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“Doubt Not, but Be Believing” Elder and Sister Renlund CES Training June 2018

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Recently, as a final part of the CES 2018 training Elder and Sister Renlund spoke.  https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/satellite-training-broadcast/2018/06/doubt-not-but-be-believing?lang=eng

The title of their combined talk, “Doubt Not, but Be Believing”.   A few highlights and questions:

1)  the Old Ship Zion has "dents in the right side of the bow. Some of the paint is chipped, worn, and peeling."  as a passenger on the rescue ship, you notice that  "the kindly fisherman is old, wears worn boots and blue jeans. The sweatband on his hat is stained, and he seems to be hard of hearing."   "when the fisherman relaxes his grip on the rudder, the boat pulls to the right".   The nourishment provided on the boat from a canteen of stale water and soda crackers are not the Evian or chocolate croissant you wanted.  "Your anxiety begins to grow. Finally, you demand that the fisherman stop the boat and let you back into the water. Even though you are now still more than 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, away from shore, you can’t stand the idea of being in the boat. With a little sadness, the fisherman helps you back into the ocean."

Questions:  What do the boat and the fisherman teach us about the Church?  Do dents and peeling paint on the Church change its ability to provide authorized saving and exalting ordinances to help us become like our Father in Heaven?  Sister Renlund, "You do not have to be an ordained seer like my husband to know that slipping back into the water instead of staying in the boat is risky."  Elder Renlund, "What we consider dents and peeling paint on the well-used boat may turn out to be divinely sanctioned and divinely directed from an eternal perspective. The Lord has either had a hand in the dents and the peeling paint or He uses them for His own purposes."

2)  Elder Renlund obtained a testimony when he was 11 y/o in Göteborg, Sweden, "I did not hear a voice, but it was as if God told me, 'I have been telling you all along that it is true.' That experience changed me. It changed my life. It began a process of belief, a process of being on the covenant path and trying to do more and trying to do better."  "It was in Göteborg that I came to a knowledge of my Redeemer. Göteborg and Viktoriagatan became my 'Waters of Mormon.'"    Sister Renlund, "Faith is a choice that each person must make. Faith is not just whimsically wanting something to be true and fancifully convincing yourself it is."  Elder Renlund, "Faith is the key that unlocks God’s mercy." "even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." Alma 32:27  "For faith to grow, one must choose to have faith. One must desire to have faith. One must act in faith."

Demonstration:  (see video)  Elder and Sister Renlund Nail balancing trick where process and properly employing physics is crucial.   "The same is true in gaining a testimony. Once you know how to get an answer from God, then the outcome seems certain.", 

Questions:  Could these things not be true?  Could this not be false?

3)  Elder Renlund relates experience helping a guy named stephen, "Stephen had been a faithful member of the Church. He was a returned missionary and had married in the temple. He had served faithfully for many years but began to have doubts about the Church."  a)  questions about 4 versions of first vision, b)  questions on polygamy in Nauvoo and post-manifesto, c)  questions about priesthood and blacks.  With each question Elder Renlund referred him to a different scholar at the church history department.  Sister Renlund, "Stephen was like many people. He had chosen to be a perpetual doubter. As time went on, as one concern was resolved, another one was found. No matter how much anyone tried to respond and answer these questions, he found another topic on which to express his doubt. What Stephen was doing was an ecclesiastical form of whack-a-mole."  "To have a question about the Church and its doctrines is not a problem. Choosing to be a perpetual doubter is the problem."

Questions:  Is how one responds to spiritual promptings dependent upon whether one chooses to believe or to doubt?  How to discern between spiritual revelation from God and elevation emotion?  on day of pentacost some understood different languages and heard the revelation, others thought they were filled with new wine.

Quote on doubt by Widtsoe (can anyone guide to the original source text?), some parts were shared by Elder Renlund:

"The strong man is not afraid to say, “I do not know”; the weak man simpers and answers, “I doubt.” Doubt, unless transmuted into inquiry, has no value or worth in the world…. To take pride in being a doubter, without earnestly seeking to remove the doubt, is to reveal shallowness of thought and purpose.  Doubt of the right kind—that is, honest questioning—leads to faith. Such doubt impels men to inquiry, which always opens the door to truth. The scientist in his laboratory, the explorer in distant parts, the prayerful man upon his knees—these and all inquirers like them find truth. They learn that some things are known, others are not. They cease to doubt . . . On the other hand, the stagnant doubter, one content with himself, unwilling to make the effort, to pay the price of discovery, inevitably reaches unbelief and miry darkness. His doubts grow like poisonous mushrooms in the dim shadows of his mental and spiritual chambers. At last, blind like the mole in his burrow, he usually substitutes ridicule for reason, and indolence for labor.  Doubt which immediately leads to honest inquiry, and thereby removes itself, is wholesome. But that doubt which reeds and grows upon itself, and, with stubborn indolence, breeds more doubt, is evil."

 

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6 minutes ago, blueglass said:

Recently, as a final part of the CES 2018 training Elder and Sister Renlund spoke.  https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/satellite-training-broadcast/2018/06/doubt-not-but-be-believing?lang=eng

The title of their combined talk, “Doubt Not, but Be Believing”.   A few highlights and questions:

1)  the Old Ship Zion has "dents in the right side of the bow. Some of the paint is chipped, worn, and peeling."  as a passenger on the rescue ship, you notice that  "the kindly fisherman is old, wears worn boots and blue jeans. The sweatband on his hat is stained, and he seems to be hard of hearing."   "when the fisherman relaxes his grip on the rudder, the boat pulls to the right".   The nourishment provided on the boat from a canteen of stale water and soda crackers are not the Evian or chocolate croissant you wanted.  "Your anxiety begins to grow. Finally, you demand that the fisherman stop the boat and let you back into the water. Even though you are now still more than 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, away from shore, you can’t stand the idea of being in the boat. With a little sadness, the fisherman helps you back into the ocean."

Questions:  What do the boat and the fisherman teach us about the Church?  Do dents and peeling paint on the Church change its ability to provide authorized saving and exalting ordinances to help us become like our Father in Heaven?  Sister Renlund, "You do not have to be an ordained seer like my husband to know that slipping back into the water instead of staying in the boat is risky."  Elder Renlund, "What we consider dents and peeling paint on the well-used boat may turn out to be divinely sanctioned and divinely directed from an eternal perspective. The Lord has either had a hand in the dents and the peeling paint or He uses them for His own purposes."

I appreciate the acknowledgement of chips and peeling paint, but what if the damage is worse than that and these two simply don't have eyes to see?  That is more of my concern.  They seem to equate really big issues (as they list a, b, and c later) with paint being chipped after many years.  But as to your first question, I think it means the church is feeling the necessity to acknowledge that which typically they have not.  

6 minutes ago, blueglass said:

2)  Elder Renlund obtained a testimony when he was 11 y/o in Göteborg, Sweden, "I did not hear a voice, but it was as if God told me, 'I have been telling you all along that it is true.' That experience changed me. It changed my life. It began a process of belief, a process of being on the covenant path and trying to do more and trying to do better."  "It was in Göteborg that I came to a knowledge of my Redeemer. Göteborg and Viktoriagatan became my 'Waters of Mormon.'"    Sister Renlund, "Faith is a choice that each person must make. Faith is not just whimsically wanting something to be true and fancifully convincing yourself it is."  Elder Renlund, "Faith is the key that unlocks God’s mercy." "even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." Alma 32:27  "For faith to grow, one must choose to have faith. One must desire to have faith. One must act in faith."

Demonstration:  (see video)  Elder and Sister Renlund Nail balancing trick where process and properly employing physics is crucial.   "The same is true in gaining a testimony. Once you know how to get an answer from God, then the outcome seems certain.", 

Questions:  Could these things not be true?  Could this not be false?

Very much, I'd say.  

6 minutes ago, blueglass said:

3)  Elder Renlund relates experience helping a guy named stephen, "Stephen had been a faithful member of the Church. He was a returned missionary and had married in the temple. He had served faithfully for many years but began to have doubts about the Church."  a)  questions about 4 versions of first vision, b)  questions on polygamy in Nauvoo and post-manifesto, c)  questions about priesthood and blacks.  With each question Elder Renlund referred him to a different scholar at the church history department.  Sister Renlund, "Stephen was like many people. He had chosen to be a perpetual doubter. As time went on, as one concern was resolved, another one was found. No matter how much anyone tried to respond and answer these questions, he found another topic on which to express his doubt. What Stephen was doing was an ecclesiastical form of whack-a-mole."  "To have a question about the Church and its doctrines is not a problem. Choosing to be a perpetual doubter is the problem."

Questions:  Is how one responds to spiritual promptings dependent upon whether one chooses to believe or to doubt?  How to discern between spiritual revelation from God and elevation emotion?  on day of pentacost some understood different languages and heard the revelation, others thought they were filled with new wine.

I'm really disappointed by the summarized story above.  It seems rather judgmental.  Whose to say that Stephen ever felt any of the issues were resolved?  As many have learned just because someone has addressed a certain issue it hardly means it's resolved.  Questions about the 4 versions of the first vision can be many things.  And certainly in my mind, for instance, those many things are not resolved, as far as I've seen, even though I've read and explored plenty about the vision.  I'd have to just accept that most of the issues related to the vision are unresolvable.  What is likely about Stephen's perspective and what he/she seems to fail to realize is doubt goes many ways, because belief does.  doubting from one perspective can often be believing from another.  If they realized that, then they would not feel the need to call people names, like perpetual doubter.  Because as it comes off here, everyone is a perpetual doubter, and no doubt they are suggesting anyone who is doing that is really bad.  

6 minutes ago, blueglass said:

Quote on doubt by Widtsoe (can anyone guide to the original source text?), some parts were shared by Elder Renlund:

"The strong man is not afraid to say, “I do not know”; the weak man simpers and answers, “I doubt.” Doubt, unless transmuted into inquiry, has no value or worth in the world…. To take pride in being a doubter, without earnestly seeking to remove the doubt, is to reveal shallowness of thought and purpose.  Doubt of the right kind—that is, honest questioning—leads to faith. Such doubt impels men to inquiry, which always opens the door to truth. The scientist in his laboratory, the explorer in distant parts, the prayerful man upon his knees—these and all inquirers like them find truth. They learn that some things are known, others are not. They cease to doubt . . . On the other hand, the stagnant doubter, one content with himself, unwilling to make the effort, to pay the price of discovery, inevitably reaches unbelief and miry darkness. His doubts grow like poisonous mushrooms in the dim shadows of his mental and spiritual chambers. At last, blind like the mole in his burrow, he usually substitutes ridicule for reason, and indolence for labor.  Doubt which immediately leads to honest inquiry, and thereby removes itself, is wholesome. But that doubt which reeds and grows upon itself, and, with stubborn indolence, breeds more doubt, is evil."

 

Obviously Stephen inquired and hardly seemed stagnant (indeed those who see resolve to the unresolvable seem stagnant in their doubts because they just ignore them and forget the inquiry), so this feels irrelevant to the whole point they were trying to make.  Faith in the Church is what they seem to prefer, faith itself is likely had by Stephen and others.  They simply doubt his faith, just as he likely doubts theirs.  

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51 minutes ago, blueglass said:

Questions:  What do the boat and the fisherman teach us about the Church?  Do dents and peeling paint on the Church change its ability to provide authorized saving and exalting ordinances to help us become like our Father in Heaven?  Sister Renlund, "You do not have to be an ordained seer like my husband to know that slipping back into the water instead of staying in the boat is risky."  Elder Renlund, "What we consider dents and peeling paint on the well-used boat may turn out to be divinely sanctioned and divinely directed from an eternal perspective. The Lord has either had a hand in the dents and the peeling paint or He uses them for His own purposes."

The whole analogy is a very binary way of viewing the church.  It presupposes that Church membership and fidelity are the point of life, and that remaining on this boat is going to be less risky and that entering the water will likely result in not arriving at a promised future destination.   It also implies that we should surrender our concerns,  if we feel anxious or worried about the reliability of the old boat, and that we should just trust the process.  Isn't this the opposite of following the spirit and your internal compass?  This analogy isn't working for me.  

57 minutes ago, blueglass said:

Questions:  Could these things not be true?  Could this not be false?

Well, its again assuming that the Renlund's answers from God are the same answers that you or I should get.  If we really follow what they are saying about having faith in what we believe God is telling us to do, then we have to be open to the idea that God's answers are different for each of us, and that sometimes those answers mean leaving the boat or getting on a different boat, or taking an airplane or whatever someone feels inspired to do.  

1 hour ago, blueglass said:

Questions:  Is how one responds to spiritual promptings dependent upon whether one chooses to believe or to doubt?  How to discern between spiritual revelation from God and elevation emotion?  on day of pentacost some understood different languages and heard the revelation, others thought they were filled with new wine.

This kind of labeling of "perpetual doubt" is very unfortunate and shows just how out of touch they are to people going through faith crisis.  This is not the empathy, love, mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those who need comfort messages of the gospel.  I think this is a huge lack of understanding motivated by fear and negative stereotypes.  People that have questions should be applauded for their questions, it means they are wrestling with the simplistic and uncritical narratives they were taught.  It means they are seeking for deeper understanding.  Unfortunately, Mormon leaders are very poor at helping people in this space and in this case offer up ridicule and fault finding.  Shame on them.  

 

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I appreciate the acknowledgement of chips and peeling paint, but what if the damage is worse than that and these two simply don't have eyes to see?  That is more of my concern.  They seem to equate really big issues (as they list a, b, and c later) with paint being chipped after many years.  But as to your first question, I think it means the church is feeling the necessity to acknowledge that which typically they have not.  

This does seem an emphasis that Pres. Nelson has instigated. He's really making a lot of changes. I'm most curious as to how (if at all) he revises the missionary program. I've not thought that the changes under Pres. Monson were successful in the least. However this focus on doubters has come up in our ward. How much of that is direction from Salt Lake and how much is just emphasis of local leaders isn't clear to me. Clearly there are some who didn't like the old approach.

I'm not at all sure this new approach will be effective though. I think acknowledging doubt is important. However rhetorically the way it is being done tends to still push a blind faith rather than a "come and find out" approach. I'm not at all sure blind faith approaches will be successful and may even be quite counterproductive.

24 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Well, its again assuming that the Renlund's answers from God are the same answers that you or I should get.  If we really follow what they are saying about having faith in what we believe God is telling us to do, then we have to be open to the idea that God's answers are different for each of us, and that sometimes those answers mean leaving the boat or getting on a different boat, or taking an airplane or whatever someone feels inspired to do.  

I think this is right. I certainly am not opposed to the idea that for some people their path takes them out of the Church. I've certainly met people who've returned to the Church who weren't ready in their initial connection. That path out was necessary to return in a faithful manner. However my experience is that those pushing multiple paths often really are pushing a relativism rather than an acknowledgement of development paths. That is, they presume the Church's only feature isn't truth but utilitarian "works for that individual." I clearly think that wrong. Yet it undeniable is popular in some circles.

24 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

This kind of labeling of "perpetual doubt" is very unfortunate and shows just how out of touch they are to people going through faith crisis.  This is not the empathy, love, mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those who need comfort messages of the gospel.  I think this is a huge lack of understanding motivated by fear and negative stereotypes.  People that have questions should be applauded for their questions, it means they are wrestling with the simplistic and uncritical narratives they were taught.  It means they are seeking for deeper understanding.  Unfortunately, Mormon leaders are very poor at helping people in this space and in this case offer up ridicule and fault finding.  Shame on them.  

I wouldn't say perpetual doubt functions in that way. Undeniably there are some people who are just skeptical in one direction and aren't just "wrestling with narratives." There's a difference I think between a person having a faith crisis and seeking understanding and those who just tear down.

Edited by clarkgoble
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I certainly identify with a lot of what is being said.  As I read the story, the first thing I thought about is when the Savior was in the fishing boat with his apostles and the storm came up.  After calming the seas, He stepped out of the boat and asked Peter to do the same.  It was a great leap of faith for Peter to do that.  That is kind of how I felt.  Staying in the church.  Even staying in my marriage was the easy thing to do.  It was scary taking that first step away from the church.  But for me,  I knew it was the right thing to do.  It required more faith  to make that leap than staying in.  

BUT I truly believe that my journey is not other peoples journey.  I think for many people staying in the church with all its dents and peeled paint is indeed the right thing.  I think it is the right thing for most of my children.   It seems to be working for them.  They seem happy and they are getting spiritually nourished.  At the end of the day, isn't that what is most important?  Their relationship with God?  Your relationship with God?

There are many paths back to the presence of God.  Prayerfully choose what is best for you.  Trust God.  You have to believe that He will direct you.   And try not to judge those that choose differently than you do.  

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17 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

The issue I have with #1 is it presents the Church as the only option besides water. Basically this is just another version of Pascal's Wager. The analogy should include the observation that there are many many other boats in the water that any observant passenger can see and compare to the craft he is in now. 

I've gone back and read the whole thing. I think the whole of their address was very binary, very black and white, moreso than I thought when I read the summary above.  

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8 minutes ago, california boy said:

 I think it is the right thing for most of my children.   It seems to be working for them.  They seem happy and they are getting spiritually nourished.  At the end of the day, isn't that what is most important?  Their relationship with God?  Your relationship with God?

There are many paths back to the presence of God.  Prayerfully choose what is best for you.  Trust God.  You have to believe that He will direct you.   And try not to judge those that choose differently than you do.  

Same here - my kids are active members, I am not.  For a while I went from boat to boat - I have now decided that if a loving G-d does in fact exist, all groups have enough good in them to nurture their congregations, and all groups have enough imperfection in them to allow members personal exploration and growth.   In other words, I now believe it does not matter what religious group you belong to, you can find what you need to find anywhere you go - you could find spiritual guidance by just contemplating a flower if you want.  

That is fine to go to whatever religious organization works for your family... trying to teach the kids how to both learn from a community, as well as take ownership of their own beliefs and conscience - to teach them the importance of their own personal relationship with God - no middle-man about it.  

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8 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

This does seem an emphasis that Pres. Nelson has instigated. He's really making a lot of changes. I'm most curious as to how (if at all) he revises the missionary program. I've not thought that the changes under Pres. Monson were successful in the least. However this focus on doubters has come up in our ward. How much of that is direction from Salt Lake and how much is just emphasis of local leaders isn't clear to me. Clearly there are some who didn't like the old approach.

I'm not sure I'm seeing change here overall.  Years ago in Stake conference we had Elder someone come and basically tell us to acknowledge the difficulties in church history and doctrine when confronted.  I don't recall anyone ever doing so.   But if it is becoming more of a push then great.  

 

8 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I'm not at all sure this new approach will be effective though. I think acknowledging doubt is important. However rhetorically the way it is being done tends to still push a blind faith rather than a "come and find out" approach. I'm not at all sure blind faith approaches will be successful and may even be quite counterproductive.

Fair point.  I say any acknowledgement is a step forward but I do realize just acknowledging vague possible dings and paint being chipped does seem to say everything is fine...all is well in zion.  no need to doubt.  

 

8 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I think this is right. I certainly am not opposed to the idea that for some people their path takes them out of the Church. I've certainly met people who've returned to the Church who weren't ready in their initial connection. That path out was necessary to return in a faithful manner. However my experience is that those pushing multiple paths often really are pushing a relativism rather than an acknowledgement of development paths. That is, they presume the Church's only feature isn't truth but utilitarian "works for that individual." I clearly think that wrong. Yet it undeniable is popular in some circles.

Relativism is all we have.  We're just us, individually stuck in our own worlds with our own perspectives--seeing what we individually see and feeling what we individually feel.  If Someone can't be saved outside of the Church, then God is a monster it seems to me.  It can't be wrong for one to travel a path that leads to the highest end if that one never joins the Church--not for that one. It must be if that is ever the case, that is exactly what God needed or wanted for that one.   "the Church is true" mantra is a big problem on this front, if you ask me.  The meaning fo the phrase is convoluted and seeing as no one sees clearly, it is just a plainly wrong mantra.  

8 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I wouldn't say perpetual doubt functions in that way. Undeniably there are some people who are just skeptical in one direction and aren't just "wrestling with narratives." There's a difference I think between a person having a faith crisis and seeking understanding and those who just tear down.

Well, we're all different, so it'd be easy to say one person who has doubts is different than another person who has doubts.  But then again, we all doubt something.  Eveyr person I've ever seen relies as heavily on doubts as faith.  Doubt on the Church's perspective, it seems to me, only means doubt if someone questions certain proposition put forth by the Church.  If a Church member doubts the leaders are wrong, then doubt in this case is a good thing and can't be used as the awful "perpetual doubter" motif in their address.  President Oaks doubting the leaders regarding the reasons for the priesthood ban, even though the reasons were claimed to have come from God, is a good thing now because they want to deny it was ever "doctrine" or paint it as it never was; but back then, he couldn't have so doubted without being labeled something akin to perpetual doubter.    

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1 hour ago, blueglass said:

Recently, as a final part of the CES 2018 training Elder and Sister Renlund spoke.  https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/satellite-training-broadcast/2018/06/doubt-not-but-be-believing?lang=eng

The title of their combined talk, “Doubt Not, but Be Believing”.   A few highlights and questions:

1)  the Old Ship Zion has "dents in the right side of the bow. Some of the paint is chipped, worn, and peeling."  as a passenger on the rescue ship, you notice that  "the kindly fisherman is old, wears worn boots and blue jeans. The sweatband on his hat is stained, and he seems to be hard of hearing."   "when the fisherman relaxes his grip on the rudder, the boat pulls to the right".   The nourishment provided on the boat from a canteen of stale water and soda crackers are not the Evian or chocolate croissant you wanted.  "Your anxiety begins to grow. Finally, you demand that the fisherman stop the boat and let you back into the water. Even though you are now still more than 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, away from shore, you can’t stand the idea of being in the boat. With a little sadness, the fisherman helps you back into the ocean."

Questions:  What do the boat and the fisherman teach us about the Church?  Do dents and peeling paint on the Church change its ability to provide authorized saving and exalting ordinances to help us become like our Father in Heaven?  Sister Renlund, "You do not have to be an ordained seer like my husband to know that slipping back into the water instead of staying in the boat is risky."  Elder Renlund, "What we consider dents and peeling paint on the well-used boat may turn out to be divinely sanctioned and divinely directed from an eternal perspective. The Lord has either had a hand in the dents and the peeling paint or He uses them for His own purposes."

2)  Elder Renlund obtained a testimony when he was 11 y/o in Göteborg, Sweden, "I did not hear a voice, but it was as if God told me, 'I have been telling you all along that it is true.' That experience changed me. It changed my life. It began a process of belief, a process of being on the covenant path and trying to do more and trying to do better."  "It was in Göteborg that I came to a knowledge of my Redeemer. Göteborg and Viktoriagatan became my 'Waters of Mormon.'"    Sister Renlund, "Faith is a choice that each person must make. Faith is not just whimsically wanting something to be true and fancifully convincing yourself it is."  Elder Renlund, "Faith is the key that unlocks God’s mercy." "even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." Alma 32:27  "For faith to grow, one must choose to have faith. One must desire to have faith. One must act in faith."

Demonstration:  (see video)  Elder and Sister Renlund Nail balancing trick where process and properly employing physics is crucial.   "The same is true in gaining a testimony. Once you know how to get an answer from God, then the outcome seems certain.", 

Questions:  Could these things not be true?  Could this not be false?

3)  Elder Renlund relates experience helping a guy named stephen, "Stephen had been a faithful member of the Church. He was a returned missionary and had married in the temple. He had served faithfully for many years but began to have doubts about the Church."  a)  questions about 4 versions of first vision, b)  questions on polygamy in Nauvoo and post-manifesto, c)  questions about priesthood and blacks.  With each question Elder Renlund referred him to a different scholar at the church history department.  Sister Renlund, "Stephen was like many people. He had chosen to be a perpetual doubter. As time went on, as one concern was resolved, another one was found. No matter how much anyone tried to respond and answer these questions, he found another topic on which to express his doubt. What Stephen was doing was an ecclesiastical form of whack-a-mole."  "To have a question about the Church and its doctrines is not a problem. Choosing to be a perpetual doubter is the problem."

Questions:  Is how one responds to spiritual promptings dependent upon whether one chooses to believe or to doubt?  How to discern between spiritual revelation from God and elevation emotion?  on day of pentacost some understood different languages and heard the revelation, others thought they were filled with new wine.

Quote on doubt by Widtsoe (can anyone guide to the original source text?), some parts were shared by Elder Renlund:

"The strong man is not afraid to say, “I do not know”; the weak man simpers and answers, “I doubt.” Doubt, unless transmuted into inquiry, has no value or worth in the world…. To take pride in being a doubter, without earnestly seeking to remove the doubt, is to reveal shallowness of thought and purpose.  Doubt of the right kind—that is, honest questioning—leads to faith. Such doubt impels men to inquiry, which always opens the door to truth. The scientist in his laboratory, the explorer in distant parts, the prayerful man upon his knees—these and all inquirers like them find truth. They learn that some things are known, others are not. They cease to doubt . . . On the other hand, the stagnant doubter, one content with himself, unwilling to make the effort, to pay the price of discovery, inevitably reaches unbelief and miry darkness. His doubts grow like poisonous mushrooms in the dim shadows of his mental and spiritual chambers. At last, blind like the mole in his burrow, he usually substitutes ridicule for reason, and indolence for labor.  Doubt which immediately leads to honest inquiry, and thereby removes itself, is wholesome. But that doubt which reeds and grows upon itself, and, with stubborn indolence, breeds more doubt, is evil."

 

Just going by what you summarized, when all is said and done I think “Old Ship Zion” is still a rescue ship fully capable of getting the job done. The tie to Alma 32 is that one must desire to be rescued without resisting the means of rescue.

I think we choose our definition and sense of captivity and our means of rescue. Some choose spiritual and others choose secular approaches. Spiritual approaches will accommodate the (albeit biased) application of secular knowledge, but secular approaches do not reciprocate, no matter how tolerant they may be toward spiritual approaches. I think this is reflected in the Widstoe quote, where doubt can be leveraged by faith into honest inquiry. The resulting answers promote knowledge which in turn stimulates more questions, which answers then may be met with either doubt or faith… but choosing faith perpetuates the Alma 32 faith-knowledge dynamo while doubt squelches the process.

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I'm listening right now. They are sharing a quote from the Lectures of Faith about doubt/faith...I know that it's impossible for doubt and faith to exist at the same time because I am going through it. But if something is wrong, why am I asked to believe it's okay? When my moral sense is trying hard to warn me? Why are we asked to think it is okay for the church to teach things in the past that were wrong? Why are we asked to believe that these leaders were led by God? Such as the belief that Joseph Smith was directed by God, yet he himself is doing other things in the name of God that don't sit well morally? Why must I give him a break? Why are we warned that we need to rely on personal revelation and yet not given the ok about it if it goes against what the leaders say? 

Like has been said, this is very black and white thinking, pretty much saying that the only path is in the LDS church to feel closer to Jesus etc. Or steering clear of Satan. 

Just now had to read the talk to make sure I heard Sis. Renland right. She said: "This is a time for great optimism in the Church. Truth that was hidden for centuries has been revealed. Holy temples dot the earth."

I wonder what she means by this? Does she mean things in the church? That's refreshing if so!

ETA: Forgot to add that I appreciate the talk, just wish that there was room for members to have some doubt mixed in, so that we can discern right from wrong. Faith sure, but sometimes doubt will make one search and search and come to some kind of personal revelation instead of always relying on talks like this. But do think the Renlands are wonderful people!!

 

Edited by Tacenda

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8 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I'm listening right now. They are sharing a quote from the Lectures of Faith about doubt/faith...I know that it's impossible for doubt and faith to exist at the same time because I am going through it. But if something is wrong, why am I asked to believe it's okay? When my moral sense is trying hard to warn me? Why are we asked to think it is okay for the church to teach things in the past that were wrong? Why are we asked to believe that these leaders were led by God? Such as the belief that Joseph Smith was directed by God, yet he himself is doing other things in the name of God that don't sit well morally? Why must I give him a break? Why are we warned that we need to rely on personal revelation and yet not given the ok about it if it goes against what the leaders say? 

Like has been said, this is very black and white thinking, pretty much saying that the only path is in the LDS church to feel closer to Jesus etc. Or steering clear of Satan. 

Just now had to read the talk to make sure I heard Sis. Renland right. She said: "This is a time for great optimism in the Church. Truth that was hidden for centuries has been revealed. Holy temples dot the earth."

I wonder what she means by this? Does she mean things in the church? That's refreshing if so!

 

I think she's talking about the restoration. The bigger question to me is this: what do you do when what you're told is a boat is actually a '97 Buick with a leaky transmission? You can overlook the chipped paint and the old guy at the wheel, but how are you going to get across the ocean in a car?

ETA: I can imagine the conversation:

This isn't a boat. It's a Buick.

Oh, you're just upset that the rudder pulls right. The captain will hold it steady.

It doesn't have a rudder. It has power steering.

What do you expect? Evian and chocolate?

No, what I need is a boat to get me across the ocean.

What are you, some kind of perpetual doubter?

Edited by jkwilliams
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2 hours ago, blueglass said:

Recently, as a final part of the CES 2018 training Elder and Sister Renlund spoke.  https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/satellite-training-broadcast/2018/06/doubt-not-but-be-believing?lang=eng

The title of their combined talk, “Doubt Not, but Be Believing”.   A few highlights and questions:

1)  the Old Ship Zion has "dents in the right side of the bow. Some of the paint is chipped, worn, and peeling."  as a passenger on the rescue ship, you notice that  "the kindly fisherman is old, wears worn boots and blue jeans. The sweatband on his hat is stained, and he seems to be hard of hearing."   "when the fisherman relaxes his grip on the rudder, the boat pulls to the right".   The nourishment provided on the boat from a canteen of stale water and soda crackers are not the Evian or chocolate croissant you wanted.  "Your anxiety begins to grow. Finally, you demand that the fisherman stop the boat and let you back into the water. Even though you are now still more than 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, away from shore, you can’t stand the idea of being in the boat. With a little sadness, the fisherman helps you back into the ocean."

Questions:  What do the boat and the fisherman teach us about the Church?  Do dents and peeling paint on the Church change its ability to provide authorized saving and exalting ordinances to help us become like our Father in Heaven?  Sister Renlund, "You do not have to be an ordained seer like my husband to know that slipping back into the water instead of staying in the boat is risky."  Elder Renlund, "What we consider dents and peeling paint on the well-used boat may turn out to be divinely sanctioned and divinely directed from an eternal perspective. The Lord has either had a hand in the dents and the peeling paint or He uses them for His own purposes."

2)  Elder Renlund obtained a testimony when he was 11 y/o in Göteborg, Sweden, "I did not hear a voice, but it was as if God told me, 'I have been telling you all along that it is true.' That experience changed me. It changed my life. It began a process of belief, a process of being on the covenant path and trying to do more and trying to do better."  "It was in Göteborg that I came to a knowledge of my Redeemer. Göteborg and Viktoriagatan became my 'Waters of Mormon.'"    Sister Renlund, "Faith is a choice that each person must make. Faith is not just whimsically wanting something to be true and fancifully convincing yourself it is."  Elder Renlund, "Faith is the key that unlocks God’s mercy." "even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." Alma 32:27  "For faith to grow, one must choose to have faith. One must desire to have faith. One must act in faith."

Demonstration:  (see video)  Elder and Sister Renlund Nail balancing trick where process and properly employing physics is crucial.   "The same is true in gaining a testimony. Once you know how to get an answer from God, then the outcome seems certain.", 

Questions:  Could these things not be true?  Could this not be false?

3)  Elder Renlund relates experience helping a guy named stephen, "Stephen had been a faithful member of the Church. He was a returned missionary and had married in the temple. He had served faithfully for many years but began to have doubts about the Church."  a)  questions about 4 versions of first vision, b)  questions on polygamy in Nauvoo and post-manifesto, c)  questions about priesthood and blacks.  With each question Elder Renlund referred him to a different scholar at the church history department.  Sister Renlund, "Stephen was like many people. He had chosen to be a perpetual doubter. As time went on, as one concern was resolved, another one was found. No matter how much anyone tried to respond and answer these questions, he found another topic on which to express his doubt. What Stephen was doing was an ecclesiastical form of whack-a-mole."  "To have a question about the Church and its doctrines is not a problem. Choosing to be a perpetual doubter is the problem."

Questions:  Is how one responds to spiritual promptings dependent upon whether one chooses to believe or to doubt?  How to discern between spiritual revelation from God and elevation emotion?  on day of pentacost some understood different languages and heard the revelation, others thought they were filled with new wine.

Quote on doubt by Widtsoe (can anyone guide to the original source text?), some parts were shared by Elder Renlund:

"The strong man is not afraid to say, “I do not know”; the weak man simpers and answers, “I doubt.” Doubt, unless transmuted into inquiry, has no value or worth in the world…. To take pride in being a doubter, without earnestly seeking to remove the doubt, is to reveal shallowness of thought and purpose.  Doubt of the right kind—that is, honest questioning—leads to faith. Such doubt impels men to inquiry, which always opens the door to truth. The scientist in his laboratory, the explorer in distant parts, the prayerful man upon his knees—these and all inquirers like them find truth. They learn that some things are known, others are not. They cease to doubt . . . On the other hand, the stagnant doubter, one content with himself, unwilling to make the effort, to pay the price of discovery, inevitably reaches unbelief and miry darkness. His doubts grow like poisonous mushrooms in the dim shadows of his mental and spiritual chambers. At last, blind like the mole in his burrow, he usually substitutes ridicule for reason, and indolence for labor.  Doubt which immediately leads to honest inquiry, and thereby removes itself, is wholesome. But that doubt which reeds and grows upon itself, and, with stubborn indolence, breeds more doubt, is evil."

 

So many problems with this.

So many a priori assumptions.

So much mind control and manipulation and shaming and labeling in the summary above.

This is typical of organizations that fear freethinkers and critical thought.

This is typical of an organization that is in panic mode and wants to control its member and make sure they are the parent and the members are kept in a child like and dependent state.

 

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33 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I think this is right. I certainly am not opposed to the idea that for some people their path takes them out of the Church. I've certainly met people who've returned to the Church who weren't ready in their initial connection. That path out was necessary to return in a faithful manner. However my experience is that those pushing multiple paths often really are pushing a relativism rather than an acknowledgement of development paths. That is, they presume the Church's only feature isn't truth but utilitarian "works for that individual." I clearly think that wrong. Yet it undeniable is popular in some circles.

Thanks.  Just a question about the distinction between relativism and acknowledging different paths, as I'm not sure I see a clear difference. 

Also, its interesting that what works for you (I presume the concept of a universal truth and/or authority) is clearly one of many ways of orienting towards the church, which essentially is evidence for the relativism that you say is wrong.  

38 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I wouldn't say perpetual doubt functions in that way. Undeniably there are some people who are just skeptical in one direction and aren't just "wrestling with narratives." There's a difference I think between a person having a faith crisis and seeking understanding and those who just tear down.

I consider myself a skeptic, but I don't think you've characterized the way I would identify as a skeptic appropriately.  I don't see skepticism as just tearing things down, although that certainly happens at times and I would argue appropriately so.  I think of myself as a compassionate skeptic.  I think its important to show respect to people, even when they hold beliefs that are clearly erroneous.  

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giphy.gif

Stay in the boat everyone!  what you see are small dings and a few paint chips...nothing more.

 

Edited by stemelbow

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6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Stay in the boat everyone!  what you see are small dings and a few paint chips...nothing more.

 

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7 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Stay in the boat everyone!  what you see are small dings and a few paint chips...nothing more.

 

If the church is true, that is a correct observation. Your link is messed up though. 

 

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See the source image

What was Peter thinking? He should have stayed in the boat like the others. Oh...wait. Well, I guess that wouldn't have been as meaningful of a story.

I really think they should retire the boat analogy but they seem very dedicated to it, suggesting that dings, and scrapes, and dents may be placed there by God, perhaps as a test of our faithfulness. If God loves dents, scrapes, and dings, he will love the minivan my daughter drives.

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10 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

 Your link is messed up though. 

 

oh serious?  you can't see the little gif thing I put there?  hmm...

https://gph.is/2bDOokj

 

 

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38 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I think she's talking about the restoration. The bigger question to me is this: what do you do when what you're told is a boat is actually a '97 Buick with a leaky transmission? You can overlook the chipped paint and the old guy at the wheel, but how are you going to get across the ocean in a car? 

ETA: I can imagine the conversation:

This isn't a boat. It's a Buick.

Oh, you're just upset that the rudder pulls right. The captain will hold it steady.

It doesn't have a rudder. It has power steering.

What do you expect? Evian and chocolate?

No, what I need is a boat to get me across the ocean.

What are you, some kind of perpetual doubter?

But the premise is that the people being rescued are capsized in the ocean, where a Buick could not be posing as a boat.

Why would anyone safe on land, or even feeling in danger on an upside-down boat on the shore, need to be rescued by a boat?

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Just now, CV75 said:

But the premise is that the people being rescued are capsized in the ocean, where a Buick could not be posing as a boat.

 

Why would anyone safe on land, or even feeling in danger on an upside-down boat on the shore, need to be rescued by a boat?

I'm picturing a helicopter carrying a Buick and dropping it in the water near the people who need rescuing. It might float for a minute or so.

Not a perfect analogy, but you get the idea. 

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7 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

What was Peter thinking? He should have stayed in the boat like the others. Oh...wait. Well, I guess that wouldn't have been as meaningful of a story.

I really think they should retire the boat analogy but they seem very dedicated to it, suggesting that dings, and scrapes, and dents may be placed there by God, perhaps as a test of our faithfulness. If God loves dents, scrapes, and dings, he will love the minivan my daughter drives.

He does love prints in hands and feet and wounds in sides... he does love "stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft... weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness... " and "fools for Christ's sake." And "the weak and the simple."

Do you think that last one would be a good title of a soap opera?

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4 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I'm picturing a helicopter carrying a Buick and dropping it in the water near the people who need rescuing. It might float for a minute or so.

Not a perfect analogy, but you get the idea. 

But the premise is that it is a boat that is doing the rescuing, no misrepresentation: "As you look, you see a fishing boat approaching."

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4 minutes ago, CV75 said:

He does love prints in hands and feet and wounds in sides... he does love "stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft... weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness... " and "fools for Christ's sake." And "the weak and the simple."

Do you think that last one would be a good title of a soap opera?

Sounds like a great title for EVERY soap opera :) 

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15 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

See the source image

What was Peter thinking? He should have stayed in the boat like the others. Oh...wait. Well, I guess that wouldn't have been as meaningful of a story.

I really think they should retire the boat analogy but they seem very dedicated to it, suggesting that dings, and scrapes, and dents may be placed there by God, perhaps as a test of our faithfulness. If God loves dents, scrapes, and dings, he will love the minivan my daughter drives.

Excellent point.  Its not just that there are dings and scrapes, but the Church continually tells us God is putting those there for his own purposes.  

"well yeah...ok.  so that big old gash on the side of the boat looks ugly, but God put it there, so we're good.  Jump back in here.  It's still floating"  

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