Hoping to trap Jesus in his utterances, some of the shrewdest of his adversaries posed double-edged questions on political and rabbinic law. One group of Pharisees and Herodians asked him a most diabolic question:
“… Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth. …
“Tell us therefore, … Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” (Matt. 22:16–17.) If he were to answer yes, he would easily be accused of betraying his heritage among Abraham’s seed, the very group staggering under the oppression of Roman law. If he were to answer no, he would immediately be apprehended as a political agitator. He answered neither, but rather asked to be shown a coin by which such tribute money commonly was paid.
Holding the piece of money up to his accusers, he asked: “Whose is this image and superscription?” Of course, they answered as any child in the street could have: “It is Caesar’s.” With that single question he had taken command of the confrontation. He returned the coin saying: “… Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” (Matt. 22:20–21), as if to say: “The man’s name and picture are on the coin. Surely it belongs to him. Please be kind enough to return it to its rightful owner.”
Brilliantly he had destroyed the ploy of his oppressors, but that was never his true mission or desire. These, too, were sons of God. These, too, were among those he came to save. He feared for them and loved them even in their malice. As they turned away he added a plea: “… and [render] unto God the things that are God’s.” As the coin bore the image of Caesar, so these and all men bore the image of God, their Heavenly Father. They had been created by him in the likeness of his image, and Jesus was to provide a way for them to return to him. Yet, “When they heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.” (Matt. 22:21–22.)
The story of Adam and Eve, Mormonly understood, makes a mockery of the idea of salvation under the Law.
The standard Christian view is that Adam and Eve were given a strict commandment not to eat the fruit, the Serpent tricked them into eating it, so God in his anger cast them out of Eden. The Mormon view is that Adam and Eve were given two commandments which could not both be fulfilled, so one (don’t eat the fruit), had to give way to the higher one (multiply and replenish the Earth). Adam fell that men might be.
Elder Oaks explained, more clearly than I can ever hope to, the Mormon belief that what Adam and Eve did was a “transgression,” not a “sin”:
For reasons that have not been revealed, this transition, or “fall,” could not happen without a transgression—an exercise of moral agency amounting to a willful breaking of a law (see Moses 6:59). This would be a planned offense, a formality to serve an eternal purpose.
The obvious theological objection to our doctrine would be: “God is perfect and perfectly just, so why would he give a commandment knowing that it could not be fulfilled? How is that fair?” As Elder Oaks says, the need for such a transgression has never been fully explained, and I admit that this one used to bug me a little when I was younger. Eventually I shrugged it off; it was a one-off deal, so why think too hard about it?
Then I served a mission, got married, had kids, and realized that God gives impossible commandments all the time. (more…)
Glory is merited praise. Glory is the love we offer God, that He deserves. Glory is also the love God offers us because of what we have done. “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Glory is conditional love, as opposed to unconditional love. God offers both.
Glory is righteous pride. (more…)
Elder Tuttle’s talk at the October 1973 General Conference makes good reading. The Role of Fathers, it is called.
It is wonderful to read unvarnished truths from a time when the enemy camp we live in wasn’t quite so hostile to their free expression.
Properly organized in the Church, the father is the patriarch of an eternal family unit. Heaven, to us, will be simply an extension of an ideal home.
I think the basic instinct in favour of a truly female balancing influence on spiritual life is correct (including the criticisms of this being lacking in Christianity) – although the usual materialist way this feminine impulse has come through into current culture is perversely opposite to what is needed; and has made things vastly and intractably worse.
-thus Bruce Charlton.
Don’t know that I agree. Certainly the feminization of the churches is real, as is the fact that women have higher activity rates in religions than men, even in our fairly masculine church.
But perhaps the problem is that the churches are feminizing for women, instead of feminizing for men. A big attraction of the institution of marriage is the way it introduces femininity into a man’s life, while still letting him be masculine. Even while enhancing his masculinity.
One of my best friends passed away last week.
I’m twenty-nine years old, and up until last week, I was immortal.
. . . .
Of course we all showed up to the funeral, and when I saw the rest of the group, I couldn’t hide my grief anymore, because how could I hide from them what we in particular shared?
Why did this hit us so hard? It didn’t impact any of our careers. None of us were dependent on him for anything.
What I miss from my friend is the opportunity to trust and be trusted, to serve and be served, to honor and be honored.
–thus SPDI. A moving and thoughtful post.
The following are from a talk by President Faust, Happiness is Having a Father who Cares, from the Friday morning session of the October 1973 general conference:
I sat by a federal agent at my work cafeteria yesterday. He had his phone out, reading it.
We struck up a conversation. Turns out he was reading the Gospels. He had gotten a book called Why Men Hate Church, something like that. The author urged reading the Gospels to find masculine qualities and behavior by Christ, not just the usual femininities of love and compassion and so forth. So that is what the federal agent was doing.
Him: Do you realize that Christ spent most of his time camping in the wilderness with his guy friends?
Me: Dadgum. You’re right. Huh. [Yes, my poppets, I said ‘dadgum.’ Saying it un-ironically is one of my superpowers.]
Him: Or fishing.
Here’s a parody blog making fun of Russophile paleocons:
The parody unfairly lumps Russian Orthodox Christians like Rod Dreher in with Putin-adoring Lew Rockwell types, although the writer’s voice resembles nothing so much as one of those neoreactionary bloggers for whom Russophilia is just the next logical step after they’ve gotten bored with Dungeons and Dragons.
I find myself sympathizing more with the paleocons over time. While Putin is not a good man, and Russia is not a place I would like to live, the affinity for Putin’s Russia didn’t come out of the blue. I think I can demonstrate this with an economy of examples. (more…)
The first speaker, Cary Skidmore, is presently serving as a counselor in the Santa Fe Stake Presidency.
Haven’t we reached Peak Smug Snarky Opinion?
I remember a different day. Or at least i read books about it. I remember when Men defined themselves by what they actually did, and did not adorn themselves like ladies with ornamental opinions and #HotTakes
-thus the AceofSpades (not suitable for non-vulgarian readers).
I just discovered that Amelia Earhart’s famous transatlantic flight was flown by somebody else. She was just cargo, “like a sack of potatoes” in her own words. She was apparently a deliberate concoction of publicists and the original Girl Power activists.
That guy who said history was only farce the second time around was wrong.