Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baptism, Sacrament, and the Atonement

This is the second in a series of posts answering questions by a non-member who has only recently started learning about Mormonism. The actual question has been changed and converted from others for a better explanation.

The word sacrament is used specifically and only to refer to Eucharist. The Eucharist (sacrament) is done in regular meeting houses. Is the implication that of the 7 traditional sacraments, the only one recognized by Mormons is the Eucharist?

Any time a person visits the Sunday worship meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they go away with a few observations. Preaching doesn't come from a Pastor or Priest, but the general membership. Men or women from the congregation (called a Ward) will get up to the pulpit near where the leadership sits and deliver a talk based on a religious topic. Music used for religious hymns is a mix of traditional Protestant and a few Mormon specific songs, with a single organ for accompaniment. Somewhere between the announcements and the talks will be the blessing of bread and (uniquely) water that Mormons call the Sacrament, but recognizable as a Eucharist.

Other Christian denominations, especially the Catholic Church, recognize a number of Sacraments. There are seven famous ones with the first set as Christian initiation called Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Mormons also perform these three rites and are of similar function, although the last one is called Sacrament. The other Christian sacraments of Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony can be found in Mormonism with various degrees of importance. The term Mormons would use for the performing of rites and rituals of religious importance would be "ordinances," performed predominantly by those having Priesthood authority. Because males from the age of 14 can be given the Priesthood, they participate in officiating ordinances early. There are some ordinances recognized as salvational and others non-essential.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Firebolt - BYU's Divine Comedy and Other Parodies

I really don't like Katy Perry or any of the pop-music in vogue, but this parody is fun:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Mormons and KJV Bible

This is the first in the series of attempts to answer some interesting questions by a non-Mormon newly interested in the religion. With some excitement it will be good to engage in a discussion that goes beyond the typical side issues of no modern practical importance; like Kolob, Garden of Eden in Missouri, and polygamy. Although those subjects are interesting, they don't make much of an impact in practiced faith. However, the questions that CD-Host asks are unusually insightful and important. I don't hold the same politics, but he seems devoted to understanding.

The first question will be the easiest to discuss: Why only the KJV? I'm pretty familiar with KJV-only-ism from Protestantism and I have a hard time seeing how any of their reasons would apply to Mormons.

Its a question that has engaged Mormons for at least a few generations. Reasons can vary between Mormons from the "only" camp to the "retire it" group. There is arguably nothing definite in Mormonism that requires the use of the KJV as a final Bible authority. Indeed, one of the criticisms raised against Mormons from some Evangelicals is that Mormons don't respect the Bible enough. This is because Mormons don't believe that Bible is infallible or inerrant, but still of religious and spiritual value. It is the Word of God, but written by fallible humans in mortal language. Joseph Smith actually preferred a German translation while trying to understand the Hebrew underlying the Old Testament. Its rather amazing that the KJV has come into such singular use.