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Rick on Hot Seat (Part 5 of 5)

There are many good and bad things in Mormon history.  Some people leave the Church over these issues.  John Larsen of the Sunstone Podcast puts Rick on the hot seat and asks why he stays in the LDS Church.

John:  So why are you still Mormon?

Rick:  (Chuckling) So you know, at Sunstone they have that, Why I Stay series.

John:  It’s the most popular session.

Rick:  In my case, I would say, and I think Claudia Bushman said this, so I can’t claim credit for it. But why would I leave? I mean, there’s a lot about the LDS Church that I love. I love a lot of the theology. I’m not a fan of polygamy.  I love the Book of Mormon. I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. My Dan Vogel [interview], we got into the first vision narratives.  Are there some problems? Absolutely. There are some problems. Are there problems with polygamy? Absolutely. Are there problems with Mountain Meadows massacre? Absolutely. But everybody has problems. There’s no perfect church. There never was, never has been. I know John Hamer has said, “If you were to start the perfect church today, tomorrow, you’d make a mistake, and it wouldn’t be perfect anymore.”  So, I think that’s kind of how I feel. My Church isn’t perfect. I know that. The imperfect parts are the stuff that interests me. (Chuckling)

John:  Right.

Rick:  But it’s a good church. There’s good values. I believe in the restoration. So why would I leave?

We talk about other issues, like how Rick handles Mountain Meadows Massacre, polygamy, and other issues.  Check out our conversation….

Rick describes why he stays in the LDS Church.

Don’t miss our previous conversations!

416:  Mark Hofmann’s Role in Mormon History

415:  Learning from Mormon Cousins

414:  LDS Leaders and Historical Issues

413:  Intro to Gospel Tangents

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Oliver Cowdery’s Rod of Revelation (Part 2 of 7)

In the 19th and 20th century, dowsing rods were commonly used to find water.  Apparently Oliver Cowdery believed he could get revelation from one of these rods, and Joseph Smith encouraged him to use his rod of revelation.

GT:  Okay, so let me make sure. I want to be clear on this. So, Oliver Cowdery has had a history of receiving his own revelations through this rod, or wand.

Clair:  Yes….Oliver shows up in 1829, and it’s literally, like within a month, that these revelations come out.

GT:  So, Oliver says, “Joseph, I get these revelations through my wand,” and then Joseph says, “Oh, you’re going to have this great gift, too.”

Clair:  Yes, and probably, I think, to be a translator.

GT:  So, then we get, I think it is D&C 10 where it says you must study it out in your mind.

Clair:  Right.

GT:  That’s a scripture that all of us are familiar with.

Clair:  Yeah.

GT:  I don’t think most of us are familiar with these rods.

Clair:  Right.

Clair:  So Joseph had a seer stone, through which he translated. Oliver has a rod. My guess is that was what he was supposed to translate through, because he’d been getting revelations through it already, just like Joseph had been getting revelations through his seer stone. Both are treasure seeking tools. Why wouldn’t it be? It seems the most obvious thing. So Oliver, here’s how I read it. To Joseph, it’s easy. He pops the rock into a hat and man, he’s seeing stuff.  He can see, just like that. It’s easy and revelations come popping in.  He doesn’t even have to try. Then Oliver’s is like me, right? You give me anything. {Clair picks up a can of soda and talks to the can.}  It would be like, “Tell me some stuff.” And it just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen for Oliver.  Joseph says, “It’s easy, Oliver, you just study it out in your mind, and if you feel good about it, what you think the translation is, that’s it. If you have a stupor of thought, then that’s the wrong translation. But then it never works.

GT:  So is Oliver trying to use the seer stone? Or is he trying to use the rod?

Clair:  Well, we don’t know. I think it’s the rod.

Were you aware of this history with D&C 10?  Apparently other church leaders used a rod of revelation as well.  We will learn more about this in our next conversation with Clair Barrus.

Oliver used a dowsing rod to receive revelations, as did other church leaders.

Don’t miss our previous conversation with Clair Barrus!

406:  Masonic Connections in Oliver Cowdery’s Family

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Mormon Fundamentalist Theology (Part 3 of 8)

What are some of the differences between LDS theology and that of Mormon fundamentalist theology? Lindsay Hansen Park will answer that question, and we’ll talk about how many wives a man must have in order to inherit the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom.

Lindsay:  Within Mormon doctrine and still on lds.org, the top level is called the Celestial Kingdom.  To get to the Celestial Kingdom, you have to have gone through the temple.  You have to have a sealing ordinance.  There are certain things you have to do. That’s why I say we’re a works doctrine. Mormons are very much about earning our way into heaven. Nobody likes to say that, but that is absolutely why people don’t think we’re Christians. I mean, grace is such a–this is why I think it’s different.

GT:  I would caveat that, because I think Evangelicals and Catholics are very different. Now, Catholics don’t think we [Mormons] are going to heaven, certainly, but evangelicals drive me crazy. I’ll just say that.

Lindsay:  Well, Mormons drive them crazy.

GT:  I probably just ticked off all of my Evangelical listeners right now.

Lindsay:  I think [with] Evangelicals, what’s hard is we know what they’re about.  We know that they don’t respect us. They don’t think that we’re saved.

GT:  What I’m saying is the whole grace-works [issue], I don’t want to call that Christian. I want to call that Evangelical, because you’ve got–you’re born again…

Lindsay:  That’s fair.

GT:  I would argue that was the whole difference between Luther and Catholicism. It was this whole idea about grace and works. I don’t want to turn this into a grace and works [discussion,] because to me, it’s two sides of the same coin.

Lindsay:  Mormonism is very Calvinist.  Let’s just say this. For you to get in the highest degrees of [heaven], it is like a special order. There are secret tokens, handshakes, signs, wording, behaviors, things like that. So within the Celestial Kingdom are three degrees.  You can go to lds.org. Look it up. It’s still on our site.

Lindsay:  Now, in the old frontier doctrine, when this was really discussed and believed, it was widely believed and preached that the highest [level of Celestial Kingdom] was for the polygamous families, and then you sort of went down from there. Now in fundamentalist circles, I’d say it’s a sacred doctrine. It’s sort of a taboo to talk about still, but they believe the Celestial Kingdom is only for polygamists and to get in the top level you have to have seven wives, five in the middle, three in the bottom.

Do you agree or disagree with our discussion about grace and works?  Did you know about the number of wives needed to get into the Celestial Kingdom? Check out our conversation….

Of course fundamentalist Mormons believe you need to have multiple wives to get into the Celestial Kingdom. But how many wives are needed?

Don’t miss our other conversations with Lindsay!

390: John Taylor’s 1886 Revelation

389: “More Than One Way to Mormon”