Posted on Leave a comment

Why Start Gospel Tangents? (Part 3 of 5)

Steven Pynakker is the evangelical host of Mormon Book Reviews.  He and I sat down to discuss why I started Gospel Tangents.

https://youtu.be/iouxMa6tZBg

GT:  When I went back to get my master’s degree, I quit my job, and decided to go back to school and I got a part-time job. I had a lot more time, plus I was commuting up to the University of Utah, and I got into podcasting. I decided to start my own blog. I did a little bit of blogging for about 10 years. Then, I thought, “You know what? I like this. I’m going put my name out there, and we’ll see if anybody listens.”

So, I decided to start Gospel Tangents. Let’s see, this is my fifth year, so about four and a half years ago.  I should mention the name, Gospel Tangents. I had a couple of friends in college, and they were debating about whether Adam had a belly button or not, which, apparently, I didn’t know at the time, somehow related the Adam-God doctrine. I don’t know how that works. So, we were standing there talking, kind of debating this, and I don’t know that anybody even would ever know, but the one guy made the quip, “Yeah this is the Gospel Tangents class out in the hall.”  I just thought that was the coolest, so that’s kind of where I got the name.

When my kids were younger, they were probably 8, 9, 10, around there.  I had told them a Book of Mormon story and they didn’t know it.  I was like, “You don’t know about Nephi and Laban and all that stuff?”  So, I was like, “Alright, well, we’re going to make a little Book of Mormon for Kids.”  Then, my 10-year-old goes, “We could sell it.”  I’m like, “Nobody’s going to buy this. Are you kidding me?”  But, then I thought, “Oh, Amazon has this thing where you can publish it.”  I was like, we’ll sell it for $1.  I was shocked.  My kids drew these little stick-figure drawings.  They’re not good at all, but they were what they did.  The purpose was just to teach them about the scriptures, and I printed out a copy. II was shocked that people were buying these things.  For $1, who cares? So, then so we did the Bible for Kids.  We were like, “Oh we’re going to sell that for $3, because anybody will buy that.[1]  So, I kind of did that under the Gospel Tangents umbrella at the time.  But, it was about four and a half years ago when I finally said, “I love Mormon history. I’m going to start doing this.”

[1] We also did a Triple Combination called “LDS Scriptures for Kids” for sale at https://amzn.to/2X4tZxX .  My daughter complained there weren’t enough stories about women, so we created “Women of the Bible for Kids,” which is available at https://amzn.to/3fK0zMc .

What are your thoughts about Gospel Tangents?  Check out our conversation…

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Steve!

554: Difference between Evangelicals & Protestants

553:  Background on Rick

Posted on 1 Comment

Why Polygamists are a Threat to LDS Church (Part 6 of 8)

The LDS Church still has an Exclusion Policy when dealing with converts from polygamist groups.  Why does the LDS Church seem so threatened by polygamists?  Apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer explain why they think polygamists are so threatening to the LDS leadership.

GT:  So the [LDS] Church has a huge concern with [polygamists joining the Church] and so they’ve implemented this [Exclusion] policy. Then when the gay policy came, they [justified the policy by saying,] “Well we’ve been doing this with polygamists for years. What’s the problem?” I don’t like this policy. I don’t like it against polygamists either, but I do understand the concern because it does seem like, especially here in Utah, they don’t want you guys infiltrating our church and then taking people away. But I think it also happens that we take away some of your church members that don’t like polygamy.  To me it goes both ways. But, we’re more concerned about our people leaving than your people joining.

GT:  I don’t know how true this is, and I know that you don’t speak for all fundamentalists, either. But we’ve heard that that, I want to say it’s the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), but I might be wrong on that, they will say, “Well, go get your LDS temple endowment and then come join us.” Are you familiar with that reasoning?

Benjamin:  Yes. Well, more than 40 years ago, that was kind of the essential viewpoint of almost all Mormon fundamentalists.  There was about a 50 year stretch from John and Lauren Woolley in the early 1900s, through Rulon Allred, where we also kind of believed that was the program. As David explained, there were keys outside the church and they were keys inside the church. We believe, in Christ’s Church, we’ve now rejoined all those keys into one organization. But during that time period, that 50 years, there was the idea that if you wanted to receive certain blessings and certain ordinances, or complete those things, you had to go to the fundamentalists, but you started in the [LDS] Church, first. So, for example, Rulon Allred did not build a temple.  He didn’t believe it was necessary, because the mainstream LDS temples were still viewed as authoritative sources to receive that ordinance.

David:  Rulon Allred was the leader of the Apostolic United Brethren.

GT:  Yeah.

Benjamin:  Joseph Musser and Rulon Allred, which were the founders of the AUB, they said exactly that.  They told their people, “Oh, well, you should definitely, of course, come to us, but don’t join the AUB and do these higher things until you’ve done the earlier things.  You’d be skipping a step.” So, they really only accepted members–they weren’t a whole church, right? They were an appendage to the church.

GT:  They were funneling people to the LDS Church and then saying, “Okay, get this all done, and then we’ll give you the graduate degree.”

Benjamin:  So excluding children, that was exactly the church’s response to the AUB policy of saying, “Oh, we’re an auxiliary to the church, essentially. So you want all of your children to be members of the mainstream LDS Church, and then you want them to go on missions and you want them to go to the temple, get married in the temple, and all that sort of thing, and then become part of our priesthood group to complete their gospel training.”  But they view themselves, like I said, only as that auxiliary or just as a capstone to everything the church was already doing. So their view was that the church was meant to be a pipeline that led [to them.]

David:  In all fairness, that may not be their view today.

Do you agree with this exclusion policy for children of polygamists?  Don’t miss our conversation as Benjamin explains why the primary song “I Am a Child of God” teaches the Adam-God theory! Check out our conversation….

Benjamin Shaffer & David Patrick explain why there is still an Exclusion policy for fundamentalist converts to LDS Church.

Don’t miss our other conversations with David and Benjamin….

385: God in a Box or Pyramid?

384: Documentary Hypothesis & Adam-God

383: Intro to Adam-God Theory

382: Scriptures of Christ’s Church

381: Intro to Christ’s Church

Posted on Leave a comment

Documentary Hypotheses & Adam-God (Part 4 of 8)

The Adam-God doctrine identifies Elohim and Jehovah as separate beings.  However, the Documentary Hypothesis states that these two names were used interchangeably for the same god in the Old Testament.  I asked 2 members of Christ’s Church how they dealt with that issue with regards to the Documentary Hypothesis.  Apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer share how they deal with this issue.

GT:  As I understand the Documentary Hypothesis, the idea is the first five books of Moses were written by four different authors.

Benjamin: Right.

GT:  The J author refers to God as Yahweh; E [author refers to] Elohim because this is the point that I want to make here. I might be getting this backwards. In the Northern Kingdom, they referred to God as Elohim and then in the Southern Kingdom they referred to God as Jehovah.[1] And then the editors according to the Documentary Hypothesis combined them all. Really Jehovah and Elohim are really two names for the same for the one and only God. And if you go to the Hebrew, they basically alternate behind between Jehovah and Elohim as the same person. And so Mormons are heretical, because we say that Jehovah and Elohim are two different people but historically, especially in the in the five books of Moses (I hope I’m getting this right) the Southern Kingdom referred to Jehovah, the Northern Kingdom referred to Elohim but they’re really the same person. So how would you respond to that issue?

Benjamin: Textual criticism is a big rabbit hole to go down, a big gospel tangent.

GT:  Sure.

Benjamin:  And it is complicated, but I do have a couple things that I could say to that. First of all, we do believe in this unity of godliness. Jehovah is in Elohim as in El, right? These are different titles as David [Patrick] is explaining. Right? You can use those titles. Sometimes you can use those titles somewhat interchangeably. This is actually another evidence for the Adam-God Doctrine. If Michael is a title of God with God right in the name right there then you could call any of them by any of those titles without being incorrect.[2]

[1] I got it backwards.  Southern Kingdom called God “Elohim” while Northern Kingdom called God “Jehovah” according to Documentary Hypothesis.

[2] It should be noted that El means “god” in Hebrew.  Therefore the name Michael could be written as Micha-El, which includes El (God) as part of Michael’s name.

Benjamin talks further about how the Documentary Hypothesis might support the idea that Laban was helping put together the Torah under King Josiah.  What do you think of his explanation?  We’ll also talk about how Christ’s Church deals with evangelicals who like to ambush Mormons at places like the Manti Pageant over the Adam-God doctrine.  Check out our conversation….

Mormons believe Elohim & Jehovah are 2 different beings, while the Documentary Hypothesis says Elohim & Jehovah are 2 names for the same god.