Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
303: Why Theological Training?: Dr Matt Frizzell

303: Why Theological Training?: Dr Matt Frizzell

Photo Credit: Fusion-of-Horizons

Dr Matt Frizzell (former Dean of the Graceland University Seminary) and I get deep and animated about Restoration theology.

Theological conversations by their very nature are porous, expansive and self-reflexive.   Theology is all about breathing in the mystery and letting the mystery discover the words that have always pulled at our souls.  Theology is profoundly intimate and deeply transformative, wonderfully elusive, and ever-changing.   

But, it’s always better to be trained to do theology instead of winging it; as my robust discussion with Matt reveals!


  1. Mw. Adrie de Jong

    Hi Gina and Matt,

    Thank you soooo much !!!!!!

    This has been so helpfull !!!

    John Hamers interviews at Mormon Stories has been hugh stepping stones in me getting interested in CoC and also other speakers from CoC, like the president !

    I also sought information about the dutch congregation, and there were some items on you tube. A lovely congregation, with a lot of singing. And I wondered, if they keep it so light is CoC the right place for me ? Am I not to much wanting to dig in information and contemplating to deep on articles ? These people will find me troublesome and I probably will end up being too impatient. I’m a hungry person, I do not only need a lot of food for my body, but also for my mind.

    The other thing that bothered me of my self was this awfully being upset about the leaders. And I couldn’t stop my self from projecting my angriness toward the LDS leaders on the president of CoC. I loved the CoC president and his attitude, but still …. I felt negative as soon as I saw him in his function of president.

    This was also the reason why I couldn’t sign up on the website of the Priesthood for Women, they demanded I’d be positive about the LDS leaders, and I couldn’t. I am pro Priesthood for Women, but not Pro LDS leaders. I have become a bit milder now, I see now they are trying to turn the ship into the right direction and I know it needs time, so I’m very hopefull now. Especially I want the people I know in the church to be in a safe place and not in a brainwashingmachine, as the church had turned into.

    But why have you been so helpfull ? You talk about something like Graceland, deep study of material …. and offcourse John Hamer showed this clearly, I thought he was the only one, out of personal interest. But now you say: this study is for all members of CoC ! Wow !

    I read ‘Adam, Eve and the Devil’ by Korpel and de Moor and it gave me so much insight. Somewhere 1000 bc there had been groups of people spending time thinking and creating theories about the existence of the world and how it came to be. Pieces of it became part of the Bible, and some of it were re-written around 600 bc when the jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild it and the temple. It explains to me how Joseph Smith could have said about the bible: ‘as far as it is translated / interpreted right’, because all the stories / theories were on it’s own and could be picked up and used / added to other ideas.

    The rewritten books from 600 bc became very hostile about women and you can see the nowadays churches were / are heavely influenced by that interpretation. While when we return to the original books / theories we don’t have to accept this one interpretation, but will see that goddesses were around and were seen as mighty gods aswell.

    If Joseph Smith was aware of this, that the bible only was a collection of books, not nessecerally historic right, but a combination of theories and ideas, he could have seen the freedom of interpretation aswell.

    It hurts to realise the Dinah people (this is the way the ‘indians’ call themselves) had to suffer so much under the interpretations of the Book of Mormon, However it explains to me how Joseph Smith could have wanted for a book like that. Too bad, it became to patriarchy influenced (all the wars and killing, no women, and such), While if he had gone to the Dinah people themselves and had interviewed them and had used that information for the Book of Mormon, there would have been so much more wisdom in it. And also a whole lot of more women would have been mentioned with name and influence. Maybe we should create A New Book of Mormon, but than this way ! :o)
    In fact Gina Calvin and Joanna Brooks allready gave us such a book:
    How ever Angelo Baca, Sarah Newcomb, Cam Lebbon, Hyrum Joe, and Sheldon Spotted Elk and their friends, and others from the Dina people and from the pacific Islands, could bring their wisdom together, their stories from the past and creation stories. And this could be The New Book of Mormon, broadening the insight and seeing the differences.

    I read the BoM about 5 times when I was in church and I loved it, but this Mormon Stories interview made it clear, so I could cut out, that the BoM had nothing to do with the Dinah people. It was a bible story spread as a sauce over the Dinah people, molding them into something they had nothing to do with.

    I remember being a bit dissappointed. Before I became a member of the church I stumbled upon texts from Chief Seattle ‘How we cannot own the land or the sky’. I thought the BoM would be filled with this wisdom, instead I had to learn about wars. Also Winnatoe and such movies were about fighting and wars. Patriarchy only shows what it knows and what it is interested in…. the emptiness and the poor nothingness. And this is basic in all things that we get enforced upon us.

    But if CoC gives studies on what goes way back, before patriarchy enforced itself upon us, than there is a lot of mental food to chew on, and than … there is a time for singing and there is a time for thinking ! :o) I’m getting more enthousiastic about CoC.

    It also hurt me when John Dehlin said that the CoC is deminishing. That can’t be ! After listening to this podcast I now know that I probably will feel more at place in CoC than LDS.

    About the last part of the podcast … also in my pre-mormon time: I had friends at school and one girl was learning to speak and write english, and she had to write down 1 till 10 and started with: Wan. We told her that was not right, it had to be One. Listening to this Wanting and Being Wanted I remember that funny fault, and now realized: it was indeed deep wisdom (Thank You, Sandra H.). Hearing you say the different words of Wanted I realised that in fact it means ‘Becoming One’!

    I want to become a member of the Community of Christ, in fact I want to be One with the Community ! This is lovely !!!!!!

    I must find the online courses from John Hamer, but are there also online studygroups from CoC ?

    At the moment my health is not in such a way, and I live to far away from the one congregation of CoC in the Netherlands that I onet / 1t to become a member of, so, I’m not able to physically visit it, but maybe I can join a forum and learn and share my thoughts.

    Another insight beside want = ‘becoming one’ …… is also onet and 1t, putting what you want on the first place ! :o)

    So thank you so much for opening the way and make things possible ! :o)

    Mw. Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

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