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wenglund

White-washed History And Full Disclosure?

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This topic continues to go the rounds and pop up in various forms on a variety of threads--the most recent being the thread on public excommunication.

I am going to try and take a somewhat different approach than may have been used in the past when discussing this issue, in hopes that it may be laid somewhat to rest, or help the disputants find some mutually benefitial resolution or satisfaction, if not come closer to an agreement.

Let me start by outlining, as fairly and as accurately as possible, what I see as the critics point of view, and then later in the thread juxtapose it against how I, and perhaps various apologists, see the issue.

Correct me if I am wrong, or feel free to fill in the key blanks if I happen to miss any, but here are the basic elements of one of the primary arguments I hear coming from the critics on this matter:

Argument:

a) There are certain historical facts that may be viewed as suggesting that the Church isn't true.

b) These historical facts are not being disclosed in missionary, Sunday School, or Seminary lessons.

c) Because membership in the Church involves considerable commitment, and devoting of personal resources (time, money, etc.), it is only right, fair, and prudent that decisions about joining the Church, or decisions about continuing in the Church, be informed.

d) Since the Church has not disclosing certain historical fact that may suggest it isn't true, it has not been right, fair, and prudent with it's investigators and members.

Is this a fair and accurate representation of the fundamental elements of the argument?

If not, then please make whatever corrections and additions you think necessary.

If so, then while I look at the issue somewhat differently, I believe the argument above is rational, and I think that those who view things this way can logically harbor some level of negative sentiments towards the Church for what they deem to be a lack of right, fair, and prudent disclosure. In short, I hear you and hopefully understand you.

With that having been said, it might be of interest to see if one of the critics (who embrace the argument above) would make an earnest attempt to fairly and accurately outline the apologetic point of view.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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W,

You may wish to disable emoticons. It's an option down at the bottom. good post.

HiJolly

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This topic continues to go the rounds and pop up in various forms on a variety of threads--the most recent being the thread on public excommunication.

I am going to try and take a somewhat different approach than may have been used in the past when discussing this issue, in hopes that it may be laid somewhat to rest, or help the disputants find some mutually benefitial resolution or satisfaction, if not come closer to an agreement.

Let me start by outlining, as fairly and as accurately as possible, what I see as the critics point of view, and then later in the thread juxtapose it against how I, and perhaps various apologists, see the issue.

Correct me if I am wrong, or feel free to fill in the key blanks if I happen to miss any, but here are the basic elements of one of the primary arguments I hear coming from the critics on this matter:

Argument:

a) There are certain historical facts that may be viewed as suggesting that the Church isn't true.

cool.gif These historical facts are not being disclosed in missionary, Sunday School, or Seminary lessons.

c) Because membership in the Church involves considerable commitment, and devoting of personal resources (time, money, etc.), it is only right, fair, and prudent that decisions about joining the Church, or decisions about continuing in the Church, be informed.

d) Since the Church has not disclosing certain historical fact that may suggest it isn't true, it has not been right, fair, and prudent with it's investigators and members.

Is this a fair and accurate representation of the fundamental elements of the argument?

If not, then please make whatever corrections and additions you think necessary.

If so, then while I look at the issue somewhat differently, I believe the argument above is rational, and I think that those who view things this way can logically harbor some level of negative sentiments towards the Church for what they deem to be a lack of right, fair, and prudent disclosure. In short, I hear you and hopefully understand you.

With that having been said, it might be of interest to see if one of the critics (who embrace the argument above) would make an earnest attempt to fairly and accurately outline the apologetic point of view.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

The questian I have is: "Why are you joining a Church without doing any independant research"?

In my Singles ward, I'd say 5 out of 7 of the new converts were exposed to anti. One of them watched the Bible vs BoM movie and spent 6 hours at the Ex-Mormons 4 Jesus Center in Orange. Another recent convert watched the Jesus vs Joseph movie, spent some time at the Ex-Mormons 4 Jesus Center in Orange and even provided me a 5 page list of questians ranging from archeology, polygamy to priesthood bans.

Why did they end up getting baptized? The Holy Ghost tols them to and they humbly followed.

Anti is satanically inspired garbage and cant stand up to the whole truth.

It ain't the Churches job to train PHD's in American Religious History. We teach the essentials.

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With that having been said, it might be of interest to see if one of the critics (who embrace the argument above) would make an earnest attempt to fairly and accurately outline the apologetic point of view.

Maybe not as extensive as yours, but I'll give it a shot:

The restored gospel is taught to those sincerely searching for God's truth. It is taught and received with the power of the Holy Ghost, and only those ready to hear it will. If the testimony is based on the true gift of the spirit, no degree of historical disclosure will jolt the solid conviction a firmly grounded LDS testimony is.

How'd I do?

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How much do EV and others teach about their "history" including the "bad" stuff before telling someone to give their life to Jesus? It seems to me that many people who are not LDS complain about the LDS Church not doing something that they themselves do not do. It is so annoying to hear non-LDS complain about the LDS faith "withholding" something but never complain about the things say that Billy Graham is "withholding" before he offers the "alter call".

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Anti is satanically inspired garbage and cant stand up to the whole truth.

Please...I am hoping to avoid, at least in this discussion, these kinds of sweepingly dismissive comments, which tend to limit rather than promote mutual understanding and edifying interactions, and which tend to further alienate opposing sides rather than improve relationships between us. I have found that dogmatism, in inter-faith discussions, doesn't work, and so I am looking to see if there is a different approach (one that is more open-minded) that does work.

It ain't the Churches job to train PHD's in American Religious History. We teach the essentials.

What I am looking to find is if one of the critics is able to reasonably make this and other key point in their attempt to better understand and convey the apologetic point of view.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Maybe not as extensive as yours, but I'll give it a shot:

The restored gospel is taught to those sincerely searching for God's truth. It is taught and received with the power of the Holy Ghost, and only those ready to hear it will. If the testimony is based on the true gift of the spirit, no degree of historical disclosure will jolt the solid conviction a firmly grounded LDS testimony is.

How'd I do?

The better question is, while you may see it differently, is the apologetic argument reasonable to you?

If not, then try digging a little more until it appears that way from an apologetic perspective. However, if you are not able to do this, I will be pleased to be of some help.

I do appreciate your making the attempt.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Maybe not as extensive as yours, but I'll give it a shot:

The restored gospel is taught to those sincerely searching for God's truth. It is taught and received with the power of the Holy Ghost, and only those ready to hear it will. If the testimony is based on the true gift of the spirit, no degree of historical disclosure will jolt the solid conviction a firmly grounded LDS testimony is.

How'd I do?

I am stunned but I would have to agree with BishopRic on this one. The truth of the matter is unless we teach the Gospel in the way that God has told us, it is "not of God." See the following:
(D&C 50:13-24) "Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this questionĂ¢??unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified? Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."
That is the only way that the Gospel can be taught and it be of God. So really apologetic arguement is only good if it helps people soften their hearts and listen to the Spirit, it really has no converting power of it's own.

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How much do EV and others teach about their "history" including the "bad" stuff before telling someone to give their life to Jesus? It seems to me that many people who are not LDS complain about the LDS Church not doing something that they themselves do not do. It is so annoying to hear non-LDS complain about the LDS faith "withholding" something but never complain about the things say that Billy Graham is "withholding" before he offers the "alter call".

I think there is much value in comparing and contrasting how other churches and organization teach their histories. However, to me, the value is not so much in pointing fingers regarding perceived double standards (because this is too often mistaken to be a way of excusing one group's supposed wrong behavior because other groups may be doing the same thing), but rather as an understanding and comprehension tool. If a critic can understand why it may make sense for an organization they may favor, to be selective in the histories they choose to teach, then there is a better chance that they may understand how it may also make sense for the LDS to do likewise.

It will be interesting to see if a critic does just that, and is thereby able to present a rational argument for LDS not disclosing (during missionary, Sunday School, or seminary lessons) certain aspects of Church history.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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The better question is, while you may see it differently, is the apologetic argument reasonable to you?

If not, then try digging a little more until it appears that way from an apologetic perspective. However, if you are not able to do this, I will be pleased to be of some help.

I do appreciate your making the attempt.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Hmm, this makes me think. I think it does make sense, although I certainly disagree with the process and the interpretation of the "feelings" associated with the testimony. From my current perspective, there is no sufficient physical or scientific evidence to support Joseph's claims, and dramatic evidence against him...so the only possible way to get beyond it is to emphasize the "spiritual evidence."

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I am stunned but I would have to agree with BishopRic on this one. The truth of the matter is unless we teach the Gospel in the way that God has told us, it is "not of God." See the following:

That is the only way that the Gospel can be taught and it be of God. So really apologetic arguement is only good if it helps people soften their hearts and listen to the Spirit, it really has no converting power of it's own.

While I agree with what you say, I think it speaks to how to teach (via the spirit), rather than what to teach; whereas the issue as stated is about the latter--i.e. what portions of Church history should be taught.

However, I think there is something in what you said that may very well speak directly to the issue at hand, and I hope that a critic (or two) is astute enough to pick up on it when providing a rational apologetic argument for the Church being selective in what it teaches regarding their history.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Hmm, this makes me think. I think it does make sense, although I certainly disagree with the process and the interpretation of the "feelings" associated with the testimony. From my current perspective, there is no sufficient physical or scientific evidence to support Joseph's claims, and dramatic evidence against him...so the only possible way to get beyond it is to emphasize the "spiritual evidence."

As long as you can understand that "spiritual evidence" is valid evidence to believing LDS, and how the process works for them, then you may be well on your way to more fully understanding the rationale behind the Church being selective in what it teaches regarding its history.

To move even further along the road to understanding (not to be confused necessarily with the road to conversion), try viewing the issue in terms of the purpose for the Church (it's three-fold mission), and the related function served by missionary, Sunday School, and seminary lessons, and how this all might rationally control what portions of church history may be taught.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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It will be interesting to see if a critic does just that, and is thereby able to present a rational argument for LDS not disclosing (during missionary, Sunday School, or seminary lessons) certain aspects of Church history.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Wade,

For sake of argument, lets assume that we have 100 converts of Religion X who converted without any knowledge of a troublesome Fact A regarding the Religion X's foundational history.

Lets say that if, during their investigation 30 of these prospective converts, upon learning of Fact A would not have converted to Religion X.

Some would say that FACT A was both relevant and material to the conversion decision, and that all prospective converts should be told of relevant material facts, afterall the decision to change faith is a significant decision that significantly impacts one life far more so than lets say choosing a car buying a fridge.

Do you agree with that sentiment?

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While I agree with what you say, I think it speaks to how to teach (via the spirit), rather than what to teach; whereas the issue as stated is about the latter--i.e. what portions of Church history should be taught.

However, I think there is something in what you said that may very well speak directly to the issue at hand, and I hope that a critic (or two) is astute enough to pick up on it when providing a rational apologetic argument for the Church being selective in what it teaches regarding their history.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

I agree that in the LDS paradigm, the "spiritual conversion" must be emphasized to be successful. However, as with any role of selling something (which is how I view religion today), the story is the tool for the sale, and it must be logical and consistent. The problem that many of us exmos have is that it WAS consistent until we learned "the rest of the story" later. So I AM an advocate of full disclosure today, as the other material will come back to bite many in the rear when it doesn't jive with the perceived story already learned.

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Hi Wade:

While I much appreciate learning all I can about history and Church history in particular. I see no necessity for the Church to have a formal role in teaching its history. Leave it to the apologists. :P

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Wade,

For sake of argument, lets assume that we have 100 converts of Religion X who converted without any knowledge of a troublesome Fact A regarding the Religion X's foundational history.

Lets say that if, during their investigation 30 of these prospective converts, upon learning of Fact A would not have converted to Religion X.

Some would say that FACT A was both relevant and material to the conversion decision, and that all prospective converts should be told of relevant material facts, afterall the decision to change faith is a significant decision that significantly impacts one life far more so than lets say choosing a car buying a fridge.

Do you agree with that sentiment?

As indicated in my OP, the argument of the critics is rational (I see the argument of critics that I posted as pretty much the same as the one above. If you don't, then please feel free to explicate the differences.). So, given things as you just stated, I would agree with that sentiment.

However, at this point, I am attempting to see if the effort to fairly and accurately understand the opposing point of view in this case, works in reverse--i.e. whether the critics are able to understand and view as rational the apologetic argument, and this whether they agree with the apologetic sentiments or not. Care to give it a try? ;-)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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While I appreciate the effort, I realize it will take a little while to get some good responses from the critics. The same idea was advanced in a MMM discussion wherein it was asked "what should the Church say, if Elder Eyring's comments were not good enough?" The answers never really came.

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I agree that in the LDS paradigm, the "spiritual conversion" must be emphasized to be successful. However, as with any role of selling something (which is how I view religion today), the story is the tool for the sale, and it must be logical and consistent. The problem that many of us exmos have is that it WAS consistent until we learned "the rest of the story" later. So I AM an advocate of full disclosure today, as the other material will come back to bite many in the rear when it doesn't jive with the perceived story already learned.

I am fine with using the "selling something" metaphor. I happen to be partial to economics, and I can see the application of its "choice theory" in most all walks of life, including matters of religion. In fact, I have been working on a paper called, "The Economics of Anti-Mormonism", which is influenced, to some degree, by a speech given by the renown sociologist, Rodney Stark, called "Market Approach to Understanding Religion".

I also think I understand quite well your position on full disclosure, as well as that of other ex-Mormons like yourself. In my OP I presented what I believe to be the essentials of that argument as fairly and accurately as I could, and thought it reasonable as stated. If it doesn't represent your view, then please feel free to make corrections or additions.

However, again, what I am attempting to determine is how well you and other critics may understand the opposing, or apologetic position. Can you, like me with your position, outline the apologetic logic?

My reason for asking is, a fair and accurate understanding of the opposing position is quite helpful, if not requisite, for moving the discussion forward towards mutually satisfactory resolution. And, what better way to assess understanding than by having one's opponent reflect back one's point of view.

I suspect that through this process it will become clear that the "product" that you and other ex-Mormons thought you were "buying" from the Church, may be different than what the Church intended to "sell", and that divergent perception about "consistency" or adequacy of the "story" used to make the "sell", is a function of that difference of perception regarding the "product" being sold. In other words, this may not be a case of anyone being at fault or not acting in good faith, but simply a difference of perception/beliefs.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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While I appreciate the effort, I realize it will take a little while to get some good responses from the critics. The same idea was advanced in a MMM discussion wherein it was asked "what should the Church say, if Elder Eyring's comments were not good enough?" The answers never really came.

I am a pragmatist as well as an optimist--which means that while I hold out a measure of hope that the critics will come through for me, if they don't, I will be fine with lending them a hand and working it through with them. Either way, I see it as in everyone's interest to take this step. ;-)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Hi Wade:

While I much appreciate learning all I can about history and Church history in particular. I see no necessity for the Church to have a formal role in teaching its history. Leave it to the apologists. :P

I share that sentiment. However, I am looking to see if a critic (or two) can frame the logic behind it.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I am a pragmatist as well as an optimist--which means that while I hold out a measure of hope that the critics will come through for me, if they don't, I will be fine with lending them a hand and working it through with them. Either way, I see it as in everyone's interest to take this step. ;-)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Excellent, just didn't want you to get discouraged as I think you ought to continue asking until answered.

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However, again, what I am attempting to determine is how well you and other critics may understand the opposing, or apologetic position. Can you, like me with your position, outline the apologetic logic?

Thought I did that...but go ahead and add to it if you'd like.

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Thought I did that...but go ahead and add to it if you'd like.

From comments in another thread dealing with excommunication I would like to hear more from you than the short response on the Spirit. As one who would question the reliability of said spiritual experience, what would you suggest the Church do in regards to teaching the tings that "surprised" you, such as polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, et al.?

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I think the church has learned over the years that teaching the whole history of the church is non-productive and inhibits growth in membership and tithes. The decision, it seems to me, has been made and that is to do all that is possible to discourage the learning/teaching of this history to the common chapel Mormons and to prospective members.

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I think the church has learned over the years that teaching the whole history of the church is non-productive and inhibits growth in membership and tithes. The decision, it seems to me, has been made and that is to do all that is possible to discourage the learning/teaching of this history to the common chapel Mormons and to prospective members.

That's good, but what do you think about what the OP said? Any thoughts on that?

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