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About SteveO

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  1. I would say you're right in the sense that religious dogma isn't meeting the needs of people in this modern age. I'd even say that "pop culture" Mormonism doesn't either. I would also say that just going off on one's own and relying on a personal relationship with whatever their idea of who and what God is, doesn't fare much better. I think the Father in Heaven, and the Savior of the King Follet Discourse is far more incredible and satiating to what people are looking for anymore. And I wish that were something the church would emphasize more of.
  2. You ever seen "The Mask of Zorro"? There's a scene where Anthony Hopkins is training Antonio Banderas. He draws three circles in the dirt and tells him to jump from circle 1 to circle 3 without touching circle 2. It's an impossible feat, and it illustrated that training in anything requires prerequisites leading up to it. I see the gospel in much the same way. There are things you absolutely, without question, must know in the church (circle 1). Then there are things you should know (circle 2). And then there are things that are nice to know, and incredibly cool to know, but really aren't necessary for you to know (circle 3). That whole "line upon line" and "milk before meat" that the church always uses isn't something that we say and don't really follow through on. It's vital to one's understanding of the gospel. You know this. You know that the church's answer to that list of questions isn't "it's in the bible, just have faith". All you have to do is read Parley P Pratt's "Key to the Science of Theology" from the late 19th century to know that the church had/has a far greater understanding of those things than what you're suggesting. But those aren't things we say over the pulpit on Sunday. We don't go into primary and teach how evolution and the gospel can be reconciled, or give a lesson on how metaphors and parables are just tools that are supposed to teach the layman complex eternal truths. People are at different stages spiritually, and at different stages with education and understanding. Most people, like my brother, just don't care and are fine with staying in circle 1. You start with anything more than that, and his eyes glaze over and he just tunes out. Absolutely no interest in things like that. So the difficulty is trying to please everyone. An army can only move as fast as its slowest man...so the default speed of the church--at least at the macro level imo--is going to be circle 1 territory. Which is why its up tot the members to take charge of their own learning and understanding. I agree to a point, but I dislike the whole, "who wants to sit in meetings and listen to someone tell them how to live their lives"? I think most people know what their weaknesses and shortcomings are. They don't really need people to point it out. And even if they don't know where specifically they are failing, they know enough to know that there is something in their lives that needs fixing or bettering. Church is like a "spiritual hospital", or at least it should be. One area I think we aren't doing so well in is providing people with the medicine they are craving or needing. We had a guy this past Sunday get up and literally ramble for 25 minutes in sacrament meeting. No notes, no papers, clearly no preparation. Just incoherent rambling with personal stories that I guess were designed to make him look good. And the worst of it, is that the guy clearly thought he was a talented and gifted speaker, which just means going forward, he has no intention of preparing and fixing the issue. There's a lot of that it seems,in every ward I go to. It doesn't help anyone, nobody is the better for it, and it just feels like a waste of time sitting there and listening to it. The problem isn't with the religion, its how its being presented. I think the church has tried to remedy that with the changes to the curriculum and with teacher training, but until some members get a little humility in their abilities, its not going to do much in making the meetings spiritually refreshing.
  3. I was thinking about this some more last night and I read this talk by Patrick Mason: https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2016/courage-convictions And what you've wrote sounds in line with those who Mason describes as "switched off" members: So I get that. I really do. And so I do think I need to revise my position on the church curriculum and culture contributing to this. I still think the onus needs to be on members to do the research, but it probably needs to be widely said that the research needs to be done in the first place. Your third example I think everyone has encountered at one time or another. I don't think the spirit "whispers" to people as often as they claim, especially relating to matters as you describe. And that's just recognizing and accepting that we sustain fallible leaders. If people can't or won't come to grips with that, their future with the church probably is not going to stand the test of time. I do think I need to revise my position that the church probably needs to be better at addressing these issues. I gather you and others here had a very gradual decay of faith, but it sounds like your concerns just were never addressed, even though you may have been hoping that eventually they would be--but you guys I imagine held on for as long as you did because you were doing everything you were supposed to. So that all makes sense. But I do think President Nelson's warning this past conference to be very ominous. It won't be possible to survive spiritually in the coming days without the influence of the Holy Ghost. I don't think answers will ever matter if the spirit is not present in the lives of these people who are questioning. I think you case, and I'm speculating here, was/is a case of where the spirit was present, but perhaps there were no satisfactory answers to go along with it. Anyways, that's the best I can do.
  4. I suppose. You know, I really disliked my mission. Mainly because I hated how fake everything was. It was a show with everyone from the MTC to the field and back home again. Everyone had to have an amazing testimony, everyone had to have incredible success and baptisms and hopefully temple marriages of their converts. Everything was embellished and overdone. At BYU it was all the same. I say this because the entire time, from age 19-29 (pretty much 10 years too) I had my faith crisis. I was exposed to anti Mormon literature when I was 15 or 16. And I had to fake my way through it all, because all the outward spiritual theatrics that were present in my surroundings were so drastically opposite of what I was experiencing. I think I wanted to go on a mission, but it was never because I felt the kind of joy that I just couldn't keep from sharing from other people. It was a sense of duty and obligation. And then to have your mission president tell me towards the end of it that my mission was a waste, and that I had fooled everyone around me into thinking I was some spiritual giant (I guess the latter was true)...I finished my last transfer as a junior companion. And then going to BYU afterwards and meet new people having zero sense of self worth. Believing that the last two years of my life was a waste? How does a "true church" do that to someone? That was probably a lot of rambling. But I say it to point out that I think everyone has issues with incorrect teachings, the weight of unrighteous leadership, struggles with the history and veracity of the BoM. And you're right to point out that everyone deals with them differently. I dropped out of college and joined the Army. I just ran away and did some pretty amazing things, and some pretty amazingly stupid things. The training I did, and my tour to Afghanistan were the absolute hardest things I've ever dealt with. I felt that was were I was supposed to be though...even though I pretty much was inactive from the church (although I always kept tabs on how much I owed in tithing, that was always the line I would never cross, bc I felt it was literally the only thing that kept me tied to the church). I didn't do very good things, despite all the personal triumphs and successes, I went pretty low. But I also found God there after a time. You spend enough time in the dark, and you can't help but thirst for light after a while. (That's also physically true, I had training in North Carolina where we did night land navigation with strict light restrictions, and after a time you have to pull a tarp over your head just so you can look at some light). I don't think you or many people who leave the church are really out of it. Some do stay away regrettably. But maybe you really are where you're supposed to be at this time (I still don't accept the spirit leading people out of the church, I think the Lord would always ideally have people remain active and engaged), and you need your time in the wilderness, or Afghanistan, or whatever, pick your metaphor. Maybe one day you'll start thirsting too. Take care.
  5. Okay I’m listening. How did you “figure out” the BoM was not a translation? I don’t want the evidence, that’s been discussed already elsewhere. I want to know what led you to investigate it in the first place. Why were you asking the questions that lead to that conclusion? What made you read the books that you read? Nothing ever “just happens”. There’s always a cause and effect. What was your cause?
  6. But they aren't boilerplate reasons. Church history is filled with just very examples. The scriptures are filled with those very examples. The fact that it is 2018 doesn't mean those stories and examples are no longer applicable or a present danger. "Wanting to sin" and "never had a testimony" are stupid, so I'll give you those. But I think the complacency as I've outlined is not something to be brushed off.
  7. And what I'm saying is that more often than not, the historical issues aren't the root cause. For some yes, but divorce, addictions, heartache, and all sorts of other human tragedy start people on that road far easier than anything they find on the internet. And its just as bad to say that more historical transparency is needed to fix all those issues than addressing and tackling the original problem.
  8. "Spiritually lazy" to me, means that the individual doesn't care enough to make the effort. I think most people do care. And I think that most people don't intentionally decide they are going to live the gospel minimally. I think that most of them think they can live the gospel, AND have it take a lesser priority when needed. Its a gradual eroding of those spiritual receptors. Its complacency. And I've done it, and its miserable. You can't do this work if you aren't completely committed. I am absolutely convinced of that. And I think that there are so many distractions that keep us from being fully committed. Now, JK may not fit into that category, but I believe that many people who are leaving are doing so "on their knees" having been beaten down over the years. Its exhausting trying to harmonize the church and the world at the same time, and I think either people have a point where they need to change themselves and fully commit, or they need to save their sanity and leave. I think the rest of your post says it all much better.
  9. I don’t believe they are living the gospel. I believe they are going through the motions, half heartedly living it, etc. That’s hard to do. Why waste 3 hours on a Sunday if you’re spending it on your phone in an uncomfortable pew? Why pay 10% of your paycheck if you’re not 100% commited to the cause? All you’re doing is wasting your time, energy, and resources to something you’re not giving your whole might, mind, and strength to. And it makes the case for staying in the church...hard to justify.
  10. But none of that is because the gospel is too hard. I said explicitly that living the gospel is not hard to do. You even bolder it. Not living the gospel is hard. Living it with minimal effort is hard. Going through the motions is hard. But living the gospel is not.
  11. You’re either the exception, or you fall into the category of what I wrote. If you’re the former, take it with a grain of salt and don’t worry about it.
  12. I believe I said there were exceptions at the beginning of my original post
  13. I never said it was too hard or that I believed that narrative.
  14. No, no, no. I don’t like the word “lazy” when describing people who leave the church. They aren’t lazy. And I would say that many of those on this board who have left the church probably don’t fit in with what I wrote. I was more responding to your story of you and your friend saying that the numbers that are leaving have reached critical mass. I would be comfortable saying that a vast majority of them started their journey out of the church due to reasons that have nothing to do with the church’s historical reasons. But you are right, I don’t believe the spirit leads people out of the church.
  15. Then what is it that I wrote that would lead you to think I’ve never seriously considered the possibility that the church might not be true?