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  Wednesday, August 20, 2003


A blessing you might not have counted last Sunday:  The Blessings of Gay Marriage. A short, readable, G-rated editorial piece by a happily married, heterosexual Presbyterian minister. 1:05:08 PM      

Not in my backyard:  Residents oppose new LDS chapel. 12:43:01 PM      

Today in LDS history: August 20, 1842.  Amasa M. Lyman is ordained an Apostle, replacing Orson Pratt, who had been excommunicated (he returned to the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles a year later). 12:25:21 PM      

Journal of Discourses to go online at BYU (edited and updated 8/20/03).  BYU has made a variety of 19th century LDS historical documents (letters, pamphlets, and proclamations) available online via the library website (scroll down to "Religious Education Archive"); the lengthy Journal of Discourses isn't there yet, but should appear within the next few months.

UPDATE (8/20): After further online research (clicking around the BYU site), MIW has determined that the Images Collection (same BYU library page, just below the 19th century documents link) is about 100 times more interesting than musty old pamphlets.  Check out "Church History--People," which has a stunning photo of Moroni in the Sun (item 6).  Other items in this freely copyable (for non-profit, educational use) collection include Alvin Smith's original gravestone (item 49), a photo of Hyrum Smith's sunglasses (item 283, I kid you not), and headshots of everyone who is anyone in Mormon history. 1:09:20 AM      

Elder Russell Nelson initiated a spirited discussion on the nature of God's love with his article "Divine Love" (Feb. 2003 Ensign, p. 20-25, available at Lds.org).  He wrote that divine love "cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional," and that "the higher levels of love the Father and Son feel for each of us . . . are conditional" (p. 21-22, italics in original).  While squaring God's absolute love with the various forms of divine punishment creates its own theological difficulties, the assertion God's love for us is conditional nevertheless raises eyebrows.

Contrary statements by LDS leaders are not hard to find.  "Godís mercy comes from his unlimited and unconditional love for us.  Likewise, we should show mercy to others because of our unlimited and unconditional love for them (Elder Robert E. Wells, "The Beatitudes," Dec. 1987 Ensign, p. 8+).  A professor of family science writes in the October 1992 Ensign that "[p]arents who express unconditional love for their children and teach them the principles of the gospel" have done all they can to make troubled children emotionally secure (p. 53+).  Scriptural references include John 3:16 (cited by Elder Nelson in the article).

Only future statements by LDS leadership will indicate whether Elder Nelson's remarks mark a permanent reformulation of the Mormon doctrine of divine love, or merely a thought-provoking doctrinal detour. 12:10:30 AM      


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