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Richard Bushman'S Description Of Faith Crisis


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#21 Questing Beast

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:04 AM

I sent a link to this page to my brother, along with this personal observation:


I find myself not quite illustrated by any of the examples given. My original position was one of disinterest, but Mom and Dad were sincerely interested, as evidenced by their life and the life they gave to us children. By the time I was in high school I was paying serious attention in church classes/meetings. And I even went on a mission, more to "grow up" than to share the gospel, but I did return with something like a "testimony" of the Church. Then my life took the normal track for a Mormon young man, and while the years flowed by I kept active in the Church and accepted that I was one of those who don't "know" but believe on the words of those who do know.


I was never willing to discount the assertions of others, wishing always to give the benefit of the doubt as to their honesty and integrity. I still do.


But now I see that people everywhere believe what they want to believe, and "observer bias" is impossible to avoid. Most people don't know what "observer bias" is, or that the concept even exists, i.e. they operate in the Church without serious consideration as to why they believe as they do, or how they came to that condition. They think that because they followed the pattern of reading, pondering and praying, that this proves the truth. Yet people in all religions, and outside of religion, receive convictions as strong about other, even mutually exclusive things. I was okay with my level of testimony, expecting that someday, probably after I die, I would know for certain all the truth claims of the LDS faith. I was disappointed in my search of scripture and historical evidence, even "facts", if we allow that written documentation are often factual. But when you put me onto "In Sacred Loneliness", everything altered almost in a heartbeat. I had never heard of Joseph Smith's polyandry. To this very moment it still offends me.


Out of that altered paradigm emerged a world of much more intimate and complex relating to "God", without dogmatic "prophets" or organized religion. "God" never made up any such things as religious dogma asserts for itself. But "God" does work within everything that we create for ourselves. So the paradigm that I fought against from within the religion of our fathers, was the one that answers most of the questions for me: religion is intensely personal, and the only time group religion is efficacious is when it pools our energies to accomplish good for the world of men. Relationships with "God" are direct and personal and individual. At no time has "God" ever required sacrifices, especially death sacrifices, particularly "atonement" sacrifices. "God" accomplishes all that is required without resorting to man-made concepts of sacrifice.


The religions of the earth are born out of all that preceded them, which means that going back to prehistory mankind was religious and the seeds of dogmatism originated at the same time as civilization. Control, it's all about controlling others to accomplish conformity. The most atavistic motivation of human beings is to be in control of their world, and anywhere a vacuum exists controls will be set up to further regulate society and avoid chaos and anarchy.


Religious anarchy is unacceptable to many, yet it is the mainspring of religious change today. I am not sorry to belong to that shared mindset, or rather, to acknowledge for the last c. nine years, that I have always believed in a paradigm of the world where "God" is infinitely bigger than anything that dogmatic religions assert about "God"....

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#22 cinepro

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:05 AM

Bushman is right on in describing my standing fast in the church. I think by recognizing the realities one can actually increase in testimony and recognize how remarkable the restoration and growth of the church have been in spite of the human failings of those God has called. This shows me who is really in charge as well as how much authority he gives his prophets and how careful he is to respect that authority by letting them find their own way within that authority. In other words he eventually fixes what men do wrong by teaching them correct principles and letting them learn by their mistakes. No one is more patient and long-suffering than God.


I have a Catholic friend who says the same thing.
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The LDS Stake Medium Council Blog

In spite of the world's arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of God's prophets.

The Flood and the Tower of Babel, by Donald W. Parry, assistant professor of Hebrew at BYU, Ensign, Jan 1998, 35

#23 janderich

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:10 AM

http://dan-christian...01_archive.html

...

QUESTIONS
1.) Does this seem to describe well your understanding of the problem and the solutions

2.) Do you see anything it is missing

3.) How do we make Wards and Stakes members aware of a person within who is able to help the person struggling. Someone who has gone through it, who has some answers as well as ways to work through this process of reconciling one's faith


1.) It is a beginning to the problem but it does not go far enough. Bushman focuses on historical distortions perpetuated by either church members or leaders but in my mind this is not the core of the problem.

2.) The issue at its center is the fact that some member's testimonies have been, at least in part, placed on imperfect men. This distortion takes the form of "when our leaders speak, the thinking has been done". In order to support this notion of infallible church leaders history has been white washed. Yes historical facts must be corrected and truth be brought to light but we must go further. A person's testimony must be re-assembled and centered on a firm foundation even Christ the Lord. We should understand that when a person questions such matters not all is lost and that it indeed may even be a positive occurence. Such a person instead of leaning on a man can now be centered on Christ and on the heart of the gospel message. We must help the person understand that they must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. That they must not let any person come between them and the Lord.

But further we must focus again on the core truths of the gospel in these latter-days. That Joseph Smith spoke to God, that the Book of Mormon if followed will indeed lead a person the Christ. That in the ordinances of the gospel the power of godliness is still manifest to men in the flesh.

3.) We do not need "special" people to help a person through their crisis of faith. What we need are leaders who have looked under the rocks yet still have their feet firmly planted in the gospel of Christ. We need bishop's and stake president's who know the truth and will speak it and once they speak it will direct the questioner back to the core of the gospel. Once this is done, they must not seek to "compel any man to believe as [they] do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.” (HC 5:499)

I welcome such a day. To do any less is to not give members of this church the credit they deserve.
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#24 JeremyOrbe-Smith

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:28 AM

[Edit: just to clarify, Questing Beast, cinepro, and janderich posting while I was writing, so I haven't read or responded to what they've written in this post.]

Bushman is the man. Rough Stone Rolling should be required reading for Missionaries.

Isn't it interesting, though, how differently everyone interprets these things? (I'm not being piously sarcastic here, or trying to downplay anyone's struggles with these issues, if that's not clear. I'm extremely sympathetic to faith crises of any kind, and I'm honestly fascinated by how competing paradigms get worked out in the public sphere.)

For instance, there are some who are very disturbed when they learn about polygamy, especially since the horrific abuses by Warren Jeffs and others are so consistently played up in the media as being the only conceivable model by which such a system could function. In a way, I can definitely sympathize; personally, I'm a jealous ba$tard and sincerely doubt I could ever willingly enter a polygamous marriage. But the point is that that's just me. There are other people who would be perfectly fine in such an arrangement, or at least willing to work through what qualms they do have; yet such people are often looked at as freaks because they are not conforming to Victorian social mores.

Note, of course, the inevitable comparison: it's deeply ironic that Mormons -- who were once literally run out of the country in large part because of their "perverse" sexual practices -- are so often so judgmental of (you guessed it) gay folks. Just My Opinion: we should have been the first people to recognize marriage between anyone of legal age. The fact that there are, of course, dysfunctional polygamous and homosexual relationships should not invalidate those models entirely any more than dysfunctional heterosexual marriages should invalidate that model. (I don't think polygamy is "the" system that is practiced in Heaven and is necessary for exaltation any more than I think heterosexual monogamy is; what I think is involved in the highest degree is keeping promises, which is what I interpret section 132 as really being about.)

Some of the other things mentioned here are again interesting to me because of what they reveal about where we're coming from as individuals: I can very much relate to the frustration at fallible human leadership in Kerry and Storm Rider's posts in some ways; in other ways, since I was never "illusioned" in the first place, I don't have that same sense of betrayal. (Growing up non-Mormon, it was sorta the opposite for me: no one ever told me about all the cool stuff in that ol' treasure digger's theology!)

To be honest, I actually had to chuckle a bit that Bushman felt a need to acknowledge that some people are actually shocked to hear that Joe Smith drank! Hell, I wish we still took wine for the sacrament, since the symbolism is so much more resonant. (Yes, Living Waters can be appropriated, but it's just not the same!)

All the supposedly scandalous stuff in, say, The Refiner's Fire? Meh. Masonry is cool. Folk magic and Renaissance Magi are interesting, even if I don't believe in dowsing. Neopaganism is interesting. Hermeticism and Alchemy and everything else feeding into the cultural stream ... it's all good, peeps. Maidservant mentioned being bothered by the Egyptian connections; in my book, they're a definite plus! (Have you read Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, Maidservant? Fantastic book, if not.) Some people want to downplay God the Mother because She is apparently too pagan or something, and we're trying to look as much like good classical monotheistic Christians as possible; me, I think we should be shouting Her from the rooftops! Etc., etc. ...

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith, 03 February 2013 - 09:35 AM.

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#25 Kerry A. Shirts

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

I think one of the things leading people astray is lack of recognition of false dichotomies.

Kerry: if man's inventions have outsmarted deity, why pursue worship of Him? Why not switch deities?

W
hat? You have got to be kidding right? Where have I ever intimated that man's inventions have outsmarted deity? One thing I have noticed is man's inventions have come about because deity isn't here helping. Why give a deity an credit for what man accomplishes? That is a more realistic question I think.
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#26 Kerry A. Shirts

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:00 AM

Glenn:

There have been a lot of people who have thought their way out of the Church. I am going to name a couple of names here. I am not making this personal, just representative. One of the people was Don Bradley. He also thought his way back into the church. Don's story has been brought up here before, so I will not repeat it again. Those interested can find the threads and links.
Kerry Shirts also seems to be doing that, thinking his way out of the church, that is, I respect the intellectual prowess of both Don and Kerry, but I distrust the mechanism by which they have reached their conclusions.

Again, Kerry, if you read this, do not take it personally, It is just an observation. At one time you were a staunch "apologist". I have read many of the articles you compiled on your mormonism researched pages at http://www2.ida.net/...l/mormonis.htm. You did a prodigious amount of research in producing those pages and provided some of your own insights and analyses of the data.
Now, you are devouring material by atheistist intellectuals and now proclaiming that what they say makes sense and seeminly the Church and Gos makes no sense.


You distrust the mechanism of using our brains to find truth? Therein lies the problem. Do you know how I came about finding all that material for my Mormonism Researched site? It was easier than falling off a log Glenn. I already had the answer. All I did was find as much evidence that arrived at the answer as i could find. I did it all exactly BACKWARDS Glenn. That is how apologetics work. The answer is the given, not what is being tried to discover and find. When you already begin with the answer it is easy to amass papers with gajillions of sources. One simply takes what suits one to show one's answer is correct. It is pure phony though. But as apologists we are only allowed one conclusion. It MUST support Mormonism. So I went overboard to try and show it does. This is why I personally now distrust apologetic materials, my own included.

Apologetics does it all backwards. I made some seriously impressive looking papers through the years, but when it dawned on me that all I was doing was picking and choosing and selective use of quotes to arrive at my answer I realized it was futile. You can find, pick and choose quotes from Albert Einstein to make it seem like he really believed in the God of the Bible, but it's futile, because in context he actually didn't believe that. So many of the sources we apologists have used are selections only, and the rest is left to the side because it doesn't jive with the answer (and testimony) we want it to arrive at so we do a huge snow job and use more and more until in the end it looks MIGHTY IMPRESSIVE! But it's all eyewash. I didn't use or read or see any other side. I worked with blinders on and found just exactly what I wanted to come to the conclusion that I wanted it to.

My study on mysticism demonstrated that to me a few months later after I had published it. My conclusion in that paper is not even the most likely one, but hey, I wanted it to encourage faith, to show that religion has the ultimate truth, yada, yada, yada. Re-reading that gave me a serious jolt, as a lot of the other stuff I read. The Egyptological materials is seriously more of the same. I am not repudiating it, I am saying my information is at best designed as being one sided and hence not accurate. I go through a trillion sources, take a sentence here, a thought there, interweave them all together into something that none of the sources were thinking of, but hey! It supported Mormonism, so I put it together. It's all fluff and phony man. I can go back through those exact same sources I used, and select parts and pieces I left out originally and come up with an entirely different paper showing how vastly wrong it all is!

Was the spirit guiding me? Oh you have no idea. I KNEW God was guiding me because all this would strengthen testimonies, and many others told me so as well. I had the zeal you see, but not the knowledge. Zeal and excitement and energy into doing apologetics is not God guiding the work. The ONLY correction to over misplaced zeal is MORE knowledge. Nibley has it exactly right. And the humility to change one's attitude, which precious few of us can or do. So now what? Why and how would God guide me to do something so silly? Of course, the real answer is i was deceiving myself and God has nothing to do with it. The interpretation that the warming in the bosom is God is just shadow and silly. It isn't God. I get the same feeling when I read science, atheism, philosophy, etc. It is the excitement of learning, of getting more knowledge that was happening.

God doesn't need any apologetics. Think about it for a sec. God needs help? Crimany in 2 minutes God could get it all straightened out. So the church teaches well God allows us to be involved in the process and its good for us. In this regard I suspect it could be. After all, knowing how I put all that stuff together and knowing how phony it is now, will certainly help me with anything else I do in life. But to research with the answer already given and pretend like everything we are bringing together to bolster our answer? That's a canard pure and simple. But this is how we are trained to think in religion. Science doesn't do it that way. Besides science is self-correcting with others coming in and verifying or refuting evidence. Conclusions are never hard and fast without a lot of corroboration. Religion never has done this. It always flies back to faith in light of the most absurd things said!

So, I am working through some things is all. Intellect is the only sure way to reason and think through things. It's the greatest gift we have been given, and to distrust it is to distrust the God who gave it to us. SHAME on us for distrusing our brains, our minds, and thinking.

Edited by Kerry A. Shirts, 03 February 2013 - 10:10 AM.

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#27 Duncan

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:04 AM

I wonder if it's possible to go inactive at the end of this reconciliation that you see things better but different. Like you learn the white then you learn the black and now you are in grey area but then can you say whatever to all this and dump the church?
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"On a surprising number of occasions as a professor of religion at the Brigham Young University, I had returned missionaries object to something being taught that was new to them by saying, "How can this possibly be true? I have been a member of the Church my whole life, I am returned missionary, and I have never heard this before!" Thus their understanding has become the standard by which the truth of all things is to be measured"

Joseph Fielding McConkie, Between the Lines:Unlocking Scripture with Timeless Principles, 157


#28 Tacenda

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:12 AM

I sent a link to this page to my brother, along with this personal observation:


I find myself not quite illustrated by any of the examples given. My original position was one of disinterest, but Mom and Dad were sincerely interested, as evidenced by their life and the life they gave to us children. By the time I was in high school I was paying serious attention in church classes/meetings. And I even went on a mission, more to "grow up" than to share the gospel, but I did return with something like a "testimony" of the Church. Then my life took the normal track for a Mormon young man, and while the years flowed by I kept active in the Church and accepted that I was one of those who don't "know" but believe on the words of those who do know.


I was never willing to discount the assertions of others, wishing always to give the benefit of the doubt as to their honesty and integrity. I still do.


But now I see that people everywhere believe what they want to believe, and "observer bias" is impossible to avoid. Most people don't know what "observer bias" is, or that the concept even exists, i.e. they operate in the Church without serious consideration as to why they believe as they do, or how they came to that condition. They think that because they followed the pattern of reading, pondering and praying, that this proves the truth. Yet people in all religions, and outside of religion, receive convictions as strong about other, even mutually exclusive things. I was okay with my level of testimony, expecting that someday, probably after I die, I would know for certain all the truth claims of the LDS faith. I was disappointed in my search of scripture and historical evidence, even "facts", if we allow that written documentation are often factual. But when you put me onto "In Sacred Loneliness", everything altered almost in a heartbeat. I had never heard of Joseph Smith's polyandry. To this very moment it still offends me.


Out of that altered paradigm emerged a world of much more intimate and complex relating to "God", without dogmatic "prophets" or organized religion. "God" never made up any such things as religious dogma asserts for itself. But "God" does work within everything that we create for ourselves. So the paradigm that I fought against from within the religion of our fathers, was the one that answers most of the questions for me: religion is intensely personal, and the only time group religion is efficacious is when it pools our energies to accomplish good for the world of men. Relationships with "God" are direct and personal and individual. At no time has "God" ever required sacrifices, especially death sacrifices, particularly "atonement" sacrifices. "God" accomplishes all that is required without resorting to man-made concepts of sacrifice.


The religions of the earth are born out of all that preceded them, which means that going back to prehistory mankind was religious and the seeds of dogmatism originated at the same time as civilization. Control, it's all about controlling others to accomplish conformity. The most atavistic motivation of human beings is to be in control of their world, and anywhere a vacuum exists controls will be set up to further regulate society and avoid chaos and anarchy.


Religious anarchy is unacceptable to many, yet it is the mainspring of religious change today. I am not sorry to belong to that shared mindset, or rather, to acknowledge for the last c. nine years, that I have always believed in a paradigm of the world where "God" is infinitely bigger than anything that dogmatic religions assert about "God"....

QB another spot on post for me! Sacred Loneliness was the book that took me from belief to unbelief. The church and it's members are great but now my faith lies souly in the God you speak of.
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#29 Kerry A. Shirts

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

I wonder if it's possible to go inactive at the end of this reconciliation that you see things better but different. Like you learn the white then you learn the black and now you are in grey area but then can you say whatever to all this and dump the church?


I'm not so sure. I don't thinking dumping the church has to be the end of the process though. If it's true that God works in mysterious ways, and that what we have here is a mere shadow of what is reality (Joseph said look into heaven for 5 minutes and it changes everything). Nothing here is permanent and sure, and that includes whatever is taught in science, philosophy AND religion. But religion doesn't see it that way. It wants to be the final answer. I just don't think that's possible anymore is all. I'm a lookin, I'm a lookin though!
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#30 Tacenda

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:34 AM

I'm not so sure. I don't thinking dumping the church has to be the end of the process though. If it's true that God works in mysterious ways, and that what we have here is a mere shadow of what is reality (Joseph said look into heaven for 5 minutes and it changes everything). Nothing here is permanent and sure, and that includes whatever is taught in science, philosophy AND religion. But religion doesn't see it that way. It wants to be the final answer. I just don't think that's possible anymore is all. I'm a lookin, I'm a lookin though!

Duncan had it right with the, white, black then gray analogy. Once we open our eyes then your analogy comes in, in that it enables choice with no weight from the dogma cloud covering our world from seeing the heavens.

Edited by Tacenda, 03 February 2013 - 10:40 AM.

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#31 webbles

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:11 AM

QB another spot on post for me! Sacred Loneliness was the book that took me from belief to unbelief. The church and it's members are great but now my faith lies souly in the God you speak of.

I loved Sacred Loneliness. It strengthened my testimony. Interesting how people read the same thing but have different outcomes.
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#32 Glenn101

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:17 AM

Glenn proves my point DB. His view really predominates.

I find that rather sad.



Why do you think it sad that I prefer the method prescribed by God to ascertain th e truth of things about God over the intellect of man?

Glenn
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#33 Tacenda

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:19 AM

I loved Sacred Loneliness. It strengthened my testimony. Interesting how people read the same thing but have different outcomes.

I know huh? To be honest though, I couldn't finish reading it so I may have missed something that would have helped bring me back. My testimony is in the churches program of doing good things not in a man per se.
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#34 teddyaware

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

I feel disillusioned by finding out that Jesus/Christianity is a re-working of the old Egyptian religion. But still I stay at least until I work it all out. It's one thing to be following the wrong prophet. It's another to be worshipping a made up God. I'm serious. My disillusionments start far before Joseph Smith and the current leadership hit the scene.


The Book of Abraham teaches us that the "old Egyptian religion" was, in reality, "a re-working" of the original Christian religion of the Patriarchal Age:

"25 Now the first government of Egyptwas established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.
26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah..."
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#35 teddyaware

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:41 AM

My honest suggestion? It won't matter because, of course, I ain't in downtown S.L.C. I think this kind of stuff needs to be drummed into us in a steady beat in all three church meetings for the next 50 years like the former pap and pablum has been. ONLY when the leadership decides to honestly enlighten us instead of dogmatize things to boring death with this "true doctrine" stance will they begin to have an enlightened people. This is the age of information, and every single religion on our planet is in the process (or should be if it wants to literally survive) of recognizing that the pap and pablum now has to honestly give way to real information, real scholarship, and real understanding. The internet will either make or break religion. At this point, I don't see religion having much of an easy time of it since now everything is on the table for all to see anytime they want to. There is no longer control of the press where a church can give only the information they think is good for the members. Now all of it gets incorporated and understood. Even if the history hurts, even such an one as Boyd K. Packer has no choice but change his tune and change his attitude about history, doctrine, and truth and reality. The internet is vastly more effective at getting information to people than God or His Holy Spirit ever dreamed of. Call it what you want, I am truly serious. Can't remember which atheist I read recently (I've been over loading reading atheists, scientists, Relativity, Quantum Physics, Mathematics) but the sentiment is serious, deadly serious. If the Holy Spirit HAD been doing its job as described in scripture, there would be no problems with all this information coming out. Sure it doesn't sound very nice about God or the Spirit, but it's more important than nice, its factual. All this information which none of the churches could have possibly imagined hitting us all over the heads has completely and totally changed the entire picture and importance of theology. Nothing, and I mean nothing can be swept under the rug now. It's more totally open than was even possible to imagine when I was just a kid lo those few short years ago. The churches as well as every organization simply has to deal with it. It will be more than of passing interest to see just how they go about it, and which ones, if any, will even succeed.


First of all, I must say I find Bushman's thoughts most excellent and true, But what does it say about yours truly when, without any effort of thought on his part, the very first thing that popped into his mind, after reading the above, is the following passage scripture:

25 And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
28 And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. (Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life)

Edited by teddyaware, 03 February 2013 - 12:07 PM.

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#36 Glenn101

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

Glenn:
So, I am working through some things is all. Intellect is the only sure way to reason and think through things. It's the greatest gift we have been given, and to distrust it is to distrust the God who gave it to us. SHAME on us for distrusing our brains, our minds, and thinking.


Kerry,
Science is also working its way backwards. Scientists observe a phenomemom and try to find a method to explain their observations. They often have to discard some previous explanation when later discoveries prove the former ideas to be untanable.
Then there are things for which there is really no answer as of yet. The discovery that the rate of expansion of the universe was not slowing down as predicted, but was actually the expansion was accelerating is one of those little problems that plague science. Scientists have had to make up a theory about dark energy, a force that cannot be read by our modern instruments, but none-the-less is powerful enough an anti-gravity mechanism so as to defeat the gravitational pull of objects and prevent the otherwise inevitible cillapse of the universe on itself.
Don Bradley after reading atheist James Gardners "Selfish Bicosm" was rather taken aback when he learned that the chances of the Big Bang happening by accident were not one in a billion as he had supposed but something like 1 in 10 to the 200th power.

I am not advocating turning off our brains. I realize that there are profound thinkers on both sides of the issue. And there are those who have gone from one side of the issue to the other, then some have gone back again. I do not denigrate them. I am only saying that the intellect alone is insufficient in and of itself to find God, or to prove by a preponderance of evidence that God does not exist.

There has been no discovery made by science that precludes God's hand being in the mix.

Of course, I have much the advantage over any and all atheists. If they are correct, then no one will ever know. But if I am correct, I will be able to tell them "I told you so." <grin>

Glenn
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#37 Deborah

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:46 PM

but when it dawned on me that all I was doing was picking and choosing and selective use of quotes to arrive at my answer I realized it was futile. on and found just exactly what I wanted to come to the conclusion that I wanted it to.


But, Kerry, that is always the case. We select our sources and the other side selects theirs and then we CHOOSE what we will believe, and the final choice because of the conflicting information has to be through the Holy Ghost.



So many of the sources we apologists have used are selections only, and the rest is left to the side because it doesn't jive with the answer (and testimony) we want it to arrive at so we do a huge snow job and use more and more until in the end it looks MIGHTY IMPRESSIVE! But it's all eyewash. I didn't use or read or see any other side. I worked with blinders



I disagree that it’s a “snow job.” The fact that one uses those things to support his position is a defense against those who use those things which apparently contradict his position. I say apparent because the truth is probably somewhere in between because as Bushman points out “facts can have many interpretations. Negative facts are not necessarily as damning as they appear at first sight” and with the many holes in the history and the loss of context in many instances we still end up choosing what facts will have the most impact on us.
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Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

#38 calmoriah

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

. Intellect is the only sure way to reason and think through things. It's the greatest gift we have been given, and to distrust it is to distrust the God who gave it to us. SHAME on us for distrusing our brains, our minds, and thinking.

It seems to me that it would be a shame to distrust any of the gifts God has given us and that instead of focusing on one tool, we should be using them all. A computer may be very useful in developing plans for a house, even for ordering materials and such...but if you only allow yourself to use that computer because it is the best tool you have, your house isn't going to get built.
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#39 Sky

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:12 PM

QUESTIONS
1.) Does this seem to describe well your understanding of the problem and the solutions

2.) Do you see anything it is missing

3.) How do we make Wards and Stakes members aware of a person within who is able to help the person struggling. Someone who has gone through it, who has some answers as well as ways to work through this process of reconciling one's faith


I think that is a pretty good diagnosis of the issue. Professor Bushman knows his stuff, and is always level-headed in what he writes.

The best thing I think we can do to help anybody struggling in their faith is to love them. We may not have all the answers, and that is okay. But we can try to respond in a way that the Savior would approve of. We probably won't have any quick fixes to solve their faith crisis. To believe or not to believe is ultimately a choice, and there are resources out there to support either choice we end up making.

The words of Elder Neil L. Anderson, from the October 2012 General Conference, seem particularly apt to me (I italicized the parts that stuck with me the most):

Here is another trial. There have always been a few who want to discredit the Church and to destroy faith. Today they use the Internet.

Some of the information about the Church, no matter how convincing, is just not true. In 1985, I remember a colleague walking into my business office in Florida. He had a Time magazine article entitled “Challenging Mormonism’s Roots.” It spoke of a recently discovered letter, supposedly written by Martin Harris, that conflicted with Joseph Smith’s account of finding the Book of Mormon plates.

My colleague asked if this new information would destroy the Mormon Church. The article quoted a man who said he was leaving the Church over the document. Later, others reportedly left the Church. I’m sure it was a trial of their faith.

A few months later, experts discovered (and the forger confessed) that the letter was a complete fraud. I remember really hoping that those who had left the Church because of this deception would find their way back.

A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find.

The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father … ; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.”

Joseph Smith said, “I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations.” The miracle of God’s hand in the history and destiny of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is understood only through the lens of spiritual inquiry. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Every [person] eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there … must make his stand.” Don’t be surprised when it happens to you!


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We don't discipline people in this church for very much. In a church of over 12 million people, I keep hearing about the September Six [the 1993 excommunication and disfellowshipping of six Mormon academics]. ... All I'm saying is, I think this church has a history of being very, very generous. There are some lines -- I'd probably say "lines," plural. The chief among these is the issue of advocating against the church. Personal beliefs within the give-and-take of life and associations and whatever you choose -- there are lots of people who carve out their life in the church all the way out to the edge and beyond. I guess that's always the way it's been, and that's always the way it will be. But I think where the church will act is when there is an act so decisive or so glaring, and particularly in this case, so much cast in the spirit of advocacy, that the institution itself cannot retain its identity and still allow that.  -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

 

#40 Maidservant

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:48 PM

Well, we accuse each other of small intellect (if we adhere to the Church or religion) and we accuse each other of small spirituality (if we choose not to adhere to religion or the Church). It's insulting either way. I think we can acknowledge that we all think very carefully about the conclusions we come to and we base our approach to life on our experiences and we all have a heart we use the way we think we need to. If there are weaknesses in our approach, well, we all have those also, and we just can be patient with ourselves and with each other.

But "God" does work within everything that we create for ourselves.


:good:

Maidservant mentioned being bothered by the Egyptian connections; in my book, they're a definite plus! (Have you read Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, Maidservant? Fantastic book, if not.)


It's on my shelf, but I haven't read it yet no. Looking forward to it.

Also I am not bothered by Egyptian connections as much as if THAT is our religion, I want it SAID OUT LOUD. Ha ha. NOT HIDDEN--big project over time to make sure we don't know that, right? ha ha (See more below answering teddy.)

The Book of Abraham teaches us that the "old Egyptian religion" was, in reality, "a re-working" of the original Christian religion of the Patriarchal Age:

"25 Now the first government of Egyptwas established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.
26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah..."



And I didn't expand a lot on what I said. I just made a brief, overarching comment. But in a thread that is talking about narrative, there's a LOT of narrative surrounding "Jesus" and when I have time, some day, I want to go on my own adventure figuring it all out.

In the meantime, God and I talk every day.

I am also committed to the Church as something that Jesus made and is still making (unless and until I find out differently). I also experience the Church as a miracle in my life--not just "the gospel", but the CHURCH.

I don't confuse God with narrative. Nor do I at this time think that there exists a perfect narrative. And I am a narrative junkie, I see everything in terms of narrative. I understand that all experience/reality is mediated by the story we tell about it--at the individual level, at the collective level, even at the God level.

I am aware of those passages in the Book of Abraham and I love the Book of Abraham. But for purposes of my search, I will not begin there; nor can I consider that a resting or foundation place.

And really, Egypt wasn't the first religion either, but again, in a thread about narrative, I just mean that there is a lot to deconstruct. And it's important that we do it. Whatever it means where we end up. We're doing our best. But we deconstruct Joseph Smith, but Joseph Smith was deconstructing Jesus/Christianity (whether or not one does or does not accept the revelatory aspect of Joseph Smith's project). And there is more to do.

Of course, even if one accepts Joseph Smith as a prophet, there is plenty to criticize or to hope for in the modern day as we continue to be the best church and church members we understand how to be. I personally don't like to take the criticize road in anything, because I don't like to criticize human beings (i.e. church leaders) (not because I have a problem challenging God, coz I do that constantly).

But I am aware that the "tone" is changing in the church--I like it.
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