I attended my first session of Sunstone today. I have to say it was really nice to be around people who wanted to talk about some things where I really respected the opinions of the speakers. It was energizing. I was able to meet some of my favorite mormons, such as John Dehlin, and D Michael Quinn (a former mormon.) It was refreshing to be in an environment where intellectualism is embraced, not shunned.
My favorite session was on “ARE WE STILL GODS IN EMBRYO? THE MORMON DOCTRINE OF HUMAN DEIFICATION” by HUGO OLAIZ (probably because I just blogged about it.) One of the most interesting points to me that Hugo made was Lorenzo Snow’s couplet “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.”
According to Olaiz, it seems that most of the prophets embrace “as God now is, man may be”, but are much more uncomfortable with the “As man now is, God once was” part. He said Pres Hinckley only quoted the latter part of the quote in the 2nd half of the couplet in 1994, and that it seems that previous prophets also had problems with the 1st half.
I was able to ask both Hugo and D Michael Quinn about the Eastern Orthodox position of theosis. Quinn said that the Eastern position is more of a bodyless God, while the mormon idea is not. He said that except for that major difference, then there are some good similarities. Interestingly later he sat next to me in another session, and I pulled up the Athanisius quote in my previous quote, and I made the statement that it sounded strikingly similar to Snow’s couplet. He agreed that the second half sounds similar, but the first part is not, and that most Eastern Orthodox and Catholics would have a real problem with believing that God was once a man.
Of course, Hugo talked about many other things, like the King Follett sermon, so please don’t think I’m summarizing his presentation. I just wanted to highlight these points.
Anyway, at times the sessions were quite academic, but overall, it was a wonderful experience, and I hope that I will be able to attend next year. I hope to continue to blog, but I will be finishing my thesis project this semester, so it may be tough to post as often as I have.