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Monday, February 20, 2006

Mormon Teachings a Curiosity

Today's online Washington Times includes an article titled, Teachings guide us to healing. The article is comprised of excerpts from a sermon delivered Sunday by Bishop Alvin B. Jackson, Jr. at the Kensington Ward of the LDS Church. This article is found in the newspaper's Culture section, but it is unclear to me why it is included in The Washington Times at all. In fact, it is unclear to me what the teachings even mean.

Maybe it's because we only have excerpts from the sermon. Without the entire text it is impossible to figure out the context of the Mr. Jackson's statements. He covers a lot of doctrinal ground, touching on:

  • The Articles of Faith
  • Book of Mormon
  • Adam's Fall
  • Essential Ordinances
  • The Atonement
  • Repentance
  • Pre-existence
  • Eternal Families
  • Joseph Smith
  • Living Prophets
  • Faith

For an article only 745 words long, that's a lotta topics. It's no wonder the article doesn't make much cohesive sense.

Take, for instance, the paragraph on Adam's Fall:
"The Book of Mormon teaches Adam's fall was a necessary and important step in our earthly progression. Jesus Christ's atonement is the necessary component in making Adam's prophecy a reality. Having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized by proper priesthood authority, receiving the purifying gift of the Holy Ghost and accepting all other essential ordinances are the steps that lead us back to our Father."

Nowhere else in the article is "Adam's prophecy" mentioned. What is that? Likewise, there's no other information on priesthood authority, the Holy Ghost, or other "essential ordinances."

Mr. Jackson does talk about the atonement a bit more. He says,
"Much of our early knowledge on the subject involved what happened on the cross and the Savior's glorious Resurrection. What is missing for some is a firm understanding of Christ's atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane. What does that word "atonement" mean? The literal meaning of the word is the act of unifying or bringing together what has been separated and estranged."

A firm understanding of the LDS doctrine of Christ's atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane is still missing for the readers of The Washington Times, and perhaps for Mr. Jackson's congregation as well.

The article finally winds up with the topic mentioned in the title: Healing. Mr. Jackson is quoted,
"As you began to grow small seeds of faith through prayer, Scripture study, church attendance, your understanding will increase. Our testimony is that He lives and He can do what He says He can do. He can heal you."

So the topic of healing is used as a set of bookends: the word is found in the title and in the last sentence, and nowhere in between.

I don't know how this article came to The Washington Times; there is no by-line attached to it. I don't know why it came to The Washington Times; there is no sense to it.

It is a curiosity.

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