Rage and Forgiveness

Carl Bloch's
I believe in an omniscient God.

Therefore, I have often been amused at the assertion that forgiveness means that God will blot the “forgiven” portion of human history from His memory.

It is true that D&C 58:42 states “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” But does this mean God literally can’t remember the sins, or is it just that He doesn’t call the forsaken sin to remembrance, that He doesn’t constantly berate us for a thing we have put in our past?

By way of illustration, I have changed numerous dirty diapers. Some individuals whose diapers I changed as infants are now adults. I have not literally forgotten the soiled diapers, but it is not something I bring up in casual conversation (except when I am making this point). While I don’t bring the soiled diapers up to remembrance, it isn’t as though I might conclude that my children somehow never had soiled diapers.

Looking at the Wikipedia article on forgiveness, we see this definition:

“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).”

As a thought experiment, let us consider a case where a person has sexually abused a child. It is indeed part of the healing process for the violated child and their parent(s) to eventually let go of vengefulness, lest the rage continue to damage the violated child and that child’s family. Yet it would be completely inappropriate for the abuser to be absolved of responsibility and allowed to repeat their actions, whether against the original victim or against a new victim.

If you think I am simply stating the obvious, that’s great.

If you think that the requirement to forgive literally means we must absolve abusers and allow them free rein to continue their abuse, then let’s continue this discussion in the comments.

LDS Perspectives #51: Joseph Smith’s Education in Sephardic Hebrew

Joseph’s Study of Hebrew and the Book of Abraham with Matthew J. Grey

In the winter of 1836, 100 church members enrolled in a seven-week, intensive Hebrew language course. Matthew Grey sees this study of Hebrew as a direct outgrowth of the larger translation project that Joseph had begun in the summer of 1835.

In July 1835, Joseph had purchased Egyptian scrolls and mummies from Michael Chandler. Shortly thereafter he translated what became known as Abraham 1 and Abraham 2 and began working on a “Grammer and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language” (GAEL). In the fall of 1835, Joseph started looking for a teacher of Hebrew for the Kirtland School. By January, the school committee had hired Joshua Seixas as a Hebrew teacher.

Joshua Seixas used his native Sephardic Hebrew in his transliterations, which varied substantially from the more common Ashkenazi Hebrew spellings. Because of the distinctive Hebrew transliterations in Seixas’s texts, we can trace Joseph’s use of his Hebrew training in succeeding years.

Traces of Sephardic Hebrew can be seen in revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Abraham, and recorded Nauvoo speeches. Joseph’s insights into Hebrew form a foundation for Nauvoo teachings regarding the nature of God, expansions on the plan of salvation, and verbiage in the temple ritual.

Laura Harris Hales talks with with Matthew Grey on the influence Joseph’s Hebrew study had on Joseph’s subsequent teachings and the role Sephardic Hebrew plays in unraveling the puzzle of the Book of Abraham translation puzzle.

Evangelicals release ‘Nashville Statement’ on faith and human sexuality

A coalition of U.S. evangelicals released the “Nashville Statement,” a proclamation that has similarities and crucial differences with the Church’s Proclamation on the Family.

The statement has been criticized by all of the usual critics and praised by some conservative religious types, including many who are not evangelicals.

Note to readers:  M* is a Mormon web site, and nobody here is promoting traditional evangelical Christianity.  But it would behoove Mormons to study this document and see that there are some areas of agreement that Mormons have with conservative evangelicals.  Most of the Western world will condemn this statement.  But given its similarities to the Proclamation on the Family, I would hope that faithful Mormons will treat the evangelicals involved with this statement with charity while also recognizing potential allies.  At the same time, there is nothing wrong with politely pointing out some differences of doctrine we have with our evangelical brothers and sisters.

Read here for more information the history of the Nashville Statement and who signed it.

Here is the statement in full: Continue reading

Revisiting William Seely

Kate Vasicek Challis brings forward expanded information about William Seely (1816-1851?), first husband of Lucy Ann Decker, the first woman Brigham Young would covenant with as a plural wife. Meg Stout provides a brief response after Kate Challis’s comments.

A New Perspective on William Seely

Kate Vasicek Challis is a 30 year old wife and mother of 4 children living in Iowa, USA. She has a BA in French Teaching and a minor in TESOL K-12 (BYU ’09). She has been blogging at Czech Out Your Ancestors since 2013 and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Although I enjoyed Meg Stout’s post of 31 March 2014 titled “Wives of Sorrow,” I feel the post had some erroneous and misleading information about William Seely (1816-1851?), the first husband of Lucy Ann Decker Seely Young (1822-1890).

Meg wrote: “Lucy Ann Decker Seeley, born in 1822, was abandoned by her first husband, William, a non-Mormon who was allegedly abusive and an alcoholic.”

He was (at least at one time) a Mormon, according to his own 1840 deposition about being kidnapped by the Missouri mob at the battle of Crooked River, as well as early LDS membership records here and here. Also, according to a biography of Brigham Young, Lucy was told that William was dead, inferring that that knowledge could have influenced her decision to marry Young.

Meg continued: “William left Lucy with the couple’s three tiny children, leaving her a widow for all intents and purposes.”

It is possible that he first abandoned her with their three children (she also had an unnamed stillborn child, according to the above source), but eventually Lucy would travel west with her two children (one of the three died) in the company of Brigham Young. Continue reading

A quote worth pondering

From N.T. Wright, an Anglican theologian and our modern day C.S. Lewis:

A footnote on sexual behaviour in Paul’s world. If one looks at the ancient world there is of course evidence of same-sex behaviour in many contexts and settings. But it is noticeable that the best-known evidence comes from the high imperial days of Athens on the one hand and the high imperial days of Rome on the other (think of Nero, and indeed Paul may have been thinking of Nero). I have argued elsewhere against the view that Paul was quiescent politically, that he held a strong implicit and sometimes explicit critique of pagan empire in general and of Rome in particular; and clearly denunciation of pagan sexual behaviour was part of that (e.g. Philippians 3.19– 21).

I just wonder if there is any mileage in cultural analysis of homosexual behaviour as a feature of cultures which themselves multiply and degenerate in the way that great empires are multiply degenerate, with money flowing in, arrogance and power flowing out, systemic violence on the borders and systematic luxury at the centre. Part of that imperial arrogance in our own day, I believe, is the insistence that we, the empire, the West, America, or wherever, are in a position to tell the societies that we are already exploiting in a thousand different ways that they should alter their deep-rooted moralities to accommodate our newly invented ones. There is something worryingly imperial about the practice itself and about the insistence on everybody else endorsing it. It is often said that the poor want justice while the rich want peace. We now have a situation where two-thirds of the world wants debt relief and one-third wants sex. That is, I think, a tell-tale sign that something is wrong at a deep structural level.

Wright, N. T.. Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul, 1978-2013 (p. 267). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.