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RevTestament

Curious about cafeteria doctrines

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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

 

Even apostles admit they do not know fully how the atonement works and I doubt anyone goes to hell for gettinig it wrong.

Apostles admit what?  Where?  I'm genuinely interested in seeing examples of this.  I'd be delighted. 

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3 hours ago, Button Gwinnett said:

Pretty sure that unless you are doing 100% monthly home or visiting teaching, attending the temple monthly, attending all of your meetings, reading the scriptures daily, saying prayers multiple times throughout the day or any of the other myriad of things we are expected to do etc etc etc you can consider yourself a cafeteria Mormon.  Bottom line we all pick and choose things we focus on, emphasize or chose to ignore. Last time I checked we're all imperfect. 

I don't think that is what "cafeteria" refers to; rather it was originally meant to convey the uninspired and even prideful and rebellious picking and choosing of which commandments and covenants to keep, or whom to sustain based on similar attitudes, and not about sorting through priorities and interests while doing the best one can to keep the commandments and covenants. I think it has been misappropriated in a couple of these threads.

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3 hours ago, ALarson said:

Yes... very, very few are not what one could term a "cafeteria Mormon". 

If "cafeteria" describes Mormons who do not accept and live up to every facet of every doctrine and practice in the Church, then it essentially described every Latter-day Saint ever, and hence has no utility at all.

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I'm finding that more of the so called "progressives" are being called to leadership positions now....most especially over the youth.  I know that in our stake and ward, no letter of the law types are really called anymore to serve with the youth.  Just an observation of mine. 

I don't know what that means.  So youth leaders wink and chuckle about dirty jokes, fornication, boozing and weed?

What is a "letter of the law" type?

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The leaders desperately want to hold onto the youth and the youth (for the most part) do not respond to that type of thinking anymore. 

What is "that type of thinking"?  Two of the biggest areas of problematic adolescent behavior pertain to the Word of Wisdom (alcohol, drugs, etc.) and the Law of Chastity (fornication, porn, etc.).  I haven't seen any substantive change in how these standards are presented to today's youth as compared to my experiences oh-so-long ago.

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Many are even very vocal about supporting gay rights and so on.  Many youth also believe in questioning authority.  That was a big no-no as I grew up in the church. 

Hmm.  I have not seen that in my ward or stake.  YMMV, I guess.

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I don't believe though that cafeteria Mormons and progressives are synonymous.  I'm not even sure what a progressive really is for sure :lol:  (Other than just not so black and white in their thinking and not so conservative as some members are).

"Progressive" in this context seems to be used more as a sociopolitical adjective than a religious one.  Mormons are generally sociopolitically "conservative" but theologically/doctrinally "progressive."  

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

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29 minutes ago, CV75 said:
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Pretty sure that unless you are doing 100% monthly home or visiting teaching, attending the temple monthly, attending all of your meetings, reading the scriptures daily, saying prayers multiple times throughout the day or any of the other myriad of things we are expected to do etc etc etc you can consider yourself a cafeteria Mormon.  Bottom line we all pick and choose things we focus on, emphasize or chose to ignore. Last time I checked we're all imperfect. 

I don't think that is what "cafeteria" refers to; rather it was originally meant to convey the uninspired and even prideful and rebellious picking and choosing of which commandments and covenants to keep, or whom to sustain based on similar attitudes, and not about sorting through priorities and interests while doing the best one can to keep the commandments and covenants. I think it has been misappropriated in a couple of these threads.

That's a bit of a false dichotomy.
If there is a commandment to  read the scriptures or home/visiting teach and we choose not to accomplish that regularly as commanded that is still cafeteria Mormonism in a way.
True, it doesn't mean choosing what we believe, but instead choosing what we do regardless of belief.

 

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17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

If "cafeteria" describes Mormons who do not accept and live up to every facet of every doctrine and practice in the Church, then it essentially described every Latter-day Saint ever, and hence has no utility at all.

You're probably right.  For me, a cafeteria Mormon describes how we each pick and choose which teachings or opinions of our leaders we follow.  Some examples are playing sports on Sunday, drinking caffeinated drinks, watching TV on Sunday, viewing R rated movies, paying tithing on net vs. gross income....etc.  There are probably many more examples.

17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't know what that means.  So youth leaders wink and chuckle about dirty jokes, fornication, boozing and weed?

Wow.  Ok, I did not state anything about any of those taking place.  

17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

What is a "letter of the law" type?

I'd say someone who is letter of the law, black and white type of thinking rather than trying to be more of a spirit of the law type of leader.  More understanding, empathetic and less rigid or judgmental.  Does that make more sense?

Here's an example from an earlier post:

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/69587-curious-about-cafeteria-doctrines/?do=findComment&comment=1209757103

17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

What is "that type of thinking"?  Two of the biggest areas of problematic adolescent behavior pertain to the Word of Wisdom (alcohol, drugs, etc.) and the Law of Chastity (fornication, porn, etc.).  I haven't seen any substantive change in how these standards are presented to today's youth as compared to my experiences oh-so-long ago.

I agree.

17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Hmm.  I have not seen that in my ward or stake.  YMMV, I guess.

I attend the youth activities regularly and overhear their conversations.  Lots of supportive "gay pride" type of comments and also seeing rainbows on notebooks with things written for support and so on.  There's no doubt in my mind that this next generation is embracing gay rights and SSM much more than the older generations.

17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

"Progressive" in this context seems to be used more as a sociopolitical adjective than a religious one.  Mormons are generally sociopolitically "conservative" but theologically/doctrinally "progressive."  

I've seen it used here to describe some Mormons.  I guess one would need to be more specific regarding what they mean.  I think some may feel these types of Mormons should not be called into leadership positions, but at least in my area, I see them being called more now.  But maybe I have a different definition for what progressive means than others voicing that opinion.

Edited by ALarson

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19 minutes ago, ALarson said:

You're probably right.  For me, a cafeteria Mormon describes how we each pick and choose which teachings or opinions of our leaders we follow. 

I think there is a big difference between picking/choosing "teachings" and picking/choosing "opinions."  I feel much more constrained by "teachings" (as in doctrinal, counsel-that-falls-within-the-properly-used-discretion-of-the-Brethren sorts of things).  "Opinions"?  Not so much.  But then, the Brethren in 2017 are much more cautious about conflating "opinion" with "doctrine," so this does not seem to be a very big problem.

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Some examples are playing sports on Sunday, drinking caffeinated drinks, watching TV on Sunday, viewing R rated movies, paying tithing on net vs. gross income....etc.  There are probably many more examples.

The Brethren have been backing off dos-and-don'ts lists for quite a while now.

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Wow.  Ok, I did not state anything about any of those taking place.  

I'd say someone who is letter of the law, black and white type of thinking rather than trying to be more of a spirit of the law type of leader.  More understanding, empathetic and less rigid or judgmental.  Does that make more sense?

Not really.

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Okay.  I think martinet-style bishops are few and far between.

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I attend the youth activities regularly and overhear their conversations.  Lots of supportive "gay pride" type of comments and also seeing rainbows on notebooks with things written for support and so on.  There's no doubt in my mind that this next generation is embracing gay rights and SSM much more than the older generations.

I suppose.  Rebellion of some sort or another is part of growing up.  I don't think we'll see a paradigm shift in the Church.  We'll just see a more moderated, compassionate, others-may-feel-differently-but-the-doctrines-of-the-Church-remain-unchanged type of approach.

I also think the sociopolitical folks who are becoming hardliners on gay rights (of the "screw your personal beliefs, just bake me a gay wedding cake or I'll sue you into oblivion" variety) are going to regret having moved away from the live-and-let-live approach that, in the end, would have probably made more inroads.  As it is, these hardliners are creating an either-you-side-with-us-or-you-side-with-your-church-and-we'll-label-you-a-bigot-and-shun-you-until-you-cave-in conundrum.  Nobody likes a bully, after all.  And plenty of LDS youth really do enjoy being in the Church.  So when faced with this conundrum, and when they see the bullies behind it, I think a lot of such youth will retrench into the Church, and may even become more devoted to the principles of the Restored Gospel.  Such reactions may be a form of "rebelling" against the bullies, as it were.  They may see the bullies as "the world" opposing the Church, which vindicates the Church's position because A) that's what the prophets and apostles have been telling us for generations, and B) the bullies, having abandoned any pretense of pursuing truth or justice or basic fairness, and having no supporting rationale for their opposition to the Church except parrot-like repetitions of "H8ters!" and "Bigots!", will be exposed for that they are.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Apostles admit what?  Where?  I'm genuinely interested in seeing examples of this.  I'd be delighted. 

I do not have time to quote mine right now but apostles have said they do not know how Jesus took upon himself the sins and suffering of the world.

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13 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I think there is a big difference between picking/choosing "teachings" and picking/choosing "opinions."  I feel much more constrained by "teachings" (as in doctrinal, counsel-that-falls-within-the-properly-used-discretion-of-the-Brethren sorts of things).  "Opinions"?  Not so much.  But then, the Brethren in 2017 are much more cautious about conflating "opinion" with "doctrine," so this does not seem to be a very big problem.

Teachings definitely change, so I have no issue with each individual praying and receiving their own inspiration for themselves on some of those.  Such as what one Apostle may teach about what is ok to do on Sunday vs. what another might teach.  That sort of thing.

Look at the teachings from the past that are no longer considered to be true or accurate.  I could list a number of those. 

17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The Brethren have been backing off dos-and-don'ts lists for quite a while now.

Exactly....teachings change.  Many of the dos-and-don't were also just opinions and suggestions (not commandments).  

 

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32 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

That's a bit of a false dichotomy.
If there is a commandment to  read the scriptures or home/visiting teach and we choose not to accomplish that regularly as commanded that is still cafeteria Mormonism in a way.
True, it doesn't mean choosing what we believe, but instead choosing what we do regardless of belief.

I think this reflects what I take to be a more informed understanding of what it is intended to mean: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/face-the-future-with-faith?lang=eng

"Teach of faith to keep all the commandments of God, knowing that they are given to bless His children and bring them joy.4 Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith."

We can soften the intended meaning, but it is more truthful -- and a more accurate reflection of our intended relationship with God -- to appeal to faith, repentance and grace than to suppose the Lord expects us to perpetually fall further and further behind.

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Just wanted to say thanks for the honesty and vulnerability, this kind of an approach really is helpful and healthy, and I'm glad you're sharing.  

For me its easier to list the doctrines that I find inspirational, than all the ones I don't.  I've wondered quite a few times in the last couple years as I've gone on this dramatic faith journey, what is it about Mormonism that keeps me identifying as Mormon when I have problems with so much of it.  Lately I think about the following things:

I think my favorite doctrine unique to Mormonism is this idea that salvation is not individual, it is communal and our salvation is tied to the salvation of everyone else.  This is articulated in the verse about needing our dead to be saved, and we can't be saved without them.  We not only need our dead, but we need each other.  And I'm not tying this idea directly to temple rituals, I don't believe they are the important point.  What is important to me, is this idea that we are all in this together, that as we unite and become more Zion like as a people, that we are doing God's work, we are on God's mission.  This is the core of Mormonism to me now.  

While I see salvation as individual, I do see a communal effort as well. I believe that is the main purpose of "the Church." The Church is formed by the Lord to do His work - to bring to pass the eternal life and salvation of man. The Church of course does not have power to do this, but is responsible for teaching it, and keeping the message of salvation out there. So in this sense the Church is indeed our mother in the gospel as portrayed in Rev 12. The understanding of individuals varies, however.

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The other doctrine that I like is that eternity is now, we are doing the work of eternity here on earth.  I also like that we will be progressing for eternity, this idea that we keep learning, keep experiencing, keep making mistakes, keep growing for eternity, that is wonderful theology and it gives me hope which makes me inspired to do more, and inspiration to do more is at the heart of religion for me.  If it can't inspire me to do more, then I'm wasting my time.  

Well said brother. This is I guess is my impetus for this thread. It represents my struggle between personal growth and accepted dogma of the Church. I would characterize me now as in a painful growth spurt, LOL. Thanks for your thoughts.

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17 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

While I see salvation as individual, I do see a communal effort as well. I believe that is the main purpose of "the Church." The Church is formed by the Lord to do His work - to bring to pass the eternal life and salvation of man. The Church of course does not have power to do this, but is responsible for teaching it, and keeping the message of salvation out there. So in this sense the Church is indeed our mother in the gospel as portrayed in Rev 12. The understanding of individuals varies, however.

That probably another thing I should probably clarify.  I take a Marcus Borgian approach to salvation, in that I think of salvation as a transformation of sorts, a rebirth in your soul rather than a destination towards a place in the afterlife. 

19 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Well said brother. This is I guess is my impetus for this thread. It represents my struggle between personal growth and accepted dogma of the Church. I would characterize me now as in a painful growth spurt, LOL. Thanks for your thoughts.

Thanks so much, all the best to you as well.  No pain, no gain!  :-) 

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21 hours ago, RevTestament said:

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.

I take the leap of faith that there is a God and that God is benevolent. That's good enough for me.  A lot of other things are just appendages to that. 

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10 hours ago, Calm said:

You are talking about a mind that has been in full gear for maybe 40-50 years comprehending a mind that spans infinite eternities and embraces in awareness all of space where we are lucky if we can manage a 6 ft cube?

What about the scriptures that speak of God's ways are not man's, etc.?

Joseph was the prophet who most likely saw God the most in modern times, was best mate with an angel.  Are you assuming scripture study will bring you more insight than actual interaction with .God himself?

I have had interaction with God, but I claim no "visions." Nor has God dictated any scripture to me like He did Joseph Smith. It's not like I depart from Joseph. I feel for the most part I comport with his opinions. My issues arise more with interpretation of scripture. Sometimes I interpret them differently than Church leaders have taught in the past. Otherwise I follow Church teachings and the commandments. I think commandments are pretty plain. They don't leave a lot of room for interpretation. So on matters of salvation I feel I am all 4s with the Church. Where I tend to have issues is when things like Heavenly Father married Mary get promulgated. I realize the Church would probably not now represent that as doctrine. Does it really matter to my salvation if I believe this or not? I don't think so. It is not a commandment. It is not a doctrine of salvation. And I believe it is unscriptural dogma. I certainly do not believe it. If someone believes that is going to exalt them if they believe that, they are certainly free to believe that, but I think it is nonsense.

I guess another way of saying where my issues are is that they deal with some matters of belief rather than action. In action I accept the restored gospel - the things of the temple, missionary work, serving our fellows. In matters of belief and interpretation of scripture, however, my interactions with God have led me to different conclusions. In fact I would point to Joseph's King Follett discourse and assert that the Church has departed from it. I feel I believe it like he intended to communicate it. This is not in the realm of what I consider to be "the gospel." However, in the future it seems the Lord has hinged some aspects of salvation and covenant to it.

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

I don't think that is what "cafeteria" refers to; rather it was originally meant to convey the uninspired and even prideful and rebellious picking and choosing of which commandments and covenants to keep, or whom to sustain based on similar attitudes, and not about sorting through priorities and interests while doing the best one can to keep the commandments and covenants. I think it has been misappropriated in a couple of these threads.

Within the church are 16 million individual churches...each individual has understanding and personal points of view unique to themselves on the nature of God, what constitutes commandments, doctrine and such.  Within the membership of the church there is going to be wide overlap with some and little with others, that's just the nature of the human animal.  So literally the church is made up of 16 million cafeteria Mormons (in my humble opinion) 

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13 minutes ago, Button Gwinnett said:

Within the church are 16 million individual churches...each individual has understanding and personal points of view unique to themselves on the nature of God, what constitutes commandments, doctrine and such.  Within the membership of the church there is going to be wide overlap with some and little with others, that's just the nature of the human animal.  So literally the church is made up of 16 million cafeteria Mormons (in my humble opinion) 

That's a wonderful opinion, but I think it's a misappropriation of the term, at least according to Elder Nelson's reference to "cafeteria obedience." Surely you're not condemning all 16M members to the spirit of "cafeteria obedience", or saying "cafeteria obedience" as Elder Nelson describes it wouldn't be a problem.

Rather than 16M churches of "cafeteria obedience", I believe in the unity of the faith, in Zion being of one heart and mind (rooted in the fundamental principles of our religion), and progress -- not perpetually doing our own wayward things.

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8 minutes ago, CV75 said:

That's a wonderful opinion, but I think it's a misappropriation of the term, at least according to Elder Nelson's reference to "cafeteria obedience." Surely you're not condemning all 16M members to the spirit of "cafeteria obedience", or saying "cafeteria obedience" as Elder Nelson describes it wouldn't be a problem.

Rather than 16M churches of "cafeteria obedience", I believe in the unity of the faith, in Zion being of one heart and mind (rooted in the fundamental principles of our religion), and progress -- not perpetually doing our own wayward things.

My point being that despite the wishes of church authorities for uniformity of belief within the church, with 16 million members you are going to have 16 million points of view, each with a unique set of beliefs within the cornucopia of religious ideas promoted by the church.  Yes there is going to be wide overlapping of beliefs and much uniformity within the membership, but no two will be alike.  Each member is unique and will favor certain ideas more than others and others less than some.

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15 minutes ago, Button Gwinnett said:

My point being that despite the wishes of church authorities for uniformity of belief within the church, with 16 million members you are going to have 16 million points of view, each with a unique set of beliefs within the cornucopia of religious ideas promoted by the church.  Yes there is going to be wide overlapping of beliefs and much uniformity within the membership, but no two will be alike.  Each member is unique and will favor certain ideas more than others and others less than some.

I’m not sure there is any expectation from our leaders for uniformity of belief. Personally, I think there is tremendous latitude in that regard, as the only good-faith expectation I am aware of is, if you want a temple recommend or keep it simply answer a dozen or so questions right.

What you are describing doesn’t sound like cafeteria Mormonism (practice, obedience, etc.) to me, and kind of ignores the Elder Nelson's message, which I think has more to do with the more common understanding of the term.

Misappropriation also emphasizes all the ways we differ in our individual mediocrity, drawing attention away from the uniting strength to be found in our diversity. At worst, it covers up a call to pressure the Church to loosen up her policies, standards and doctrines.

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3 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I’m not sure there is any expectation from our leaders for uniformity of belief. Personally, I think there is tremendous latitude in that regard, as the only good-faith expectation I am aware of is, if you want a temple recommend or keep it simply answer a dozen or so questions right.

Up to a point.
I can think of several beliefs that if publicly professed would make you subject to potential disciplinary hearings.
But sure, you can believe them.  Just be quiet.

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22 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Up to a point.
I can think of several beliefs that if publicly professed would make you subject to potential disciplinary hearings.
But sure, you can believe them.  Just be quiet.

...now public profession would be crossing the line from belief into behavior! :) 

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6 minutes ago, CV75 said:

...now public profession would be crossing the line from belief into behavior! :) 

Yes, it would.
960bc4b1109ddd75dc04f97b5d2c5ab3--gospel

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19 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Yes, it would.
960bc4b1109ddd75dc04f97b5d2c5ab3--gospel

Are you suggesting he's standing alone in the "cafeteria" line? :)

To maintain a true principle is to profess and act on it, right?

 

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960bc4b1109ddd75dc04f97b5d2c5ab3--gospel

1 hour ago, CV75 said:

Are you suggesting he's standing alone in the "cafeteria" line? :)

To maintain a true principle is to profess and act on it, right?

Yep. And this is my "dilemma."  The Church doesn't want to hear it. So I suppose like Joseph Smith I stand alone in it. Although he was never quite alone. I suppose some others feel similarly about some things they believe. I suppose all I can say is chin up, soldier on, and know in this respect you are not alone.

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On 9/19/2017 at 7:35 PM, The Nehor said:

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.

You don't believe the bear story?  Heretic!

You must still have hair then.  Them there brats deserved it.

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So, no one has really brought up scriptural points they have real issues with - polygamy was brought up but not really as a personal issue.  

1. Does anyone have real issues pertaining to specific scripture(s)?

2. If everyone believes all the church scriptures, then are people leaving not for gospel-related reasons but for historical reasons?

 

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