Counting the Cost of Discipleship (notes from my underground)

I was looking through my journal and saw some thoughts I wrote down three years ago, I wrote these before sinking into a very dim atheism, this entry was part of my last effort to hang on to the Christianity I had when I was LDS. I think I was grasping at whether it made sense at all to consider ourselves Christian disciples.  Now I realize that it does not make sense to even to attempt Christian discipleship without more than a mere belief that you believe in Christ – a state of grace is necessary. I open them up for discussion to reveal something about how many faithful Mormons see the task of discipleship:

My Journal, September 1, 2012:  Pascal mentions that things are different for Christians now because primitive Christians had to devote themselves to the kingdom of heaven, to forsake all safety and security, in essence, to throw their lives away.  Becoming a Christian was about throwing your life away. It would destroy your career prospects, make you an enemy of the state, risk all of your life and property. It meant a hell of a lot.  What this tells me is that Christianity is simply not for everybody.  We simply cannot expect people to be Christians like this. It’s a very difficult task. But its always marvelous when we do see people approach life with this sort of abandon. Continue reading

We Pretenders

When I was a kid, I loved to pretend.  My life was filled with forts, guns, armies, horses, dragons, talking animals, magic swords, and space armadas.  You didn’t have to point out to me that I was pretending, I was doing it on purpose.

Jesus pointed out the pretenders who did not seem to know they were pretending. To the Romans he pointed out that they were merely pretending to be the masters of the world. In fact, the Kingdom of God was in our midst and held sway over what mattered.  To those pretending to be good, he said there is no good but God.  To those pretending to honor the temple of God, he dealt a beating.  To those pretending to be his disciples, he exposed as denyers, betrayers, and court jesters. Jesus was God who pretended to be a man and–in the end–He exposed this pretense as well.

Few would disagree that those who follow Jesus only pretend to.   The Old Testament teaches us that we are foolish and pretending children to a Perfect Father who has given us his law, the New teaches us that we are all fallen and lost, incapable of following the law God gave–we can only pretend. The Book of Mormon teaches that when it comes to obedience, we are less than we are not the dust of the earth, only pretending to be submissive. Joseph Smith taught that our compliance and authority is often–because of our nature and disposition–simply pretense to fulfill our pride and hide our sins. Jesus’ apostles made it clear that Jesus was the Christ, we merely pretend to be Christians. Paul taught that whatever we are of Christ is not us, but Christ in us.

Ironically, Christians also like to point out pretenders.

Continue reading

Jesus and the Mayans

A new reader, Mike, has posted a couple of comments that have just been spinning around in my head (sorry Mike, don’t mean to be picking on you). I thought it would be worth discussing each in it’s own thread.

In relation to pictures of Mayan temples being displayed in conjunction to the Book of Mormon, Mike said:

As far as the Mayan temples, Hugh, I think you’re mistaken. Mayans were not Jews. They did not live the law of Moses. My understanding is that those temples have nothing to do with Mormonism or Christianity of Judaism. Tim, I can’t try to explain the voice-over. My best attempt is to say that they were using it for visual affect, but it was probably ill-advised since it was obviously misleading. Let me just say that I’ve never heard it taught in church that the Mayan temples were in any way comparable to Mormon temples, or ancient Hebrew temples either. I’m no Mormon scholar so perhaps someone will correct me, but that’s my understanding.

Original post here

What started to puzzle me about that comment was that it wasn’t just this one presentation where I’ve been told that Mayan temples were related to the Book of Mormon. I’ve had numerous missionaries tell me the same. The LDS church certainly doesn’t have total control over what missionaries say, so I can’t necessarily hold that over the entire church.

But the church does control the publication of the Book of Mormon. I opened up my copy this morning and found this picture.
Jesus - Nephites
If the church doesn’t teach that Mayan temples are related to the Book of Mormon why is this picture in the Book of Mormon?