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readstoomuch last won the day on July 20 2014

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About readstoomuch

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  1. It is very hard to find a faith promoting discussion board that also strives for intellectual honesty. I started a thread about it last year. In the end you have to put up with people that are pro to the point of not seeing any warts and moles or those who can only see warts or moles. If I could have a positive faith discussion with attention to scholarship and exclude the extreme for and against opinions, I would love that.
  2. May or early June might not be the best time to measure what the missionary number is. Most missionaries leave between graduation/end of school year and early September. There will be a large number leaving this summer. The end of the summer might be a more true measure. It might still be the same, but the flux of missionaries during the summer raises questions for me.
  3. I'll give you a few examples. The last time I taught about Thomas B Marsh and the milk stripping, I did some extra research. I found the manual too simplistic and I thought wrong in many ways. This was an adult Sunday School class. The full details were quite a story of redemption and forgiveness. For example, the whole congregation raised their hand accepted him back to full fellowship, even though he had sworn out affidavits in Missouri that added to their suffering. I don't have time to go into it now, but it is quite a story when taken as a whole. A few months ago I was teaching the eleven year olds about the translation of the Book of Mormon. It was a time to add some other illustrations about how it may have been translated, including his head being put in a hat to block out the light. No big deal to eleven year when they are told, but the important thing is that they were told. My wife taught a lesson about Joseph F Smith in RS. During the lesson it brought up trials. One of his big ones was that he was divorced. My wife brought it up and told the story. Joseph F really tried, but his wife was not going to live the Mormon way. There were six young sisters who had been through some horrible divorces right after their missions or education. They were all crying. One told my wife that she felt like a complete loser because she got divorced so young. We didn't change the underlying message that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon or that Thomas Marsh left the Church at least partly due to some actions of his wife. My wife didn't say that Joseph F Smith was not a prophet because his first wife went to San Francisco for months at a time and had an affair. Those are some examples that I see not so much about hiding our history, but not telling it as accurately or completely as we could. We are richer for the effort of teaching it more accurately. That is my opinion. I have honestly talked to all of the seven people who had doubts and five of them left or quit coming to Church. The sad part is that their spouses all continue to try and make their way within the Church. A few of the marriages ended over the doubts and inactivity of their spouse. We talked so much about history. I like history and I try to tell it accurately, honestly and sympathetically. In most of the cases the bishop asked me to speak to the people. I usually have one of the members of the bishopric when I teach a lesson. I have yet to have one of them come up and criticize me. On the contrary, I often get asked for references so people can read more. This is interesting and inspiring when taught well IMO.
  4. I think secularism has crept into the church at all ages level. Of the 6 or 7 adults in my ward who struggle or left there is secularism, but I talked to each one at the bishops direction and it comes down to history so often. The manuals are woefully out of date and I sometimes just have to clarify what I see are only part s of the truth or inadequate facts. We spend hours in these classes. We can and need to do better. The gospel is interesting when taught well.
  5. Some don't nourish their testimony of Christ. I see that. Too many people raised and served in the Church and feel betrayed. I know I did. I just see a lot more openness and resources, but they still complain. That I don't understand.
  6. I actually don't worry about how much the missionary numbers grow or don't grow. More of them seem to go inactive than they used to and there are more women going-this is true. I wish my oldest daughter had gone and I am pretty sure my younger daughter will go. I think the numbers are what they are. I just want to know what they are every once in awhile. Whatever they are, we just make the best of them. The same with the number of converts or active members. Even as far as active members, I have met a number of people over the years that don't come to Church but are outspoken believers. This is all a more complicated narrative than we might think. I think the biggest problem I have seen lately, is some information about the number of active men vs women. It was in Utah as I understand it there were 40 active men per 60 active women. I read it on Beliefnet the other day. I would like to also see more service missionaries and emphasis on service in general as well as more positive interactions with other Christians. I certainly think there is more disclosure within Mormonism. You should hear some of the questions I get from 11 year old in primary. A lot of good things are happening. Let the chips fall where they may. I am in for the longhaul and I pray that the Holy Spirit will pour out his influence upon the world and upon us as a people.
  7. Polygamy really is the big subject we just can't get over in this board. Even when we own it, in the end Joseph Smith was evil for practicing it. Even if it was messy at first introducing the practice, but developed more order. It is amazing all the different threads the denigrate to Joseph Smiths polygamy. If not that SSM issues. How about a nice discussion about the differences the two temples were built for. It seems Kirtland was built to have keys revealed or rerevealed for example.
  8. I think it first comes down to having the mighty change of heart that it talks about in the Book of Mormon. The second is that our salvation comes within a family and community. The time and energy that we give to that family and community is returned to us manyfold. The process of doing both gives us the path that will make us the most happy and likely to return to our heavenly father. That`s about as simple as I can describe it. Each of us will feel pain and suffer, but with Him we can emerge on the other side of it made whole.
  9. I think Emma was quite consistent in her statements about Joseph's prophetic role. She struggled with polygamy. It was her sorest trial. Interesting how every thread seems to deteriorate to polygamy.
  10. I guess only you can answer your own question. You might try the book For Those Who Doubt and The Borderlands column in Sunstone. I can`t remember his name. He seems to be pretty good at helping people construct a template for how they might interact with the Church. I could see how I might be happy to have more time on my hands or not have callings. For me, the question is what Christ would have me do and that has ultimately led to the most happy experiences in my life.
  11. I really don`t want to get too much into this thread and I am not after any one, but since sometimes I just have to say something, I will. Does DNA evidence shape how I might perceive the Book of Mormon? Sure. Has it made me look at it differently? Yes. Do I think that the Lehites were the sole founding population for North and South America? No. Have I read some books including Southerton`s and genetic articles. Yes. Is there enough consistent coherent information yet to change my belief in the Book of Mormon as a significant religious document? No. Do genetic studies and archeology make me look at the Bible differently? Yes. Have I been in a room and heard scientists argue about scientific studies, including DNA studies? Yes. Some things I assume. The earth is at least 4.5-5 billion years old. Organic evolution is a fact and the backbone behind the study of genetics. We should learn by study and by faith. If certain evidence really convinces me about the Book of Mormon being different than I had thought, I will change my mind. It won`t change my spiritual belief because I received a witness of it. I follow the most closely with Blake Ostler`s Dialogue article of 1987 called The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Document. Well worth the read and forms my world view of looking at the Book of Mormon in addition to what it actually says about itself.
  12. That is the big question. Is there really any proof about categories of plural marriage? Time, time/eternity and eternity only. There are examples and implications that there were these categories, but as far as I know no one spelled it all out in some type of document or written format.
  13. I look at the plural marriage differently than you are implying. I find that most latter day saints new about Joseph, Brigham, etc supposed quantity of wives well into the 30s and 40s. Those that didn`t generally heard about it from Fawn Brodie`s book. It was widely read. They couldn`t keep the copies in the libraries in Utah by some reports. It has really been the last 30-40 years that people didn`t seem to know as much about the polygamy. I think there are some strong arguments about the number of wives Joseph Smith actually had. 40 wives implies sex with them whereas there are no children and all of the children by polyandrous wives have been proven not to be his. One of the number of items that Brodie implied and proved by unsubstantiated quotes from Wylhelm Wyl. Most reputable historians count about 33 women who were sealed to Joseph during his lifetime. There are some who claimed to have relations with Joseph, but for those who admitted to that, it was for the most part at the Temple Lot trial to try and establish who the rightful owner of the property was. The Church had something to lose in that circumstance. I think it is much more genuine to say that Joseph Smith was a polygamist than really knowing or counting his wives. As far as the accounts of the first vision and Book of Abraham, they are more recent issues. In fact I have only read the second edition from early 70s and not the original from 1945. I don't know if the issues were discussed in the first edition or not (Brodies 1st edition). That is about all I feel like talking about, so I am just going to leave it at that.
  14. The question is basically the same for the Church History essays. Does information that is accurate, but tries to bring out the positive or apologetic side of the argument always help people to answer their question or overcome their doubts? No, not always. I would have loved to have had FAIR 35 years ago, but it was much harder. The apologetics that was available was often very poor. Things that were available that were any good were often photocopied and distributed in an informal matter. So, did the old system always work? Nope, but I think there are more people asking questions and that don`t know enough about history to put a context on a piece of information they find disturbing.
  15. Brodie was actually a gifted writer. Her style was very readable and entertaining. I spent a summer going through every one of her footnotes. This was long before there was an internet and it wasn`t an easy business. I found her footnotes to not be accurate and tended to favor anti-mormon books and not primary sources. For example she relies heavily on Wylhelm Wyl`s Mormon Portraits for the polygamy portions of the book. Her book has been often called a psychobiography. She tried to get inside Joseph`s heads and describe the motivations he was feeling. There were similar criticisms of her books about Jefferson and Nixon. Brodie Revisited by Marvin Hill and Reconsidering No Man Knows My History edited by Compton and Bringhurst qualify and explain much about Fawn Brodie. Nibley was flippant and not a great response to Brodie, but still brought up issues that are relevant. Still an interesting book that has to be explained in some way. Thus, it is discussed and reviewed many times in Mormon history.