Ep81-Human Sacrifice, Plural Marriage and the I-Thou Relation-Fire on the Horizon-Ch 7

Show Notes:

Human Sacrifice, Plural Marriage and the I-Thou Relation

Overview of Abraham and Polygamy

"For Joseph Smith, the Celestial Order of Marriage (that could include plurality of wives) was a type of Abrahamic test. It served the same purpose in God’s plan. The divine purpose rests in the very fact that God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his only begotten son sets the mind in revolt. How could a loving God ask such a thing, let alone command it? Everything in my head screams, “No, that is impossible!” at the very thought of such a command. Can the being who commands such a thing really be regarded as just, as good, as holy, as loving . . . as God? If the answer is even possibly yes, then everything we think we know and every moral judgment we make to give some order to our notions of justice, love, and the holy must be abandoned. But how can we abandon these beliefs without losing ourselves wholly and giving up our own lives entirely? No, it was not Isaac that was sacrificed on the altar on Moriah (for he was saved by the angel’s intervention); it was every hope of making any sense of God in a way true to our own moral judgments"

"It is much easier to believe that Joseph Smith was a lecherous and dirty man than to believe that God would ask such a thing. Or it is easier to believe that Joseph suffered from megalomania and wanted an ultimate test of the loyalty of his followers than to accept the unthinkable—that God was asking the Saints to do something unfathomable, surely something immoral, based on everything they had been taught. Every feeling of order and morality in the universe was set in disarray if God could ask such a thing"

"The very command forced the Saints to shuck off every belief and assumption that they had about—to encounter God without prior judgment, without expectations, and without imposing their beliefs and demands on God. They were forced to let go of every presupposition, forget everything that they thought they knew, and suspend every notion about how and what God must be to be God—and simply to encounter God as He is, as He reveals Himself"

Talk about Kant and how we experience reality....briefly

"If we come to God with moral demands placed upon Him as a condition to trust Him, then we encounter not God but our presuppositions of ultimate moral values."

Is this not taking the other side of Euthyphro's dilemma than you have elsewhere taken?

"...for “morality” as such is not “out there” in the world of ideal absolutes to be discovered by thinking. Rather moral demands arise only in interpersonal relationships. "

"The bottom line is that ultimate trust means accepting that God can be trusted to be supremely loving, even when everything in our head screams: “No, that is impossible.” For in the movement from judgment to trust we create unconditional love, and it is only love that can finally see God as He truly is. "


"Joseph Smith sought to teach all persons to enter into the ethics of discourse. He sought to make all that matters ultimately to also be all that matters presently. To engage in the ethics of discourse properly is to address our existence from within the I-Thou relationship, to move and have our being in God. To enter into ethics of the divine discourse is to enter the temple, to belong to Zion, to be reconciled as at-one-ment with God—to be as God is."


  1. "If we come to God with moral demands placed upon Him as a condition to trust Him, then we encounter not God but our presuppositions of ultimate moral values."
    This naturally brings up epistemology questions. The argument and discussion rely on the assumption that Abraham's and Joseph's revelation concerning Isaac's sacrifice and 18th century Mormon polygamy were indeed the Will of God.
    How does one determine whether something is the Will of God? "By their fruits ye shall know them." The fruits of child sacrifice and polygamy as practiced by the Saints were generally sour. “By their fruits” relies on bringing a pre-conceived value system to the table, first. Else what shall we compare “their fruits”?


Post a Comment

Popular Posts