Mormon Worship — Part 1

What follows is the first of a series of three collaborative posts that address some of the most fundamental questions of our religious experience as Mormons. We’ll begin with two very basic, and closely related maxims of our faith and work from there:

1) We worship God the Father

2) We worship (in perhaps a slightly different sense?) Jesus Christ

Parts 2 and 3 of this series will deal with some problematic issues associated with the identity and character of these two Divine Beings we profess to worship. For this first installment, I’d like to tackle the issue of worship itself. My collaborators for the series are former T&S blogger Adam Greenwood (currently blogging here) and Neal Kramer, whose guest contributions have occasionally elevated the standards of discourse here at BCC.

What is worship? What are some possible meanings assignable to the claim to worship someone or something? Specifically, what do we, as Mormons, mean when we say we worship Heavenly Father and/or Jesus Christ? And, for that matter, what do we mean when we say, alternatively, that we do not worship Joseph Smith, Adam, Mary, or Thomas S. Monson? Sociological and anthropological approaches to and definitions of worship abound. Those might be helpful, but they tend to focus on systematically laying out common features among disparate forms of worship – they seek to be totalizing or universalizing in some sense (which creates analytical and even ethical problems of its own, but that’s another subject entirely…). I’m really interested in trying to collectively pin down what we, as LDS, mean when we claim to worship God. Does it mean we acknowledge His supremacy, however and to whatever extent construed? That we venerate Him? That we pay homage to Him in some way – by offering gifts or sacrifices or prayers? That we do things in His name (whatever that means)?

Thoughts?

Adam Greenwood’s Reply:

My reply will basically be of anthropological interest (i.e., a reality show for smart people): what happens when a reasonably intelligent but totally unqualified dilettante is forced to answer questions on arcane subjects about which he knows nothing? Read on.

All right, enough throat clearing. Let’s get to it.

Worship does not really differ from veneration or admiration or whatever other name you would want to give to the underlying emotional and spiritual experience. What I’ve felt towards my wife and George Washington and the Father and the Son–that reverential, awed, heart-exploding, desiring, humbling, the very stones would cry out if I held my peace feeling–that feeling is fundamentally the same. That’s my experience. I think the doctrine fits with it. Everyone is in the image of God.

Just as clearly, though, we Mormons are clear that its OK to worship the Father and the Son but that we can only venerate or admire or respect everyone else. What’s the difference? I’d argue that the difference isn’t the underlying attitude or feeling, but only in how its expressed. Veneration is a proper orientation towards those who are superior to us in some way and worship is the name we give to those rituals and observances that accompany our veneration when we wish to show our recognition that the subject of our veneration is not only superior to ourselves, but to everybody. These can be anything that have come to have this meaning over time, which means that they will vary by culture.

Kneeling is a sign of worship in the West. You bend both knees only before God (interesting that it can also be done in proposing marriage, though).

Prayer is worship for Mormons. Distinctive actions associated with prayer, like speaking with the eyes closed and the head folded, you’d only ever do when addressing God. In Mormonism, at least, you’d also hardly ever address a request to another unseen supernatural being, though I’d argue that there’s nothing inherently wrong with this (provided the supernatural being isn’t the devil) but its still not done because we associate this with worship. There is an aspect of prayer that is fundamentally worshipful, however, and not just cultural. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, which means in some sense we pray as if we were Jesus Christ or as if we were acting as his agents. This means that the veneration we feel in prayer is in some sense supposed to be the veneration Christ feels. But the only being he can venerate is the Father, so venerating in the name of Christ is inherently worshipful.

Neal Kramer’s Reply:

Worship is an accumulation of many things for Latter-day Saints. It encompasses at least dozens of specific words and concepts that help define worship for individuals, families, wards, stakes, and the whole church. I think a crucial term to many Latter-day Saints is edify. That is, they want to become part of the symbolic structure that is the church and kingdom of God. They know this means developing spiritual strength through feasting on the word and then believing they become stronger by practicing the principles of the gospel. They experience something they can’t always define, but they want to be strengthened. They like to hear sermons from their friends that both substantiate what they already know and do and encourage them to do better. This is a form of practical worship whereby we believe we emulate the Savior and the Father. They make us firm and we become a part of the foundation of the edifice that is the kingdom.

A term we use less often is adore. Latter-day Saints don’t use images in their chapels on which to focus in acts of spiritual ecstasy we typically might call adoration. But we nevertheless admit and respect the awesome majesty, power, and glory of God. At the same time we love the Father for sending the Son, and we love the Son for condescending to become man through the incarnation and then descending below all things in order to redeem us from our sins. Adoration is contemplation of the greatness of God and simultaneously feeling the intimacy of his love. Adoration expresses our love and admits that we are nothing in his presence. Those who adore the Father and the Son will fall down before Them and bathe Their feet in tears of joy and gratitude.

Weekly worship for Latter-day Saints, the act of attending sacrament meeting, is also sacramental. That is, we go to participate in a holy ordinance whose purpose is memory and re-commitment. At its very heart is covenant. For Latter-day Saints making covenants and worship are synonymous. Each covenant we make expresses our faith in the living Christ and our redemption. The covenant that binds us to Christ, our new birth in his death, is baptism. At that moment we become new persons in Christ. Our lives and direction change. We become His because we want to be His. We desire Him to be our Savior and our Example. And we commit to Him that we will. Because this is fundamental to our new lives, the Lord allows Latter-day Saints to renew the covenant through the sacred symbolic ordinance of the sacrament. We attend each week specifically to take full advantage of this ordinance of renewal. We clean up our yards, our houses, and our bodies in preparation for this moment of presenting ourselves before him.

At the appointed time, young men stand before the sacrament table, the symbol of the table on which our Master’s body lay while in the tomb. These young men stand as witnesses of his resurrection. They are symbolic of the angels who announced, “He is not here. He is risen.” In sober respect, these young men remove the symbolic burial clothes. The clothes reveal the Lord’s absence and His presence in the emblems. Other young men, members of a quorum of as many as twelve members, represent the disciples, emissaries, yes the Apostles, of the Lord. They bring us the holy, blessed emblems of His death and invite us to partake. As we accept the emblems and partake, we bear witness to all present that we desire to remain bound to Christ, in reverence of that sacred holy offering. The symbols bring us in spirit before the angels and disciples. We accept their news and their gifts, in remembrance of Him. Our hearts are filled with sober joy and the hope of peace.

So our worship freely binds us to the Lord. We humbly present ourselves before him and in silent adoration, awe, and love partake. Our worship at least begins and renews itself this way each week. It is simple and profound. We are cleansed. We love him with all our hearts, which He has made clean and pure.

Brad’s Follow-Up:

I think Adam’s comments speak to one of the key issues here: how our relationship to God (Father and Son) is different from our relationship to others whom we respect and/or venerate. Worship, in this light, is comprised of those formalized and (at least partly) ritualized aspects of our behavior that convey that the object of our worship is not just superior in some way to us individually but to all. There is another component involved — namely, that the performed actions under discussion are done in the name of Jesus Christ. This typifies our veneration of Christ while simultaneously identifying ourselves with Him. This leads nicely into an important insight from Neal: that worship is at its core about making covenants. Making and keeping covenants with God alter one’s relationship to God. At its core, I think, worship is about constructing and enacting relationships with God that have the power to exalt us, i.e. to make us more like Him. Jesus Christ is a mediating figure in that process — one who embodies the fullness of what it means to be a human being and to be a God. Thus, we worship the Father in the name of the Son, altering in the process the nature of our relationship with both divine beings and the very nature of who we are.

What, if any, thoughts do BCC readers have about this question? What does it mean when we say we worship God?

Bookmark Mormon Worship -- Part 1

Comments

  1. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    Not to cloud this issue, but the role and nature of the Holy Ghost seems central to the worship process.

    He is also a God and I need a familiar relationship with him in order to feel, understand, and remember the Father and the Son or my worship experience is very shallow.

    So how do I appropriately give consideration to each member of the Godhead in their particular roles, without fragmenting my worship?

  2. Good point, LCG. We often claim to worship the Father and to worship Jesus Christ. Yet I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of us say that we worship the Holy Ghost. Nevertheless, he/it must be a key factor in the equation, no?

  3. Scott B says:

    LCG & Brad–This is a good question for me, too. Is there any credence to the idea that worship means different thing in different contexts in the scriptures? In particular, BRM gave a speech about this (sort of) and said,

    We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost. I know perfectly well what the scriptures say about worshipping Christ and Jehovah, but they are speaking in an entirely different sense–the sense of standing in awe and being reverentially grateful to him who has redeemed us. Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator.

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts on that–because it runs somewhat counter to what my first gut-reaction is to how I think of the Savior.

    (full text of the speech is here…and let’s please not get sidetracked by things BRM said about other doctrines that are unrelated to this topic)

  4. I would say the difference between worship/veneration (which I consider similar enough to be the same) and respect/honor is loosely defined by the reason. I worship God the Father because of who He is as my Father. I respect and honor others because of what they have done.

  5. Steve Evans says:

    Brad, it seems to me that answering the question of what we worship is going to be inevitably tied to praxis. Mormons can’t help but think of worship in terms of acts rather than a sense of internal workings. Do we successfully worship God this way?

  6. Worship is honoring God by acknowledging our place in the sacred history that he creates and governs, and hence recognizing our dependence upon him for salvation. It is about positioning ourselves in relation. We do this in Christian worship by recapitulating through ritual of the governing center of that narrative – the life and death of Christ

    Christians debate about the exact ways in which such recapitulation is salvfic, but the very premise acknowledges that it is in – as Paul says – clothing ourselves in Christ that we are saved. The question of worshipping the Father or the Son I think is then academic; the liturgy itself relates to them differently, positioning the Son as our mediator with the Father. But simply participating in the act palces us in a Christian cosmos in which the two in tandem are the governing principle.

    Neal is right, I think, to point to covenants. Catholic worship adores God’s nature; the Mass is about ritual incorporation into the Body of Christ, which is why transubstantiation, which closes the gaps of history and space between Christ and the congregation, matters. Protestant worship, which backs away from transubstantiation toward a memorialist interpretation of ritual and elevates the Word, is didactic, emphasizing praise of God and the sanctification which follows justification. Mormon worship has, I think, increasingly emphasized self-improvement through covenant making and service as our history has progressed.

    I wrote more about this here:

    http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/this-is-my-body-or-sally-quinn-pz-myers-and-the-coming-millennium/

  7. This discussion is very timely for me. I recently participated in a group discussion about the recent talks in General Conference. We discussed Elder Bednar’s talk about our temple worship. I boldly stated that what we do in the temple doesn’t feel much like worship. I think I tend to focus on the phrase “temple work”. But the other discussants argued that what we do in the temple is worship. It has really had me thinking about what worship means to me. I find Neal’s comments that worship is covenant making to be particularly helpful. Even though we are not making covenants for ourself (except for our initial visit) and even though the names of deity don’t seem to be mentioned often — the work is actually worship.
    His analogy of the priests administering the sacrament as witnesses that the Savior has risen is powerful. I will remember the picture of the cloths being folded back to reveal that He is not there. In His place are the emblems of His sacrifice and Atonement. It brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for this profound and provocative discusssion.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    I think we Mormons have a serious problem. Ask a GD class whether we worship Jesus Christ, and you’re going to get a lot of hesitancy, and some conflicting answers. We don’t even have a solid handle on who we worship, much less how.

  9. Scott B says:

    Kevin,
    Does this mean we should stop getting all indignant and huffy when people say we’re not Christians?

  10. Our HP Group Leader is a retired rhetoric professor. He mentioned in a meeting once that the word “worship”, used as a verb, originally connoted “to become worthy of”. I don’t know where he heard or read this, but his background gives him some authority to say such a thing.

    If this is true then we worship God whenever we do things that make us better, more Christ like, and more “worthy” of the spirit.

    On a related note, wouldn’t we want to “become worthy of” (worship) our spouses? I would say Yes. However, I feel no need or desire to become worthy of the prophet or George Washington.

    At best, I think this is only one aspect of the word Worship. Certainly veneration and adoration are included in the word as well.

  11. Scott, I’ve said this elsewhere and I’ll say it again, Bruce R. McConkie was simply wrong there. He is utterly anomalous, the language of worship being employed by Church leaders past and present to signify our relation to Christ.

  12. Scott B says:

    J.-Thanks. That was kind of my feeling, but I’m glad to hear the confirmation from someone who is better-read on the subject.

  13. Kristine says:

    BWR, that would be a nifty etymology if it were correct, but I’m pretty sure it ain’t. -scipe was always a noun ending, denoting simply the state or condition of being whatever the prefix was. So weordscipe (an approximation of the earliest form of the word) is simply the condition of being worthy, and it got bastardized into a verb at some point (as is the regrettable fate of many Anglo-Saxon nouns). There’s no hint of anything suggesting becoming or progressing towards that state.

    But maybe a real linguist will come along and correct both of us…

  14. When I think of the elements of our traditional worship service, they all are about positioning ourselves in relationship to our Father in Heaven. Communal prayer, singing of hymns, partaking of the sacrament, and pondering on our Father all are geared to helping us understand that he is our Father who loves us, from whom we seek guidance and blessings, and whose perfection we seek to emulate.

    I would argue that the worship of Christ is a corollary to worship of the Father, in that through Christ, and only Christ, we are able to approach and achieve our full potential, but that he also is only doing the will of the Father.

    Neal, I had never thought of the symbols of the Sacrament quite in the same way as you described here. Very moving, but I suspect that it would freak out most deacons if you explained it to them that way.

    Adam, in regards to this statement:

    “We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, which means in some sense we pray as if we were Jesus Christ or as if we were acting as his agents.”

    I would agree that we should be acting as his agents in many things, but in terms of worship through prayer, it’s my sense that we pray in His name, as he is our ultimate Intercessor, and through Him only and His atonement can we approach our Father. I’m not sure I understand praying “as if we were Jesus Christ”, as you say. Can you elaborate?

  15. I see at least two definitional aspects of Mormon worship worth mentioning:

    1. Acknowledging one’s nothingness before God as did Moses and all others who have received a theophany.

    2. Moving past that and acknowledging the power of the Atonement to elevate us back into the presence of God — thus rendering our striving to become like God an element of our worship of him.

  16. Also, I think that the Mormon Godhead is easily robust enough that a Mormon can speak of worshipping Jesus Christ (and, indeed, many LDS General Authorities do speak this way) in the same breath as worshipping God the Father. To be sure, we believe that Jesus Christ provides an example of directing all the glory to his Father but we still venerate and worship Jesus Christ by taking his name upon us through our baptismal covenants and by thus being adopted as children of Christ.

  17. Neal Kramer says:

    I’ve been interested in people’s responses to my symbolic understanding of ordinances and their power to connect us to the Savior.

    I personally cannot see how what we think about redemption, how its transforms us, and who we become is not worship of the Father and the Son. There must be a technical sense in which our worship of the Father differs from the worship of the Son simply because they are two separate beings and they seems to share godliness while performing different works.

    The symbolic side of things is something we Mormons are blissfully ignorant of. It does not seem to matter much how we conceive of the ordinances. Simply performing them binds us, without ever coming to an understanding of what a symbol might represent.

    If I taught this to deacons and priests in my ward they’d think I’m carazy.

    But if we are not aware of the power of the symbolic, we can lose it.

    For example, the architecture of the Provo and Ogden temples was aggressively symbolic. Both buildings seem to float above the ground and then have spires deliberately design to evoke and highly ornate image of fire. The floating white building beneath the spire stood for the cloud that wnet went before the children of Israel in the daytime and the falmes tood for the fire that led them by night. It symbolized the continual presence of the Lord in the temple.

    One day someone changed it. They painted the spire white and placed a statue of the Angel Moroni on top.

    It still has symbolic power and allows the recognition of the building as as LDS temple. But I miss the old symbol, just the same. Sometimes I think those who designed the change didn’t even see the symbol they were changing. But that’s just me.

  18. Adam Greenwood says:

    Kevinf,
    in English, doing something ‘in the name of’ someone else typically means either that you’re doing it for their benefit, to honor them, or acting as their agent. Most of the time, in the Church, when we say ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ we’re saying it because its part of a ritual and we don’t have any particular meaning attached. Ask people why we close prayers ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ and you’ll get a range of answers that typically don’t have anything to do with the phrase “in the name of.” You’d probably get the same sorts of responses if we typically closed our prayers, “hoogy boogy Jesus Christ.”

    Now, the typical English meanings of “in the name of” can probably all apply to the various Church contexts where we do things “in the name of Jesus Christ.” But in priesthood ordinances, the central meaning when we say that we’re acting “in the name of Jesus Christ” is that we’re acting as his agents, with his power and his authority. So I see no particular reason why that can’t also be the case with prayer. If we were petitioning Christ to act as an intercessor for us, then our prayer would be directed to him. But if Christ has already acted as an intercessor for us–if he’s said, in effect, I claim this person as one of my servants and please, when they ask you something, grant it as if it were me–then it would make sense to speak to the Father ‘in the name of Jesus Christ.”

    The scriptures are pretty clear that we take Christ’s name upon us at baptism and when we repent, and in them Christ has clearly instructed us to pray, so I don’t see any real problems with this approach.

  19. Antonio Parr says:

    Worship includes adoration and praise and submission and obedience.

    In my humble experience, Mormons as a group do a fine job with submission and obedience, but a discouragingly poor job with adoration and praise. Language of praise is rarely, if ever, found in our meetings or public prayers, in spite of the fact that such words of praise are found everywhere in scripture. (I hear lots of “we thank Thee’s” but rarely hear “we praise Thee” or “we adore Thee” or “we honor Thee” or “we worship Thee”.)

    Our weakness with respect to praise/adoration is made more glaring by the zest and zeal with which Latter-Day Saints sing “Praise to the Man”. I do not believe that I have ever heard in LDS circles such enthusiasm for a song about Christ. However, Saints (especially the men) bring the house down when singing Praise to the Man, which must be perplexing/disturbing to our guests who are trying to discern whether we are Christians . . . (Speaking of “Praise to the Man”, does anyone else find this song of praise for a man to be inappropriate for Sacrament Meeting, which ostensibly is a meeting to worship/praise Christ?)

  20. Antonio, you have a selection bias that renders your comment ridiculous; your humble experience is in this case useless. If you crack open the Mormon hymnal it is chock full of “praise.” There are five hymns that start with the word “praise” and all but the one you mention are directed to God; viz., “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow” and “Praise ye the Lord.” Then you have all the rest of our hymns which are saturated in worship language: “No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat!” “Our King, our Deliv’rer, our all!”

  21. Steve Evans says:

    Yeah, AP, I gotta say your experience is definitely anomalous regarding the hymns, and I disagree with your assessment of Praise to the Man.

    Your comment regarding “we thank Thee” is much more indicative of a lack of nuance in our approach to the language of worship, than any indication of a lack of worship. Not your strongest argument there.

  22. Neal, I always enjoy your insights. I loved what you said about the symbolism of the sacramental setting. It seems that I should have already known the things you pointed out, but I didn’t, and I’m eager to share them with my family.
    I’m writing an African missionary (from Zambia) who aspires to be an architect. He would love to build a temple someday. I sent him a photo of the Provo Temple as it was for so many years, and explained the symbolism to him. The symbolism is still there, but not nearly as clear. And Moroni seems, frankily, a bit out of place. (Which is ironic, because now the Provo Temple looks much more like other temples.)
    As for worship–I’m trying to think of synonyms in English. There are a couple in Spanish which come to mind–loor, adorar.
    Very provocative post.

  23. Mark A. Clifford says:

    I have always thought that Bruce R. McConkie said it best in his Hymn, “I believe in Christ”:
    “I’ll worship him with all my might, he is the source of truth and right!” (Hymns, #134)

    Of course, Nephi did him one better:
    “And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.” 2 Nephi 25:29

    Incidentally, I have wanted to do a setting of Elder McConkie’s talk (“Our Relationship with the Lord,” in Brigham Young University 1981–82 Fireside and Devotional Speeches, Provo: Brigham Young University, 1982, pages 97–103.) to the tune of “I believe in Christ”, but then I doubt that the tune would match up. That talk fails to “match up” in so many ways.

    For my part, I unabashedly worship Christ. I worship the Father only because – and that is only because – Jesus said to. He says that “my Father is greater than I,” and so I must believe that somehow that is possible. I take that one on faith. Mormonism is at root very Christocentric, the Book of Mormon certainly is. And, this particular Mormon is.

  24. Thomas Parkin says:

    “We don’t even have a solid handle on who we worship, much less how.”

    True enough. I’ve been thinking a lot about the first couple dozen verses of Sec 93, lately. It expressly say that it is given so that we “may know how to worship and what we worship.” I don’t have time to go into the conclusions I’ve been drawing, but think a reading of those verses in this context is potentially very enlightening. ~

  25. #5 Steve,

    I couldn’t agree more:

    Mormons can’t help but think of worship in terms of acts rather than a sense of internal workings.

    But what is the alternative perspective? I would suggest seeing a context to our lives. A context implies that there will sometimes be requirements for actions, and other times when “worship” may exist exclusively for internal cultivation.

    This implies that there is no single answer to “what is worship”. For some, it may require symbols, actions, and sacrifice. For others, it may never require such things.

    I’m not saying that we can ignore obligations for worship. Rather, I’m saying that God is the only true judge of such things.

  26. Fern RL says:

    I have no problem with worshiping the Father in the name of Christ. With Mormon doctrine including the statement of the pre-existing Christ that he would atone for our sins and the Glory would be to the Father forever, I take Him at His word.

    To me, worship means “having Faith in.” I can appreciate and use many tools, but I can only completely have Faith in God, which could be the Godhead in general since they are One. So really it is impossible to separate them.

    There is no worship of God the Father without Christ, because it is only through Christ that the Father is willing to recognize me, as I see it.

  27. I think it’s perfectly fine to say that most mormons do not worship Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or Thomas s. Monson any more than the catholics worship their Saints or the Jews worship Moses, or Muslims worship Mohammed.

    (which is a lot, a different kind of worship, but worship nonetheless)

  28. Re # 19, Mormons are often very practical people, which might lead to less effulgent but gratuitous “praise speech”, which often rings hollow as a form of worship to many Mormon ears. The submission and obedience you mentioned that are part of Mormon devotion/worship, when present as a function of a broken heart and contrite spirit that results from an understanding of the fallen state of the natural man and the infinite grace and goodness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, are an offering of praise to God. As J. and Steve have pointed out, though, there really isn’t the lack of praising Christ in our hymns that your comment suggests. A quick perusal of the hymn shows a majority of songs praising and worshipping Christ and only a few expressing gratitude for Joseph Smith’s role as a prophet of Jesus Christ.

    What is lacking, however, in Mormon worship is irreverent congregational outbursts of praise, rock bands offering “praise” in a form of worship that appears to many Mormons as little more than thinly disguised entertainment, and melodramatic, heavily rhetorical sermonizing of praise that also appears, to Mormon eyes and ears, calculated for entertainment value rather than reverent devotion. But this is by design and many, perhaps most, Mormons intuitively understand this and agree with this lack. Sure, on the surface this makes us boring in terms of the entertainment value of Sunday worship. But many Mormons will tell you that worship isn’t about entertainment.

  29. John,
    Your second paragraph offers a very culturally-bound view of right worship. In defending Mormon worship, there’s no need to sneer at other forms of it.

  30. A thought provoking post. For me a part of worship is doing and being exactly what God wants. As grateful as I feel to Joseph Smith or as much as I love my husband I wouldn’t grant any person the power to determine my course.

    I wonder if part of the wondering whether we worship Christ question comes from the confusion of the Godhead and monotheism thing. If we worship God and Jesus Christ are we monotheistic and do we want to be? How do we worship them differently? I feel personally that I know more about Christ than I do about God the father. I wonder id that effects my prayers that I feel closer to the one I’m praying through than the one I’m praying to…

    I do miss a certain exuberance…joyful reverence as opposed to the more common Mormon cheerio filled silence or mumbled singing. If the rocks sometimes can’t be kept from praising the Lord surely we could manage something.

    I was thinking on my walk of the grace works issue and how we as church members are more likely to focus on CTR than PTL-which is really more cultural than doctrinal

  31. Thomas Parkin says:

    john f,

    Right on. ~

  32. Peter LLC says:

    Neal (17), when I was a whippersnapper visiting family in Provo and coming up the freeway in the evening after ten or so hours in the car, that building up on the bench was the “hot temple.”

  33. Just Wondering says:

    What are the mechanics or ‘physics’ of worship? We attribute to Christ the words “the glory and honor be thine [meaning the Father's]“. Does worship generate an ‘energy’? If some of this worship energy is misdirected to Christ does He send it on to the Father? What is the relationship between worship, glory and honor? Are these just words or is there an actual measurable physical/spiritual increase in some attribute of the Father when we worship Him? Is worship strictly to help us overcome the natural man or does it also have an effect on God?

  34. Ronan, it’s all good. Just read my second paragraph as a response to the allusions in Antonio Parr’s comment # 19.

  35. Here’s adding my two cents about the very confusing Bruce R. McConkie talk: http://latterdayspence.blogspot.com/2009/04/bruce-r-mcconkie-and-our-relationship.html

  36. Matt W. says:

    Kevin #8- I think this has more to do with a varied understanding of the word Worship rather than a varied understanding of Christ. (Although I am sure there is plenty of that as well.)

  37. DISCLAIMER: The following is written concerning the religious systems of this wicked world, not individuals. Recorded for revelation, not condemnation, in hopes there would be those who would “see” and “hear”, for all who do so will take heed unto The Call of The Only True G-D and “Come out of her, MY people”…….

    “The Way of Truth is evil spoken of” because of pagan “catholicism” and her harlot pagan “christian” daughters ;-(

    Their “imag”ined “jesus christ” is not The Messiah! It was some five hundred years ago that they named one head of their three-headed pagan “god”, “jesus”, during a time that has been called the “reformation”. Prior to that time there was no “j” sound in the english language…….period…….

    And the pagan “christian” name of ‘jesus’ is the transliteration of The Messiah’s G-D given Hebrew birth name from the pagan catholic latin word ‘iesus’ not the pagan greek word ‘iesous’ which is recorded in all the greek transcripts from which religious “biblical” translations were made…….

    And the “reformation”, the time during which the english ‘j’ sound was “imag”ined, was an aptly named time! For it was a time when “catholicism” birthed her harlot “christian” daughters ;-( Her “christian” daughters are of her substance ;-( Her substance was merely “reformed” so that her “christian” daughters might appear a bit differently outwardly, yet inwardly they remained liken unto their pagan harlot mother ;-(

    “christianity” is but the byproduct of the fornicative relationship pagan “catholicism” has always had with “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who is “the angel of light”, “d”evil spirit that rules over this wicked world ;-(

    All religious systems, muslin, jewish, buddhist, catholic, christian ,,etc,, are Anti-Messiah!

    Religious systems of this world, all alike they are,
    Those they clone have fought, killed and died, both near and far ;-(

    And then once a week, or multiple times a day they may pray,
    Yet as hypocrites they begin each new day ;-(

    Days that are filled with deceit and lies,
    For in a “religious system” Truth can not abide ;-(

    And so the fruit of death is born of religion’s way,
    Because life is but a pawn in the wicked game they play ;-(

    Simply, Faith will not create a system of religion!

    The Messiah testified of a “wicked world”, and of His disciples being “in, not of, this world”.

    John exhorted those who believed “to love not the world or it’s things” for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”!

    And James testified, “whoever is a friend of this world is the enemy of G-D(Father, Great Spirit, Creator,,)”!

    And “the god of this world”, “the father of lies”, “d”evil, is the author of all religious systems and has his way with those who are “of this world” because they follow their own “vain “imag”inations” ;-( And so it is that mankind’s “imag”ination is destroying and perverting Creation ;-(

    And Our Father(Creator) has promised that HE “will destroy those who are destroying and perverting HIS Creation(earth, air, water, vegetation, creatures, Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, .etc.)”!

    Hope is there would be those who take heed unto The Only True G-D’s Call to “Come out of her, MY people”!

    All who take heed unto The Only True G-D’s Call will exit “the broadway to destruction” and they will follow The Messiah on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”! They no longer will have their portion with the “catholic/christian” LIE or any other religious system of this world.

    The Messiah testified, “whoever lives and believes in Me(His Teachings and Life example) shall never die.”

    And then The Messiah questioned, “Do you believe this?” YES!

    And you? Do you believe? Or do you believe in death?

    If you believe in death, while there is breath(spirit) there is hope!

    For Miracles Do Happen! Thanks Be To “Our Father(Creator)”!

    Hope is that there would be those who “come out” of the “strong delusion” that is the religious systems of this wicked world, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”.

    Hope is that there would be those who believe in and receive of The Life. Hope is that there would be those who would “experience The Messiah and The Power(The Holy, Set Apart, Great Spirit) that raised Him from among the dead”.

    Hope is you will, or have experienced The Miracle that is “receiving a love of The Truth”, for all who have “received a love of The Truth” will have:

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(religion) that is of this wicked world, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(1JN5:19) indeed and Truth……. francis

  38. Lighten up, Francis.

  39. Brad, you’ve got an Ed Enochs alert.

  40. Wow! I just actually read comment # 37. I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole “j” sound thing was something I’d never even “imag”ined before.

  41. Fern RL says:

    Congratulations John F for actually being able to read #37. It was way too long for me to wade through, and even when I went back to see what the fuss was about the letter J, it was too confusing for me to understand.

    I know that Jesus’ name was Joshua until it got translated to another language (Greek?), and was probably sounded as Y as in Yashua. I don’t know what the problem is with that, though.

    Where the central points are: Who do we worship, and how do we worship or what does ‘worship’ mean–I think the key is just getting the plain dictionary version of the word. In my dictionary, either as a noun or a verb it usually includes a form of the word ‘reverence’ and usually ‘homage’ and ‘honor’ and also includes attendance at ‘services or divine worship’.

    As Mormons, we have a high attendance at worship services, so who do we reverence and honor there? It depends on what is in our hearts. I sincerely believe that any reverence we may have toward Joseph Smith or any of the other prophets, is greatly dwarfed by the reverence we have toward Our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, or toward Him who sent Him as His Only Begotten Son in the Flesh, and that is all as it should be.

  42. RE: #37,
    I was skeptical when I first started reading, but when I got to the stanzas in verse, the emoticons made me a true believer.

  43. #37 kind of takes me back to my boyhood days in Oregon and the evangelistic Barber I just couldn’t stand to part with.

    Everytime I sat down in the Barbers chair to get my haircut, he’d start whispering into my ear all the mysteries of the Bible that he had figured out and felt it his duty to preach to me (albeit with a heavy Italian accent). I guess he figured he had a captive audience. I also had a hunch he did this more to me because he knew I was a Mormon. His one-on-one “preaching” especially picked up after his own church banned him from teaching there.

    Although I sure tried my best, for the life of me, I could never understand what the heck he was talking about.

  44. Simply, “progress”, so-called, is destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Grace, Miracles, Faith, etc.) ;-(

    Postings have been made at TheDestructionOfTheEarth.Wordpress.com concerning such destruction and perversion and also concerning The Creator’s(GOD, Father) promise that HE will “destroy those who destroy the earth(HIS Creation)!” (Rev11:18c)

    Yet there is a Living, Lively Hope!

    However, such Hope is not for that which is of the earth, earthly and fleshly, but there is a Living, Lively Hope for that which is Spirit, Heavenly and Spiritual.

    Hope for that which is Spirit is Alive because “progress”, which is the product of mankind’s “imag”ination, can pervert, yet not destroy that which is Spirit! For that which is Spirit is Real, and that which is Real is Forever!

    So no matter how perverse this world’s systems of religion become, that which is Spirit can only be abused and perverted, not destroyed!

    That which is Spirit is Eternal…….

    As for that which is called “religion”.

    “Pure religion and undefiled before GOD The Father(Creator) is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the world.” (James 1:27)

    Simply, every other religion is impure and defiled!

    As stated previously, “that which is called “”progress” is of mankind’s “imag”ination and can pervert, yet not destroy, that which is Spirit”, and so it is that this world, and it’s systems of religion, have their version of “Light”, which can be turned on and off;

    Their version of “Truth”, which is of the “imag”ination;

    Their version of “Love”, which should be called lust;

    Their version of “Peace”, which needs be enforced;

    Their version of “Hope”, which is but a desire for temporal “things”;

    Their version of “Faith”, which is powerless;

    Their version of “Grace”, which is the liberty to “do your own thing”;

    And sadly, the favorite color of this world’s religion is gray ;-(

    So come out of the shadows! And as is said by many, “Get Real”!

    Once again, “only that which is Spirit is Real, and only that which is Real is Forever”!

    Hope is there would be those who “see” that The Life is in and of The Spirit. Those who “see” will no longer have their portion with the multitudes who are destroying the earth(and, air, water, creatures, vegetation) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Faith, Grace, etc.) ;-(

    Simply, each breath(Spirit) you take is a revelation of The Source of Life.

    And “A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive!”

    Forever…….

    So “set your affections on Heavenly things” and be not of those “whose god is their bellies because they mind earthly things”. Be not of those who “love this world and it’s things” and who are “progress”ively destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Faith, Grace, etc.)…….

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “The WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one” (1John5:19) indeed and Truth…….

    Truth is never ending……. TheDestructionOfTheEarth.Wordpress.Com

  45. Adam Greenwood says:

    Francis, I don’t think the Bible uses quotation marks or parentheses or ellipses. This makes me question the source of your information.

  46. Adam, Re your # 18, I appreciate the response, even if I.m only now seeing it 9 days later. I’d agree with everything you’ve said there, about acting in the name of Christ. In fact, it reminded me of Alma 13:2, where it says,

    “And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that whereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.”

    That’s a pretty clear description of acting as agents or as representatives of Christ as I can think of. Thanks for your response. There was just that one phrase that seemed a bit confusing to me about what you were saying.

  47. “Francis, I don’t think the Bible uses quotation marks or parentheses or ellipses. This makes me question the source of your information.”

    Your own thoughts, they cause you to deny and defy “The Only True GOD, Father(Creator) of ALL”…….

    Yet there is hope…….

    For Miracles do happen!

    Hope is there would be those who experience The Miracle that is receiving “the love of The Truth” for they will “see” The Light that is The Messiah…….

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(darkness) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one” indeed and Truth…….
    francis

  48. Latter-day Guy says:

    Well, Adam, he(sure) showed……. you! I think THAT There is(little) LEFT to Do but go……. home with your tail BETWEEN your(legs)

    Seriously though, Francis, this is like reading Scientology literature: all the words are intelligible, but I cannot tease meaning out of any complete sentence.

  49. How can the foolish, upon impulse(thought), become serious…….

  50. Scott B says:

    Well, I for one am really glad that Francis is here to set the record straight.

  51. Latter-day Guy says:

    You see, Francis, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

    How can the skin, upon an eggplant(aubergine), become crispy and delicious…….

  52. Facetious comment alert, for those who don’t expect such from me:

    The comments up to #37 are a good example of muted Mormon worship, while the comments after #37 are a good example of why many Mormons prefer muted worship. I, for one, think Francis’ comments are better in this thread than any other one I could imagine.

  53. “Pure And Undefiled Religion”

    “Pure religion and undefiled before GOD The Father is this, to visit the fatherless(those children who know not The Father[Creator]) and widows(those who have not “experienced The Messiah and The Power that raised Him from among the dead) in their affliction and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the world.” (James 1:27)

    Simply, all other religion is impure and defiled!

    Faith will not create a system of religion…….

    Hope is there would be those who take heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD to “Come Out of her, MY people”!

    For they will “Come Out” of this wicked world(babylon) and it’s systems of religion, into “the glorious Liberty of The Children of The Only True GOD”.

    They will no longer be of those who are destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures)” and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Hope, Faith, Mercy, Grace, Miracles, etc.).

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(religion) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one” (1John5:19) indeed and Truth…….

    Truth is never ending…….
    thedestructionoftheearth.wordpress.com

  54. Scott B says:

    Ray, you can’t lead off with a warning like that. Now I’m totally confused.

  55. Right about now our ward bouncers would be moving into position, figuring that this was another Archangel come to town for our convenience in sustaining him as president at the next General Conference.

  56. Scott B, I’m sorry. Feel free to read it non-facetiously. :)

  57. Left Field says:

    Well I for one think #53 definitively establishes how the skin upon an eggplant(aubergine), becomes crispy and delicious…….

  58. Hell fire, Left Field. Hell fire and damnation.

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