I’m looking for a hard-headed Mormon.

I want to see if there is a way to explain the Evangelical view of salvation in terms that a Mormon would both agree with and adopt as their own.  I want a hard-headed mormon because i want to make it clear that I am not trying to convert anybody from Mormonism. I want somebody who has no fear of being converted away from the Church. (Being hard-headed myself, I don’t yet see why conversion from the LDS Church is necessary to be saved in the Evangelical sense.)

Ultimately my goal is to clearly and simply explain the Evangelical view of salvation in terms that Mormons would feel comfortable teaching their children. So, obviously,  I expect it to be more of a cooperative exercise than antagonistic to the Church in any way. It may involve vetting whatever we come up with in this forum for Evangelical feedback.  I am happy to protect the anonymity of anybody who is willing to contribute their opinions in a public way.

If you are such a hard-headed Mormon, and are at all interested, text or call me at at 8 5 8- 2 1 2-8 0 5 8. or email me at jaredcoleman100@gmail.com

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16 thoughts on “I’m looking for a hard-headed Mormon.

  1. Jared said, “I don’t yet see why conversion from the LDS Church is necessary to be saved in the Evangelical sense.”

    I don’t either. However, I tried to put salvation in terms a Mormon would be satisfied with. I can’t. If the Restoration isn’t in there, they’re not going to be happy with it, right?

  2. Thanks Eric, I’ve seen that talk, I think its a sound approach, I still have my doubts about how effective it is the context of other LDS teachings. I believed in grace in a similar way as a mormon, but I think an understanding of sin is missing.

    I think many in the church are moving in that direction, I originally read that talk reprinted in the magazine of the BYU Education department.

  3. Re-reading the talk has given me quite a bit to think about. Conceptually it is quite good, but that talk, and those like it, did not really help me overcome the deeper intuitions that kept me from seeing the light earlier. I might have to write a bit more about my own conversion experience to explain what I am looking for.

  4. If the Restoration isn’t in there, they’re not going to be happy with it, right?

    I think that is correct, I think we have to explain and rehabilitate the salvation Evangelicals experience within the Restoration narrative. “Seeing the light” for me involved rethinking the Great Apostasy and getting a better understanding the historical development of Trinitarian Christianity. I think rehabilitating the original LDS concept of election as well as fleshing out what the Great Apostasy really means is part of the process. Also, I think any teaching has to be almost entirely compatible with Joseph Smith’s teachings in order to work. In some sense I think Joseph Smith has to be re-characterized from a mere hero and saint into a broken, but saved, sinner.

  5. “Also, I think any teaching has to be almost entirely compatible with Joseph Smith’s teachings in order to work. In some sense I think Joseph Smith has to be re-characterized from a mere hero and saint into a broken, but saved, sinner.”

    How does one do this? Is this possible, at least within the context of traditional Christianity and its concept of God.

  6. I am not quite sure the best way of explaining this. My question for Evangelicals is: Is it possible that Joseph Smith was a saved Christian, could he be in heaven despite his heresy?

  7. is it possible? Yes, but he had to have acknowledged the correct God through Jesus Christ before his death. In my opinion, his actions and other statements before his death make it seem unlikely he would have done so. However, I do not, nor can I ever, know his heart. All I can see is what he did and what he said.

  8. I don’t know either, but the facts seem to leave a lot of room for that possibility:

    If you go back to his first vision, he explained that he read the bible, and then prayed to the Lord for his soul and received the answer that his sins were forgiven. He was a child, and by most accounts, didn’t understand theology or the Bible enough to distinguish between heretical and non-heretical conceptions of God. He came away believing that his sins were forgiven. It seems that most likely he was sincere in his search for salvation, and he was looking to the God of the Bible to save him.

  9. I am not trying to be obstinate, just offering an alternate point of view:

    At 14, how much of a child was he?

    And many people read the Bible and come up with very wrong conclusions. Sincerity on believing sins are forgiven is hardly proof they were forgiven. As a defense attorney, surely you know that belief in innocence is hardly proof of innocence.

    He may have been very sincere, but many of his actions and statements indicate he was heretical. His church that he created denies the very person of Jesus.

    Just another way to look at him, I suppose.

  10. I am pretty sure it will be difficult to prove out Smith’s original teachings. I have been floored by the disparity in Mormon thought. These different theologies and philosophies in Mormonism aren’t just from a liberal conservative view, like you would but from any mainline denomination but come from real fundamental differences, with each arguing from the authority of Smith.

  11. For what it is worth, FLDS, the likes of Warren Jeffs, claim they are more like the original LDS church than the Salt Lake City LDS church.

    There is truth to the idea that Smith’s original teachings have led to vastly different present day theologies.

  12. Slowcowboy,

    I think it is important to understand that there are actually tens of thousands of different theologies, theology is nearly completely unsystematic in the LDS sphere. The LDS believe their relationship with God is about their covenants, and their spiritual knowledge, not the correct statement of theology.

  13. I think part of my goal is to carve out a theology that I can teach to my kids that allows for an understanding of the Evangelical view of salvation. LDS theology is actually up for grabs until new revelation on these question comes. Most of these questions are left alone by the leadership, the counsel of President Monson to temple leaders is to not go into these mysteries, and stick to a basic understanding of the covenants and personal spirituality.

  14. Is it possible that Joseph Smith was a saved Christian, could he be in heaven despite his heresy?

    For the last 100 years or so Evangelicals have given too much deference to questions like this. A better question would be “was Joseph Smith a true disciple of Christ?” Figuring out the low bar on salvation it counter-productive to Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven.

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