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Raskolnikov

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  1. Thanks, mfbukowski. I also agree that the emphasis on this teaching is overused and overstated by the, as you say ,"anti-mormon" crowd. But, I also think that apologists likewise dismiss it away too simply and easily. Kevin Christensen cited to the FAIR website which quotes a private letter as evidence that the Church rebutted this teaching. I simply wanted to show that, to my knowledge, the Church hasn't formally rebutted this teaching. It seems alive and well, even if more nuanced views of personal revelation, prophetic fallibility, are allowed to exist.
  2. I'll offer the following but don't really want to spend a ton of time researching this or tracing the idea. Sister Elaine Cannon at General Conference (1978) "When the prophet speaks, sisters, the debate is over." https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1978/10/if-we-want-to-go-up-we-have-to-get-on?lang=eng N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign 1978 - Expanding on Elaine Cannon's talk, concludes his remarks with "We cannot serve God and mammon. Whose side are we on? When the prophet speaks the debate is over." https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1979/08/the-debate-is-over?lang=eng I am not arguing about the validity of the doctrine or teaching or whether I personally believe it. I am simply addressing someone pointing to a private letter as evidence that the Church has rebutted this concept that was presented an article widely published to members [and reinforced, as shown above, in the Ensign and at General Conference]. As these two later addresses show, one in general conference and another in the Ensign, this concept was still widespread in the Church 30+ years later. Was the Ensign article and General Conference talk rebutted? Aren't those fairly correllated sources? How did they make it through the editors/reviewers? Perhaps, since the writer and speaker and the reviewers and editors weren't Doctor J. Raymond Cope, they didn't hear President Smith's rebuttal. I think these ideas were allowed to go out to the members, so it makes sense that some members grew up believing in this and the Church may have some involvement in letting this concept exist. Are you aware of any time this phrase was rebutted in an official capacity after it was published in the Ward Teacher lessons?
  3. The quote "when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done" was in an article published for all members and included as the Ward Teaching message. George Albert Smith's "express rebuttal" that you point to was in a private letter to a non-member who had raised a specific question. The rebuttal would not have been known by the members of the Church who were all instructed that "when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done." For the people who would be impacted most by this teaching, the rebuttal was not given. It appears that the church allowed that message to stand and it was taken into the hearts and beliefs of members. George Albert Smith was quick to clarify and acknowledge the nuances privately, but clearly didn't feel like this message should go out to all of the members who read and were taught this principle. If you want to claim it was expressly rebutted such that members should not be pointing to this teaching as a position of the church, then the rebuttal and clarifying teaching should have been given to the members - a private letter just doesn't cut it.
  4. I was trying to articulate another reason why gas lighting may occur. The term gaslighting focuses on the results of the action, not the purpose.
  5. or that they or the institution they are representing continue to control the narrative and what is or isn't viewed as "true."
  6. I also agree. But accepting it as a purely visionary experience also raises some concerns -- putting aside the contradictory details of who he saw and what he heard and how that changed over time. The Church has put an awful lot of weight on the First Vision, including claims to the nature of God and the Godhood. "There was no man scarcely upon the earth that had a true conception of God.... But all this was swept away in one moment by the appearance of ... God, the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, to the boy Joseph.... The Father came accompanied by the Son, thus showing that there were two personages of the God-head ... Joseph saw that the Father had a form; that He had a head; that He had arms; that He had limbs; that he had feet; that He had a face and a tongue with which to express his thoughts; for he said unto Joseph: “This is my beloved Son” – pointing to the Son – “hear him." George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 24, p. 371-72 Can the Church afford to let the First Vision be seen as a purely mental visionary story? Does there need to be a physical appearance to support the doctrine of physical separateness of God and Jesus Christ or the literal physical bodies of Jesus and God the Father?
  7. Not where I served they weren't, Storm Rider. It was incredibly rare for me to find someone who had attended church or had a basic understanding of the gospel. Go back and look what was in the first discussion before the first prompt to invite them to be baptized. Look at the second discussion where there was instruction to have them pick a date, and then read through the balance of the lessons to see what was to be taught after they had committed. Elder Ballard is saying that "it was never our intention to invite people to be baptized before they had learned something about the gospel, felt the Holy Ghost, and had been properly prepared to accept a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus Christ." The question is whether this statement is accurate given where in the teaching process missionaries have been and are instructed to invite people to be baptized.
  8. As it pertains to the institutional church, I sure do. I am certainly not asking him to acknowledge small errors or even big errors. I am not even saying there was an error. I would have loved for him to simply speak about focusing on spiritual experiences and more permanent conversion pre-baptism. I think we all agree that this is a better way of conversion if the goal is retention. This entire discussion would not be occurring if a perceived problem/error wasn't raised by Elder Ballard in his talk, and then the institution wasn't affirmatively absolved of responsibility for this claimed problem/error. This is the sole source of the issue for many on this thread. If he simply said, X is a better way, we should all be doing X, that would be great. But he said, X is a better way, but for some reason Z was being done, Z was a problem, and we have no idea why Z was being done. But we do have a fairly clear idea why Z was being done and that is the issue being discussed. Underlying all of this, I think, are concerns with how historical issues and other perceived "errors" have been discussed by Church leadership in the past. So, there are more emotions involved and institutional baggage in play with the approach Elder Ballard is taking to this one.
  9. Yes! And it will be a wonderful time when we can simply acknowledge these things and then move on. It can be harmful to relationships when the answer to very knowable or known issues is "we don't know." I think that is what is informing this entire thread. We do know where missionaries got "their thinking that inviting people to be baptized early is what is expected." It is right there in black and white -- since 1986.
  10. Oh, the irony that this should be the fable that you point to. It is almost too perfect.
  11. I was one of those missionaries and served in one of those missions. It is Elder Ballard who is suggesting we were all in error and that he can't fathom how it came to be. I quoted from the written materials given to each missionary to show how it may have come to be. I am not responsible for an error (if it is, we aren't even discussing that here), but I don't like being told that I am by someone who was involved in a quorum that had oversight over what the missionaries were given to read. As to slander. Please tell me where I claim he was the author? I haven't even hinted as much. I claimed he had dementia? Really? I said he is outright lying? Where? This has gone completely off the rails now and you are resorting to ad hominem attacks, baseless allegations and inflammatory rhetoric. And so it ends. Yikes.
  12. Nehor, This appears to be getting less productive since you are now speaking out of both sides of your mouth and simply stating falsehoods. "If you were jumping the gun and inviting baptism to someone who has had no spiritual experience then yeah, you messed up. If not, you are following what was said then and what was said now." Thank you for emphasizing my point that there is blame and judgment on missionaries who invited early, even though done strictly in accordance with the written instructions given to them by the Church. But, please show me where in the missionary instructions that have been in place since 1986, either in Preach My Gospel or the in six lesson Uniform System for Teaching the Gospel", the missionaries are told not to invite someone who hasn't had a spiritual experience or that the spiritual experience is a prerequisite. I am curious, but can cite you examples to the contrary. Also, you clearly didn't check Preach My Gospel. I already quoted exactly where the instruction to make the baptismal commitment invitation was in each and every lesson. I can't even begin to understand where you think that the commitment question was moved from lesson 3 to 5. Here are links to the current version on the Church's website: Lesson 1 - https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-1-the-message-of-the-restoration-of-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng The very first text box includes "Baptismal Interview Questions" and it ends with the text box entitled "Invitation to be Baptized" which I quoted above. Lesson 2 - https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-2-the-plan-of-salvation?lang=eng This lesson again beings with a text box including "Baptismal Interview Questions" lists that one of the invitatinos for the lessons is "Will you follow the example of the Savior and baptized on (date)?" and the lesson ends with a text box entitled "Invitation to be Baptized" which I quoted above. Lesson 3 - https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-3-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng This lesson again beings with a text box including "Baptismal Interview Questions" lists that one of the invitatinos for the lessons is "Will you be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on (date)? Will you be confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?" and the lesson ends with a text box entitled "Invitation to be Baptized" which I quoted above. Lesson 4 - https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-4-the-commandments?lang=eng This lesson includes the express invitation in a text box entitled "Invitations" of "Will you be baptized and confirmed?" and also includes the text box entitled "Invitation to be Baptized" which I quoted above. Lesson 5 - This one, wholly contrary to what you stated above, is the only lesson that doesn't include the baptismal invitation commitment.
  13. Nehor, This is starting to get borderline personal now. I didn't plan on engaging with this at length or at depth, but I am astonished that you simply can't acknowledge that missionaries may have gotten the idea to invite people to be baptized as early as possible, at least in the first or second meeting, based on the written instructions that Salt Lake gave to them. Fine, you want to discard 30+ years of express instructions to missionaries to have the people make the baptism commitment as "as early as possible" as having something to do with the current practice of missionaries. But, just look at Preach my Gospel. The six lessons are now collapsed into four, and though they are more free form now, the formal instructions at the end of each lesson contain instructions to invite people to be baptized. Lesson 1 - "During this or any other lesson, do not hesitate to invite people to be baptized and confirmed. To prepare people for an invitation to be baptized and confirmed, teach the doctrine of baptism and testify often of the importance of all people being baptized by authority, of receiving a remission of sins, and of the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost. You might say, “As the Lord answers your prayers and you feel that this message is true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized?” The invitation to be baptized and confirmed should be specific and direct: “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God? We will be holding a baptismal service on (date). Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?”" Lesson 2 - "The invitation to be baptized and confirmed should be specific and direct: “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God? We will be holding a baptismal service on [date]. Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?”" Lesson 3 - "The invitation to be baptized and confirmed should be specific and direct: “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God? We will be holding a baptismal service on [date]. Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?”" Lesson 4 - "The invitation to be baptized and confirmed should be specific and direct: “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God? We will be holding a baptismal service on [date]. Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?”" So, the instructions to these missionaries, now younger and arguably less prepared, are still the same. Invite, invite and invite. Don't hesitate. Even after the first lesson do not hesitate. "Be bold and confident as you invite people to make commitments (see Alma 38:12). Boldness shows your faith that obedience to the Lord’s commandments brings blessings" (page 196). I fully support Elder Ballard's focus on preparing people to make lifelong commitments and feel that should be the new standard. However, the fact that people are invited early and often shouldn't be blamed on "these missionaries" or "some missionaries." It would take one conversation with almost any former missionary to know exactly where this practice came from - it came from Salt Lake and the missionary department in the written instructions that they were given and in countless meetings, lessons and instructions they received based on those instructions. Let's just call a spade a spade and move on.
  14. Nehor, I complete agree with you that this is his main concern and am fully supportive of Elder Ballard's new position and emphasis. That isn't what this thread was discussing. I don't think many would disagree that having a significant spiritual experience and being properly prepared for a lifetime commitment should be the goal and emphasis. The OP was wanting to look at the language that Elder Ballard used to get to his conclusion - expressing surprise and a lack of understanding as to how missionaries had been inviting people to be baptized so early. I simply wanted to add that as a missionary who took the missionary discussions literally and taught from them, it wasn't my rogue thoughts or ideas that made me invite early and often. It was the programmatic policy of the Church in both their written materials given to each missionary and in the corresponding day to practice of my mission. Why can't you simply acknowledge this? Elder Ballard could have simply say that this was the emphasis by the Church in the past in its instructions to missionaries, or, better yet, said nothing about it at all and focus on the core concern that you articulated in your summary. It isn't speaking to whether one approach was wrong or right, good or bad. I am merely saying, "hey, don't blame me. I was doing what I was told. Please don't tell me that this isn't what you told me to do, when I still have your instructions to me."
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