoy. And Think: The Matrix.

Man is a noble being; created in the image of his Maker, endowed with faculties divine, eternal. He is born to live for ever. Not limited with his present knowledge, not shackled by surrounding circumstances, not bound to earth by the laws that govern inanimate matter.

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Muggles, Mormons and Theology

“Mainstream” Protestantism during Joseph Smith’s lifetime was locked in important controversies over things like the nature and extent of freewill, grace, perfectionism, slavery and the like.

But drop groups like the Mormons or Shakers into the discussion and those other disagreements paled.
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James Edward Talmage. Superman.

[Cross-posted at By Common Consent.]

James E. Talmage, a name that lives in legend among LDS missionaries for the last 60 years, was British born and converted to Mormonism in 1873. Talmage was a talented scholar from childhood. After emigrating to the US he ended up finishing four years at Lehigh in one year and went on to Johns Hopkins in 1883. Ph.D. at Illinois Weslayan even though he wasn’t in residence. At home in Provo, he was a city councilman and then judge. (Some of his court cases are a crackup.)
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Summer Review: Is Reality Consistent With First Order Predicate Calculus?

The whole of science is based on answering yes to that question. But what about religion? At least from Augustine to Aquinas, people hoped the answer was yes. Of course they wouldn’t have used the same terminology.
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Preaching, Rhetoric and Mormons

[Cross posted at BCC.]

With the recent conference, many Church members saw what has become the pinnacle of Mormon Preaching: The General Conference Address. But is it really representative of the Mormon sermon? I say no. In my paltry experience, Mormon preaching is much more like classical Methodist homily than the considered rationalist stuff you might get from an Anglican pulpit. General Conference preaching is very carefully scripted. No off the reservation speculation, no fire and brimstone to speak of, no getting lost in the rhetorical moment allowed, much. (I think Church presidents have their leeway and there is descent evidence for that.)
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“Apply the subject to the cases of such as are convinced of the truth of Christianity but do not heartily embrace it, and openly espouse its cause”

Within the little village of Palmyra, New York, at the corner of Main Street and Canandaigua Road stand four churches. Read more of this post

Toward a Theology of the Material

[Cross-posted at BCC. But it seems oddly Abrahamic, so here it is again.]

[I was just sitting here - thinking about where the fun speculations of 19th century Mormonism might lead, and this is what came out. Excuse its ragged form.]

Mormonism has a uniquely materialist bent. It posits that the material is necessary for complete happiness.[1] That while the world is biphasic, physical and spiritual, both are material.[2] Modern physics divides much of its attention between the very large (cosmology) and the very small (quantum phenomena). In the large, physics tells us of a universe whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere and yet expanding. That expansion is apparently going on forever, never to stop.
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Once Again: Cosmology – The Big Bang – And God

Recently, Stephen Hawking announced that there is no need for God, in terms of winding up the universe. The Big Bang [1] is a demonstrable result of M-theory. I won’t bore you about M-theory, except to say that It’s not complete and it’s not a sure bet yet. But even if it or one of its competitors turns out to match the data, be complete and self-consistent then great: such a thing might even have everyday consequences.
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Cosmology – The Big Bang – And God

Recently, Stephen Hawking announced that there is no need for God, in terms of winding up the universe. The Big Bang [1] is a demonstrable result of M-theory. I won’t bore you about M-theory, except to say that It’s not complete and it’s not a sure bet yet. But even if it or one of its competitors turns out to match the data, be complete and self-consistent then great: such a thing might even have everyday consequences.
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Classical Scattering and The Convergence of Science and Religion?

In the mid 1960s the theory of classical wave motion took a leap ahead with an incredibly simple idea. A formalism allowing a single family of equations to describe seemingly diverse phenomena like wave motion in plasmas and other conducting fluids, the propagation of light (electromagnetic waves) and sound in complex media, seismic waves, electric waves on transmission lines, even the movement of fish larvae in ocean currents.
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