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About Navidad

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    Seasoned Member: Separates Light & Dark

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  1. Thanks. In the whatever it is worth department, my experience is that there is much to be learned from RevTestament. I know I have.
  2. I guess it depends. I have learned in life that trying to show someone how he or she may be incorrect rarely produces any change. What does it depend on? I guess in the spiritual realm it would depend on whether or not I thought it was something necessary for salvation or sanctification. Anything but the basic essentials: atonement, repentance, and faith is not essential. In my mind it, whatever it might be is not worth the debate. Of course for some folks everything is essential. I would question that person's judgement, not their belief. A belief in spirit children prior to a mortal existence is an example. To me, it is a debate that has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, so no, I would not try and correct someone on that. Just my two cents.
  3. Navidad

    Makes Me Proud to be a Mennonite!

    I would like to respond to both Rain's and Meerkat's kind posts at the same time. I want to do so with what I hope and pray for after so much time spent with so many good folks in our ward, on this forum, and at various conferences. As an interesting interlude, just as I was sitting down to reply to you both, I received an email invitation to speak at a LDS-affiliated conference on the subject of "The Apostles in the Colonies" this year in Salt Lake City. Such is the complex relationship I have with our ward, the Church, and my LDS friends! Last year, I spoke at the same conference and was asked to pray before the final banquet and session - in front of several general authorities. The same hands who welcome me to partake in a spiritual act (prayer), with their doctrine ban me from returning to God (to use a LDS phrase) Just as I Am (to use a great Methodist invitational hymn). I feel like I am a victim of what family therapists term "The Go Away Closer Disease." With one arm the abused spouse or child (me) pushes the abuser away, while with the other longs to be held. Some marriage and family therapists believe this disease can lead to non-biologically based schizophrenia. Sometimes I feel a little schizophrenic about my relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. First, neither of you have or will offend me. When your LDS peers on this forum have dubbed me a son of Baal, and a follower of Canaan, that offends me and in some cases I have reacted badly. Shame on them and shame on me. My hope and prayer is that somehow LDS Christians and non-LDS Christians can bridge the great chasm of mean-spiritedness, disdain, the sense of being enemies, and competitiveness that divides us. I believe that chasm stems from a shared history since 1830 that has been toxic on all sides. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reacted to an identity clothed with a sense of persecution and has evolved a doctrine of onliness, specialness, and uniqueness that is designed to right the wrongs it has endured. The LDS faith is a relatively young faith - it continues to evolve in its doctrines, practices, and perspectives, as have all faiths over time. Add to that a robust and active revelation mechanism through its prophet and as our bishop said to us, "The Church is on a roller-coaster ride, we better hang on!" Many in the non-LDS Christian community have also reacted to the engagement, growth, prosperity, and what I have termed the arrogance of the LDS Church with their own forms of toxicity. They become obsessive compulsive over doctrine (theology and christology specifically); they pick apart every real and imagined flaw in successive church leaders, the financial governance of the church, and the missiological passion of the Church in a way they do not do with any other group. The ultimate put-down is to deny the member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the right to use the label Christian. Saints have used the "enemy," "apostate," "gentile," and "anti-Mormon" words while non-LDS Christians love to use the "heretic," "cult," and "exclusive" vernacular. My hope and prayer is that somehow this will all stop. It is indicative of the worst in all of us. That is what I believe makes God cry. Not that it means anything, but it makes my wife and I cry as well. I hope the LDS Church will continue to evolve and will be free some day from needing to be the "only." I hope the non-LDS Church will seek to be more embracing in its treatment of the Saints, and will welcome them into the Christianity family tree. My metaphor you may have seen me use is that the Christian community of 3 billion strong is a tree - the tree of life. Each Christian group is a branch on the tree. We are each called by God to produce the same fruit: the fruits of the Spirit. Most of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I interact with are not content to be a branch; they believe they are the whole tree, orchard, or kingdom! Non-LDS Christians vary widely in their view of the Christianity of the Saints based, in part on their own placement within the broader Christian community (fundamentalist, evangelical, or mainstream) and to some degree whether they are Protestant or Catholic, or like Mennonites and Mormons, neither Protestant or Catholic. Shame on them for keeping the Saints out of the orchard, off the tree, or worse of all, incapable of bearing fruit. They are wrong and I am much harder on them in my dialogues with, and speaking to them. I hope nothing I have said in turn, offends you. I guess the bottom line right now for me is that I welcome and embrace the Saints as my fellow-Christians; neither superior to, more favored by God; inferior to, or less favored by God than any other genuine Christian who seeks to live a life of righteousness and exhibit the fruits of the spirit. They are neither the only or His favorite. They are fully and completely part of the Christian family. There were other restorational, as opposed to reformational groups before the Saints, and there will most likely be others yet to come. Growing up as a pastor's son, I saw the strengths and weaknesses in Mennonites and Baptists as individuals. Neither group is hierarchical at all. Neither have a world-wide or national hierarchy. A different sermon and Sunday School lesson is preached in each individual church each Sunday. The concept of authority in a church where every believer is looked upon as holding the priesthood is not really very important. To the Saint, the concept of authority is one of the most important aspects of the faith. Perhaps we can each find a way to be what and who we are first and foremost as Christians, naming the name of Christ, and seeking His will in all that we do. My life's verse is Col. 3: 17 - "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks to God the Father, by Him." As one of you said to me, I think you can agree with that. Blessings to you both.
  4. I am way late posting here, but I am taken by Jarman's references to Foxe's Book of Martyrs. I haven't read every post in this thread, so forgive me if this has already been pointed out . . . The Whitmer family as long-time Anabaptists (Brethren and Mennonite) would, without a doubt have had a copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs in their home in New York - most likely one that was fully illustrated. It is common consent in the history of Anabaptism that next to the Bible, Foxe's Book was a requirement for every Mennonite home. Others have written about the Anabaptist influences on early Mormonism, perhaps Jarman's observations are just one more link.
  5. Interesting discussion - sad, humorous, and hubristic (I don't think that is a word) all rolled up in one thread. It has brought to my mind my recent discovery of recordings of several debates between a Catholic, Patrick Madrid and Elders Gary Coleman and Frank Bradshaw for sale on the internet. I am a bear of limited funds so I need your collective opinions about whether the debates are worth buying? Is the dialogue therein insightful and helpful in understanding LDS-Christian and Catholic-Christian differences and similarities? Are they simply polemics that are of little value? After reading this thread yesterday, I actually thought of starting a new one to promote discussion and dialogue based on a thread where only faithful Saints can point out the weaknesses, flaws, "less thans," etc. in their own faith; and likewise only non-Latter-Day Saints can point out similar things in their own faith, positions, etc. I thought that would be truly insightful and perhaps even fun. Then I thought that perhaps that is asking too much. As this thread reveals, folks here seem much more comfortable attacking the other than providing insight into the blind spots of their own particular perspectives, views, or faith. Certainly the true test of insight and integrity is the ability to discover and own one's own blind spots, not those of the other.
  6. Navidad

    Makes Me Proud to be a Mennonite!

    Hi Rain: Thanks for your comment - you have always been very kind. I understand how my post can be confusing. It is confusing for us. I never meant to imply that the folks in our ward are arrogant and exclusive. They are not; in fact they are the opposite. That is where it gets complicated and sad. It is often said that we don't understand the doctrine well enough and that is why we struggle. Then after a 20 minute discussion our LDS friends inevitably say, "Well yes, that is what we believe, but we never thought about it being offensive to others. We now can understand why you feel less than, but we believe what we believe and we don't see our beliefs as offensive, but you have helped us to see it from a different perspective. We love you both and so sorry for the pain our doctrine is causing you." Ninety-five percent of the time that is how it goes. The other five percent of the times the conversations end with the "Yeh, did you hear the one about the fellow who died and went to heaven and was told by St. Peter to be quiet because the Mormons are right over there and they think they are the only ones here?" They tell the joke to lighten the situation, but it seems that we all leave the conversation with a sigh. Bottom line, my wife and are 70 years old, have been married 48 years, have dedicated our lives to ministry and service to Christ as our Lord and Savior. We have been baptized by immersion, and have lived our lives in as faithful a manner as we are able (and maybe just a little bit more). We believe with all our hearts that our Latter-day Saint Christian brothers and sisters are as Christian as we are. We have suffered within our own families and circle of Christian friends for that belief. Yet . . . when in the ward we study the Kingdom of God (current and future) as described in Daniel, we are assured that only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are in the Kingdom of God. We study that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the the only true and living church. All others, according to III Nephi 27 are the works of men or the works of the devil. Try that on for making non-members feel less than. We are assured that only baptism for the forgiveness of sins administered by a LDS priesthood holder is valid in the eyes of God. All other baptisms by all others in authority in all other churches are invalid. I know of no other Christian group that teaches that any more. We are supposed to be comforted that we will have another chance for Mormon ordinances in the spirit world. That is more than fair, right? No, it is the same thing as believing it is the only valid ordinance here on earth. Last Sunday we were told by an older gentleman that he takes great comfort in knowing his marriage to his wife was an ordinance approved by God. When I commented that for Mennonites, marriage is also an ordinance, one of five in our church and is a very sacred event, the older gentleman said, "I didn't know that, but it still isn't an ordinance with authority." Eternal life? We studied the GC talk this past Sunday in which he mentioned "eternal life." It is clear that what is meant by that is that access for eternity to the practice of the presence of Christ and Heavenly Father is very limited and restricted. We are assured that is fair because even many, probably most Mormons won't make it there. So we will spend forever with unworthy Mormons outside of the presence of Christ and Heavenly Father, no matter how faithful we have lived! Sigh! I could go on and on with examples, but I won't. So, we still have an assurance about our LDS friends being Christians without needing any conversion or additional ordinances than what they already have. LDS doctrine keeps the faithful from saying the same about us. As a historian of the Saints, I think I understand how the single story of innocent persecution has helped shape the exclusive parts of LDS doctrine. Before 2018 that was just something I knew from a distance. I kept telling myself, "They really no kidding can't and don't believe that the 99.6% of Christians who are not LDS have a gospel that is of men or of the devil. But now, I have been confronted regularly with that very same belief. I personally have come to the conclusion that it makes God cry for one of the branches of His tree of life to hold such a view. So, we are soon faced with a decision. Our bishop, one of the Godliest men, I have ever met and his wife asked to see us last week. We were so nervous about their visit. We were sure he was going to tell us it might be better if we stopped coming. We can feel that some folks (teachers, especially) are uncomfortable discussing the more exclusive LDS doctrines with us sitting there. But . . . he didn't say that. He just wanted to see how we were doing. That was very kind. Let me reiterate - the folks have been wonderful. Thanks so much for reading this missive. It is hard for us to know where to turn. We believe God has something for us to learn in this trial. We are open to that. It just gets a bit sadder each week when we get in the car after services to drive home with a lump in our respective throats. Oh, and I am glad you liked the photo. We live in a little bit of paradise with 900 feet on a lovely river.
  7. Navidad

    Makes Me Proud to be a Mennonite!

    I am glad to see this thread is still being followed. As the OP, I noted I was proud to be a Mennonite. I still am (Mennonite and proud - in a humble kind of way, of course). I am also proud, that with my wife, we have been attending a ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for well over a year. It has been a blessing and has been very hard, both at the same time. You see, blessings and difficulties/challenges/pain are not exclusive in their character. Pretty soon we will have to make a choice as to whether or not to continue our attendance there. We often come home discouraged and feeling less-than. That isn't how you should come home from church. We love the fellowship. The people are so kind to us personally. We are active and involved. Aside from temple activities we minister, mow, vacuum, give (projects - not tithes), and participate as we are allowed and have opportunity. We have certainly not been "despised and rejected," but we have known grief and sorrow. The people of the ward have been wonderful, the doctrine of the Church is exclusive and arrogant, something that is very foreign to Mennonites. Not whining, or complaining. It is our choice, under I believe, the direction of the Holy Spirit to attend the ward. It is also our choice, under I believe, the direction of the Holy Spirit not to be baptized again. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a wonderful, complex, and thoroughly Christian organization. It just doesn't seem to know what to do with folks like us. It is hard for me not to draw a comparison with the Mormons in Missouri, but that will just alienate many of you, and I have no desire to do that. Joseph Smith, in one of his letters from the Liberty jail, termed the Missourians "wimbling willows." I think that is a curious and meaningful appellation - there has to be a book title in there somewhere. You see we live within yards of a natural river which forms the border for 900 feet of our property. It has willows on both side of its banks. I often sit on our patio, watching the willow branches "wimble" in the water. I am not sure, if in our ward, we are the wimbling willows as the non-members who sometimes disturb the waters, or the members are the wimbling willows, not sure which way to go with us. Maybe, as in most cases, it is both. I rarely post here anymore. I have disturbed the waters of this forum enough times in the past, and I regret much of what has been said. I no longer wish to stir the waters. A large majority of you have been very kind to me. I value and appreciate that. We have investigated, instigated, and alligated enough - ha! too much is probably more like it. You are all good folks - not just as my brothers and sisters in Christ, but as my fellow Christians. Blessings on you all.
  8. You bring up a very little known episode in General Conference history. I think it is very informative and helpful. For an exhaustive review of General Conference talks, with a content analysis by topic, I highly recommend Gary and Gordon Shepherd's wonderful book, "A Kingdom Transformed: Early Mormonism and the Modern LDS Church." It is a wonderful read and highly insightful. There are two editions - the second edition brings things more up-to-date. Their book about their experiences as missionaries in Mexico in the 1960's is also a great read.
  9. Navidad

    Is the Bible self-authenticating?

    I have struggled in following all this. I have nothing to add except to affirm that there is no one Protestant, Catholic, Baptist, Anabaptist, or LDS interpretation of scripture, whether inclusive of one book with two testaments; the canonical scriptures for LDS Christians (sustained by the members); or the all-inclusive, but not all-canonical scripture for LDS Christians, inclusive of general conference talks. My faith is founded on the witness of the Holy Spirit in my life. The Spirit speaks to me both inside and outside of the Bible. My faith is restored and renewed as much by my wife's love, a beautiful snowstorm, or a great poem. As a Baptinite or a Mennotist I have been blessed by readings of the BOM. Probably not so much by D&C, and less by POGP. That is just me and my own personal experience. I also enjoy reading general conference talks. They are often excellent sermons, just the same as are those by A.W. Tozer, Billy Graham, and Spurgeon. They are uplifting and inspiring; they are a source of blessing. Why would I deny that? I don't believe they are canonical scriptures any more than a LDS Christian believes they are canonical scripture (until sustained by the members and the apostles). Elder Richards had his 1932 general conference talk stricken from the records of that conference. So what? I can be blessed and informed by the Holy Spirit using a variety of methodologies, including a wonderful sacrament talk. A terrible sacrament talk does nothing for me; and based on the hall conversations, not so much for many others, either! 😄 I am not really sure the purpose of intent of this thread, but I thought I would simply chime in on my perspective, which may not fit any of your mold or your idea of what other groups believe. That is the great thing about the priesthood of all believers, that LDS Christians probably will never understand!
  10. I have enjoyed reading the two lead articles in the last two Dialogue Journals about priests and the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I found them interesting, insightful and educational. The fellow who wrote them certainly (to an outsider) seems to be a faithful LDS Christian.
  11. Navidad

    Is it time to end Testimony meetings?

    My favorite "meeting" in our ward is our once monthly meeting of the "empty-nesters" group. I have no idea whether this is something that happens regularly in other wards or not. It is a gathering on a Monday evening of around ten to fifteen couples, most of whom are the leaders in the ward in one way or another. We go to a home, have a pot-luck type dinner and sit around and share. I find it a deeply spiritual time because that which is shared is not rote or formulaic, but often speaks to the real struggles and joys people are experiencing within their business, personal, and family life. Folks ask each other to remember them in prayer. I find it a deeply moving get-together where simply eating Costco hot dogs from the U.S. is a real treat for many of us! I find more openness and honesty than in any of the three meetings in the ward on a given Sunday. I guess in my non-LDS Christian experience we would call it a "small group" get-together. There is no agenda or lessons. People simply share. I find that simply wonderful. Technically my wife and I are not empty-nesters since our son lives with us, and we certainly are not leaders in any formal way, but we are so blessed to be invited to the meetings. I am already looking forward to next week's meeting.
  12. Navidad

    Non-LDS Experts in Archeology and Egyptology

    Clearly, the original poster knew the answer to his question prior to asking it and was/is grandstanding. I can understand why some of you get tired of those who come on here and ask questions all the time (present company excepted of course). However, at the same time, some of you seem to enjoy the give and take, or you would simply ignore the person! I haven't been on here for a month or so. And I won't ask any questions in this post; aren't you relieved? Belief in any scripture is a matter of faith and even the word "belief" has a variety of levels of meaning. If a text was irrefutable; there would be no need for faith. Regarding this particular issue, I find much more interesting the question (although I am not asking it) about faithful Mormons who have strong beliefs in the spiritual truths contained in the BOM, but who have varying thoughts about its historicity. That is why we have a field in systematic theology called hermeneutics - the study of the interpretation of scripture. Obviously, exactly the same can be said about the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Many who would reject the concept that Jonah survived being swallowed by a big fish, believe the Bible to be true. I trust all on this forum are well and enjoying a blessed life of service to the Savior.
  13. Navidad

    Makes Me Proud to be a Mennonite!

    Wow! Why don't you tell us what you really think!
  14. Navidad

    Makes Me Proud to be a Mennonite!

    You are right. It is an important part of our heritage that thousands of us were martyred for our beliefs and in serving and protecting others. Many such accounts from WWII