So I was thumbing through my stats just now and found a blog that had referred a visitor to me. The blog is called Mormon Blogosphere. I was intrigued so I went for a little looksee and found myself under the Liberal/Fringe Elements.
This appears to be the brain child of Frank Bruno, a member of the LDS Church who is taking Elder M. Russell Ballard’s admonition to “further the work of the Lord by joining the ongoing conversation about the Church” online very seriously. It appears to have begun as one large aggregate blog and has now expanded into several.
Back to this Liberal/Fringe Element thing. Though I consider myself conservative, my views may appear to some as liberal/fringe. I’m okay with that. The Prophet Joseph was considered a liberal/fringe thinker for his day.
Now, before some of you scream heresy, hear me out. Look at just a few things that were revealed in the latter-days via the Prophet:
- The Book of Mormon
- God the Father and Jesus Christ are two, separate beings. “… I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me…. When the light rested upon meI saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him. (JS-History 1:16-17)
- “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the son also….” (D&C 130:22)
- There are three kingdoms or degrees in heaven. (D&C 76)
- The ordinances of Baptism for the Dead and the sealing of families together through the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood. (D&C 128)
- Man has the potential to become like God (King Follett Discourse):
In the first place, I wish to go back to the beginning–to the Creation. That is the starting point if we are to be fully acquainted with the mind, the purposes, and the decrees of the great Elohim who sits in yonder heavens. We must have an understanding of God himself in the beginning. If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, it is a hard matter to get right.
There are very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. They do not comprehend that which is past or that which is to come; and consequently they know but little above the brute beast. If a man learns nothing more than to eat, drink, and sleep and does not comprehend any of the designs of God, he is equal only to the beast, who comprehends the same things: it eats, drinks, sleeps, and knows nothing more; yet it knows as much as we, unless we are able to comprehend by the inspiration of Almighty God.
I want to go back to the beginning and so lift your minds into a loftier sphere, a more exalted understanding than what the human mind generally understands. I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in his own heart what kind of a being God is. What kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, communed with him? Here is the question, perhaps, that will from this time forth occupy your attention. The apostle [John] says, “This is life eternal”–to know God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. If any man, not knowing what kind of a being God is, inquires to know if the declaration of the apostle is true–and searches diligently his own heart–he will admit that he has not eternal life; for there can be no eternal life on any other principle.
My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and if I should be the man to comprehend him and to explain or convey his principles to your hearts so that the spirit seals it upon you, let every man and woman henceforth put his hand on his mouth and never say anything against the man of God again. But if I fail, it becomes my duty to renounce all my pretensions to revelations and inspirations. And if all [religious teachers] pretend to know God, they will be as bad off as I am, at any rate. There is not a man but who would breathe out an anathema if he knew I was a false prophet….But if any man is authorized to take away my life because he says I am a false teacher, then upon the same principle I am authorized to take away the life of every false teacher, and where would be the end of blood? And who would not be the sufferer? But no man is authorized to take away life because of a difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate, right or wrong….
I want you all to know God, to be familiar with him. And if I can bring you to him, all persecutions against me will cease; you will know that I am his servant, for I speak as one having authority. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear all ye ends of the earth; for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and I am going to tell you the designs of God for the human race and why he interferes with the affairs of man.
First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heaven, is a man like one of you. That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today and you were to see the great God who holds this world in its orbit and upholds all things by his power, you would see him in the image and very form of a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God. He received instruction from and walked, talked, and conversed with him as one man talks and communes with another.
… In order to understand the subject of the dead for the consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary they should understand the character and being of God; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. [That he was not is an idea] incomprehensible to some. But it is the simple and first principle of the gospel-to know for a certainty the character of God, that we may converse with him as one man with another….
Thus you learn some of the first principles of the gospel, about which so much hath been said. When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom and go on until you learn the last principle; it will be a great while before you have learned the last. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it is a great thing to learn salvation beyond the grave. I suppose I am not allowed to go into an investigation of anything that is not contained in the Bible. And I think there are many “wise men” here who would put me to death for treason; so I shall turn commentator today.
When we begin to learn in this way, we begin to learn the only true God and what kind of a being we have got to worship. When we know how to come to him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us and tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.
Now I ask all who hear me why the learned men who are preaching salvation say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. The reason is they are unlearned. They account it blasphemy to contradict the idea; they will call you a fool….The Holy Ghost within me comprehends more than all the world, and I will associate with him. The word create came from the word baurau; it does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize, the same as a man would organize materials to build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos–chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element are principles that can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized but not destroyed.
I have another subject to dwell upon. It is impossible for me to say everything I would like to say about it, but I shall touch upon it; time will not permit me to say all. I am referring to the resurrection of the dead–that is, the soul, the mind of man, the immortal spirit. All men say God created it in the beginning. The very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it all ye ends of the world, for God has told me so. Before I get through, I will make a man appear a fool if he doesn’t believe it. I am going to tell of things more noble.
We say that God himself is a self-existing God. Who told you so? It is correct enough, but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? (Refers to the old Bible.) How does it read in the Hebrew? It doesn’t say so in the Hebrew; it says God made man out of the earth and put into him Adam’s spirit, and so he became a living body.
The mind of man is as immortal as God himself. I know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their friends and relatives are separated from their bodies for only a short season; their spirits existed coequal with God, and they now exist in a place where they converse together, the same as we do on the earth. Is it logic to say that a spirit is immortal and yet has a beginning? Because if a spirit has a beginning, it will have an end. That is good logic. I want to reason further on the spirit of man, for I am dwelling on the spirit and body of man–on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man, the immortal spirit, because it has no beginning. Suppose I cut it in two; as the Lord lives, because it has a beginning, it would have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation who say that man had a beginning prove that he must have an end. If that were so, the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself. Intelligence exists upon a self-existent principle; it is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. Moreover, all the spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible to enlargement.
Is this not considered part of the “fringe element?” If so then I am happy to be associated with it. Thank you for linking me to your aggregator, Mr. Bruno.