No one who has appeared on Mormon Matters has a more interesting, diverse, and ecumenical religious journey than Father Tom Roberts—one that also includes Mormonism from his very early years on through today. Father Tom has been on the show several times in the past, but in this episode we query in greater depth than previously about his faith walk, and we also zero in far more directly on his main study, writing, and teaching emphases: theosis/divinization and the enthronement passages within the Hebrew Bible and New Testament that are so often not not even noticed, let alone understood at all, by Christians and Latter-day Saints, as well as (what he has most recently released in a short book) divorce and remarriage from a Middle Eastern Biblical approach. It’s a study that in some instances very clearly shows how so many in Christendom have completely missed the meaning of such difficult passages as “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:31–32). The clarifications Tom offers on these matters is much, much needed!
A big question framing the podcast is also how might a better understanding of the topics touched on herein mitigate some of the deep malaise many Latter-day Saints are feeling because of the primary ways that the correlated church has chosen to present the scriptures, as well as its own most profound teachings, in such a flat and quite lifeless way.
We believe you’ll be intrigued by much that Father Tom shares in this interview, and we hope that some will feel drawn to contact Tom to possibly collaborate with him on projects and dialogues and in study settings. The rewards could be many.
Tom’s book, From Sacral Kingship to Sacred Marriage: A Theological Analysis of Literary Borrowing is out of print but used copies can be found and purchased online.
Tom R. Roberts, Divorce and Remarriage: A Middle Eastern Biblical Approach (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2018)
Colorado Faith Forums website. Learn about its annual symposium, 15 September 2018, Parker, Colorado, featuring Robert Rees, Julie M. Smith, LaShawn C. Williams, and Dan Wotherspoon.
Mormon Matters Retreat, 12-14 October, Salt Lake City. Click here for details, registration information, and about scholarships to attend or to help others attend.
Father Tom was a bit all over the map on this podcast.
But to synthesize he wishes that Latter-day Saints would participate in more interfaith activities together with Catholics and other Christians in general that we could learn a lot from each other as we share our doctrines and beliefs in a non-combatant type of way. He really likes the theosis doctrine of man becoming like God.
But for me the reason I was mostly interested in listening to this podcast was for Matthew 5:31-32 clarification which didn’t come until after the 1:02 hour mark, where if we put away a woman we cause her to commit adultery and his explanation makes a lot of sense in the ancient world where as today this wouldn’t really apply since woman can be self reliant and find good sources for employment rather than recurring to prostitution as they would have had to do in the old days. Kind of sad to think that was the only recourse women had to survive in the old world.
Dear David, Brother Dan and I deliberately took a broad swath to cover a wide area of subjects. Every question Dan asked was faithfully answered. We attempted to encourage the audience to glean some of the answers for themselves. The questions ranged from my life history, participation with Mormonism, enthronements to divorce and remarriage so everyone could find a item which pertained to his/her interests. Thank you for responding. Father Tom