The Tumble Outta Eden

Genesis 3: The Fall of Man

So, reading about the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, this is what I was thinking about and focusing on.

In vs. 16, Eve is given the consequences of eating the fruit.  Specifically, God says that He will “greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Continue reading

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My Comments on a Twilight Review

One of my incredible friends (who I can only hope is a real person and not just a hairy man named Fred since I haven’t actually met her in person) asked my opinion about this blog post discussing the Twilight books and their relation to Mormonism. Here were my comments to her:

First, I should say that the stuff I found relevant to Mormonism does not appear to be the same stuff that this woman is finding, but then, I don’t usually read to go searching for the symbolism or deeper meanings or stuff in books, but read for the sheer pleasure of getting lost in the story.

Her points:
1. Deification. I can see where that’s coming from. While most Mormons will be hesitant to call it deification, it is a principle of the church that a person who dies can become like God–meaning a god also. I think that there is not a lot of clarity about whether you become as god-y as God, or if it’s like a lesser god type being. (Conner always interpreted it as Jesus becoming the God the Father of the next generation, and the normal people who attained celestial glory (what they call it) would just get to create their own worlds within the framework of Jesus being the God of all the worlds.)

2. Afterlife. It seems like a stretch to me.

3. Family – also a stretch. What mainstream group/culture isn’t mostly about the family unit? It’s not just Mormons who are glad that they have kids.

4. Celestial Marriage. This person’s doctrines are way off and not what Mormonism teach, nor really consistent internally (in that paragraph) or with what I find in the books. In Mormonism, you don’t get married temporally (outside of the temple, “till death do us part”), and then get married in the temple. You CAN, but they generally want you to get married in the temple if at all possible. (To the extent of me not having my family at my wedding.) It is true that men can be sealed to more than one woman. It is NOT consistent with current Mormon doctrine that a woman could be sealed to more than one man, ever. In other words, Mormonism leaves the door open for possibly polygamy, but not polyandry. I don’t remember in the book–did they have another ceremony to bind them for eternity?

5. Bella as the Christ figure. I can kind of see that… I guess. But is that about Mormonism, or a hyperbolic presentation of childbirth and motherhood in general? And she wasn’t a virgin when she got pregnant, which isn’t very Mary-like. Also, regarding the doctrine that God had a physical union with Mary to get her pregnant… like many of the old ideas in Mormonism, this came from Brigham Young (who is, in my opinion, unQUESTIONably the most controversial prophet). He certainly said it (or said something like “Jesus was conceived in the usual fashion” or something), but does that make it doctrine? Well, what makes something doctrine is one of the sticky widgets in Mormonism and could stand for its own debate. There are many things that Brigham Young taught and specifically said that they were doctrine and plain and precious truths and not to ever be denied… that the church no longer teaches and disavows completely (not by saying that Brigham Young was wrong or didn’t say it, but by becoming apologetics or by ignoring it completely). FWIW, I think that it’s generally understood that you follow what the current prophet says, even if it’s different than what a prior prophet said. I had trouble with this when it came to factual things that shouldn’t change based on who is prophet.

6. Uh, this isn’t about Mormonism at all, really. Nor is it especially coherent lol.

7. Native Americans: Also a stretch. I think it took place where it did because vampires who were going to make a permanent settlement wouldn’t go to Miami Beach. As for the Native Americans being the wise ones or whatever, that’s a common practice in many American authors–sage native people? I don’t think it’s a hearkening to the Book of Mormon.

8. As for imprinting on children–I also found this disturbing in the novel (the idea of it in general), but I am hyper sensitive to child sexual abuse/stuff like that. I thought that given the weirdness, she did a decent job with it. This blogger did not connect it to Mormonism, and Mormons have no doctrines about mating with children. Granted, creepy fundamentalist weirdos who live on compounds probably take on 14 year old wives or whatever, but that’s not mainstream Mormonism, and would be something that Stephenie Meyer probably finds disturbing as well.

Then, this blogger says something about reaching the “upper echelon” of Mormonism. This is total bull and there is no such thing. It’s not like you are going along and all of a sudden one day you go to a special meeting where they say, “ok, so, God and Mary? Actual sex. Cool, huh? And polygamy? Yeah, we did that. Possibly will again in the future after you die, or whatever.” Nope, doesn’t happen. I hate it when people say stuff like that. There is plenty to criticize about the church without making crap up. Plus, it’s totally condescending to tell someone that they aren’t privy to the doctrines of their own church while this outsider knows so much more than them.

So, that’s my response to the blogger.

Bible Challenge

Conner and I have challenged ourselves to read the entire New Testament before the year ends.

A couple of years ago, when we were active LDS members, the president of the church challenged all its members to read the Book of Mormon before year end. This was done in August, I believe. Conner and I both began in September, or maybe October. And we both finished with a couple of days to spare. (It is possible that I skipped some of the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi, but who can blame me?)

I found the whole process to be quite spiritually rewarding. At the time, I believed that the BoM was God’s word. I believed I was following a prophet’s directive. And I was doing my best to be the best that I could be. I would read the BoM on the subway on my way to or from work (usually not both, because I wanted to be able to knit on the train too). I wound up thinking about what I was reading about throughout the day, and making connections between the stories that I wouldn’t have noticed with a slower read through.

I’m hoping that our current challenge will have a similar positive effect. If nothing else, it will make me more familiar with the Bible, as I haven’t read all of the NT before. I’m currently reading The Message paraphrase. At some point I’ll probably get a Bible study (any recommendations? Why did you or didn’t you like what you used?). I also hope that reading it will have some of the transformative power to make me a better person. And, probably most important, I hope that it will help me draw closer to Jesus.

I’ve started with the Gospel of Mark. There are two reasons for this. First, at church they’ve been doing a sermon series on the Gospel of Mark. Second, I’ve often decided to read the entire NT, and started at Matthew… and stopped within Matthew.