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Victor Poulsen jvcom@byu.net

 

The POULSEN / BRADLEE Letters

The Poulsen/Bradlee Letters are really the culmination of much pondering and introspection which inevitably occurs when an inquisitive Mormon finds himself in the midst of evangelical Christians in the Southern Bible Belt.

PBL PART 1
A Question Of The Trinity

My association with "Hans Bradlee" began in 1990 when our professions as engineers brought us together.  A major point of disagreement was on the nature of God.  "A Question of the Trinity" was my response.

TOPICS: Nature of Man, Nature of God, Relationship Between Man and God, Definition of Godhead, Deity of Jesus, Grace and Works, Christian Diversity

PBL PART 2
Just Justice / No Justice-No Peace

During many religious discussions, the question of God's justice kept presenting itself to me.  The whole Protestant Christian concept of "getting saved" seemed so exclusive.  And so when Billy Graham alluded to the subject in an October, 1997 newspaper column, I simply had to write him.

TOPICS: Justice, Christian Diversity, Deity of Jesus, Counterfeit Theology, Original Sin, Degrees of Sin, Fall of Adam, Fate of the Gospel Ignorant, Nature of Man, Nature of God, Salvation, Grace and Works, Repentance and Baptism

PBL PART 3
Jimmy Carter On The Mormons

I read a November 1997 newspaper article that reported on some Jimmy Carter criticisms of Southern Baptists for their indictment of Mormonism as a non-Christian cult.  Once again I forwarded it to Hans and a new series of letters ensued.

TOPICS: Extrabiblical Scripture, Temples, Polygamy, Judgment, Creation Periods, Apostles, Oracles, Israelis and Jews, Bible Canonization, Transition from Christianity to Judaism

PBL PART 4
Billy Graham Responds

I received a response from Billy Graham in November of 1997.  'Once again I forwarded the letter, along with my own comments, to Hans.  A third series of letters'ensued.

TOPICS: Reality of Hell, Who's Heard the Gospel Message, Judgment and Works, Original Sin, Christian Orthodoxy, Bible Versions, God Consciousness

PBL PART 5
Scientific Research

This exchange took place in April 1998 after Hans sent me some articles from the "Institute for Creation Research".

POETRY 

I have long found myself dabbling in poetry.  Much of it is personal or scribbled inside of a long gone birthday card to a family member.  But I've also used it in Sacrament Meeting and funeral talks as well as Christmas and Easter programs.

SPIRIT OF THE LAW VS. LETTER OF THE LAW
The Word of Wisdom

I believe that the most effective teaching comes when the student is removed from his comfort zone.  I tried to follow that model in a lesson about the "spirit of the law" and the "letter of the law" as they relate to our eating code.

LATTER-DAY QUESTIONS 
for
LATTER-DAY SAINTS

Sometime early in 1999, the Relief Society president of the Watauga (Texas) Ward approached Bishop Son Le with a request from the women of her organization.  Friends and associates, it seems, were asking questions of these sisters that some weren't prepared to answer; they wanted help from the Bishopric.

TOPICS: What Do Mormons Believe?, Who's In Heaven?, Joseph Smith and Prophets, Are Mormons Christian?, Polygamy, Sabbath Day / Word of Wisdom, Temples, Blacks and the Priesthood, Scripture, Purpose of Life, Miscellaneous Topics (You Have How Many Kids?, Breaking the Ice, Church Name, Dating, Horns, Fast Sunday, Bishop, Seminary)

CONFLICTING COMMANDMENTS 
IN EDEN

While reading the June 2006 Ensign, I was taken aback by a Joseph Fielding Smith quote concerning the Garden of Eden story.  For me, it stood in stark contrast with the conflicting commandments doctrine I had come to understand after many years in the church.

TOPICS: The Case For..., The Case Against..., Why?, Disastrous Fall, Tree of Life, Temporal Considerations, Symbolism, Eve's Role

The COREY STACH Letters 

I have always been able to count on "Corey" for a good thought-provoking gospel discussion.  His sensible and contemplative approach to gospel questions has lead to some interesting e-mail exchanges between us.

TOPICS: Ministering of Angels and Women, Ministering of Angels and Aaronic Priesthood Keys, Ministering of Angels Defined, Ministering of Angels and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, The Power of Sealing on a Wayward Child

FALSE PROPHESY-FALSE PROPHET?
Joseph Smith's Temple Prophesy

"Rob Langely" had been a long-time Mormon when he and his wife decided to leave the church and join a local Protestant congregation.  He subsequently expressed some interest in discussing gospel principles with some of his fellow Mormon engineers.  So a meeting was arranged.

LETTERS TO THE MEDIA

Occasionally, I read something in the paper or hear something on the radio that I just have to respond to.  The following letters number among those I have written under such circumstances.

TOPICS: R-rated Broadcast Television, Southern Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City, Protecting Children from Internet Pornography, Extremism as a Personality Trait, The Scientific Community's Reaction to "Intelligent Design", World's Top Villain, Sean Hannity attacks the "Fairness Doctrine", Don Imus and Free Speech, A Same-Gender Attraction Priesthood Lesson

The BOB LARSON Letters

During my thirty-minute drive home from work in the early 90's, I often tuned my radio to a local Christian station broadcasting "Talk Back" with Bob Larson. 'These letters gave me an opportunity to pen my thoughts on a number of interesting topics.

TOPICS: Church Identification, Polygamy, LDS Women, Perfection, Repentance, Natural Conception, Personal Revelation, Adam-God Theory, Priesthood and Blacks, Ed Decker and "GodMakers", Mother In Heaven, New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, Masons and Mormons, Theological Basis for Faith, "OK for Us But Not for You", LDS Church Leaders, Answer to Prayer, Democracy or Theocracy, Infinite Sin?, Different Jesus, Mormon Inventions, Death of Talk Back, A "Fat and Ugly" Prophet, Hugh Nibley and "Recovered Memories"

PBS BROADCAST "THE MORMONS"

On a whole, I enjoyed the much anticipated May 2007 PBS Broadcast, "The Mormons"; but many Latter-day Saints did not. The Thomas Sherry letter to PBS seemed to intellectualize criticism of the broadcast propelling it to email addresses everywhere. 'I found many of Dr. Sherry's criticisms to be unfair.  And so I soon found myself doing what I am wont to do; I responded.

TOPICS: The Thomas Sherry Letter, The Truth About 'The God Makers', Credibility in Criticism, Hyperbole, Flawed Arguments, Pressures to Serve a Mission, My Criticism of the PBS Broadcast, What I Liked, God and Micromanagement, Revelation or Not, Media Scrutiny, Changes and a New Openness in the Church, PBS Response, LDS Church Response

UNSHELVING EVOLUTION

While walking by the elephant exhibit one day in December of 2006, my son-in-law asked me about evolution and how I resolve the notion with my faith. "I shelve it," I replied after some discussion--a clear admission of my inability to square Darwinism with the Bible creation story I had been taught from my youth.  I'm only now learning--via Internet--that words of historical pillars in the church suggest that I've never really needed to try.

TOPICS: Organic Evolution, Church Leadership Struggles with Evolution, The BYU Debate, Notable LDS Evolutionists

A YOUTH WHO DOESN'T "KNOW"

When young Heber J. Grant was called to be stake president, he was criticized for expressing his testimony as belief.  Though it is forever ingrained in Mormon culture, there remains among some a hint of Heber's discomfort with the endless string of "I knows" spoken at the pulpit in our worship services--even from our youngest children who clearly do not.

TOPICS: Alma 32 "Testimony Staircase", Doctrinal and Cultural Definitons of Testimony, "I Know the Church is True", Our Discomfort with "Believe", "Hope", and "Faith", How Apostles Testify

THE VISUAL GOSPEL"

If a picture paints a thousand words, then a good diagram paints a thousand Sunday school lessons.  Below are a few I made while teaching gospel doctrine class, early-morning seminary, and empty-nesters family home evening.  (If your browser doesn't support the PDF layers function necessary to view the presentation versions, save a copy of the file to your computer and open it with Adobe Reader.)

D&C 76 Degrees of Glory (Simplified)

D&C 76 Degrees of Glory

D&C 76 Degrees of Glory (Presentation)

The Alma 32 Testimony Staircase

The Alma 32 Testimony Staircase (Presentation)

Atonement Made Easy

Atonement Made Easy (Pesentation)

Mercy in Christian Philosophies

Mercy in Christian Philosophies (Presentation)

Understanding Spiritual Death

Understanding Spiritual Death (Presentation)

MORE COMING SOON




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