Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Four Gods of Mormonism

October 08th, 2010 by G.

A new book argues, apparently based on survey data, that Americans have four different views of God’s character. He is either benevolent (he intervenes to make things nice for us), authoritative (he intervenes to bring us up short when we richly deserve it), critical (he takes note of what we do without actively intervening), or distant. Our political views are strangely shaped by our views on this question.

There’s something to it, I think. I believe that many fights among mezzo-intellectual Mormons in the Bloggernacle and elsewhere are shaped by pre-intellectual convictions about whether God is nice or whether He is, quite definitely, not a tame lion. (You can tell which side I’m on.)

Comments (7)
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October 08th, 2010 13:58:23

A. Nonny Mouse
October 8, 2010

I hereby declare “mezzo-intellectual Mormons in the Bloggernacle” to be an awesome phrase, and plan to use it more in my life 🙂

Jana H
October 8, 2010

Heh. That description was made of win.

October 8, 2010

Like Orwell and Thomas Sowell, I reject the label “intellectual.” Unlike the others, being so labeled has not actually been much of an issue for me up until now.

Since Christ is both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and The Lamb As It Had Been Slain, I think the different views of God’s character are likely to persist.

Chino Blanco
October 9, 2010

God is a mezzanine capitalist. But, yeah, it’s not just the Bloggernacle. We’re all mostly arguing in the margins and ignoring the pre-intellectual convictions that determine our arguments.

Adam G.
October 10, 2010

the Lion and the Lamb, yes. If only it were possible for mortals to comprehend that kind of wholeness.

October 11, 2010

The problem with self-proclaimed intellectuals in the ‘nacle isn’t whether their intellectualism is mezzo or not, it’s that intellectualism is not directly tied in with either intelligence or knowledge. Too many assume that educated = intelligent = knowledgeable. This is further complicated when someone falsely deduces “I’m (well-meaning,) educated, smart, and knowledgeable, therefore my opinions and decisions are correct.”

We are all blind ignorant fools before God.

October 11, 2010


If you have not read Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions, which has a whole chapter on intellectuals as an economic class, and which makes pretty much the same points, then you are in for a treat. I consider Knowledge and Decisions Sowell’s best work, though perhaps not his most influential (The Vision of the Anointed) or heartfelt (Black Rednecks and White Liberals).

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