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On Sunday, two young women came to our front door. I knew they were missionary types as soon as I saw them, but I always strive to be polite to proselyters because that's how I hope others will treat LDS missionaries.

I opened the door and listened while they introduced themselves. It turns out the premise of their message and church is the existence of a Heavenly Mother. When I told them I already hold that belief, they said, "You've found scriptural proof for that in the Bible?" As if to challenge me for agreeing with them. The stumper was that at that moment, I had no idea where the doctrinal background lies for the LDS belief in a Heavenly Mother. The only thing I could think of off the top of my head was a hymn that we sing on a regular basis:

In the heavens are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare.
Truth is reason: truth eternal
tells me I've a mother there.


I didn't share it with them, though. I just assured them that I shared their belief. They invited me to their church, gave me a card and went on their merry way. I wonder how much opposition they experience because of this belief? Chris and I got to talking about it last night and before I knew it he was researching all sorts of early LDS doctrine, wanting to have a deep conversation about it well past midnight (I pretty much shut down at midnight on the dot. I get grouchy about being kept awake.)

But he did pose an interesting question, in thinking about the church's stance on evolution. Many LDS scholars feel that the gist lies in the answer to this question: Was death present on the earth before the Fall of Adam?

Opinions?

Date: 2010-09-28 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themenow.livejournal.com
Death before the fall of Adam...

I don't know. If we only look at Creationism, I'd have to say no. But if we look at Evolution then yes.

It's strange. I don't often think about Adam and Eve as being part of my belief system. Let me try this again: I more or less understand Adam and Eve's particular story (not the Creation story) to be a morality lesson. Listen to God. But as a whole story, Creationism, just doesn't fit for me.

I believe there is a mash up of Creationism and Evolution but that being a human I will never understand the complete picture. I'm okay with that. I believe God created the earth and the universe and the galaxies, etc., but I'm not sure about the primordial ooze. But why not?

I figure when I die I'll either learn about the mysteries of the world or I won't care because I'll be in the presence of God and that kind of thing won't matter any more.

This should be interesting - I hope other people respond. I'd like to read what they think.

Date: 2010-09-29 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mysteena.livejournal.com
Your stance is basically the one the LDS church has officially taken as well: it is pertinant to our eternal salvation to understand how creationism/evolution/Adam/Death all fit together. I hope to understand it one day, though.

Date: 2010-09-28 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] polgaramalfoy.livejournal.com
Hmmm. From a non-LDS perspective: I think it depends on whether one subscribes to the Gap Theory of creation.

The Gap Theory is that there is an undetermined amount of time between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2, and that the account in Genesis 1 is actually a re-Creation after the end of a previous era. There is some implicit support for this theory elsewhere in the Bible, and if I understand its proponents correctly, the earth prior to Genesis 1:2 was home to the angels. This theory seems also to support the fossil record better than a Young Earth Creationism theory.

The older I get, and the more I read, the more I tend to think that the Gap Theory has validity. It doesn't make much difference to my faith - I still believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and that HOW He did so is more or less irrelevant - but it also would leave room for death prior to Adam's Fall.

I would be interested to know what LDS doctrine does say about a Heavenly Mother, so if it's something you can share, please do so. :-)

Date: 2010-09-29 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mysteena.livejournal.com
I'll be glad to share more about Heavenly Mother...I'll write about it tomorrow after I can do a little research. I want to be able to provide sources :)

Date: 2010-09-29 12:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themenow.livejournal.com
It doesn't make much difference to my faith - I still believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and that HOW He did so is more or less irrelevant - but it also would leave room for death prior to Adam's Fall.

That's exactly how I feel. The How isn't as important to me as it is that He did.

I've never heard of the Gap Theory, it sounds really cool. I know that there are some really orthodox sects of the multitudes of Christian faith that believe that those seven days in Genesis really meant 7 days and that there were no dinosaurs. I just can't believe that. I think our earth has has tremendous changes and all kinds of creatures have walked this planet all created by God.

Date: 2010-09-29 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] polgaramalfoy.livejournal.com
The Institute for Creation Research has some very interesting ideas. Years ago, I attended a seminar they put on, and their theory (backed up by some science I can't remember) is that when God created the earth, there was a hydrogen canopy (the "firmament" in Gen. 1). This canopy had all sorts of interesting properties, including an increase in air pressure similar to that of the oxygen chambers we use in medicine now. The pressure would super-oxygenate the blood, which not only provided for faster healing, but would also explain how the dinosaurs could survive with those enormous bodies and relatively small lungs. The theory is that the Flood destroyed that canopy, and that the dinosaurs died out afterward, because they couldn't breathe in the lighter atmosphere.

They're famous for preserving a site where human footprints are found inside dinosaur footprints, which completely contradicts the idea that dinos died out millenia before humans arrived.

Date: 2010-09-29 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themenow.livejournal.com
I was about to say: Dinos and humans weren't around together; but from what you wrote it's amazing to think that maybe they were!

This is some really cool stuff! I love that there is a combination of science and faith and not a separation of the two, an us against them kind of thing.

Date: 2010-09-29 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] polgaramalfoy.livejournal.com
I think that people who think that science and faith contradict each other probably don't have a good understanding of either. If one truly believes that God created the universe, then all science will do is show us the mysteries and possibly explain the mechanics of some of them. My God is not threatened by science. He doesn't demand blind faith; He encourages intelligent, educated faith. There shouldn't be a separation of science from faith.

Date: 2010-09-29 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themenow.livejournal.com
Exactly! That is exactly what I believe too!

Date: 2010-09-29 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mortuus.livejournal.com
I'm pretty much an evolutionist, so yeah, I believe there was death before the Fall. But if tomorrow the Lord revealed that there wasn't, I'd be okay with changing my mind :-)

The "Further reading" section of this leads to all sorts of interesting stuff: http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_science/Death_before_the_Fall

Date: 2010-09-29 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mysteena.livejournal.com
Thanks for providing that link. I did find the "further reading" very interesting, particularly the Hugh Nibley quote on the Pre-Adamite page. Very, very interesting.

Date: 2010-09-29 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themenow.livejournal.com
Wait, I have one big question: When we're talking about death, does that mean death to humans or to animals/fishes/birds etc?

Oh it's too early this morning for this in depth, but very, very cool, discussion.

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