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RevTestament

Curious about cafeteria doctrines

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I joined the Church fairly readily because I knew the interpretation of the Bible concerning the gospel for the dead was true, and the church rejected creeds regarding the nature of God. These two things brought me into the Church, and the spirit in the Church - friendly members - just made it feel like home.

Now without turning this into a complaint thread about the Presidency or esp the November doctrine, I was wondering how many who frequent this forum disagree with some past teaching or proclaimed doctrine, and yet find spiritual life in the Church? In other words I don't want this to be a complaint thread about Church policies, but a discussion about gospel/scriptural doctrines/interpretation. So I'll be the first to admit that I engage in cafeteria doctrine selection. This is not based upon feelings but upon scriptural interpretation. This is a departure from my usual uplifting threads so, if this disturbs you, please don't participate. I am just curious if there is a pulse of the Church which may be discernible.

I will start. Besides my strong testimony in the restored gospel, I don't personally accept a whole laundry list of teachings I've heard and most of which appear in Mormon Doctrine. Despite a certain admiration for the accomplishments of BY, I do not accept some of the doctrine he taught. For instance I don't believe the Garden of Eden is/was in America. I don't believe Heavenly Father married Mary nor that she was not a virgin when Yeshua was conceived. I don't believe we must enter temporal polygamy to be exalted. Further, I don't believe later teaching that Yeshua died on this world for the sins of all prior and subsequent worlds. Like I said I have a laundry list, but I will stop here.

Please. I am not attacking the Church. I am just curious as to how other members out there feel about these types of things, and if they are willing to express them. I am not suggesting that we are not all one if we don't believe exactly the same way either. I try to hold my fellow members with respect and dignity no matter their opinions.

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We are a church that intrinsically acknowledges that we have more to learn, that we don't know everything right now, and only Jesus Christ was perfect.  

Some things are clearly doctrine from God.  Many other things are obviously not from God.  And in the church we do have men of God trying to teach/lead the best they can, but they are still men*.   For example: we don't believe "Mormon Doctrine" to be the word of God- duh, it's not scripture nor even written by a Prophet.  So I don't think rejecting "Mormon Doctrine" makes one a cafeteria Mormon.  Likewise I don't think disagreeing with other polices makes one a cafeteria Mormon because policy is different than scripture.  

*Obviously there are other times when a Prophet asked as a Prophet of God- the mouthpiece of the Lord.  I'm talking about other times here.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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1 minute ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Most Mormons are "cafeteria" Mormons, but they seem to agree on the basics, and most of them manage to have the correct answers to the temple recommend questions.  The mysteries and controversial doctrines will always bedevil some of us, while others ignore them and consider compassionate service the only worthwhile indicator of faith & piety.  Being Mormon is really more a way of life than some belief system -- although beliefs are sometimes heralded (especially those in the Articles of Faith).

I think there was a thread making the same point. 😂

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6 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I think there was a thread making the same point. 😂

But I think the person who started it didn't have the proper credentials 

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27 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I think there was a thread making the same point. 😂

 

19 minutes ago, Johnnie Cake said:

But I think the person who started it didn't have the proper credentials 

No, I think it had more to do with the thread turning into an attack thread and starting in on policy. 

I welcome the responses of you two as well so long as they are limited to Church doctrine/scripture interpretation you disagreed with or had trouble with. My guess is you were happy in the Church until historical doubts came up - that is doubts about the historicity of the Church. That is not what this thread is about so don't go there please. But if you had differences of opinion about the nature of the Godhead, or other scriptural issues, that is what I am interested in hearing. In other words did you doubt the priesthood was the right order based on scripture? laying on of hands? priesthood offices? baptism for the dead? the need for baptism? etc

I acknowledge that there are historical issues I've had to come to terms with but that is not what this thread is about. If those are what caused you to doubt the rest of Church teachings, then you may not have anything to respond to, and that's fine. If that's the case please don't. In other words I want to discuss scripture here. I want to know what scriptural issues members and inactives are grappling with. Do they feel comfortable in laying aside scripture saying Y, if an apostle says X? Things of that sort.

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Any time my Mission President quoted Mormon Doctrine he began thus:

"You can read in Mormon Doctrine, which is not doctrine, that......."

There are key doctrines that are basically required to accept the gospel:

A non comprehensive list is the identity of the Messiah, the nature of the atonement, the restoration of the gospel, the restoration of the Priesthood and its key and their descent to the current prophet, the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the principles and ordinances of the gospel, the commandments of God, etc.

Things like whether Jesus had multiple wives, the pervasiveness of the flood, how God created the earth, Adam-God, whether God sends bears to eat mocking young men, whether Job is a historical account, and whether asses give sermons to rebellious prophets are pretty small matters. I do not believe anyone will go to hell or be saved based on their belief or disbelief in any of these teachings unless that belief is tied up in some other sin such as pride or excessive cynicism, or something of that nature.

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6 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

No, I think it had more to do with the thread turning into an attack thread and starting in on policy. 

I welcome the responses of you two as well so long as they are limited to Church doctrine/scripture interpretation you disagreed with or had trouble with. My guess is you were happy in the Church until historical doubts came up - that is doubts about the historicity of the Church. That is not what this thread is about so don't go there please. But if you had differences of opinion about the nature of the Godhead, or other scriptural issues, that is what I am interested in hearing. In other words did you doubt the priesthood was the right order based on scripture? laying on of hands? priesthood offices? baptism for the dead? the need for baptism? etc

I acknowledge that there are historical issues I've had to come to terms with but that is not what this thread is about. If those are what caused you to doubt the rest of Church teachings, then you may not have anything to respond to, and that's fine. If that's the case please don't. In other words I want to discuss scripture here. I want to know what scriptural issues members and inactives are grappling with. Do they feel comfortable in laying aside scripture saying Y, if an apostle says X? Things of that sort.

Humans (including Mormon humans) are remarkably capable of compartmentalizing disparate and incompatible beliefs -- at least on a temporary, ad hoc basis, if they are even aware of such incompatibilities.  Systematic thinking, like systematic theology, seems unnecessary to being a good Mormon.

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2 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Humans (including Mormon humans) are remarkably capable of compartmentalizing disparate and incompatible beliefs -- at least on a temporary, ad hoc basis, if they are even aware of such incompatibilities.  Systematic thinking, like systematic theology, seems unnecessary to being a good Mormon.

I do not see choosing to believe or disbelieve our more esoteric teachings as maintaining incompatible beliefs.

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3 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

There are key doctrines that are basically required to accept the gospel:

A non comprehensive list is the identity of the Messiah, the nature of the atonement, the restoration of the gospel, the restoration of the Priesthood and its key and their descent to the current prophet, the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the principles and ordinances of the gospel, the commandments of God, etc.

Things like whether Jesus had multiple wives, the pervasiveness of the flood, how God created the earth, Adam-God, whether God sends bears to eat mocking young men, whether Job is a historical account, and whether asses give sermons to rebellious prophets are pretty small matters. I do not believe anyone will go to hell or be saved based on their belief or disbelief in any of these teachings unless that belief is tied up in some other sin such as pride or excessive cynicism, or something of that nature.

That is my understanding. All of the things that Revtestament included are not really cafeteria items to me. I have read a a lot of the Journal of Discourses and find a lot of inspiration there, but I do not read it or any other non-canonical book as doctrine. I am not worried about anything that is not currently taught as doctrine because that is the only thing I will be held accountable for.

Glenn

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46 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Most Mormons are "cafeteria" Mormons, but they seem to agree on the basics, and most of them manage to have the correct answers to the temple recommend questions.  

That has not really been my experience in Utah. I have met many what I call TBMs - those that say I follow the living prophets - and that is about it. In other words they don't want to discuss scripture etc. I approach things differently. I listen to what is taught. If I perceive that it may conflict with scripture, I pray about it. I am not a blind follower. I never have been. That is why I am in this Church in the first place. And despite what the Church may say they are not going to change my nature - or turn me into an unquestioning follower. To me the basics of the restored gospel, are enumerated in the articles of faith, and its extension to the dead. I hope most certainly do agree on that much. Those beliefs determine our salvation so they are important. The temple recommend questions really aren't very doctrinal at all. There was a time when I felt I didn't understand the atonement, but I have no misunderstanding about that now.

Quote

The mysteries and controversial doctrines will always bedevil some of us, while others ignore them and consider compassionate service the only worthwhile indicator of faith & piety.  Being Mormon is really more a way of life than some belief system -- although beliefs are sometimes heralded (especially those in the Articles of Faith).

Well, I think this is an area of discomfort for those many Mormons you discuss above. Those doctrines which we personally feel "bedevil" us. These are the ones I want to see if any will discuss. Despite what you are saying about a way of life, beliefs determine actions. Now I don't believe every different belief about the Godhead is going to determine one's salvation. I have personally been trying to figure out God my whole life, so if the mysteries are that important, I may be in a lot of trouble LOL. There was a time as a teenager I had a sort of pantheistic view of God. I have changed a lot since then.... I am just wondering of the forum members are willing to discuss these things.

Thank you for contributing to this thread. I realize it is a bit provocative for some. I am not expecting a lot of responses at this point.

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7 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

That has not really been my experience in Utah. I have met many what I call TBMs - those that say I follow the living prophets - and that is about it. In other words they don't want to discuss scripture etc. I approach things differently. I listen to what is taught. If I perceive that it may conflict with scripture, I pray about it. I am not a blind follower. I never have been. That is why I am in this Church in the first place. And despite what the Church may say they are not going to change my nature - or turn me into an unquestioning follower. To me the basics of the restored gospel, are enumerated in the articles of faith, and its extension to the dead. I hope most certainly do agree on that much. Those beliefs determine our salvation so they are important. The temple recommend questions really aren't very doctrinal at all. There was a time when I felt I didn't understand the atonement, but I have no misunderstanding about that now.

Well, I think this is an area of discomfort for those many Mormons you discuss above. Those doctrines which we personally feel "bedevil" us. These are the ones I want to see if any will discuss. Despite what you are saying about a way of life, beliefs determine actions. Now I don't believe every different belief about the Godhead is going to determine one's salvation. I have personally been trying to figure out God my whole life, so if the mysteries are that important, I may be in a lot of trouble LOL. There was a time as a teenager I had a sort of pantheistic view of God. I have changed a lot since then.... I am just wondering of the forum members are willing to discuss these things.

Thank you for contributing to this thread. I realize it is a bit provocative for some. I am not expecting a lot of responses at this point.

I would be careful with calling so many others "blind followers". People are rarely that simple and that differentiation and worldview tends to lead to a feeling of iconoclastic elitism.

Edited by The Nehor

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15 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

There was a time when I felt I didn't understand the atonement, but I have no misunderstanding about that now..

You might want to be a bit cautious about assuming this as Joseph Smith taught we would only truly understand such things long after we had died...or so I interpret him:

"When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and 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; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave."

https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-22?lang=eng

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3 hours ago, RevTestament said:

 I was wondering how many who frequent this forum disagree with some past teaching or proclaimed doctrine, and yet find spiritual life in the Church?

Quite the opposite actually.  ;)
Seriously though.  Sometimes the disagreed with idea is a more current one rather than a past one.
 

Quote

I will start. Besides my strong testimony in the restored gospel, I don't personally accept a whole laundry list of teachings I've heard and most of which appear in Mormon Doctrine. Despite a certain admiration for the accomplishments of BY, I do not accept some of the doctrine he taught. For instance I don't believe the Garden of Eden is/was in America. I don't believe Heavenly Father married Mary nor that she was not a virgin when Yeshua was conceived. I don't believe we must enter temporal polygamy to be exalted. Further, I don't believe later teaching that Yeshua died on this world for the sins of all prior and subsequent worlds. Like I said I have a laundry list, but I will stop here.

Whereas I am more likely to accept early doctrines that the current Church feeling is either "we don't know" or "that was just a previous leader's opinion."

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25 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Humans (including Mormon humans) are remarkably capable of compartmentalizing disparate and incompatible beliefs -- at least on a temporary, ad hoc basis, if they are even aware of such incompatibilities.  Systematic thinking, like systematic theology, seems unnecessary to being a good Mormon.

That may certainly be true. But unfortunately I started life as a systematic thinker, and my professional training probably only heightened that a great deal.... I tend to talk about scripture and doctrine very precisely for instance, and sometimes the Church exasperates me. I just have to live with that. However, what is "necessary" and what one ponders are different things. I tend to live in the realm of pondering I guess. I look for much more than just following the commandments... I want to understand. I want to learn. It just seems like from what I've learned, at every corner some teaching of the Church cuts it off, and says you can't go there - or at least don't need to because whozeewhatsit already said this and so. The TBM will of course quote that to me, as if that's the end of the matter. And every part of me screams it's not. And to make it worse if the Church hadn't already blocked that path, they doubled down. I know that won't make sense to the casual reader, but it's my life. So in many ways I forge on alone. Although I don't know that there are any great areas left for me to discover...

I guess what you are telling me is that I am destined to be alone? Do you ponder beyond any teachings of the Church? Do you feel there are ex-teachings or even present teachings which don't conform to your understanding of scripture? And perhaps more importantly, if so, are you willing to discuss  them?

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33 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I do not see choosing to believe or disbelieve our more esoteric teachings as maintaining incompatible beliefs.

This.
I like the way this is phrased.  There are lots of teaching in Mormonism, with various degrees of "officialness".
Choosing to believe or disbelieve some of them is a personal issue, not a creedal one.

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Mormonism is a religion where its members are expected to find the truth out for themselves. If it weren't for the Correlation Committee, it would be 100% cafeteria.

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3 minutes ago, Tsuzuki said:

Mormonism is a religion where its members are expected to find the truth out for themselves. If it weren't for the Correlation Committee, it would be 100% cafeteria.

The reason I do not like the cafeteria metaphor is it is based on a feeling of preference. If you are discovering truth you are separating it from falsehood. It just seems weird to compare that to a choice between choosing to eat pork or chicken.

If everything you happen to like is true and everything you do not like is false all you are really doing is worshipping your own preferences. A bizarre form of self-worship. I take comfort that God and I seem to disagree on a few things and at times I am corrected in ways I do not desire. Keeps me from suspecting the whole thing is just in my head.

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4 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The reason I do not like the cafeteria metaphor is it is based on a feeling of preference. If you are discovering truth you are separating it from falsehood. It just seems weird to compare that to a choice between choosing to eat pork or chicken.

I don't think you're that naive Nehor.
Biases and personal preferences absolutely impact which truths we accept.
The current blowback against polygamy since the essays is as much proof of that as anything.
 

Quote

If everything you happen to like is true and everything you do not like is false all you are really doing is worshipping your own preferences. A bizarre form of self-worship. I take comfort that God and I seem to disagree on a few things and at times I am corrected in ways I do not desire. Keeps me from suspecting the whole thing is just in my head.

I agree with this completely.  Truth is true, even when it makes us uncomfortable or even unhappy.  False is false, even when it's our favorite thing.

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3 hours ago, RevTestament said:

Further, I don't believe later teaching that Yeshua died on this world for the sins of all prior and subsequent worlds. Like I said I have a laundry list, but I will stop here.

Please. I am not attacking the Church. I am just curious as to how other members out there feel about these types of things, and if they are willing to express them. I am not suggesting that we are not all one if we don't believe exactly the same way either. I try to hold my fellow members with respect and dignity no matter their opinions.

Questions are good. Your last, above is mentioned in D&C 76. The heading states:

 18–24, The inhabitants of many worlds are begotten sons and daughters unto God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ;

In other words, the Savior, or Jehovah or Yeshua, created many worlds.

24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

In the same Section 76 the Lord stated:

42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.

 

Do you suppose the Savior would create something and have another Atone for it? No.

If not, He would not be God. He saves all the works of his hands, through His Atonement.

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13 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The reason I do not like the cafeteria metaphor is it is based on a feeling of preference. If you are discovering truth you are separating it from falsehood. It just seems weird to compare that to a choice between choosing to eat pork or chicken.

If everything you happen to like is true and everything you do not like is false all you are really doing is worshipping your own preferences. A bizarre form of self-worship. I take comfort that God and I seem to disagree on a few things and at times I am corrected in ways I do not desire. Keeps me from suspecting the whole thing is just in my head.

It's not about choosing what is or isn't the true. The bottom line of the analogy is that when you are nutritionally literate, you are better able to make more independent dietary choices, and Mormonism ultimately encourages the theological equivalent of nutritionally literacy.

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33 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

That may certainly be true. But unfortunately I started life as a systematic thinker, and my professional training probably only heightened that a great deal.... I tend to talk about scripture and doctrine very precisely for instance, and sometimes the Church exasperates me. I just have to live with that. However, what is "necessary" and what one ponders are different things. I tend to live in the realm of pondering I guess. I look for much more than just following the commandments... I want to understand. I want to learn. It just seems like from what I've learned, at every corner some teaching of the Church cuts it off, and says you can't go there - or at least don't need to because whozeewhatsit already said this and so. The TBM will of course quote that to me, as if that's the end of the matter. And every part of me screams it's not. And to make it worse if the Church hadn't already blocked that path, they doubled down. I know that won't make sense to the casual reader, but it's my life. So in many ways I forge on alone. Although I don't know that there are any great areas left for me to discover...

I guess what you are telling me is that I am destined to be alone? Do you ponder beyond any teachings of the Church? Do you feel there are ex-teachings or even present teachings which don't conform to your understanding of scripture? And perhaps more importantly, if so, are you willing to discuss  them?

You are in good company, Rev, and, as you know, Mark Bukowski is another systematic thinker on this board.  In fact that is what this sounding-board is for, so that we can all ponderize over this or that doctrinal claim -- among other things.

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13 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I don't think you're that naive Nehor.
Biases and personal preferences absolutely impact which truths we accept.
The current blowback against polygamy since the essays is as much proof of that as anything.
 

I agree with this completely.  Truth is true, even when it makes us uncomfortable or even unhappy.  False is false, even when it's our favorite thing.

Of course they do influence us but that is an influence we should question. And for polygamy I am a bit of a weirdo and do not see a fundamental moral problem with polygyny (or polyandry).

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15 minutes ago, PeterPear said:

Questions are good. Your last, above is mentioned in D&C 76. The heading states:

 18–24, The inhabitants of many worlds are begotten sons and daughters unto God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ;

In other words, the Savior, or Jehovah or Yeshua, created many worlds.

24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

In the same Section 76 the Lord stated:

42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.

 

Do you suppose the Savior would create something and have another Atone for it? No.

If not, He would not be God. He saves all the works of his hands, through His Atonement.

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Question:_Is_Jesus_Christ_the_savior_of_other_worlds%3F

Basically - there are quotes supporting both ideas.

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8 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Of course they do influence us but that is an influence we should question. And for polygamy I am a bit of a weirdo and do not see a fundamental moral problem with polygyny (or polyandry).

Me neither.  (I'm finding myself agreeing with you a lot today).

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