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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

Since he wasn’t trying to comfort you, do you think he was trying to get you more comfortable with the policy? Or just conform?

Neither, we were talking about a family member who was getting baptized and he was saying how glad he was that she could be baptized finally.  He doesn't follow online Mormonism so is essentially clueless when it comes to actual statements the church makes and any controversies going on.  Unless it comes up at church on Sunday, he doesn't know about it.  

2 hours ago, CV75 said:

Do the discussions of the problems and perspectives typically highlight their emotional aspect, such as the sadness you expressed over the hurt the mother felt in relation to her son’s compliance with the policy? That might influence the introduction of faith as a solution in a different way than if if were to help accept things not fully understood.

This particular discussion probably touched on the sadness I felt for a family member more than other discussions have in the past when I've brought up concerns about historical claims the church has made and how they are factually inaccurate, and how the church is trying to correct the record with more modern history.  I have talked about the emotional impact to me as I've gone through a faith transition and how that's impacted my world view.  But that is something this person hasn't understood and honestly has no context for understanding.  This person typically tries to backtrack and tell me to just believe in old paradigms that I've explained don't work for me anymore, as if I can press rewind on my thinking and go back to previous position.  

2 hours ago, CV75 said:

The issue of loyalty is an interesting one, especially when viewed as an either/or proposition (the Church or family). How, or at what point, does not trusting your perspective as having validity turn into a lack of familial disloyalty?

I think for close family members like this one in particular, you feel a bond between the other person and its something really special.  Surely you've heard the saying that blood is thicker than water, implying that family relationships are the closest and come before friends and others.  I expect for a close family member a level of empathy, yet my perspectives are not given any benefit of the doubt, I'm looked at with disdain and fearfully, so I end up not sharing much of the insights I've learned.  It feels like a rejection and coming from a close family member it really hurts. 

2 hours ago, CV75 said:

I was disowned (only for only a while, thank goodness) by my mother when I joined the Church, but I never sensed I was being disloyal to her; in my mind, my loyalties were not mutually exclusive. I didn’t consider joining the Church a matter of loyalty to anyone or any organization but simply the incumbent thing to do. Her terms for loyalty were simply different than mine.

I'm sorry, that must have been tragic for you, a parent child relationship especially with your mother has got to be one of the most precious relationships out there.  How is that relationship today, have you been able to build it back up in spite of the Mormon conversion?  Also, what do you think her perspective was about your choice to join the church.  Did she perceive this as a disloyal act?  

 

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17 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Neither, we were talking about a family member who was getting baptized and he was saying how glad he was that she could be baptized finally.  He doesn't follow online Mormonism so is essentially clueless when it comes to actual statements the church makes and any controversies going on.  Unless it comes up at church on Sunday, he doesn't know about it.  

This particular discussion probably touched on the sadness I felt for a family member more than other discussions have in the past when I've brought up concerns about historical claims the church has made and how they are factually inaccurate, and how the church is trying to correct the record with more modern history.  I have talked about the emotional impact to me as I've gone through a faith transition and how that's impacted my world view.  But that is something this person hasn't understood and honestly has no context for understanding.  This person typically tries to backtrack and tell me to just believe in old paradigms that I've explained don't work for me anymore, as if I can press rewind on my thinking and go back to previous position.  

I think for close family members like this one in particular, you feel a bond between the other person and its something really special.  Surely you've heard the saying that blood is thicker than water, implying that family relationships are the closest and come before friends and others.  I expect for a close family member a level of empathy, yet my perspectives are not given any benefit of the doubt, I'm looked at with disdain and fearfully, so I end up not sharing much of the insights I've learned.  It feels like a rejection and coming from a close family member it really hurts. 

I'm sorry, that must have been tragic for you, a parent child relationship especially with your mother has got to be one of the most precious relationships out there.  How is that relationship today, have you been able to build it back up in spite of the Mormon conversion?  Also, what do you think her perspective was about your choice to join the church.  Did she perceive this as a disloyal act? 

It sounds like he is the more passive participant in the conversation so his general appeal to faith would make sense. Someone like this wouldn’t necessarily be trying to get you to go back to your previous position, especially if he hasn't studied the positions, but rather saying that faith can resolve anything. I find this in people who haven't the understanding or background, or who may not have a very empathetic temperament, and I find that many people, even family, are not too empathetic when it comes to politics and religion anyway. My wife, the only member in her family, gets this sense of disdain and fearfulness from her parents and siblings on the rare occasion the topic comes up, such as when someone happened to bring a copy of "The Godmakers" to a family dinner.

I was sad for my mother, but not for me. She feared she was losing me to a cultish church, that I would quit college to serve a mission, get weird, etc. She did say things like, my joining was a slap in the face, that I wasn’t her son anymore, that I was disloyal to our family. Unfortunately she got other relatives involved and as an 18-year old, that probably contributed to my resolve. I’m sure she saw that I was a better son after joining. What was ironic to me is that she taught me the Lord’s Prayer as a child, and to always follow my conscience, which ultimately led to my spiritual witness and conversion (she also tried to get us more formal religious training –Episcopal, which kind of came out of the blue -- as teenagers; too late I guess, as we had not been a church-going family, which led to the questions that led to my conversion).

Our relationship naturally got better over time. On one hand I think I was a better son than I was before joining, and on the other she simply acquiesced to my decision (she was an emotionally practical person), though there was a brief flare-up when I went on a mission after graduating. But life went on, marriage and grandchildren, etc. and things got easier. She died about 20 years ago, we did the temple work for her, and my father joined the Church some 5 years after that in his eighties. They were sealed when he went to the temple, and a brother and I were sealed to them (other siblings have not joined). I feel as though we have always been a sealed family.

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I was a supervisor/team lead of a remarkable set of developers. One of which was assigned to me because no other team wanted him. As the director was talking to me about him he said I didn't have to take him and there are some things about him I should know about why the other teams didn't want him before I accepted him. I said I didn't want to know. When I sat down with this fellow, told him of the problem I needed him to solve (that is what my team did, solves problems that escape the rest of the teams). He said well how do you want me to do that. I said that I had a few ideas but if I knew how, I wouldn't need him. Go take a week to see what is possible and then we will talk. A week later he comes back with more than a few good plans and said which one do I want him to do. Seeing that they all had a decent chance of success, I said you chose. Puzzled, he told me his choice and asked if that is what I would do, I said no but I'm not doing it. He was quite successful and became coveted by the other teams, just as all my amazing people were.  Later he told me how much he appreciated the faith I showed in him and because of it worked hard in hopes of not letting me or the team down.

Faith is the whole and sole power of everything, that which creates worlds without number. Even the Father's faith in the Son, in his darkest hour, is what motivated him to complete his task.

An old wise white beard told me the true meaning of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Together there is a specific meaning that Enos helps us to understand.

Faith is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ - that he is who he says he is, that he did what he says he did, and that he will do what he says he will do with the results that he says will be.

Hope is that having Faith in Christ, we will do our part, what we need to do in hope that all he promised will apply to me.

Charity is that in discovering the great joy that comes though faith and hope, we wish for our fellow man to share in it as well and work to bring that about.

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On 12/6/2017 at 11:39 AM, hope_for_things said:

As an orthodox Mormon, when I have questions and critiques on topics that I hear at church or read about, I'm frequently told that it all boils down to just having faith, especially when people don't have good answers to my questions.  Terryl Given and Fiona Given's even articulate this idea in their book, The Crucible of Doubt, about how when presented with information on both sides of an issue, that this is precisely the point of God's plan so that we are able to choose and exercise faith.  

Here is my question, what are we supposed to have faith in exactly?  Should I have faith in the historicity of an event described in the BoM?  Should I have faith that a talk given in conference by a church leader is an inspired talk that accurately reflects the mind of God?  Should I have faith that the words written in the Sunday school manual are inspired by God?  Should I have faith that the interpretation of scripture espoused by my high council representative is the one true interpretation?  What exactly should I have faith in?  

From my reading of scripture, particularly the Bible and the BoM there is a repeating theme that humans continue to mess things up. In the bible, some of the worst offenders are often the prophets.  They are constantly falling short of the divine will and making big mistakes and getting chastised by God.  Many passages warn against trusting in the arm of the flesh. 

So this brings me back to the question of faith, and I wonder if all the times that my fellow Mormons encourage me to just have faith, if they aren't actually are giving me really bad advice.  I'm thinking from the experiences I've had and the examples throughout history, that the thing I need to put my faith in is God directly, and not in humans or scriptural interpretations.  Maybe having faith in a church leader is not the purpose of faith at all.  Maybe having faith in a traditional church truth claim is also not the point of faith.   Faith in God, directly is not the same thing as faith in the church or faith in scripture or faith in authorities.  Faith in God seems like the only kind of faith that really can work. 

Thoughts? 

At least one scriptural source spells this out very clearly:

Quote

 

Moroni 7:41-42

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

 

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On 12/6/2017 at 2:56 PM, hope_for_things said:

I largely agree with your post and the Alma 32 method is a reliable method of testing faith in ideas.  I'm wondering if the Alma 32 method should be limited in how we apply it.  For example, lets say one of the GAs gives a conference address on a subject, and we find ourselves uncomfortable about the reasoning that leader gives, we give it some additional thought, talk to trusted family and friends, sleep on it, square it against other values we have and it still just doesn't sit right.  What should we do?  Are we obligated to accept the reasoning of this talk because it was presented by a church leader that we sustained in their calling as a matter of faith?  Or is this a misapplication of the principle of faith in the first place? 

My contention is that having faith in God is not the same thing as having faith every idea put forth by a leader, teacher, or scriptural interpretation that is out there.  My contention is that the scriptures and history and the gospel message actually give us many reasons to reject that kind of paradigm.  I wonder if faith shouldn't be exercised in a much more limited sense.  I shouldn't be taking every idea that comes out of the mouths of humans and planting it as a seed and exercising faith in those ideas to see if they are good seeds or not.  I have a lifetime worth of experiences and ideas that have already born fruit to measure these ideas against in the first place.  I don't need to exercise faith in every idea that passes my way, because I've already gathered all kinds of data that I can use to evaluate ideas that I hear. 

To me, this is what it means to use my mind and my heart when studying things out, and I don't think we need to ask God about everything because that's why God gave us a mind and heart to reason with in the first place.  

We clearly can understand that Alma 32 is not a suitable treatise on faith to be considered a definitive source of understanding about faith in the fashion in which we are discussing here.  Alma 32 is discussing faith as a particular process of coming to know not just anything but instead just one thing.

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Alma 32:40-43

40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.

Without expanding to much on these verses it is clear that we are being led by this analogy to partake of the fruit of the tree of life and we are promised that in this process we will build upon increasingly more advanced elements of growth until we physically "pluck the fruit", and "we shall hunger not", and "we shall thirst not" etc. 

If one was to place many of these specific phrases together from the other scriptural sources that use some of the same imagery the case can be made that Alma 32 is specifically talking about how we can retire our faith in the Savior by gaining the final knowledge of the Savior which comes after a diligent process of seeking his presence, be that spiritually or physically as the case may be.  Actually, Alma 32 represents the instructions that, when followed, culminates in the Brother of Jared experience in Ether 3. 

We are also reminded by Joseph Smith in the Lectures on Faith that God holds the planets in their orbits and revolutions, and maintains the vault of heaven through principles of faith  and it's exercise.  If we were to follow the logic of Alma 32 as if it were a singular expectation of how faith retires to knowledge we would not expect that it is faith that is expressed as the power that sustains the celestial realms.  So, where you wonder if there are limitations to how we might apply Alma 32, I can only heartily agree that it is not a definitive discussion in the least and does not speak to many aspects of the concept. 

Edited by SamIam

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11 hours ago, SamIam said:

At least one scriptural source spells this out very clearly:

So it sounds like you're agreeing with me based on the scripture that you quoted, that when people tell me I just need to have faith in a specific truth proposition, like the BoM for example, that this kind of narrow definition for faith is not the purpose of this principle.  Is that correct?  

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On 12/9/2017 at 10:27 AM, CV75 said:

It sounds like he is the more passive participant in the conversation so his general appeal to faith would make sense. Someone like this wouldn’t necessarily be trying to get you to go back to your previous position, especially if he hasn't studied the positions, but rather saying that faith can resolve anything. I find this in people who haven't the understanding or background, or who may not have a very empathetic temperament, and I find that many people, even family, are not too empathetic when it comes to politics and religion anyway.

Well, from previous discussions with this person, I know that this person is torn about my faith journey, that they are worried about my eternal welfare in my current non literal believing state.  So unfortunately its really bigger than just the LGBT policy, that is just symptomatic of the larger issue of my loss of belief (this is how that person would characterize it, not necessarily me.)

On 12/9/2017 at 10:27 AM, CV75 said:

My wife, the only member in her family, gets this sense of disdain and fearfulness from her parents and siblings on the rare occasion the topic comes up, such as when someone happened to bring a copy of "The Godmakers" to a family dinner.

I was sad for my mother, but not for me. She feared she was losing me to a cultish church, that I would quit college to serve a mission, get weird, etc. She did say things like, my joining was a slap in the face, that I wasn’t her son anymore, that I was disloyal to our family. Unfortunately she got other relatives involved and as an 18-year old, that probably contributed to my resolve. I’m sure she saw that I was a better son after joining. What was ironic to me is that she taught me the Lord’s Prayer as a child, and to always follow my conscience, which ultimately led to my spiritual witness and conversion (she also tried to get us more formal religious training –Episcopal, which kind of came out of the blue -- as teenagers; too late I guess, as we had not been a church-going family, which led to the questions that led to my conversion).

Our relationship naturally got better over time. On one hand I think I was a better son than I was before joining, and on the other she simply acquiesced to my decision (she was an emotionally practical person), though there was a brief flare-up when I went on a mission after graduating. But life went on, marriage and grandchildren, etc. and things got easier. She died about 20 years ago, we did the temple work for her, and my father joined the Church some 5 years after that in his eighties. They were sealed when he went to the temple, and a brother and I were sealed to them (other siblings have not joined). I feel as though we have always been a sealed family.

I'm sorry for both you and your wife, these are challenging things and it sounds like some bridges were never able to be mended.  This makes me really sad about religion, I think Mormonism is not the only religion at fault as its apparent that many people across different religious denominations have fears of other perspectives.  I wonder how I would respond if any of my kids tried to join Scientology, or some other religion that I personally have a strong bias against.  Would I treat them the same way, trying to convert them away from that religion?  I don't know, I can tell you I would have a very hard time with it.  

I personally believe Mormonism has had a bad track record of dividing families with respect to different beliefs.  On one hand this can be a strength for Mormonism, but it is also one of its weaknesses, and I personally think that moving away from the exclusive authority truth claims, opening temple sealing rituals to anyone who wants to attend, and other steps could help bridge the gaps.  I hope for a more open and inclusive Mormonism in the future.  

 

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On ‎12‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 10:49 PM, Calm said:

I have doubts that "arm of flesh" in the scriptures refers to prophets.  I am CFRing for a reference that prophets acting in their divine calling is included in that category in scriptures (I am not asking about personal opinion).  From what I remember, it seems like a stretch.

So your position is that people should place their faith in mortal men who have been called as prophets?

IMO that's a very strange position to take. I agree with Hope and others. Arm of the flesh would include any human. We don't put our faith in people. They will always let us down. We are only to put our faith in God. It is strange to be admonished to NOT place our trust in the arm of the flesh (humans) unless a human who claims an exception on his behalf tells us God said it is okay to trust him. Sounds like a recipe for disaster and much disappointment.

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14 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So your position is that people should place their faith in mortal men who have been called as prophets?

IMO that's a very strange position to take. I agree with Hope and others. Arm of the flesh would include any human. We don't put our faith in people. They will always let us down. We are only to put our faith in God. It is strange to be admonished to NOT place our trust in the arm of the flesh (humans) unless a human who claims an exception on his behalf tells us God said it is okay to trust him. Sounds like a recipe for disaster and much disappointment.

There are different kinds of faith.

We can have faith that our spouse will continue to love us and stand by our side.

We can have faith that our children will take what we have taught them and be good parents themselves.

We can have faith that the person who we've asked to teach a lesson on Sunday is the right person and that they will do a good job.

We can have faith that the Lord's prophets are receiving direction and inspiration from Him and are leading us as He desires.

(I'm sure you can think up many more examples of good people whom we can place our faith in.)

We do put our faith in people.  There are many good people in the world and we have faith that they will continue to be so.

With all these people we recognize that they will occasionally make mistakes.  We can forgive them just as they forgive us when we make mistakes.

Faith in Christ is a different.  We can have complete faith in Christ because we know that He will never let us down.  Faith in Christ leads to salvation and eternal life.

Edited by ksfisher

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30 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

There are different kinds of faith.

We can have faith that our spouse will continue to love us and stand by our side.

We can have faith that our children will take what we have taught them and be good parents themselves.

We can have faith that the person who we've asked to teach a lesson on Sunday is the right person and that they will do a good job.

We can have faith that the Lord's prophets are receiving direction and inspiration from Him and are leading us as He desires.

(I'm sure you can think up many more examples of good people whom we can place our faith in.)

We do put our faith in people.  There are many good people in the world and we have faith that they will continue to be so.

With all these people we recognize that they will occasionally make mistakes.  We can forgive them just as they forgive us when we make mistakes.

Faith in Christ is a different.  We can have complete faith in Christ because we know that He will never let us down.  Faith in Christ leads to salvation and eternal life.

As a religious commandment we need only put our faith in Christ and God the Father, not in people. We are warned about placing religious faith in the arm of the flesh, which I interpret to be humans.

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1 minute ago, HappyJackWagon said:

As a religious commandment we need only put our faith in Christ and God the Father, not in people. We are warned about placing religious faith in the arm of the flesh, which I interpret to be humans.

I don't think such a "all or nothing" interpretation is what the scriptures intend.  We should place our faith in God.  We should observe to keep the commandments that He has given us.  We are taught in the temple that He sends messengers to us to teach the gospel and that we should listen to their words just as if it came from His mouth.  This does take faith.  Placing faith in God's messengers is different than the "arm of the flesh."

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10 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

I don't think such a "all or nothing" interpretation is what the scriptures intend.  We should place our faith in God.  We should observe to keep the commandments that He has given us.  We are taught in the temple that He sends messengers to us to teach the gospel and that we should listen to their words just as if it came from His mouth.  This does take faith.  Placing faith in God's messengers is different than the "arm of the flesh."

You can place your religious faith in whomever and whatever you choose but I interpret "arm of the flesh" to be imperfect humans. Should a catholic place their faith in Christ, the Pope, or both? IMO I'd say they should place their faith in Christ and I doubt many would claim the need to place religious faith in the Pope. Faith in a person does not lead to salvation. It leads to heartache and disappointment, no matter how good that person is. Only God can save. That is why we place faith in God. Man cannot save. That is why we don't place religious faith in man.

FTR- I think this distinction is exactly the intention of the scriptures and what they are trying to teach. But we can disagree.

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

As a religious commandment we need only put our faith in Christ and God the Father, not in people. We are warned about placing religious faith in the arm of the flesh, which I interpret to be humans.

I agree and disagree.

I agree that ultimately our faith should only be in God.

I disagree that "the arm of flesh" refers to all humans.

"Flesh" in scripture does not necessarily refer to “man” or “mankind”, and often refers to our fallen nature and 'natural man' tendencies and worldly precepts and passions, etc. as opposed to the Spirit.  For example:

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Romans 8

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Quote

Gal 3:

3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Quote

 

Gal 5:

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 

I think Doctrine & Covenants Section 1 explains perfectly the LDS understanding and balance between faith in God and faith, not in man, but through man (prophets and apostles specifically).

For example, in verse 19 it warns that man should not "trust in the arm of flesh".  In contrast to the "arm of flesh", Section 1 compares this against the "arm of the Lord" in verse 14, stating that it shall be revealed to those who give heed to the voice of the Lord, his servants, the prophets and apostles.  

Quote

 

D&C Section 1

14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—

 

Verse 15 and 16 is an example of the "arm of flesh" and vs. 17 and 18 is an example of the "arm of God" being revealed through man. As it says in verse 39 of the same Section:

Quote

whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

Ultimately, yes, our faith is in God only.  But we can have faith that God calls prophets and apostles who reveal God's arm vs. the arm of flesh to mankind.  The way to decipher is explained in the very next verse:

Quote

39 For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.

So, by heeding the voice of the spirit, we can have faith in the words of the prophets as they are confirmed by God through the spirit.  I agree that we are not to place blind trust and faith in man, nor accept all their words unquestioningly, but with the spirit, we can have faith in the words of God through man, but not in man. 

So, when people complain that trusting in the words of prophets is the same as trusting in the arm of flesh, I contest that is not the case when they speak in the Spirit and not of the flesh. 

The funny thing is that people who use that passage ("trust not in the arm of flesh") as evidence that we should not trust in prophets, are unthinkingly and incongruously trusting in the arms of flesh and the prophets by trusting in that passage, which was written by a...man(prophet).

 

Edited by pogi

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4 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Well, from previous discussions with this person, I know that this person is torn about my faith journey, that they are worried about my eternal welfare in my current non literal believing state.  So unfortunately its really bigger than just the LGBT policy, that is just symptomatic of the larger issue of my loss of belief (this is how that person would characterize it, not necessarily me.)

I'm sorry for both you and your wife, these are challenging things and it sounds like some bridges were never able to be mended.  This makes me really sad about religion, I think Mormonism is not the only religion at fault as its apparent that many people across different religious denominations have fears of other perspectives.  I wonder how I would respond if any of my kids tried to join Scientology, or some other religion that I personally have a strong bias against.  Would I treat them the same way, trying to convert them away from that religion?  I don't know, I can tell you I would have a very hard time with it.  

I personally believe Mormonism has had a bad track record of dividing families with respect to different beliefs.  On one hand this can be a strength for Mormonism, but it is also one of its weaknesses, and I personally think that moving away from the exclusive authority truth claims, opening temple sealing rituals to anyone who wants to attend, and other steps could help bridge the gaps.  I hope for a more open and inclusive Mormonism in the future. 

I appreciate your empathy but I’m not sure what you mean by some bridges were never mended; I feel as though we have always been an eternal family, and I am satisfied that my deceased parents feel the same. While my wife has not had the same experience with her parents (who are still living), she has seen it with me and she lives with great hope, come what may. I think tolerance of other family members’ beliefs depends more on how we live our religion than either person's religion, since personality and temperament ultimately leverage the tenets for better or worse. The promise in our religion is that over time we can become more like Christ in any challenged relationship. If someone is open and inclusive towards me in the things that matter, or better yet, if I can be open and inclusive towards him, I am not affected by his religion or its requirements of him, and my practices bless us both.

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4 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I appreciate your empathy but I’m not sure what you mean by some bridges were never mended; I feel as though we have always been an eternal family, and I am satisfied that my deceased parents feel the same. While my wife has not had the same experience with her parents (who are still living), she has seen it with me and she lives with great hope, come what may. 

Just talking about relationships mended in this life for you and for your wife.  I would think your wife would want to a closer relationship with her parents.  Setting the Mormon faith claims aside, I'm just talking about a vibrant and intimate relationship of trust and respect.  

6 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think tolerance of other family members’ beliefs depends more on how we live our religion than either person's religion, since personality and temperament ultimately leverage the tenets for better or worse. The promise in our religion is that over time we can become more like Christ in any challenged relationship. If someone is open and inclusive towards me in the things that matter, or better yet, if I can be open and inclusive towards him, I am not affected by his religion or its requirements of him, and my practices bless us both.

For me, in practice this is about putting people first and religious beliefs second.  I believe this is actually compatible with the gospel message as a whole, but unfortunately tribalism often gets in the way.  

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2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Just talking about relationships mended in this life for you and for your wife.  I would think your wife would want to a closer relationship with her parents.  Setting the Mormon faith claims aside, I'm just talking about a vibrant and intimate relationship of trust and respect.  

For me, in practice this is about putting people first and religious beliefs second.  I believe this is actually compatible with the gospel message as a whole, but unfortunately tribalism often gets in the way.  

Yes, she wants that as do they. The flashpoints over religion do not undermine that desire for any of them and they relate in other ways. Inasmuch as the flashpoints reflect concern over loyalty (and there are other, stronger I think, considerations), I think the basis for such concern is actually insecurity, both personal and over confidence in the group.

It seems to me that tribalism (which I take to be a negative for attitudes or behaviors) stems from strong loyalties to the group, whether that group is a family, church, political party, social class, etc., in compensation for individual insecurity. People may have conflicting loyalties until they become settled and secure within themselves first; then they choose between or reconcile their loyalties. That is why I think personality and temperament have a lot to do with it and not so much the group itself.

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6 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So your position is that people should place their faith in mortal men who have been called as prophets?

IMO that's a very strange position to take. I agree with Hope and others. Arm of the flesh would include any human. We don't put our faith in people. They will always let us down. We are only to put our faith in God. It is strange to be admonished to NOT place our trust in the arm of the flesh (humans) unless a human who claims an exception on his behalf tells us God said it is okay to trust him. Sounds like a recipe for disaster and much disappointment.

If the Spirit confirms that the particular action or teaching of a prophet is part of his divine calling, yes, I think we should have faith in them in that aspect.  I am not suggesting a generic 'accept them as your teacher in all things', I have been qualifying my comments just as the LDS manual does: "acting in their divine calling".  God is the only one who can tell us a prophet is acting as a prophet, but once he does, I think it is on us if we don't accept them in faith and insist that we only get our info from God.  It would be like insisting on talking to the doctor all the time when she has specifically stated her nurse will cover certain aspects of instructions/diagnosis.  You aren't actually relying on the doctor if you refuse to trust/value those she has told you to trust/value their instruction.

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6 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

You can place your religious faith in whomever and whatever you choose but I interpret "arm of the flesh" to be imperfect humans. Should a catholic place their faith in Christ, the Pope, or both? IMO I'd say they should place their faith in Christ and I doubt many would claim the need to place religious faith in the Pope. Faith in a person does not lead to salvation. It leads to heartache and disappointment, no matter how good that person is. Only God can save. That is why we place faith in God. Man cannot save. That is why we don't place religious faith in man.

FTR- I think this distinction is exactly the intention of the scriptures and what they are trying to teach. But we can disagree.

Why bother with scripture or church then if the only one you should have faith in at any time is God, even if he has told you to have faith in others in their callings or perhaps for something else?

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9 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So your position is that people should place their faith in mortal men who have been called as prophets?

IMO that's a very strange position to take. I agree with Hope and others. Arm of the flesh would include any human. We don't put our faith in people. They will always let us down. We are only to put our faith in God. It is strange to be admonished to NOT place our trust in the arm of the flesh (humans) unless a human who claims an exception on his behalf tells us God said it is okay to trust him. Sounds like a recipe for disaster and much disappointment.

I think @Calm (sorry for butting in) is saying that when we place our faith in Christ, we will place our faith in His servants, in the sense that 3 Nephi 12:1 and D&C 84:36-38 describe. When we place our faith in Him, there is no problem placing faith in its proper order in His servants. We know it is in the proper order when we experience the attendant blessings from both references.

Man is spirit (D&C 93:33), and that spirit which has been given power and authority and set apart by God for our benefit is what we have been asked place our faith in, according to the proper order described above, and not the arm of flesh. The fact that our spirit is connected with element (flesh) need not be a distraction to the faithful, as we are assisted by the light of Christ, the power of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of the Holy Ghost to discern, and to see as God sees the spirit of man, and not so superficially as to allow another's fallibility to get in the way of becoming as a child (3 Nephi 11:37-41).

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On 12/12/2017 at 8:16 AM, hope_for_things said:

So it sounds like you're agreeing with me based on the scripture that you quoted, that when people tell me I just need to have faith in a specific truth proposition, like the BoM for example, that this kind of narrow definition for faith is not the purpose of this principle.  Is that correct?  

 

23 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So your position is that people should place their faith in mortal men who have been called as prophets?

IMO that's a very strange position to take. I agree with Hope and others. Arm of the flesh would include any human. We don't put our faith in people. They will always let us down. We are only to put our faith in God. It is strange to be admonished to NOT place our trust in the arm of the flesh (humans) unless a human who claims an exception on his behalf tells us God said it is okay to trust him. Sounds like a recipe for disaster and much disappointment.

I am answering these two together as I think the response fits both.

Based on the other comments you have made, I would probably have to decline to agree that our understandings in faith are very similar at all.  As I pointed out in the earlier post about the Alma 32 process, the whole process is pointing us towards going from faith to knowledge in one particular person and that is Jesus Christ.  However, most never make the connection that is the case.  Let's try putting specifics to the equation. If you plant the seed of say ... baptism.  It is a stepping stone in a process of coming unto Christ.  To be precise, we do not have faith in baptism as baptism is not a repository of faith.  Baptism will not of itself convey any benefit to whether or not you will make it into to work safely today nor will it do any good to have faith in baptism that it will ever be capable of providing you with any benefit beyond that which the actual repository of faith - Jesus Christ  declares it will have. 

However, if one is sensitive one can discern they have pleased God and He causes them to grow in understanding - the seed swells.  So maybe next you start paying tithing and you note that certain blessings begin to be manifest in your life that you can attribute to this new action of faith.  However, while some will say they have developed faith in paying their tithing that is not what really is going on.  You can't have faith that tithing will stop a boulder from falling on your head if you believe in tithing enough.  Again tithing is not a repository for faith. No, once again, what has occurred in our Alma 32 process is that we have believed the words of Christ that if we pay tithing, He will open the windows of heaven. Tithing doesn't open the windows of heaven - Christ does. What has really occurred is that we have listened to the Savior and placed a measure of confidence in his word. So you read the Book of Mormon and it will, properly embraced increase your faith but it is not the Book of Mormon that gives efficacy to exercising faith in the Book of Mormon.  Again, not a repository of capacity to act upon any measure of faith that you might put into the book of Mormon as a medium that can act in your behalf for the faith one might claim they had in the Book of Mormon.  Nope, again the Book of Mormon teaches us in a thousand ways that Jesus Christ is the finisher of our faith and thus the only repository of merit in which we can exercise faith. Each time this occurs we are bolstered in our sense of His reality and we increase in confidence that what the Savior speaks will be and we trust that is the case.  He also is becoming more material to us.  His presence is felt more clearly in our lives.  Over time we sense His glory more clearly, we can discern a sense of awe that develops which is indicative of our ever moving closer to him. 

Well now we come to Apostles and Prophets as one more of those aspects of faith manifest as our tree of faith is growing.  I have never in my life, read or heard a prophet or apostle state that we should have faith in them...ever.
I have never read a scripture that ever encouraged the children of God to have faith in the apostles. I have read that we should trust them, that we should pay heed to their counsel.  However, do we do that because we have faith in them?  If we do, it is because we have put the cart before the horse.  We only acknowledge that the role of apostle or prophet is even a reality because we have believed the words of Christ that he, he himself, will choose from amongst his children those that are wise and well exercised in receiving revelation who will be called to positions of apostles or prophets.  So once again what we find is that the office draws it's significance from the fact that it is Jesus Christ who selects them and in each one there is cause and reason for why He has selected them.  Now the question is, as our tree of faith is growing, does it sustain the process of coming unto Christ to doubt that He has chosen His prophets and apostles for our benefit? Or even to doubt them as worthy servants of God and to trust in their counsel?  After all, all along as our little seed germinated and grew leaves and swelled in girth it did so on the grounds that we were taking Christ at His word that the various acts of faith that were acted on were driving our growth, precisely because every time we acted on the words of Christ, most often delivered through the mouth of his servants, we found them to be good and they increased our faith and our knowledge.  It is not a critique of Prophets and Apostles that we are making when we doubt their purpose or their role in our lives it is precisely doubt in the Savior Jesus Christ that is being manifest.  Anyone who fails to accept His apostles and prophets can never hope to see the day that their little tree will ever produce the fruit of which we should desire to partake - that of Jesus Christ. The tree is arrested in growth and will wither and die having never even bloomed in the hopes of fruit.

When Christ asks the Brother of Jared, "believest thou the words which I shall speak?" just before he brings him into His presence it is not a rhetorical question.  We all have to answer that question.  The evidence which gives veracity to any claim of believing is our actions in planting the seed of his word, as delivered through the mouths of prophets and apostles and the nourishing of that seed by continued confidence that Christ knows what he is doing and cannot lie.  It is called the church of Jesus Christ and while no mortal man may merit our faith that is true, but Christ merits our faith, and we should trust his apostles and prophets and be guided by their counsel as an act of faith in Jesus Christ which when all is said and done is the only repository of faith that can reward mankind for exercising that faith appropriately.

Now if you realize that every time some one is counseling you to have faith in something, that nine times out of ten they are simply stating that we are to have faith in Jesus Christ and if we don't split too many hairs in our defiance we will someday find that we shall see him as he is and we shall be like him...and that is good.

Edited by SamIam

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D&C 46:14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

It is OK to believe the words of the brethren, that is who "their words" refers to in this verse as can be seen by reading the greater context.

Quote

D&C 46

1 Hearken, O ye people of my church; for verily I say unto you that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning.
2 But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.
3 Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world.
4 Ye are also commanded not to cast any one who belongeth to the church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation.
5 And again I say unto you, ye shall not cast any out of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom—I speak this concerning those who are not of the church.
6 And again I say unto you, concerning your confirmation meetings, that if there be any that are not of the church, that are earnestly seeking after the kingdom, ye shall not cast them out.
7 But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.
11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

 

 

 

Edited by co-eternal

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On 12/11/2017 at 8:57 PM, co-eternal said:

Faith is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ - that he is who he says he is, that he did what he says he did, and that he will do what he says he will do with the results that he says will be.

Hope is that having Faith in Christ, we will do our part, what we need to do in hope that all he promised will apply to me.

Charity is that in discovering the great joy that comes though faith and hope, we wish for our fellow man to share in it as well and work to bring that about.

I like, believe, and agree with this.  For me the challenge has been finding the dividing line between "when you do what I say I am bound" and "unmerited grace".

To use the terms in this list, it's hard to exercise the first (faith) when you are so keenly aware you aren't fulfilling the requirements mentioned under (hope).

God blesses us, sometimes despite our sins and weaknesses.  But how do we know when those sins will make our faith insufficient to receive divine intervention.  After all, even the devils believe.  How do we know when we cross the line that makes our faith no matter how strong insufficient to produce blessings because we are not doing our part well enough?

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10 hours ago, SamIam said:

Now if you realize that every time some one is counseling you to have faith in something, that nine times out of ten they are simply stating that we are to have faith in Jesus Christ and if we don't split too many hairs in our defiance we will someday find that we shall see him as he is and we shall be like him...and that is good.

Thanks for describing your perspective in detail, this really helps me understand better how you look at this principle of faith.  I agree that its very different than what I'm leaning towards, but there are some things about the way that you've articulated where people need to place faith that I think would be great to hear more commonly talked about at church.  

I think the greatest part that I disagree with you on is this distinction between faith and trust, and I think they are mostly the same thing.  Trust is probably the best word for faith that I can come up with in our modern English language from my perspective.  So when church leaders tell us to trust them, and they do this frequently and desperately it seems of late, then I think they are telling us to put our trust in mortals which I interpret as antithetical to the principle of faith.  

Lastly, if the purpose of faith is to lead us to God, and you use the example of how reading the BoM for you increases your faith in Jesus, then I think that any activity or practice that leads us to God (not just Mormon things) will be an exercise of this principle of faith.  I believe you've explained the plan of salvation model as developed through correlated Mormon teachings quite well, and you've avoided some of the pitfalls by pointing all the specifics back to the central goal which is faith in God/Jesus, but I just don't think correlated Mormonism's way to God is the only way. 

Appreciate your comments.  

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