DAYTON CHRISTIAN JEWISH DIALOGUE

Minutes of Meeting

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Date: January 13, 2002

Location: University of Dayton, Alumni Hall Room 101

Meeting Topic: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Speaker: Douglas Partlow

Hosts: Agnes and Eugene Hannahs

PRESENT: Felix Garfunkel, Chair, Presiding; Judy Baker, Donna Bealer, Larry Briskin, Bert Buby, Candy Davidson, Phyllis Duckwall, Linda Emerick, Shirley Flacks, Erika Garfunkel, Debra Geier, Lillian Gillespie, Judie Griffith, Agnes Hannahs, Eugene Hannahs, Jack Kelley, Jerry Kotler, Lorraine Kotler, John Magee, Eileen Moorman, Douglas Partlow, Mike Pratt, Ruth Precker, Bill Rain, Ken Rosenzweig, Phyllis Straka, Juanita Wehrle-Einhorn, Robert Wehrle-Einhorn, Tracy Williams, Bill Youngkin.

Felix called the meeting to order at about 7:55 PM. Jerry sang the invocation which was a musical rendition of Psalm 122. "Límanachai vraíai; because of my brothers and friends, please let me say: peace unto you; this is the house of the Lord; I wish the best for you." Jerry noted that all the psalms, including this one, were written by King David. At this point, new attendees of a Dialogue meeting were asked to introduce themselves. These included Mike Pratt, who is a United Methodist pastor in Lewisburg, Ohio, Tracy Williams, Judy Griffith, Phyllis Straka, and Linda Emerick.

As Treasurer, Bill delivered the annual financial report: the cash balance in the Dialogue bank account is currently $1,604.86. Felix then asked for hosts for the upcoming Dialogue meetings. The volunteer hosts for the next five monthly meetings are listed in the Schedule at the end of these minutes.

Jack Kelley delivered a number of announcements which included the following. Jack informed the attendees of an important new book by David Kertzer, The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism. He noted that the book has been reviewed by Rev. John Pawlikowski and Dr. Eugene Fisher. Jackís own new book will be featured at a social at the University of Dayton campus book store on January 30.

Ken announced he had received an e-mail that the film Exodus will be shown in Dayton on April 7. The event is sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, headquartered in Chicago.

Jerry introduced the speaker, Douglas Partlow, at about 8:10 PM. He noted that Mr. Partlow is a salaried educator for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is somewhat unusual in the Church since most of its officials, including local ministers, are unpaid lay people.

Doug thanked the Dialogue for being invited to express the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and clear up some widely-held fallacies about it. Doug decided to start by talking about the beginning of the Church. In the Spring of 1820, Joseph Smith, 14 years old, was very confused religiously. There was a great emphasis on religious revivalism in those days, but he did not know which church to go to. His reading of the First Epistle of James had a great influence over him, and he concluded that he must ask God what to do. He retired to the woods to make the attempt, where he was seized by an unknown power. He saw a pillar of light over his head and then two personages, God the father and Jesus. They explained the things Joseph needed to do, which included founding a new church. Over the next seven years, Joseph was tutored by heavenly messengers. Erika asked what book Doug was reading this history from, and Doug replied that it was the Joseph Smith History, which Mormons have accepted as part of their Scripture. In 1827, Joseph Smith was told he would be the translator of the Book of Mormon. He was given a set of gold plates which were written in ancient Egyptian. Many people tried to steal the plates from him. Joseph was told not to show them to any person. Parts of the translated manuscript were stolen; however the translated work was completed, and it was copyrighted as the Book of Mormon in 1829. At that time witnesses testified to the authenticity of the plates. The plates were from ancient inhabitants of America, which were brought in 600 BC from ancient Egypt. Joseph Smith gave the plates back to the angel who had given them to him. In response to Kenís question, Doug explained that Joseph Smith only had a 3rd grade education and was only able to translate the plates with the grace of God. Joseph obtained the plates in upstate New York. The Book of Mormon was published in 1829, and the Church was organized in 1830. The Church believes in continuing revelation. Doug noted that the proper name for the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, not the Mormon Church. Mormonism was a derogatory name given to members of the church by its persecutors. Actually, the man named Mormon was a chief editor of the Book of Mormon. His son was one of the heavenly messengers who came to Joseph Smith. Doug emphasized that Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. Mormons also subscribe to the Old and New Testaments.

Joseph Smith prepared the Articles of Faith of the church for a Chicago newspaper editor in 1842.

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adamís transgression.

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

In response to a question from Erika, Doug stated that Mormons believe that Baptism is necessary because man has a tendency to be evil and it is a symbol of choosing to follow God. The Gospel in the Church includes the Old and New Testaments and the Book of Mormon. In fact, all of these texts are read in Church services on a four-year cycle. Donna asked about Dougís religious background prior to his conversion to Mormonism at the age of 20. Doug replied that he was not raised in any particular denomination. Lillian asked whether the ongoing revelation in the Church becomes scripture. Jerry asked whether the ongoing revelation is just interpretation of earlier scripture. Doug replied to these two questions that ongoing revelation does become scripture, but it is not always canonized.

Doug noted that there was a great deal of persecution during the early years of the Church. From New York, the followers moved to Kirtland, Ohio and Independence, Missouri in the mid 1830ís. People were threatened by the growth of the new religion, and this resulted in discrimination. People were also threatened by the clean living of the Mormons. Juanita asked about the Temperance Movement in Missouri. Doug replied that the Mormons were driven out of Independence prior to the full development of the Temperance Movement. The movement to Utah started in about 1847. Utah was not populated at that time except by Ute Indians. Joseph Smith was killed in Illinois by a mob. Brigham Young was the President of the 12 Apostles at the time of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. He led the people across the plains to Utah in 1847. Lorraine noted that proselytizing is a big component of Mormonism. She asked whether Mormons proselytize other Christians. Someone else asked about Mormon missionizing. Doug replied that a two year mission is normally required of all young men at the age of 19. Girls are not expected to participate in the missionary program but may choose to do so. Lillian noted that the voluntary offering to share Mormonism with others is OK, but excessive pressure is not good. Felix asked about humanitarian aid in the Church. Doug replied that it is normal for people to fast for two meals a month and put the money saved into a fund for people on hard times. The Church has distributed lots of money to people in need around the world (for example, Ethiopia). This money is not restricted to Mormons.

Lillian noted that Mormon family ads on television are very strong and beneficial. Doug replied that strength of family is very important in the Church. In response to a question from Lorraine, Doug stated that divorce is recognized.

At this point, there was a discussion of the concept of "sealing." Sealing means that a relationship on this earth will continue in the afterlife. People who are married in an LDS Temple have their marriage sealed, and their relationship with each other and with their children will continue after death. As resurrected beings, the familial relationship continues. In response to a question, Doug stated that a man whose wife dies can still be sealed in a marriage to a second woman. People who have died can be sealed by their descendants after the fact. In this respect, Shirley asked about the controversy about Mormons sealing some of their dead ancestors who were Jews. She noted that this did not give them the opportunity to be saved by their own Jewish religion. For an answer, Doug passed the question to Tracy Williams who is the President of the Dayton Ohio Stake of the LDS Church. Tracyís response was that people always have the choice to whether to accept the faith and whether to accept sealing. Doug explained that every person has "agency." Sealing refers to marriage as well as child-parent relationships. Juanita asked whether sealing can only be done by live people, and the answer was yes.

Bill asked whether Mormons practice the Eucharist, and Doug answered yes, on a weekly basis. Doug read the blessings of the Eucharist. Ken asked whether Mormons believe in transubstantiation, the actual transformation of the bread into flesh and the water into blood. Doug replied that Mormons believe the Eucharist is symbolic, not actual.

Someone asked about the concept of community in the church. Doug replied that the church tries hard to make sure families are doing well and are taken care of spiritually as well as temporally. Bob asked about the Reorganized Church of LDS. Doug replied that in the 1850ís people approached Joseph Smithís son to lead the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. Doug said that this church exists separately from the LDS Church to this day and is quite different from it.

Jack asked about whether the LDS Church accepts the concept of the Trinity. Doug replied that the Church does not ascribe to the Trinity and only accepts the divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as three separate personages, but one in divine purpose, and that it to save our Heavenly Fatherís children in the kingdom of God. For further information about the LDS Church, Doug recommended two websites: "www.mormon.org" and "www.lds.org".

In response to a question, Tracy Williams explained that not only are non-Mormons barred from a sanctified LDS temple, but not every member of the LDS Church can go to a temple. People are reviewed for moral cleanliness before being given a "recommend" to go to an LDS Temple.

The meeting adjourned at 9:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Rosenzweig, Secretary

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