Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How atheism has helped me

In church on Sunday (oh, I should mention that I am talking about my UU church [I haven't been a Mormon for over 4 years]), the sermon got me thinking about how I don't need to be comforted so much anymore. It seems like when I was a believing Mormon, I was so often struggling (trying to feel closer to the Lord, trying to become more valiant and faithful, more assurance from God that he was pleased with me, trying to understand the meaning of my adversities, or understand why God was testing me in a certain way or what he was trying to teach me, wondering why God wasn't helping me more despite me doing all that I could to qualify for his help, struggling with being stretched so thin by all my callings and responsibilities, etc). Due to all my struggling, I was so often delving into the depths of my soul to find comfort (and answers). I prayed so sincerely and often to my Father in Heaven. Occasionally, I would feel close to Him, feel hope through Him and comforted by Him. But, those were but moments in a sea of struggling as outlined above.

When I first quit believing in god, I occasionally missed my "sky daddy", missed the illusion that someone was up there that cared about me and my life and was powerful enough to help, if he would. But, I would remind myself that it had always been just an illusion, that he had never been there even when I was a believer. I had found a way to make it through the hard times then without his help, so I could make it through now without his help as I always had, except this time believing he isn't there.

But, now, I find that I don't struggle very often at all anymore. I don't need to delve into the depths of my being that much anymore. I no longer struggle to feel closer to a Lord because I don't believe he exists anyway. I am no longer trying to become more valiant or faithful. I am no longer seeking the assurance that a god is pleased with me. I no longer try to understand the meaning or purpose of my tough times, because I don't believe there is any purpose or meaning to them. They just are what they are, and I just have to deal with them. Life makes so much more sense when one is no longer searching for divine meaning in them. And it is a relief. There is no lesson God wants me to learn because in all likelihood there is no god. I don't have to wonder why a loving god isn't helping me out. I am no longer stretched too thin by church callings and responsibilities because I am not automatically obligated to serve the church and magnify my priesthood. I get to choose how involved I want to be with no guilt for not being totally active and involved.

It is a huge relief to no longer bear the weight of all that stuff. I didn't even realize how heavy all that was to carry until I took it off. I feel a lot better because of it. I still enjoy feeling what I formerly called the "Spirit". I have gotten to the point where I can pretty much produce those feelings on demand whenever I want to, but I find I don't need to comfort myself that often anymore. Atheism has been good for me and my wife. I understand that it may not be for everyone, but it really works well for us.

I am not atheist because it works for me. I am atheist because I believe that it is very unlikely that a god exists. The fact that it works for me is just a pleasant side-effect.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where I am politically

I took a test to measure where I am politically. http://www.politicalcompass.org/

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -3.88 (Left leaning on economic issues)
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.82 (Left leaning on social issues)

I line up with the Dali Lama and close to Ghandi.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Did Brigham Young Teach that Adam is the Biological Father of Jesus?

Here follows Brigham Young's early "lecture at the veil," excerpted from Elder Nuttall's Journal:

In the creation the Gods entered into an agreement about forming this earth. & putting Michael or Adam upon it. these things of which I have been speaking are what are termed the mysteries of godliness but they will enable you to understand the expression of Jesus made while in Jerusalem. This is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. We were once acquainited [acquainted] with the Gods & lived with them but we had the privilige of taking upon us flesh that the spirit might have a house to dwell in. we did so and forgot all and came into the world not recollecting anything of which we had previously learned. We have heard a great deal about Adam and Eve. how they were formed &c some think he was made like an adobie and the Lord breathed into him the breath of life. for we read "from dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return" Well he was made of the dust of the earth but not of this earth. he was made just the same way you and I are made but on another earth. Adam was an immortal being when he came. on this earth he had lived on an earth similar to ours he had received the Priesthood and the Keys thereof. and had been faithful in all things and gained his resurrection and his exaltation and was crowned with glory immortality and eternal lives and was numbered with the Gods for such he became through his faithfulness. and had begotten all the spirit that was to come to this earth. and Eve our common Mother who is the mother of all living bore those spirits in the celestial world. and when this earth was organized by Elohim. Jehovah & Michael who is Adam our common Father. Adam & Eve had the privilege to continue the work of Progression. consequently came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. and when Adam and those that assisted him had completed this Kingdom our earth he came to it. and slept and forgot all and became like an Infant child. it is said by Moses the historian that the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and took from his side a rib and formed the woman that Adam called Eve-this should be interpreted that the Man Adam like all other Men had the seed within him to propagate his species. but not the Woman. she conceives the seed but she does not produce it. consequently she was taken from the side or bowels of her father. this explains the mystery of Moses's dark sayings in regard to Adam and Eve. Adam & Eve when they were placed on this earth were immortal beings with flesh. bones and sinews. but upon partaking of the fruits of the earth while in the garden and cultivating the ground their bodies became changed from immortal to mortal beings with the blood coursing through their veins as the action of life. Adam was not under transgression until after he partook of the forbidden fruit that was nesesary that they might be together that man might be. the woman was found in trans-gression not the Man- Now in the law of Sacrifice we have the promise of a Savior and man had the privilege and showed forth his obedience by offering of the first fruits of the earth and the firstlings of the flocks- this as a showing that Jesus would come and shed his blood

[Four lines without any writing on them.]

Father Adam's oldest son (Jesus the Saviour) who is the heir of the family is Father Adams first begotten in the spirit World. who according to the flesh is the only begotten as it is written. (In his divinity he having gone back into the spirit World. and come in the spirit [glory] to Mary and she conceived for when Adam and Eve got through with their Work in this earth. they did not lay their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit World from whence they came.
I felt myself much blessed in being permitted to associate with such men and hear such instructions as they savored of life to me-

(Source: Journal of L. John Nuttall; BYU Special Collections; Pres. Brigham Young; delivered in St. George; Wed., Feb. 7, 1877. This was the first draft of the Lecture at the Veil. Brother L. John Nuttall was the private secretary to President Brigham Young until his (Brigham's) death in 1877. He then became the private secretary to President John Taylor (1879-1887) and again to President Wilford Woodruff (1887-1892)

"When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken--HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do...When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession. I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone.

It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael, these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.

Now remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost" (Journal of Discourses 1:50-51).

Other quotes

Mormonwiki

This thread is kind of a trial run to see what responses I get and how many quotes are necessary to establish my point. Eventually, I will rewrite this post as a double bind for TBM's. BY taught that one must believe the Adam-God doctrine or be damned. It was taught in conference and in the lecture at the veil by the then president and prophet of the church. If that ain't doctrine, then Mormons are pretty much free to question anything any prophet says no matter what the setting (which is what I want).

However, if then do resign themselves to believing it, then I can show how the later prophets declared it to be false doctrine and did not believe it and warned members against teaching it. So, if you believe Brigham then the later prophets must be damned and have apostacized from the truth. If the later prophets are right, then Brigham was teaching false doctrine, even in the temple, which means prophets can lead the people astray, which means the modern prophets might also lead us astray. Which means we are free to question them as well (which is what I want).

Policies, practices, even commandments can change, but doctrines are truths as they really are, were and will be, and as such can not change. Once a TBM is free to think for themselves and give themselves permission to view prophetic teachings with a skeptical eye, then they will be able to learn the truth about the church.

The Adam-God doctrine is unique in this ability to undermine absolute trust in the prophet's teachings.