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"Backlash against an obituary of its late prophet Thomas S. Monson reveals the existential doubts gnawing at the modern church."

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Now the petition against the NYT is itself being analyzed for how it makes LDS look to the outside world...

Mormonism’s Crisis of Faith

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Mormonism isn’t alone in its struggle to expand in this century. Americans are abandoning religion in startling numbers across “all regions of the country and many demographic groups,” according to Pew Research. The Mormon church’s 1.7 percent annual growth is still quite good in these dire times for religion. But it’s less good when you consider that the church maintains a massive force of more than 70,000 full-time proselytizing missionaries worldwide, and barely manages to tread water.

In the face of these challenges, the church has placed its bets on entrenchment. Long criticized for its problematic positions on civil rights, a crisis of attenuating membership offered—and still offers—an opportunity to adapt to changing attitudes and project a fresh, more compassionate image. Instead, under the guidance of Monson, who died last week at 90, the church in the past ten years has doubled down on exclusion.

 

They go on to note:

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This model worked very well for an emerging religion in the nineteenth century. It doesn’t work so well now when advances in science have cast doubt on many of the church’s core teachings and every member is armed with the most powerful reference tool in human history, the internet. In light of these developments, other religions have woven evolution, the Big Bang, and civil rights into the fabric of their faiths. But even if the Mormon church wanted to adapt in the same way, it would have quite a time doing so. Because, by canonizing the words of its modern prophets, to later revise that doctrine in light of secular advances would be to discredit scripture. Imagine if, after Moses’s death, his successor Joshua had decided to grab a hammer and chisel and make some light edits to the Ten Commandments.

Yes, if incorporating the "Big Bang" into our beliefs is the path to success, then having President Nelson at the helm isn't an encouraging development.

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8 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Yes, if incorporating the "Big Bang" into our beliefs is the path to success, then having President Nelson at the helm isn't an encouraging development.

That can be a good thing, depending on your perspective . . . ;) 

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On a related note I think the Catholic Church should stop selling indulgences, Jews should stop putting all their sins on a goat and driving it away, and Lord Xenu needs to come back and clean up all those thetans he left behind last time he was here.

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26 minutes ago, rongo said:

That can be a good thing, depending on your perspective . . . ;) 

A good thing in the sense of rejecting the arrogant nay-saying of progressive critics like the author of this linked piece.

See the quote from then-Elder, now-President Nelson in my sig line below as well as the quote from Elder Andersen.

And an obit like the one that was in the Times would have triggered the same sort of backlash 10 years ago as it did last week. It has less to do with "existential doubts" and more to do with our feeling protective of a beloved and respected Church leader.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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So ... Mormons are having a "crisis of faith" because we don't see the world the way The Times does? :unknw:

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I'm not sure what they mean by retrenchment. I also would quibble with growth "barely treading water." Still, regardless of whether you think it right or wrong, it seems like the end point from the start of the Prop-8 project was largely inevitable. Given that where the 1st world is now was inevitable, one can't help but wonder what would have happened had we not backed Prop-8, hadn't made gay married parents equivalent of polygamists, and had merely just reaffirmed the doctrine of eternal gender without really weighing into the controversies. Again, in saying that I'm not taking a position on those policies. I'm completely fine with Monson being inspired to do them for reasons I don't understand. I'm just curious as to whether Church growth would likely have been affected. While I think our public perception would be much better, I'm not sure our growth would.

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39 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

 

And an obit like the one that was in the Times would have triggered the same sort of backlash 10 years ago as it did last week. It has less to do with "existential doubts" and more to do with our feeling protective of a beloved and respected Church leader.

I have pointed out to some critics that President Hinckley's obituary 10 years ago in the NYT was formatted much differently.

They pointed out to me that he hadn't had high-profile events like OW, Prop-8, and the policy against children of married-gay couples during his tenure.

So there's more than one way to look at it (although I still think the NYT obituary for Monson wasn't "fair" when compared to their obituaries for Hinckley, Chavez, Castro, Hefner etc.)

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I find it sad that people use hate to accuse the church of hate. The church is the Church of Jesus Christ. President Monson was a prophet called of God, chosen, trained and brought up to hold this position. Now God has selected Elder Nelson to lead His church. The plan is not to have a church that grows by accommodating shifting morals, but to offer eternal salvation through eternal principles, ordinances, and covenants. In 10 years time, the standards of the world well have slipped even further away from Gods plan of happiness, and the hatred will grow ever more vitriolic. We can look to the Book of Mormon for a pattern of what it will in the end of days. The church and its members will be embattled but strong, few in numbers but great in power. 

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9 minutes ago, Freedom said:

I find it sad that people use hate to accuse the church of hate. The church is the Church of Jesus Christ. President Monson was a prophet called of God, chosen, trained and brought up to hold this position. Now God has selected Elder Nelson to lead His church. The plan is not to have a church that grows by accommodating shifting morals, but to offer eternal salvation through eternal principles, ordinances, and covenants. In 10 years time, the standards of the world well have slipped even further away from Gods plan of happiness, and the hatred will grow ever more vitriolic. We can look to the Book of Mormon for a pattern of what it will in the end of days. The church and its members will be embattled but strong, few in numbers but great in power. 

When I was younger, I used to say that the only authentic church on Earth should be notable for the hatred directed toward it, and the number of chapels which get burned down.  The persecution suffered by the early Christian Church, as well as by the early Mormons only made them stronger.  We will see plenty of that again.

That does not mean that the LDS Church will not adapt and accommodate to new situations and technology.  It certainly will, despite (or because of) the fallibility of its humble leaders.  That has long been the secret of Mormon success.

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I would like the opinion of church members on the two controversial issues that were brought up in the obituary 

1. Do you think that having the church be instrumental in the  passing Prop 8 was a big achievement of President Monson's presidency?

2. Do you think fending off those women who wanted to hold the priesthood a big achievement of President Monson's presidency?

Edited by california boy

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Read the article and I still can't figure out which existential doubts we somehow have because we petitioned the NYT to give a good amazing man a decent obituary

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other religions have woven evolution, the Big Bang,

Not sure how the church would  "incorporate" the Big Bang and evolution in church doctrine, anymore than the law of gravity.  It does not contradict church doctrine.

Edited by cdowis

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Gads, what a yawner.  I tend to think that the Left has become stone cold stupid and without any ability to see the world other than through their extremely narrow, rose colored glasses.  

The social pendulum is swinging as it always does.  What is today's fad will be tomorrow's enfant terrible.  The Left has the proverbial tiger by the tail and this tiger has major teeth that will destroy societies, communities and nations.  I see no reason to do anything other than get the popcorn and watch Rome burn. 

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1 hour ago, cdowis said:

Not sure how the church would  "incorporate" the Big Bang and evolution in church doctrine, anymore than the law of gravity.  It does not contradict church doctrine.

Just keep telling yourself that...

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Yet some people erroneously think that these marvelous physical attributes happened by chance or resulted from a big bang somewhere. Ask yourself, “Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?” The likelihood is most remote. But if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer editions!

President Russel M. Nelson

 

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Eric Armstrong (whom I do not know and have never read before) here shows his simple ignorance of the Bible, because exactly that happened when the Deuteronomists got hold of Exodus.  And not just "light edits" were made, but some very sweeping changes in fact.

Here, as well, Armstrong shows his ignorance of Mormon cosmology, which is uniquely adaptable to modern science -- being as it is a naturalistic and humanistic theology.  I have no idea how or under what circumstances Armstrong left Mormonism, and I have no problem with him doing so, but his ignorance of the Church is astonishing at several levels.  One example is his statement on the LDS Church being a "dictatorship," while it is actually quite loosely operated and horizontal in governance. 

I agree that the Church isn't a "dictatorship,"  but only because it hasn't figured out how to (to the degree that such a political concept can even be ascribed to a Church).  But each year they try a little harder.

 

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Another is his claim that "The intense love many Mormons reserve for their leaders dances on the precipice of worship."  That is not the LDS Church I know, and I don't find members of my ward engaged in that sort of nonsense. 

I've even heard the Teryl and Fiona Givens talk about the problem of "hero worship" in the Church.  Heck, even Elder/President Uchtdorf admitted as much...!

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When I was called as a General Authority, I was blessed to be tutored by many of the senior Brethren in the Church. One day I had the opportunity to drive President James E. Faust to a stake conference. During the hours we spent in the car, President Faust took the time to teach me some important principles about my assignment. He explained also how gracious the members of the Church are, especially to General Authorities. He said, “They will treat you very kindly. They will say nice things about you.” He laughed a little and then said, “Dieter, be thankful for this. But don’t you ever inhale it.”

 

Edited by cinepro

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

When I was younger, I used to say that the only authentic church on Earth should be notable for the hatred directed toward it, and the number of chapels which get burned down.  The persecution suffered by the early Christian Church, as well as by the early Mormons only made them stronger.  We will see plenty of that again.

That does not mean that the LDS Church will not adapt and accommodate to new situations and technology.  It certainly will, despite (or because of) the fallibility of its humble leaders.  That has long been the secret of Mormon success.

From Cardinal Newman:
 

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On the whole then I conclude as follows:—if there is a form of Christianity now in the world which is accused of gross superstition, of borrowing its rites and customs from the heathen, and of ascribing to forms and ceremonies an occult virtue;—a religion which is considered to burden and enslave the mind by its requisitions, to address itself to the weak-minded and ignorant, to be supported by sophistry and imposture, and to contradict reason and exalt mere irrational faith;—a religion which impresses on the serious mind very distressing views of the guilt and consequences of sin, sets upon the minute acts of the day, one by one, their definite value for praise or blame, and thus casts a grave shadow over the future;—a religion which holds up to admiration the surrender of wealth, and disables serious persons from enjoying it if they would;—a religion, the doctrines of which, be they good or bad, are to the generality of men unknown; which is considered to bear on its very surface signs of folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance suffices to judge of it, and that careful examination is preposterous; which is felt to be so simply bad, that it may be calumniated at hazard and at pleasure, it being nothing but absurdity to stand upon the accurate distribution of its guilt among its particular acts, or painfully to determine how far this or that story concerning it is literally true, or what has to be allowed in candour, or what is improbable, or what cuts two ways, or what is not proved, or what may be plausibly defended …

—a religion such, that men look at a convert to it with a feeling which no other denomination raises except Judaism, Socialism, or Mormonism, viz. with curiosity, suspicion, fear, disgust, as the case may be, as if something strange had befallen him, as if he had had an initiation into a mystery, and had come into communion with dreadful influences, as if he were now one of a confederacy which claimed him, absorbed him, stripped him of his personality, reduced him to a mere organ or instrument of a whole;—a religion which men hate as proselytizing, anti-social, revolutionary, as dividing families, separating chief friends, corrupting the maxims of government, making a mock at law, dissolving the empire, the enemy of human nature, and a "conspirator against its rights and privileges.

 

Newman goes on to say that this religions he describes “is not unlike Christianity as that same world viewed it, when first it came forth from its Divine Author.”

 

I do not think Christ’s Church will be celebrated by the world.  Especially those at the NYTs.

Charity, TOm

Edited by TOmNossor

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