Disputed doctrines

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The disputed doctrines within Mormonism are those set of beliefs that are not nailed down in Mormon theology. In other words, no official stance has been taken on these doctrines as they continue to be worked out. Taking a glance at the development of Mormon theology sheds light on the many debates that are often present in LDS theological talk. Although the LDS church has a modern day prophet, they seem to struggle on what is official doctrine. Although some things have been set in stone, other beliefs - fundamental ones at that - seem to be up for grabs. The list below should shed light on these disputed doctrines, coming oddly enough from a church whose members so often criticize Christians for the many denominations found within Protestantism.


[edit] God's knowledge

The standard Mormon view of God's knowledge is as follows:

"Latter-day Saints also attribute omnipotence and omniscience to the Father. He knows all things relative to the universe in which mortals live and is himself the source and possessor of all true power manifest in it." -Encyclopedia of Mormonism (emphasis added)

In this definition, "omniscience" is given non-traditional meaning. Beyond this definition, there is some significant disagreement:

"Latter-day Saints differ among themselves in their understanding of the nature of God´s knowledge. Some have thought that God increases endlessly in knowledge as well as in glory and dominion. Others hold to the more traditional view that God´s knowledge, including the foreknowledge of future free contingencies, is complete." [1]

Most Mormons agree that God was not eternally omniscient--that is, what he knows now he had to learn.

[edit] External links

[edit] Necessity of plural marriage for exaltation

LDS leaders such as Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Joseph Fielding Smith, Orson Pratt, and George Q. Cannon taught that participation in polygyny was necessary for exaltation unto godhood, either practiced here in this lifetime or in the Millennial reign of Christ to come. This in part comes from the belief that "the glory of God consists in the number of His posterity..." (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, vol. I, p. 116)

Brigham Young, for example, said:

"The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessing offered unto them, and they refused to accept them." ("Beneficial Effects of Polygamy", Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269).
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned." ("Plurality of Wives-The Free Agency of Man", Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 266).

This is another point of disputation within Mormonism, as not all agree with it.

[edit] Natural conception (or "siring") of Christ

"We believe that our spiritual conception was sexual just as we believe that Christ's mortal conception was." -Robert A. Rees [2]

"As startling and offensive as it sounds, Mormon leaders have consistently taught that Jesus Christ was physically begotten by God the Father, who they teach possesses a physical body." [3] This stems from the Mormon teachings that all spirit is really a finer matter, that the Holy Spirit did not beget Jesus (contra the Bible), and that Christ's status of "only-begotten" refers to his real lineage from the Father and Mary. It is commonly supported by appealing to excerpts from Bruce McConkie, Orson Pratt, James E. Talmage, Ezra Taft Benson, Henry D. Taylor, and especially Brigham Young. For example, Brigham Young said that,

"The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood--was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." (Journal of Discourses 8:115)
See main page: Conception of Jesus

[edit] Marriage of Jesus

Many LDS leaders have taught, as most Mormons still believe today (though not all), that Jesus was married while on earth to at least one wife.

"[T]he great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a Polygamist ... God the Father had a plurality of wives ... The Son followed the example of his Father ... both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time." (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 172)
"While it is correct that several early Church leaders, primarily in the mid-Nineteenth Century, agreed with various non-Mormon Bible scholars that Jesus Christ was married, that belief has never been accepted as official Church doctrine." -Stephen R. Gibson (Mormon) [4]
See main page: Marital status of Jesus

[edit] Book of Mormon archaeology

Most Mormon apologists and many laymen, in response to DNA research, BoM demographics, and the Native American traditions (which do not correlate with the Book of Mormon), hold to a "limited" geographical model.

"[O]nce you say there were other people here, you say: OK, where were the Nephites, and how many more people were here. We have all kinds of other DNA signatures to worry about all of a sudden. It may be that we never find any Hebrew DNA (whatever that looks like) in the New World. ... But if we do find some, that's fine; if we don't find some, that's fine too. There's no way that negative evidence on that hurts the Book of Mormon whatsoever once you believe in a limited geography. If you believe in a global geography, you're basically done, toasted, game over." -John Clark (Professor of Anthropology and Director of the New World Archeological Foundation, BYU) [5]

Others hold to the traditional achaeological model of the Book of Mormon. This is either held as a traditional belief, or in appeal to the Mormon organization's historic, consistent stance (from the beginning for over 100 years) on the Native Americans as Lamanites. Also of interest to those who hold this position is an incident where a group with Smith came upon bones, which Smith prophectically declared to belong to a white Lamanite named Zelph who had fought a great battle for the Nephites. [6] [7]

See main page: Book of Mormon

[edit] Jehovah/Elohim

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[edit] Sinlessness of Jesus

"But while he was tabernacling in the flesh, he was more or less contaminated with fallen nature. While he was here, in a body that his mother Mary bore him, he was more or less connected with and influenced by this nature that we have received. According to the flesh, he was the seed of Adam and Eve, and suffered the weaknesses and temptations of his fellow mortals" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:95-96).

[edit] Perfection in this life

Some LDS leaders have taught that moral perfection was possible in this life (cf. 'Miracle of Forgiveness', by Spencer W. Kimball), while the more modern, neo-orthodox attitude is that it is impossible.

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[edit] Progression between kingdoms

Although Mormon authority figures have clearly rejected the idea that persons may progress upward from one heavenly kingdom to another, many Mormons still hold to this.

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[edit] See also

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