Forgotten Mormon Teachings – the Book

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I’ve been working on a book entitled Forgotten Mormon Teachings off and on for a half dozen years at least.  When I wrote Understanding Adam-God Teachings in 2005, it seemed that my view of the plan of salvation was upended from what I’d been taught in the LDS Church.  However, after writing that book, I felt like I had very few questions concerning the plan of salvation itself.  As time wore on, questions mounted and soon, I discovered a plethora of new and ever evolving questions.

The trouble is, it is difficult to find information about certain doctrines.  Sure, you can find compilations online but they are often poorly organized, missing full citations, or otherwise missing information that was distrusted or unbelieved by the compiler.  Trying to put all of those quotes in one place wouldn’t be overly burdensome but that still leaves the job of textual commentary completely unaddressed.  What are the different ways of interpreting these various comments?  As a philosopher, I can be quite creative in reading a record to find various means of interpreting it.  However, that is sometimes less edifying than surveying other people’s thoughts and beliefs and using that as a springboard.  So, finding varying interpretations is crucial to writing a good treatise on the subject.  That said, finding someone who believes in most or all of the forgotten Mormon teachings addressed on this website can be difficult.  While one person totally refutes progression between kingdoms and accepts multiple mortalities, another person totally refutes multiple mortalities but believes in progression between kingdoms.  Some people believe intelligences are “created” by putting a few pieces of matter together but they have no sources to cite as a basis for that belief.  Still others might agree that Lilith is the mother of Cain but they can only cite extra-cannonical sources for that belief.  Textual analysis of Mormonism’s actual historical record on many of these topics is sparse.  Sure, you can find a few articles but after you analyze those articles, you find that the author doesn’t accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and therefore interprets all of the records as fantasies of a religious fanatic.  While that position has its place in academia, it doesn’t do much for helping those of us who accept Joseph Smith as a prophet understand what he was trying to teach.

So, while working on the final textual analysis, I decided to use this website as a catalyst to find interpretations of the historical record we have – and/or to find new sources to analyze.  I have a few friends that I hope to engage in this project but I also hope word will get out to offer a broader swathing of perspectives.  In the end, I don’t know what ideas will make it into the book and what ideas may never see the light of day but I’m excited to see what we can discover together.  Whatever you can personally contribute to this discussion will make the final product better so I hope you’ll participate in this project by commenting on the various topics highlighted on ForgottenMormonTeachings.com.

 

Introduction to Forgotten Mormon Teachings

Lost Doctrines Concerning the Plan of Salvation

God's Plan of Salvation


“The great plan of salvation is a theme which ought to occupy our strict attention, and be regarded as one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind.”  ~TPJS, 68


“When truth shall touch the cords of your heart, they will vibrate; then intelligence shall illuminate your mind and shed its lustre in your soul, and you shall begin to understand the things you once knew, but which had gone from you.  You shall then begin to understand and know the object of your creation.”  ~John Taylor letter “the Mormon” 8/29/1857


Latter-day saints generally see the plan of salvation as fairly simple – we were born as spirits of our Father in Heaven; we came to this earth to obtain a mortal tabernacle; and after judgment, we will receive an immortal, resurrected body before entering into a kingdom of glory (sons of perdition excepted) – if all goes well, we will live with our families.  With a few more details, the plan is complete.

While early church periodicals like the Millennial Star offer refreshingly simple theological teachings similar to modern LDS theology, later discourses began to reveal a much more colorful and complex theology that modern saints commonly abandon as speculative or “un”doctrinal (if they know about them at all).  While some of these theological teachings have gained significant attention (e.g., Adam-God teachings), others have been carefully cast aside into obscurity – if not into wholesale oblivion.  For instance, some early prophets and apostles taught that people could progress between kingdoms of glory, that the saviors of some planets failed in their mission (leading to the destruction of their planets and presumably the people who dwelt on them), that spirits are made out of intelligences, that sons of perdition (and other people) will be dissoluted into native element and that some of those people (not the sons of perdition) will be reincarnated.  These and other teachings covered in this upcoming book have become all but forgotten in Mormon theology.

This website will include only a very small morsel of upcoming material but we hope to engage many readers into discussing their understanding of these forgotten Mormon teachings.